Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Rant Review on HP and The Cursed Child and Gushing Review on And Then There Were None

Hello, al1! I'm doing things slightly different for this book review video. Usually I talk about the books a little down below, but I won't be doing that for these two books. If you're interested on my thoughts, please watch my video and I do plan on writing reviews for these books, but that may take years at the rate I review!


What were your thoughts on "Harry Potter" and the Cursed Child? Have you read And Then There Were None? If so, what other Christie books would you recommend I read? Let me know down below in the comments!

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.
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

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!

(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!

Short Stories That I Enjoyed in the Last Two Weeks

Hey, everyone! I've been away for a while. I moved into my apartment, started my intern teaching tenth graders at a local high school, d...