The SURVIVOR Project

Read the true stories of sexual assault and abuse survivors, paired with their portraits. As told by the survivors and transcribed by Arnold, survivors take a stand to voice what they have gone through in hopes of others never having to go through it themselves.

Susan Arnold presents her second published work, The SURVIVOR Project.

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‘Artemis’ Review

Artemis is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I borrowed the copy I read but you can bet that I am going to buy myself one. Yeah, it was that good. (5/5 stars.) At one point, I even dreamed that I lived in the city on the moon.

One thing that I really loved about the book was the writing style. This is the first I’ve read any of Andy Weir’s work, so I didn’t know anything about his style going in. In Artemis, the style is very realistic, it’s practically stream of consciousness. It seemed as if the protagonist, Jazz, was having a conversation with the reader, or giving a confession. At times, the fourth wall was broken to actually address the reader. It worked very well for Jazz and her personality. I think that it was the best way to go about the setting, as well. Very few people have ever been to the moon. The way that Jazz interacts with the reader, and how realistically the story was written, make it much easier for the readers to understand how life in Artemis and life on the moon (yes, they’re different, a city has politics and the moon has different gravity) work.

Something that was obvious from the get-go was how much research Andy Weir put into this book.

Or, he’s really good at making things up.

There was a lot of chemistry and math, a lot of information about welding and physics and aerodynamics. It blew me away how tediously he researched everything. I learned a lot about gravity and space travel. The novel didn’t seem too information heavy, either, which is usually hard to do given how much explaining is needed for the general population to understand not only the basics of how Artemis works as a city, but how Jazz functions in her day to day life and how she completes her mission that compels the rest of the story.

I also enjoyed how diverse the story was. Jazz is Saudia Arabian, all of Artemis is possible because of Kenya, the aluminum is made on the moon by a Brazillian company. Honestly, I think the only recurring white character is Rudy, and he’s a rude Canadian (a character type that we don’t usually see…I’m talking about Canadians, not rude Canadians). It was very refreshing to read a book where the protagonists aren’t white Americans in a post-apocalyptic world or a John Green novel.

What? I’m not salty.

There was one thing that did confuse me while reading, though. Sporadically, throughout chapters, there were emails between Jazz and a character named Kelvin. This isn’t much of a spoiler, but if you don’t want to know anything AT ALL about the book, then skip this paragraph. These emails start off in the past to help establish Jazz and Kelvin’s relationship, as well as help explain how Jazz ended up where she is at the start of the novel. While reading, I thought that the emails were in real-time, which confused me because the events that Jazz relayed to Kelvin didn’t add up. If the emails had been time-stamped or said that they started 9 to 10 years previously, it would have cleared up the confusion that I had. I didn’t realize that the emails were taking place in the past until they caught up with the present, over halfway through the book.

The reason that I wanted to read Artemis is because Artemis is my favorite Greek goddess, so there is really no connection between the two other than the name of the city. Though this wasn’t a story about Greek heroes, I was not let down at all. This book gave me a rollercoaster of a ride and a rollercoaster of emotions. I recommend you pick up a copy.

‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ Review


I was thoroughly spooked.

The book was great until the end. Like I said, I was thoroughly spooked and had to speed read the entire thing so that I could actually fall asleep. (I still ended up having nightmares after I finished it.)

When I was reading, the story felt very well paced, it wasn’t rushed and it didn’t try to build up for too long. Yet, when I got to the end, I feel like there were a number of problems that went unresolved. I want to know what happened to the town and the people impacted by the murders. I want to know how the protagonist grows and moves on. I want to know how her relationship with her parents evolves.

There are so many things that I want to know, but never will.

The book just ends too abruptly for me. It’s a satisfying ending, but there are so many things that could have been explained.

 

Overall, I gave it a three out of five stars.

‘Turtles All the Way Down’ Review

John Green possesses a way with words that makes me contemplate life every time I read one of his works. In ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ it was “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities” in ‘Looking for Alaska’ it was “How long is an instant?” (a quote which actually inspired a story I plan to write). In ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ it was “No one ever says goodbye unless they want to see you again.”

Usually, when I read John Green books, I fall in love with the story but cringe the entire time I read it because I cannot stand his writing style. Yet, in ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ I did not cringe. I really enjoyed Green’s writing style for this one. I am sure if it is the same as his previous books and I have just matured or if he is writing differently now that he has finally returned.

I loved the protagonist’s name: Aza. Named because her parents wanted to give her the whole alphabet, wanted to give her all of the possibilities it had to offer. If that’s not romantic I don’t know what is.

I found Aza to be incredibly relatable, and I don’t know if that is something that I should be wary of (read the story to know why). The way her mind works reminds me of how my mind works. I think that’s why I enjoy writing. When I write, I create a physical proof of my thoughts, I get them out of my head and free up storage. Though my thoughts are not as severe as Aza’s I can relate to feeling trapped in one’s own mind.

Daisy, Aza’s best friend, gives a good sense of reality, even though she pretty much lives in her fan fiction. Her and Aza get into a fight at one point throughout the novel, and it was a reality check to me–the reader, not just Aza. That’s something rare in a book, at least how I see it.

The ending was justified, which is something I think that John Green is good about doing. He never creates a far-fetched ending. The ending was practical and realistic and made sense for all of the characters involved, which is something I enjoyed.

This book. I really don’t know how to explain it. But it reached me. Now, as I’m writing this review, the plot and the words are spiraling in my mind. I can only think of the book. How it will stay with me.

Final rating: 5/5

‘Beauty Queens’ Review

Rating: 2/5 stars
This is also a book that I listened to from Overdrive.

Don’t let the two star rating discourage you, this book was good AND funny. I suggest listening to it on audiobook, the author, Libba Bray, is the one who reads it. She turned it into a production, doing multiple different voices and even taking commercial breaks. It was hilarious! I wish every audiobook was made into a production like Bray made ‘Beauty Queens’.

This book is ‘Lord of the Flies’ meets America’s Next Top Model. I couldn’t put it down–er, I couldn’t stop listening to it.

If it was so good, why did I give it such a low rating, you’re wondering.

Though I couldn’t stop listening, I couldn’t get over how much of a parody this book was. Everything was to be taken with a grain of salt. I didn’t get anything out of this book. If the characters didn’t have an alternative agenda when they joined the pagent (like taking it down from the inside or being the first ****spoiler!**** trans person to win the pagent *end spoiler*) then they were just dumb pagent bimbos, unfortuenately.

If this book had been written in a more serious manner, it would have recieved a higher rating from me.

Review of Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Life and Death’

In all honesty, this book was awful.

For the first thirteen pages, I complained after every other sentence. I think that Stephenie Meyer literally went through her Word document that was Twilight and changed Bella to Beau and Edward to Edythe. I felt like I was reading her own version of fanfiction–for her own work! It seemed like such a money grab that I felt dirty reading it at points. And the title? Boring. There was no imagination whatsoever that went into naming Life and Death.

When I forgot what I was reading, though, it felt a lot more natural for the genders to be switched. Now, I haven’t read Twilight in about four or five years, so I don’t know if that impacts how I read this book. But I am a much bigger fan of Edythe and Beau than Bella and Edward.

The storyline felt sloppy, and maybe if I reread Twilight now I would say the same thing. There was hardly a story until the last half of the book, only two people unhealthily obsessed with each other. When Beau finally discovers what Edythe is, that’s when the storyline starts to pick up. And when the antagonists of the story appear (for about the last fifty or so pages) that’s when the action starts to happen. It seems that Meyer missed the first day of her creative writing class: in order to have a story, there has to be something happening…

The end at least was exciting. I don’t want to include any spoilers, but the way the story ended felt natural and not too forced. I wish Twilight had ended that way. If Meyer had continued “rewriting” and had the same ending, it would have begged for more books about Edythe and Beau, which do not need to be written. The wrap-up was well concluded and doesn’t seem to leave anything out.

I think the biggest reason why I’m most frustrated with Life and Death is because Meyer had the incredible opportunity to expand the universe she created and she ignored it. She could have done something similar to J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts. She could have moved the entire story to Maine or Europe and developed different (yet similar) characters and expanded this world and her franchise. And she blew it! I just don’t understand why she wasted this opportunity.

All in all, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Life and Death.

‘The Female of the Species’ Review

Now, I don’t just give out five-star ratings. But I absorbed this book. I first spotted it about a month and a half ago at a bookstore and finally purchased it yesterday. I read the first three chapters last night before bed and finished it just a few moments ago, in only twenty-five hours.

Instantly gripping and constantly compelling, this book was a rollercoaster of a ride. At first, I was a little bit frustrated because there were parts that were a mystery and all I wanted to know was the answer. As I continued to read I was transfixed (it’s cram-before-exams week in college, to give up any time is a rarity, so you know this is an honest review). I fell for all of the characters, even those who aren’t protagonists.

I felt that the depiction of high school was a bit exaggerated, but the language and thought process of the characters seemed incredibly accurate. McGinnis did an incredible job making me care about the characters so much so that I cried at the end; she painted villains as heroes and did a good chunk of storytelling through dialogue. Though the topics of the book are a bit on the heavy side, and some passages can be triggering to some audiences, The Female of the Species is a pretty easy read, the longest chapter wasn’t more than five pages.

McGinnis did justice to the split point of view narration, developing each protagonist in their own way and making sure that none of their personalities blurred together. While reading, I never felt like any part of the book was over the top or unbelievable and writing something like this could have easily gone that way.

 

Rating: ★★★★★