Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Top5 Books of 2018

1:51:00 PM

TOP 5 BOOKS OF 2018

      Somehow I managed to fulfill my 2018 Goodreads goal and read 100 books. Granted, most of those were graphic novels and comics because I did not have a lot of time to read full on novels. That being said, I did read some novels. Were they all good? Hell no. But, there were some shiny stars, and this list is the best of the best.

5. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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I really enjoyed the concept behind this one. I wish we had learned more about the mythology behind what kept the sisters coming back, but nevertheless, I really enjoyed the plot and the strange romance that ensued.

4. The Power by Naomi Alderman

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I had no expectations coming into this book and I'm glad I knew nothing about the books when I started. This book blew me away with the concept behind it and the mythology that was created behind "the power". People have always wondered what would happen if women were in charge, and this book gives an answer that no one could have expected, but in a good way. This book is raw and honest and something I highly recommend every take the time to read.

3. A Killer's Mind by Mike Omer

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I've always had a spot for mysteries and thrillers in my heart since at least middle school. This book drew me in and I absolutely loved the perspective of the main character. I'm so glad I caught on to this series from the start so that I can enjoy them as they come out. 

2. The V Girl by Mya Roberts

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Out of all the books I read this year, I think this was the most impactful and the one that blew my mind the most. If you haven't already, you should read my mini review that I wrote about this book. This book is about such an important topic and I think everyone that can handle the material should read this.

1. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Holly Black is one of my favorite authors and she did not disappoint. She makes me like fantasy and Fae over and over again. I loved the plot and the main character so much. It's been such awhile since I've enjoyed a YA book so much like I did this one. The second book, "The Wicked King", arrived in the mail yesterday and I can't wait to finally read it this weekend.

There you have it. Those are my top 5 books of 2018. If you have read any of the books on my list, let me know what you think about them. And if you have any recommendations for books similar to those on the list, please put them down in the comments.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Reflecting on 2018 and Visions of 2019

4:14:00 PM
     

 Hey everyone, it's 2019!

      I cannot believe that it is already 2019. As I am typing write now, I am sitting at my first real adult job, post-graduation (kinda, more on that later), in Chicago, IL, a beautiful view of the skyline to my left. Who would have thought that this is where I would be starting off the new year?


      2018 was a hell of a year for me, as I'm sure it was for a lot of you. It was full of anxiety and depression, but it was also filled with happiness and excitement.

      I started off 2018 in Costa Rica doing a study abroad program at La Salva Biological Station. It was one of the most amazing times of my life. I still can't believe I actually went on that trip and experienced all that I did. I also got to travel to NYC, my dream city, for a conference in March and although I was there for a short while, I loved (almost) every minute of it. I went to Oklahoma, a state I had never been to except in passing and got to experience an undergraduate research conference, and it was so cool to have witnessed all the research people my age are doing and represent my school's undergraduate research journal. And finally, I went on vacation with my two best friends to Chicago, the city where I now live. I had the time of my life seeing Hamilton and taking different tours. All in all, 2018 was a year of good travel, but in 2019 I have bigger plans for more travel.


      Just as there was good, there was bad. 2018 I had my junior and senior years crammed into 2 semesters, and that just about killed me. I graduated early (technically I get my degree January 18, but I'm done with school), something that really pushed my limits. I struggled so much with academia and finding my identity with it. I changed my career goals several times, and that shit gave me hella anxiety. I struggled with the MCAT, only to realize that path in life was not for me. I also came to terms with the fact that I needed a break from school. As much as I wanted to push ahead and power through grad school right after undergrad, I knew if I did that my mental health would go down in even deeper rabbit hole.



      So here I am at a new job that I absolutely love as I take a gap and focus on me. Me. That's something I've never really focused on before. Everything I've done as always been looking towards the future and at the bigger picture, but in doing so I've lost parts of myself along the way and forgotten who all this is for. As much as I would love to prosper and have everything in the future, that takes work, and that work is draining and kills a part of me. My immediate happiness and mental health is something I have struggled with for years and always pushed to the side because that was how I was raised. My father would say, "there is no such thing as self-esteem" and "you've got to have mental toughness" (how as a person with a psychology degree he thought saying these things was okay is besides me). I now realize how toxic those ideas are and that the only person who I really need to listen to is myself.


       I've got plans for this year. I plan on taking at least 1.5 years off before heading off to get a Ph.D, so I plan on making that time count.

      Traveling is one of the major reasons I'm taking time off. Going to Costa Rica filled me with an excitement that I've had such few times in my life, and I want that excitement more and more in my life. I'd like to go to Hawaii. I'd like to travel across Europe. I'd like to go to NYC again. I'd like to go on a cruise. All of those trips might not happen, but I would be happy if just one of them did.


      Being artistically creative is not something I go to do a lot as a science major. I miss that side of me. When I was in high school, I did drama, musical theater, orchestra, creative writing, and oh so much more. All of those things were the highlight of my days and I miss them more than I realized I did. While I can't do all of those things again, I'd like to start doing some of them. I'm having my violin sent to me so I can get back into the habit of playing that. I've got several WIPs that I'M GONNA FINISH DAMN IT. Me and my best friend who is now also my roommate are going to start a youtube channel and podcast that focus on our love for creating and watching film. I'd also like to get back into the habit of filming on my booktube channel, but not just about booktube stuff. And last but not least, I'd like to write more on this blog. While this started out as a booktube blog and will remain so, I'd also like to cover other things like I've mentioned before. I've dabbled in them in the past, but didn't get to really go through with them because of school and work, but now that I have the time, watch out, cause it's going to happen.


      If you're still reading this, thank you for taking the time out of your day to do so. I appreciate the fact that there are people out there that care about what I have to say. I guess all of this was just a long way of saying 2018 was a time. It was good, it was bad. But 2019, well I'd like it be more than just a time, and I hope you'll join me on that adventure.

Monday, December 17, 2018

October - December 2018 Mini Reviews

9:00:00 AM


OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2018 MINI REVIEWS

     So it's been quite some time since I've wrote some reviews on here. I didn't get a ton of reading done in the last few months because I was finishing my degree, but I did manage to get some reading done, and I thought I would share my quick thoughts on those books. If you want to read more of my immediate thoughts from when I was reading the books, you should check out my updates on Goodreads

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Book: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
My Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

      I absolutely love Holly Black. She was the first writer to introduce me to Fae that I actually enjoy.  was hesitant to read this book because I wasn't a fan of "The Darkest Part of the Forest", but boy oh boy was I wrong for holding off on this book. 


      This is hands down one of my favorite books of the year. I loved Jude and her entire story and character. Holly Black created such a vivid world that I could totally see coexisting with the one we know. She also did a great job with the action and pacing of the story. The story ended with such a bang and I need the next book in my life. Like I would sell my pinkie toe for an advanced copy of this book.

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Book: The Wicked Deep
Author: Shea Ernshaw
My Rating: ★★★ 3/4 (3.75 Stars)
Synopsis: Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

      We read this book for my school's book club at my suggestion after I heard the buzz going around in the booksphere. I honestly didn't know much about the book going in, I just knew it had to do with witches, so I didn't have big expectations. That being said, I enjoyed the book overall. The concept was really interesting. The twists were a bit predictable and I found the resolution surrounding the love interests really problematic, but overall, it was a good read that kept me interested and wanting to know more about the lore.


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37905907Book: The Lies We Told
Author: Camilla Way
My Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: The highly acclaimed author of Watching Edie returns with a new novel of dark psychological suspense that explores how those closest to us have the most to hide...

When Clara's boyfriend, Luke, disappears, everyone believes that he's left her, but Clara thinks she knows the truth. Recent evidence suggests that Luke had a stalker, and Clara worries that he's been kidnapped. Then Luke's older sister, Emily, who vanished twenty years ago, suddenly reappears.

Emily wants to help Clara with her search for Luke, but she refuses to talk about what happened--even though it nearly destroyed her family when she vanished. And the deeper Clara digs into Luke's mysterious disappearance, the more convinced she is that the two incidents are connected.

      It wasn't bad or anything, just a little underwhelming after all the hype. I had no idea how to connect the two timelines for the longest time, so that kept me reading and I was excited about what would happen. The ending felt a bit rushed, but really this was an okay thriller.

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36199084Book: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
My Rating: ★★ 3/4 (2.75)
Synopsis: Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

     The only reason why I picked up this book was because of all the hype surrounding it. I was hesitant because of the hype, but decided to give in because I had never read a book with a character on the Autism spectrum. That being said... I really did not like this book. It was probably a mistake to even read this book, as an asexual, but I thought I would be okay with it. There were a lot of comments and ideas presented that seemed very anti-asexual. The author made it seem like being asexual and not liking sex was so wrong, and I understand that she was trying to present the idea that autistic people can enjoy sex too, but in doing so she completely invalidates asexuality. Overall, I liked the idea of the book, but the execution made me incredibly uncomfortable and frustrated.


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25437891Book: The V Girl
Author: Mya Robarts
My Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: In post-apocalyptic North America, sexual slavery is legal. Lila Velez desperately wants to lose her virginity before the troops visit her town and take it away by force. She makes plans to seduce her only friend. Lila does not love him, but he is the only man who has shown her true affection, an affection she is willing to take as a substitute for love.

Lila’s coping mechanism to deal with her mother’s loss is her secret. A secret that will bring her closer to Aleksey Fürst, a foreign, broody man who she distrusts because of his links to the troops and his rough, yet irresistible appearance. He offers Lila an alternative to her plans, a possibility that terrifies her…and tempts her in spite of herself.

With threats looming at every turn and no way to escape, Lila fears that falling in love will only lead to more heartache. The consequences of laying down her arms for Aleksey and welcoming hope might destroy more than her heart. They might force her to face the worst of her nightmares becoming a reality. Is love possible in a world that has forgotten what the human touch is?

      This might hands down be my favorite book of the year. The entire book surrounds the idea of consent and choice, and even though I'm asexual, I still understand the importance of these surrounding sex. This book did such a good job of painting this interesting dystopian world that's so different than ours yet still has the same problems as ours, only heightened. I also really enjoy the main romance. The couple went through so much and there was so much weight put on them being on the seem page and understanding each other. I highly recommend this book, though if you are triggered by sexual assault, rape, harassment, or violence, this is not for you.


So those were the books I've read since October, for the most part. There are some others I decided not to include. Have you read any of these books, if so, what did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, give me some recommendations! I finally have time to read, so give me some good books to check out.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"The Frame-Up" by Meghan Scott Molin Review

9:30:00 AM

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Book: The Frame-Up

Author:  Meghan Scott Molin

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Synopsis: MG Martin lives and breathes geek culture. She even works as a writer for the comic book company she idolized as a kid. But despite her love of hooded vigilantes, MG prefers her comics stay on the page.

But when someone in LA starts recreating crime scenes from her favorite comic book, MG is the LAPD’s best—and only—lead. She recognizes the golden arrow left at the scene as the calling card of her favorite comic book hero. The thing is…superheroes aren’t real. Are they?

When the too-handsome-for-his-own-good Detective Kildaire asks for her comic book expertise, MG is more than up for the adventure. Unfortunately, MG has a teeny little tendency to not follow rules. And her off-the-books sleuthing may land her in a world of trouble.

Because for every superhero, there is a supervillain. And the villain of her story may be closer than she thinks…

Disclaimer: I was provided a free ARC from Little Bird Publicity of "The Frame-Up" in exchange for an honest review.

      This book had a lot of potential to be a lot more than it was. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed reading it because it was quite entertaining, but my main problem was that it was so saturated with pop culture and comic book references that it was just too much at times. It's one thing to have your crimes based on comic books and to have comic book culture as a part of the story, but damn it, it got really annoying and almost elitist at times.


      The circumstances surrounding the plot were completely unrealistic. It's one thing for the police to use an outside expert, it's another thing for that outside expert to be a random ass person you happen to meet at a coffee store that you then allow to come to all crime scenes, watch interrogations, etc.


      Overall, I kind of liked the characters (at times) and thought the romance was cute, it was just really unprofessional and completely unrealistic. Granted, this is fiction, so that doesn't matter as much, but there is still boundaries to be followed. I would say if you like crime books as well as geeky fandom culture, then this is the book for you. You might not understand all of the references, but that's what Google is for.

My Rating System

★★★★★ This book is a gift from the literary gods
★★★★ This book was pretty damn good
★★★ This book had potential but missed the bar
★★ I probably didn't finish this book or it was god awful
★ Why does this book exist?

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