A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green

a beautifully foolish endeavor by hank green book cover

a beautifully foolish endeavor by hank green book coverAfter I read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green last year, I was disappointed to find out it wasn’t a standalone book. Even though the first book was not a favorite of mine, I decided to give A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor a shot anyways, mostly to see if the sci-fi world set up in the first book would deliver an interesting ending.

The Carls disappeared the same way they appeared, in an instant. While they were on Earth, they caused confusion and destruction without ever lifting a finger. Well, that’s not exactly true. Part of their maelstrom was the sudden viral fame and untimely death of April May: a young woman who stumbled into Carl’s path, giving them their name, becoming their advocate, and putting herself in the middle of an avalanche of conspiracy theories.

Months later, the world is as confused as ever. Andy has picked up April’s mantle of fame, speaking at conferences and online about the world post-Carl; Maya, ravaged by grief, begins to follow a string of mysteries that she is convinced will lead her to April; and Miranda infiltrates a new scientific operation . . . one that might have repercussions beyond anyone’s comprehension.

As they each get further down their own paths, a series of clues arrive—mysterious books that seem to predict the future and control the actions of their readers; unexplained internet outages; and more—which seem to suggest April may be very much alive. In the midst of the gang’s possible reunion is a growing force, something that wants to capture our consciousness and even control our reality.

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Why You Should Not Read Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris Book Cover

Before you read The Tattooist of Auschwitz, it is very, very important to note that this is historical fiction. Though Heather Morris often alludes that this is an accurate account of life in Auschwitz, it has been proven to be highly inaccurate. If you want to learn more about what Auschwitz was actually like, check out the Auschwitz Museum’s website. If you want some recommended and accurate books, check out this list from the Memorial center and also Night by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel.

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

The Auschwitz Memorial called this book “dangerous and disrespectful to history”. They have fact checked the story (you can see an article about that here) and found innumerable errors. Morris was lazy in her research (for example using modern train maps to describe Lale’s journey, which were not accurate in during WW2) – a trait that is highly dangerous when she’s touting this book as biographical and documentarian in nature. She went as far as to invent a bombing plot in which women stored gunpowder under their nails and used it to blow up a crematorium that simply never happened. Adding these kinds of ‘narrative flair” or “artistic license” are irresponsible and paint a wildly incorrect portrait of life in a concentration camp. To me, this is not the kind of story you add Michael Bay-esque explosions to. Respect history.

While Heather Morris did interview Lale (whose nickname wasn’t actually Lale, it was Lali), she is not a historian and it shows. One very basic offense was the fact that she didn’t even get Gita’s number correct. Another detail was Lale getting a hold of penicillin – it was not widely available at this time. She also made up a scene where soldiers poisoned people in a bus – which never actually happened. Most abhorrently, she alleges (and frames an entire sequel around) Cilka being a sex slave to a high ranking SS officer – the Auschwitz Memorial has emphatically refuted this. It’s pretty vile to allege things like this with no proof.

Honestly, skip reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It’s factually wrong, and the author is unrepentant in her failings to tell an accurate story. To me, this book (and the sequel) are thinly veiled attempts at profiting off of the shock value of one of the most heinous pieces of world history. If Heather Morris cared as much as she claimed to, she would have properly researched the book before releasing it. 1/5

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Book Review: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

midnight sun by Stephenie Meyer book cover

midnight sun by Stephenie Meyer book coverOver ten years ago, just days after Breaking Dawn was released, the draft of Midnight Sun leaked online. This was both a blessing and a curse for fans – they got to read the first twelve chapters well ahead of schedule, but Meyer also declared she would never finish the book. However, in March 2020, she announced she would finally be releasing the entire book. Guess that Twilight money finally ran out. Naturally, as a teen of the 2000s, I wanted a nostalgia trip to distract from current events – fully knowing that this would likely not be a good book.

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?

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Book Review: The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson

the love scam by maryjanice davidson book cover

the love scam by maryjanice davidson book coverA review copy was generously provided by St. Martin’s Griffin.

Unfortunately, this is going to be a short review for me – The Love Scam was a DNF for me. Given I didn’t finish this book, this will be a very personal review – my take after getting about 40% of the way in. Lets get down to brass tacks: why did I choose to “Do Not Finish” this book?

Rake Tarbell is in trouble. When the fabulously wealthy and carefree bachelor wakes up horribly hungover in Venice, it’s not something that would normally be a problem…except he has no idea how he got there from California. Or who stole his wallet. Or who emptied his bank account of millions. Or who in the world is Lillith, the charming little girl claiming to be his long lost daughter. For the first time in his life, Rake is on his own and throwing Benjamins around aren’t going to solve his problem. Now if only the gorgeous, fun, and free-spirited woman who brought Lillith into his life was willing to help the situation…

Claire Delaney finds Rake’s problems hilarious and is not in the least bit sorry of adding to them by bringing Lillith into the mix. A pretty Midwestern girl with a streak for mischief, Rake is not the kind of man Claire hangs around with. Even if he is drop-dead handsome and charming as all get-out. Even if he needs help and she has all the answers. But if this helps Lillith, she will go out of her way. And with a guy like Rake, she’s willing to bend her rules a bit for some fun. But when adventure-filled days turn to romantic nights as they search for answers, and someone starts following them through the streets of Venice, Claire realizes she’s playing more than just a game. And maybe, just maybe, she isn’t willing to let go of Rake or Lillith just yet.

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Book Review: The Wrong Mr. Darcy by Holly Lörincz and Evelyn Lozada

the wrong mr darcy by evelyn lozada and holly lorincz

A review copy was generously provided by St. Martin’s Griffin

the wrong mr darcy by evelyn lozada and holly lorinczI am obsessed with anything and everything Pride and Prejudice – I always jump at the opportunity to read a reimagining or adaptation. Naturally, I was very excited when the folks over at St. Martin’s Griffin reached out to me about The Wrong Mr. Darcy. The book was described to be a romantic comedy inspired by Pride and Prejudice about a sports reporter and a cocky professional basketball player. Unfortunately, The Wrong Mr. Darcy didn’t just fall short of being a good Pride and Prejudice inspired book, it failed at being a decent book at all.

Hara Isari has big ambitions and they won’t be sidetracked by her mother’s insisting that she settle down soon. She dreams of leaving her small-town newspaper behind, as well as her felon father, and building a career as a sports writer, so when she is chosen to exclusively interview a basketball superstar, she jumps at the chance. It’s time to show the bigwigs what she’s truly made of.

At the same time, she meets a rookie on the rise, Derek Darcy. Darcy is incredibly handsome, obnoxiously proud, and has a major chip on his shoulder. Hara can’t think of a man more arrogant and infuriating. However, fate keeps bringing them together—from locker rooms to elegant parties, to the storm of the century—and what begins as a clash might just be more complicated than Hara anticipated. When she begins to see Darcy in a new light, Hara is not quite sure if she should drop the ball or play the love game.

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