humor, short story, young adult

Book Review: Open Mics: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices edited by Mitali Perkins

17262283
Title: Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices
Editor: Mitali Perkins
Publisher: Candlewick
Length: 144 Pages, Ebook
Genre: Short Stories, Young Adult, Humor
Rating: 5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Using humor as the common denominator, a multicultural cast of YA authors steps up to the mic to share stories touching on race. Listen in as ten YA authors — some familiar, some new — use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. Henry Choi Lee discovers that pretending to be a tai chi master or a sought-after wiz at math wins him friends for a while — until it comically backfires. A biracial girl is amused when her dad clears seats for his family on a crowded subway in under a minute flat, simply by sitting quietly in between two uptight white women. Edited by acclaimed author and speaker Mitali Perkins, this collection of fiction and nonfiction uses a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poingnant, in prose, poetry, and comic form.

Review:
I found this book by chance when going through my libraries ebook collection. After reading it I immediately preordered a physical copy of it because I need it on my shelves to reread. The short stories and poems seamlessly show what it’s like to grow up having different cultures while being funny.

Personally, I preferred the short stories. They helped get the point across better and allowed for more detail. As a person who doesn’t necessarily care for poetry, though, I would take this with a grain of salt if I were you.

I read the entire collection in a matter of a few hours but each of the stories definitely had me thinking for the rest of the week. Open Riffs opens up so many new perspectives that are hard to see unless you are experiencing them yourself. I hope to see more diverse stories similar to these in Young Adult in both collections similar to Open Riffs and in full length novels.

I can’t say much without spoiling the stories, unfortunately, but I will say that the stories had me both laughing at some points and tearing up at others. It’s a book I hope will be included in school curriculum’s because I think it makes diversity easier to understand and can help build a better world view. I enjoyed this book immensely and strongly encourage anyone even slightly interested to pick it up and give it a try.

Advertisements
science fiction, scifi, short story, young adult

Book Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

25689074

Title: Stars Above
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Length: 400 Pages, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Short Stories
Rating: 3.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
The enchantment continues. . . .
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories – and secrets – that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
With nine stories – five of which have never before been published – and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

Review:
As with Fairest I found these short stories to be nice but unnecessary. I could have done with or without them. Of the 9 short stories I only really enjoyed three of them. The rest were kind of boring and I was pretty bored reading them.

Honestly, the only short stories I thought to be worth while to the series was “The Mechanic” the scene where Kai met Cinder but from Kai’s point of view and “Something Old, Something New” the only story about after the series.

I also enjoyed “The Little Android” which was a short story retelling of The Little Mermaid but I liked it as it’s own separate short story not necessarily as something connected to The Lunar Chronicles as a whole.

I would have given this a 2.5 if not for “Something Old, Something New.” This last short story had me smiling like a fool one minute and tearing up the next.

I will say that reading these short stories made me really miss the series. I almost stopped reading these short stories and picked up Cinder to reread.

I like that Marissa Meyer has been fleshing out the series but I wish the stories were more relevant or added more to the world. These almost felt like fanfiction for the series, not official stories from the author.

contemporary, romance, short story, young adult

Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me Edited by Stephanie Perkins

20309175

Title: My True Love Gave to Me
Edited by: Stephanie Perkins
Author(s): Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler, and Kiersten White
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Length: 12 Short Stories, 336 Pages, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

Review:
Originally I was going to write this review like I wrote my review for Let It Snow, going story by story. However, I think with 12 stories that would make this review a little too long. So I’m going to talk about the anthology as a whole.

I am a hardcore sucker for Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. Most of these stories felt like those movies but for a younger audience. I really enjoyed this anthology and it put me in the Christmas spirit for sure.

I do think some stories were better than others and there was a story or two that I didn’t like in the least but you’ll get that when you have a bunch of short stories in one volume. I think my favorite story in the anthology is “The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor. I like the way she writes and the story made me wonder why I’ve never read anything by her before. The imagery is amazing and it feels like it’s own story that could stand on it’s outside of this anthology unlike a lot of the stories.

My second favorite is definitely “Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell. I generally like her writing as well. Her story held good emotion and also felt like it could stand outside of the anthology. I actually wished it was a little longer so we could get more details but I understand the need of keeping short stories short.

I think my least favorites are “The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link and “Your Temporary Santa” by David Levithan. “The Lady and the Fox” felt very all over the place. It didn’t seem to have a clear plot and in a short story that just doesn’t work. The ending was satisfying-ish but I generally found myself just waiting for the story to end as I was reading it.

I generally don’t like David Levithan’s writing. It’s just not for me I think. I’m not sure why but everytime I try to read something he’s written I find myself just not liking it. I think part of it is how he words things and shapes his characters. It just doesn’t pull me into the story. That was no different with “Your Temporary Santa.” I also found the plot of the story boring.

Sorry this Christmas review is definitely late, but better late than never. 🙂

Fantasy, romance, short story, young adult

Book Review: Kisses and Curses presented by Fierce Reads, edited by Lauren Burniac

wpid-20150713_054320-1.jpg

Title: Kisses and Curses
Editor: Lauren Burniac presented by Fierce Reads
Publisher: Square Fish
Length: 400, paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Short Stories
Raiting: 1 Folded Page

Blurb:
Every page more fierce than the last! Enjoy a good monster love story? Or a dark, Russian-style folktale? How about a flashback to the secrets of a cyborg’s past, a post-apocalyptic romance, or a conversation between a boy and Death’s dead assistant, while both sit in a diner and eat waffles?

Whether you’re already a Fierce Reads fan or you’re a fan-to-be, this short story collection will satisfy your every bookish craving! Featuring multi-genre tales from some of the hottest YA authors around, including Ann Aguirre, Courtney Alameda, Gennifer Albin, Anna Banks, Leigh Bardugo, Jessica Brody, Katie Finn, Nikki Kelly, Jennifer Mathieu, Lish McBride, Marissa Meyer, Caragh O’Brien, Marie Rutkoski, and Lindsay Smith.

By turns uplifting and sad, light-hearted and powerful, startling and laugh-out-loud, these bite-sized gems have one thing in common: You won’t be able to put them down!

Review:
This book makes me violently angry. This is a warning because most likely my review will be extremely biased.

No where in that blurb does it mention that these short stories aren’t stand alone. However, the majority of this short stories are prequels to series I’ve never heard of or never intend to read. This book reads more like a marketing tool to get readers to buy or at least read series that don’t get a lot of attention. I would be okay with this, if there was any mention of it in the blurb. (You have no idea how much of a struggle it is not to go caplocks crazy, please appreciate that I’m trying to remain calm).

what the actual

I’m not sure a book has made me this angry before. One of the authors even blatantly says that her writing a 1.5 is a marketing tool (See picture above). It was at that point that I legitimately couldn’t believe that Fierce read made no mention of how many of these stories weren’t original stand alone pieces. One author even went so far as to just included her favorite deleted scenes from her novel.

In the end, 12/14 of these short stories were prequels, parallels, differing POV from the original story, deleted scenes (/sigh) or 1.5s. That leaves only 2 original short stories. I really enjoyed about 3 of these short stories, 2 of which are the original ones. The first story in the book, and the only non-stand alone I enjoyed, is Glitches which is a prequel to Marissa Meyer’s Cinder. I figured they did that to attract an audience so I was like “Oh, Okay. That’s cool, gotta do what you gotta do.” (Obviously I don’t think that anymore).

This books ONLY saving grace is that all the authors are strong, female voices in writing who also like to write good female characters. I also enjoyed the author bios for the most part. However, this book is no good unless you’re super okay with spoilers or you’ve already read the vast amount of series needed to enjoy all the short stories. I definitely wish I hadn’t bought it.