Book Reviews, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Young Adult

Mini Book Reviews: August 2020 – Part 2

*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews: My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows, Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld, Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestorby Layla F. Saad, & Born a Crime by Trevor Noah


» My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows



5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» My Lady Jane is a historical retelling of Lady Jane Grey‘s life with a fantastical flare.  I loved this reimagining of Lady Jane Grey’s life, especially since her real life didn’t end happily ever after…

» All the characters, including secondary characters, were dynamic and well fleshed out.  Jane was an absolutely a delight as a main character.  She was inquisitive, passionate, independent, and bookish.  I enjoyed watching her blossoming relationship with G, and their facetious banter.  I also couldn’t help but adore self absorbed Edward.  The lovable characters really made this story come alive.

» The fact that this book is written by a group of three authors boggles my mind.  The writing is so seamless, you could never tell this story was written by more than one author.

» My Lady Jane is laugh out loud funny!  I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

» This was just a wholesome, charming, and feel-good kind of book.  If you are looking for a clean YA book, I’d consider My Lady Jane to fit that bill.

» I cannot wait to read the other books in this series!

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of historical fiction/fantasy mash ups

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee


» Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld



WhatILiked» I loved that this was a re-imagining of Hilary Clinton’s life had she never married Bill Clinton.  I’ve always appreciated Hillary’s intelligence, strength, drive, and determination in real life, and these qualities were very present in Sittenfeld’s characterization of Hilary.

» I enjoyed the political intrigue throughout this story and watching Hillary climb the political ladder.WhatIDidntLike» Unfortunately, the plot was slow paced, repetitive, and even boring at times.  I found myself not very motivated to pick this book back up after putting it down.

» Rodham could have been a good 100 pages shorter.

» The sexual content in this book felt off to me.  While I’m not a big Bill Clinton fan, I wasn’t exactly comfortable with the fact that he was portrayed as a sexual predator… It didn’t feel right to cast a real person as a sexual predator.  Depictions like this can be harmful to a person’s reputation, even if it is fabricated.  It just felt wrong.

› Recommended to ⇒  Hilary Clinton fans

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ sexual assault

» Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad



The second book off my anti-racist TBR.  WhatILiked» Me and White Supremacy, much like White Fragility, is a book geared towards white people and explores racism & white supremacy.  White Fragility was my starting point, and I feel this book was the perfect follow-up as it built upon many of the concepts that were introduced in White Fragility.  There were many new-to-me concepts in this book that gave me a lot of food for thought.

» This book is excellent for self reflection since it is set up as a 28 day challenge with reflection questions at the end of each chapter.  I thought the questions were thought provoking and relevant to the chapters they accompanied.  Because of this format, this would be an excellent book to work through in a group or book club setting.

» I would consider Me and White Supremacy to be another beginner level book for those that are just starting out on their anti-racist education journey.  I felt Saad did a good job of taking very complex issues and illustrating them in a clear, and easy to understand way.

 › Recommended to ⇒ white people looking to educated themselves about being anti-racist

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ racism; white supremacy; sexism

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo


» Born a Crime by Trevor Noah



5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» After reading people RAVE about this memoir, I decided to suggest it for one of my book clubs.  Confession: I didn’t really know who Trevor Noah was before picking up his memoir.   I don’t really watch TV, so I was not familiar with his satirical news show.  After watching a few segments of his show, I can say that Trevor’s personality and wit definitely shine through in his writing.  If you are a fan of his show, I’d venture to say you’ll love his memoir.

» Born a Crime is Trevor Noah’s experiences growing up as a bi-racial boy in South Africa under apartheid.  Going into this memoir, my knowledge of apartheid was minimal at best.  I found that Trevor did a wonderful job explaining apartheid for those of us that weren’t familiar with the history of apartheid in South Africa while also giving us an insider view of what it looked like on a daily basis.

» I was delightfully surprised with how insightful Trevor is.  I found myself tagging many different passages that struck me as profound.

» I’m not sure how Trevor does it, but he takes a book chock-full of horrific experiences and makes it lighthearted and entertaining.WhatIDidntLike» My only minor criticism was that Trevor tended to jump around in time, which was a bit confusing at times.

› Recommended to ⇒ Trevor Noah fans; memoir fans

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ racism; child abuse; domestic abuse; alcoholism

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Educated by Tara Westover




Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: August 2020 – Part 2”

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