BR: The Mixed Bag of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Today, I will be discussing Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. This book makes me feel things, good and bad. Mostly bad, I’ll be honest, but I’ll try not to let this affect my review too much.

Challenging Traditional Stoic Masculinity

At the heart of this story is the relationship between Aristotle and his father. Aristotle’s father is very stoic. He doesn’t talk about his feelings or his past. And, Aristotle mimics this sometimes (or maybe he is just like this, too, as it is a very traditional approach to masculinity).

That connection between father and son challenges the traditional assumptions people tend to make about masculinity. Mainly, it is about a lack of communication, suppressing emotions, and so on.

Mexican American/ LatinX Identity

Another interesting exploration in the novel is the navigation of the Mexican American identity. Throughout the story, Aristotle and Dante struggle to find their place in the world as Mexicans and Americans.

The author questions stereotypes in the novel as well. So, Aristotle gets a truck, and Dante doesn’t. Aristotle’s mother is a teacher, and Dante’s father is a professor. It’s nice. I genuinely mean this.

Positive Portrayals of Parents

While the parents are very different in the story, they are all positive individuals in their kids’ lives. It is a rare feature in young adult literature to see something so lovely. Parents who are active and invested in their offspring’s lives.

Homosexuality and Homophobia

And ultimately, yes, I know the story is also about Aristotle and Dante coming to terms with their sexuality and their feelings toward each other. But, I think the book has lots of other things going on and wanted to address those first.


So, I hope I explained why the book may be a good fit for other people. For me, though, Aristotle was very annoying. He was upsetting for me, because he was rather impulsive, aggressive (thoughtless on what he says and how he acts), and frustrating. He does not grow up or develop over the course of years. It’s baffling.

Ultimately, this is my key point of annoyance with the story: Aristotle and how he treats Dante poorly. Following Aristotle’s perspective made the book even more unpleasant.

Furthermore, the plot (or lack thereof) made it hard for me to stay invested in the characters. Maybe if there was some sort of driving force for the characters to grow, some tension, some conflict that they’re up against, then maybe the book would have been more interesting.


I understand why there’s hype for the book, but I also don’t have any interest in keeping this book on my shelves. It’s not for me. But, maybe you’ll like it.



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.

BR: The Raven King

Make way for the Raven King, the Raven King! 

I finished reading the final book in the Raven Cycle, The Raven King and I wanted to share some nonspoiler/slightly spoilery thoughts here. But, to keep things brief at first,  my review of the book is that it was awesome!


Overall, the plot of the story was fast paced but in a reasonable way. It was not all about the quest. There were hiccups along the way. There were many losses, and heartbreaking moments. I particularly loved Orphan Girl and Aurora Lynch, Cabeswater, and Ronan. This is kind of a shock for me, because I was very intimidated by this boy. But, I have warmed up to him a lot, and I felt intense pain for him.

There were some instances in the story where the pressures of growing up seemed very daunting. College, friendship, quests were on everyone’s minds and there was the question of how to juggle all of these things along with their responsibilities as key players in the ley line’s existence.


My favorite relationship in these books has been Ronan and Blue’s friendship. Hands down, they were amusing as they tried to deal with the tension between them. And, the best moment ever is “Sargent, you asshole.” My heart just melted at the image of Ronan bumping fists with Blue, this beautiful strong girl.

The introduction of Henry Cheng left me with mixed feelings. As someone who is an introvert and something who learned English as a second language, there was something so…comforting in seeing a clever boy like Henry deal with the insecurities that come with speaking another language, how lost one feels in between two cultures (and for him, it was even more dramatic, because I have to factor in magic into this). I am not sure why he made me uncomfortable, though. The way he behaved before the group got to know him, it was kind of in bad taste. Was he just trying to fit in? I am not sure.

Ultimately, the story centers on a key relationship between Noah and Gansey. Noah will always be one of my favorite characters ever, even if he confused me at first. His limbo status, the pain and fear, and the desire to be alive all made him endearing and yet so heartbreaking. He went through so much, and I miss him already.

Blue’s father was frustrating, and yet I came to understand his hesitation to participate in the quest. Kind of. Still, I am not a fan of his, to be honest.

I won’t get into romantic relationships, because spoilers are unpleasant. But, I liked who ended up with each other and such.

Idealism and Wishes

Ultimately, what ended up happening when the group “meets” the Welsh king was so fantastic, and it reflected so much on their age, their expectations, the naive dreams one has.

But, it was mostly a step towards growing up, this releasing of an expectation. I love that.


I am so glad I read this series, and that I have copies of the books to reread again. If you have not read it, I strongly encourage you to do so.




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.

T5W: Top 5 Summer Reads

For this week’s Top Five Wednesday (T5W), the discussion will be on the top 5 summer reads. Before we begin, let me link to the awesome Goodreads group for T5W.

Let’s begin.

5. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I have not finished this book, mainly because I realized that I was reading it at the wrong time. It just feels very summer-y or spring related at the very least. Nature plays a huge role in the story, and there is magic, romance, and beautiful friendship. It’s definitely a book I want to get to this summer.

4. Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman 

This is a retelling/historical fiction story about Alexander (the Great). I am intrigued by it so much that I picked up the first two books and I am very much hoping to read them to catch up on the series. From what I know, the author is a historian? And that makes the books daunting (I admit) and exciting.


3. Ballad/Lament by Maggie Steifvater

Look, I have read these books a year ago during the summer and it was a fantastic experience. Fae and music! So good.


2. The Siren by Kiera Cass

I have tried reading mermaid books before, and I was interested in the subject matter. This is not quite about mermaids; it’s a little darker (which is great). And, I heard really good things about the book. The sea and death. Plus, Kiera Cass seems brilliant in interviews, and I am curious to see her take on sirens.


 1. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore  

This book is something I have been saving till the summer, because it is about performers. For whatever reason, I associate this book with summer and I am keen to read it this summer/spring. McLemore has really atmospheric writing and her characters are beautifully fleshed out. It’ll be a treat to read this book, for sure.



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 Tuesday: Top Ten Mothers Who Deserve Their Own Books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is: a) late, and b) a freebie, so I had to ponder the topic a bit.  Today, I’ll be talking about the top ten mothers who deserve a book of their own.

Let’s begin!

10. Lena’s Mother in Beautiful Creatures series

I am curious to learn more about her, and how she went down the path she was on. How did becoming a dark castor feel for her, and how was her relationship with her family like?

9. Mrs. Lynch from The Raven Cycle

Losing a husband and losing touch with family just sound so painful, and I wish there was room for her own narrative to come in and express her feelings.


8. Vin’s mother from Mistborn

Having unwanted children, and feeling frustrated by the responsibility thrust (no pun intended) upon her must have been overwhelming. Did she know that her son, Reen, was a jerk? And, did she know that Vin doesn’t trust anyone? Did she know that her kid is Mistborn?

7. Katniss’ mother from the Hunger Games

When I was diagnosed with my illnesses, I realized that I was less like Katniss and more like her mother. So, due to very selfish reasons, I want her mother to get a shot at explaining her mental illness, her shock after losing her husband, and later after seeing her daughter in so much agony.

6. Kestrel’s mother from The Winner’s Curse

Rutkowski doesn’t really include much about this lady, other than that she liked to play music. But, how did she meet the General? And what drew her to him? What did she think of her daughter? What were her hopes for her child? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

5. Rose Hathaway’s mother from the Vampire Academy

I may be in the minority here, but I love her mom a lot. Very curious about how she met Rose’s dad and how their relationship worked (if it did). What was her life like as a Moroi and a Guardian?

4. Rhy’s mother in A Darker Shade of Magic

Rhy and Kell’s mother is a BADASS and I adore her. From the glimpses in the final book of the trilogy, I just knew she was complicated, clever, and cool. Just cool lady, and I want more of her in a book (or a series!). How did she find Kell?

3. Baz’s mother in Carry On

I am just very curious about her backstory. How did she meet Baz’s father? What did she think of him and of his family? Were they in love? What did they think of their vampire kid?

2. Hagrid’s mother in the Harry Potter series

How did she meet Hagrid’s father? And what did she think of him? What did she think of her kids? What happened to her, anyway?

 1. Clary Fray’s mother in The Mortal Instruments

SO MANY QUESTIONS! How did she meet Valentine? And what did she think of other people in the Circle? Her relationship with Sebastian is fascinating and I want to hear more about it.

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

Top 5 Books As Special Events

Hello there, it is Wednesday, which means it is time for Top 5 Wednesday. The topic for this week is top 5 books as special events. I have to warn you that I am not very good at events. But, this list is what I imagine a fun special event could potentially be.

5.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor 

I have never finished this trilogy, but from what I remember there was a very interesting atmospheric tone to the first book (I only read the first couple of pages, before deciding to get the trilogy. That’s how good it was). Anyway, the main character designs and draws creatures.


4. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater

Another very eerie read and it would be a fantastic event. Just setting up a place like Cabeswater or even Blue’s family home would provide ample excitement and interest, I think.


3. Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan 

The magicians and the demon hunters, the market setting can act as great elements to an event. The dancing to summon demons in particular could be so much fun. I imagine the dancers dressing up for it. It’s not every day you summon a demon.


2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I haven’t read this one yet, but from what I understand, there’s a circus that appears. Now, provided that there are no animals in this circus, I am okay with it being held as an event. It sounds like a fun and charming way to socialize.


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

The whole atmosphere of a loop day sounds so intriguing. So, on September 3, we live like we’re in 1940. Doesn’t that sound fun? I think also having the dark and lush tone of the story would create a nice scene (well, I have seen the movie. Got the books earlier this year).

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

Ten Things on My Reading Wishlist

Today is another Tuesday, which means it is time for the Broke and The Bookish’s top ten feature. This week’s topic is the Top Ten Things on my reading wishlist.

10. Steampunk YA Westerns

Revenge and the Wild was a steampunk western that I enjoyed it tremendously.  That’s the only steampunk western I have heard of.

9. Steampunk Alternate History

I have not read that much steampunk (something I am trying to remedy). But, I have read Scott Westerfeld’s take on one of the world wars retold with a steampunk twist. The concept is something that stuck with me. To make things even more exciting for me, I want different countries as settings and their histories being twisted with magic and technology. That sounds so lovely.


8. Girl Gang

I just want a group of girls being friends and kicking butt. They can be pirates, ninjas, witches, vampires, I don’t care. It’s definitely on my reading wishlist to see a group of female characters bonding and not having a guy in common. Sort of like how The Raven Boys were friends before Blue ever met them. Girls who are friends regardless of love interests is my jam.

7. Gender-swap Historical Fiction

Sort of like And I Darken (I have not read it yet, but the concept is something I live for, honestly). I want a female Alexander the Great, Hamilton (or any Founding Father), Newton, Einstein.


6. Queer disabled people as main characters

As much as I love Magnus/Alec, I am excited for Cassie Clare’s books that center on queer characters more. That’s definitely something on my reading wishlist: more queer characters, especially disabled characters. YA is lacking in terms of including diverse characters. I want to see people from minorities be the chosen ones who go on adventures and do great things.

5. Darkness and Light attraction

Another theme I have on my reading wishlist. Lightness needs darkness to exist. I am tired of seeing the “dark side” reduced to being “evil.” No, it’s a different perspective and surely there’s a middle ground to reach. It’s not “we defeated evil” type of narrative. I want a genuine grappling, and an active back and forth as those sides reach a resolution, if any. Deathless by Cathrynne M. Valente is often shared as an option for those who were upset by the pairing in The Grisha trilogy. It’s definitely on my radar. We need more of that kind of storytelling though.

4. Classics Retold

There are characters I wish got their own stories. Like Mary Bennett, Tiger Lily, Pearl from The Scarlet Letter, Lady Macbeth. A transgender Shakespearean retelling of Twelfth Night would be swell. I used to really be fascinated with the priest in The Scarlet Letter. Just that guilt and his relationship with the villain. Can someone get on that, please?

3. Matriarchy

Keeping up with the theme of girl gangs, I want entire matriarchal societies presented in stories. With warriors and villains and everything.

2. Villains and Anti-Heroes

Wouldn’t be nice to see more stories told from the “villain’s” point of view? I just want a little complexity in characters and how we discuss them. Please don’t do the whole, “Oh, she fell in love” thing. No. There are other reasons that could tip someone over. And, sometimes, “evil” is just a different perspective. I really want a Lady Macbeth story so bad.


 1. Retelling of Old Myths/Stories

While I understand the charm of retelling the stories of Greek gods/goddesses, I dream of slews of stories revolving around some old stuff I read in college. Like Cuchlain’s story (The Tain, I believe is what it’s called?). I enjoyed his story way too much because it was so weird and fun.


Your Turn

What are your top ten ideas on your reading wishlist? Please share them in the comments!

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

May Week 2 TBR and Goals

It’s time for May Week 2 TBR and a bunch of goals, while balancing mental illness problems. I am trying to be gentle with myself because kindness is the best policy, I feel. I normally rely on love and appreciation with others, and I am realizing that perhaps it would be good to apply this to myself.

So, May, week 2, is going to be awesome.

To be Read Pile

I am sure there are readathons going on (I checked), but I am determined to start wrapping up some series. I also have started a few books and never picked them back up. They need to get some love.

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkowski

The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Shakespeare still sounds like a good idea, and so I want to to put the goal on here. Hopefully, I can start reading a play this week. I don’t know which play I can start with, but I know I like the tragedies more than the comedies. However, I want to read both.  

I don’t have a collection of poems, but I want to read more poetry online. It will take me a bit to figure out logistics. The intent is set!


I want to keep myself busier. Language learning is humbling and frustrating, but I want to give it a go again. My brother showed me how the library has online resources for languages. SO. I would like to learn some more. I may even venture into learning more than just French and Spanish (like, Dutch! How cool would that be! Maybe some German? It all feels possible now that the resources are available). I also want to do yoga some more. Finally, I want to pick up drawing. I am not the best at any of these things, which is scary. But, I think these activities can help me grow as a person.

At the same time, I want to be okay with not doing these activities every day. My mental illnesses make it hard to start following a schedule and I need to accept that this part of my daily living. It’s not going to come easy to me. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to be a worthwhile activity. It’ll be more about showing up and doing the work when I can handle it.



October of 2018 was a total dumpster fire. Nevertheless, I am determined to bounce back
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

May Week 1 Wrap Up

Welcome to my May Week 1 wrap up post. I have been having some ups and downs this past week, but I have definitely accomplished a lot. Let’s start breaking down the week.

Read Books Pile

It is not exactly a pile if there is only two or three books in it, right? I did read faster than before, because I have managed to dedicate more time to reading.

A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab

I love this trilogy so much, and it didn’t take me long to finish this one. It’s a giant book, but a lot of intense things happen, and I loved it. The stakes are definitely high in this book. But, if you love Kell, Lila, Rhy, and Alucard, you’re in for a fun ride. And an emotional time, too.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Listen. I don’t like the main ship in these books, which affected my enjoyment of it. I like Nikolai a lot, and I had an emotional time reading this book because of what happens to him. To me, I believe that Alina deserves better than an ordinary life. I wanted to see her rise to power and to become the Sun Summoner. To have her just give up all of this feels like cheating.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

I read most of this book when I was feeling too sad to do much. It is still fun to be reading

Music Pile 

“So Good At Being in Trouble” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra


This first week of May, an event was held online. It was called the Do-a-Thon, where participants lived mindfully and tried to use time to accomplish goals. I did pretty well! I read every day, and cleaned up my closet and reorganized clothes. I did some yoga twice a week.

Overall, it was a wonderful event and I learned a lot about myself. I hope the event happens again! In the meantime, I will be trying to live more mindfully daily.

Your Turn

How was your week? Did you accomplish brilliant things? Share in the comments so I can celebrate with you!

You may have noticed the absence of a wrap up last week. I am, as
Image courtesy of username 1103489 on Pixabay. In my first week of July, I have
Goodbye June, you were a rough month. Growing up is hard work, but I am

T5W: Top 5 Science Fiction and Fantasy Covers

Top 5 Wednesday (T5W) is a Goodreads Group where we discuss topics about books. The link to this awesome place will be included right here. This week, we are discussing our Top 5 Science Fiction and Fantasy Covers. As a genuine attempt to get more excited about the books I have, I want to make this list focused on some of my unread books.

Let’s go!

5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

For some reason, when I first saw this book, I was kind of terrified. I am easily scared, and I don’t like horror. But, I have seen the movie and it was nice. I like the characters, and the fantastical world Riggs creates in these books.


4. The Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Well. I’ll be honest: I heard this is fantasy/magical realism and that it is charming. So, I got it. But, other than that, I don’t know much about it.


3. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

This cover is just love for me. I am fascinated by magic, particularly when set against very high stakes. The Chosen One narrative is one to be messed with, I believe, because, well…why not? It’s about time we start offering stories that test themes we have had for so long in fiction. This book just sounds like fun.


2. Anything Cinda Williams Chima, especially Flamecaster 

Have I discussed how, a while ago, Cinda Williams Chima talked to me on Twitter? She was the nicest and most patient person ever, and so I got the courage to gather her books ever since. Much excitement to experience her writing.

   1.  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book will kill me. I just know it. It’s kind of daunting, I admit. From what I have heard, there’s different points of view and time lines in the story. And, that scares me, because, yo I am just here to have a good time. But, I am also here to learn new things and experience incredible writing. And, this book is apparently written well. Also: the cover is gorgeous.


Your Turn

What are some of the best covers of fantasy and science fiction books on your TBR? Share them in comments!

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

TTT: Top 10 TBR Books With Girls on the Cover

For TTT this week, we have a topic regarding covers. TTT, or Top Ten Tuesday, is a feature in The Broke and the Bookish. Every week, we get a fabulous topic to discuss on our blogs. This week is about covers. Rather than focusing on all of my favorite covers, I am going to focus on those on my TBR with girls on them.

10. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

I just ordered this book, but it was somewhat tricky to find the cover I wanted (this one here. The original one is so ugly).


Seriously, though, the older cover is really ugly.

At any rate, I am very excited to get a copy of this series, because: 1) Jane Austen style of writing, 2) MAGIC! 3) Cool writer, too. Like, I have been looking through her YouTube channel, and she is learning French (like me!), she’s a puppeteer. Her advice video on self editing gave me life.

I cannot wait to meet her characters.

9Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

This author has been blessed by the cover lords. I just adore all her covers. She writes steampunk, mainly. Some of it is YA and some is Adult. I got most of her work already, and I am going to binge read all of it. She is such a charming lady, too. She dresses up for interviews and conventions.

I’m hoping that one day, I can be a writer who creates fun stories. Gail Carriger is definitely someone I look up to in that regard. Also, purple is a dear color to me, so this cover just gives me life.

8. These Broken Stars by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman 

Look at the sweet couple and the lovely stars! Oh, I am so thrilled to have this trilogy. While I haven’t read Illuminae yet, I am equally as excited to read this book.

The girl’s dress is so dreamy. Of course, there is also fear in me as I see this cover, because I doubt the writer’s will make things easy for these two lovely people.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t this trilogy a companion series or is that Illuminae? 

I hope the characters are as charming as they look.

7. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

believe that’s a girl on the cover, and I like her stance a lot. All I know about this book is that it has to do with great female friendships, which is the reason why I got this book and its sequel.

Friendship is something I value a lot in my life (literary and personal). I like reading about it and living it.


6. Splintered by AG Howard 

Alice in Wonderland inspired literature is not something I normally gravitate towards. The first time I read Alice in Wonderland was in grad school. It didn’t really leave much of an impression until I got diagnosed with my mental illnesses. Then, I appreciated it a lot. This book touches on the idea of Alice having a mental illness. Plus, this is a generational thing, and I am excited to see a dark and fascinating Wonderland.



5. The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

I heard some mixed things about this book, but whatever, I like Richelle Mead enough to give it a try. I’m fascinated with the idea of three different perspectives of the same story. It is a challenging way to tell a story. Some would say it is easy or a money grab, but I remain rather hopeful. Richelle Mead hasn’t failed me before.I tend to like her writing.


4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor 

Laini Taylor is a remarkable writer. I know this much when I read some of her first book. So, I have been gathering her work. She is also blessed by the cover lords. Her books covers are fascinating and striking. I am a fan. Hopefully, I can pick this trilogy soon.

3. Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

Everyone who reads this series hates Lucia. Naturally, I am reading the series for various reasons: 1) Lucia Protection Patrol, 2) Magnus, 3) Conflicting companions, 4) Fantasy, 5) Cover love.

Perhaps I’ll dislike Lucia, too, but I doubt it, really. Look how cool she is. I like her already. *Protects Lucia*


2. The Selection by Kiera Cass 

To be quite honest, I have crap self esteem and put this book away out of fear of judgement. But, I got over it, and got the rest of the trilogy. From what I hear, no one likes the daughter of the couple from this series. So, I am avoiding those books. But, The Selection sounds like a cute engaging story. I am looking forward to it. Plus, Kiera Cass is just the sweetest person. Her interviews on YouTube are adorable and charming.


1. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Ever since I have The Infernal Devices, I have been very interested in steampunk. I picked up this series by Kady Cross recently. From what I gather, the stories involve a variety of characters with steampunk-y things in their lives. I am curious to see how the girls communicate and how they collaborate (I hope they collaborate!).


Your Turn:

What are some of your favorite covers on your TBR? Any of them feature girls? Share in the comment. I look forward to chat with you in comments.

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