Tag Archives: Wednesday Books

Book Review: Mayhem by Estelle Laure

Wednesday Books
TBP July 14th 2020
304 Pages

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self.

There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.- Goodreads

TW | Suicide, Rape, Domestic violence, Drugs, Murder, Abuse

Before I begin my review, I would like to note that the author addresses the difficult topics within this book in a letter to the reader. When I began reading this book, I wasn’t expecting the topics, I listed, to be so prominent in this book. I honestly didn’t know there would be these many trigger warnings.  I hope that if you do decide to read this book, understand that the magic within this book does not cover, hide or brush aside these traumas. 

Now my review. This book was drawn out to oblivion. I struggled with connecting with Mayhem because although she is in a time of her life where everything changes, she doesn’t exactly practice what she preaches. What I mean by that is she wanted family. So being back at the family home was the opportunity to do so but she didn’t dig deep into the family history, ask the right questions or even push for the information she needed to know. Yes, she did find out what she needed but to know but that was it. Even at the end of the book there was still so many things that could have been said about her family history. There was so many things that Mayhem could have known but she was solely focused on what was in her face.  I mean she is from a list of women who can use magic to save the day. There was so much to learn.

However, I loved how flawlessly the author was able to blend the magical aspects of this book with everyday life.  It was written extremely well and she made it made sense. But when I talk about the magic, I have to also talk about how there was not enough detail. Yes, you know how the family came to retrieve that magic, you know what it does to you but it is mentioned in the book that Mayhem’s aunt did a lot of research and looked up as much information as she could to collect for the next generation. This was not focused enough in the novel. This should have peaked Mayhem’s interest but it didn’t.

But overall, the book was slow and drawn out. There wasn’t enough care for details, creativity in creating this magic world or depth within the surrounding characters. Also the romantic interest had no chemistry. It just happened.

I would read this author again because I love to growth.

2 Pickles

Book Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wednesday Books
TBP: April 2nd 2019
400 Pages

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. – Goodreads

I didn’t know what to expect when I began reading this. Was I going to get a love triangle that would piss me off? Would I get a character that does nothing until the last moment or in a fit of rage? Or most importantly, would I get a book that is so detailed its boring or not enough detail to make it feel lacking?

Here is what I thought of this book . . . it was good.

The best part of the book was Nadya and her ability to talk to Gods. This was the main focus of the novel and it was tastefully done. At first I thought Nadya would be naive and couldn’t hold her own. But very quickly the author shows you that isn’t the case. Nadya may have been sheltered to a certain extent but knows how to defend herself, she knows how to accept help and she is knowledgeable.

As much as I would love to tell you about the prince and the monster, I’m not because that would mean there would be spoilers and I am not about that life in this review. But what I can tell you is monsters come in different forms and even though people may not consider themselves a monster it doesn’t mean that they aren’t, no matter how good their intentions try to be.

But beyond the main characters, the surrounding characters brought the much needed smiles, laughs and valid points none of the main three were willing to see. The author did a really good job using these characters as fillers and connecting pieces to the story.

Beyond this, the book itself is a slow burn. What kept my attention was Nadya and the monster. The prince. . . well he is something that I can see why people love him but I don’t.

Nothing really major was wrong with this book. It brings a lot of things together such as religion, fantasy, romance, betrayal, war and history. So the author makes sure that she get readers at every end.

Overall, I am interested in seeing what happens next.

3 Pickles

Book Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Wednesday Books
TBP April 24th. 2018
352 Pages


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.- Goodreads

Jumping right into this, Eelyn can fight. She can completely hold her own and just destroy those around her. For a majority of the book, she was injured, so if what I read was at her weakest, you can only imagine what she is like at her strongest. I love how badass she is when she is on the battlefield.

As much as I liked her, the story was predictable. Predictable in the sense that the author set the entire book up, where there was only one way to go. There could have been many different ways to go but you see the road very clearly and that was my issue with the book. Nope, I lied. I wish Fiske has more depth and the author gave him more personality because I liked him and wanted more of him.

That is pretty much my only issue with the book. Even the romance, which was non traditional in the YA genre was really good. It wasn’t stars exploding around them nor was love found on the perfect day, in the perfect moment, in the perfect weather. Shoot the love wasn’t even found on the battlefield. It was just there and the author was really subtle about it and if you didn’t catch the signs building (or the obvious) then you would have thought it was instant.

I liked that fact that other than the emotional struggle of finding out her brother is alive and now being help captive in a different tribe, Eelyn was sure about herself in the sense that she knew what she didn’t want and she knew what she was willing to sacrifice. Even after everything was said and done, she held on to her faith and her beliefs and I admire that.

There isn’t a whole lot of physical fight going on. There are 3 maybe 4 breakout scenes that you can visibility see a battlefield. I want to say think of when the Romans fought hand to hand but with a lot more dirt, muscles, blood and darkness.

I liked this book and I wasn’t expecting to. There is a lot of hype behind this and normally I am not for that. But this meets the hype and the ending is just right. I want more from this universe but not necessarily from Eelyn and Fiske.

4 Pickles

Book Review: How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation

Wednesday Books
TBP March 1st, 2018
320 Pages

Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. They’re ready to stand up and be heard – but with much to shout about, where they do they begin? What can I do? How can I help?

How I Resist is the response, and a way to start the conversation. To show readers that they are not helpless, and that anyone can be the change. A collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope, How I Resist features an all-star group of contributors, including, John Paul Brammer, Libba Bray, Lauren Duca, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, Alex Gino, Hebh Jamal, Malinda Lo, Dylan Marron, Hamilton star Javier Muñoz, Rosie O’Donnell, Junauda Petrus, Jodi Picoult, Jason Reynolds, Karuna Riazi, Maya Rupert, Dana Schwartz, Dan Sinker, Ali Stroker, Jonny Sun (aka @jonnysun), Sabaa Tahir, Daniel Watts, Jennifer Weiner, Jacqueline Woodson, and more, all edited and compiled by New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson and Lambda-winning novelist Tim Federle. -Goodreads

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting when I began this book. Nevermind that is not true. What I was expecting was fictional short stories about ways the author either sees themselves or the current political situation and how they resist.

What I got was non-fiction, personal stories authors shared to show how they resist and how you should resist. This is not a bad thing. It is simply what I was not expecting.

When reading this, you can feel the emotion each other put into their piece. It is an inspiring read but most importantly it is full of questions. Questions of not only how do I resist but questions of what exactly am I resisting. Before the internet decides to eat me up, let me explain.

Not everyone’s fight is the same nor do each person resist in the same way. What is great about this read is that the different point of views, the different methods, the different experiences are noted and highlighted without overshadowing someone else. A particular author, that I felt most connected to was Rebecca Roanhorse. Her story was realistic in the sense that it beings up the question are you doing enough or anything at all? Her story really brought everything together for me.

Another point about this book, are the interviews. Not all authors wrote short stories but instead gave an interview. I liked this mix up. It made the readings more personal and it built questions and sparked ideas and thoughts.

There is nothing to say bad about this read. It is perfect for a classroom setting and it is honest. Even when a particular author made me side eye her (I am not stating who), you had to respect the honesty that came from her and every other writer. It is important and I know I keep saying this but this leads to conversations that needs to be had. Because like it or not this current presidency affects everyone.

3 Pickles