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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

5 Second Review: "The World Breaks Everyone" by Lauren Clark

9:30:00 AM

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Book: The World Breaks Everyone

Author: Lauren Clark

My Rating: ★★1/2

Synopsis: Every day, I wake up certain of only three things: I am responsible for my mother's death. My father has vanished. Someone wants me dead. I'm on the run. It's me against the world. I cannot let it break me. When sixteen-year-old Olivia Jacobs and her celebrity chef father are brutally attacked after his French Quarter restaurant opening, the shell-shocked Olivia finds herself on the run on the streets of New Orleans. Who wants her dead? And why?

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy by the author for an honest review.

      What really hurt this book was there were a lot of errors and inconsistencies with plot and especially characters. Gosh there were so many issues with the actual characters themselves and the characterization. It's like this book wasn't edited properly because a lot of things were clearly overlooked. As far as plot, it was basic, highly predictable, and not at all plausible. The whole scenario surrounding the character Olivia being on the run doesn't make any sense. Kate's whole plot and background could have been removed honestly as it added nothing. Overall I feel like the story has potential, but there need to be some real edits and reworking done to the plot and characters.

Monday, October 22, 2018

I've Got a Post-Graduation Job!

2:33:00 PM

I'VE GOT A POST-GRADUATION JOB

      Hey you guys! This is not at all book related, but I just wanted to give you an update on my personal life. As some of you may know, I finish undergrad in December (less than 50 days!) and recently decided I needed to take a gap year (or 2...) before going on to pursue a PhD. So, I started job searching in September and I am excited to say I have a job for after I graduate!


     I'm so pumped to have this job. It's for a cancer research company in downtown Chicago. I'm so excited to live in Chicago with my best friend since childhood and explore a city that I have visited many a time in my life. That being said, if any of y'all live in Chicago and would like to link up, I would love that! I don't have any friends there, so it's going to be a struggle making friends outside of work cause I'm not good at connecting with people.


     Anyway, I just finished my midterms and am currently on fall break. I probably won't be back posting regular book stuff and reviews until after I move in December, so thank you for sticking through this transition period in my life.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

I'm Still Alive (But I'm Barely Breathing)

2:52:00 PM

      So as the title says, I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing. I haven't posted anything on here since June, which now that I think about it, that might a record for the longest time I haven't posted anything on here. I'm going to be honest, I high-key even forgot I had a blog. I've been wrapped up in enjoying my summer, the hell that is research, and focusing on my last semester of undergrad, that I haven't really had time to read or blog. But the thing is, I'm not sorry.


      For the first time in years, I've truly enjoyed myself out in the real world. I have friends that I've been lucky enough to spend time with and actually open up to. I've had experiences that I only dreamed of happening. I've made life choices that have scared the hell out of me, but I'm so glad I made them because if I didn't, I don't know if I would still be here, or at least my sanity would be long gone. 


      As I mentioned in the first paragraph, it's my last semester of college, and I want to go out doing everything I need and want to do. I want to excel in my classes and research, and I'm in charge of several clubs, so all of that takes up quite a bit of my time. Reading for fun isn't in the picture right now, but that's okay, for now. I'm growing and changing, something I mistakenly thought I was done doing when I graduated high school (silly me). 


      In a few months, I will be done with college, and after lots of thinking and stressing, I've decided to take a break from academia before I go to grad school, and get a job out in the real world. I've also decided to move with my best friend since childhood to one of the cities of our dreams and test the limitations of our friendship, just like we always planned. 


     All of this is to say, right now my life is pretty good, and I'm not quite ready to come back to blogging. Blogging was my crutch, my safety from the world. But at the moment, I don't need it. When I'm no longer in college, I'm sure I'll be back because transitions are not the best time for me. And that's not to say that I won't post on here at all within the next 3 months, it's just the likelihood is very small and the posts if there are any, will be pretty infrequent.


      To those of you that have stuck with me this long, I thank you, and can only hope you'll stick around when I transition to the next stage of my life.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

"Cursed" by Jennifer L. Armentrout

10:30:00 AM

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Book: Cursed

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

My Rating: ★★1/2

Synopsis: Dying sucks
...and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. 

After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.

For real this time.

      I want to preface this by saying that Jennifer L. Armentrout is probably one of my favorite authors. Her characters, writing, and romance have always drawn me and and really stuck with me. That being said, I did not like this book. Like, at all.


      This book really disappointed me, though I guess I shouldn't have been surprised considering this is probably one of her least talked about books. I've actually not come across another booksphere person who has talked about this book. It's a shame because the premise for this book is something that Jennifer could have really drove home, but for me, it just fell flat.


      Nothing about this book was redeemable, which is really strange cause there is at least one thing that should have been done write, but wasn't. The writing and plot fell really flat for me. Nothing really happened until the last 15% of the book, and everything before was just unnecessary drama and padding. Jennifer tried to cram all the action, drama, climax, and resolution in a short amount of time, and it just didn't work. If this book wasn't written by her, I probably would have just straight up DNFed it.


      Now let's get to the most disappointing part of the book: the romance. If there is one thing Jennifer L. Armentrout can do write, it's romance, but this was not one of those cases. This relationship was so unhealthy, creepy, and in my opinion, quite toxic. Hayden, the main love interest, has been STALKING Ember, the main character, for damn near two years before they even fucking meet each other ! Then, when they get together, he's possessive, creepy, and just everything come off of him screams ISSUES. He does some pretty shady shit and Ember just glosses over it and forgives him, like the whole stalking thing.


      Overall, I'm sad that I didn't enjoy the book, but I don't regret reading it. It just goes to show that everything your favorite authors put out aren't going to necessarily be good.


      Have you read "Cursed"? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts about it down below in the comments. If not, have you read Jennifer L. Armentrout's other books? What are your thoughts on her works?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday Reads: June 28, 2018

2:41:00 PM

FRIDAY READS: JUNE 28, 2018

      My research project has kinda been at a stand still this week since my project mentor was out and I couldn't do anything without him, so, fortunately for me, unfortunately for the project, I got to do some reading.

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      I've been listening to "Cursed" by Jennifer L. Armentrout on audiobook this past week and am finishing it up today. I'm gonna be honest, this is definitely my least favorite book by her, which is a shame because I've loved everything else she has written. Now I understand why there has been little to no buzz about this book. It's a shame because the main relationship in this book is super fucking toxic, and that really puts me off. I'll write up a full review later, but let's just say I'm disappointed.

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      As a part of my effort to reread some of my favorite books, I've picked up "To All the Boys I've Loved Before". The timing was absolutely perfect because the trailer for the Netflix movie adaptation came out this week, which as a side note, I loved the trailer but I can already tell it's gonna be hella different than the book. I first read this book in the beginning of high school and now I'm almost at the end of my undergraduate career. Even within the first few chapters of the book, I could point out things that bother me now and definitely seem immature. Despite that, the cuteness of all the relationships and the swoonworthyness of Peter is still deeply rooted in me. This second Peter was back, I could feel my heart strings begin to tug. This book sure does bring out the feels in me.


      Anyways, that's what I'm reading/listening to this weekend. I'm also going to try to get some writing down, but we'll see if that happens.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Want to Read Before the End of the Year

9:30:00 AM

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: BOOKS YOU WANT TO READ BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR

      It has been forever and a day since I've done a Top 5 Wednesday. I mainly stopped doing them because I couldn't consistently come up with books for the prompts that weren't the same handful of books over and over again. A big reason why that happens is because I have a terrible time remembering books, even books that I supposedly enjoyed a lot. I'll delve into that in a later blog post. Anyways, I came across this week's topic and realized this was one I could actually do without being repetitive or having to dig, so without further ado, here are the top 5 books from my TBR that I want to read before the end of the year.

5. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

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I was absolutely obsessed with the trailer for this movie when it first came out. I couldn't stop watching it because for some reason it just gave me so many feels. I'd like to read the book before the movie comes out, but I'm already pretty certain the movie is going to be quite different from the book, which is fine because it still looks really good.

4. Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath

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I love history and this book covers the badass women in history that have pretty much just been glazed over. 

3. Misfit City Vol. 1 (Misfit City #1) by Kirsten Smith

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I tried to read this during the school year, but unfortunately I just didn't have time, so I finally want to finish it before the year is over.

2. Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann

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This book has an asexual black girl which is what describes me exactly. I've never read a book with an asexual MC, so I'm really excited to read a book where I will for once in my life be represented in.

1. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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I absolutely love Holly Black's works, and the fact that I haven't had time to get to this yet has killed me. She is the reason why I don't absolutely hate Fae books anymore.

Well there you have it! Those are the books that I will try my damnest to finish before the year is over. Hopefully I'll actually be able to finish them before the summer is over. Have you read any of the books on my list? If so, what did you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts down in the comments.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Tuesday Tunes: Lizzo

9:30:00 AM

TUESDAY TUNES: LIZZO

        My last LGBT+ artist in honor of PRIDE month is Lizzo. I came across Lizzo's work towards the end of last year, and I absolutely adore her. She is a queer, plus-sized black woman who doesn't give a damn what anyone else has to say. Her messages about body positivity and loving yourself are exactly what everyone should listen to. I also highly recommend watching all of her music videos. She features women of all sizes and shades, and it's such a refreshing look.



        My favorite song by her at the moment is "Fitness". It basically surrounds the idea that all the effort she is putting into her body is for her and no one else, and I can really relate to that. We live in a society that puts so much weight on appearances, and it's completely ridiculous. Anytime someone tries to change themselves, people assume it's for the world, but sometimes you just want to change for yourself. The lyrics, "Independent, athletic / I been sweating, doing calisthenics / Booty vicious, mind yo business / I been working, working on my fitness," really highlight the overall theme of Lizzo and most of her works.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tuesday Tunes: "Forbidden" Album by Todrick Hall

9:30:00 AM

TUESDAY TUNES: "FORBIDDEN" ALBUM BY TODRICK HALL
     
      Continuing with my theme of LGBT+ artists for Pride Month, this week I am highlighting Todrick Hall and his newest album, "Forbidden".

      I was first introduced to Todrick Hall while I was in high school by my best friend, and I've loved him ever since them. His Youtube videos were so unique and entertaining that he just drew me in from the start. Some of his most known works are Disney covers and mashups as well as popular artist mashups, but all with a very queer twist. All his videos are so lively and just bring me a lot of happiness. His videos were also the first time I was introduced to drag in good light, and he made me appreciate the art and opened me up to an entire community. 


     His newest album/visual album "Forbidden" was quite the dark turn away from his usual works and it through me off edge, but in a good way. It takes a look at what life would be if black was the majority and being gay was the norm. It addresses race and sexuality in a very powerful and poignant way that I have only ever seen in other works done by Janelle Monae. 


      My favorite song without a doubt is "Lullaby", which is actually sung and performed by Brandy. Her voice is so smooth and clear and just gives me goosebumps. The visuals that go along with it are just as stunning. The juxtaposition of these women dancing in all white with their babies in this dark room make my breath stop. 


      As far as my favorite song actually by Todrick on the album, it is definitely "Painting in the Rain". This song is such a powerful take on hypocrisy and bigotry through the idea of "painting in the rain". You can really hear the emotion and importance he feels in this song, and I feel like this song is what really captures the message of the album. 


      Overall, despite this album being a detour from his usual material, I really appreciate it. He demonstrates the intersection between race and sexuality and how they still need to be worked on today. So if you haven't gotten the chance to watch and listen to his newest work, below is the visual album as well as the album on Spotify. I highly recommend watching the album because it has a narrative you can't get in just the music.

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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