Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Books with Paranormal Creatures

It’s Top 5 Wednesday time! This week, the topic is to discuss paranormal creatures and list the top 5 books with a certain creature. Because I’m indecisive, I will be talking about all kinds of memorable creatures I have encountered in literature.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The mutts in this trilogy are haunting, straight out of a scary novel. One of the most terrifying images was when Katniss could hear other contestants projected through the mutts. In that sense, the guilt of having killed them intensifies. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the mutts.

4. The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Fairies never seemed so dangerous to me, until I have read this trilogy. Good God, they are bewildering and taunting in their kills. The scene where Aileana meets Sorcha for the first time still gives me shivers. Iconic. Plus, this is a more complicated take on the mythology behind fairies and their relationship with humans.

3. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

While this is not a literal paranormal novel, I say it’s certainly offering commentary on humanity and the need for survival. How far is too far for us to carry on living? Mother and Lynn are a great team, because they’re so driven to shooting everyone down (except for Stebbs).

2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Yep, I’m still talking about this book, because it blew my mind. While I have mixed feelings about the monster’s “villainy” in here, he was still rather profound and moving. Like, really moving. I’m not sure if the thought of Liam Neeson voicing this monster sways me. I never read the monster as a “bad” influence. To me, he was a guide, a therapist almost. Sometimes, we don’t like the lessons we have to learn. Letting go is the hardest lesson of all. Conor may have disliked the monster for a long time, but it is because he represented a scary notion on loss and courage. I totally understand how monstrous loss can be. So, yes, it’s up there.

 1. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

In the vein of Not a Drop To Drink, I have to say the most terrifying creatures I had encountered have to be humans. Cruel, impulsive, and sometimes calculating, impassive at times, there are too many people who are very much like Kate Harker and her father. The monsters are not always the most physically intimidating creatures. It’s the ones who choose to be monstrous with metal nails installed.

 

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BR: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

 

 

Hello! If you follow me on Goodreads, you may have noticed that I finished reading More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. I loved the story, but I was overwhelmed with feelings. Here are some of my thoughts.

Premise

The story is about a young man called Aaron, who lives in a Bronx neighborhood. At first glance, it seems like he has everything he wants. He has a lovely girlfriend and friends. One problem: he is grieving a loss. And, from there, the story unfolds when he meets a new boy in the neighborhood.

Oh, and before I end this section, let me just say this: it’s probably not what you think. It certainly wasn’t for me when I was reading this book.

Themes

While I would recommend this book to anyone, I would say that you have to be in a good place (emotionally and mentally) to approach it. It’s not triggering, really, but it is heavy. 

Throughout the story, there is an exploration of loss and grief. I found that Silvera handled these topics with sensitivity. Furthermore, there is a discussion on relationships and sexuality, as well as memory and choice. Agency, when it comes to who we are as people, certainly bubbles sometimes to the surface of this novel. But, for the first half, it is an undercurrent, subtly there yet hard to fully pinpoint.

Friendship and toxic masculinity are also portrayed in this book, in a rather powerful way. Also, this phrase, which is one that I dislike with a passion, “No homo.”

Characters

The Bronx is practically a character in this book. I haven’t felt this sense of setting personified since Gatsby. While in Gatsby’s story, it had a distant feel to it. However, here, the Bronx feels like I’d been there. Not only that, but I’d also lived there. It reminded me of Egypt, a bit, with the relationships between the boys, and the very toxic masculine code embedded into their interactions.

Also: the games they play? Wow. I was so into them. Manhunt, in particular, hit a nerve for me.

Aside from that, I have to say Me-Crazy was terrifying, and yet so real. I knew of people like him in our neighborhood in Egypt. No one ever questioned young men similar to him. I’m not sure if this was a point of pride for this person or if it never even registered into their awareness.

Genevieve and Thomas were complicated, and I liked that we didn’t get to see their points of view all that much. The journey is not theirs. It’s Aaron’s.

The complicated relationship between Aaron and his family was also a highlight of this novel. As someone who had attempted suicide before, I was sucker-punched by the devastation that Aaron and his family deal with in the aftermath of this loss.

Eric was a bucket of ice. That’s the only way I can explain his presence in this story.

And, I guess, the most allusive character of all is the Leteo organization and the procedure itself.

Review

I loved every single heartbreak I got from this book. And, boy am I glad to have my own copy of this author’s books, because he has quickly become a favorite of mine. If you have read this book, please share your thoughts in comments!

 

Guess who finally finished The Final Kingdom by Elizabeth May? This book is the conclusion
I'm sure  you have been seeing Mackenzie Lee's The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue around the
I have practically devoured The Falconer by Elizabeth May. Here's a book review, let's quit stalling. If

Review and Reflections on The Good Place Show (Season 1)

 

 

 

I finished watching season 1 of The Good Place on Netflix. Here are some of my reflections and overall review.

Premise

The story begins with Eleanor Shellstrop’s death and subsequent welcome into the Good Place. Just what it sounds like, the Good Place is a place for those who are good.

One problem though: Eleanor is not a good person.

She often maintains that she was a “medium” person. But, throughout the show, the audience get to see flashbacks of who Eleanor was in her life.

Ahem. Let me summarize: not a very good person.

Themes

I love this show, because it dealt with morality and with the limitations in our heaven/hell paradigm. Even more pressing is the question regarding finality in terms of the time frame for being “good.”

Can we learn to be good? Or are we royally screwed if goodness doesn’t come naturally to us? To what extent can we blame our nurturing for our nature?

Another wrinkle in this complicated canvas is the idea of intention in congruence with the seemingly, outwardly, selfless actions we display.

What about soulmates? Do you meet soulmates only in your lifetime? Or, can you be “rewarded” with a soulmate? Is that an easy connection to be made or does it take effort and compromise?

Characters

And, I think part of the reason behind my love for this show is the characters. They were real and flawed, even when they tried to seem “nice” and “good.” Plus, that plot twist in the last episode shook me up quite a bit.

Chidi will always be someone rather close to my heart, because I can relate to the indecisive nervousness around making decisions. Part of me will forever aim to please everyone, but will also weigh in the pros and cons far too many times. He was a good teacher; I learned lots from him.

Tahani and her struggle to find peace within herself also hit close to home for me. Man, I grew up with very high expectations of myself, and I was constantly disappointed. Sometimes, I slip back into that destructive critical tone with myself and others. Watching Tahani be unable to be truly accepting of others was a tough pill to swallow. I am not even sure I digested this lesson quite yet.

Eleanor and Jianyu are interesting people, too. I kind of worry that I am more Jianyu than I’d like.

Overall

It’s definitely a 5/5 kind of show. Funny, light, charming, and yet meaningful and profound. Super nice.

Also: I don’t know if this is just me adjusting to my Hufflepuff status, but I will say this show reminds me of the essence of being a Hufflepuff. This is a good thing, because there are not many shows that remind me of the Hufflepuff-ness in life.

If you have seen this show, please share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to discuss this one with you. See you in the comments. 

Over the past week, I have inched my way through the second season of The
As you may have gathered by now, I am working my way through The 100. This
For the Netflix Chronicles, I am reviewing season 1 of the show Atypical. This series

Week 3 of October, 2017: TBR and TBW Plans

 

 

Welcome to week 3 of October, 2017. I managed to read a little bit, and I hope to try more this week. Here are some of my hope-to-read TBR and to-watch TBW plans.

Stand-alone(s)

Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore is on here, because I want to be all caught up on her work before I haul Wild Beauty next month. When The Moon Was Ours was such a sweet and moving read. Hopefully, this book is also similar in terms of tone. I am fascinated by this author’s brilliant grasp on writing beautifully and balancing it with moderation. Sometimes, when text is overly ornate, I tend to gag a lot. This author doesn’t cause that reaction for me. Thank goodness.

Maybe. 

History if All You Left Me by Adam Silvera is a possibility for this week. This author broke my heart in his More Happy Than Not debut. And I may need some sort of break, but I don’t know, I really like his writing and the overall tone in his world-building. Really neat.

Sequels

As I write this post, I am almost done with This Savage Song, and as such, I am curious to read the ending to that duology (Our Dark Duet). Victoria Schwab’s writing is fast paced and interesting, so it does not feel like a particularly challenging task to read these books. I will say this, though: tough things happen in this world presented in the duology. Very nervous to see what it will take for the story to fully conclude.

I forgot! I am also not done with Not a Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis. So, that is one more book on my TBR for the week. 

To Be Watched (perhaps?)

Alright. Now, I haven’t really been watching what I put lists. So, with that in mind, let’s just put what was on the list prior on here.

The 100 (Season 3)

Sigh. I am scared for my babies, okay?! I am just nervous. But, I think I’ll try watching one episode per day or something like that. Furthermore, my hope is that the show will, as always, drive me to write a review and (perhaps) create a Spotify Playlist Project entry. Only one wait for find out!

Jane the Virgin (season 3)

Gosh dang it, I am so behind on this show. From what I hear, a new season is in the works OR it will start airing soon. Is this true? I have no idea. But, I’d like to catch up anyway.

Shadowhunters (season 1-2)

Look, I am a huge fan of the Shadowhunters Chronicles. It is time for me to see what is going on within this show’s freedom to deviate from the story in the books. Part of me has been afraid of what these peeps are doing to my literary babies. But, you know, I like the cast a lot. And, the diversity on the show seems to be kind of nice.

  We made it to week 2 of October 2017. Needless to say, I have
  Heck yes! It is the first week of October, 2017. I am so happy,
I'm still spiraling in this really bad mental state in September. It is frustrating to

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Eerie Books

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday! Here is a link to the Goodreads group for topics and more information. Let me start off this post with a warning: I don’t do scary. At all. So, for this Top 5 Wednesday, I’m talking about eerie things.

5. Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I don’t have a copy of this story anymore, but man, I was so fascinated by it when I did read it. Um, young Goodman Brown was a good man and he was very faithful to his religion. Then, things go awry. Dude, Nathaniel Hawthorne doesn’t like it when people deviate from their faith. I mean, it’s admirable and all, but something about the lengths to which he goes that gets a little overboard. Still. I remember how eerie this one was. Even now.

4. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

The first time I was reading this poem, I’d found out about the Simpsons’ performance of this piece. I have loved it ever since. Edgar Allan Poe is kind of very medicated, so his horror pieces always felt extra strange to me. But, the ones about love and loss are always not scary because of supernatural things, and more because of the emotional impact.

3. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

In my head, I always imagine the dark, vast opera where this story is set. Much like The Raven, this story troubled me with the setting and the loss featured throughout the tale. No, I am not too keen on watching musicals, though. Nor do I have a copy of this story. It’s too sad for me to actually reread again.

2. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

My heart will always remember this story. Quentin is one of my favorite names of all time. Sometimes, I miss the images these siblings share in their respective chapters. But, there is a certain brother that I hate(d).

 1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

There are moments where I feel rage toward this book, because of the whole “Byronic hero” thing. To me, it always felt like a literal racial implied message hidden in there. But, maybe I am just being overly critical. It’s still one of the most eerie stories I had ever read. And, I love it so much.

It's Top 5 Wednesday time! This week, the topic is to discuss paranormal creatures and
Hello! As we are in the spirit of Halloween, the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads group's
Hello there! This week's Top 5 Wednesday speaks to me on an emotional level. Naturally,

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Fall-ish Book Covers

 

 

Hello! Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, which is a meme run by the lovely the Broke and the Bookish. This week, the topic is the top ten fall-ish book covers I own.

10. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The grays in the cover, contrasting with a pale white figure floating, is very fall-ish to me. It has an eerie feel to it, for sure. In addition, my knowledge about this book in terms of how Halloween-y it is, definitely plays a role in my choice to add it to this list.

9. Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Oranges, grays and browns compose this whole cover. I haven’t read it yet, but it is definitely a fall-ish cover. It kind of reminds me of where I live in California, too. Just the desert-y feel and the eerie sense of mystery.

8. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The deep maroon colors in the cover coupled with some nice deep gray shades really conjures up the image of Fall. Sometimes, I feel like the book covers I got were gross, and I prefer the prettier once. Then, I shake off that notion, because I think my covers are a tad bit more accurate to what Kestrel was really like: a fighter. (Even though, I do admit that she was not really physically much of a fighter anyway).

7. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Lush greens, and yellows, with swirls of gold summon that fall-ish feel. Something about that book, too, reminds me of fall. The setting of New York having a hidden layer of existence for other species, just that dual nature, screams fall-ish vibes for me.

6. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Green, orange, and an eye opening? Come on, this is fall in action right there. There are tree-looking things as lashes. I can’t say the actual story has much to do with the Fall.

5. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Similar to the lone western on this list (Vengeance Road), the colors on this book are ironically hinting at greenery whereas the title hints at thirst (like a lot of thirst).  This dryness that I’m including in my fall-ish covers is pretty accurate considering how hot fall can be sometimes. Like, really. It takes a while for things to get consistently cold here.

 

 

4. The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

I love these covers. They have rich colors, and beautiful dresses on them, too. Plus, really pretty hair is involved in this series, too. At any rate, I don’t remember the setting of the stories. Was it a whole year round type of time-frame? I’m not sure.

 

3. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

The colors on this cover are so, so sweet. Plus, the feather reminds me of leaves. And, let’s be honest, the idea of flying (as it is mentioned in the summary) is quite fall-ish in terms of dream-like quality and supernatural fun things. I can’t wait to read this one.

2. Doll Bones by Holly Black

Halloween-y fall-ish feels from this cover are so exciting. The image of the doll on the cover reminds me of the relationship between Halloween as a holiday and children. It is a complicated connection, certainly one I don’t fully comprehend.

  1. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

I admit it, this book is still very eerie and mysterious to me. The timelessness of it as it deals with the Chosen One figure makes me think of fall. It could be the literal “fall” of a hero, the collapse under so much pressure, the haunting feelings of falling from the graceful position of a chosen person. Plus, the eerie flames on the cover are very Halloween-inspired to ome.

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Book Review: Thoughts and Feels on The Final Kingdom

Guess who finally finished The Final Kingdom by Elizabeth May? This book is the conclusion to the Falconer trilogy. Listen, I have many thoughts and feels to share. No spoilers. Let’s go

Premise

A war is brewing and the Seelie and Unseelie peeps have to face each other. An unlikely alliance pushes main characters to new stressful times. Also: Aileana has to come to terms with her rage. There’s a new villain, kind of like the boss level of villainy, and there is a search for a certain book that can help give Aileana a chance to get some closure.

Unexpected Love

If you’d ever told me that I’d like Sorcha, I would have laughed at you. Sorcha, the fae who killed Aileana’s mother, does not sound sympathetic at all in the first two books of this trilogy. Elizabeth May does such a a wonderful job in complicating the good/evil dichotomy. In fact, the series got me thinking a lot about choice, agency, and good/evil.

A very complicated relationship between Sorcha and her brother Lonarch, whose name is hard to remember, adds dimension to this installment of the trilogy. The same sibling tangled relationship is also present with Aithinne and Kiaran. Like, really complicated.

Cruelty and War

The most consistent examination throughout this trilogy is that of cruelty and war. Aileana fights with viciousness and often cruelty plays a role in her attitude toward fae. For the most part, as the story progresses, this cruelty worsens. The author reflects this harshness in Kiaran as well. He’s ruthless. Like, really ruthless.

Ultimately, the characters make difficult choices and sacrifices in light of their rather grim position.

And, I think of how Aileana is eventually faced with a choice. Does she continue to be cruel? Or does she start to show mercy, even to the people she once judged and hated?

Only one way for you to find out what happens: READ THIS!

Romance

So, let me just say this once: I don’t really normally like romance that much. And, like, there’s vague mentions of sexy times in this book. To be quite honest, I don’t understand why these scenes were hinted at. No judgment to those who like sexy scenes, I just think there was enough going on. I really didn’t need to read about dark!Kiaran and how he is fighting, poor boy, and how Aileana brings out the humanity in him or whatever.

No, bro. Let him be dark. Let him grapple with the way he was born.  Let’s not slip into Twilight-esque (Breaking Dawn style) love scenes. Urgh.

I do like the ending, to be fair.

Full Circle

I also like the theme of parents and the life they present to their children. It really was a moving read, and the themes that May included enriched the experience of seeing Aileana and her friends go through loss, love, and hope once more.

Five stars!

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I'm sure  you have been seeing Mackenzie Lee's The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue around the
I have practically devoured The Falconer by Elizabeth May. Here's a book review, let's quit stalling. If

Week 2 of October 2017 TBR Plans

 

We made it to week 2 of October 2017. Needless to say, I have plans in terms of TBR and TBW things. Here, I will share what I will be reading and watching.

Wrap Up

I haven’t finished reading More Happy Than Not. But, I have enjoyed every second of this heartbreaking read. Therefore, I am eager to see what will happen in Adam Silvera’s debut. Right now, I am nearing the 30% mark. The story flies by, but I am afraid of more heartbreak.

Start of Something New…

Hey, did you see that High School Musical reference? You’re welcome. Uh, I want to try This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab AND/OR I can try Mindy McGinnis’ Not a Drop to Drink. Part of me is also tempted to put A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess on here too.

So. YOLO, let’s do this.

I may not end up getting to everything this week, but hey, what the heck, right? My goal is to try and read more, but mental health has been really bad lately.

Also: TBW

Last week, I totally failed at trying to watch The 100 and Jane the Virgin. Since my mental health is not in a good place, I think perhaps it’ll be better for me to just watch something easy going like Jane the Virgin. This is also fitting because the next season comes out next Friday.  It’ll be my goal to try to watch the show between writing posts or commenting.

My sister asked me to try watching Parks and Recreation. For whatever reason, I avoid that show. Actually, I am lying here. Any show with incompetent people at their jobs triggers my own inadequacies as a “professional woman.” I just feel like I sucked as a teacher, tutor, and writer. And, therefore, watching shows about people who also suck makes me uneasy. Laughing “at” them feels wrong to me. SO! I may get really uncomfortable watching this show. No promises that I’ll actually give it a go.

The final option is New Girl. It has the cutest lead female character. This one is promising.

Your Turn:

What are your reading and viewing plans for the week? Share in comments!

    Welcome to week 3 of October, 2017. I managed to read a little
  Heck yes! It is the first week of October, 2017. I am so happy,
I'm still spiraling in this really bad mental state in September. It is frustrating to

Book Haul: October 2017 Book Haul

 

Hi there! So, it’s finally October. As a very lucky girl, I get to have my order of some books every month with my mom. Here’s my October 2017 Book Haul.

New Series

To All The Boys I Have Loved Before by Jenny Han
I have been seeing graphics and mood-inspired things on Tumblr regarding this book series. Perhaps I’ll one day talk about this in more detail, but I was kind of shamed out of owning these books. In asking for the final one as a birthday gift for myself as a thirty one year old, I’m reclaiming my own connection to a sweet story. Quite frankly, Lara Jean makes me happy, and brings a sense of innocence to me. It’s like the most ultimate Hufflepuff book series ever.

Embracing the Hufflepuff.

The Diviners by Libba Bray
Um. Chiara has a strong influence on me? I am curious to read things a bit out of my comfort zone. This one is perfect for the fall season. Also: I don’t think I have read much 20’s inspired fiction. I was thinking back of Beauty Queens and how much I enjoyed it. Plus, I have the A Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy. Perhaps a reread is in my future.

 Stand Alones

They Both Die At the End by Adam Silvera
I just have a really good feeling about this author. I’m going to read his first book this month (at least. I may read more of his stuff, since I have amassed his work over the past two months).

Sequels

PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Bought this one used, so I hope it gets here in good condition. I’m hoping to read more about Lara Jean, especially when things get kind of dark for me (um, emotionally. Not light-wise, you know).

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
I asked for this one as a gift. My birthday is around the end of the month, and I wanted to celebrate the day by enjoying cute, fun, sweet stories. Plus, I haven’t read this one yet. I read the first two ages ago, so a reread is definitely in my future.

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
The thing is, this author is quite clever in her works. I did find an aspect of her Gemma Doyle books annoying (Anne. I just loved her a lot, and she was not treated that well). But, I decided to give her a second chance, particularly since people speak highly of The Diviners series. And, it seems more like my jam (kind of).

 

  It is time for my September 2017 book haul. As you may have read
                Standalone novels  Ash by Malinda Lo I haven't
I'm starting a new feature on here dedicated to my book hauls. For me, I

Podcasts, Self Improvement, and Learning Off the Internet

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I’m not alone in this, but it certainly feels that way. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been trying out podcasts. To encourage regular listening, I’m hoping to share my favorites every once in a while. Let’s begin.

On Feminism and Intersectionality

My favorite podcast in that regard, thus far, has to be Stuff Mom Never Told You. I can’t get over their episode on Miley Cyrus and racism, because oh my goodness this was mind-blowing and eye opening. Another really cool episode I had listened to was about African Americans and mental illness’ stigma. SO GOOD!

Anxiety and Depression Management and Community

You have to check out “Talking in Circles” with Laura Miller. This lady is honest and raw, real about her mental illness and how it affected her pregnancy. She used to make YouTube video series with the same title. I’ll link it right here for you. My favorite episode of the podcast has to be the one with Jen Gotch who is also extremely open and frank about her own life as a woman with mental illness. Also: I am learning from her by rating my own wellness every day. Just to be self aware and honest with myself.

 

So, I don’t know if you heard of Yoga Girl. She had a book come out a few years back, and she is popular on Instagram within the yoga community. I like her a lot, as a person and as a yogi. Luckily for me, she has a podcast called “From the Heart.” My favorite episode thus far is one about grief. The guest on that episode lost her child. Pshaw. That episode was so powerful and moving. It still haunts me and drives me to do better as a human.

Your Turn:

Do you have any favorite self improvement podcasts on iTunes? Please, share them with me in the comments! I want to learn more!

 

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