Satisfying Speculation:The Other Einstein

book-other-einsteinI don’t read historical fiction very often and I picked up Marie Benedict’s 2018 novel, Carnegie’s Maid, on a whim but, after finishing, I began to wonder what else I was missing and immediately added The Other Einstein to my reading list. Einstein is a heartbreaking and infuriating look into what life might have been like for the famed physician’s first wife, and while a considerable amount of speculation went into crafting this perspective (facts about Mileva Marić aren’t exactly plentiful), I walked away feeling utterly outraged on her behalf anyway. If nothing else, Ms. Benedict offers a poignant view into the historical struggles faced by women who dared to deviate from cultural norms and that, in itself, is reason enough to pick it up.

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Submerged in POVs: Into the Drowning Deep

A One Paragraph Book Review*

Mira 34523174Grant’s Into the Drowning Deep was another hugely anticipated novel (at least by me, I mean, how can you go wrong with killer mermaids?). It didn’t, sadly, quite rise to the heights I’d hoped. While the premise is captivating and the entire book is rife with enough scientific facts and jargon to make a skeptic halfway believe these undersea monsters exist somewhere, she fell a bit short in the character development department. Even though (spoiler alert!) most of the characters die, I just didn’t care. If the POV had been limited to one or two or five characters, I might be writing a different review, but it wasn’t. There are painfully few books that can handle the stress of SO MANY POV characters (you all know I mean Six of Crows) and this book isn’t one of them.

 

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All Glitz and Glamour: The Belles

A One Paragraph Book Review

thebellesThe Belles, the 2018 solo debut of Dhonielle Clayton has gotten huge press and praise for its diverse cast of characters (I’m a firm believer that diversity is needed across all genres of books, so that’s a point in its favor) but it was not, unfortunately a book I’m likely to recommend. It’s been described as “lush and lavish,” as well as a myriad of other adjectives which, apparently, means that a good two-thirds of the words are going to be used to describe the characters’ hair and clothes a la sentences like: “Her deep plum dress, resplendent with satin ribbons and embellished with crystals, sparkled like a sugar-encrusted pomegranate.” The plot, when you finally get to it, is mildly interesting, and the characters are well-written and relatable, but there is far, far too much time spend on descriptions (many of you may disagree, and that’s fine). This is a pity, because if you manage to wade through all the chiffon skirts and buttercream lace, there is something of an intriguing story here, it’s just hard to get to.

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One Paragraph Book Reviews: One Person’s Overly Opinionated Review

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that I have a lot of opinions about books. And while I’ve toyed with the idea of writing reviews of some of what I’ve read, I’ve hesitated because

1) writing a full-length book review reminds be a bit too much of the 5th grade book reports I was forced to write (Teacher: “List one thing you liked and one thing you disliked about the book.” / Me: “I’ll just say I hated everything to make it shorter”) and

2) I rarely read book reviews because most of them are so long that if I wanted to spend twenty minutes reading someone’s long winded review of a book I would just buy the stupid thing and read it myself. That being said, sometimes it is helpful to read someone’s opinion on a book (particularly if it’s a novel you’re considering purchasing, as opposed to borrowing). So, I’ve decided to start writing a weekly blog post featuring —ta-da!— “One Paragraph Book Reviews.”

Some guidelines before we get started. My elementary school teacher insisted that a paragraph must contain at least three sentences. For the sake of argument, we’ll go with that. Heck, I’ll be generous and say four sentences, maybe five. Okay? Five sentences. Reviews will be largely my opinions on said novels; they won’t be plot summaries; if you want to know the plot, read the book jacket. Books will be mostly YA, and books I’ve read within the last year. Unless it’s a really, really, good book. Or a really, really terrible one. Suggestions are welcome (please send me suggestions)!
If you’d like see what I might be reviewing in the future you can follow me on GoodReads.