Review: The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron

TITLE: The Last Neanderthal Image result for the last neanderthal book
AUTHOR: Claire Cameron
SUMMARY: Girl is a Neanderthal living one of her worst seasons yet, meanwhile in the present Rose is coping with her impending motherhood and stressful job as an paleo-archeologist
GENRE: Fiction | Historical Fiction
RATING: 3.5/4

The minute I saw this book and read the synopsis, I knew I had to get it. I found the premise of the story so interesting because it is about a Neanderthal family, and I for one find this type of history fascinating. So I bought the book and started reading it when I got home later that night.

One of the most striking things about the book is the writing style. You can tell Cameron adapted her writing style to fit the story of the Neanderthals. The sentences are simple, the wording is different from ours, and the descriptions are mixture of these things. When I first saw the pages of the book, I was scared because there isn’t much dialogue when we’re reading Girl’s parts. It’s just blocks of paragraphs and barely any dialogue. For some reason, I thought that was genius on her part simply because you can’t expect a different species to talk or think the same way as ours.

Image result for genius gif

Which brings me to how the author portrays the Neanderthals. Instead of the savage primitive beasts we’re used to seeing, Cameron writes a story about family and loss. If they are ever savage or beast like, it’s as a result of their harsh surroundings. Girl and her family are kind and nurturing and intelligent.

Image result for neanderthal gif

Yes I said intelligent, not dumb. We might have survived but they did live for over 70,000 years and we’ve only been around for 50,000; clearly they did well.

The story also brought you to this survival mindset the Neanderthals and early humans must have felt constantly. Through Girl’s mind you see the importance of surviving everything in their harsh environment. Everything was thought through, and everything done was meant for the family to survive from the way they hunted, their sleeping habits, their travels to the meeting ground, and even their interactions with other animals and themselves. Every little bit counted towards the protagonist’s survival, and I really enjoyed that.

It was nice (and rare) to read story about pre modern humans, where the troubles the characters encounter are completely different.

The book alternated between the ancient past with Girl (the Neanderthal) and modern day with Rose (an archeologist who finds Girl). By the time I got halfway through the book, I started losing interest in Rose’s storyline. It wasn’t boring but it wasn’t as interesting as Girl’s story. The author tries to make a connection between the two characters (and it’s there) but I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t care about Rose’s personal problems, all I wanted to know was about her “science” and conclusions about what she found, and I didn’t get that.

britta-bored-reading

While I really did enjoy the story, I’m not sure I would read it again. It’s not a page turner the same way other stories have been for me, but the topic is interesting and different enough that I’d recommend it to those who find Neanderthals interesting.

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Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

TITLE: Novemeber 9 Image result for november 9
AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover
SUMMARY: Fallon and Ben decide not to fall in love and meet each other every November 9th for the next five years. Goodreads Blurb
GENRE: New Adult | Fiction | Romance
RATING: 3/5
WARNING: Not suitable for children.  Continue reading

Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

TITLE: The Roanoke Girls Image result for the roanoke girls
AUTHOR: Amy Engel
QUICK SUMMARY: When Lane returns to Roanoke after her cousin (Allegra)  goes missing, she recalls the summer she spent there a decade ago after her mother committed suicide.
WARNING: Not suitable for children because of its strong language and explicit sex scenes.
GENRE: Fiction | Mystery | Gothic
RATING: 4/5 Continue reading

Mini Reviews: “The Screaming Skull” and “The People of the Pit”

 

Related imageThis semester I have been taking a class that is focusing on the Horror / Weird genre, so I’ve been reading a lot of scary / weird short stories. Because I haven’t been able to read a lot outside of school, I thought I could tell you guys a bit more about some of the stories I’ve read this semester. Although, we’ve read over a dozen stories so far, I will only be talking about the ones that stood out to me, including the bad ones. Today, I have two of the very first short stories that caught my attention (whether they were bad or not)

The stories come from a collection called The Weird edited by the VanderMeers. It has about a 100 stories and over a 1000 pages, but most importantly, the cover is awesome.

Continue reading

Mini Reviews: The Mortifications and Weregirl

I didn’t finish these books, and I don’t have any intentions of finishing them any time soon. However, because I didn’t finish I didn’t leave a rating because I think that would have been unfair of me.

TITLE: The Mortifications Image result for the mortifications
AUTHOR: Derek Palacio
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: A Cuban family moves to Connecticut after leaving their father back on the island.

QUICK REVIEW: Being Cuban, I wanted to like this book. The plot attracted me and I thought it would be an immigrant story, but that’s not exactly what I got. The story doesn’t focus on the struggles the family went through while living in the states, instead it’s more about their personal problems. Isabel uses her faith as a coping mechanism to overcome the changes taking place in her life. The problem is, it’s too much, it’s fanatical, and unfortunately I’m not a fan of stories like that. Maybe, someday I will go back to it but right now I found it boring, which is a shame because the writing was really great.

 

TITLE: Weregirl
AUTHOR: C. D. Bell
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: A young girl gets bitten by a wolf and becomes a werewolf.

QUICK REVIEW: I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book prior to November, but whenever I picked up the book it felt like a chore. Which happens to be a bad sign. For me, reading shouldn’t be a chore, if it is then you have the wrong book. The story gets interesting at certain moments but other than that I thought it was boring and I disliked the writing. Will I ever go back to it? Never say never, but definitely not any time soon.

Mini Reviews: 2016 Fall Semester Reads

This was my first semester as an official English major at my university. I had two literature classes one focusing on African American Women Writers and the other on Renaissance Poetry and Prose. There were a couple of books I really enjoyed and other that I hated… a lot.Image result for beloved by toni morrison

TITLE: Beloved
AUTHOR: Toni Morrison
RATING: 4.5/5
SUMMARY: Sethe, who killed her own daughter years ago, must now cope with her baby’s ghost and the scars slavery left her.

QUICK REVIEW: I already did a review for this book CLICK HERE

 

Related imageTITLE: Their Eyes Were Watching God
AUTHOR: Zora Neale Hurston
RATING: 4/5
SUMMARY: A light skinned African American woman marries twice before falling in love with a younger man.

QUICK REVIEW: I really liked this book the second time around. With my first read (back in high school) I felt rushed and skipped whole chapters to be somewhat on schedule with the rest of the class. Although I wouldn’t consider it a love story, I did like seeing Janie’s quest for love. It shows that sometimes you have to try a couple of times to get it right. Gender differences is more emphasized than the other problems she faces like race.
NOTE: She writes in a dialect but it’s easy to get used to the farther you go along.

TITLE: Brown Girl, BrownstonesImage result for brown girl brownstones
AUTHOR: Paule Marshall
RATING: 3/5
SUMMARY: The young daughter of Barbadian immigrants must cope with her parent’s decaying marriage and the racial tensions growing up in 1940s New York.

QUICK REVIEW: This was the first book of the semester I disliked. The reason it doesn’t have a rating of 2/5 is because the ending saves it, a little. I hated Selina’s home life. I hated the mother and father, both of them are villains while also sympathetic. Meanwhile, Selina is stuck in the middle of their troubled marriage. I didn’t particularly like the writing either.

Related imageTITLE: The Farming of Bones
AUTHOR: Edwidge Danticat
RATING: 5/5
SUMMARY: Amabelle lives through the horrible mass murders of Hatian people living in the Dominican Republic by order of General Trujillo (a dick-tator).

QUICK REVIEW: I loved this novel. It might even be my favorite of the semester. I remember actually wanting to read it instead of dreading it like I did with Brown Girl, Brownstones. I love the writing, the mixture of Spanish, Creole (even I don’t speak it), and English was amazing. I also loved learning about the history between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, even if it’s not a happy story to tell. Amabelle’s story kept me on my feet from start to finish. For me, it was one of the more interesting reads of this semester.

TITLE: No Telephone to Heaven Image result for no telephone to heaven
AUTHOR: Michelle Cliff
RATING: DNF
SUMMARY: A Jamaican family leave their island and move to the USA.

QUICK REVIEW: I hope my professor never finds this because I didn’t finish this novel. I read the first two chapters and I was immediately put off by the weird time line. I don’t like novels that don’t explain what’s going on, like the Maze Runner (also the reason I never finished it). All I can say is that the second chapter was much more interesting to read than the first. That’s all I have to say.

 

Image result for lucy by jamaica kincaidTITLE: Lucy
AUTHOR: Jamaica Kincaid
RATING: 2/5 SUMMARY: A young immigrant girl leaves her home in the Caribbean and is hired as a nanny for an American family.

QUICK REVIEW: I was most excited to read this book because it was also the shortest, but it was also the most boring. It’s all told from Lucy’s point of view and she narrates the ENTIRE story. There is barely any dialogue and that’s a problem for me because it makes her so incredibly unreliable, and not even the fun kind of unreliability. I didn’t like the writing, the wording, or Lucy. I read maybe 3 quarters before giving up and looking up a summary of the book.

 

TITLE: The Old Arcadia; Astrophil and StellaImage result for philip sidney
AUTHOR: Sir Philip Sidney
RATING: N/A
SUMMARY: Philip Sidney writes about love and the crazy stuff it makes people do.

QUICK REVIEW: Personally I’d advised you to steer clear of renaissance prose, unless you like long running sentences and confusing archaic language. I’m not giving this a formal rating because I think it would be unfair of me because I hated it, but maybe if I had grown up in the upper class echelon of English Renaissance society I would have. But “alas” I am not. Instead, I am 21st century female college student who was forced to read his work.

Review: Loose Woman by Sandra Cisneros

TITLE: Loose Woman Image result for sandra cisneros loose woman
AUTHOR: Sandra Cisneros
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: A poetry collection about a Mexican American woman talking about her culture, womanhood, and romance.
RATING: 3.5/5
WARNING: There are some graphic scenes, cursing, and sexual content in some of the poems. Continue reading