My Mental Health Emotional Toolkit

**Image by: Free-Photos on Pixabay
Rather than having a blog entirely dedicated to books, I want to raise awareness on my intersectional existence across different communities. One of those landmarks is mental illness. As someone trying to cope with mental illness, I am exploring options for my emotional, emergency toolkit.

The Emotional Toolkit

An “emotional toolkit” is a bouquet of ways to deal with negative emotions. You can read more about it here. 

Part of my journey with mental illness has to do with recognizing my own patterns. I get really angry and frustrated by the isolation my condition brings about. When I do feel “up” enough, I reach out only to go “down” again before I can see the relationship through.

But, more than anything, it’s the lack of emotional self-help and micro-management of the tiny spikes and dips in my mood. This is why an emotional emergency toolbox is of use. Continue reading “My Mental Health Emotional Toolkit”

Chit Chat with Author Ashley Jean

Welcome to my first installment of Chit Chat. In these interviews, I introduce and celebrate influential figures in my own life. My hope is to showcase talented people who are making a difference.

Meet Ashley Jean

Ashley Jean and I met in college and we have maintained a friendship since then. She is clever, artistic, and creative. I just think the world is in need of her beautiful presence.

Here is my first chit chat ever on the blog, with the wonderful Ashley Jean.

First of all, as a debut author, how would you describe your influences? Are there certain stories that resonate with you? 

When I was a young creative writing major in college, I had big aspirations. I wanted to be the female version of Kurt Vonnegut. His writing was extremely eloquent, and quite sad, too. Beneath those humorous lines were some hard truths. I have a similar comedic tone and gravitated towards all of that post-modern writing.
But I’m not Vonnegut. I tried being that guy, and only Vonnegut is Vonnegut. It wasn’t until I read Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, that I realized the most memorable, relatable stories are the ones you pull from your core and put on the page. There’s such a genuineness about her [Rowell’s] storytelling, and that’s when my goals changed, and quite drastically. I just wanted to be Ashley Jean, and write whatever Ashley Jean wanted to tell.
This is the kind of female empowerment I like: learning from women, who at the end of the day, want you to be your authentic self.  I couldn’t do that with Vonnegut. There’s that whole “Anxiety of Authorship,” notion. I know Rowell has gotten a lot of flack lately, but I couldn’t have done that if I didn’t identify with Cath.
 

What was your writing experience like? Did you discover that certain tips work best for you? Is there a routine you follow? 

Honestly, the very first fifty or so pages were easy to write. I had a lot of anger and sadness inside of me and diligently wrote as a means of healing. At some point though, those hostile feelings caught up to me, and I couldn’t touch the manuscript. The pain I wrote about was too close to home. But because I knew my writing was important for this community, I followed one rule: write every day.
I participated in NaNoWriMo, and finished the manuscript! Since then, I’ve adopted the 2,000 words a day for 30 days. Every 1K words should take about an hour of your time. Dedicating 2 hours of writing a day, especially when you’re drafting, is key to finishing and having a body of work to edit. This is how I’ve completed two subsequent novels.

Okay, so for those who have not heard about your novel, how would you describe its premise? 

Set in the late 90s and early 00s, a young fangirl, Aijae Cruz (pronounced AJ) who has spent of the majority of her teenage and young adult life, learns to live outside of the safe spaces she’s created in fan fiction. In college, she meets a pair of women who thrive on going to concerts, particularly within the emo scene. She tags along on their misadventures and falls in love with the lead singer of famous emo band, Memorable Editions. Martin seemingly falls in love with her, and for Aijae, it’s as if her fan fiction has come to life. But there’s a bit of a plot twist–Martin doesn’t love Aijae and has only wanted her for one thing: sex. Aijae must come to terms with this nightmare, and battle fans, her friends, and herself in order to succeed in becoming the music journalist she knows she’s capable of being. Will everyone else see her that way, or do they think she only gets work by spreading her legs?

Since you are a composition teacher and an artist, would you say that art is a common theme in your work? Particularly for Love from the Barricade, how did you address music as both a fan and an artist? 

Definitely! Many of my characters are artists or have some artistic talent to some extent. However, for this novel, in particular, I wanted to make sure that readers knew that Aijae knew she wasn’t perfect, but that neither of the fans who criticize her are, either.
Too often, in most music scenes, women peg women against each other. Women have a lot of rules to follow when it comes to the boys in the band, and I am tired of that notion. If a girl wants to have sex, why not give her the space to have that type of a relationship? Similarly, if a guy in a band wants to have a purely monogamous relationship, why can’t he? Just because he’s a rockstar does not automatically mean he is not human. Does he always have to be portrayed as vagina-thirsty?
If we want to create feminist spaces in the music industry, we have to give people the agency to be individuals. We can’t say every fangirl is a groupie, and that every rockstar is a dick. There’s a gray area. Similarly, some fangirls are absolute jerks, regardless of their size and stature. Not every skinny girl is a “bitch,” or wants to have sex for that matter.
I tried to depict the most common personalities in the industry so that my readers can make a choice as to who the real villain is.

Because I was once an emo music fan, I am curious about what your favorite emo bands were. What was your favorite lyrical witty line that you loved? 

I followed Fall Out Boy, Paramore, My Chemical Romance, and Taking Back Sunday on tour the most. These were bands I HAD to see when they came to town. There was no question. I was on that barricade. I’m actually in a Fall Out Boy video and getting hurt on the barricade, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
My absolute favorite line is from Fall Out Boy’s “Hum Hallelujah”: “You are the dreamers, and we are the dream. I could write it better than you ever felt it.”
A lot of FOB’s earlier songs had so many messages about writing. I love all of those lines, too.

As an indie author and a person of color, what elements of your own life or your own culture did you incorporate into this novel? 

Aijae HAD to be Mexican. And she had to be a Mexican who struggled to find a culture. When you’re a Mexican-American raised in a primarily white neighborhood, you aren’t going to fit in in any of those spaces––Mexican or American. You are going to experience microaggressions from your friends that don’t understand that, either. Let’s be honest–punk rock is very white. But that’s also why the punk rock, emo–whatever scene is such a magical place. Aijae could fit in there if she physically fought hard enough.
I also really wanted to talk about body-shaming in general. I get that skinny is the “norm,” but to say that “skinny bitches” don’t experience shame, bullying, and suicidal thoughts as a result of body shaming, is false. I grew up skinny my entire life and never once felt fucking normal. When I was in college, I was especially ostracized by my friends, and they often put me in situations that felt like hazing and made me ashamed of my body. I won’t wear a bikini. Don’t tell me my stomach is “flat enough”–that’s not the issue here. The world has taught me that bones are ugly, so I’ll hide them when I can.
What I want my readers to know is that despite what “seems” to be a privileged status–reversing it and hating on someone–will never result in the equality we are all striving for. We have to realize when we say hateful things to one another and stop that.

 

That’s the biggest goal of this novel: is to help women find unity in the music industry. Because right now, there is none of that.

Since this is a book about music, I have to ask, what are your go-to hype-up songs? 

Sad songs tend to pump me up. So…
“Famous Last Words” – My Chemical Romance
“Idle Worship” – Paramore
“Waiting for the End”- Linkin Park
“Dark Blue” – Jack’s Mannequin
“Perfect” – Simple Plan
“Everything is Alright” – Motion City Soundtrack
And then there’s the odd one out, “Good Old Days” — Macklemore

Maybe a snippet from the story?

 
“With age, everyone finds their palate in food, in people, and in hobbies. I’d grown to appreciate adventure in small doses, like driving hours to see a band I’d just seen the night before…”
 

Where can readers find you on the web? 

Y’all can follow me below:

Twitter: @missashleyjean
Instagram: @missauthorjean
Facebook: @missauthorjean
It is my intention to celebrate the gems I find as a reader, writer, blogger,

My Summer Reads for 2018

**Image by Jill 111 on Pixabay 

As someone who struggles with a mood disorder, I find it difficult to predict what I’ll read. Still, I like to give myself goals for each season. Inspired by this week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt, here are some of my top summer reads for 2018.

Continue reading “My Summer Reads for 2018”

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 Dad (Figures) in My 2018 Young Adult Reads Thus Far

In honor of Father’s Day, the wonderful Top 5 Wednesday group assigned a topic for dads. To be more specific, I am dedicating my blog post today to celebrate the top 5 dads (or dad figures) in my 2018 reads thus far.

Complicated Dad Figures

5. Timekeeper by Tara Sim

My opinion on this book fluctuates. After distancing myself from it, I have come to like the romance in it. Furthermore, the complicated dad figure in this book is perfection.

No spoilers.

But, I love how he’s not perfect and that there are layers to his relationship with the main plot of the story.

4. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

In this case, the dad figure is a grandfather. This dad figure has a secret and it really tears her image to a mess. I like it a lot. It’s such a plot twist, too, and I could’ve never seen it coming.

3. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Again, I don’t want to spoil this story. Henrietta ends up with two strong dad figures. Their relationships are complex and messy. One figure is unsure of her and even betrays her to an extent.  The other dad dude is almost a trickster figure. You know how no one can count on those.

2. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Helig

Another book I am not too sure about because, surprise, the dad figure is so frustrating. He is so driven by guilt and love that he dismisses his daughter’s value as a person. It strikes a nerve, I suppose.

I find myself thinking of this dilemma often, though. Does the dad figure get his way? Does he strike a deal with his daughter? Is there a way to compromise and meet in the middle?

 1. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Perry may not be Talon’s actual dad, but listen, this is one heck of an uncle. He risks everything for his nephew. Their bond is absolutely sweet and touching. They have trust between them.

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 Books That Had Me Craving Travel

I am not adventurous in any way. It takes a lot for books to make crave a location or culture. Nervousness is my default and I feel like a change of scenery wouldn’t ease this part of me. Here are books that gave me a taste of places I’d never travel to.

Books that Inspire Wanderlust in General

10. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Oh, this story changed everything for me because it inspired a sense of wonder in my world. A lot of people criticized this book for being rooted in privilege. Most people can’t check out of their lives and spend a year traveling around the globe.

I understand this sentiment but do not really agree. To me, this story was about finding the magic wherever you go. It’s about enjoying your food without guilt. Moreover, to me, this book catapulted my religious and spiritual journey to reconnect with my roots.

Shows and Events In Books that Inspire Traveling To Attend Said Events

9. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

Traveling performers are not usually the types of shows I like to attend. To be honest, there are no shows I’d like to visit. The last thing I’d ever attended in public was probably my sister’s ballet show or her choir performances.

Aside from having a personal connection to anyone performing, I don’t normally like being in public all that much. Still, though. The Weight of Feathers has fascinating performances that are rooted in rich history.

I found myself wishing I could see the shows in that book. To me, even if the performances were here in California, I would probably feel like I am traveling to see the shows. They have a surreal feel to them.

8. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

You probably know already (at this point) that I don’t like reading David Levithan books. Naturally, this story was not my favorite. Still, the way Pride was described in this book was lovely. I like the way the two main characters bond with this incredible event in the background.

I’d be too nervous to go to Pride because crowded places overwhelm me. But, it was beautiful to imagine such a wonderful experience.

Places Where Travel Is Part Of the Journey

7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Yes, I know that people found this story romanticizing of illnesses. I don’t see it that way at all. This is a story of two people coming to terms with their mortality.  In addition, there is a debate furling throughout the novel in regards to legacy.

I loved the way travel was presented here. It was dreamy and charming, sweet and refreshing. The teens were able to freely explore Amsterdam. They went on to see beautiful sights.

Ugh. So good.

6. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Listen. The story of this family coming to celebrate their right to be acknowledged by the law of the land…it was so beautiful to read. Granted, the traveling involved in this story is a bit smaller in terms of scale. I loved it, though. The metros and the buses, walking to people’s homes, all of it felt so real and tangible.

I basically spent most of my college years on a bus or a train. It felt whimsical, dreamlike because it allowed me some time to reflect and ponder the beauty of my surroundings.

5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Another book I did not enjoy as a whole but the element of its setting was powerful. I have never been to New York and I am too timid to talk to most people. However, my most cherished moments were the ones where the main character develops connections with strangers. It’s travel by way of empathizing with people and getting to know them with zero inhibitions.

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone By Laini Taylor

Okay, I know I have talked about this book way too much. Listen, it’s not just the way Prague comes to life in the story. No, it’s the way Karou and Zuzana navigate the city that makes it just a breathtaking experience.

These characters embrace their surroundings and celebrate them. Plus, I know I’m scared of heights, but I’d like to see Karou and Akiva floating in the sky.

3. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

The idea of a road trip is frightening to me. I don’t think I can handle being in a car with someone all day. Nope.

Amy and Roger were sweet, though, and they gathered all these little knick-knacks from their trip together. My journal-loving soul was pleased with the way the characters savored every moment of their journey.

2. A Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

No, I don’t want to go to Victorian London. Present-day London would suffice. I like books that throw in some landmarks throughout the story. When authors do this, the book seems to come to life even more. London in this trilogy, in particular, was vivid.

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

What’s better than traveling to alternate Londons? Nothing. That’s the correct answer. Seriously though, I like the idea of different versions of the same place. It reminds me to keep an open mind. Plus, I like Kel and Lila’s approach to travel. I’d come along.

 

 

Your Turn:

What are your favorite get-away spots for summer-time? Do you have any hidden gems in your town that you love? Share 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

Reading Sarah J. Maas Books While Maintaining a Critical Approach

Way back in February, I went to the library and grabbed my first Sarah J. Maas book. It was her first published novel, Throne of Glass. My nervousness as a people pleaser was an all-time high. This was the case because Sarah J. Maas has been criticized a lot over the years on Book-Tube.  Reading Sarah J. Maas’ books now is a form of self-care and expression to me. Let me discuss this further.

Damsels No More

Maas’ Throne of Glass: Caleana

Maas’ first series has a typical premise, akin to The Hunger Games and Battle Royale. An assassin is ordered to be the king’s champion in a tournament. I acknowledge the criticism of Celaena as a character.

Let me tell you why Celaena matters to someone like me. She gets to be herself, unabashedly, despite the scoffing of many (male) characters. As the books get bigger, so does my love for Celaena. When people point out that she is not shown as a heartless killer, I wonder if they’ve considered Celaena’s complexity.

Because, yes, she could’ve been a ruthless killer, but the point is her inner turmoil and grief. Maas shows us a girl who had difficult circumstances, a traumatic past, a love taken away from her way too soon.

To me, Celaena is strong, not because of her assassin storyline. No, she’s strong because her heart experiences death, torture, and unfairness without ever losing her innocence. I have never seen a book character with a dog like Fleetfoot. Nor have I seen a character search for answers in stillness, in reflection, and in reaching inward.

Throne of Glass: Lysandra

I have not read Assassin’s Blade yet but Lysandra became a total favorite of mine. Her backstory was equal parts sad and unique. Her relationship with Celaena developed beautifully. Plus, she has made bold choices to break free from abusive relationships.

Besides, she and Evangeline have strong parallels in their upbringing, which strengthen their relationships.

I am here for all the girl gang love.

Throne of Glass: Elide

Oh, my favorite girl. I have never related to a character more than I have with Elide. Her timid nature, coupled with her secret, is one of the reasons I love this series so much.

I have yet to see what will happen to Elide. She is already rocking my world quite a bit.

Bonus: Nehimia

The loveliest, sassiest, and the most incredible princess in my world. I miss her.

So…What Does That Mean For Me As a Critical Reader

I recognize the flaws in Maas’ writing. There are cringe-y sex scenes in later books. Sarah J. Maas has not included enough diversity and sometimes, there are messed up gender roles in her books. My approach is to be critical of these things, but I also admit that I enjoy her stories. Her characters mean a lot to me and I fly through her stories.

You can be critical of something and still enjoy it.

 

  Early in the year, I decided to plunge into various reading challenges. Namely, my
I was watching this video by the awesome CeCe, where she discussed books that would
Okay, so I tried writing this post a few times. Lots of deleting took place.

My Cramathon Summer of 2018 Participation Annoucement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Courtesy of VABo2040 on Pixabay 

Four weeks ago, the Cramathon for summer 2018 announcement videos starting making their appearances. Aly from Hardback Hoarder and Dylan from Dylan the Reader 5 posted a video with all the challenges listed. Even though I did not expect to participate, here I am with my Cramathon Summer of 2018 participation announcement.

Cramathon Goals

The goal of Cramathon, as its name suggests, is to cram in as many books as you can within the week. Cramathon summer 2018 begins tomorrow, June 10, and ends on June 17 (midnight).

Here are the challenges and some of my TBR options.

Cramathon Challenge 1: A Predicted 5-Star Read

Even though I am currently reading Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead, which is easily close to a five-star read. Nevertheless, I want to move into another series while awaiting the finale of The Glittering Court. 

Evelyn Skye’s Crown’s Game involves two magicians dueling and competing to become powerful figures in their society. It is kind of in the vein of A Shadow Bright and Burning in terms of including magic as a central way of being influential.

Cramathon Challenge 2: A Book Out of Your Comfort Zone

Oh, Cramathon, why are you so tough. I haven’t made it far into Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman, a historical fiction novel (kind of?).  It’s definitely out of my comfort zone because it has a lot of characters that I have not been able to distinguish between them.

This book also tackles a topic that I have not faced successfully yet: the story of Alexander the Great. I have a vague sense of what that story included, however, I have not read a fictionalized (or a true story) of Alexander the Great.

Cramathon Challenge 3: A Book That Has Been On Your TBR Longest

Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds has been on my TBR for a long time, so I can take advantage of Cramathon and take on this book. It’ll be a good way to integrate more series for me to experience over the next week.

Ruby and the gang, I am excited to meet you all.

Cramathon Challenge 4: LGBT+ Own Voices Novel

I have a couple of Adam Silvera books that are unread. It’s a toss-up between his History is All You Left Me or They Both Die at the End. I may go rogue and read a Patrick Ness book. I have his More Than This novel.

Cramathon Challenge 5: A Book with Your Favorite Color on the Cover

My favorite colors tend to be around the purple-pink-red range. There are two options for this challenge. First, And I Darken by Kiersten White. It has the same historical feel that Legacy of Kings has. I am not sure if that will work or if I will be turned off by too much history.

Because of this, I am torn between White’s story and Roshan Chokshi’s Star Touched Queen. We’ll have to wait and see which story resonates with my mood. Both books have gorgeous covers, I admit. I’ll be happy either way. I have so many unread series to catch up on.

 

Cramathon Challenge 6-7: Read 7 Books

I am thinking of taking on another two series this Cramathon. Morgan Rhodes’ Falling Kingdoms is high on my priorities list. Perhaps I can use this Cramathon to give the first book a try. I am mostly concerned with the flow of other series in my TBR. What if they all require time to get into their stories? Only one way to find out.

The other series is one I am sure will be easy for me to read: A Court of Mist and Fury is the only unread Sarah J. Maas book I have on my bookshelves. I haven’t purchased the rest of her series as I am slowly collecting the books.

 

 

 

Summary of Post: This post is a discussion of Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave and its reflection on humanity's
I'm writing this post after procrastinating a long time. However, it was brewing for a
Over the past week, my sleep schedule has taken a plunge into bat schedule land.

A Bookworm’s Book Haul for June 2018

Image by Capri23auto on Pixabay
As a bookworm, it is the greatest joy in life to haul some books. Nothing beats the possibility of acquiring stories that bring inspiring characters. It is even more amazing when these characters are put on great quests. I cannot wait to tell you about the stuff coming in the mail. Here are the book gems I nabbed for June 2018.Bookworm’s Dream Book Haul: Series

I have gathered up some courage to embrace my love for Sarah J. Maas. Actually, I have been listening to her interviews and she sounds so delightful. I acknowledge that elements of her writing are problematic. However, her characters have stayed with me all the way since February.

My book haul included stories from her two series.

A Court of Thorn and Roses series

I have ordered a copy of the first two book in this (so far) trilogy. Feyre is all over Tumblr and I want to see if she will resonate with me, or if some other character will strike a sense of familiarity and representation.

Throne of Glass series

The first three books in the series were all I could afford for now. The plan is to pick up a book or two per month, depending on how much they cost at that point. As I was able to read the first five books from the library, I want to make my purchases up until Tower of Dawn and maybe reread parts of Empire of Storms when I get my own copy as well.

I remain unsure of whether the novellas are something I need soon or later on. Sam and the feels need to be in my life at some point.

Bookworm Goals: Try New Series

I picked up the first book in the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. While the series received mixed responses, I like what I have seen from the fandom on Tumblr and YouTube. Besides, I enjoyed the author’s ideas when she was on a panel with Sarah J. Maas, Alexandra Bracken, and Susan Dennard.  The panel brought joy to me, so much that I often think of the discussion brought up within said panel.

Bookworm Quest to Better Self:

And finally, I purchased a used copy of Gala Darling’s book called Radical Self Love. Her videos have been a great guiding tool for me so I aim to carry on my journey for healthier relationships.

If you have not seen videos of Gala or visited her blog, you totally should check her out. Here’s a link to the blog.

Another figure that has come up so far through podcasts and videos is Katie Dalebout. She wrote a book on journal-writing that I have snagged a copy of. It’s called, aptly, Let it Out. 

Your turn! Share your own June purchases (or plans of what you’d like to haul this month).

See you in comments.

Roaring onwards

 

I have been having a difficult lately with life and I apologize for being scarce.
        For May 2018, I decided to branch out more than usual.
    Welcome to my book haul for the month of April 2018. I do

V.E. Schwab’s Vicious: Delicious Morally-Grey Enemies

The Love for V.E. Schwab

I started reading V.E. Schwab’s work about a year ago. Prior to this, I had only collected her books with some vague assumptions of their greatness. Having read most of her stories, I had one more book to go: Vicious. Back when I was sure of my belonging in Slytherin, I thought of this book as a staple to the nature of that house.

The Premise of Vicious:

The story alternates between two points of a decade where two friends prepare for their thesis in university. Eli and Victor unravel the process of becoming people with powers. At the end of the timeline, we see Eli and Victor as sworn enemies.

Through a cat-and-mouse chase, we get to see the tension between these former friends crackle to life while they rely on two allies who were sisters, Sydney and Serena.

Vicious and Morality

My favorite aspect of this story is the opposite journeys we experience with Eli and Victor. At first, I was certain that Victor would not ever make sense but the biggest surprise is watching Eli become bewilderingly nonsensical. I mean, I follow his train of thought, but my goodness, he is terrifying.

The most shocking element in Eli’s thinking was how warped his faith in God collided with his view of the powers he has and the attitude he has towards other EOs.

Reminding me of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, Vicious had me cheering for the “bad” guys. For the most part, the antagonists (in the novel’s society, at least) were simply trying to exist. They were on the run.  While Victor does terrible things along the way, he is focused on facing Eli, who did some shady things, okay.

Connections in Vicious

Serena and Sydney mirror Eli and Victor’s closeness in the earlier sections of the book’s timeline. There are loads of mistrust and uncertainty. Besides, the chase between the two sisters was also ruthless.

The bad blood between Eli and Victor bound the story’s plot in thick threads and tendrils. Like all relationships, the way each person acts is a result of a series of perceptions. Eli thinks of himself in a certain way, and he reacts to other EOs because of this view. The same thing can be said about Victor (who is kind of my baby, I just want you to know this upfront).

That Ending…

Oh, this book ends with the tables totally turned.  I have never been this happy about a smile.

Easily, this novel is among my favorites. It was so good.

Some of you may know that I lived in Egypt in the 90s. I was
        **Before I continue, I have to credit the following brilliant photographers:
  After reading the Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater became one of the most interesting authors on my

Top 10 Absolute Best Character Names in YA Books I Have Read (So Far)

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

In a surprising turn of events, I found myself with enough time to start another post today. Hopefully, this will mean I’ll be able to post at least twice this week. Small victories (I am celebrating them). For this post, I am participating in Top 10 Tuesday’s prompt for this week, which is the top 10 best character names I have encountered so far.

Let’s go.

10. All the Peeps in Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I honestly find Chaol’s name to be a perfect representation of his reserved and withdrawn nature. He is straight up like kale. I like him. Celaena’s name is also rather fetching. Dorian. Manon. I just love all their names. They just suit them perfectly. And, for some reason, I never felt like they were made up names. They feel real.

9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephenie Perkins

All I remember about this book is that: a) Lola is very quirky, b) she has gay dads, and c) her love interest is a boy named Cricket. His name, unlike Maas’ characters, did draw my attention. However, it soon acted as part of his charm. I remember him because of his strange name and because he was such a sweet character. Actually, the more I think about it, both of their names are delightful. Lola and Cricket.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I know. You probably saw this coming. Karou’s name is like candy to me. It sounds so out-of-this-world cute, unique, and almost fairy-like. I love her name.

7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Cathrynne M. Valente

Briefly, I had glanced at the first few pages of this book. One thing became abundantly clear: the main character is a curious and sassy kind of gal. I still have to read it to learn more, but, get this, the main character’s name is SEPTEMBER! It’s such a unique yet tangible name.

6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

You are probably expecting this book to be on the list, I know. It’s not just Blue’s name that is precious. In fact, I adore all her family’s names. Persephone. Calla, Maura, Neeve. Besides, all the nicknames the Raven Boys give her are hilarious.

“Jane.”

5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

I read this book once and I am in need of a reread (and to continue with the trilogy), but I remember one of the characters giving Sophie a hard time about her name?

Here’s the quote, “Let’s see . . . brown hair, freckles, whole girl-next-door vibe going on . . . Allie? Lacie? Definitely something cutesy ending in ie.”

Oh, here is a bonus. “So if you can heal with your touch, why are you working here as like, Hagrid, or whatever?”

*Wipes tears* Oh, Sophie. I don’t know if I love you more because Archer made fun of your name, or because you are hilarious.

I want to finish this book and get the rest of the series because it is so good.

4. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Baz has the most perfect name that ever existed in all of fiction. This could be a very biased statement, but let me tell you something: I read Carry On years ago and I STILL love Baz more than so many other characters. I guess Simon is cool, too. I am fond of the girls’ names as well. Agatha sounds like an old lady name, and it is just perfect for this story set in a reserved magical world. Penelope’s name is also pure love.

3. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

All I want to protect in this world is my monster, August. He is pure and his name is so ordinary but it just suits him so well. My violin-player.

For the top two spots, I have yet to find books with awesome names, so I am reserving them for now.

What are your favorite character names? How do you find a name cute? Are you into quirky names? Traditional ones? Please share 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