Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, marvel, reading, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: Warcross

Warcross by Marie Lu

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warcrossThis was an exceptional book! I love the world that has developed and I cannot wait to see where Emika goes forward in the next book!

Emika Chen is at the end of her rope. She has an eviction notice, a roommate that will not help in anyway shape or form, she is in debt from her late father’s gambling addiction, and she has no way to get a legitimate job due to a criminal record from her high school years. What she can do though, and has been able to do for the past two to three years is bounty hunting. But even this isn’t helping. When she accidentally glitches herself into the biggest Warcross game of the season though, she gets something much more than she imagined.

Warcross, the virtual reality world that has swept the whole world. Hideko Tanaka, created of Warcross and sponsor of the Warcross games offers Emika the complete opposite of what she expected after she glitched into the game. He wants to hire her, as hacker and bounty hunter, to find whoever has been hacking into Warcross and leaving bits of hacked code behind. And in order to do this, Emika has been chosen as a wildcard for this year’s Warcross games. Blown from her wildest dreams to reality to where she is now a contender in the games she has watched since she was able to, Emika learns that there is more to chasing down this new bounty than just a job. But what if the hacker she is tracking, is more than what she expects? And how will this impact her life and lives of others throughout Warcross?

This book and how it deals with virtual reality reminds me a little bit of Ready Player One, and I truly hope that we can have access to this sort of technology, without it be completely dystopian future. I know that we are getting closer, what with the PS VR, HTC Vive, Occulus Rift, and other headsets are out there, but this is completely immersive! I would love to live in a world like this, as it would be a beautiful world to be in.

What books have made you dream of the future? What books have rung true about the future for you? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, reading, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: The Reader

The Reader by Traci Chee

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the readerThis has been one of my favorite books to read this year! And that’s truly saying something, with how many I have read!

The main message from The Reader is that words and reading have power. I wholeheartedly agree with what the characters in this book say. But it’s the magic that the words bring to life that is so amazing! In this world where The Reader is set, no one knows how to read, or how to write. If you want to remember something or someone, you need to be able to recite their tales, their legends, their life. This is a very oral language culture. And Sefia learns the hard way that there is someone out there that wishes to make sure that no one can learn to read.

Sefia and her Aunt Nin have been traveling throughout the country, staying out of the line of sight of the authorities, hunting and stealing what they need in order to survive. They have been doing this ever since Sefia came home one day to find her father murdered. But something goes wrong, and those that have been chasing after Sefia kidnap her aunt, leaving Sefia alone to try and figure out what’s going on with those that want her and the object she carries. Eventually, Sefia figures out that the object she carries, heavy and square with a circle symbol embossed on the front is something more important than she ever thought. It is a book. A book, from which she learns to read; in learning how to read, Sefia learns that there is more to her parents’ life and the strange book that they lost their lives for then she ever knew.

Sefia travels to find her aunt and to find out what the strange symbol on book means and why those who carry it have been chasing her for nearly her whole life. As she, and a boy she rescues from a group of men that carried the same symbol, chase after it and all that it signifies, she learns that the book she’s been carrying is not only full of stories, but it is full of real-life stories. Stories that are written down, lives that are recorded in something more permanent than memory, something that isn’t done in the world. This changes a lot of what Sefia believes, and this changes the way she goes forward with her mission to try and save her aunt and figure out who her parents were.

I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book to see what else the book does for this world. To see words and written language as the chosen form of magic is beautiful! I need to own these books!

What book has truly impressed you before? What impressed you about it? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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the hate u giveAs I mentioned in my review of All American Boys, I haven’t read many books before that one that truly dealt with racism and how that affects everyday real life. This is my second book that I had to read that deals with racism and real life, and this was something that is still hard for me to wrap my head around a little.

Starr Carter has struck an uneasy balance in her world. She lives in a poor black neighborhood, but she goes to a nearly white private school about an hour away. She is Starr Carter, daughter to “Big Mav” in her neighborhood who everyone knows is a former gang member of the biggest gang in the area. At her private school, she is Starr Carter, automatically cool because she is one of the few black kids at her school. She lives as two very different people, being careful that neither of her two lives overlap and spill over into each other. All her caution though is thrown out the window the night her best friend from her neighborhood is killed in an officer shooting.

Starr is the only one to have seen what happened the night Khalil was killed, and now she is struggling with what she should do. Should she go forward and tell the detectives what she saw that night, about the officer shooting Khalil? Or should she stay quiet and hope that every works out for the best? Either way, her life in her neighborhood starts to leak over into her life at school when people find out that Khalil grew up in her neighborhood, and that Starr may have even known him. Starr can’t figure out who she should be when things start to get even worse for her. She is called forward to testify, to tell the truth of what happened that night, but even though she does what she’s told is the right thing to do, things don’t go the way they should have.

As with all things in life, there is prejudice and bias in all that you will do. There is social injustice based on the color of one’s skin, where you live, what you do, and who your family is. And for some people, there is more prejudice aimed at them, whether they want it or not for reasons that are not their own.

What books have you read that have hit you where it hurts? Have opened your eyes to what’s happening, even if it’s not happening to you? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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eleanor and parkOh, my heavens! I didn’t expect to love this book so much, but I did and it was amazing and I should have expected this!

Eleanor & Park is a teenage love story about two people who never expected to talk to one another much less fall in love. But that’s what happens when the new student, Eleanor, gets on the bus and tries to find a place to sit. We’ve all been through this scenario before, cool kids in the back, not-so-cool kids in front, and those that don’t really fit in either in the middle of the bus. Park saves Eleanor by giving her part of his treasured single seat and this is how they meet.

As they continue sitting together, Eleanor and Park continue to ignore each other both on the bus and in class. Eventually, though, Park starts to realize that the annoying girl with the red hair that sits next to him on the bus is reading his comics over his shoulder. So, he decides to let her continue reading and eventually they start to talk about the comics they’ve been reading together. And once they start talking about comics, they start talking about almost everything in their lives; well, Park does. There are things that Eleanor doesn’t want Park to know about her home and family life, things that even she doesn’t want to know.

As they continue to get to know one another and find out more about one another, they finally start to realize that they are looking forward to seeing each other and talking to each other, until Park realizes that Eleanor goes through a lot in school that she never told him about, and is hard for him to believe at first. But as things both at home and school start to pile up on Eleanor, she finally breaks and things go to hell. Park does all that he can to help her, but there is only so much that a teenager can do.

What teenage love story have you read that made you realize that life is not all peaches and cream, but still worth it? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: The Magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

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the magiciansI had to read this for school…else I would not have read this book past the first few chapters. If that doesn’t tell me what I think of this book, then my review should.

The Magicians follows the life of one Quentin Coldwater, who is looking for a happier life than the small life he has in Brooklyn, trying to move forward with school and going to college. But something happens one day that leads him down a completely different path that shows him that there is more to the world than just going to school and being himself.

In a bubble that seals off this area from the rest of the world, there is a school of magic called Brakebills where Quentin finds out there is actual magic in the world, magic like that of Fillory, the magic world of his favorite childhood stories. And he learns that he has an aptitude for magic and has been offered a place where he can learn how to use this magic. For the next five years (literally, we go through about 6-7 years in just this ONE book), Quentin learns and grows at Brakebills, and learns that the unhappiness that he left in Brooklyn has followed him to Brakebills.

After school has finished and Quentin has graduated, he rejoins his friends in New York for a life of indulgence and excess. There is so much in fact, that he ends up hurting those closest to him for no particular reason, other than it’s what he wanted to do. Then an old school rival shows up and states that he may have found the way to Fillory. Quentin seizes on this as a way to fix everything wrong with his life again.

As he and his friends make their way to Fillory, Quentin learns that the Fillory he grew up knowing through the books is nothing like the real thing, just as life is.

This book was just so all over the place…I don’t really see why so many people like this book, though they may just like the TV show, which would make sense. And yes, this book may create an interesting world which we can explore magic in again, but I just couldn’t get into it. Quentin was so whiney, and he was never happy with anything for long, even though he got so much more than a lot of people can even contemplate in their lives. He got to not only finish high school, but go to a school for magic, explore a world he only dreamed of in books, and have so much more than he should have been given. And he was still unhappy. It was as Alice, another character in the book, states, you can choose to be miserable or you can choose to be happy. And throughout the whole damn book, Quentin choose to be miserable with everything. GAH!!!

What book have you read that just disappointed you not in execution, but in actual plot and characters? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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ready player oneThis was such an excellent book! Thank you school for making me read books I’ve been wanting to read for a long time!

Anyway, Ready Player One is about a teen who not only discovers the first clue to a major hunt that would change the world of immersion playing but his world as well. Wade Watts, known as Parzival in the OASIS, is a low-level player in a world where being high level lets you do what you want and need to do. All that changes when he figures out the location to the first key that will lead to the first gate of Halliday’s Hunt. Halliday’s Hunt is the biggest thing to hit the OASIS since the OASIS itself. Those that solve the three riddles and beat all three gates will inherit all of Halliday’s fortune.

For five years, nothing moved forward and everyone finally stopped really talking about it, until Wade figures out that the first area in on the one planet he’s allowed to be on. As soon as he figures it out, he is placed on the scoreboard that had no names on it before. Once again, Halliday’s Hunt is all that everyone can talk about, now that there is some progress actually being made towards the prize. At first, being a celebrity is all that Wade kind of dreamed it being until a large corporation turns their eye on him in order to get the information needed to move forward in the Hunt as well. When he refuses, Wade’s world goes up in flames. He retreats to fully to the OASIS, and there he finds love and adventure and everything he believes he’s wanted.

Things start to fall apart though when the corporation starts to hunt Wade inside the virtual world as well. They fall apart so much that Wade loses all that he thought he needed in a matter of days. As Wade struggles to refocus on the Hunt, he realizes that there’s so much in the world that could go wrong. And it all depends on who wins the hunt. Will Wade be able to focus on the hunt again and retrieve the prize? Or will the virtual world as he and everyone else knows it, come to an end?

Such an excellent book! I loved this so much, it was a game that I could get into. I just want have OASIS be a real thing, and we’re getting closer and closer to this reality each day, but to have it an actuality would be amazing!

What’s been your favorite new world to explore in books? Would you like to live there, or just visit? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: If I Ever Get Out of Here

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

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if i ever get out of hereThis was not my favorite book to read, if only for the fact that it felt like it cut so close to home in some ways.

Lewis Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of living on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975. There are things that he is used to, but he is not used to white people being nice to him in any way, shape, or form. This is what happens though when George Haddonfield moves to the Air Force Base near the reservation with his family. As Lewis and George connect through their mutual adoration and love of the Beatles music, Lewis realizes that the way his family lives is extremely different from the life of his new best friend. As George and Lewis continue to get to know one another, Lewis starts to lie to hide the poverty that his family experiences in order to do what he believes will keep his friendship with George. As the school year continues, Lewis discovers another thing that he is not used to; being the target of the wrath of another white student, Evan Reininger, who has a hatred for all those from the reservation.

George and Lewis learn more about themselves, their lives, and how their different backgrounds influence their interactions with one another. One boy comes from the Air Force after the war in Vietnam, one boy comes from the reservation; both wish to be friends with one another. When they realize that they have more in common than life taught them they would, they strive to overcome the obstacles and still become friends, though everyone at home and at school discourages them and tells them that they won’t be friends otherwise.

This struck my heart in a very close way. I am half Navajo, as you could probably tell from the title of this blog. My father grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Northeast Arizona. I had a language professor who also grew up on the reservation in college. My father went to school and didn’t learn English until 10th grade. My college professor was a part of the boarding school initiative to integrate Native Americans into European American culture. As I realize how close my family came to be a part of this idea, just a few generations away. My generation has lost some of our language, my family’s language is dying. But now generations are celebrating our Native heritage. We are told to be proud of who we are when just a few generations back we were told you cannot be who you are.

What books have you enjoyed, but not because it made you happy? Why did you enjoy it for the non-happy reason? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: A Time to Dance

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

a time to danceThis is one of my favorite books, and that’s unusual to say as it’s a contemporary YA book. I don’t read these types of books usually, but I loved this one!

Veda is a skilled dancer in Indian bharatanatyam, classical Indian dance. After a competition one night, she ends up in a bus accident, and her right leg must be amputated. For a dancer of such high caliber, to lose her ability to not only dance but to walk is devastating. Veda is devastated but she learns that she is accepted to be part of an experimental program that creates prosthetics. The creator of the program, Jim, says that he’ll build her a new calf and foot that will allow her to dance with as much skill as she did before she was in the accident. But she needs to relearn how to walk before she can learn to dance again.

As she relearns how to walk, she learns how much support she receives from her family and friends, as well as from her old dance teacher. As she loses not only friends but her teacher, she finds new friends and a new teacher who actually believes in her. Veda needs to relearn how to dance, how to balance, how to trust herself to do what she used to do, and how to listen to the music that brought her to dance in the first place.

What I loved most about this book and a common theme that I’m finding in a lot of the teen/YA books are about finding who are you, discovering what it is that makes you you. And I love it! This story was especially beautiful as it showed a girl coming back to what brought her so much joy about dance in the first place. I also loved that this book was told in verse, not prose. It gave flight to the words and feelings that Veda was experiencing all throughout the book as she relearned who she was. This was a simply beautiful book and it’s one that I recommend everyone reads.

What do you think about writing books in verse? Do you like it? Or does it trip you up? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

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shadowshaperThis was…okay. Not my favorite book to read, but I love the concept for it. I think that’s what kind of disappoints me about it.

Shadowshapers has the concept that there are a certain group of people who have access to the spirit world in such a way as to infuse their artwork, music, and stories with “shadows,” the spirits that hang around in a kind of limbo around them. And that concept of a magic is amazing, especially for those who love to work with art in any way, shape, and form. It’s just the way the story was written, it felt rushed, it didn’t fully pull me in, and the writing for the main character was just…weird. I don’t know, it just felt like it was kind of unfinished.

You have Sierra, a person of color teenager who is just looking forward to just enjoying her summer and painting her dragon on the eyesore in her community. She has her family, her friends, and all else that teenagers need. But once a zombie creature crashes the first party of the summer season, and her grandfather starts saying that he’s sorry, Sierra learns of a community that she never knew of but that her family has always been a part of. But there is a malevolent force that seeks to not only destroy the shadowshapers, but her family along with it. As Sierra comes into her powers, she not only learns who she is, but who her family is, and what her heritage is.

I do know that it’s just the first book in a series, and I also know that’s part of the reason why it feels unfinished, but it’s more than that. The story, the concept had such great potential, that this book has been on my TBR list for over a year! And now that I’ve read it, I feel kind of let down. The execution of the story let it down.