A Typical Young Adult Story Somewhat Redeemed by Its Setting – A Review of The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

0

Since around 2017 I have actively tried to make forays back into young adult literature after many long years not reading in the genre. I abandoned YA not long after The Hunger Games movies reached the peak of their popularity, and it began to seem like every new YA release was merely a poor, cliche-laden copycat of Suzanne Collins’ (exceptional) series. When almost every other book looked like a badly-done cash grab for a slice of The Hunger Games’ popularity, I decided to cut my losses and move on.

Lately, though, I have been trying to get back into YA, mostly because it looks as though the genre’s attempts to ride on The Hunger Games’ coattails is over. There is a trend away from the cliched “White People’s Love Triangle at the End of the World” types of stories that have been popular for a while now, and more towards stories about more important political issues both in the past and in the present. Even better, people of colour are becoming more visible in YA, telling their own stories and, through those stories, tackling vital issues about what it means to live and grow in the 21st century.

Continue reading

Advertisements

A Fun Adventure That Could Push Harder, But Doesn’t – A Review of Free Chocolate by Amber Royer

0

This review is based on an ARC given to me for free by the publisher, Angry Robot Books. This does not in any way affect my review.

This book is slated for release on June 5, 2018.

I’ve loved chocolate since I had my first taste of it when I was a little girl. It was a piece broken off of a Nestle Crunch candy bar, handed to me by one of my parents, though I don’t remember which. That first taste created a love for chocolate that lasts to this day (though nowadays I eat more dark chocolate than milk chocolate, due both to changing tastes and health reasons). Indeed, there is no flavour quite like chocolate – and I and many chocoholics both in the past and in the future will agree that chocolate is one of the most sublime foodstuffs ever discovered.

The sublimity of chocolate was first discovered by the Mesoamericans, who first started harvesting and then cultivating the cacao plant for use in rituals and medicine – and later, when the Aztecs came to power, as currency. When the Spanish conquered Central America they brought chocolate over to Europe, where it became a popular foodstuff; as a result, plantations were set up all across the world, most of them in colonies falling within a narrow band of twenty degrees north and south of the equator. Most of the world’s chocolate now comes from countries that fall in that band: the Ivory Coast and Ghana are the leaders of production, with Indonesia, Cameroon, and Nigeria close at their heels. The Philippines is a very small producer, comparatively speaking, but the quality of the chocolate produced is exceptional, if the results from the 2017 Academy of Chocolate Awards are any indication.

Continue reading

The Books that Fell Through The Cracks: The 2017 Mid-Year Grab Bag, Part 1

0

As happens every year, there is always a set of books that, for various reasons both valid and not-so-valid, I have chosen not to review at length. However, some of those books can be rather good – or rather bad, as the case may be – and it would not be right not to at least say something about them.

I am certain that the reader has also noticed that this post is coming rather later than it should, since it is coming out in August instead of July. To that, I can only plead the pressing business of work, and the oppression of a reading and writing slump. The latter also explains why there are more books on this list that usual – so much so that I had to split it into two parts – because right now I have no energy to write nonfiction reviews, largely due to some self-doubt I need to work out.

Nevertheless, here they are: the books that fell through the cracks, honest reviews and all – Part 1:

Continue reading

The Books that Fell Through the Cracks: The Year-End Grab Bag

year-end grab bag photo 2_zpslprw7ftw.jpg

As happens every year, there is always a set of books that, for various reasons both valid and not-so-valid, I have chosen not to review at length. However, some of those books can be rather good – or rather bad, as the case may be – and it would not be right not to at least say something about them.

And so, in the interest of completeness, here are the books that fell through the cracks: honest reviews and all.
Continue reading