Category Archives: 2017 Books

Beatdown in Bangkok

Read Beatdown in Bangkok by Justin Fike and Adam Fleming. I receoved a copy for review. 

Stetson Jeff Stetson (think Bond James Bond) has left Texas for Thailand. He has two reasons to go: investigate a potential business investment and compete in a martial arts tournament (Muay Thai, to be specific). 
This is the first book in a series and I need the other books, like, yesterday. This was laugh out loud funny while not skimping on the action. 
This book is a delight and I bet you’ll agree with me. I do not envy Stetson Jeff Stetson but I’m glad to read his adventures. 

Queens of Geek (mini-review)

Finished Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde. 

This centers around three best friends at a convention (think ComicCon)). Charlie is a Youtube star and her small indie movie has become a surprise hit. Her friends Taylor and Jamie come too, partly for emotional support and mostly for fandom. Over the weekend, they all fall for someone (two for each other; one for someone else). 

If you are into any fandom ever, you will love this book. It’s perfect for fans of pop culture. The characters are great and the love stories are swoonworthy. I love that it’s set around fandom (which is starting to be a thing this year, and I approve of that). 


The Last Harvest

Finished The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett. 

There is something really weird going on in Midland. Last year, Clay’s dad tried to kill him. His last words: “I plead the blood.” Now Clay is starting to hallucinate and he thinks there’s something really…wrong with his former friends. Is he right or is he losing his mind, too?

This is basically Children of the Corn meets The Omen and I loved it. It’s deliciously creepy and everything about it made me paranoid. (Like in Rosemary’s Baby where you aren’t sure who’s part of the coven because everyone seems suspicious!)

If you enjoy scary stories, this is for you. Highly recommended. 

Dreamland Burning

Finished Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham. 

This is set in Tulsa, Oklahoma in present day (narrated by Rowan) and in 1921 (narrated by William). In 1921, there was a race riot where a large number of black men, women and children were killed. The exact number is unknown; many of the survivors lost their homes, churches and businesses. No white people were charged. 

A body is found on Rowan’s property and it is likely connected to the riot, but no one knows who it is. (Obviously; it’s been there for almost 100 years.)

This book is amazing. This is an event I knew nothing about (not surprising, really; the author note says it’s typically not even taught in Tulsa) and it’s so sad and terrifying to contemplate. 

I loved Rowan’s chapters where she’s playing detective but William’s chapters are even more interesting (and heartbreaking). His father is white and his mom is Native American so he sees his own share of racial prejudice. 

There’s so much I can’t talk about due to spoilers so just read this! Highly recommended. 

You’re Welcome, Universe

Finished You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner. 

There are two things you should know about Julia and the order probably doesn’t matter. The first is that she’s Deaf. The second is that she’s big into graffiti. The second thing gets her kicked out of school after she defaces school property (to cover up a rude comment made about her best friend). Unfortunately, said best friend turned her in and she got expelled. Now she’s at a mainstream school and also somehow embroiled in a graffiti war with some unknown person. 

I know very little about either of those cultures, so this book was super interesting. It is also incredibly fun. I love learning little tidbits about other cultures, especially their specific slang. (We get more graffiti slang but still.)

This is an incredibly fun story that asks and answers the question about art vs. vandalism. Recommended. 

Goodbye Days

Finished Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner. 

Until recently, Carver had three best friends. Then, one day, they died. Mars, Blake and Eli were on their way to pick him up. He texted to ask where they were. Mars–who was driving–was in the process of texting him back when he drove into the back of a semi. Carver blames himself (some of the parents do, too) and there’s even talk of legal action. The only thing that helps is when he does a “goodbye day” with Blake’s grandma. They do all the stuff that she and Blake did on normal days together. 

If you read The Serpent King, you’ll believe me when I say that this book ripped my heart out. It might be even harder to read than his first novel. 

And yet, it’s also beautiful. It’s sweet and devastating and wonderful. 

Hopefully you’ve read it by now. If not, you need to. 

Highly recommended. 

See You in the Cosmos

Finished See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng. 

Alex lives with his mom and dog Carl Sagan (named after his hero). His mom’s not well (she has lots of what he calls quiet days) and his brother is an agent in LA, so most of the time he’s on his own. 

It’s a long story, but he goes to the desert to launch a rocket as part of a competition and, from there, ends up in Vegas. And then LA. His life goes from fairly contained to much bigger, and with more friends. 

This is a hard book to discuss. It’s not like there are major plot twists (Sixth Sense style) but Alex deserves to tell the story his way. 

I love Alex and his fondness for science and his fierce loyalty and the way he sees things. I bet you will, too. 


The Other F-Word

Finished The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend. 

Hollis has known that her moms used a sperm donor to conceive her for basically her entire life. She also knew that she has a half-brother who was comceived from the same donor. But now Milo has contacted her for the first time in years because he wants to find their father. And we soon learn that they have siblings. All told, there are six of them (though one is adamant about not meeting their donor). 

I am so in love with this book. A lot of it could be my story (though I was adopted, so it’s not exactly the same) and I think I have had at least one conversation in this book almost word for word. 

But the real best part is Hollis. Watching her go from an only child to having brothers and a sister is awesome. Family is a weird and kind of fluid thing sometimes, and this book reflects and honors that. 

I am so glad I found it. Highly recommended. 

Big Mushy Happy Lump

Finished Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen. It’s hard to describe–it’s a collection of cartoons and sort of nonfiction? 

I’m sure there are people who wouldn’t identify with the cartoons in this book and I am equally sure that those are people I do not want to be friends with. 
If you are quiet and awkward and happier at home, you have found your patronus. 
Highly recommended. 

Well, That Was Awkward

Finished Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail. 

Gracie and her friends are in middle school and now everything is getting weird. She might like AJ, except he likes her best friend Sienna (who may like her back). She ghostwrites Sienna’s texts to AJ, and they get along so well (much better than in real life) and there’s also her other best friend, Emmett…it’s just confusing. 

I love this novel. It’s completely adorable and sweet, and also just really good. Gracie and Emmett are my OTP (and that’s not a spoiler because everyone who has ever seen even one romantic comedy knows where this is going). 

Also, Gracie is hilarious. If you can read this and not laugh at least five times a chapter (and cringe almost as many times), you may not be human. 

Highly recommended.