Top 5 Teachers in Young Adult Literature But Not from Harry Potter



Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday. The prompt for this week is about the top 5 teachers or mentors. For me, I am going to focus on more recent reads that are not the typical answers I use.

Investigator-type teachers: A Madness so discreet

Not all teachers stand in classrooms. And, not all classrooms are in schools. The doctor in this story is an investigator who helps Grace come to terms with her own mind. To me, some lessons are less about scholarship and more about acceptance and forgiving oneself. Grace leads a whole journey into vengeance and peace within herself in this story. While the story was not 100% entertaining, I found the end result to be powerful.

Plus, that voice-person in the insane asylum was also a teacher I will never forget.

camp half blood’s teachers: Chiron

I actually feel like Chiron is much closer to how I view effective teachers. He balances between hands-on teaching and providing students with some distance to grow as heroes. He is patient, withholds the right amount of information, and leads students into a comfortable existence but also one that has tasks and challenges.



“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”
― Albert Einstein


roaring good time teachers: Under the Never Sky

Okay, so I have not finished this series yet, but the first book amused me endlessly. Mainly, Roar stole the show. I loved how he and Perry teach Aria about living outside of the world she grew up in. There is also a character living among the “savages” who is very modern in his reliance on technology. I want to see more of him. He is interesting.

Finally, the best teacher ever has to be Perry’s nephew. He teaches Aria and Perry that some things are universal, like family.

The glittering Court Teachers

Adelaide is a countess who escapes the stifling future she was expected to have and steps into the life of one of her maids as a student in the Glittering Court. While I think Cedric and Adelaide teach each other plenty of things about a religion frowned upon, about love, about the importance of equality within a marriage, I think also they mostly learn about the foundations of relationships beyond the confines of their time.

Besides, I have a feeling that Adelaide’s two roommates will also be incredible teachers. I am curious about Mira and Tamsin; how will their points of view change my perception of the story! They certainly are mysterious ladies.

lovers as teachers: an ember in the ashes

This book quickly became a favorite of mine. At first, I hesitated to pick it up because it sounded rather grim and upsetting. But, once I started reading it, it became impossible to stop. My favorite teachers within the story are Laia and Elias, sure, but also Helene. I want to see more from her perspective as Elias’ friend and as someone who is pushed and urged to question the ways of her people. The attitude toward the scholars and the slaves is one that these two friends grapple with throughout the story, particularly the end. I am eager to see how they’ll make peace with that.


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

My Favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories in Film As a Newbie to the Genre



I didn’t immediately gravitate toward science fiction and fantasy stories as a whole. But, particularly in film, there was something inaccessible about the genre for me as a woman of color. Many people are rather protective of these science fiction and fantasy stories, and it is intimidating. For Top 5 Wednesday, I will be sharing my top five favorite science fiction and fantasy stories in films (as a newbie to this genre).

5. Super 8

While I do not recall how this story came into my life, I remember the impact it had on me clearly. A tale of a group of friends who curse a lot as they navigate a strange series of occurrences in their town. Curious, they investigate further.

At a surface level, this story does not seem to fit the science fiction mold. Afterall, it is very much set in this world, our real world. But, the beauty of this is the eerie fantastical wonderment of the main group of characters, all young boys, and one girl.

4. Princess bride

I will never forget watching this film for the first time. It has shaped who I am as a person who loves and appreciates a good fantasy. The humorous tone of the story, light and accessible, was devoid of all pretension. Granted, it is not science fiction in any way but it is still other-worldly and charming.


3. Merlin

The BBC show of this story was something I stumbled across in a very bizarre set of circumstances. My family does not have cable television and I somehow found a channel streaming the very first episodes of the show. It was the Livejournal days, and people were using Merlin mood themes. I was intrigued so much that I squealed upon seeing these two dudes onscreen for the first time.

Besides dealing with characters I was curious about, I found the relationship between magic and non-magic folk to be fascinating.

2. guardians of the galaxy

As much as I like Captain America and Tony Stark, my heart will always be set on the underdogs, the unlikely heroes, and the strangely comical but brave. I love Star-Lord and his crew of guardians.

It is funny because I hesitated to watch these Marvel films for so long and now I am such a fan of them. They cheer me up.

Nevertheless, Guardians of the Galaxy remains as the most tangible and relatable characters. I love them.

“I am Groot.”

OH, and Spiderman is another favorite (Plus Iron Man).

  1. Star Wars

Even though I started truly enjoying this saga after watching The Force Awakens, I am actually uncertain about the latest installment (I haven’t watched it yet). So far, I love Rey, Poe, and Finn, but I worry about the series not connecting as beautifully as the original trilogy did.

Princess Leia and Han Solo are going to be dear to me forever. They were so charming and real. Still, I am intrigued by the nature of evil and good, friendship, love, and all the shades of grey that can be explored in the newer trilogy.

Like Finn, I don’t want to go back to Jakku.



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

Return of the Netflix Chronicles Under an Authentic Lens



The Netflix Chronicles are back. If you are new here, the Netflix Chronicles is a feature on my blog where I showcase series or films. Most of the shows are fairly popular ones. But now, I want to approach the return of the Netflix chronicles under an authentic lens.

Let’s see what that entails.

netflix and perilous content

Part of my struggle with Netflix shows like The 100 is that they tend to be far too nerve-wracking for me. I end up anxious. This has been a long way coming because I want to watch things that are less stressful. I can watch The Hunger Games just fine because I feel like there is a hopeful ending. And that is something I really need: hope.  While adventure and dystopian novels, movies, and series don’t always upset me, some of them really strike a nerve.

Triggering content and Netflix

Next, I am eliminating graphic and triggering content. Whether it is physical or mental, I am eliminating the stress of watching upsetting things.

Netflix chronicles update

So, I am watching Nailed It, which is a funny baking show. It is about amateur bakers taking on sophisticated projects. The host of this show makes me smile.

In addition, One Day at a Time is giving me life as it explores the lives of a Cuban-American single mother and her two children. Her kids are so much fun to watch. Besides, her mother is a queen in my world. I adore them.

Finally, I am still working my way through The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s another really accessible and sweet show.

It is refreshing to watch shows that don’t make me feel terrible and hopeless. I can definitely get used to this life. Please, feel free to recommend any other Netflix shows that you find charming and not triggering.

I definitely need to stock up my list on Netflix for more options.

Keep your eyes peeled for more Netflix Chronicles updates and reviews.



It's been a while since I did a Netflix Chronicles update. This particular one will
It has been a while since I have done a Netflix Chronicles update. So, here
      I finished watching season 1 of The Good Place on Netflix. Here are some

The Mixed Bag of One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake



I am going to share with you my experience of reading One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake here. Naturally, spoilers will arise. While I avoid naming specific characters, I advise you to read with caution. Okay. When I read Three Dark Crowns, I remembered how much I enjoyed Kendare Blake’s writing. Upon seeing the sequel in the library, I snagged it in the hopes of getting a nice conclusion to what I thought was a duology. Granted, Kendare Blake’s writing is still effortless, I did find this reading experience to be quite a mixed bag. Let’s talk about One Dark Throne. 

the mad sister Nearing the One Dark Throne

At the end of the first book, one of the sisters is essentially betrayed by her lover. In One Dark Throne, she functions as a rogue queen. Sometimes, she was terrifying and great. However, I do have a problem with characters being “evil” for the sake of needing a villain.

There is a sense of mystery to this second novel. One Dark Throne keeps hinting that something is wrong with one of the sisters. Everyone suspects it. Yet, there are very few clues as to what is, in fact, her motivation to behave the way she does.

Betrayals to get to the dark throne

Kendare Blake does something beautiful within the story: betrayals. I think this is the most shocking aspect of One Dark Throne. Political, familial, romantic, and even friendship levels of betrayals and wrongdoings shape the trajectory of a given character.

I am mostly baffled by the lovers-suitors-queens dynamics. There are many characters in that regard and I struggle to remember who was truly liked by a queen.

Plus, I am unsure about the characters who have powers. Are they supposed to be helping their queens? The fun for me is having unskilled queens duke it out. Sure, I like Jules fine. But, she tends to distract from Arsinoe’s storyline.


Three Dark Crowns featured a bit of a slower pace than what I am used to. Kendare Blake was establishing characters and including political layers to this story. Three queens have to go head-to-head and whoever survives becomes ruler of the land.


But, in this one, there was still the slow pace once more. Kendare Blake punctuates the plot by assassination attempts and duels. The sisters spend most of their time apart, again, and I found myself wishing Blake would include enough tension between them.

From what I have heard, this series was initially a duology. This is definitely something I assumed from reading the first book. One Dark Throne could have easily concluded the conflict.


One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake maintains an interesting tale that is somewhat overstretched.  It was definitely a mixed bag. The reading experience of this second book had highs and lows. For one thing, the characters develop quite a bit. But, the pacing threw me off. It is definitely a step above the first book.

It is definitely within the 3.5 to the 4-star range for me.  While I mostly enjoyed Kendare Blake’s progression of the plot in this one, I felt like One Dark Throne lagged a bit.



Some of you may know that I lived in Egypt in the 90s. I was
The Love for V.E. Schwab I started reading V.E. Schwab's work about a year ago.
        **Before I continue, I have to credit the following brilliant photographers:

Top 10 Young Adult Quotes of 2018 (So Far)


Welcome to another Top 10 Tuesday. This is a meme run by The Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there is a prompt for a top 10 list. Today, the prompt is to list our top 10 quotes. I’m focusing it on my top 10 young adult quotes of 2018 (so far).

10.Book quote on Anxiety in “The Rest of Us Just Live Here”

Patrick Ness’ The Rest of Us Just Live Here is one of my standout reads of the year thus far. My favorite representation in this book was the one on OCD and anxiety. Therefore, my number 10 top young adult quote of the year has to do with that topic. Here it is, “Feelings don’t try to kill you, even the painful ones. Anxiety is a feeling grown too large. A feeling grown aggressive and dangerous. You’re responsible for its consequences, you’re responsible for treating it”

Another one is, “A feeling may or may not be true, but you still feel it.”

9. opening up in “Always and Forever, Lara Jean”

My number nine spot of top young adult quotes is written by Jenny Han. I feel like this novel showed Lara Jean’s growth beautifully. One quote that stood out to me was this one. “Being vulnerable, letting people in, getting hurt… it’s all part of being in love.” I do not think it is just about falling in love. Instead, I apply this quote to my reflections on friendships.

Another sweet moment from the book is this one,“ Peter will love Lara Jean with all his heart, always”

8.hope in “Whichwood”

Tahereh Mafi owns my heart and I am not even mad about it. She writes such a compelling story in Whicwood. My favorite exploration of hope and collaborations is in this book. Naturally, for my number eight spot of top young adult quotes has to go to a reference of hope. Mafi writes, “But one day, she swore, she’d breathe light and color back into the dimness that had diminished her life.”

7.Queendom in “Three Dark Crowns”

Kendare Blake’s novel focuses on three princesses who have to fight to the death. So, my number seven spot of the top young adult quotes goes to this real moment, “No one really wishes to be a queen.”

6. The Chosen one theme in “Gemina”

AIDAN says the funniest things in Gemina.  It wins as a favorite young adult quote for being honest, raw and real. Plus, the authenticity of AIDAN’s voice is moving.

“AIDAN: The concept of fortune is nonsensical, but Kady is insisting I wish you both good luck anyway.
AIDAN: So good luck, Hanna Donnelly.
AIDAN: The universe itself depends on you.
AIDAN: …No pressure.”

5. Hope and moving on in “We Are Okay”

Nina LaCour is not my favorite writer. She is an okay writer for me but she tends to write certain truths that rattle me a bit. One of them has to be shared on this list of favorite 2018 young adult quotes. Here it is, “I was okay just a moment ago. I will learn how to be okay again.” Sometimes, it is the simple things that resonate. Oh, and this gem too,  “I wish you more happiness than can fit in a person.”

4. Ambition in “The Cruel Prince”

I have mixed feelings about Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince. Mainly, I had a difficult time enjoying it because the characters were all unlikeable. In retrospect, I celebrate this feat. I love most book characters too easily. It is really hard to have me dislike characters. Anyway, my fourth favorite young adult quote of 2018 so far has to go to this book. Here it is, in all of its glory, “If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”

So good.

And another breathtaking quote, “If you hurt me, I wouldn’t cry. I would hurt you back.”

3. social expectations and hunger in “Soulless”

Gail Carriger rocked my world with her Soulless novel. I intend on carrying on with her work (preferably forever). It’s serious love between us. My number three favorite (young) adult quote of the year so far goes to Alexa Tarabotti, the main character of Soulless.  Check out the interaction:

“You do realise modern social mores exist for a reason?”
“I was hungry, allowances should be made.”

2. Acceptable forms of madness in “A Madness so Discreet”

This book kicked my butt emotionally and mentally. I still think about Mindy McGinnis’ plot in A Madness so Discreet as a commentary on sexual abuse, gender, privilege, and the loose (and very subjective) definitions of normalcy. As we near the absolute top quote of 2018 young adult book quotes for me, I share this one. It is near to me.

“It’s a madness so discreet that it can walk the streets and be applauded in some circles, but it is madness nonetheless.”

1. Revenge and one heck of an ending in “Three Dark Crowns”

I cannot say much about this quote, but it is my absolute favorite 2018 book quote thus far. Here it is.

“I want revenge.” She whispers, and her fingers trail bloody streaks down Natalia’s arms.
“And then I want my crown.”

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

March 2018 Book and Film Haul

I thought I’d share my book and film haul for March 2018. As someone on a tight budget, it is hard to find entire series at a reasonable price. Thank goodness for online thrift shops dedicated to books. I have so much to share. Let’s go.


I don’t want to list each book in these series because we can be here all day for this long monologue. Still, I want to discuss my relationship with literature and shame. Often, reviewers will say things that feel like jabs at book fans. I remember someone saying that the Percy Jackson books were Harry Potter rip-offs. Other people called them “childish.”

My own self-worth is usually quite tied to people’s perceptions of me. For whatever reason, people assume that someone who went to graduate school for literature has to be into literary fiction. I am not. Sometimes, I feel interested in reading some classics, but not often.

After much hesitation, I decided to gather some of my favorite middle-grade books once more (and actually, this extended beyond a genre. I assure you that I will be mostly reading books that are a fun experience, are affordable, and interest me).

In short: Percy Jackson books are on their way to me, just in time for a reread. Furthermore, the Spiderwick Chronicles are also coming home to me as well.


I did also manage to purchase the Percy Jackson movies, even though people criticize those movies too. Listen, that cast is way too pretty for me to pass up a chance of ogling them. Also, I was lucky to find the Spiderwick movie for cheap too.


Starting in March, I am implementing a search for good self-help books. I grabbed a couple of writing-related works: Spunk and Bite, and also Sin and Syntax. 

In an effort to also care better for my health, I got Kimberly Snyder’s The Beauty Detox (I am in love with her attitude toward health. Way back when, I had this book, and then I passed it on to someone who needed it much more than I did at the time. But, now, I need to get my health under control). And finally, Kris Carr, my vegan hero, I got her Crazy Sexy Kitchen. 

That’s it! My March 2018 Book and Film Haul in a quick summary for you. I cannot wait to read these books and enjoy them. Also, those films will be cherished, I assure you. Thank you for sticking with me as I try to unpack this shame that I have with books and films– and just interests as a whole.


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.

My Take on the Bad Habits Book Tag



Ali from the Hardback Hoarder channel recorded a video where she answered the Bad Habits book tag questions. I am naturally curious to see how I will approach these questions. Peculiar takes, probably, are what I am expecting from my post.

Let’s begin.

Binge Drinking: An alcoholic character

I obviously will go with Haymitch from The Hunger Games. He is one of my absolute favorite drunks of all time.

2. Biting your nails – A book that made you nervous

Two books come to mind. First, the absolutely gut-wrenching experience of reading The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, where a character awaits deportation. It scared me. The other book was The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which involved police brutality and gang-culture.

3. Unhealthy eating – a book that mentions (or for which the theme is) eating disorders

I agree with Ali on the flawed nature in the wording of this question. Listen, eating disorders are not a bad habit. They are a mental illness and should be taken seriously.

Three Dark Crowns reminded me of binge eating (as someone who has binge eating tendencies). The poison queen would eat foods with poison and then throw up.

4. Staying up late – A book you read into the night

Most of my reading is done late at night. Elizabeth May’s The Falconer trilogy definitely kept me up. They were engaging, and I care about those characters even now.

5. Procrastination – A book you want to read, but you keep putting it off

Brandon Sanderson’s books are intimidating, and I keep avoiding them. However, I still know that he is able to write fun worlds. Now that I think of this question a bit deeper, I realize Patrick Rothfuss’ work is another terrifying journey I am not ready to go on.

6. Swearing – A book in which an author or a character uses colorful language

I am not familiar with Australian slang, but I still gathered that Illuminae‘s Ezra and Kady had colorful language. As someone who used to swear a lot in her youth, I felt my heart gush at these two characters. They’re the best.

7. Smoking – A book you can’t get enough of (bc nicotine, get it?) OR a book that is literally cancer (You can answer both if you’re an overachiever)

Always and Forever, Lara Jean was the sweetest and cutest book I have ever read thus far. I could not get enough of it.

8. Overspending – An expensive book you bought

Online book shopping helps me avoid overspending. I am on a budget and only focus on things I can afford. Many of my books are used, or not immediately purchased after release dates.

9. Lying – A book you lied about having read

I have not done this in years, but way back in grad school, I said that I read all of Ulysses by James Joyce. In truth, I tried to read it. But, I  had no clue what was happening in the story.

10. Speeding – A book you read really fast

Rebel Belle was a record-breaking time for me. I practically devoured this story. Hopefully, I can continue with the rest of the series this year.


I sound like a broken record, but I am trying to recover from this bout
My incredible friend Ely posted her answers to this Book Personality Challenge a few days
As I watched Marines' video of this tag, I felt that it would be a