Audio Book Review: The Reader by Traci Chee, Narrated by Kim Mai Guest

Book: The Reader by Traci Chee, Narrated By Kim Mai Guest

Published September 2016 by Listening Library|12 hours 31 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Sea Of Ink And Gold #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

A stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of, perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

I’m honestly not sure what to think of The Reader.  Here’s the thing with this book- I tried reading it ages ago, found it didn’t work in print, so I switched to the audio book, thinking that would work better.  I ended up finishing the audio recently, only to find that I wasn’t paying attention to it, and that it pretty much faded into the background.

That’s not what you want with an audio book, especially because I couldn’t even begin to tell you what had happened.  Instead of listening to it again (for fear the same thing would happen), I decided to borrow it from the library when I happened to be wandering around in the YA section and saw it sitting on the shelf.

It turned out to be okay for me.  I didn’t particularly care for the stories of the pirates and assassins- especially the assassins.  It made things more muddled and confusing, and it didn’t feel personal.  At least the assassins related to the story.  As for the pirates, I liked that they were clearly stories, and I found that when I went to it in print, it was clearly distinguished from the rest of the book.

That part was nice, but I vaguely remember that it wasn’t clear when you switched perspectives in the audio book.

The story itself was interesting, and I really liked the idea.  It was hard to believe that Sefia was able to figure out how to read, especially in a society that’s illiterate.  Especially since they seemed to be advanced in other ways.  Do they have some sort of record-keeping system?  That’s what I want to know, but I don’t know if I’m interested enough to keep reading to find out.

One that I also didn’t like was how some people were referred to- The Arbitrator, the Assassin, the Second.  It didn’t work for me, and it made me not care.  I felt distanced from what was going on, even there were other characters, like Sefia and Archer involved.  It tended to happen in the assassin chapters, but you saw it at other times too.

Everything did come together in the end, but by then, I didn’t particularly care about what was going on.

I will say that I did like Kim Mai Guest’s narration.  While I ended up re-reading it because I wasn’t paying attention, I did like her as the narrator, and me not paying attention is nothing against her at all.  She’s good at what she does, at least in the couple of books I’ve listened to that she’s narrated.

2 stars.  The story was okay, and I had a hard time paying attention to the story.  Chee’s writing was lovely, but I had a hard time getting into the story.

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Book Review: Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh

Book: Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh

Published February 2008 by Berkley|328 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Psy-Changling #4

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Clay Bennett is a powerful DarkRiver sentinel, but he grew up in the slums with his human mother, never knowing his changeling father. As a young boy without the bonds of Pack, he tried to stifle his animal nature. He failed…and committed the most extreme act of violence, killing a man and losing his best friend, Talin, in the bloody aftermath. Everything good in him died the day he was told that she, too, was dead.

Talin McKade barely survived a childhood drenched in bloodshed and terror. Now a new nightmare is stalking her life–the street children she works to protect are disappearing and turning up dead. Determined to keep them safe, she unlocks the darkest secret in her heart and returns to ask the help of the strongest man she knows…

Clay lost Talin once. He will not let her go again, his hunger to possess her, a clawing need born of the leopard within. As they race to save the innocent, Clay and Talin must face the violent truths of their past…or lose everything that ever mattered.

I liked Mine To Possess!  I think it’s my least favorite book so far, though there were things that I liked as well.

I really liked learning more about the Silence and the Psy-Net.  With each book, we’re learning more and more about the world, and while each book is relatively contained, and is a mostly complete story, we’re also getting more about the world they live in, and how much history there is.  There’s a larger picture that you wouldn’t see if you didn’t read each book.

The overall story gets moved along a lot in this book and that was nice to see.  We get more behind the scenes with the Council, and though there was something that I figured out early on in the book, I was surprised at some of the details.  It makes sense, but I had never thought about it before, and I’m really curious to see where it will go.

As for Talin and Clay…I didn’t particularly care for them as a couple.  I mean they make sense in terms of the story, and they have a history.  I get why Talin acted the way she did, and I felt for her.  There were a couple of time Clay was really frustrating, but for the most part, I liked Clay a lot more than Tally.  I wish I rooted for the romance more, because with romance, I want to love the characters together, and I just didn’t.  Hopefully, I’ll have better luck with the next book.

3 stars.  I didn’t like it as much as the previous books because of the couple but I did like learning more about the Silence and the Psy Net.  And I’m really curious to see where things go.

Book Review: Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova

Book: Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova

Published June 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire|336 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Brooklyn Brujas #2

Genre: YA

Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…

I really liked Bruja Born!  I admit, I was nervous going into it, because it’s been a while since I read the first book, and I was sure I was going to regret that.  I mean, how many times have I read the second book in the series without re-reading the first, and then been really confused about what was going on?  Too many times to count.

That was not the case with this book.  Thankfully.  While it’s set in the same world, has the same characters, and takes place after the events of the first book, it’s a completely different story focusing on a different character.  Reading the first book would be a good idea, so you know what the characters are referencing, but I think you’d be fine if you didn’t.  It’s one of those series where you don’t need to read them in order, and each one stands on its own pretty well, but reading all of them gives a larger picture you wouldn’t get if you didn’t read all of them.

Bruja Born is a lot creepier than I expected it to be, but I liked it.  I liked that there were very real (and very serious) consequences to Lula’s actions.  What happened in Los Lagos really affected her, and you really see that in this book. There are definitely checks and balances and you see what happens when Lula is unable to let go.

I particularly loved the bond that Lula and her sisters had.  They are in it together, particularly Alex and Lula, and there’s a lot both girls have to deal with.  It’s nice to see a family that is actually around and supportive.  Yes, Rose, Lula and Alex fight, but they’re also there for each other.  I feel like we don’t see it enough in YA.  The magical world they live in really opens up in this book, and there are some things we have not seen the last of.  Hopefully, we’ll get more of it in the next book.

I loved the magic and mythology, and it’s nice to see something that’s not the typical Greek mythology or magic you’d see in most fantasy.  There are so many different mythologies and magic systems out there, and it’s nice to see something different.

And this is a random change of topic, but I liked seeing accept the scars on her face.  I think it’s understandable she’d want to glamour them.  It’s your face, and it’s something people notice.  But over the course of the book, you see her be more okay with it.  She really changes a lot, and it felt very real and very relatable.

One thing I couldn’t quite figure out was the timeline.  It seems like it takes place over a longer period of time, at least from what the characters say, and yet, it seems like it happens over the course of a few days.  I’m not sure if I just wasn’t paying attention, or if it was action-packed enough that it seemed like it happened faster than it really did.  Obviously, I kept reading, and I did really enjoy it, so while it was odd, it wasn’t a huge factor in my enjoyment of the book.

4 stars.  I really liked Bruja Born!  I liked Lula and her relationship with her sisters, and I really liked the mythology and magic in the book.

Book Review: Visions Of Heat by Nalini Singh

Book: Visions Of Heat by Nalini Singh

Published March 2007 by Berkley Sensation|332 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Psy-Changling #2

Genre: Adult Romance/Paranormal Romance

Hailed as a major new talent in paranormal romance, Nalini Singh takes us deeper into the world of the Psy and the changelings in her latest extraordinary novel, where a gifted woman sees passion in her future – a passion that is absolutely forbidden by her kind…

Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous – aching need…exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.

Changeling Vaughn D’Angelo can take the form of either man or jaguar, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar’s instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith’s sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced – and keep her from Vaughn.

I really liked Visions Of Heat!  I especially liked Faith and Vaughn together.  Thought Sasha and Lucas from the previous book aren’t the focus, I do like that we see them in this book, and that we still get their story, even though they aren’t the main couple in this book.

I really like the world, and I’m intrigued with the F-Psy and how isolated they are.  She lives in her own little bubble and I thought it was interesting that she decided to try to get out of it and break free.  I particularly liked seeing Faith outside of the compound she’s lived in for years, and how she begins to adjust to the outside world.

We get more of this world we saw in Slave To Sensation, and I’m curious to see if we’ll see some of the other packs and Psy in the other books.  I’m sure each book will focus on a different couple, if this book and the one before it are any indication.  She really built on the world, and though you don’t need to read the first one to understand what’s going on in this one, I still think the world and characters are good enough that you’ll want to read each one in order!

It did seem more political than Slave To Sensation- Faith is a possibility for an opening on the Council, and it’s pretty much for the control they’d have over her, and because of what she can do.  I think that’s why it’s so interesting that those with abilities like Faith are so isolated.  I mean, they do seem to train them to see certain things, but it’s interesting that they don’t try to control them more.  I don’t know if we’ll see more of the F-Psy in future books (or that we’ll see one as powerful as Faith is supposed to be), but I am curious to learn more about what they can do.

I did like her dad, and he seemed pretty cool, all things considered.  He did seem to care about her, which seemed unexpected, considering how cold and emotionless the Psy are supposed to be.  Maybe they’re not all alike after all.

We do see more of the Silence Protocol, and the NetMind, and I hope we’ll continue to see more of it in the books to come.  I’m sure we will, and while I’m fairly certain each book is going to focus on a different couple, I’m sure we’ll see appearances from Faith, Vaughn, Lucas and Sascha.  I’m very curious to see if the Psy will rebel and change how things are done.

4 stars.  I really liked Visions Of Heat, and I can’t wait to start reading the next one!

Book Review: Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

Book: Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

Published February 2018 by Counterpoint|143 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: Adult Non-Fiction/Memoir

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father―an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist―who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.

This is one of those books that seem really popular, in the sense that everyone is reading it, so I figured I’d read it and see why people love it so much.

So, I wanted to love it, but it was just okay for me.

A big part of it is both the length and the writing style.  I wasn’t expecting it to be so short.  It’s not even 150 pages, and that’s including the Q & A at the end, plus a forward at the beginning.  It’s not long at all, and I think that’s why I finished it, because I really struggled with her writing style.

It felt like I was reading diary entries or her notebook, and her memoir felt really disjointed and all over the place.  Stream-of-consciousness is what comes to mind, and so Mailhot jumps around in time and place.  It is one of those books you really have to pay attention to, otherwise you’ll miss something.  Not only that, but it felt like I was reading a collection of essays.

It’s not completely Mailhot’s fault, since I went into this book expecting a more traditionally written memoir.  I also felt like I was reading the same thing over and over- it felt like each chapter involved Mailhot pining after someone, while lamenting over having one child, while her other child was taken away from her.  There didn’t seem to be any resolution or movement, and I think, what it comes down to, is that I was expecting something very different than what this memoir contained.  I also thought the usage of the word you throughout the book made me feel like I was watching things from a distance, and I had a hard time connecting with her.  I had a hard time keeping up with her thought process, since it does meander around quite a bit.

It’s a shame, since there were a few sentences that were absolutely beautiful and poetic.  I wanted to like it, I really did.  And I tried so hard to like it, but I just didn’t have it in me.  I can see why so many people love it, and I really do think that the reasons why people love it are the reasons I didn’t, but not every book is going to be for every person.  This clearly wasn’t the book for me, but I am glad that it is a book that works for so many other people.

2 stars.  Heart Berries was just okay, and I was definitely expecting a more traditional memoir.  Even though it wasn’t for me, I can see why so many people think it’s a great read.

Book Review: Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler

Book: Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler

Published by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Non-Fiction/Memoir

What happens when the person you’re becoming isn’t the one your family wants you to be? 

When Aaron Hartzler was little, he couldn’t wait for the The Rapture: that moment when Jesus would come down from the clouds to whisk him and his family up to heaven. But as he turns sixteen, Aaron grows more curious about all the things his family forsakes for the Lord. He begins to realize he doesn’t want Jesus to come back just yet—not before he has his first kiss, sees his first movie, or stars in the school play.

Whether he’s sneaking out, making out, or playing hymns with a hangover, Aaron learns a few lessons that can’t be found in the Bible. He discovers that the girl of your dreams can just as easily be the boy of your dreams, and the tricky part about believing is that no one can do it for you.

In this funny and heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, debut author Aaron Hartzler recalls his teenage journey from devoted to doubtful, and the search to find his own truth without losing the fundamentalist family who loves him.

I can’t remember how I first heard about Rapture Practice- which, now that I think about, describes probably 99% of the books I wanted to read- but I was in the mood for non-fiction and a memoir, and it seemed interesting enough.

I was surprised that it’s a YA memoir.  I wasn’t expecting it, but looking back, it makes sense, considering it focuses on Hartzler’s life in high school.  It’s pretty easy to read, and it goes by pretty fast.  It did feel like I reading little snippets of his life, and while it tells a pretty linear, cohesive story, I wish it had gone into a little more depth.  I feel like he has a lot more of his to share but his high school years did give the book a certain focus.

I will say that there were points where I didn’t want to finish the book, and it was because of his parents.  I felt so angry at them for not being more open, and for how they treated Aaron.  I mean, I know he did rebel, and did things they didn’t want him to, but they were really, insanely strict.  When I hear someone describe themselves as a Christian, his parents are what immediately pop into mind.  I know not all Christians are like Hartzler’s parents, but they are what I associate with Christian.

Still, as frustrating as it was to read his parents, I am glad I read Rapture Practice.  It is a perspective that I don’t pay a lot of attention to, and even though I disagree with a lot of his parents beliefs, I’m still glad I read Rapture Practice.  I don’t know that I came away with a better understanding of why they believe what they do, but I can definitely relate to Hartzler starting to question his beliefs and faith.  Questioning ourselves, our beliefs and what our families believe is something I think we can all relate to, regardless of our faith (or lack of it).

I really wish there was some sort of afterword or epilogue or something where we get a little about about what happened after he graduated high school.  Some sort of conclusion would have been nice, but it did wrap things up pretty nicely.  Overall, I liked it, even though there were some things I wasn’t thrilled with, which I already talked about.

I felt for Aaron, and I can’t imagine having to sneak around to see ANY movie, or to hide listening to music because they’re not Christian enough.  One of the things I liked about the book was seeing him figure things out, and realizing that what he wanted to do and what he believed didn’t match up with what his parents believed.  I didn’t always agree with Aaron’s choices, but I can understand why he did what he did.  I had a much harder time doing that with his parents, but Aaron was definitely trying to figure things out for himself, which is a part of life.

3 stars.  I had some reservations about Rapture Practice, but it was an interesting read.

Book Review: Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Book: Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Published May 2018 by Nancy Paulsen Books|240 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when—as the eldest daughter—she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens—after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt. 

Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal—especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.

Here is another really great middle grade contemporary!  I really enjoyed this one, and I actually felt really sad for Amal.  I can’t imagine a world where you have to work as a servant to pay off debt and because you said the wrong thing to the wrong person…especially at the age of 12.

Initially, I assumed that this book was historical fiction, and then I was horrified and sad when I realized it was more contemporary.  I feel terrible that I had assumed indentured servants were a thing of the past, but that the Khan family used children as servants made me feel sick to my stomach.

I loved Amal, and all she wanted was to go to school.  Things changed, and not surprisingly, things worked out for her in the end.  This book showed how important it is to speak out against injustice, and that everyone deserves an education.  I’m lucky that I have had chances that Amal didn’t have, and while I appreciated the author’s note at the end of the book, the part of me that wants to learn more wishes there were a list of books for further reading.  Maybe that’s just me though.

It was a little bit darker than what I would expect for middle grade, but it’s not too dark for younger readers.  I was dropped into Amal’s world, and she is a character that I enjoyed seeing.  I loved her relationship with her family and friends, and how she found new friends at the Khan estate.  Saeed did such a great job at showing Amal’s village and you really felt Amal’s need to get back to her family.

4 stars.  I would recommend Amal Unbound to everyone.  I loved Amal’s determination to do what was right, and her story is one everyone needs to read.

Book Review: Karma Khullar’s Mustache by Kristi Wientge

Book: Karma Khullar’s Mustache by Kristi Wientge

Published August 2017 by Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers|272 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this sweet and charming novel in the tradition of Judy Blume.

Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip.

With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

I think I’ve been in a middle grade contemporary mood lately because this is one of a few I’ve read recently.  I mostly read YA (and only rarely read middle grade), but this one jumped out at me because it tackles body hair.  I’ve read a lot of books in the 7.5 years I’ve been reviewing books and while I can’t always remember what I read a week or two ago, much less years ago, I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve read a book about a character dealing with body hair.

It does have a Judy Blume feel to it (for some reason, I’m specifically reminded of Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret), and I think Judy Blume fans will enjoy this one.  Regardless of whether you’ve read Judy Blume or not, this is a book I’m glad I picked up.

There is a lot that comes up in this book- food and identity, bullying, friendship, and much more.  It’s not long, and it’s middle grade, so it doesn’t go into a lot of depth, but I still thought that you get a really good sense of what Karma is dealing with.  I liked seeing her realize that both she and her best friend need other friends as well.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the new girl in town, who becomes friends with Karma’s best friend.  Even though I can understand why she acted the way she did, I still wasn’t a fan.  Hopefully, she’ll change and realize that she wasn’t always nice, and that how she treated Karma wasn’t cool.

Karma’s middle school experience was pretty relatable and I wish it had been around when I was around 11 or 12.  Not necessarily the friendship drama part, but the feeling insecure about how I looked part.  I’m glad that this book is on the shelves now, though, because I feel like it has an audience.

4 stars.  I didn’t love it, and I’m not quite sure why, but I still really liked it, and would recommend it to everyone.

Book Review: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Book: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Published March 2017 by Salaam Reads/Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

I really liked this one!  It’s a cute middle grade contemporary, and I don’t read a lot of middle grade (or children’s books) but I think this is a good one to read.

I really liked Amina, and how she had a fear of performing in public.  It was really easy to relate to, and I am not a fan of public speaking, so I liked that Amina overcame it.  I also liked her friendship with Soojin, and how Amina starts questioning if she needs to change because Soojin starts talking about changing her name to something more American.

Amina is such a great character, and I dare you to not like her, because she’s thoughtful and caring.  She has a great friend in Soojin, and Khan captures what it’s like to be 12, when you’re unsure of who you are and where things stand.  You really see how things change between Amina and Soojin, but I really liked their friendship.  I feel like I’m a broken record on that one, but it’s true.

I also liked Amina’s relationship with her family, and I just liked seeing them together.  I really liked the family dynamic and that we see slightly differing opinions on things within one family (particularly in regards to music).

One thing I didn’t like was when a particular plot point was introduced.  We don’t see the local mosque being vandalized until the end of the book, and for some reason, I thought it would have been introduced a lot earlier.  I wish it had, because I really liked how the whole community came together after it happened.  I know it’s middle grade, so it’s not going to be very long (or very in-depth) but it would have been nice to have it be more of a focal point.

It didn’t stop me from really liking it.  I think it’s perfect for everyone- whether you read middle grade or not, this book did a great job at showing how we deal with faith and culture.  It’s also great for the intended age group, but regardless of how old you are, it’s one to read.

4 stars.  I really liked Amina’s Voice, and while I wish the vandalization of Amina’s mosque hadn’t been introduced so late in the book, I still really enjoyed Amina’s story.

Book Review: Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D Jackson

Book: Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D Jackson

Published May 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books|439 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Mystery

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

I really liked Allegedly when I read it earlier this year, so I knew I wanted to read this one.  I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, though.

I think my biggest issue was the timeline.  It jumps around a lot, so you’re getting before, after and 1-2 years before the before.  I had a hard time distinguishing between the time lines, and the twist didn’t really help.  It is sad that Monday’s disappearance is brushed off, and that Claudia is the only one who seems to care.  I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Monday had been white- a very different story than what happened to Monday.  It’s heartbreaking that no one really follows up with what happened to her, because things appear to be okay, and that she seemed to get lost in the shuffle.

It just really got lost in the three different timelines, and while Claudia had her own memories of Monday, it clearly was a different picture from what was actually going on with Monday.  It seemed like there were some people who seemed to care, and tried to follow up, but things didn’t go anywhere.  I felt for Monday and Claudia, and I wish I was more into the story, because I think Monday’s story is an important one.  I think the confusing timelines took away from what actually happened.  I know it did for me.

There’s another reason why Monday’s Not Coming was just okay: I’m tired of the “I only have one friend and I’ve somehow lost them” story line.  Look, I know some people have a hard time making friends, and Monday made things a lot better for Claudia, especially at school.  But I’m just not a big fan of something happening to the only friend they’ve ever had plot point.  It was hard to get into it knowing something bad happened.

Also, mystery isn’t my thing (especially this type of mystery), so that didn’t really help either.

I’d definitely read Allegedly, though.  It’s a great book, though I know Monday’s Not Coming is going to be a book some people are probably going to like.  It’s obviously not my cup of tea, but I know it’s someone’s cup of tea.

2 stars.  This one turned out to be okay, but I’m still interested to see what Jackson writes about next.