Week 1 April 2018 Reading Plans Featuring the GrabOnReadathon Challenges

Hello! April is upon us and, as such, my reading plans for the week are going up on the blog. This month, I am participating in Of Wonderland’s book club challenge of reading books with movies. In addition, for this week, I am supplementing some challenges from the GrabOnReadathon to focus my reading. Here are the challenges.

1. Read a book with a name in the title

For this one, I am considering reading either; Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender or Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.  

2. Read a first book in a series

Again with the indecisiveness. I am considering two options (maybe I’ll read both of them). The Field Guide of the Spiderwick Chronicles is one on my list. It’s also a movie. The other book I really want to get to at some point is Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Right now, I only have the first two books in the series.

3. Read a book from a genre you haven’t read yet this year

The Ava Lavender book is magical realism, which I have not yet read this year. It’s one of my favorites, so I am thinking of maybe trying also to read Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. It honestly depends on which one fits my mood better. However, I do want to get to a magical realism novel early in April.

4. Read a book with LGBTQIA+ representation

While I adore Adam Silvera’s writing, I am not sure I can handle heartbreak right now. And, even though I was not a huge fan of her writing, I do have Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. If that one does not resonate with me just yet, I could give Ash by Melinda Lo a try.

5. Read a book chosen for you by someone else

I am going to ask my sister to pick something for me to try and read. Already this week’s reading plans are epic. I am afraid (and excited)

6. Read a book set in a different time than the present

I have to squeeze this book in somehow, so I am fitting it here. A Torch Against the Night has an old-time feel to it.

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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.

 

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Final Week of March 2018 Reading Plans to Tackle Fire-Related Titles

As we wave goodbye to March 2018, I want to continue to pursue fire-related titles to fulfill the Of Wonderland theme for the month. My reading has not been incredible this March. Tackling fire-related titles is a nice way to narrow down my focus for the next few days. Here are some of my reading plans.

fire-related titles

A Torch Against the Night, the follow up to the epic An Ember in the Ashes, is naturally next. I want to read more about Laia and Elias. Saba Tahir has a gift and skill in her writing. She writes fast-paced tales with a lot of betrayal and heartbreak. I am ready for it.

Next fire-related title in my reading plans is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I know I mentioned it last week, but I was so surprised by Ember in the Ashes that I am now hopeful. Maybe I will fall in love with this book series too.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is also one of my most anticipated fire-related titles. I do not recall much from my read of it years ago. Still, it is going to be so awesome to meet Karou.

Vaguely fire-related titles

Eon by Alison Goodman has a dragon on the cover, so I suspect there will be a fire in there. We shall see how much I can handle dragons because I remain unsure about those creatures.

And another fire-related book is perhaps the Novice novel by Taran Matharu. I do not know for sure if there are dragon-like creatures in this novel. However, I suspect that they will be in there too.

opposite of fire-related titles

And finally, I may venture into The Coldest Girl in Coldtown land this week. I hope I can get to it because I want to read some vampire narratives again. Holly Black writes some nice stories. Although I feel like Cruel Prince was a bit of a dud, I enjoyed all the rest of her novels. I remain hopeful.

What are you reading this week? Any fire-related novels and titles on your to-be-read pile?

Share in the comments!

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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.

“Inconceivable!”

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.

 

 

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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.

pacing

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.

Cool.

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.

Overall

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
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.

Guess Who’s Back? The Return of Dinasoaur’s Reading Participation As March 2018’s End Approaches

Good God, that title for my post is so long. I am sorry. But, I like long titles for some reason. Guess who’s back? Me! Your favorite Dinasoaur. I am attempting to participate and read more as March 2018’s end nears.

i see fire

As my love for Of Wonderland’s book-club grows, I want to be more involved in their prompts. March, despite being a trash can of despair, has a cool theme: fire. In other words, the title, cover, or plot should relate to flames.

I have a few books in mind to try this week of March. First, I want to wrap up my reading of the first Percy Jackson book to be published, The Lightning Thief. It’s not quite fire-related but I am enjoying it still.

Next, a few thoughts come to mind. Cinder by Marissa Meyer could shake up my world with its fantastical setting. The whole Lunar Chronicles awaits on my shelves patiently and I am now hoping to jump into this story.

Another contender for this week’s reading pile is An Ember of Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I rarely find fellow Muslim writers who create fantasy stories. “Intrigued” does not quite describe my own feelings for this story.

Eon by Alison Goodman involves dragons which thus lead it to land on my pile of books. I have heard some negative reviews of this book because of its faulty handling of disability. Still, I am moving forward with including this book in general. I have the duology.

Last but not least is Laini Taylor’s famous Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I am not scared, you are! By “scared” I mean that I am most intimidated by Taylor’s pacing. I heard from several reviewers that her books are slow. Please, Laini Taylor, do not put me in a slump.

Resurrect the reading habits

I apologize for not posting often lately. My mental health has been severely lacking in any motivation. Doctors have been helping me tweak things around, change habits and dietary choices. I am still unsure of my footing but I want to keep trying to write and read.

Thank you for sticking around

 

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Second Week of March 2018 Reading Plans

As this is the Saturday of the second week of March 2018, it is time to share some of my reading plans. Emojiathon is taking place this whole month, and I want to attempt to participate. Besides, there is a half-hearted attempt to satisfy the Of Wonderland reading challenge for its book club. With one exception, all of this week’s books are from the library.

Read a Fantasy

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White is what I am going with for this challenge. It’s supposedly an urban paranormal fantasy, which is one of my favorite genres. I was so excited to hear about it that I grabbed the next two books in the trilogy. Perhaps I can read all of them this week.

Read a Book Everyone has Been recommending

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins was very popular a few years back in BookTube land. While no one directly recommended that book to me, I still want to give it a shot this week.

A Book that Features Travel

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely is a western that involves travel! Plus, it is a somewhat-new release. It has been on my list of books to purchase for a while. I figured it’d be a good idea to check it out from the library and get a sense of how much I’d enjoy it first. Plus, the cover is beautiful.

A book that involves sports

Come on, I was over the moon when I saw One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake in the library. I haven’t been able to get my own copy just yet, but I want to give it a read while I wait for a chance to purchase it. The first book in the series was so good.

And finally:

Read a Book You Have Not Started Yet and YOu Don’t Know Why

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr is a book I often encounter and shy away from reading. Perhaps it is because I worry that I am reading fluff. But, I am trying to stop worrying so much about how I am perceived based on what I am reading.

 

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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.

Series

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.

Films

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.

Finally

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
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