Tag: Historical Fiction

Book Review: The Vines by Shelley Nolden

The Vines
Shelley Nolden

Published: March 23, 2021
391 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

In the shadows of New York City lies forbidden North Brother Island, where the remains of a shuttered hospital hide the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned by contagions and the doctors who torment her. When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past—and his own family’s dark secrets. By unraveling these mysteries, will he be able to save Cora? Will Cora meet the same tragic ending as the thousands who’ve already perished on the island?

The Vines intertwines North Brother Island’s horrific and elusive history with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss.

Kim’s Review:

Meh. The setting of this book offered so much promise: an abandoned hospital in North Brother Island in NYC. I mean come on! I was waiting for ghosts and vengeful spirits and a brilliant paranormal adventure … what I got was meh.

I don’t want to spoil the twist, even though the twist was pretty obvious, but I wish Nolden had picked either realistic or fanciful. She mixed the two together, but it just hampered the story. You don’t get to complain about the pandemics of the world, and then add a fantastical element that’s supposed to fix everything; it felt like cheating. And frankly, most of the characters were just unlikable. Didn’t like Cora’s overall attitude, didn’t like Finn’s annoying little woke statements every chapter, didn’t like Lily’s whining; the only ones I had a shred of like for were the villains! Basically, I’m glad I read it, but am I going to continue the series or even read this again? Probably not.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

#Diverseathon2021: Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaption

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaption
Adaptor: Damian Duffy
Illustrator: John Jennings
Published: January 10, 2017
252 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 15-17, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

I lost an arm on my last trip home.

Home is a new house with a loving husband in 1970s California that suddenly transformed in to the frightening world of the antebellum South.

Dana, a young black writer, can’t explain how she is transported across time and space to a plantation in Maryland. But she does quickly understand why: to deal with the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder–and her progenitor.

Her survival, her very existence, depends on it.

This searing graphic-novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction classic is a powerfully moving, unflinching look at the violent disturbing effects of slavery on the people it chained together, both black and white–and made kindred in the deepest sense of the word.

Jessica’s Review:

As you are aware, I previously read Kindred and loved it and read it again this month for #Diverseathon. I bought the graphic novel online from Book Outlet for just a few dollars, so with having  Kindred fresh in my mind, I decided to read the graphic novel.

This graphic novel is an adaption and covers the whole story, some in shorter sections than the novel. I’m not going to talk about the story of Kindred, that review has been previously posted, I am going to to talk about the graphic novel. The illustrations do not enhance the story, they take away from it. I admittedly have not read many graphic novels, but this one disappoints. There is just something missing from the artwork, but really nothing could live up to Butler’s original novel. The artwork is just not pleasant for me to look at, and Dana just does not look feminine. The novel does capture the brutality of the antebellum world towards African Americans. The biggest thing for me with this graphic novel was when we reach the climax and then we get just one panel and then the epilogue! In my opinion a whole important section was reduced to just one panel!

I have included some pictures that show what the art work looks like. I gave the graphic novel 3 stars, which averages out the 5 star review of the story with the 2 star poor artwork.

The graphic novel is divided up into the same chapters at the novel. There were a few things I did like about the graphic novel: There is an introduction to the novel and Butler herself, a Q& A with the adaptor and illustrator, and notes on their process of the progression with the panel artwork. There is also a teacher’s guide.

I recommend you to read the novel version of Kindred and reader beware if you choose to read the graphic novel.

#Diverseathon Information:

April’s Host: Suleika at All About Books Divas
She will host at Instagram and Facebook.

For full details on this year long readathon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

Suleika is having a US only giveaway: She is giving away a copy of Spy in the Struggle by Aya de Leon  That information is here.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis: A Book Review and Series Comparision

Today Kim is going to bring you a book review and Netflix series comparison to Walter Tevis’ novel The Queen’s Gambit:

The Queen’s Gamit
Author: Walter Tevis
Published: March 11, 2003
243 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

When she is sent to an orphanage at the age of eight, Beth Harmon soon discovers two ways to escape her surroundings, albeit fleetingly: playing chess and taking the little green pills given to her and the other children to keep them subdued. Before long, it becomes apparent that hers is a prodigious talent, and as she progresses to the top of the US chess rankings she is able to forge a new life for herself. But she can never quite overcome her urge to self-destruct. For Beth, there’s more at stake than merely winning and losing.

Kim’s Review:

What a great story! It was nice that I had the faces of the characters from the Netflix show in my head as I was reading, but the story itself could stand all on its own. Beth Harmon is such a dynamic character and watching her grow and learn and mature was fun. Just when you think you have her figured out, she surprises you. This book reads like a history and seems to fit Harmon’s frame of mind. It’s very concise and aloof and yet it makes you care! I’m sure I would have enjoyed it even more if I understood chess; but my brain doesn’t work that way so I’m not too torn up about! Thankfully, it’s easy to read even for those of us who prefer checkers or battleship. Despite some adult themes, I think this would be a good one to get teens into reading! I absolutely recommend it to anyone!

Netflix Series Comparison:

Kim’s Video Series Comparison:

Novel Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK