Author: Renae

Book Review: The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Posted January 18, 2017 // 1 Comment
Book Review: The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

It’s a rare thing to reach the final page of a book and simply think: “This is perfect.” Neither is it typical that every single scene of a book is exactly what the story needs, every line of dialogue perfectly attuned to the mood and personality of the speaking character, and ever image perfectly aligned to add to the text’s overall message. More, it’s unusual that a book gives me, […]

Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Posted January 14, 2017 // 0 Comments
Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Young adult fiction is an audience category that encompasses many genres. However, one thing that’s somewhat rare to find is literary fiction for young adults, which is undoubtedly what The Miseducation of Cameron Post is. And considering the years the author has spent in academia—both an MFA and PhD in creative writing—it isn’t surprising that Danforth’s novel fits into this designator. This is a slow-moving, character-driven coming of age story, […]

Book Review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Posted January 10, 2017 // 1 Comment
Book Review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Throughout 2016, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian took the literary world by storm, eventually winning the Man Booker International Prize as well as nearly uncountable positive reviews and accolades. This novella, first published in Korean in 2007, is about the horrifying/tragic/bizarre events that happen after a woman decides to become a vegetarian. As always, it’s difficult to say when a book has been translated, but my overall impression is that the […]

Book Review: Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

Posted January 8, 2017 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

After purchasing this book with a gift card on a whim some two years ago, I’ve let Life: An Exploded Diagram languish unread on my tablet until now. And while I recognize some really great ideas and motivations behind Mal Peet’s story here, I’m afraid that I would just as soon have left this one alone for another two years. It’s a book that tries to accomplish a lot in […]

Book Review: The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti

Posted January 5, 2017 // 2 Comments
Book Review: The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti

When I was twelve years old, my mother gave me the “purity talk” (which is different from the “sex talk”). I was like a water balloon, she told me, and everything I did with a man outside of marriage—holding hands, kissing, sex—would drain a little of the water out of me. And I didn’t want to be nothing more than an empty balloon for my husband, did I? Of course […]

Book Review: Unmentionable by Therese Oneill

Posted December 18, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Unmentionable by Therese Oneill

Nostalgia is, I think, not uncommon, and honestly understandable at some levels. We tend to romanticize the past, remember the so-called “good old days.” Many of us would like to make things “great again” somehow (yes, I’m looking at those folks sitting to my right). Missing, however, is the undeniably true knowledge that the past was only ever good for some people, people who had privilege and power. Enter Unmentionable: […]

Book Review: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Posted December 16, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

I think the major sticking point with Kindred is the necessary suspension of disbelief that has to happen in order for the reader to participate in the story. It’s a novel where the action is caused entirely by time travel, but Butler gives no explanation as to the hows/whys/wheres of the time travel. It just is. This is absolutely different from any other time travel novel I’ve read, and it […]

In 2017 I Plan To Beat the Backlist

Posted December 15, 2016 // 0 Comments
In 2017 I Plan To Beat the Backlist

Anyone who knows me knows that, unlike most book bloggers, I don’t read many new releases. Like at all. Which is why when I saw the 2017 Beat the Backlist Challenge on Novel Knight, I knew it was my time to shine! (Kidding, but actually, not really.) 1) I am now hereby officially signing up for this challenge with the intent that at least 60% of the books I read […]

Book Review: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Posted November 22, 2016 // 2 Comments
Book Review: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

A sign in the window of the local diner reads “No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs”, and it sets the tone for the rest of Ashley Hope Pérez’s debut novel, Out of Darkness. Tackling subjects like integrated families, discrimination, interracial romance, and domestic abuse, this isn’t a book for the faint of heart. (Considering this is published by Carolrhoda Lab, who put out the unforgettably brutal Drowning Instinct, this should probably […]

Book Review: I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Posted November 18, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

The last thing I expected to experience while reading this book was boredom, but there you have it. I found I Shall Be Near To You to be very dull. It’s a book about a young woman who runs away to join the Union army to fight alongside her husband, which sounds exciting. But actually, it wasn’t? The major problem with the novel, I feel, is that it’s too simplistic […]

A Letter of Intent (changing what I cannot accept)

Posted November 16, 2016 // 6 Comments
A Letter of Intent (changing what I cannot accept)

After 5(!) years of blogging, mostly “for fun”, I’ve reached a point where the focus of almost all of my thoughts/energies/actions has crystalized into a two-pronged goal: to engage critically with fiction, understanding that art reflects and informs society and then, with that in mind, to give space in my mind to marginalized narratives. Call that my mission statement, my manifesto, what have you. I don’t have a large voice […]

Book Review: Annie’s Song by Catherine Anderson

Posted November 14, 2016 // 1 Comment
Book Review: Annie’s Song by Catherine Anderson

I’m kind of weirded out by this book, but also I really enjoyed the story. It’s a conundrum for sure. What drew me to read this, first off, was the unique premise. Annie’s Song is about a young deaf woman who, due to negligence, has been mistakenly identified as a moron for her entire life. She is raped and, because of reasons, her rapist’s brother marries her, then discovers she’s […]