Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Title: Bumped
Author: Megan McCafferty
Length: 323 pages
Genre: YA; Dystopia; Science fiction
Format: Hard Cover
Why I read it: I kept seeing it at the library, so I decided to give it a shot

What it’s About: A virus has made it impossible for anyone over the age of 18 to conceive a child. In the year 2035 16 year old Melody is in a contract to get pregnant and give the baby to a couple. But before that can happen, the couple wants to find the perfect match. Meanwhile, Melody’s discovered that she has a twin sister, Harmony. One day Harmony runs away from her home in the religious community of Goodside, where she is supposed to get married. Harmony believes that she must convince Melody to come home with her and become a wife, mother, and live her life free from sin.

The Review: Where to start? The concept is interesting. In McCafferty’s world, a virus will have made it impossible to conceive a child after you turn 18. In the book, it is common place for anyone 20 and over to not only have to adopt, but they hire girls to be their surrogates. And Parents of these girls are not only okay with this, they pimp them out. Melody’s adoptive parents have spent years and who knows how much money to make her look perfect on paper so that she could get a contract to be someone’s surrogate. They’ve hired a publicist and everything. There is a couple who is interested, The Jaydens. But they don’t want just anyone “bumping” with Melody, they want their baby to come from the two most perfect parents possible. But when Melody discovers her twin, she will do whatever it takes to keep Harmony a secret. Because in this world, having a twin makes you not so special in the ultra competitive world of “Pregging”. I know I’m not explaining it very well, but honestly, I think in order to get it, you’d have to read it.
The Setting is also interesting. I mean, women only have a limited number of years to conceive as it is. But this book limits it even further with the help of a virus. Except in religious communities. Apparently Where Harmony grew up, women are still able to conceive after the age of 18. But it’s unknown why. And yet, girls are still getting married at the age of 16 to become mothers….yeah, that part confused me.

I felt, personally, that there wasn’t enough information. I know a virus caused this to happen, but where did this virus start? What kind of virus was it? Cold? Flu? STD? Why were the religous people not affected? Is it because the virus was an STD, and they don’t believe is sex before marriage? I don’t know. The there was the slang. I’m fine with how it was used. I’m fine with how often it was used. What I’d like is an explanation as to what some of these things mean. I can figure out “bumping” is sex, and “Pregging” is getting pregnant, but there were some that were just confusing as hell. And the technology was just weird. I’d love to look like I’m trying to get dirt out of my eye or have a weird eye tick every time I want to talk to someone.
I’m not going to say that this book is giving 16 year old girls permission to get pregnant. They were doing that long before this book came out, and they will continue to do so long after this generation is dead. I’m not saying I’d like it if my daughter (if I have a daughter) came home pregnant, but it happens , so why act like this book would be the cause?
As for the characters, I didn’t feel like I got to know them. The perspective jumped every chapter, which is fine, but The girls personalities didn’t shine through, and I know that they grew up separated, and the sibling bond wasn’t there, but it seemed like Melody didn’t want to try to get to know here twin, and Harmony was just using Melody as an excuse to not go home. I don’t know about you, but If I found out I had a sister, let alone a twin, I’d want to get to know her and learn everything about her life.

Did I like it? It was…different. I don’t know. I didn’t dislike it.
Would I reread it? Probably not.

Would I purchase it? No.

Would I recommend it? I have no idea.

Final rating: 2 out of 5 stars. Simply because I don’t know how I feel about it.

The Queen is Dead by Kate Locke

Title: The Queen is Dead
Author: Kate Locke
Length: 337 pages
Genre: Fantasy; Steampunk; Urban fantasy
Format: Hard cover
Why I read it: Sequel to

What it’s About: (Taken from Goodreads, because if I don’t, spoilers will have to happen) When her brother Val gets in over his head in an investigation of Half-Blood disappearances and goes missing himself, it’s up to Xandra, newly crowned Goblin Queen, to get him back and bring the atrocities to light. Xandra must frequent the seediest parts of London, while also coping with what she is, the political factions vying for her favor, and the all too-close scrutiny of Queen Victoria, who wants her head. Add this to being a suspect in a murder investigation, a werewolf boyfriend with demands of his own, and a mother hell bent on destroying the monarchy, and Xandra barely knows which way is up. One thing she does know is that she’s already lost one sibling, she’s not about to lose another.

The Review: In the last book, I loved Xandra. In this book, I love Xandra. Locke has a way of letting her characters grow and learn from their mistakes and pasts without sacrificing what we already love about them. Not something a lot of authors can do. The mystery aspect of this book was very well written, and I never would have guessed half the things that Xandra and Vex discovered. I guess what I’m saying is the book wasn’t too predictable. And the secondary characters were just as delightful as I expected them to be. I hated the ones readers were supposed to hate, I loved the ones readers were supposed to love. And Locke’s world building didn’t fail either. She did a wonderful job reiterating what the information from the first book and adding more information. But as with all books, there were things I didn’t like. While I loved Penny, I think Locke’s terminology or more explanation of her would have boon nice. I think it was great to have a transgender character, but Locke’s knowledge of trans people as a whole is a bit stunted. Maybe. I could be wrong. But Locke’s grasp on Penny seemed a little…”I’ll write this character to show how accepting my AU London is, but I don’t know much about the type of people I’m trying to make her represent.” You know what I mean? And Vex seemed to give in to Xandra a little too much. They had arguments and Vex challenged Xandra on her decision of if she wanted to take the throne as Goblin queen, but he also seemed to back down on his stance with her as well.

Did I like it? Yes. I think That is putting it Mildly, but yes.
Would I reread it? Yes. I think it will be just as goos the second time around.
Would I purchase it? Already have 🙂
Would I recommend it? Yes, but only to people who like Steampunk or Alternate Universes.
Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars

A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Title: A Mad Wicked Folly
Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Length: 448 pages
Genre: YA, Historical fiction
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4/5
Why I read it: Read the jacked cover and was intrigued.

What it’s About: in 1909 Vicky is attending a finishing school in France. Unknown to the headmistress, Vicky is also attending an art class. When the model for the class doesn’t show up, Vicky volunteers to pose nude. Upon learning about her antics, she is kicked out of the finishing school and sent home to London under a cloud of scandal. Her parents forbid her to draw and take away her supplies, and in order to repair her reputation arrange a marriage with Edmund Carrick-Humphry, and get her ready for her coming out ball. Meanwhile she befriends her housemaid Sophie, who is a suffragette, and Will, a police constable. She sneaks around London to meet Will and draw him in order to get into art school, and also does illustrations for the suffragettes.

The Good: The time period, and the suffragettes made me think of Downton Abbey, and I loved hearing Vicky’s passion when she talked about art. I also loved that Will was supportive of her and wanted to help her. The book had a map of London that was very useful and helped me a great deal when Vicky explained how close to Parliament or Hyde Park she was. And on top of it, I loved Sophie and how close the two girls became. Waller also did a fantastic job with the contrast between Will and Edmund.

The Bad: While some of the end was a twist, other parts I could see coming. For all her work with the suffragettes, Vicky gave up easily and was very whiney in places. There were several times when there were false endings. And there was no closure when it came to Vicky’s mom and why she stopped drawing.

Final Thoughts: This was a very well written book and not only Waller’s first Young Adult book, but her first fiction book as well. She has written a few books about horses and horseback riding, so this book and it’s subject were a nice surprise. I found this book at the book store. The cover caught my eye and when I read what it was about, I just had to buy and read it. It’s unclear if there is a sequel, but I hope there is.

India Black by Carol K. Carr

Title: India Black
Author: Carol K. Carr
Length: 296 pages
Genre: Mystery, historical fiction
Format: ePUB
Rating: 2.5
Why I read it: Looked interesting

What it’s About: India Black is the madame of a brothel in Victorian England, and one day a customer, who happens to be a government agent, dies, leaving behind a case of sensitive government secrets. Soon one of India’s prostitutes goes missing along with the case and India is enlisted to recover the case.

The Good: Did I mention how much I love a kick-ass heroine? Well, India doesn’t disappoint. She is snarky and sarcastic, and able to hold her own against the boys in the book. She doesn’t seem to be afraid of much.And she is witty and smart.

The Bad: Except for India there are no other stand out characters. And even India can be a bit grating. I think the book would have been better if it weren’t in first-person. I think getting a break from India’s inner thoughts would have been welcome.

Final Thoughts: I hope the other books in the series are better.

Freud’s Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman

Title: Freud’s Mistress
Author: Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman
Length: 357 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Book club giveaway

What it’s About: (from Goodreads, because I’m failing at putting it in my own words) Minna Bernays is an overeducated woman with limited options. Fired yet again for speaking her mind, she finds herself out on the street and out of options. In 1895 Vienna, even though the city is aswirl with avant-garde artists and writers and revolutionary are still very few options for women besides marriage. And settling is not something Minna has ever done.

Out of desperation, Minna turns to her older sister, Martha, for help. But Martha has her own problems — six young children, a host of physical ailments, a household run with military precision, and an absent, overworked, disinterested husband who happens to be Sigmund Freud. Freud is a struggling professor, all but shunned by his peers and under attack for his theories, most of which center around sexual impulses, urges, and perversions. While Martha is shocked and repulsed by her husband’s “pornographic” work, Minna is fascinated.

Minna is everything Martha is not—intellectually curious, an avid reader, stunning. But while she and Freud embark on what is at first simply an intellectual courtship, something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, something Minna cannot escape.

The Good: The thing I loved about this book is the fact that there supposedly was a real affair between Minna and Freud. It wasn’t just a story line that was made up. It hasn’t been proven, but there is evidence that it happened. I found Minna to be very engaging, and I loved that she went against expectations of women in that time period. Especially when she said she didn’t take a husband by choice. She was engaged, but after her fiancĂ© died, she decided to just not marry. She wasn’t so much outspoken, but she had a gumption about her.

The Bad: I absolutely hated Martha. Not because she was useless, but that is part of it. The thing I hated was the fact that despite having all these servants (i.e. people she paid to be a governess to the children), Martha treated Minna as a servant, and counted on Minna to take care of the children. I get it. I help my sister, and my sister-in-law with their kids a lot of the time, but they don’t just assume I’ll act as a parent for them. Every Mother needs a break, but Martha took it to extremes at times, even at one point, writing in a letter to her sick sister that it was “only fair” that she (Minna) cut her stay at a hospital short, so she could look after her nieces and nephews.

Final Thoughts: I went into this book with a lot of nervousness. I simply can’t imagine being attracted to any of my brother-in-laws. I can certainly appriciate that they are handsome men, but being attracted to them to the point of sleeping with them is just not something I’m able to fathom. That said, I was surprised to get as engrossed in this book as much as I did, despite the trepidation. I can’t wait to meet with the ladies in book club to discuss it and get their views on it.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Length: 384 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: ePUB
Rating: 4/5
Why I read it: Book club pick for the month

What it’s About: In this retelling of The Iliad, Miller tells the tale of the infamous Trojan war, as told from the POV of Patroclus. However, before we get into the battle, we are taken through Patroclus and Achilles’ journey from being companions to each other, to falling in love, then eventually the war, and even in death.

The Good: I think the general consensus of my book club loved how tasteful the love story was portrayed. One of the girls commented that it felt more “R rated movie” and not “porn movie” at all, and I agree. I Love that Miller put it in at all. I’ll be honest, I squealed like a fan girl when they finally kissed. Another thing I loved was, surprisingly, the battle. I say surprisingly because, I liked the movie Troy, I liked Lord Of the Rings, I like epic movies that have big battles in them, I just don’t like the battles themselves. Let’s face it sometimes they get drawn out way too long, and can get boring, and that’s in movies. When the whole second half of the book you are reading is centered around a war, then you expect more of the same. However, Miller had a way of describing the battle without it getting tiresome, and she described the day to day life during the war so well that although you knew they were at war, you could almost forget. And You can’t forget that with a story about Achilles comes his Mother Thetis. I hated her as a whole. I hated how manipulated she was over Achilles. But for all her faults she was bad ass. Because of what happened to her, she hated all mortals. Didn’t matter how good the person was, if you were mortal, she hates you, especially if you are male. Therefore she hated Patroclus, and he knew it. Thetis was not hiding it from anyone. You knew where you stood with her, and once she made her mind up, that was it and she was unapologetic.

The Bad: I mentioned to the ladies in book club that I often wondered if Patroclus loved Achilles more than Achilles loved Patroclus, and the girls said that they felt that it was equal, but because Achilles had this destiny, and he knew what that destiny was, he acted accordingly to that. And others said that if felt more like Patroclus was better at expressing his feeling than Achilles was. However, I still fell that their feelings, while very real, were not equal. I think in every relationship, be it friendship, as a couple, and even between family members, one always loves more. One Lady in the book club mentioned how much Achilles’ son was just….an ass. I agree with her. I hated him and I don’t know if it was because Thetis raised him, and I hate her, or if it was because he seemed to get all Achilles’s bad qualities, and magnify them. He was arrogant, and there were a few times I expected there to be a pissing contest between him and a few of the remaining kings after the war. For everything that I loved about this book, I couldn’t help but feel that the last 50 pages or so lacked something. They seemed rushed a little bit. And this is in the book that although throughout the book, years have passed, it felt relaxed and laid back. but it felt that Miller, during the last 50 or so pages wanted to be done with the story and wrap it in a neat bow. And I don’t know if that was on her end or the editor’s or perhaps her publisher’s.

Final Thoughts: I was surprised by this book. In a good way. Honestly, when I first heard about it, I though it sounded interesting, and the cover was so pretty, but I probably wouldn’t have given it a chance had it not been for my book club. I was expecting to get bored with it by the time the Trojan war cam around, but I was just as enthralled with the book as ever. For all my expectations, this book exceeded them and was a very pleasant and quick read. I literally couldn’t put it down. I was sitting up reading it at 4 in the morning. If you are a fan of Greek Mythology I would strongly recommend this book. If you have read the Iliad, and liked it (I haven’t read it, but I intend to now), I would recommend this book. This was a stunning debut, and I can’t wait to see what Miller comes out with next.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Title: Rules of Civility
Author: Amor Towles
Length: 335 pages
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Book Club

What it’s About: New York 1938, Katey Kontent moves from social circle to social circle, all the while trying to make the most of her life. She’s fallen in love, fallen out of love, made life long friends, and lost friends along the way. She’s gone from being a secretary at a law firm to being a secretary at a new magazine. Although one friend, Eve, has gone her separate ways, Katey is still pulled to her in one way or another, be it a phone call or a visit with Their mutual friend Tinker.

The Good: It was amazing to see just how much a person can change and stay the same in the course of a year. And I loved Katey. She took no bullshit from anyone, and it seemed that she could be a loyal friend while at the same time not let herself be taken advantage of. It seemed that everyone knew exactly where they stood in Katey’s world, and that is something that is hard to come by.

The Bad: I think I may be the only one to say this, but I hated Tinker and Eve. It seemed like Eve didn’t care about anyone but herself, and as for Tinker, I think he was a coward. I really saw no point to them being in the book at all, and I was glad when they went on their little trip and I didn’t have to read about them. I was even happier when Eve went to LA. But Tinker just kept making sporadic appearances, and he got on my nerves.

Final Thoughts: This was a book club read that we had the meet up for back in July. I only recently picked it up again and finished it. So despite the long break from it, I did enjoy it. Give me a book set in 1920,30,40, or 50s, and I’ll read it. I would recommend it as a book club read. it’s one of those books that is interesting to see what other’s opinions on it would be.