Sunday, January 28, 2018

Books I've Read in 2017 #50-56

Hi, everyone! I hope you are doing well. Have you been reading any good books lately? I have a couple of books that I read in 2017 that I'm talking about in this video that I filmed forever ago. I hope some of these books pique your interest. 

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Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi- DNF 2 stars This was so underwhelming and a huge disappointment for me. I thought I was absolutely going to love it to bits and pieces. I was a fan of Akata Witch and I thought it would be along the same vein. It wasn't. Akata Witch was immersed with characterization and Beasts Made of Night was severely lacking. Check out my review here.
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards - 1 star This is a reread for me and I hate even more this time around. I think it's because I'm more well-versed with rhetoric and I think Edwards is a fear monger and a hypocrite of epic proportions. Unimpressed and disgusted. Check out my review here
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien - 4.5 stars This is also a reread for me and it was wonderful. I really enjoyed re-experiencing this beautiful novel as an adult and I've recommended this book to countless people, including my dad who doesn't read and he read this book. Check out my review here.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust - 5 stars I loved this Snow White retelling. It is fabulous. Wonderful! Everyone needs to read this and I want everyone to love it as much as I do. Check out my review here
Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 4.25 stars I much preferred this in contrast to The Scarlet Letter and it was nice to read a popular short story that is referenced a lot in culture and in novels. Check out my review here.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri - 4.25 stars This is a lovely short story collection. It is beautifully descriptive and it focuses primarily on Indian culture within India as well as within America and the divide that occurs between first generation Indian-Americans compared to their immigrant parents. 

Recommend the Most:
Girls Made of Snow and Glass is my #1 pick, but I also highly recommend The Things They Carried and depending on your reading tastes, I think either one of these (or both) can be a wonderful new read for you.

Books Reviewed: 5
Books Rated Over 4 stars: 4
New Favorites: 2
Books That Changed My Life: 0
Owned: 2

I have reviewed a ton of books in this portion of my reading, which surprising and exciting! 

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

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn

The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn

First in the Witches of New Orleans series

DNF- 1.5 stars

The King of Bones and Ashes is a novel that focuses on three witches within the New Orleans area. I was super interested in the premise behind this one because I'm from Louisiana and I always enjoy seeing authors' takes on this famous city. I really wanted to like this novel. I did, but I just felt so disconnected from it since the beginning. For me to want to read a novel, I have to make a connection to something. It doesn't matter if it's the characters, world building, plot, or romance. I have to have some level of interest to continue otherwise reading begins to feel empty. I don't want my reading to feel empty. I DNF novels for multiple reasons. Sometimes the book makes me rage, rolls my eyes, cringe, uncomfortable, or the writing is horrible and I just can't continue or my brain cells will die. This isn't the case with The King of Bones and Ashes. I have to DNF this novel because I'm not connected to it. I can't continue to read this novel because it will make me unhappy and I want to leave off feeling unsatisfied instead of raging and telling everyone that this is a horrible book.

My biggest problem lies with the formatting and sequencing of the story. The prologue is ridiculously long. So long, that it feels more like an opening chapter. A prologue should be quick and to the point. I don't want my prologue to be long because when it is I usually feel confused and annoyed because I'm being thrown into the middle of a very big plot that should not be the opening sequence for a story. This book also has three alternating PoVs. One of them is from Evangeline who is mentioned as the hated girlfriend of the prologue narrator's brother. She owns a strip club and has become romantically involved with her ex-boyfriend's FATHER.

Then there's the opening narrator, Alice, she is currently locked up in an asylum for witches after she witnessed her brother, Luc (Evangeline's ex-boyfriend), be murdered by a monster, but no one believes and thinks he killed himself. Her father has been keeping her locked up at the asylum against the doctor's wishes.
There is also a third narrator, Lisette, who seems to be a middle-aged woman, but sounds like a teenager. I have no clue what her purpose is in this story other than to be a woman who has forgotten that magic truly exists and just thinks the people around her are crazy. Can you see why it was hard for me to keep up? There's a lot going and this is only the first 17% of the novel. I can't do it. It's not interesting enough and I don't feel like I am gaining anything from this story. I think I'll just watch Coven instead.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 2
Character Scale: 1
Plotastic Scale: 1.5

Cover Thoughts: This isn't a horrible cover, but I'm not a huge fan of it.

Thank you, Netgalley and 47 North, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
What are some of your favorite witch novels? Do you have any novels set in New Orleans that you love? Have you been to New Orleans? (If you haven't you should, it's one of my favorite places.) Let me know down below in the comments! 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Couples I Shipped (and Didn't) in 2017

Hey, everyone! I've never done a post like this before, but I love Sam from Thoughts on Tomes' video and I was inspired to do  a blog post of my own. I honestly haven't really reflected on the characters and ships from 2017 and I figured this would be a fun way to look back. Also I love taboo books and I have a tendency to ship things that some would find problematic/disgusting/degrading/unsettling hate me for it, but I am trash for books that make me uncomfortable and ship things I shouldn't.

(from worst to worse)
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Nadine with anyone from The Stand. Nadine has a weird kind-of love triangle going on with Randall Flagg and Larry Underwood. Larry is a super nice guy and she is a part of God's plan for the creation of the antichrist (i.e. the weird relationship with Flagg). I just hate Nadine plan and simple, but I also felt bad for her because she saw the Flagg's true form and that is a psychological hindrance.
Harold and Fran, also, from The Stand. Harold is a creep  and this is a big NOPE. He had a few redeeming moments, but I just couldn't like him. He has no sense of boundaries, is obsessive, a stalker, and a psychopath who will murder for revenge. NOPE.
Noah and Dev from Ride Me Hard & Break Me are a huge NOPE. In I didn't have a problem with this couple until I got to the second novella which is completely disgusting. I like taboo stuff, but this is degrading and it romanticizes this fake whipping scene. I DON'T SUPPORT THIS AT ALL. I have read books with scenes like this, but they didn't romanticize rape and that is where my problem lies.
Willow and Alex from Angel Fever- I used to ship this couple back when I first read this trilogy, but this book was a hot mess and the dynamic between Alex and Willow was not swoon worthy, but cringey.
Willow and Seb from Angel Fever- NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE I can't stand this "couple" and I'm so over forced love triangles.
Gillian and Charles from My Fair Princess were a bust. This novel should've been a favorite, but it was so boring and the dynamic between these two was lackluster. 2017 was a bad year for HRs and I just didn't like this couple at all.
Camille and Joel from Someone to Hold was a complete bust. I didn't like this couple at all. It just didn't do it for me. The sex scenes were also...ugh...nope. The only redeeming factor was the adoption storyline, but that can't be the only thing that makes me like a couple.
Jenna and Mr. Anderson from Drowning Instinct are taboo, but they don't make me ship them even though it's wrong and I start questioning my sanity. I didn't hate them, but they made uncomfortable and also this book had a cheap ending, so... this ship just wasn't good and it definitely didn't sit well with me.
(from MEH to potential ship)
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Mina and Jonathan from Dracula are bland. I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to root for their love and yada yada yada, but I just couldn't muster up enough to like their dynamic and it was just BLAH.
Maddie and Olly from Everything, Everything aren't a horrible couple, but they do absolutely nothing for me. I couldn't care less about this couple and I wasn't a big fan of the book in general. Disliking a romantic couple in YA Contemporary generally predicts how I will feel about the book. MEH.
Thalia and Joss from Iron Butterfly is also a mediocre couple from a mediocre book. This is a really generic YA novel from that time when YA novels were riding out the paranormal wave, but this one  tried the fantasy angle and failed. They were a boring couple. I shipped Thalia more with an older man (Joss' uncle) than  did with this guy. Also there is probably going to be a love triangle. YUCK.
Nina and Deacon from Better Homes and Hauntings are not a bad couple. They have their cute moments, but they are not all that interesting either.
Jake and Cindy from Better Homes and Hauntings, again, not a horrible couple and at times, they were a lot of fun. However, they didn't keep all that interested and I wasn't super invested in them. They are cute though.
Pip and Estella from Great Expectations are not a couple people think about shipping, but back in the day before this was a classic, everyone was fighting over whether Estella and Pip should wind up together. I personally don't think they should, but I'm pretty certain that Pip will never be happy with anyone but Estella.
Lynet and Nadia from Girls Made of Snow and Glass were an odd couple. I didn't like the together and I didn't hate them together. I was kind of meh from the beginning, but towards the end I started to like their dynamic much more and their relationship had a stable ground.
Gen(l)ry Ai and Estraven from The Left Hand of Darkness had the potential to be an amazing couple that could have stolen the show. I loved their dynamic and the possibility; it contributed to a lot of angst, but the problem lies with the ending and how this ship was carried out. Even more interesting is Estraven's lack of gender. This offers a really interesting dynamic into the relationship and it shows a love based off of self and not gender.
Anwen and Colin from Too Scot to Handle are a cute couple. I really liked them a lot, but they don't stand well together as a novel. If this was a novella, I would've loved them as a couple, but as a couple in a novel they didn't shine.
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Wavy and Kellen from All the Ugly and Wonderful Things are taboo and definitely not an okay couple. A lot of people say this book supports pedophilia, but I've read worst and shipped worse (hello, Nine Minutes) and I honestly didn't see or interpret in that way. Also, I keep hearing about all these horrible sexual scenes, but there was only one graphic scene and it occurred the day before she turned a legal consensual age to marry. Also, this book is set in the '70s and times were different. That's why it's taboo and problematic. I'm  here for it. So, hate me.
Aria and Braith from Captured & Renegade were so taboo and captivating that I had to keep reading and picked up the sequel. This relationship is taboo because Aria is bought as a blood slave for the Prince, Braith, and I ate their romance/Stockholm Syndrome ship up. NO REGRETS.
Frank and April from Revolutionary Road are the epitome of toxicity. It's kind of disgusting, really, but I also absolutely loved it and loved reading about them and their dynamic. It was horrendous and tragic.
Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald from Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald is a great historical representation of a taboo relationship that has been romanticized by the media and in today's culture. This relationship is toxic and it made uncomfortable, but also I can't imagine them not being together because their toxicity doesn't function without the other. It's really confusing and like an old school Gone Girl relationship.
(From SHIP to Ship)
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Feyre and Rhysand from A Court of Wings and Ruin is still reigning supreme for me as a ship. I just love this couple so much and they make me so happy. Rhys has my heart.
Angel/Sarah and Michael Hosea from Redeeming Love is the representative for my perfect Christian husband (there is no such thing), but regardless of whether or not a perfect Christian man exists, Michael Hosea comes pretty close. He's patient, understanding, and he let the love of his life leave because she needed to. If that's not love and devotion then I don't know what is.
Agniezska and Sarkan (The Dragon) from Uprooted were my last couple of the year and I shipped them so hard. I love their dynamic so much and they make my heart so happy.
Anne and Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables make this list even though this was a reread. I shipped Anne and Gilbert the minute he tugged on her red hair and a feud began. I only want to read the sequels because of this ship. I do love the story and the characters, but the ship drives my soul.
Riley and Gabe from Outcast was a complete shipping surprise for me. I loved this ship because there is Cajun dancing and it's beautiful. I cried at the ending and this ship had me really invested in the story. If I didn't love Gabe as much as I did, I probably wouldn't have loved this book as much as I did.
Eve and Jake from Donners of the Dead is a horror romance that involves an expedition looking for the Donner party, but they find monsters. This romance has it's problems, but I don't care. I AM HERE FOR IT.
Mina and Felix from Girls Made of Snow and Glass were MY SHIP in this book. I mainly shipped them so hard because Felix isn't a human, but created from glass. His devotion to Mina is fast and true, but she never sees this as love and the angst was killing me. 
Maddie and Aiden from The Highland Commander are an incredibly cute Scottish couple that will tug at your heart strings and warm your shipping spirit. They weren't amazing or perfect, but their relationship and dynamic stole the show and made this book so enjoyable.
Fran and Stu from The Stand are the main couple in this novel, even though there are about five other couples. I really liked their dynamic and as a couple they worked well together. They aren't the best couple ever, but they have a lot of strong traits.

Are any of these your ships or nopes? What were some of your favorite and least couples of 2017? Let me know down below in the comments!

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

A Devil in Scotland Publishes January 30, 2018
A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

Third in the No Ordinary Hero series

4.5 stars

Callum McCreath is banished from his home in Inverness, Scotland when he disrupts and make a big display about his childhood friend, Rebecca, marrying his older brother, Lord Geiry (Ian). He wants her to bequeath his brother and runaway with him, but Rebecca refuses and a huge embarrassing debacle ensues. (This all occurs in the prologue; it’s very entertaining.) Flash forward ten years, Callum is the owner of an elite distillery in Kentucky and has severed all ties Scotland, but the letters have kept coming and no matter and quickly he burns them, there are more. Callum learns that his brother Ian has died in a convenient drowning accident and knows that has to return to Scotland and avenge his brother’s death. When he arrives in Scotland, he must unearth whether or not Rebecca was an accomplice in Ian’s death. That’s all I’ll say. I loved this historical romance novel so much. It’s an absolute favorite of mine. I recently have felt like I may never find another HR that I would love. I find one every now and then, but my hope has been slowly dipping. I just loved this one so much and I should’ve hated it because it has my least favorite trope ever. I read another book earlier this year that touched on the trope and it made me cringe, but the way that Enoch presents the sibling death unites lovers together trope in an understandable light. Callum and Rebecca have a past they aren’t complete strangers (which would have, for sure, turned me off from this story if that was the case) and because there’s this added layer of guilt about loving/not loving/hating each other it made this so much fun to fly through.

Suzanne Enoch’s writing style flows seamlessly off the page. It is so easy to become immersed in this plot for vengeance and uncovering if the person who is suspected did it or not (even though it was obvious that he did) and it was just so much fun. I just really loved getting swept away in the story and following Callum and Rebecca as they juggled Scotland as outsiders who have been there before. (Callum is Scottish, but has been gone for ten years; Rebecca is from England, but has lived in Scotland since she was about eight or nine.) It's really interesting to see the dynamic of belonging, but outsiders.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 4.5

The main male character is Callum. I loved Callum. He was brash and angry, but he was also fierce, loyal, and protective. I can’t blame him for being angry since his brother was killed by the man he had told him that would. Also, he threw a man who didn’t know when to shut his mouth out of a window. 10/10 He also has a wolf and I loved their dynamic. I was also a huge fan of his relationship with Maggie, his niece. He loves her so much and even though their relationship is new, it is very strong and the love is very pure. It’s adorable. He is a lot like, Waya, his wolf. He seems scary, but he is loving and caring to those who earn his trust.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 5

The female character is Rebecca. I’ll be honest, Rebecca isn’t the most compelling part of this novel. She is strong, fierce, and resilient, but she didn’t win me over until I was a couple chapters in. I think that she wasn’t as fleshed out as Callum and this was a slight hinderance, but her PoV wasn’t introduced until a couple of chapters in. However, she grew on me quickly and I really enjoyed her and was rooting for her by the end.

Kick- Butt Heroine Scale: 4

The Villain- It was obvious from the beginning, but that didn’t make it any less fun. I was definitely not expecting that showdown to go the way it did. It was intense. The good thing about these villains were that they were actually appalling. Usually, in HRs they are typical and boring, but these villains were grinding my gears

Villain Scale: 4

My favorite character in this novel was Mags. I love when kids are introduced in HRs because they are usually the strongest parts of the novel and her relationships were prevalent with the central characters. Plus, she is so sassy and confident. I would love to see a novel where she is grown up and running the distillery in Kentucky. It would give me life.

Character Scale: 5

This novel is cheesy and I know a lot of people will not like it, but I loved it. I thought it was so much fun and it’s one of the best historical romances that I’ve read in quite some time. It was refreshing to get lost in the story. The only real problem I have with this is the epilogue. I would’ve loved for it to have just ended, but the epilogue felt all over the place with characters being introduced that I didn’t know and then of course, there is a pregnancy reveal. It’s so cliché. Every HR ends with a pregnancy reveal, “You’ll have a present to open in six months,” this is literally from this novel and twenty other ones I’ve read. Still it’s a minor complaint and it’s so minuscule that it doesn’t take away from the overall arc of the story. I was pleasantly surprised and so glad that I picked this one up.

Plotastic Scale: 5

Cover Thoughts: It’s simple and like all the others, but the colors are striking.

Thank you, Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What is a HR novel that focuses on revenge that you love? Are you planning to read A Devil in Scotland? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Books I've Read in 2017 #45-49

Hi, everyone! I hope you are all doing well and reading a lot of good books. Here are some of the books that I read in 2017 and my thoughts on them.

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Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh - 4.75 stars This is a very disturbing psychological thriller. It is a very in depth character study and Eileen isn't the most welcoming character, but I think those who are interested in this type of character study will enjoy it. Check out my review here.
The Whisperer in Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft - 4 stars This is definitely one of Lovecraft's stronger stories. It was a lot of fun to read, but it doesn't stick on the brain.
When I Am Through with You by Stephanie Kuehn - 5 stars I absolutely loved this YA thriller. It's dark, gritty, and it wasn't afraid to go there. I know a lot of didn't like it, but I loved it! Check out my review here.
The Beguiled by Thomas Cullinan - 3.25 stars The concept is interesting and it's definitely dark, but the pacing was off and I wasn't a fan of how long it felt. The ending was predictable, but the drama was entertaining.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - 5 stars I really loved this one. I adored the dynamic between Ponyboy and his friends/family. All the emotions.

Recommend the Most:
When I Am Through with You and The Outsiders. I loved them both for different reasons and I highly recommend them both, but to certain readers. I think everyone will The Outsiders, but only certain readers of thriller will love When I Am Through with You.
Books Reviewed: 2
Books Rated Over 4 Stars: 4
New Favorites: 2
Books That Changed My Life: 1
Owned: 3

My stats have changed and I think it's because I talked about more than three books in the video. 

Have you read any of these books? Are you a fan of The Outsiders? Let me know down below in the comments!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Harry Potter Reviews That I Should've Written 4 Years Ago

Hi, everyone! If you didn't know I am a lazy reviewer and this is a prime example of how and why. I read the HP series for the first time in 2014. It is now 2018 and I have only reviewed the first three books in this series. So, I finally decided to get my life together and write some reviews.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Fourth book in the Harry Potter series


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire follows Harry returning to Hogwarts for his fourth year of schooling and he finds himself entered into a dangerous competition that will not only test his skills magically, mentally, and physically, but may just get him killed. That’s the simple version of this novel, but it is so much more than that. This is a novel that presents death to young children when other young people die. This is a book that forces friends to look at their dynamic and decide whether to stick together or go their separate ways (spoiler: friends until the end). This is a novel that forces Harry to see evil reincarnated in a graveyard. This is a novel where a young boy witnesses a Dementor’s Kiss. This is a novel where the light starts to fade in the Wizarding World, but still somehow retains its hilarity and whimsy. This is novel that starts with laughter and the Quidditch World Cup, which is full of veelas, leprechaun, the Weasley twins outsmarting and winning all the bets, and Harry and his best friends going back for another year at Hogwarts. The end of this novel ends in death, resurrection of something that should have stayed dead, but refuses to die, a horrifying revelation, and a shocking disposal of villain. This novel is what I consider to be the bridge of the Harry Potter series. If you look at Rowling’s writing approach each book mirrors another:
Sorcerer’s Stone-Deathly Hallows (beginning and end)
Chamber of Secrets-Half-Blood Prince (introduction of evil and uncovering the truth of this evil)
Prisoner of Azkaban- Order of the Phoenix (the introduction of Sirius Black- the end of…well… it’s depressing)
However, The Goblet of Fire stands out to me because it mirrors itself. It’s the first HP novel to be over 400 pages. It broke the mold for children’s novels and offers a very dark narrative that shocks and amazes the reader. This is my personal favorite Harry Potter novel mainly for this reason alone. It is brilliant and a true testament to the level of genius and planning that Rowling took when creating this world.

Whimsical Writing Scale: A MASTERPIECE

We continue to follow the same beloved characters in this series. I adore Harry, Hermione, and Ron can be a jerk, especially in this one, but he has moments (even if they are rare for me, personally). The Weasley brood continues to be a wonderful surrogate family to Harry and it was so much fun to see the dynamic of Harry being rescued from the Dursleys and taken to the Quidditch World Cup. Dobby is prevalent in this novel and I’m salty about him being cut from the films. The introduction of Winky, a free house elf who struggles to cope with being free. Also, we learn that house elves work in the Hogwarts kitchens and it adds a new layer to a school that readers thought they already knew. Fred and George rock and that ending with them warms my heart and soul.

Character Scale: OBSESSED

The Villain- I consider this villain to be one of the most well-thought aspects of the whole HP universe. Of course, Voldemort was behind the plotting for the most part, but a lot of it was by a father who loved his son and wanted him to be free. This plot was so brilliant that it is my number #1 reason as to why I love this novel so much. Yea, Voldemort is scary, but this sub-antagonist was so bad it was good.

Villain Scale: EVIL DONE RIGHT

As you can see, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my favorite of the seven novels. I know some agree and others don’t, but to me this is a wonderful novel that showcases the bridge between light and dark, life and death, retaining youth and being forced to grow up. It’s a well-thought out novel. I find it truly magnificent and captivating.

Plotastic Scale: BROKE MY SCALE

Cover Thoughts: One of my favorite illustrations of the Hogwarts box set. It is so stunning and the color scheme is magnificent.

17347381Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Fifth book in the Harry Potter series

5 stars

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the longest book in this series. It clocks in at 870 pages and while it is definitely huge, Rowling’s writing style is swift, funny, light, and to the point. While Rowling writes lightly, she is also the master of tackling dark subjects and presenting them with a seriousness that all ages can grasp and reflect upon. This is where the HP books become dark, angsty, and slightly frustrating. I’m not going to lie, there were times when I read this that I felt that this book was very long and I read this book in a relatively fast amount of time, but I still felt that this was a little too much. There is a lot going on in this novel. Looking at the movie and comparing it to the book whole sections and plots are cut. The biggest section that I’m mad about is Neville and his parents because that is a very powerful scene and it really cements the importance of Dumbledore’s Army for Neville. This is a great novel, fantastic even, but it is overwhelming. Most good novels, especially long novels, are overwhelming. That’s what makes them so good. This novel has its faults and it isn’t my favorite, but it has a lot of powerful memorable and remarkable moments.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 5

The characters in this novel are full of teenage angst. I actually really liked Harry for the most part. Everyone complains about his angst, but I was fifteen when I read this same age as Harry and I related to that angst (WOW, that was five years ago). I actually loved Ron in this one and didn’t annoy me as much as he usually did, but Hermione was starting to get on my nerves for a little bit and I wanted to slap her. I don’t know it was a weird time for these characters and for me reading wise. I loved the introduction of Luna and the foundation that forms between the Trio, Luna, Neville, and Jenny. It’s a strong group and it is really heartwarming. This is a really Sirius heavy novel which is great and it made me happy, but also destroyed me because Rowling did that. She went there. I still feel a lot of sympathy for Snape and he’s a self-righteous child abuser, but I really felt for him in this novel. Sad times.

Character Scale: 5

The Villain- Voldemort is still doing his Voldy thing, but he isn’t the central villain here. The true villain in OotP is Dolores Umbridge, Satan’s spawn. That bitch had me raging when she expelled Harry, Fred, and George from playing Quidditch. How dare she do that to my children? She is truly evil and I have no time for these types of bigoted, self-serving, child-hating/abusing monsters. Plus, she wears too much pink and is obsessed with cats. The mark of a truly evil woman masquerading as cute and cuddly. Also props to Hermione for taking down Rita Skeeter and her annoying-self down several pegs.

Villain Scale: EVIL

The Order of the Phoenix has its faults, but overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It’s a wonderful addition to the Harry Potter series and it is emotionally taxing in all the best ways.

Plotastic Scale: 5

Cover Thoughts: I love the illustration, but it isn’t my favorite of the bunch.
Are you a fan of the Harry Potter series or have you read them more recently? Let me know down below in the comments! 

Short Stories and Novellas That I Loved in 2017

Hey, everyone! I'm going to talk to more about some of favorite reads of 2017. I have video/post where I talk about my favorite novels of 2017. You can find that here. Today, I'm going to talk about some of my new favorite short stories that I was introduced to in 2017. There were a lot of wonderful stories that I came across and a lot of them can be found for free online and I highly recommend checking them out!

2017 Favorite Short Stories  
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Excerpt from a Film (1942-1987) by A.C. Wise - 5 stars
This is one of the best short stories that I've read in the Tor Project I'm doing. I absolutely loved and adored this story so much. It was right up my alley with history, old Hollywood, and ghosts.
Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl - 5 stars
One of my best friends recommended this one and I loved how dark it was. I definitely want to read more of Dahl's adult stories.
I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9′ S, Longitude 126° 43′ W)? by Neil Gaiman - 5 stars 
This is perfect for Lovecraft fans who are well versed in his most famous stories and love satirical horror. 
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe - 4.75 stars
It took me forever to get to this Poe story, but I'm a fan of this one for sure. I look forward to rereading it in the future. 
The Fall of the Usher by Edgar Allan Poe - 4.5 stars
This one wasn't what I was expecting, but I definitely enjoyed the macabre turn it took. 
Sweetlings by Lucy Taylor - 4.25 stars
Evolution in humans can get scary and Taylor tackled this topic in a completely unique concept that left me chilled to the bone.
Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 4.25 stars
It was nice finally reading one of the most famous short stories ever crafted. I prefer this to The Scarlet Letter.  
The Haunter of the Dark by H.P. Lovecraft - 4.25 stars
Cults and Lovecraft? It's nice to see him go back to the Cthulhu-esque stuff he writes. I really enjoyed this one.
Mental Diplopia by Julianna Baggott - 4 stars
This was a very odd post-apocalyptic story and I really liked it. I don't want to say too much because spoilers, but it is definitely worth checking out if you are a sci-fi fan.
The Whisperer in the Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft - 4 stars
This reminded me a lot of Lovecraft's better stories and is one of his better works compared to the some of the bombs I read by him this year. 
 2017 Favorite Novellas
Different Seasons by Stephen King - 4.75 stars
This collection was pretty phenomenal. All the stories were above 4 stars for me.
5 stars - Apt Pupil
4.75 stars - The Breathing Method, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption
4.25 stars - The Body
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King - 4 stars 
Technically this is considered to be a short story collection, but some of the stories are long and fall closer to novella length. So, I'm going to put it in this section even though they are short stories. 
Favorites in this collection: 
5 stars - Summer Thunder, Bad Little Kid, UR, The Dune, Cookie Jar
4.5 stars - Mile 81, Obits
4.25 stars - Under the Weather, The Little Green Angry God, Morality
4 stars - Afterlife

 Are you a fan of short stories? My favorite short stories seem to be horror ones, which is interesting! What short stories do you enjoy? Let me know down below in the comments!

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...