Book Reviews, Books

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia Review

Many of my book reviews go right into the summary of the novel. In this case, however, I won’t be because I want to express my love for Francesca Zappia’s Eliza and Her Monsters even before you get into the rest of my fangirl feels. It probably doesn’t come as too much as a surprise, but I am a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. For many readers and reviewers, including myself, Fangirl incorporates so much about fandom and having such a love for fictional stories and characters, not to mention social anxiety, family, relationships, and more. While I’ve read other, mostly great books about the Internet and fandom, reading Eliza and Her Monsters gave me the closest reading experience I had to Fangirl. Not only could I see myself in Eliza, but I could see myself in her story, even though I do not run a multi-million follower online series (maybe one day!). As you may tell as you read my review, I loved Eliza and Her Monsters and I highly recommend that you pick up this book as soon as possible.

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Summary: Eliza Mirk thinks she’s the quiet girl who prefers baggy sweatshirts and jeans to anything. But with a pen in her hand and a computer in front of her, she transforms into LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the popular online comic series, Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine having any relationship better than her online friendships, until she meets the new kid in school. Wallace is Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, who thinks Eliza is just another big fan of the webcomic. As Wallace pulls Eliza out of her shell, she must decide if she’s prepared to have a life both offline and online.

My Rating: Beyond 5/5 Stars

**WARNING: There are spoilers for Eliza and Her Monsters below**

My Thoughts:

The concepts in Eliza and Her Monsters blew my mind. This might my English major and analyzing brain coming in, but I couldn’t help looking for symbolism in the novel right after I finished reading. Probably one of my funniest interests of the book is the names of Eliza and her brothers. I loved how Church and Sully were named after historical figures, and that leads to me think that Eliza may have been named after a certain Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton (Hamilton just reads non-stop in me). When it comes to symbolism, I saw a lot of similarities between Amity, the main protagonist of Monstrous Sea, and Eliza. For instance, I think that the Watcher in Amity could hold a similar significance to LadyConstellation being part of Eliza’s identity. From what I understand, the Watcher gives Amity great power, while being the webcomic creator that she is makes Eliza feel important and powerful, the mother of a fandom (one of my favorite sayings in the book).

The manner of how Eliza’s identity as LadyConstellation being uncovered completely threw me. Originally, I thought that the bully who stole her sketch would put two and two together and realize that Eliza created Monstrous Sea. When the Mirks go on their camping trip and Eliza is cut off to the online world, I thought Eliza would return home and find out that everyone knew that she created the webcomic. That being said, I was completely thrown off (and wrong again) when her parents publish it in her senior year description in the town’s magazine. Eliza’s parents were frustrating enough, and I hated how they did this to Eliza. While I never doubted their care for Eliza, Sully and Church were completely right when they point out that they never truly tried to figure out what Monstrous Sea was, let alone the size of the fandom. It was really interesting for Francesca Zappia to place this misunderstanding of the online world in Eliza’s parents, as they just didn’t understand why Eliza spent so much time online and how she had friendships there (appreciation for Max and Emmy is much deserved, and I’m still hoping for a Mr. Greatbody to show up in the mail).

Toward the end of the novel, I was also a bit frustrated with Wallace; by no means did I dislike him though. When I pictured Wallace in my head, I imagined Finn Hudson, from Glee, with longer hair (I was definitely influenced by the whole football player thing). Once Eliza’s identity is discovered, she’s obviously in such a horrible state, and while I understand Wallace’s frustration, I think him pushing Eliza to finish the story for his own publishing sake was uncalled for. At that point, I myself was unsure if Eliza would find it in her to finish the webcomic, and she completely didn’t need that added stress from Wallace.

In the end, I was overjoyed that Eliza was taking care of her herself and was working on her relationships with her family, Wallace, and Max and Emmy, not to mention that she finished Monstrous Sea. I am beyond excited to read Francesca Zappia’s other work, like Children of Hypnos and Made You Up, and I am PRAYING FOR A MONSTROUS SEA GRAPHIC NOVEL OR WEBCOMIC!! After I finished reading the book, I went back and looked and read Eliza’s Monstrous Sea excerpts, which made me even more interested in the comic. I’m hoping to go on to Tumblr and see so much fanart and quotes, not to mention some more art of Davy. Guys, there’s a DOG in this book and he makes an appearance in Monstrous Sea, THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH FOR ANYONE TO PICK UP THIS BOOK!

Have you read or are planning to read Eliza and Her Monsters (please say yes)? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments below!

Book Reviews, Books

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Summary: Dimple Shah can’t wait to get away from her mother’s obsession with finding her the “Ideal Indian Husband” when she goes to Stanford University in the fall. She starts to think that her parents are on the same page as their career-first daughter when they allow her to attend Insomnia Con, a summer program for aspiring coders and web developers. Rishi Patel, on the other hand, greatly appreciates his Indian upbringing, including his parents’ wish for him to have an arranged marriage. With his future wife attending Insomnia Con as well, the hopeful romantic Rishi doesn’t think anything can go wrong– until he meets Dimple.

My Rating: 4.5/ 5 Stars

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Cover Lust? : GIVE ME A POSTER OF THIS BEAUTY PLEASE

My Thoughts:

When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017, completely jealous of anyone who was able to receive an ARC back in January, and Sandhya Menon delivered in this young-adult romantic comedy. Besides its summer contemporary vibes, what drew me into this novel was its diversity, as Dimple and Rishi are both Indian Americans, whose families value tradition and in their case, arranged marriages. It was interesting to get a glimpse of their home lives (kudos to Dimple for sitting through tea time with her mom and auntie Ritu) and their culture. While Rishi definitely incorporates his family’s traditions more than Dimple into his daily life, I still enjoyed Dimple’s nods to her culture- wearing kurtas, performing a Bollywood dance at the summer program, etc.

One of the many things that I appreciated about When Dimple Met Rishi was Dimple’s confidence in accomplishing her goals. While she does develop feelings for Rishi and builds a strong relationship with him, I loved how she was determined to have a career and work on her app before the idea of marriage and having children even entered her mind. Her determination makes her a great role model not only for women entering the tech industry, but for all girls. Another aspect of the novel that I enjoyed was the ‘role reversal’ between Dimple and Rishi in the beginning of the novel. Dimple is furious that her parents would press an arranged marriage on her at this point in her life, contrary to Rishi’s excitement in getting to know his hopefully future wife. In some contemporary reads, often the female protagonists tend to be the head-over-heels characters , and I just loved this reversal.

Overall, I really enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi. Even though it was a tad predictable, this was the perfect YA rom-com because of its characters and diversity, and I’m excited to see what Sandhya Menon has next.

Have you read When Dimple Met Rishi? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments!

Book Reviews, Books

Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Summary: It’s the end of her junior year of high school, and Lucy’s life feels pretty good: she has the perfect boyfriend, Lukas, she’s captain of the swim team, her mother no longer has cancer, and she loves practicing her faith with her family, especially at their church summer camp. But everything comes crashing down when her mother’s cancer comes back. When her relationship with Lukas comes to a standstill and she becomes a summer counselor at the camp for troubled youth across the lake, Lucy questions how she’ll make it through each day, let alone the summer. Emery Lord’s The Names They Gave Us follows Lucy’s emotion-filled journey centered around faith, family, and friendship.

Cover Lust?: I want this cover displayed on my wall, please and thank you. I loved the painted look and how the tree is incorporated into the story.

 

My Rating: 5/5 stars

**WARNING: There are spoilers below for The Names They Gave Us**

My Thoughts:

 The Names They Gave Us had me hooked from the very first chapter. I just fell into Lucy’s story, the characters, and the setting. While the book does have a lot of happy moments, the story equally has its sad moments, as we see Marianne’s health deteriorate and Lucy struggle with her faith. She just doesn’t understand why her mother and her family had to be put in this situation. I appreciated the intimacy that Emery Lord sets up between the reader and Lucy, along with the intimacy between characters. Lucy has such a close relationship with her family, especially her mother, that my heart just broke for her.

My spirits definitely lifted up when Lucy goes to Daybreak, and I loved being surrounded by Lucy’s friends and campers. I loved how the novel primarily took place at Daybreak, adding to its summer contemporary vibes (the best contemporary books are ones that take place in the summer). My favorite part of the novel was Lucy having the summer that her mom wanted for her. She’s too busy to think about all the stress and grief in her life, and she finally makes her own inner circle of friends. I wish I could join on the trips to Tom’s with Anna, Keely, and Mohan in tow—plus the onion rings sounded soooo yummuy. Henry Jones is one of my new fictional boyfriends, and if I were a summer counselor, I would hope that Payton, Nadia, and Thuy would be among my campers.

Personally, my only issue with this book was the ending. When I got to the last page, I had to flip back and forth a few times to make sure that I hadn’t accidentally skipped a few pages. I wanted an ending where Lucy is staying goodbye to her campers, her friends, and Daybreak for the summer, NOT AN ENDING WHERE EVERYONE IS AT THE HOSPITAL AS LUCY’S MOM IS GOING INTO THE ICU. I get one of the points that Emery Lord makes- that no matter what happens to Marianne, Lucy will have her family, friends, and faith to support her and that there is always going to be some sort of unknown in life. It’s just that we built up to so much in this novel and we’re just left on our own to decide what happens—I’m sorry but I just need to know!! Between the story, the emotions, the twists, the charcters, I enjoyed The Names They Gave Us so much.Please Emery Lord, give us a sequel or novella!

Have you read The Names They Gave Us? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments!

Book Reviews, Books

Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

 

Summary: Since she was ten years old, seventeen-year old Flora Banks has been unable to create new memories. Her mind often resets itself during the day, and she has no short-term memory whatsoever. Until she kisses her best friend’s boyfriend, Drake, and remembers it. Now faced with this one memory, Flora believes that Drake is not only responsible for restoring her memory, but for also making her feel like a normal teenage girl. With “be brave” written on her arm, Flora is determined to travel to Norway to find Drake and thank him for allowing her to reclaim her mind and her life.

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My Rating: 4.75/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

If you’re looking for a quick, yet meaningful read, look no further: I didn’t realize how addicted I would become to The One Memory of Flora Banks until I had read the first fifty pages within a half hour. You soon find yourself wanting to learn more about Flora, rooting for her along her journey in and out of Penzance, and feeling heartbroken for our main protagonist. The One Memory of Flora Banks was the first book I’ve read that’s told from the perspective of someone with amnesia. While some readers may not be drawn to Flora’s repetition, as she needs to constantly needs to remind herself of who she is, where she is, who she should know, etc., but I feel that it gave a more authentic portrait of her. This book has been compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time , as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is told from the perspective of an individual who has a mental illness and has a more-so innocent mindset like Flora. Having read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time also, I felt more drawn to Flora’s story because of its more unique plot and main POV.

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While The One Memory of Flora Banks has some frustrating parts (Paige’s ignorance, Flora’s very controlling parents), I loved this story and left me wanting the best for Flora. She is such an innocent individual who just needs the right support and community in her life. If there was one character I wish we had more involvement from, it would have been Jacob, Flora’s brother. He just cared for Flora so much, and he was one of the few people in Flora’s life that was completely honest with her. I also loved the community of people Flora finds in Svalbard—they make her feel like the normal person she wishes to be and how she should truly be treated. Without being too spoilery, the uncovering of the “truth” behind Flora’s life in the last section of the novel had me totally intrigued and wanting more.

Have you read The One Memory of Flora Banks? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments!

Book Reviews, Books

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Summary: Sixteen-year old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier enjoys participating in the school musical and emailing with Blue, the pen name of another not-so-openly gay guy at Simon’s school. But when class clown Martin comes across Simon’s emails, Martin blackmails Simon into helping him date one of their friends. If Simon doesn’t play wingman, Martin will reveal Simon’s sexual identity and his emails with Blue. Filled with humor, love, and suspense, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda follows Simon and his friends’ suddenly complicated junior year.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts: **Warning: there are spoilers for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda below**

 I admit, it took me a while to pick up Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda because I was a bit scared by all the hype surrounding the book. I wasn’t totally sold by the premise of the novel, and I didn’t want to be the one person not to like this book. However, I’ve been really interested in Becky Albertalli’s latest release The Upside of Unrequited, and while you don’t need to read Simon to read Upside, there’s apparently a Simon reference in the newer release. Despite my fear of not liking Simon, I ended up really enjoying the book and read it within two days!

I loved how Martin’s blackmailing started on the very first page of the book because we jumped right into the plot. We didn’t need the first two chapters or so just to set up Simon’s life, rather we learned about our main character as he faced his dilemma. I figured that it would have been too predictable to have Martin be Blue, and as much as I loved the idea of Cal and Simon together, it just would have been too convenient. I actually predicted Bram as Blue about halfway into the novel, after Simon learned that Blue was Jewish (Abraham is a traditionally Jewish name).

I also enjoyed reading about Simon’s family and friends. I loved how close Simon’s family is, and it makes me sad that Simon was nervous about coming out to them, as they were totally supportive of him no matter what. I loved his friendship with Nick and Leah because they were all just so comfortable with one another, playing videogames with Bieber in Nick’s basement. One of my few ‘disappointments’ about the novel was the lack of Oreos! Whenever people talk about Becky Albertalli or her books, Oreos almost always become a topic of conversation. Yes, Oreos were in the novel (and on the cover), but there just wasn’t an abundance. I wanted Blue/Bram to show up with a bouquet full of Oreos for Simon, but in the end, I wouldn’t expect Nabisco to become the sponsor of the novel.

I’m looking forward to the Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda film adaption (even though I’m sad that it’s not coming out until 2018), and Becky Albertalli’s next release, also slated for 2018, will be told from the perspective of Leah and will be the sequel to Simon. I’m really excited for this book as well because Leah was one of my favorite characters in Simon and I wish we had more interaction with her.

Have you read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Book Reviews, Books

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J.Maas

If this review is up, then that means that I have conquered the beast that is A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. The latest installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, which is no longer a trilogy (!!!), is a whooping 699 pages long— even though the physical hardcover doesn’t look like it because Bloomsbury has made Sarah’s longer books with thinner pages for the sake of the environment. I’m all about being eco-friendly and I love trees, but if I read a book that is 700 pages long, I want that book to look like a monster!! **Warning: there will be spoilers in the my thoughts section of this review**

Cover Lust? : This is my favorite cover in the series so far because I love Feyre’s dress and the mountains in the background. However, I wish the green, at least on the spine, was a bit darker so it could match up with A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury’s darker color tones.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I made it my goal to read at least one hundred pages per day, which I succeeded in doing so after reading ACOWAR in five days. It was quite easy to do so because there were many moments where I just couldn’t put the book down. For example, during the meeting with all of the courts (my favorite part in the book), I stayed up past my bedtime because I was so enchanted by the new characters we meet and the tension in the meeting. Outside of the Night Court, my favorite court is hands-down the Winter Court because of Viviane. She just felt so human, and she brought a lot of humor to the situation. I love when she asks her husband why she can’t be High Lady like Feyre. I also really enjoyed her friendship with Mor.

My favorite character in ACOWAR is most definitely Nesta. Nesta is willing to do anything to protect Elain, and I feel like her protectiveness was really evident after Graysen breaks his engagement with Elain. Feyre even fears what Nesta may do to him for breaking Elain’s heart. Nesta reminds me of Angelica Schuyler from Hamilton, willing to do anything for her sister. I also enjoyed seeing her try to figure out her power and train with Amren, and her sass was to die for. I wish we got to see her relationship with Cassian further, and I loved every scene where they interacted together. Even though they’re not official, they are my favorite OTP in the series.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading ACOWAR, however, I feel very conflicted about the ending, which prevented me from giving the book a 5 out of 5 stars. The final battle just had so many ups and downs. I was so happy when Elain and Nesta murdered King Hybern, as I believe that they are the two most haunted individuals in the series after their experience in the Cauldron. Yet, I was so confused by Amren potentially betraying the Court (she ultimately doesn’t) and how the Cauldron controlled Feyre. I think a lot of my confusion came from waiting for some sort of real action or resolution. I totally called Rhysand dying, however, I did not know if he would come back to life (which he does). While I am happy that all of the Court of Dreams survived, I feel like someone shouldn’t have lived, considering that this was one of the biggest wars in Fae history. In general, a lot of things just feel unresolved, which may be the point as Sarah releases more books in the ACOTAR world. Are Nesta and Cassian actually going to be a couple or mates? Is Mor going to confess her true feelings and sexuality to Azriel and the gang? Also, is she going to end up with Viviane’s sister?? Sarah doesn’t name her until the very end, which I don’t know if Sarah wrote it that way or if she’ll have a larger role to play in the rest of the series. Is the mating bond between Lucien and Elain going to snap into the place? I could also see Azriel and Elain being a couple as well!! And what about the queens, how is that going to play into the new treaty??? Like I said before, ACOWAR is 699 pages long and while there is never a dull moment, certain components could have been taken out in order to provide some more resolution. Call me impatient, but I really don’t want to have to wait a year+ to find out more, especially since ACOWAR was originally supposed to be a trilogy conclusion. While I consider Sarah as one of my favorite and go-to authors and I adore the worlds she creates, I’m not feeling too excited right now about more ACOTAR books. I’m hoping my feelings will change as we get more details about the series (right now, there is supposed to be three more books and two novellas).

Have you read A Court of Wings and Ruin?? Share your thoughts and reactions in the comments!

Book Reviews, Books

Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Summary:

Elle is the biggest Starfield fangirl you’ll ever meet. She is super-excited about the space/sci-fi TV series’ movie reboot, until it’s announced that Darien Freeman is slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor. Yes, Darien Freeman, the teenage heartthrob from that soap opera, is slated to play one of Elle’s all-time favorite characters. While Elle is not happy about this news, there’s one thing she is more than excited for: the Starfield cosplay contest at Excelsicon. The winner gets tickets to the LA premiere of the movie, where Elle can finally put her evil stepmother and stepsisters behind.

Darien Freeman has a love for Starfield that rivals his love for orange Crush. Playing Carmindor isn’t just job for him: it’s his fanboy dream come true. But playing the Federation Prince isn’t a total happily ever. Instead of walking the floor of Excelsicon just like any other ordinary fan, Darien has to do meet-and-greats, signings, and judge the Starfield cosplay contest. And when Starfield fans start doubting Darien’s ability to play the Federation Prince, Darien questions how he’ll do the fandom and himself justice.

Star Rating: 4.5/5 stars 

Cover Lust?: Yes! There’s the Magic Pumpkin and Franco, what else could you need?

My Thoughts:

Geekerella is my new favorite Cinderella retelling because of how relatable this book was to me as a fangirl. Elle and Darien are such huge fans of Starfield, and they each have a special connection to the series. Elle’s parents met at a Starfield convention and shared their love for the series with their daughter, supplemented by the fact that Elle’s dad founded Excelsicon. Darien grew up watching the series with his dad, and this totally reminded of how I read and watched Harry Potter with my mom.

I really enjoyed how Ashley Preston mixed Cinderella elements with modern elements. My favorite combined element was the Magic Pumpkin food truck! I thought it was such a clever idea for Elle’s mode of transportation, along with the fact that it came along with Sage as her fairy godmother. Sage was my favorite side character in the book because she was always there for Elle. She let Elle bring her into the Starfield fandom, which reminded me of how I share my love for fandoms with my own friends. Most of my friends can’t hang out with me without me mentioning Hamilton or Harry Potter or books at least three times.

One of my favorite parts in the novel is when Elle and Darien are at Excelsicon. My only complaint is that I wish Elle went around the show floor more. When she was describing all the cosplayers and the atmosphere, it reminded me of my own experiences at conventions, and I wished I was on the show floor with her. Overall, the fandom elements were so amazing in this book. If a crush tells me, “I hear the observation deck is nice this time of year”, I just might swoon over.

While the ending was a bit predictable, I absolutely loved it and gave me all the fangirl feels. Sometimes you just need a good happily ever after. My favorite part of Geekerella wasn’t even in the actual story– Ashley Preston’s acknowledgements made me cry! In her acknowledgements, Ashley Preston thanks the fandom community and the reader. I squealed when she writes, “So I want to thank you . You, the reader. You, who cosplays and writes fanfiction and draws fan art and runs a forum and collects Funko-Pops and must have hardcovers for all of your favorite book series and frames for your autographed posters”. If that’s not me, I don’t know who I am! Her acknowledgements were just so heartfelt, and I look forward to reading her other books!

What’s your favorite fandom(s)? Share in the comments below!

Book Reviews, Books, Uncategorized

A Court of Mist and Fury Reread Review

Happy A Court of Wings and Ruin Release Day!!With Sarah J.Maas’s A Court of Wings and Ruin’s finally out, I knew I had to reread A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury before starting the last book in this trilogy. ACOMAF was one of my favorite reads of 2016, again hailing Sarah J.Maas as the queen of fantasy. While I really enjoyed my reread, I wasn’t completely memorized by ACOMAF this time around. Without going into spoilery detail, I was not too enchanted by the romance in this novel, as I was more focused on the characters’ backstories, action, and world-building. Despite my dislike for the romantic elements, I cannot wait to get my hands on ACOWAR once my semester is over! I preordered the book from Barnes & Noble and completed the preorder promotion for a map of the ACOTAR world!

**Warning:This review contains ACOMAF spoilers. **

What I Liked :

  • Learning more about the Court of Dreams My favorite part of ACOMAF are the members of the Court of Dreams– Rhysand, Cassian, Azriel, Mor, and Amren. While I don’t mind Feyre as the main narrator, I enjoy reading about the members of the Court of Dreams so much more. They all add their own character to the story, and I love the humor and Cassian and Mor often bring. I laughed out when Mor hopes that Feyre isn’t dead when she checks in on her at the cabin.
  • The world-building I loved going to the Summer Court and meeting Tarquin and his court. I have a feeling Tarquin will definitely make an appearance or two in ACOWAR, as the Summer Court and Spring Court are allies. I also fell in love with the city of Velaris. I love the contrast between the darkness that comes with being labeled as the Night Court and the rainbow and color that is Velaris. I was screaming during the battle over the city.
  • The ending The court’s trip to Hybern comes shortly after the Rhysand and Feyre are mates/let’s have sex and celebrate scenes, so I was looking for more action as the pages dwindled.  AND SARAH J. MAAS COMPLETELY DELIVERED. Between the appearance of Jurian, the arrival of the Spring Court and Feyre’s sisters, and all the drama and tension in that scene, I was again having all the fangirl feels.
  • Remembering scenes that I had forget about- I think by just focusing on the ending of the novel and thinking about what’s to come in ACOWAR, I forgot a lot of the plot details and scenes in the novel. For example, I forgot about the mortal queens’ involvement with the Book and Lucien’s hunt for Feyre.

What I Disliked:

  • The emphasis on the romance– Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Feyre and Rhysand as a couple and I understand that their bond is a key element to the novel’s plot. However, I hated how almost every scene had to have some sort of detail about their feelings and how hot one looked with their Illyrian wings. I just felt like it took away from the novel’s action and suspense.
  • The sex scenes– In my opinion, the sex scenes in ACOTAR and ACOMAF place the series into the new adult genre instead of the young adult genre. Personally, I do not enjoy the sex scenes because I find them a bit unnecessary and a bit too detailed. I understand Feyre and Rhysand have these deep feelings for each other, but I don’t need to know about what Rhysand wants to do his mate laying on the kitchen table.

What are you most looking forward to in ACOWAR? Let me know in the comments below!!

Book Reviews, Books

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Summary: Sixteen-year old Starr Carter leads two lives: the one in her poor, black neighborhood and the one at her predominantly white high school. Starr does her best to balance both worlds, until she witnesses her childhood best friend, Khalil, die at the hands of a police officer.  Contrary to the officer’s belief, Khalil was unarmed and innocent. Starr deals with the aftermath of Khalil’s death head on, as he quickly becomes a national headline and Starr’s community looks for answers. Starr must decide how she’ll prove to her friends, community and the nation that Khalil wasn’t the thug the police and media are trying to make him out as.

Star Rating: 5/5 Stars

Cover Lust?: Yes! This cover is just so clean and I love the way Starr’s poster stands out in person

My Thoughts:

I admit, I was a little nervous to pick up The Hate U Give because of all of the hype it was receiving. Angie Thomas’s debut novel has been #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list for weeks,and so many bloggers and Booktubers are raving about it. I was afraid that I would end up not liking the book. However, within the first three chapters of The Hate U Give, I just fell into it.  When I’m completely memorized by a book in the very beginning, I know there’s a 99.99% chance that I’m going to absolutely love it and I did.

I was enchanted with many of the characters, especially Starr. She’s the side we rarely get in these horrific situations. I love how this book portrays what we don’t see in the media: what actually happened.While it was heartbreaking, I greatly appreciated Thomas for writing Starr’s breakdowns throughout the book. The tears don’t stop right after Khalil dies; they continue throughout the period after his death. Starr didn’t magically stop feeling sad and suddenly become this martyr. She struggles to prove that her friend wasn’t a thug. He was a human, he was her Harry Potter-loving best friend.

Sidenote: I loved the Harry Potter storyline in this book. Starr, Khalil, and Natasha were their own trio. I mean c’mon, “tighter than the inside of Voldemort’s nose”?? That’s genius! I also enjoyed how Seven and Starr find comfort in the series. One of my favorite moments was when Starr’s dad offered to watch Harry Potter with her, even though he didn’t understand why no one ever thought to just shot Voldemort.

The Carters soon became one of my favorite families in the YA world. They have such a strong family dynamic and each brought their own character to the story. Beside his humor, Starr’s dad was one of my favorite characters in THUG because of his love for his family. He refuses to be defined by his past and just wants a better life for his kids.. Also,can Starr’s mom be my honorary aunt or something?? She was just so extremely caring and gave Starr such great advice and support. One of my favorite quotes in the novel comes from Lisa, telling Starr, “Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, Starr. It means you go on even though you’re scared”. I also loved Starr’s relationship with Seven and Sekani, as they go from giving each other wedgies to standing up for one another.

From the  #BlackLivesMatter movement to Starr’s use of social media, I love the contemporary relevance in this book. It feels like 2017. In relation to the political climate that is the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I like how Starr and Thomas make it a point that not all cops are bad, which is additionally exemplified through her Uncle Carlos. They want to call attention to police officers who are in the wrong and don’t take responsibility for their actions.

It was so heartbreaking and frustrating that Starr’s story wasn’t taken seriously in the eyes of the jury and other individuals. In relation to social media, I love how Starr’s Tumblr and Twitter reflect her activism. I even love how during her fight with Hailey, someone shouts “World Star”. While it was a small detail, the fight would be something that was posted to the“World Star” Twitter account. It made it feel like something similar could have happened in any high school or college.

Overall, I loved The Hate U Give because I learned something. I learned about Tupac and Thug Life (by the way, Angie Thomas is a genius for coming up with the anagram, THUG!!!). I learned to not make conceptions about people based on their race, their class, their habits. I learned that it is important to stand up for what you believe in. To stand up for the truth and the people you love.

Have you read The Hate U Give? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments!

Book Reviews, Books

Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Summary: Before she became the Queen of Hearts, all Cath wanted to do was open the best bakery in Wonderland.In Cath’s parents’ opinion, their daughter should be more concerned about her impending engagement to the King than baking lemon tarts. Cath dreads receiving the King’s proposal at a royal ball, until she meets Jest, the handsome court joker. With Jest by her side, Cath is more than ready to open her bakery, even it its means losing her way to the throne. However, Cath forgets that this is Wonderland after all, and Wonderland has its own plans for Cath’s future.

Star Rating: 4.75/5 Stars. I really loved this book, however, I disliked some parts and couldn’t give it a full 5 stars.

Cover Lust?: Yes! The cover art and its typography is stunning, but what makes this books even more aesthetically pleasing is that IT IS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL NAKED!

My Thoughts: When I picked up Heartless, I was a craving a fun, fantasy read and this book more than satisfied my desire. Marissa Meyer created her own Wonderland, along with reflecting Lewis Carroll’s original tale. There was croquet with hedgehogs and flamingos, mad tea parties, three creepy sisters in a well, talking animals, and so much other whimsy!

I really enjoyed Cath as the main character because of her determination. I adored how baking was her true passion, and  learning how to make lemon tarts is on my priority list. I loved her friendship with Mary Ann (yay positive female friendships!). However, the one problem that I had with Cath was her agonizing over the King and Jest. While there was some action and excitement in between, I needed more of a conclusion sooner. Along with Cath, I loved Jest so much. He was so mysterious and lovely and brought his own magic and whimsy to the story. I wasn’t a huge fan of his bestie, Hatta. From the moment Hatta met Cath, I suspected that he had something behind his back.

I knew going into this novel that it was a Queen of Hearts retelling, but I admit, I rooted for an ending where Cath didn’t become the Queen of Hearts. When Cath re-enters Hearts toward the end, I was somewhat convinced that Marissa Meyer would deliver an alternate ending. However, I did enjoy Cath’s transformation and seeing the title of the book come to life. As a fan of Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series, Cath’s story reminded me of Levana’s transformation in Fairest.  I look forward to Meyer’s future books, and I really hope she keeps writing about fairytales!

Have you read Heartless? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments below!