Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I DIDN'T DIE but hiatus begins again

So, if you read my last post/review, I put a little note thingy at the bottom that said I would be trying to post once a week now. Obviously, that was an epic fail. A little after I published that post, life got more intense, and I freaked out and ditched the blog to do school for a while and never said a word about my disappearance ever (sorry). I haven't even logged in to blogger in the past month, which is terrible.

Anyways.

Technically, I'm already on hiatus because I haven't posted anything in over a month. But this is me just making it more obvious than it already is and saying I'm going on another hiatus, and I have no idea how long this one will last.

Honestly, I never know when I'm going to sit down and write a blog post. I always wing it, and now I know how terrible that is. Sometimes, I just can't think of anything because I'm constantly busy and my brain is exhausted. This hiatus isn't me just taking a break, it's me trying to figure out a way to blog without it feeling like a huge burden. 

However, I'm not disappearing off the face of the internet. I might not do it a lot, but I will be commenting on other blogs and reading posts and all that.

See you all later!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer || END OF THE MASSIVE HIATUS


In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?


Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now. 



The best villains are the ones you understand.

Before reading Fairest, Queen Levana was just another villain. Sure, she was fearsome, twisted, and powerful. But she had little to no character development or backstory (even though she's SUPER intriguing). I could never think of her as a vulnerable young girl, lonely and terrified, but in Fairest, that is exactly what she is, and that makes it worse (or better. it depends) because you feel sympathetic towards her. Seeing her change into the person she becomes is a slow and painful process.

This is where I take a moment to applaud Marissa Meyer because A) she took the time to write this amazing book and B) she is incredibly skilled. 

Keep in my mind that this is the person who wrote Cinder and Scarlet and Cress. Cress. Innocent, vulnerable Cress. And now she has written an actual psychopath and it's just-- *flails*



This book felt so raw and powerful! Each sentence packed a punch, and even though I wanted to hate Levana with everything in me, I couldn't, because in the end I really just pitied her-- twisted mind and all.  

However, understanding why she does horrible things (and questioning yourself because really, how can you understand such horrifying actions?) is not the worst (or best-- again, it depends) part. 

The worst part is seeing Levana talk herself out of feeling guilty each time, because she deserves the good she is going to get/has. The worst part is that the entire time, she just wants to be loved, and she has no idea that what she is doing is not loving or caring. It's obsession and cruelty and torture. 

Fairest lasts over a long period of time. It starts when Levana is 15 years old, with a crush on a guard that she's had for 7 years-- ever since the first time she's seen him. She's lonely. She's scared. But she's hopeful that this person who has shown her kindness can care for her. Love her. Pretty soon, she's convinced herself that he does love her. Despite the fact that he's only feeling sympathy for her, and wanting to be her friend because he sees her loneliness. I'm pretty sure this wins biggest misunderstanding of the year. Or decade.

And even though I just talked about how epically this was written, I'm going to say it again. IT WAS GLORIOUS IN PRETTY MUCH THE MOST AWFUL OF WAYS. 


Also, I'm baaack! Finally. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to keep a steady stream of posts coming, but there will be (hopefully) at least one post per week. It's not much, but I'm just aiming for some structure here. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hiatus

Um. Yeah.

I've kind of already been on hiatus. For a while. But this is just here to say that the hiatus will be going on a for while longer.

This is when I explain why.

School is really heavy, and extremely stressful. I have community service on the weekends (which is not fun because now it is very cold where I live). I have some big responsibilities that happen to be very time consuming, and they're higher on my list than blogging is.

SO. The Hiatus begins, and I'm not really sure when it's going to end. Probably sometime at the end of the month, or maybe even next month. When I do come back, it's mostly going to be reviews at first, because until this school year is done, I'm going to be busy.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Reviewing: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass Bk.3) by Sarah J. Maas

She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth...a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.


*Contains spoilers from the previous books.

I know I didn't review book two. I know I didn't like book one. But dear God this book was epic. 

First of all, Celaena (although I suppose I should call her Aelin now) grows so much in this book. Seriously. I was really mad at her in the first book because she seemed heartless and bitter and arrogant. And I get it. She's an assassin. But I really wanted to see her feel something. In this book, there's no more of her denying her feelings and running from her past. She faces it head on. She realizes she is lost and searches for her way back. It was both heart-breaking and awesome (in a non-mean way), to see someone so strong fall apart.

Again, SHE GROWS SO MUCH. Go her.

Chaol and Dorian are not the focuses of this book. Things (BIG things) are still happening in their lives as well, but I feel like Sarah J. Maas' intention was mainly Aelin. Which is great! Aelin is the main character. But I still wish we could have seen more of what was going on inside of Chaol's and Dorian's heads. 

Which we prooobably would have had if a) like I said above, Aelin was less of a focus and b) new characters were not introduced.

Manon Blackbeak is an Ironteeth witch, heir to the Blackbeak Witch Clan, leader of the Thirteen.

"She counted to ten, because she wanted to hunt, and had been that way since she tore through her mother’s womb and came roaring and bloody into the world."

Pleasant, I know.
I've seen a couple people hating on Manon and I don't get it. I loved her brutality. I loved her cunning. I loved learning about the Thirteen. I loved seeing her change from a heartless witch into a considerably less-heartless witch. SHE WAS AWESOME. That is all.

Sorscha is a healer at the Glass Palace, incredibly shy, and has a massive crush on Dorian. I'm not sure how much I can say about her without exposing all the spoilers ever, but basically stuff goes down. And it's not good stuff.

And then we've got Rowan. Not gonna lie, I wasn't very impressed by all his manly, dangerous vibes. He seemed like your typical moody warrior man with tragic past. I eventually warmed up to him, but I don't love him. I felt like he was predictable.

I hated the king so much in this book. UGH. Anger. Also suspense, because there is darkness and magic and ASDFGHJKL. I was very excited to see the dark forces and how they acted and how evil they were because um. MAGIC. 

Apparently, there are demon-things that can bring your greatest fears/worst memories to life before your eyes, making it seem as you are literally reliving the most traumatizing parts of your life. 


The ending was very cliffhanger-y. I'm pretty sure I sat there for ten minutes in complete suspense even though I already have the fourth book.



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why I Don't Like Love Triangles

I actually have pretty intense feelings regarding love triangles. Intense, as you know by the title, in a bad way. I don't like to write them. If I read them, then there's a list of things that I like to have checked off. I'm picky. Very. (In fact, I should probably chill a little bit).

Before I begin the bashing, I should say that in a cute, fluffy contemporary, I don't mind love triangles. If that's the focus of the book and the MC is growing and finding who she is as a result of it, then I don't mind it at all. It's just that I think there are way too many love triangles out there that don't really have a reason to exist.

Since many of my reviews/posts include little hints at how much I don't like them, here's a list of why:

It should be noted that I am referring to YA. 

  1. It's cliche. In my opinion, this is a bad reason-- I don't like to judge a book by what comes before it. However, if 9/10 of the books I read have the exact same love story, I am not pleased. You know what I mean by exact same. There are 2 options for what story the "good" guy will have. The first is childhood friend, trusted by the MC, but she just doesn't feel the same way. He's more like her big brother, and she doesn't want to break his heart. Option the second-- he brings out the good in her and makes her feel safe and loved. It's all butterflies and rainbows in this relationship. And the bad boy... does he really need a description?
  2. I always like the wrong guy. This isn't a legitimate reason but I needed to say that. Moving on.
  3. It's unnecessary. By unnecessary, I mean: Is this really contributing to the plot? Or what kind of person the MC becomes? Does it help the story grow and gain depth? A lot of the time, the answers to those questions are gonna be no. (Particularly in dystopian YA). 
  4. It's unrealistic. For this one, I'm pretty much focusing on dystopian YA (though it can apply to various other genres as well), because I feel like dystopian should have the least love triangles while it has the most. About 99% of the time, the main character in a dystopian novel has her hands full. She's trying to save the world-- or her world. She's busy. And yet, she is falling in love with two separate guys-- so much so that it's all she can think about while a war rages on her doorstep. 
  5. No effort at all was put into creating the love triangle. Sometimes, the love interests are two-dimensional. They're flat. They're echoes of hundreds of other characters, with no personality and no purpose other than adding drama. Sometimes, the main character already loves one of them, yet another character is thrown in last minute-- even though there is no reason for them to be there. 
I'm not a big fan of the The Hunger Games, but I do appreciate the love triangle. Katniss handles it well. She realizes that she does not need either guy to survive and that she is completely fine on her own. She puts love aside at the moment, because she's literally the symbol that started a war. 

Of course, it's different if it's a fantasy novel or a contemporary novel. However, I think that regardless of the book, if there is a war/fight/greater evil in a book then that should be the focus. 

All this aside, I do understand why love triangles are so popular. A lot of people like them. God knows the media loves them. What is more suitable to focus on in a book series than the love triangle?


End rant.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Reviewing: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas




Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…



Before we start, I'm just gonna say that I didn't like this as much as Dangerous Girls. I'm not really sure why, even. Maybe it was just that Chloe was a tad less psychotic than I wanted at first, or the action/suspense didn't really start for me until halfway through. I'm gonna try to have absolutely zero spoilers, but a few teenie ones might slip through.

There is insta-love, which I loathe in books and believe very few can actually pull off. (I like a slow burn). Even more than I hate insta-love, I hate love triangles where the girl knows she likes the other guy more, yet stays with the sweet, oblivious one. Both happened, although I'm not really sure it could be called insta-love for the following reasons.

The "Love" Triangle 
The apostrophes are there as reminders that there isn't really any love in this book. Just a lot of manipulation and obsession.

Ethan did not make Chloe happy in the relationship. If she'd broken it off as soon as she realized that she couldn't be 100% happy with him, I wouldn't be angry at her for leading him on. If their relationship wasn't literally based on the fact that Chloe wanted a distraction, I wouldn't be angry at her for leading him on. But it was and so I am.

Was he a little clingy? Yeah, a little. Was it unbearable? No. She's his girlfriend. He wanted to spend time with her. In my opinion, he was adorable. Sweet. Innocent. (And yeah, completely oblivious). Everything that Oliver, his older brother, was not.

Oliver was the "bad boy" of the love triangle, but really it runs a lot deeper than that. He's not just moody and snarky. He's evil. He's possessive and violent, but more than anything he's manipulative.


Oliver didn't make Chloe happy. He made her thrilled. The rush of adrenaline you get, the way you're suddenly aware of everything touching you, of the air rushing into your lungs, of your stomach in your throat and your heart pounding so hard you can feel it-- that is what Oliver made Chloe feel like. Like when you ride a roller coaster and it's about to drop. That crazy feeling of being wild and free and terrified at the same time. From the very moment she lays eyes on him, from the very first words he says to her, she feels like he knows the deepest, darkest parts of herself that even she is too afraid to get to know. She isn't wrong.

The Main Character

Chloe herself is rather hard to describe. At the beginning of the book (or rather, before things start to happen) Chloe is sweet and hardworking. That isn't to say she isn't angry. She just keeps it covered. She cares for her depressed mother while trying to get ready for college while keeping her job. Yeah. She's got a lot on her plate. What is different about this book other than Dangerous Girls (amongst a whole lot of other things) is that there is no questioning what happened. You know. While I did like that, I feel like it took away some of the dawning horror that I felt in DG.

Overall Thoughts

This book (in fact, so is Dangerous Girls) is very character-based. I feel like the author's main intention was making the characters as layered and incredible as possible. She succeeded.

Another thing that I really dig about Dangerous Girls and Dangerous Boys is telling the ending before telling anything else. It does keep me reading, even if I get a little bit bored or lost. Serious props to Abigail Haas.

Also, THE ENDING. Was it just me, or was the last bit of the book by far the best? I was feeling quite bad because I was going to rate this book quite poorly, but then the ending came and whacked me in the face. I have nothing but love for the reveal. And the last couple of lines. GAH. *flails aggressively*



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Milk Tea Book Tag


Aimee@To the Barricade! tagged me aaages ago and I feel really bad for not doing it for so long but TA-DA!! I finally got my life together enough so that I can do a blog post. Thanks for tagging me, Aimee!

Tea: the foundation of your reading life. 

Picture is not mine.
The Phantom Stallion series is probably what got me into reading. I used to be obsessed with horses and read nearly every children's series that had horses in them. However, this is the only one that I finished and liked for more reasons than oooh, horses. (Jake and Sam for life, man. OTP). I own almost the complete series and I'm still upset that I'm missing a few. *grabby hands*

Milk: a rich, smooth book.


What do you mean by rich and smooth? Do you mean descriptions? Because if you mean descriptions, Cruel Beauty had one of the richest settings and descriptions I've ever read. It was like you were right there. You could see the castle and feel the silky soft dresses.



Sugar: A book you love but is controversial 



I wouldn't say I loved "To Kill a Mockingbird", but I did appreciate the message and the way it was delivered. I don't think I've actually read many controversial books, actually. 



Ice: A book just for fun


Hex Hall is, in my opinion, an awesome lighthearted, snarky series. That's not to say it doesn't have faults-- it's got a whole lot of cliches. In fact, you can probably guess exactly what's going to happen. But that's why it's for fun! No stress, no flipping between the last few pages going WHAT DID I MISS (*cough* Dangerous Girls *cough*).

Silk stocking: A book that's much better than it sounds

Answering this would be a lot easier if it was A book that's much worse than it sounds. (Because it's very easy for me to view things negatively). 


Did I love Twilight? No. But it wasn't awful! And I went in fully expecting it to be the worst thing to ever exist. It changed my mind. There are many worse books. The book was great, in my opinion. The movie is not. So if you watched the movie, thought, "Well, that was awful," and decided never to read the book-- please change your mind.

Not only does everyone who has heard of Twilight think it's horrible and cliche and ridiculous, they refuse to give it a chance. Don't be that guy. 



Yinyang: A book with foreign influence


I'M SO HAPPY I HAVE AN ANSWER FOR THIS ONE. Shadow and Bone was influenced by Russian culture and it is quite wonderful. I'm just a teensy bit sad about this series because my ship is dead. 



And yet again, I have no idea who to tag. 

Selena, sister dearest, you are once again my go-to. You have 24 hours to accept the mission. This message will self-destruct. *Mission Impossible theme plays*

Anyone else who wants to join in, go ahead! Leave a link in the comments and I'll check your post out. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Reviewing: Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

Hellooo, lovelies. Today, for the first time in ages, I read something. I was pleased. I threw confetti. I danced in a circle. Beforehand, I had been staring at my August TBR and thinking "wow, I feel absolutely zero motivation to do anything." And then I realized I'd put a novella on my list. YES. SOMETHING SHORT. (I thought it would be best to ease back in to former reading habits, or else my already shriveled brain would suffer a complete collapse).

As I'd said before, I'd been wanting to read Gilded Ashes for a while, because A) Rosamund Hodge is fabulous and B) it is set in the same world of Cruel Beauty-- WHICH I LOVE.

(Also, Ignifex makes an appearance, except he is not referred to as Ignifex, because, well, obviously, the main character doesn't know his name. I nearly shrieked with joy when it dawned on me that he was in the book).

Orphan Maia doesn't see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia's father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother's approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they'll all be struck dead by the curse.

Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn't believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What's the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she'll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.

As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn't believe in love. Anax can't help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can't help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother's deadly bargain?

~*~

The world is still gorgeous (although I wish there were more details on its background), and Rosamund Hodge's descriptions are definitely 80% of why I love her books. The amount of detail she puts into describing each emotion is immaculate, and each sentence is tailored to perfection.

TEACH ME YOUR WAYS.
The other 20% is the characters. None of them feel two-dimensional. None of the characters in Gilded Ashes are reduced to only evil-stepmother, evil step-sisters, or ever-cheerful Cinderella. Each character has a reason for why they are what they are. Which is, of course, awesome. I am a firm believer that everyone needs a purpose. No one is bad for no reason, just as no one is good without reason.

Maia is no where near the same person as Nyx (the main character of Cruel Beauty). She is sweet and gentle and kind because she's trying to protect others from the wrath of her mother (who is a ghost). She's terrified of showing her real feelings, and she's hidden them for so long that sometimes it's as though she forgets she has them.

This is not a dual-POV novella. We never get to see what it's like in Anax's mind, only Maia's. Anax was an interesting character, although I admit that I found him a little unlikable at the beginning. He improves-- but I didn't love his character. He was just mediocre, in my opinion.

Another thing: Rosamund Hodge does not do happy endings. She dangles it in front of your face and you think Oh, yes, this is exactly the goodness that these characters deserve and then NOPE. There are tears and blood and so much happens that you wind up gaping at the book-- sort of happy, but mostly just shocked.

Rosamund Hodge does bittersweet endings.

Mostly bitter.

While I loved this novella to bits, the ending felt way too rushed. It felt like things were at a very nice pace-- and then everything bad that could possibly happen, happens. Don't get me wrong-- I actually like it when things go wrong in books. Destruction, chaos... it tends to liven things up a bit. But... it felt overdone.

Would I recommend reading this book? ABSOLUTELY. Would I recommend reading Cruel Beauty first? It's not necessary, but if you want a better understanding of the world, you probably should.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Liebster Award { 3 }




I was tagged by Rebekah @ Worldsmithing and Worldbuilding for the Liebster Award! 1) Thank you. 2) You are awesome. 3) *hands you virtual cake*

I'll try to find enough people to nominate to continue the awesomeness, but I might have to cut the number down since I... don't know a lot of bloggers, especially those with smaller amounts of followers. (I will admit I am very bad at finding new blogs to read-- if you have some favorites, let me know!).


11 Things About Moi:

1. I started driving recently, and the first time I saw another car on the opposite lane I flipped out and nearly drove into a ditch. (Not a proud moment).
2. I have a very high tolerance for cold temperatures, but I hate the heat.
3. I got back into drawing and have been trying a few new styles-- my favorite so far is realism.
4. My favorite color is lime green. Then red, then black.
5. My mom always gets frustrated with me when I get shoes, because they're always black.
6. I can't stand tea, but I love coffee.
7. I have only once cooked something other than ramen noodles, eggs, and bacon.
8. I have been in 17 of the fifty states.
9. I speak tid-bits of Chinese and Korean, although I've never been in either country.
10. However, I have been in Taiwan, and the two main languages there are Chinese and Taiwanese. Chinese is the easier of the two. Also, Fun Fact: Taiwanese people do not speak Chinese with harsh "h" "sh" and "r" sounds. And so I also speak Chinese without a strong "mainland" accent.
11. My favorite animals have always been horses, followed closely by dogs.

Rebekah's Questions:

1. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what? If not, why?

Yep. It feels weird if I write without it. Recently, I finished a second draft and I listened to the following album throughout the entire process.


It really depends on what kind of feeling I want. Music is all about emotion, so I think it's important to feel what your characters are feeling. I listened to a lot of sad songs (one of them being "Not About Angels" by Birdy) while writing a book about a ghost.

2. Do you have a certain type of character that you always love/root for? (I.e. the orphan hero, the bad boy/girl with a heart of gold, the loveable rogue). Why do you like them?

Hm. I guess I root for characters who use a lot of sarcasm and seem cold and aloof on the outside, but are actually just as emotional as anyone else and are constantly aware of other people's feelings. So... bad boy/girl with a heart of gold.

I'm not really sure why I like them. It's pretty corny to say that I feel like I relate to them, but on a certain level, I feel like I do, so...

3. Has your taste in books changed much in the past ten years? Do you find that you like a certain type of book now better than you did then?

I was five ten years ago.

Obviously, the answer is yes to both, but even if it was three years instead of ten, the answer would still be yes-- my taste in books has changed dramatically. I got into action, suspense, and dystopian books. Recently, I've been wanting to read more horror. Three years ago, I was allll about that contemporary.

4. What literary trope or cliche do you hate the most? Which one really doesn't bother you?

I don't know if this counts, but it's happened in so many YA books that I'm gonna role with it. The main character falls in love with a dude that's been

A) Stalking the MC.
B) Making many verbal jabs that are meant to hurt the MC.
C) Physically threatening the MC.

Reading about a relationship like this always ticks me off.

For one that doesn't bother me, I'd have to say... the character not listening to a person who tells them a specific location is haunted or something like that. I mean, you know the character is in a scary book. They don't. If someone told you a house was haunted, would you believe them?

5. Name one book that you love that no one else seems to have read. Include a picture and a link so the rest of us can check it out. 

Um... I don't know about love, but I like So. B It quite a lot and would definitely recommend it.

Click on the pic to go to the GR page!
6. Do you prefer contemporary novels or historical fiction? Why?

That's a hard one. I would have to say historical fiction. I've read a few contemporary books, and they all feel mediocre to me. Maybe I'm just not reading the right ones.

7. If you write (stories, novels, poetry, anything other than blog posts), do you write with the hope to publish, or just for fun?

I write with the hope to publish. I really want to get my ideas and novels out there. I have for as long as I can remember.

8. Why did you start your blog? What keeps you posting?

I started my blog when my sister did, and I thought it looked really cool. What keeps me posting... I don't really know. I guess I like having a place to write down my thoughts.

9. If the internet disappeared overnight, how would you feel? Do you think life would be better or worse, and why?

A) I WOULD FEEL VERY BAD.

B) I think it would be worse. We live in a world that is so dependent on internet and being able to connect that everyone would flip out. Also, I go to an online school. Call me a giant nerd, but the idea of "cutting class" freaks me out.

10. If you could have tea (or coffee) and a chat with any author living or dead, who would you pick? What would you want to ask? 

First of all, it would be coffee.

Secondly, I'm not sure. Maybe Vivian Vande Velde? Maggie Steifvater? Neal Shusterman? I CANNOT PICK ONE.

11. What do you like best about your writing or your blog? Why?

I like my dialogue in my writing.

I've been told it's good. ;)

My Questions

1. Who is your favorite superhero and why?
2. Top three genres? Why do you love them?
3. Have you ever written or started a book? If yes, where do you get inspiration to write? If no, have you ever wanted to?
4. What is the first book you remember reading? Did you like it?
5. Check your Goodreads. What is the book farthest back on your TBR? Do you still want to read it?
6. If you had to pick one character out of all the books you have read to switch places with, who would you pick?
7. Do you try to read a book before the movie/tv show comes out, after it comes out, or is it no big deal if you never read it?
8. On that topic, what's your favorite book to movie/tv show?
9. What's your opinion on fairytale retellings? Do you love them, or do you feel like they ruin the magic of the original?
10. Have you ever wanted to get a tattoo? Do you have one?
11. Are there any countries that you want to travel to? If so, why that country?

I Nominate... 

Skylar @ Life of a Random
Sophia @ Ravens and Writing Desks
Aneta @ The Graffiti On the Wall

... and anyone else that wants to join in! Leave a link in the comments and I'll make sure to drop by and check out your post.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Beautiful People || Friendship Edition


Click the pic for more info about Beautiful People!
Beautiful People is hosted by Cait at Paper Fury and Sky at Further Up and Further In. They are both completely awesome and deserve all the cake.


The characters I chose are Quinn (17) and Luna (19), the sisters in that post-apocolyptic, alien-filled, also weapon-filled book I've mentioned on both this blog and on Twitter.

1. How long have they known each other, and how close are they?

They've known each other their whole lives. It's hard to say exactly how close they are. I mean, they trust each other with their lives, but at the same time, they're afraid to address certain "issues" within their friendship. They both struggle with sharing how they feel, but most of the time, they know the other person understands anyways. 

2. What’s their earliest memory of being best friends?


Luna remembers taking care of Quinn as a little girl, huddled in the backseat of her dad's old truck while her parents tried to get away from the wide-spread panic and all the attacks.

Quinn remembers throwing her Barbie doll at Luna when they were fighting. (Pleasant, as she always is).

3. Do they fight? How long do they typically fight for?


See above.

They fight a lot. Because of how unwilling they are to talk about how they feel while simultaneously being afraid of pushing the other person away, there's less talking and more poisonous looks and bitter retorts. Their fights last a while, and Luna is typically the first to try and smooth things over. Quinn tends to simultaneously want to confront the problem and ignore it. A lot of how she's kept herself together is by ignoring how she feels.

4. Are their personalities similar or do they compliment each other?

Quinn is a ball of negative energy.

Luna is a ball of noticeably less negative energy.

They're both stubborn and loyal, but Quinn tends to feel things in the extremes. She struggles with showing her feelings more than Luna and is cold and aggressive. This stems from the fact that she has never seen a world without war. Luna, on the other hand, is warmer and more accepting. She holds more responsibility than Quinn, which often results in her blaming herself for things that go wrong. Her positive outlook on life is what's kept her from destroying herself with guilt and worry.

5. Who is the leader of their friendship (if anyone)?


Luna.

6. Do have any secrets from each other?


No. Even if they try to hide things, the other finds out soon enough, just by reading how the other one reacts to certain topics.

7. How well do they know each other’s quirks and habits?


As well as their own, and, occasionally, better.

8. What kind of things do they like to do together?


Is it bad that I laughed a little?

Talk, I suppose. Tease. Engage in playful verbal combat. They live in a world where you don't spend time doing things you enjoy. You spend time doing what you need to survive.

9. Describe each character’s fashion style (use pictures if you’d like!) How are their styles different/similar?


Hm. Well, Quinn wears dark colors. She likes combat boots, loose t-shirts, and leather. Luna likes flannel, cargo pants, and layers. 

I imagine that if they could dress however they wanted, they would look something like this:


Luna
Quinn
10. How would their lives be different without each other?

They would both be dead.

I tried to think of something more... pleasant, but I came up empty. Maybe Luna would have lived, but Quinn wouldn't have made it past a couple years.


On that lovely note, thanks for reading! ^_^

Monday, August 3, 2015

August TBR + Notice




All links go to PDF forms of the books, and all author links go to the Goodread's pages of each author. Each of these books are for sure going to be read this month and also will have reviews on my blog. It's possible that I will read other books, but they likely won't have reviews here.



All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I've heard a lot of good things about this book, and I've wanted to read it for ages. I feel like this will be a very character-centric book, instead of focusing on the world or setting. (Which pleases me). Plus, it's about to be a movie.





A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Dude. Fae? I'm in. All in. Even though I didn't really love Throne of Glass, I'm willing to give this one a chance (BECAUSE FAE).

Plus, Feyre sounds boss. She killed a wolf before she even knew anything about the Fae. Maybe it was attacking her and there was a desperate lunge for survival, but still.



Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I've actually started this book before. Usually, if I don't read a book in a day, I forget I even meant to read it in the first place, and this was one of those times. Oops.







Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

I'm reading this for the same reason I'm reading Gilded Ashes. I loved Cruel Beauty (even though the ending wasn't very satisfying) and I love twisted fairytale retellings.






Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

Reason stated above.










I know there's only five, but school is starting soon (*sobs*) and so I won't be able to spend as much time reading and writing. Blogging will probably slow back down, but I've been planning a few posts, so if it does slow down, it shouldn't be immediate. Hopefully, reviews will still be coming, maybe with a few update posts thrown in just to keep you posted on how many tears I will crying over school and having to write huge essays again. (I know you love my whining).

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Short Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.

What inspired me to read a children's horror/fantasy book was a Tumblr post including GIFs from the movie. I hadn't even known there was a book (oops) but once I did I really wanted to read it before I found the movie online and watched it come to life.

But it wasn't only the GIFs that made me want to watch. It was this quote:


It was a story, I learned when people began to read it, that children experienced as an adventure, but which gave adults nightmares. It’s the strangest book I’ve written, it took the longest time to write, and it’s the book I’m proudest of. 
-Neil Gaiman 

So I found a PDF file of Coraline online (teehee) and got started.


CORALINE DISCOVERED THE DOOR a little while after they moved into the house. 

It starts out as very many children's books do (brief description of where the MC is, his/her current situation, etc.), and the writing style is short and crisp. It's really easy to grasp, but it doesn't seem to lose anything (like detailed descriptions and whatnot). Through the simple descriptions and words the images seem to come alive even more, if you know what I mean. 

But you know, from the first page, that this is going to be an "odd" book.


“The reason you cannot see the mouse circus,” said the man upstairs, “is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed. Also, they refuse to play the songs I have written for them. All the songs I have written for the mice to play go oompah oompah. But the white mice will only play toodle oodle, like that. I am thinking of trying them on different types of cheese.” 
This delighted me.

The book does have a bit more telling instead of showing but I really liked it. The way the author put things (rather bluntly) made the book humorous in some spots and quite scary in others.

Even things you think are insignificant tie together and end up meaning so much more.

It was brilliantly done and I would recommend this book to anyone, child or not.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reviewing: End of Days by Susan Ee



End of Days
by Susan Ee

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

I was waiting for this book for forever. Angelfall shot up to my favorites with five stars, World After was four stars, and now End of Days. Not a bad record, so you'll understand why I was so psyched for this book. (PLUS THE COVER IS SO BEAUTIFUL I AM CRY).

First of all, I missed the emotional element in this book. Angelfall was very focused on it, on how Penryn was feeling on what made her feel. I feel like End of Days didn't quite capture it the same. It was packed with action, with less focus on the characters, in my opinion.

The Romance

Penryn and Raffe are awesome. I really love them together-- their snark is hilarious, they truly need each other, and how much they care for each other, even though neither of them are very talkative about it, is very apparent. However, I have to say I didn't love Penryn as much in this book as the other two. I don't know. I suppose it felt very... uncharacteristic of her to be so enamored with Raffe while the end of the world is happening. Of course, I have never fallen in love during the apocalypse, but it seems like all the death and blood would be at least a little distracting.

The World

Just as dark as before. In fact, maybe a little darker. I will say this: Susan Ee really knows how to describe the gore. It made me feel a little queasy to think about some of the things that Penryn witnesses. It is truly horrifying, and I'm glad, actually, that the author wasn't afraid to show that side of the world. It made it feel more real-- the fear more believable. You can practically feel the urgency and terror in your bones.

The Characters

You learn a lot more about the Watchers in this book. They were not what I expected. Paige was also present, of course, and I was (again) really interested in the dynamic between her and Penryn. It didn't disappoint. Obi, Dee and Dum, Penryn's mom... they're there as well. Not nearly as much as the first two books, but their presence is mentioned often-- particularly in the case of Penryn's mom. She's always in the back of Penryn's mind, affecting Penryn's choices without Penryn even realizing it.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Reviewing: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman + Meagan Spooner



These Broken Stars
by Amie Kaufman

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive -- alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth. 

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Spoilers are in these: [  ] Highlight to read.

I wanted to love this book lots. I expected a lot of sarcasm and banter between Lilac and Tarver. But it was more just "meh." There wasn't a lot of action, and there was a lot less space then I wanted. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I was falling asleep reading this book-- I read in in a couple hours. But what kept me reading had nothing to do with questioning whether or not they would live due to the harsh circumstances. Rather about the planet itself.

Lilac and Tarver

There is less sarcasm/banter and more just hating each other. And then they just... DON'T hate each other. For me, it was a very fast transition. I was a little confused. In fact, I thought they'd have to work out their issues or something. At least discuss some of the many reasons why their relationship WOULDN'T work out before actually being in a relationship. BUT NOPE. Their interactions go from heated arguments to passionate kisses within a page. WHAT. WHAT WHAT.

Individually, I have to say I liked Tarver a lot more than I liked Lilac at first. I thought she could have found better ways to handle things than by manipulating at every turn. You avidly flirt with a guy, then cruelly ditch him the next day? Um. Why would you even flirt with him in the first place if you KNEW it was never going to happen? Lilac did have a lot of development-- probably more than Tarver. She really matured, and I appreciated that. My only issue is that they seem a lot older than they are. Lilac is 16. Tarver is 18. They both seemed over twenty. And I hate to say this, but I didn't really see the two being a great couple. They seemed to be together mostly because of how much they needed and depended on each other for survival. Other than Lilac and Tarver, there is no one else interacting within the book.

The World(s)

Well, obviously, the setting changes rather dramatically. First of all you're on the spaceship Icarus. The next, on a foreign planet with no other signs of human life. Maybe it was just me, but this book didn't feel very... survival-ish to me. I mean, yes, they're trying to survive, but it felt pretty easy. They had food rations. A canteen that purifies water. They were hiking through woods. I LIVE around woods. It's not that hard to find water sources or edible vegetation, and, if you can set traps like Tarver can, there are tons of little animals all over the place. Your problems lie solely in shelter and bugs.

Of course, there are the "hallucinations," but I thought that they brought about more questions to push the plot forward-- not that they added to the action or the element of survival.

[Also, what was with the whispers and bringing Lilac back? I'm still not entirely sure how they were able to manifest other objects, even living objects, through their energy.]

To be completely honest, I would have loved to learn about the other planets and how they functioned as well as how the Colonies were so different, and how they powered everything. I wanted to know the details of space life, but the only time the book really describes it in detail is in the first couple chapters.

In my opinion, the world was what made this book interesting, not the characters.


Monday, July 27, 2015

BTS || Red Bullet Episode II || Chicago

WARNING: There is a lot of all caps and random screaming in this post. Also, it's all about k-pop, or, more specifically, BTS. More blog posts about books/reading/writing will be coming soon! 

Also, be sure to read Skylar's posts about meeting blogger friends and the concert-- both in Chicago! She has pictures. ;)

Okay, so... July 24th, 8 PM. That was the plan. We got there at around 8:20, after an extra four hours of being held back by traffic jams. Two cars were on fire. There were accidents all over the place and a huge section of I-65 was shut off. Rosemont Theater isn't a huge as I thought it would be. Which is awesome, because it meant we were that much closer to BTS.

When we stepped inside the theater, we got our tickets scanned. My hands were shaking so bad I could hardly open up my ticket for the lady to scan. I could hear the crowd. At this point, my heart was pounding super hard in my chest and my stomach was in knots. We were so late. WHAT HAD WE MISSED. Not only did we hear screams, we heard Rap Monster talking. My sister and I traded desperate gazes and whispered screeches of "I can hear him talking!" HIS VOICE GAVE ME A STROKE. And yes, he sounds exactly the same in real life. There was no question whose voice it was.

So, my sister and I are running up those stairs about as fast as we can possibly go. I'm not kidding. I have never gone up stairs that fast. My heart is thudding super hard, my palms are sweaty, I feel on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. We show the guy at the top of the stairs where our seats are (or rather, my sister does), and he says, "I'm gonna take you guys closer. Okay?"

And OF COURSE we were like "Yeah," except my sister was the only one who answered. I was more just violently nodding. If I spoke, I was pretty sure I was going to A) hurl B) scream C) both. 

We head in, and the screams hit me like a truck. (Although they were nothing compared to towards the end). The guy leads us deeper into the theater, towards the balcony, and I see BTS. I ALMOST DIE. Not even exaggerating. At this point, I'm not even hearing the guy talk anymore and this is going to sound incredibly corny, but I swear I wasn't even aware of anything else happening. It was like everything else was violently ripped from existence. 

FIRST OF ALL. I spammed everyone who follows me on Twitter with stuff about their in real life beautifulness, but I still have so much more to tell on what happened.

When They were Saying Good-bye:
V kept doing these super high notes where he went higher each time and the crowd copied the high notes. He went so high that even his voice cracked a little. He'd done it like four times when he yelled "I LOVE YOU" with a massive grin on his face. (Of course, everyone screamed). 

J-hope yelled "Saranghaeyo!" and made a heart with his arms while hopping in a circle. His English was not the best but it was so adorable hearing him try. 

Jungkook was so awkward and adorable. "I guess, um... I love you." He had the shyest smile on his face.

Jin made everyone be super quiet so he could talk. He put his fingers to his lips and just gave everyone a disapproving look until they were quiet. I kid you not the entire stadium went from screaming at the top of their lungs to low rumblings and occasional screeches of JIN I LOVE YOU in seconds. 

Suga's voice is so deep and he talks pretty slowly. He talked about remembering us forever, and us remembering him forever too. He kept smiling while the crowd screamed before he'd even talked. I think he laughed a little, too. (HIS SMILE IS PRECIOUS).

Jimin was toying with the edge of his shirt the entire time with this mischievous grin on his face. He talked in this super dorky low voice that made the everyone laugh but I have no idea what was said other than "I lub you See-cago!" His voice is so cute. I am cry. (Also, what was he even doing with his arms? Air running?)

Rap Monster talked about knowing about Chicago since he was little and always wanting to come here to perform. I knew his English was good, but it's AWESOME. He has no accent at all.

Other Details:

I know I've already said this on Twitter, but they all look tall and built. NONE of them look gangly at all. Not even Suga or Rap Monster! In my opinion, Jin, Rap Mon, and V are the most built. Their SHOULDERS. I was so stunned when I first saw them that I actually had to take time to locate them because A) I was hyperventilating B) and shaking AND C) they looked so different from how they looked in videos.

But they're all beautiful. Seriously. How are they all so gorgeous? 

My sister and I both agreed that the best part of the concert was seeing how happy they were to see the crowd get so excited. Their smiles are all so proud and happy, and I'd be lying if I said seeing them didn't make me feel the same way. 

They made us sing Miss Right, which we were... rather mediocre at the first time around. (We were horrible). J-hope just smiled hugely and gave us thumbs up and yelled (with a very strong accent), "SO GOOD. YOU ARE SO GOOD." Rap Monster said, "You can do better, c'mon, let's try again." So we did. We tried about three more times, and we actually got pretty good. J-hope even screeched/sang some of it for us so we'd do better.

The crowd got super hyped during Cypher. J-hope chucked an empty water bottle into the crowd after spraying it all onto them, and they all slayed the rapping SO HARD. Their energy was insane, but it still wasn't as much as it was at the end. The entire concert, the energy was just building and building.

Rap Mon taught us how to say "I like you," in Korean. Their reactions to the whole theater yelling "I LIKE YOU" were so adorable. They were all shy smiles and little laughs.

Best night ever, by far.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Short Review: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.


I read the first version of Nimona when it was being uploaded onto Noelle Stevenson's website. I read the whole thing in one day. And it's a good thing I did, because only a couple days later, it was taken down and replaced by the first three chapters. I knew it was being published, but I was still so delighted to see it in Barnes and Noble that I practically screeched in the middle of the aisle. 

I then proceeded to drag my sister towards it while happily pointing and going, "LOOK IT'S NIMONA I LOVE NIMONA I NEED IT IN MY LIFE."

Well, I read it again and loved it even more. There are parts that weren't online, and an epilogue. PLUS, sketches of early versions of the characters, along with two Christmas specials that were online. 

I am very happy. 

On the cover, it says "Full of humor and heart." (Rainbow Rowell said that, in case you were wondering). I honestly couldn't have described it (at least, in one sentence) better. It's both hilarious and heart-warming. You become so involved with the characters-- even the ones you might not like. Noelle Stevenson's humor feels effortless. It's AWESOME. 

The friendships between characters feel so real and, despite whatever has happened between them, the bonds always seem like they go beyond the jokes and snark you read. 

It does get dark. I've read much darker and creepier books, but Nimona didn't flop in the "dark" department at all. In fact, I thought it was also brilliant. There are two sides to everyone, and Noelle Stevenson takes that to a whole new level. 

So, was it worth the money? YES. DEFINITELY. 100% RECOMMEND.