Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This Video is a Hot Mess: My Bookish Thoughts

 
Hello, lovelies! I'm still posting my thoughts on all my past 2016 reads. There's a bit of a rant towards the end because I didn't realize how frustrated I was with the novel until I started talking about it. I love discussing books because once you start talking (or writing) you can really understand your thoughts and feelings. ^_^

The Books:
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Hot Gimmick Volumes 1-3 by Miki Aihara 4.5 stars This is my second time rereading this series and I know it's controversial and supports problematic relationships, but I don't care. 
 Hot Gimmick Volumes 4-6 by Miki Aihara 4.5 stars This is my favorite volume bind-up and this is, what I consider, to be the stronger portion of the Hot Gimmick series.
Hot Gimmick Volumes 7-9 by Miki Aihara 4 stars These volumes are the weakest in the series and I feel like a lot of the subplots could've been cut.
Hot Gimmick Volumes 10-12 by Miki Aihara 4.25 stars My ship sailed so that's all I care about. The ending is crazy, but this is a shoujo manga and I expect nothing less.
Go Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian by Kurt Vonnegut 3.25 stars This is my lowest rated Vonnegut, which makes me sad, because I only want to give Vonnegut 5 stars. Sadly, this essay collection on death isn't my favorite and while it does have a lot of great satire humor a la Vonnegut, this collection doesn't stick out in my mind. Read it if you love Vonnegut, but if you skip it, you're not  missing much.
The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin 4 stars I love the illustrations and I recommend this story for parents looking to introduce fantasy to younger readers. 
The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn 4.5 stars Check out my review! I recommend this for psychological fans and people interested in cults.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins I originally gave this book 3.5 stars, but I don't think that's an accurate rating and I explain why in my rating video. When I write my review, I'll be able to rate this more accurately. 

Have you read any of these books? What are your guilty pleasure "trashy" books? I'd love some recommendations! :D Happy reading!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Should Characters Stop Taking Medication?-If You're Lucky by Yvonne Prinz

24886041If You’re Lucky by Yvonne Prinz

1.5 stars

If You’re Lucky follows Georgia after her brother, Lucky, drowns in an accident. But it couldn’t have been just bad luck, Lucky was lucky in life. He was smart and a well-versed surfer who knew better than to tackle dangerous waters. Then Fin comes to town and he seems to be taking over Lucky’s life. Did he kill Lucky? When I first got this novel from Netgalley months before it was released I quickly read and planned to write a review before October 2015. It’s now March 2017 and this review is so overdue. I had several problems with this novel. This review may seem a little ranty, but I have a lot to rant about. I originally thought this was going to be a contemporary novel and it is, but it’s also a mystery novel that deals with mental illness. Sounds intriguing, right? NO. No. Nope. Definitely not. This novel completely portrays mental illness in a very problematic way that could potentially harm other young readers who suffer from schizophrenia.


This plot is obvious. The atmosphere is supposed to feel mysterious, but it felt contrived and absolutely underwhelming. I rolled my eyes four times in seven pages because this is just that kind of book. This writing inspires an intense feeling of mockery within me. I can’t stand writers who write mysterious plots that try so hard. Don’t believe me?
"I adore gloomy." He grinned. "Me too."
The author has to tell us that the tone is gloomy and that the characters love gloomy things because life is gloomy and boo-fucking-hoo. Gloomy gloom and doom.



Whimsical Writing Scale: 1.5

The main character is Georgia aka George. I absolutely couldn’t stand her. She was a spoiled brat with an overwhelming sense of entitlement. She felt that everything had to be handed to her or that some great injustice was being done to her. At the beginning of the novel, George is focused on painting her parents out to be parents that ignore her and could care less about her. That’s so far away from the truth. Her parents worry about her constantly and for good reason.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 2

Here’s my biggest problem with George, this novel, and the writer: she stops taking her prescribed medication. This is a horrible concept to portray in YA. Young adults are incredibly susceptible to peer persuasion, especially in the form of literature (I have a theory that’s why abusive relationships have escalated because young children read Twilight and 50 Shades and develop unhealthy perceptions of romance). It’s not a far stretch to say that a child who takes medication may read this and decide that they, like George, don’t need their medication because it makes them cloudy, gloomy, and not their true self. That is so damaging to a child psychologically as well as to their physical state. If you’re mind isn’t happy then your body isn’t happy. I felt bad for George and how extreme her delusions became because her level of obsession over Fin shows how important it is to take medications because it isn’t for a person when their mind gets the best of them. My biggest problem lies with how the author portrayed it being okay for George to stop taking her meds because she had something to figure out and something to accomplish. A disease like schizophrenia is so debilitating without medications and proper support and I feel like the author didn’t portray this in a way that I can support. I feel very uncomfortable recommending this book to anyone because I don’t want anyone to possibly be swayed into stop taking their medication. I really feel for George because her disease is such a hard disease to live with and the only thing I wanted for in this whole novel was to get help and start to make progress.


George is also obsessed with Fin. She is so stuck up on him and she gets jealous over him. The only thing that could’ve saved this novel was if Fin was a serial killer and that didn’t happen. Thank God, he wasn’t a love interest because I have no patience for that.


Swoon Worthy Scale: NONE

Prinz does incorporate some essence of a love interest towards the end of the novel, but it is once George is getting help and it isn’t used as a plot device to show that love can conquer a mental illness and fix everything. That’s something I’m happy to see.


All of the characters in this novel are disrespectful to one another. They don’t treat each other like humans, but like doormats that get in their way and have bunched up when they are walking through a door. I treat doormats that bunch up better than these people treat each other. At one point Fin writes an email to the family where he says he misses everyone and leaves his sister out. I’m sorry, but why does everyone like this douchebag? He’s supposed to charismatic, but he steps all over people (just like his sister). I just didn’t get why everyone was kissing the kid’s feet because I would’ve hated him if I knew him.


Character Scale: 1

While it is refreshing to see a novel tackle schizophrenia in a positive way instead of making the schizophrenic a murderer, I’m not pleased with the message Prinz provided when it came to stop taking medication to solve the case. I don’t know if I can recommend this novel because I’m very conflicted about this portrayal, but if you are curious to see if you feel the same way, check it out.


Plotastic Scale: 1 (I did enjoy a plot of the plotting provided, but I can’t give this novel anything higher than a 1 because of how problematic I personally found it to be.)

Cover Thougths: Contemporary cover for a contemporary-ish novel. I don’t really care for it. It’s basic and looks boring to me.

Thank you, Netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Discussion:
What are your thoughts on authors writing characters with mental illnesses who stop taking medication? Do you think that this is a good idea? I'm curious to see if other people have a problem with this in novels. I think it's important discuss what happens when people stop taking medication that they need, but I don't feel that was what the author was portraying. Can you recommend any books that focus on mental health in positive or important ways? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Books I've Read in 2016 #7

 
Hello, my loves! I have another video of some of the books I've read in 2016. 

The Books:
 And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1) 17927395 28634265 11947156 26025580 
And I Darken by Kiersten White 5 stars I'm a huge fan of this novel! I immediately bought a copy upon finishing it, which is very rare for me to do when it comes to books I've been sent for review. The characters are what drive this novel. I know a lot of people think it's slow paced, but it's history. History doesn't always happen in a war sequence of events and then most wars have years of build up and then constant battles. I think that's important to remember when going into this novel.
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas 5 stars I love this novel so much more than ACOTAR. I don't want to say too much because spoilers, but I can't wait for the next book!
Limbo by Dan Waters 3.5 stars This is a single volume graphic novel and I recommend checking it out if you are a fan of weird storylines with a shocking ending. The ending definitely heightened my level of enjoyment for the overall story.
Prince of Wolves by Quinn Loftis DNF Check out my review of this "book" here.
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn 4.75 stars Really enjoyed this short story/novella/whatever-this-is-called because hand jobs and hand readings. I love Gillian Flynn and I need her next novel.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? Let me know down below in the comments!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Books I've Read in 2016 #6

 
Hello! I know what you are thinking, how are you still talking about books from 2016? Because I'm a bad YouTuber and reviewer obviously! I filmed these videos over Winter Break and these are the only content I can put up until I can actually film. So voila!

Books Mentioned:
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Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut 5 stars It's Vonnegut with his typical satire and meta fiction style writing. People will love this or hate it, but I love it. I don't think it's my favorite Vonnegut of the three novels I've read by him, but he's one of my favorite authors.
The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo 5 stars Yas! I have a review for this. So, go read my thoughts and this free Tor short! 
Swoon by Nina Malkin DNF This isn't for me. I have a review briefly talking about why.
Scary Stories Treasury by Alvin Schwarz This contains all three collections from the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy and my favorite is the final book in the trilogy.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark- 4 stars
More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark- 4 stars
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones- 5 stars
The Earl and the Fairy Volume 1 by Ayuko 4 stars Pretty interesting manga and I'm definitely interested in reading more from this series.
I.D. by Emma Rios 1.75 stars Not my cup of tea. The premise of body transplants when your life is undesirable is interesting, but the execution is not to my personal satisfaction. Check out my review
100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith 3.25 stars I'm not a fan of Smith's characters or plot. I love satire, but that's the only part of this that works for me and even then, sometimes this falls completely flat.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them? Let me know down below in the comments.:D


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bizenghast Volume 1 by M. Alice LeGrow

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Bizenghast Volume 1 by M. Alice LeGrow

2 stars

I remember seeing this manga series on TokyoPop’s page years ago, when I was obsessed with manga and looking for new ones to read. If I had read this when I first came across this years ago, this would have been a favorite. It’s weird enough that I would’ve lapped it up even if it made absolutely zero sense to me. This manga make zero sense to me now and I just don’t get it.


First, the art isn’t my style. The covers are so beautiful and gothic, but the actual art in context with the story is bland and I just didn’t find myself captivated are drawn to any images. The story itself is… whimsical? It reminds me of an Alice in Wonderland level of weird and that’s all fine and dandy if we are talking about the original animated classic, but the novel itself doesn’t gel with me. I wish I could say I love whimsical things, but I don’t think I do when it comes to hit and misses, I’m missing constantly with finding whimsical stories I love. I have an understanding of the story, that’s not the problem, the problem is that it makes no sense to me as to why this is important or being told. I know it’s the first volume of a fantasy manga and this is bound to happen, but I don’t want that to happen. I want to be hooked. I want to be entranced. I want to be ensnared in the roots of Bizenghast and binge read the whole manga series, but that didn’t happen.


Art Scale: 2.25

Whimsical Writing Scale: 2

Character Scale: 2


I’ve read spoilers for the series on Wikipedia and while this series is incredibly dark and gruesome, I personally don’t feel a strong attachment to continuing. Also, my edition was cut off or it just ended abruptly. Not sure. Either way I know what happens in the series so I don’t feel cheated. I recommend this manga to people who like paranormal, gothic settings, weird storylines, and death.


Plotastic Scale: 2.5

Cover Thoughts: I LOVE the covers for this series. So morbid and weird.

Thank you, Netgalley and TokyoPop for providing me with a copy of this manga in exchange for an honest review.

What's your favorite manga? Have you read any fantasy/paranormal/horror manga that you recommend? Let me know down below in the comments because I want to read some manga! 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Books I've Read in 2016 #4 & 5

  


Hello, my lovelies! I have two videos from my filming spree at the end of 2016 talking about all the books that I've read. I have about eight more videos to post for 2016 and I think I actually read a few more books at the end that I haven't filmed my thoughts on yet, but once I finish uploading these I plan to talk about the books I've read in 2017!

THE BOOKS:
(First Video)
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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (link to my review) This is my third time reading Gatsby and I love it more every time I encounter this story. 5 stars
The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (link to review) I only read four stories out of this collection, but I enjoyed what I read. Collectively I give the stories I read 4.75 stars, but I gave 5 stars to Hills Like White Elephants and I highly recommend checking out this story.
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut This story is amazing and it really shows how diverse Vonnegut can be. He strays away from his usual satirical style of storytelling and presents this dark story of an American Nazis and how he has come to be a Nazis, his journey into a war crimes prison, how he escaped capture before the prison, and why he may or not be a spy. It's a beautiful love story that has it's usual Vonnegut humor, but also shows how depressing the world is and once was. 5 stars
(Second Video)
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I Hate Fairyland Vol. 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young This is a fun graphic novel that takes the concept of every kids dream of playtime fairylands and turning into a young girls inescapable nightmare. The little girl is now a 34-year-old homicidal villain in fairyland and she can't be stopped on her killing spree to break free of her once dream world. 5 stars
 Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang Fun graphic novel with a unique sci-fi twist. I don't remember too much about the complete storyline of this novel and plan to reread this novel before starting the second volume. 4.5 stars
 Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier This fantasy novel about a girl and her brothers being cursed by their stepmother has become one of my all-time favorite novels and was my favorite novel of 2016. The story of Sorcha's brothers becoming swans and her journey to save them brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart. The love story is also one of the best of all time for me. 5 stars
 The Brides of Rollrock Island (aka Sea Hearts) by Margo Lanagan I listened to the audiobook of this one and I thought it was excellently narrated with a diverse cast of narrators who expertly captured the Scottish dialect and kept my entranced in Lanagan's narrative. I plan to reread my physical copy soon. 5 stars
Dark Descendant by Jenna Black I liked this urban fantasy novel that takes descendants of Greek Gods and put them at war with a society. Our main character is a descendant of Artemis and she's a kickass assassin, but this novel felt clunky and uninspiring. It was typical. 3.25 stars

Have you read any of these novels? If so, were any your favorite or least favorite? Let me know down below in the comments! I'd love to hear from you! Happy reading!
 


Friday, February 24, 2017

Renegade by Erica Stevens

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Here's a link to my review of the first book: 
 

Renegade by Erica Stevens

Second book in the Captive series

3 stars

Aria is free. She’s no longer a blood slave to Braith, the prince of the vampires, but she isn’t safe. She’ll never be safe as the daughter to the leader of the rebellion. Aria is running and trying to forget the love that she felt for Braith who has betrayed her and broken her heart. Braith has become a monster. The man who never owned a blood slave now owns multitudes of them and relishes in torturing and killing anyone who looks at him funny. But he still longs for the woman who betrayed him and plans to go after her. Braith wants to make her pay and suffer and goes into the woods with just that purpose. Obviously, this isn’t a groundbreaking novel. It’s not going to be the type of novel that changes your perspective on life or moves your soul to the core, but I wasn’t looking for that when I picked up this series. The first book, Captured, was so much fun. This series has dark content and I quite enjoy dark themes, so it’s right up my alley. Not everyone is going to enjoy these books and I pointed out in my review of the first book that there are a lot of grammar issues, but it’s an indie author and I’m holding up to par with the level of fanfiction that is fun. There’s two types of fanfiction: the type that is so well-written and moving that you read it over and over and the type that you laugh at, but can’t stop reading because you’re trash and you love it. (Sidenote: I'm excluding the fanfiction that is so bad that you can't read it.) This book is the latter. I didn’t laugh at this book, but I know it’s not a great novel. It’s a fun novel and that’s what I wanted. I got a fun novel with a lot of dark and cheesy themes and I liked it.


The writing in this novel is fast-paced. It’s really hard to put the book down because Stevens does an excellent job of keeping events interesting and there are a lot of interesting scenes in this book. This is definitely a more action driven novel than the previous novel. Captured focused more on the day-to-day interactions between Braith and Aria, but Renegade focuses more on being on the run. There is always something to run from in this novel. It makes for an intense story, but when things start to slow down the grammar inconsistencies become more prevalent. For example, towards the end there’s a scene where Braith and Aria are learning what their connections is and the author called it two different things. I was so confused. Get it together and know what you are introducing to this world so the readers aren’t confused.



Whimsical Writing Scale: 3

The main character is Aria. Aria is hardened by the events that occurred in the previous novel and the devastating loss and betrayal she feels. Wah-ah-wah-ah. I really don’t care. I mean to be honest the reason why these two now hate each other is because of lack of communication and being easily manipulated. I did like Aria because she’s a fun character to read from, but she doesn’t have any distinguishable character traits and nothing about her sticks with me. I finished this book two weeks ago, and I’m struggling to explain her personality because she is more of a cardboard cut-out. She is mended, broken, and shaped to fit the story the way Stevens wants it to go and she doesn’t have any characteristics that make her a good character.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 3

The main male character is Braith. Braith is a “stone-cold” monster in this book. I didn’t really feel that. He didn’t make my skin crawl and my heart swoon like the Darkling. He made me frustrated and annoyed. He felt just as melodramatic as the situation of these two star-crossed lovers. I do like Braith and feel that he has more development that Aria, but for me, he fell a little flat in this novel.


Swoon Worthy Scale: 3

The Villain- EVERYONE. No one can be trusted and everyone must be killed to save Aria. LOLZ This is the way that Stevens writes and it isn’t a bad thing, but it makes everyone so annoying and unlikable. It is frustrating because it isn’t done in a GoT type setting, but in a melodramatic vampire uprising with a bonus love story setting.


Villain Scale: 2

There is no character development in this novel. Some new characters are introduced and they are interesting, but I don’t really feel a deep connection to anyone. I did however enjoy the two characters that were introduced towards the end and I enjoyed the backstory that the author provided because I ended up liking the characters quite a bit


Character Scale: 2.25


I really enjoyed the action in this novel and where the novel went and has set the series up to go. There's a lot to look forward to, but. I know the big BUT. Overall, I feel a little disappointed by this book. Not much because this book was so much fun to read and it’s fast-paced, but upon reflecting for my review I see how many problems I had with the story and characters. I do recommend this series for those who enjoyed the first novel or people who love books that feel like trashy fanfiction. I was conflicted on continuing this series, but I’m also trash and know I will spend my money on the next book.



Plotastic Scale: 3.5

Cover Thoughts: MEH. It’s your basic bitch YA cover for a paranormal romance. Bloody roses are a vampire thing.
 
Have you read any good books where the second one kind of flopped? Are you interested in this series? Let me know down below in the comments, I'd love to hear from you!