BR: Monsters of Verity Duology

 

I finished reading the Monsters of Verity duology over the past two weeks. My mind is blown, and my heart has felt such a range of feelings. In short: I want to share some thoughts on this story. Let’s go.

premise

The story begins with the Seam. It is a line separating two little towns. One of them has monsters. The other has humans. Humans wear medals to get their safety under the reign of some jerk named Callum Harker.

Two characters are at the center of this tension-filled city: August Flynn and Kate Harker.  They have no contact.

Until August goes over to her school as a transfer student.

Boom.

characters

Kate is Callum Harker’s daughter. He is the leader of their town, the protector of humans. And yet, Kate has a dark backstory and metal nails. She has been kicked out of schools for the past couple of years. [See backstory].

August Flynn is a monster. Born out of violence, he is trying to be human. He attempts to fit in with human beings, and he is apologetic for his monstrous nature.

When the two characters bump into each other, chaos ensues.

Also: No, this is luckily mostly a non-romantic story.

conflicts

What I love about this story, like many of Schwab’s novels, is that deals with morality, and consequences to choices. It zeroes in on nature vs. nurture, humanity, and the nature of monsters.

In addition, it is an exploration of compassion, survival, friendship, and vengeance.

This duology is just perfection. I enjoyed it to the moon and back, and that’s not even an exaggeration.

overall

I’d give these two novels a 4-4.5 star rating. My qualm is with pacing in the second book, particularly early into the story. It takes a while for things to happen, and so it kind of slowed down my reading for a little bit.

But, when things start moving, you better clear your calendar. This story will take over your world.

Some of you may know that I lived in Egypt in the 90s. I was
In the most recent months of 2018, I have been aiming to read beyond my
The Love for V.E. Schwab I started reading V.E. Schwab's work about a year ago.

Top Ten Books That Will Give Me Cool Aunt Status

 

 

Top Tuesday is a meme created by the lovelies over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, a topic is listed for bloggers to share their top ten books or characters that relate to the prompt. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I am going to be discussing my top ten books that will give me cool aunt status.

Let’s begin.

10. the hunger games by suzanne collins

A trilogy that correlates with strong political commentary but coupled with an intense plot and pace would definitely earn me some points. Look, Katniss Everdeen, along with all the people around the Hunger Games,  face serious choices to make, with very high stakes. Plus, the movie adaptations are pretty good, too. Aside from the casting, which still kind of bothers me sometimes.

9. the weight of feathers by anna-marie mclemore

This book is somewhat slow moving at first. As such, my cool aunt status will not be attained quickly. I am okay with that, because this story packs a punch that “Romeo and Juliet” doesn’t quite manage to accomplish. I do think they’d learn more about adversity and family feuds better through this story. Plus, beautiful costumes and art drive this tale. I think my nephews and nieces would like this book eventually.

8. not a drop to drink by mindy mcginnis

Just like The Hunger Games, I think this story has a lot of weight to it because it seems possible to happen in future. The questions of morality and compassion posited by the author would provide just enough tension and jog (to put it lightly) some thoughts into the nephew and nieces lives, interactions, and discussions.

7. Monsters of verity duology by victoria schwab

Yep, it surpasses Shades of Magic series because I think it warrants a more urgent discussion on evil and choice. I doubt that forgetting August and Kate will ever be feasible. I mean this in the most honest sense: I think of them often.

***Next are books I have not read yet, but they are on my shelves*

6. illuminae by amie kaufmann and jay kristoff

I have not read this series yet, but dude, I know the format will be a ton of fun to experience. All the cool kids have read this series, and while I am not cool (yet), I will make sure my future nephews and nieces know what’s hip.

5. and i darken by kiersten white

Another unread book on this list, but I like the alternate takes on history that are out there in literature right now. So, this one sounds really promising, even though some people say it starts out slow. If I may, I want to add another one that I have not read: Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman. We can talk about erasure of queer figures in historical texts, too.

4. ash by melinda lo

It’s embarrassing that I haven’t read this on either, but I WILL. And, when I do, those poor nephews and nieces will be exposed to a fresh take on Cinderella. And, in the words of Harry Potter in his musical, “It’s going to be totally awesome.”*

*If you haven’t seen the two Harry Potter musicals, you must remedy this soon. They’re so good.

3. chaos walking trilogy by patrick ness

While I do fear for this trilogy’s adaptation, I still look forward to reading it. A world where people can hear each other’s thoughts sounds terrifying and interesting. Plus, gender, freedom, and cute dogs are relevant to the story.

2. Beauty queens by libba bray

A remake of a classic, and it is far more inclusive, this book sounds like an interesting read. I have skimmed through this before, and it has this reality-television setting that made me smile.

 1. turtles all the way down by john green

OCD representation and discussion of friendship, plus some detective work. Another bonus for me is that this is a book by one of my favorite authors ever. I think the nephews and nieces may like this one, too. (I hope so).

 

Slumps, of all kinds, are the worst. It doesn't matter if you can do your
Image courtesy of Couleur on Pixabay. Not a genre I normally reach for, middle-grade books
For this week's Top 10 Tuesday, I am twisting the prompt a bit. Rather than

Review: The Big Sick

 

 

 

My brother was super kind to get me The Big Sick a few days after my birthday. I want to share some of my thoughts on this film, because it hit close to home.

Finding your voice

While the story is centered on love, I do think it is also dependent on Kumail finding his own voice as a comedian and as a Pakistani American. He has to come to terms with his place in the middle of two seemingly different cultures.

He finds the balance between comedy and boring exposition. I remember the whole “this is your name in *insert native language here*” tricks just to get people to see that I won’t be scary. And, in some ways, I understand the struggle to place oneself in the grand conversation of the world.

romance

So, obviously, I’ll have to talk about the romance. Ultimately, Emily is this nice white girl, who is cool and unique. She is clever and funny, sweet and strange at times. The big sickness she deals with is terrifying and harrowing.

Her family show a sense of belonging and acceptance of her and her history. It’s sweet to see them welcome Kumail after hesitating at first. I think the love story in this film is also between the two parents and their grappling with infidelity.

universal family problems

I suppose it was a nice depiction of universal familial tensions when faced with accepting new members and significant others. I like that this is portrayed without being too preachy or idealistic.

Honestly though

I am literally sighing. Look, I love the story, please don’t get me wrong. However, I want to say a few things here. First, being American doesn’t mean you erase your culture. There can be Muslim Americans. I deeply dislike this apologetic view of faith, like you can’t be a modern person and still practice a religion that is old like Islam.

Like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the assumption that marrying a white person would allow for integration into western society is shallow and woefully untrue. I wished Kumail would embrace his culture, introduce it to Emily, and uncover the mystery of how to marry both cultures into his life.

Believe it or not, we are capable of multitasking and containing multitudes in general. There is no need to reduce oneself to a single pill with no complicated ingredients.

Yet, I respect his story and I appreciate it. Maybe if there’s more interaction and overlap between different cultures and races, people would be more tolerant.  I do wish there was a more nuanced discussion of culture and identity, though. In addition, I wish there was more variety in our stories on immigrants and the quest to come to terms with identity.

 

  I have been trying to write a post for the past five days, and
    Hey there! Today, I'm sharing a film review of the new Power Rangers
  You may not know this about me, but I had disordered eating all my

TBR for week 2 of November, 2017

 

I did not do a good job last week in terms of reading. So, I though maybe just trying a couple of different books could help me make my way through this cloud of depression. It’s more of a storm, but I am trying to make it out of this mess.

My to be read pile is in need of some serious trimming, and I feel like reading could help me cope with this funk a little better. Because of this, I am trying to be more ambitious this week.

 

contemporary love

Obviously, I have to read John Green’s latest novel entitled Turtles All the Way Down.  An ownvoices novel on OCD, it sounds like this one may be triggering at times. However, I think the way it deals with friendship may give me some solace. I love the way John Green crafts real and raw friendships in his books.

Plus, this book has been on some of the lists on here. It is time for a review and reflection.

steampunk stories

For week 2 of November, 2017, I have to add some steampunk into my TBR. In particular, I am going to try two series: 1) The Girl in the Steel Corset and 2) Rebel Mechanics. 

The latter series has gotten some okay reviews around the internet. I have the first two books in that series, so I am hopefully going to enjoy the way history is told in this series. Revolutions aren’t stuff that I have read about much, so this should be neat.

Oh, and the first series is often mentioned as a recommendation for those who love steampunk. I have the whole series on my shelf, ready to go.

Also: before I forget, I am still reading Something Strange and Deadly, which is steampunk (I believe). While I am not far in, it’s a nice read at this point.

Perhaps?

I may read The Kiss of Deception, at some point this week, too. (Hey, I am dreaming out loud).

Your turn

What are you reading this week?

 

I haven't been able to post on my blog for most of September. The world
As someone who is afraid of space and traveling in general, it's hilarious that I
Happy September to my peeps! After attempting to squish my library books and TBR into

Top 5 Problematic Favorite Characters

 

Welcome to Top 5 Wednesday. Here’s a link to the Goodreads group so you can follow along with topics and such. This week, the topic is about problematic favorite characters.

5. Looking for alaska by john green

I will always love Alaska Young, even though I do acknowledge that she is a bit of a manic pixie dream girl. Often, I find myself thinking of her, more than Pudge and the gang. Incidentally, I read this book at least six or seven years ago, and haven’t reread it since. That is a testament to how memorable Alaska is. “The only way out is through.”

4. Eleanor and park by rainbow rowell

A lot of people dislike how Park is portrayed in this book. I do think this, though: he and Eleanor broke my heart on such an epic level. Like Alaska, I find myself really drawn to them because of their social awkwardness. Also, I felt like Eleanor’s family situation was borderline triggering at times. She reminds me of my own experience with abusive family dynamics and, for that I connected with her a lot.

3. the falconer by elizabeth may

Gavin, the dude who stole my heart even more than Kiaran, did something horrible in book 2. Yet, I found myself still sympathetic towards him. Maybe it is because he was such a close friend to the main character? I am not sure. I just love him, even after the end of the final book, I still love him so much.

2. anna and the french kiss by stephanie perkins

I read this trilogy of companion novels a long time ago, and I noticed recently that people have problems with it. Mainly, the issue is that the endgame couple starts their relationship based on cheating. So, at first, I put the books away in shame because, oh my god, I didn’t even remember this fact. But, I put them back on my shelves, because I love them and I recognize that they are problematic.

 1. poison study by maria v. snyder

Look, this person is mentioned as a part of the LGBT+ community, but it’s not explored or explained. And, it makes me mad that this person was not given enough exposition. I love these books, but this is something I want more of.

I am having a particularly rough time existing, so I am taking advantage of post
Ah, welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday where I break the rules. This is becoming
Getting redeemed is often reserved for villains, but today, I am going to be talking

Top Ten Leaders in My (Imaginary) Book Club

 

 

Yes, it is time for another Top Ten Tuesday. This is a meme run by the Broke and the Bookish peeps.  For this week, I am going to be talking about my dream (and imaginary) book club with literary characters.

10. Legend by Marie Lu

I have not read this trilogy yet, but I do know that the main characters are very intelligent people. June is top of her class brilliant. Having her around in our book club would make her a resource on all things survival. Speaking of survival, I think the other character’s name is Day, and he is brilliant. All I know is that he is the most wanted criminal in this society. He can introduce a new list of resources, things not mainstream.

9. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

So, Lynn has such an appreciation for literature and medicine, it’d be a blast to have her around with us. I mean, she’s socially awkward and aggressive, but I’d like to be her book club buddy. Her perspective on literature would be amazing, because she’s living in every dystopian work’s setting probably.

8. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Yeah, yeah, Hermione has to be on this list. She’s good at reading and retaining information. She may end up befriending June, to be honest. But, mostly, I think she’ll really like the next characters on this list.

7. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Obviously Sydney is resourceful and curious. She unlearns and unpacks many prejudices towards vampires. And, the rest is all spoilers, so I can’t tell you, but suffice to say: Sydney and Hermione would have plenty to discuss in regards to female empowerment and societal control of people.

6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Y’all know, Gansey is as nerdy as they come. He researches, and, when the topic gets even more convoluted, he reaches out to those much more knowledgeable than him. I think Gansey brings in a nice resourcefulness to this book club. We’d go out on trips to see what we read about. Lots of discussions, I think as well. Also: I think he’d be kind of like Schmidt from New Girl. Every time he’d say something privileged, we can yell at him to put money in the jerk jar.

5. The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Listen. Charlotte can teach us all about etiquette (a word I struggle to even spell). However, I really just want to hang out with her and Aithinne, who can also teach us about fae history and maybe recommend some interesting literature and folklore. (I avoided mentioning the rest, because…they got enough love in the series. But, Charlotte, Aithinne, and GAVIN! Gavin was maltreated and I love him, for the most part. He can join our book club, too).

His and Charlotte’s mom can come in and tell us to sit proper or something.

4. Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon would be AWESOME to have around. We can talk about Harry Potter, which could: a) freak Hermione out, or b) amuse her. Also, he and I could eat Oreos the whole time (Oreos are vegan, if you haven’t heard).

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I believe that Charlotte’s mom would be bewildered by Effie Trinket, which is my goal in life really. I love Effie and Haymitch, and I think they’d be so much fun in our book club. They could talk history, self defense, even talk about etiquette and interview manners. So good. Maybe Effie could give Simon some tips on internet dating.

2. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Obviously Kate and August would be a delight to have around. I love them, and I think they’d be an edgy addition to our book club. Kate would scare everyone away, and she’d teach us about monsters. August can teach whatever he wants. I just want to say hello to him, possibly give him a hug. He needs it. (as I write this post, I am still scared to read Our Dark Duet). 

 1. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

Felicity. The love of my life. She needs to be part of our book club, just for being a witty (possibly) asexual woman. I want to be her friend, and I wish all the rest of our book club can be buddies, too. She and Charlotte have the potential to be great friends. They can help August be more comfortable with himself.

Slumps, of all kinds, are the worst. It doesn't matter if you can do your
Image courtesy of Couleur on Pixabay. Not a genre I normally reach for, middle-grade books
For this week's Top 10 Tuesday, I am twisting the prompt a bit. Rather than

Week 1 of November 2017 To Be Read and To Be Watched

 

 

November is upon us! As such, I am planning to read all the things. In addition, I’d like to watch all the things as well. A plan is needed. Here is what I have come up with. The lovely Books and Lala was talking about this Scallywagathon readathon taking place this week. I tried to use it to motivate my reading.

So, here’s the announcement videos for this readathon. And, the map for the readathon is here as well. Hope you can join us!!

To be read

New Series

4. A book that involves death

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

I am craving some Victorian time fun. This novel involves zombie-like creatures, so I am hoping I don’t get too scarred for life. Moreover, it is a steampunk novel. I need to read more of those. Besides, it has a reference to death in the title.

8. over-hyped book

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Friends voted on this book for me to read this week. I am intimidated by its sequels (both of which I already have). However, bravery is needed and a little bit of trust. Maybe the book is engaging. From what I understand, there is a princess who runs away, and she is followed by two men. An assassin and a prince. Who is who, basically. It sounds like a neat premise. I doubt I’ll figure out who is who, really. But, that’s okay.

detour a. stand-alone novel

Tell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

A retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, I believe, and it’ll probably be emotional because this is an OG love triangle for the ages. I don’t quite remember the details of the original novel. Hopefully this story isn’t too dependent on knowing the Dickens story in detail, because that would involve much Google research.

9. book on my owned-tbr

 

I’m going to be giving Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children a shot this week (I hope!). Also: this is kind of funny, but all my TBR books are books I own. So, that’s nice (and overwhelming)

To be watched

I am watching a couple of new shows: Supernatural, Stranger Things, and Vampire Diaries. In addition, I am still watching The 100, Jane the Virgin. 

When stressed, I try to remember that I have New Girl and That 70s Show as options, too. Lots of fun ahead!

 

I haven't been able to post on my blog for most of September. The world
As someone who is afraid of space and traveling in general, it's hilarious that I
Happy September to my peeps! After attempting to squish my library books and TBR into

November 2017 Book Haul

 

Ah, yes, it is time for my monthly book haul. November 2017, I was lucky to haul five book. I cannot wait to share the titles with you. Let’s go! PS: As always, I’m so thankful for my mom, who buys me the books.

First in a Series:

Born Wicked—by Jessica Spotswood

This book suddenly became expensive, and I was so sad. Anyway, I managed to find it used. Everyone, join me in my prayers for it to be in good condition.

Timekeeper–by Tara Sim

Steampunk is still something of a mystery to me. This books was mentioned by Annemieke and Chiara, who have good taste in books in general. I am looking forward to this one. I hear there’s a sequel coming out in 2018. Maybe I can catch up just in time for it. Here’s hoping.

Stand-Alone Novels:

Turtles All the Way Down–by John Green.

Are you even surprised? John Green is like an essential part of my reading journey, so I am happy to read his newest novel. Granted, I waited a month to buy it, however, I am very much enthusiastic about reading it. Besides, it features a character with OCD. I have OCD!!

Wild Beauty–by Anna Marie McLemore

This person cannot do any wrong in my book. Currently, I am reading her The Weight of Feathers and adoring the characters so much. McLemore writes divine, deep, and dark stories that are still brimming with culture and folklore. I love her work so much.

Sequels:

Night Study—by Maria V. Snyder

For some bizarre reason, this book was expensive last month, and I couldn’t afford to squeeze it in my budget. In fact, it remained quite expensive until the night before my mom would order the books. Needless to say, I was very excited. Obviously, I have to catch up on the series now. This, by no means, is a task. It’s all fun, actually. I love this series.

 

That’s it for my November book haul! What did you get this month?

I have been having a difficult lately with life and I apologize for being scarce.
Image by Capri23auto on Pixabay As a bookworm, it is the greatest joy in life to
        For May 2018, I decided to branch out more than usual.

BR: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

 

I could have sworn there’s a review up on my blog for Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis. Apparently, I was so passionate about the book, that I had dreamed of writing a review already. In case you’re curious: I loved it. But, you probably want to hear more (as you should!).

Premise

Set in an apocalyptic time, the novel is a study of survival and morality. As the water from a stream becomes less reliable, people come to the only lake (pond?) available in the area, which is conveniently located in Lynn and her mother’s yard. I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil the joyous surprise of this book.

 tone

The tone of this story is urgent, snappy, and sometimes a bit episodic. I think of this book a lot, because Lynn and her mother have choppy scenes to establish their relationship. In fact, I was immediately thrown into an intense scene upon starting the novel.

But, then things change. The tone stops stressing the vicious nature of Lynn’s world. In a stunning turn, Lynn is confronted with serious questions that relate to humanity, morality, and family. That’s when the story took on a more profound meaning for me.

 Survival

What was the most refreshing exploration in this novel was that of survival vs. caring for others. To what extent would you balance your own well-being with being over cautious? It is a thin and blurry line. Lynn and her mother are focused on keeping the pond to themselves, so much that it backfires and shadows their humanity.

But, at the same time, this is not an overly sentimental story in any way. People shoot each other, and there’s illness, death, and tragedy. There are broken families and literal thirst for water.

Violence

Initially, I was intimidated by this book because I thought it’d be rather violent. And, in some ways, it was. But, it was not graphic for the most part, so I was not triggered. I will say this, however, the cruelty of every character involved in the book is just so fitting of the setting. Except Stebbs. No one touch Stebbs and Lucy, got it?

The environment itself is violent. Lynn has to do gross things often, just to survive.

Fear

I think what resonates here, too, is fear and how it drives people to do some really cruel things. On the one hand, I understand that scarcity can push someone to desperation, but the way fear manifests in this story was quite haunting. Lynn comes from a rather curious union between two figures. She shares a lot of traits with them.

Towards the middle-to-end of the story, McGinnis starts to explore how this world came to be, and she portrays fear and paranoia in a tangible way.

growth

Ultimately, it’s the development of Lynn’s character that drives the plot. I know at first, I was very worried that this novel was going to be rather episodic with no overarching plot.

It wasn’t.

Instead, it was a powerful exploration of instinct and survival, community and individual notions, and parent-child relationships as well. It’s about love, loss, and those who use power to abuse women in one way or another.

Ugh. I love this book so much. I cannot wait to read my next McGinnis book.

 

Some of you may know that I lived in Egypt in the 90s. I was
In the most recent months of 2018, I have been aiming to read beyond my
The Love for V.E. Schwab I started reading V.E. Schwab's work about a year ago.