One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva [thoughts]

one man guy coverOne Man Guy by Michael Barakiva  www
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Release Date: May 27th 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Series: none

 

Goodreads description: Funny and heartfelt, One Man Guy serves up the raucous family humor and gentle romance of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as told with David Sedaris–style wit

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again

I chose to read this book because it sounded cute. That’s all the reason I need!

Alek is Armenian and his family is very serious about culture and background. They’re also pretty strict and make him go to summer school to stay in honors. He has a crush on the Ethan, a bad boy type. Romance and family issues ensue.

One Man Guy was pretty cute. I loved that Alek was Armenian, it was really interesting to read about Armenian culture and Alek’s exasperation with certain things his parents thought were serious. He got annoyed with how intense they were about social things that just seemed ridiculous to him. It was fun to watch him grasp and learn, and I really enjoyed the development between Alek and his brother Nik.

The romance between Ethan and Alek was mostly cute, but for some reason Ethan rubbed me slightly the wrong way. I should have written this review right after I read it, but it’s been a while so I don’t have examples. It could have been a personal thing, it wasn’t huge or I’d be able to remember it better. I also wasn’t a huge fan of Becky. She just annoyed me, but a lot. I’m sure the friend situation represented here might be common, but it didn’t sit well with me.

3 star rating

I enjoyed One Many Guy, but I don’t think it’s a book I’d want to pick up again. I re-skimmed some of it for this review (because I read it so long ago) and I didn’t feel super connected with it. But it is cute and it has depth and diversity, and it’s definitely worth a read, and I feel like my annoyances might be personal things that other people might not feel the same way about. I plan on reading more of Michael Barikiva’s work!

Have you read this one/Do you plan to?

 

Siege and Storm cover

Book Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm coverSiege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
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Release Date: June 4th 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Series: The Grisha #2

Goodreads description: Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm

I read Shadow and Bone when it came out. I liked it but I didn’t love it as much as everyone else did. I remember liking Mal and kind of liking The Darkling. It must have been a bad mood thing because I reread it before I read Siege and Storm and I enjoyed it more this time. I also enjoyed Siege and Storm a lot! This review is kind of vague because I don’t want to spoil anyone!

Alina and Mal are on the run after the huge rumble in the Fold. They’re trying to remain incognito while regrouping and deciding what to do next. It works until it doesn’t. Then they have to figure out how to stop The Darkling and save the country. Easy shmeasy, right?

Alina and Mal have this connection. They were there for each other when they had nobody else. When they were orphans, they weren’t important to the people who took care of them. They were tolerated. In each other they found someone to feel something for and an actual attachment. They’ve been separated, and they missed that attachment. They keep wanting to help one another and to save one another. I love that. They have issues in this book and struggle to hold on to the connection they both want to keep. I love the push and pull of their relationship and Mal makes me swoon.

Alina has all this power that she doesn’t fully understand. She’s not sure what she wants to do with it or what she wants to want to do with it. It would be awesome if she wanted to help people and be a genuinely good person and she knows that. A part of her just wants to take the power and go crazy with it, but she isn’t sure she wants to want that. Girl is confused and understandably so. When she understood her powers for the first time and learned to use them, they made her feel whole. She knows her abilities can cause corruption, but there are other uses for them, too. It’s frustrating but important to watch her reason out her feelings and try to find the right path for herself and perhaps for everyone in the country. Alina is an easy heroine for me to pull for because she’s so vulnerable but she’s also selfish. I love watching her want.

“I looked up at the star-filled sky. The night was velvety black and strewn with jewels. The hunger struck me suddenly. I want them, I thought. All that light, all that power. I want it all.”

Sturmhond is such a great addition to this book! I enjoyed him. He is charismatic and irresistible! I’d heard a lot of good things about him before I read the book and I was kind of expecting to not like him, but I was pleasantly surprised! He is a bit smarmy and can lay it on pretty thick, but he’s also multi-faceted and surprising. Hidden depths might be a cliché, but it definitely applies! I also enjoyed the twins Tolya and Tamar! They were both awesome, tough, and so much fun to read about.

Meanwhile, The Darkling is still creepily intriguing. He lost a lot of his allure for me this time around, but he’s still a captivating character. He’s unhinged and scary, and he wants to consume everything. The Grisha who followed him are kind of at a loss because of how much they believed that he wanted to save the country and make it better. Now they’re bewildered and don’t know where they stand.

A good thing (for me) about Alina’s triangular love interests is that Bardugo shows why she feels torn, and you can see that her desires are splintered. It isn’t just that she can’t make her mind up between some cute guys. There is a draw to each and she’s unsure about herself and what she wants. Even when she’s doing something I don’t like, I still understand her motivation and confusion, which is something I really like about the writing.

The religious aspect of the story completely fascinates me! I’m curious about the amplifiers and their connection to the Saints. There are so many questions, and I’m so excited to learn more. The pilgrims have put their hope in Alina as the Sun Summoner and as a savior, which is obviously overwhelming. Regardless of the origin of their beliefs, beliefs are a powerful thing. There’s so much potential power in the people and their faith in her.

There’s a lot of action in this book, but I did get a bit bored in the last part of the book. Maybe it was just impatience, because I am very impatient. Alina was learning and preparing but sometimes it felt like nothing was happening. There was a lot of introspection, politics, and drama. Some of it I even liked, but I was still ready to pick up the pace. Luckily, the end sped up again and I was thrown into a dizzying, suspenseful turn of events. The end of this book is pretty incredible and left me wanting more!

4 star rating

I enjoyed Siege and Storm and I’m excited to read Ruin and Rising! I’m hoping for a good resolution, even if it isn’t exactly a happy one. I also hope Alina learns more about what she wants and who she is, what her motivation for power is and how she truly feels about Grisha. I would recommend this to anyone, even if you don’t like fantasy I think there’s plenty of real character interactions that will draw you into the story.

Check out Leigh Bardugo‘s website and twitter!