Reading Wrap-Up: Random Books

There were three books that I read over the summer that I’m not quite sure what I should categorize them as, so I’m just going to lump them all together here.

The Fangirl Life: A Guide to All the Feels and Learning How to Deal by Kathleen Smith – 3.5 stars

I appreciated the overall vibe of the book, and Smith does impart some good advice. But by the end of the book, I was tired of reading about our special unique unicornness or whatever it was she kept saying. I think if I had read this when I was in my late teens/college years rather than my post-grad education years, I would’ve enjoyed it just a little bit better. However, I did appreciate the exercises that Smith included and that it really was a self-help book. Also, the illustrations are adorable.


F*cking Awkward by Taryn Plendl – 2.5 stars

I really didn’t enjoy most of these stories. It became super repetitive and I found myself not really laughing. I was super uncomfortable in two of the stories, and not just because they were awkward. They were just not appropriate and I quit reading them both halfway through. I don’t know what I expected, but it didn’t really fulfill anything for me.


You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day – 4 stars

I don’t really know what I was expecting when I picked this up. I didn’t really laugh that much, which I think is why I took off a star. Since Felicia is a comedian and this memoir is often listed under the “Humor” category, I was expecting to laugh way more. With that said, I love how honest Felicia was about growing up, creating The Guild (and all of the anxiety/depression that accompanied that part of her life), and what happens when you become famous on the internet (aka the whole #GamerGate event). Overall, I did enjoy reading about Felicia’s life, it just didn’t stand out as a 5-star book for me.



Reading Wrap-Up: YA Fiction

I read some really great and really not so great YA books over the summer!

Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins – 3.5 stars

I definitely like My True Love Gave to Me better than this one.

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo: 3 stars
This one was just alright for me. I didn’t really connect with the characters and they seemed a little generic to me. I figured out the plot twist pretty early, so that was disappointing. There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the story other than it was predictable.

The End of Love by Nina LaCour: 4 stars
This one was really cute! It made me want to look into reading more by Nina LaCour.

Last Stand At The Cinegore by Libba Bray: 2.5 stars
This just really wasn’t for me. I wasn’t really looking for reading a horror story and it was just a little too out-there for me.

Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block: 1 star
I just really didn’t enjoy what happened at the end of this story and it completely ruined the rest of the story for me.

In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins: 4.5 stars
It was so great to catch up with the characters from her story in My True Love Gave to Me. I really enjoyed reading about where they were and what happened once they reconnected.

Souvenirs by Tim Federle: 3.5 stars
The main love interest was kind of a jerk, so I wasn’t the biggest fan of the story. But it was pretty cute overall.

Inertia by Veronica Roth: 4 stars
I love the idea of getting to share last memories with someone who is going to die soon. I feel like it is a way to get some closure. And I liked how the story ended up playing out afterwards.

Love Is The Last Resort by Jon Skovron: 4.5 stars
I just really liked all of the characters in the story. I liked that they all supported each other and that they worked together to make sure each other were happy.

Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert: 3 stars
Again, this was just alright for me. I didn’t particularly care for the main characters and I didn’t really want them to end up together, to be honest.

Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare: 3 stars
It had a clear story arc, but I was still not totally into the story. But that was mainly because I wasn’t particularly looking to read about a dark carnival where dark magic is involved.

A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith: 5 stars
I absolutely loved the representation of Autism and Asperger’s that Smith had. I love that one of the main love interests is on the spectrum. I just loved all of the characters and the story and everything was just cute. I almost wish that this was a full-length novel rather than just a short story.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman: 4.5 stars
I loved the idea of the same day repeating over and over but the two main characters looking for little perfect moments. I was trying to figure out why the day was repeating, and was completely wrong when it was revealed, which I liked. Plus, Sean Bean cameo. It was overall a really cute read.


Everland by Wendy Spinale – 4 stars

I really really enjoyed this retelling of Peter Pan. I’ve never read the original story, but I’m really familiar with the Disney version and one of my favorite movies is Finding Neverland. I thought adding the steampunk aspect was brilliant. I loved how all of the characters had distinct personalities and that they stayed true to their original version without being a copycat version. I liked that Gwen and Peter went from almost immediately hating each other to respecting each other to something more like a relationship. I loved the idea of why they are the Lost Boys. I actually really liked Hook and his origin story. I am really looking forward to the next book. Though I do wonder how they expect to get to where they are going when they are in a Marauders ship…it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out!


All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely – 5 stars

Wow. Just wow. I have no words right now.

Everyone needs to read this. Just stop what you’re doing right now and go pick up this book.

The writing is beautiful. The story is hard to get through. But it’s so relevant it hurts.

I am so torn on the ending. I love it the way it is. It’s so powerful. But I still also kinda want to know what ended up happening for Rashad. Did he ever get the true justice he deserves?

My only complaint is the texting in the book. I honestly don’t think that teenagers text that badly, and I don’t know why, but it really bothered me. But that is a personal thing.

All American Boys

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide by Stephenie Meyer – 1 star

I have feelings – most are not positive

So I told myself that I would get the receipts as to how many times Meyer used abuse (whether physical or sexual) in the backgrounds of her female vampire characters, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go through the book again, even skimming. And I realized too late that I should have been keeping track. But just know, there is an abundant amount of this bullshit used by Meyer and literally none of the male vampires have to go through that. The worse a male character has to go through, really, is Emmett being mauled by a bear. I kinda enjoyed Alice’s story, as sick as that is, because it makes perfect sense for her. However, I was less than impressed with the rest of the Cullens’ stories because we read almost all of them in the main series. I was also hoping for a bit more about Renesmee’s future, but it literally cuts off where she was born. The werewolf stories were boring. It was kind of cool to read about the rest of the vampires. The illustrations of the characters were gorgeous, but for an illustrated guide, there was a serious lack of them. Really. It was just the Cullens, Victoria, James, Laurent, Jacob, a tiny picture of Charlie (no Renee), and I think some of the human characters. The rest of the pictures were just of unnecessary things like the Cullens’ house. The interview at the beginning of the book was long and again unnecessary. The timeline at the end doesn’t match up with the previous entries. There are several typos. The car section was stupid. And just. Yeah. I’m kinda glad I only paid like $2 at my Half Price Books because reading this was a waste of time.


The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi – 5 stars


This book solidified to me that I am turning into Hades/Persephone trash and that I need to read more retellings. I also really want to read more Indian mythology.

So basically, I was freaking out the entire second and third parts because I needed my babies to get back together. I just. I was about to throw my book at the wall when I still had 20 pages left and they were still not together.

As with The Vishakanya’s Choice, the writing was absolutely beautiful. I am happy to call myself a Roshani Chokshi fangirl and she is an auto-buy for me now. I cannot wait until A Crown of Wishes comes out because a) I need more of Chokshi’s writing and b) I need more of Gauri because she’s one of my babies now, too.

I love the rich world building and how fast-paced the story was. I love Amar and how mysterious he is but also how much he truly cares for Maya. I love Maya and how independent and strong she is and also how much she fights for Amar in the end. I just love these two together and need more.

While it’s definitely a strong standalone and I am happy with the way it ended, I so wish there was a true sequel and not just a companion novel (though like I said earlier, I am pumped for it!). I just need to see Amar and Maya ruling together side by side as equals being all powerful and also crazy in love and just aahhhh.

The Star-Touched Queen

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy – 3.5 stars

I was super excited to read this, especially after seeing a decent amount of positive reviews. However, I found myself getting increasingly frustrated with Willowdean. I myself am a fat girl, so I did understand where her self-hatred/insecurities comes from, but at the same time, there were points where I thought it was over the top. I also thought she was an absolute shit friend to Ellen when Willowdean finds out that Ellen is also doing the pageant. It’s not like Willowdean had the only right to compete. Though to be fair, I wasn’t on Team Callie and thought that Ellen should’ve stuck up for Willowdean a little bit more seeing as they were best friends for basically their entire life.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the relationship between her and Bo. It just felt weird and almost forced at places. I also felt really bad for Mitch. He was genuinely into Willowdean and she just kinda used him as a crutch at times. Or at least, that’s the feeling I got from their interactions.

I’m glad that Ellen and Willowdean made up in the end, but I wanted more in the ending. It just didn’t live up to the hype for me.


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – 4 stars

I really hate to say that this did not live up to the hype for me. I did enjoy listening to Lin Manuel-Miranda narrate the audiobook. But I also found the dialogue to be choppy and was not a fan of the super short chapters. I did love the diversity in the book, and I appreciated that this is a coming of age story revolving around discovering one’s identity in more than just one aspect. I’m not really sure I can put my finger on why this isn’t a 5-star read for me, but it just isn’t. I kind of understand where Ari’s anger issues are coming from, but there were times when I thought he was being an asshole just to be an asshole (like almost every time he interacted with Gina and Susie). I don’t know. I just didn’t really connect with Ari or Dante the way I was expecting, I guess. I’m really sad that this wasn’t a 5-star read for me because I had such high hopes. But then again, that might be why. I might have been expecting too much.



Series Review: The Gemma Doyle Trilogy

I read A Great and Terrible Beauty at the end of last year and never wrote a review on it, but I did rate it 4 stars. I picked up the final two books in the trilogy, Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing over the summer and I’ll just say that it was a struggle to get through them, despite having audiobooks to help me get along.

Rebel Angels – 2.5 stars

I appreciate what Bray was trying to do in terms of feminism and racism given the time period of the book. However, I still think there is a lot that needs improvement. Gemma got on my nerves quite a bit because she took forever to do anything with the magic. She literally spent the entire book going back and forth about whether she should share it like she promised she would. She also listens to nobody and constantly puts herself and her friends in danger and it got to be quite annoying after a while. Anne and Felicity were just okay and their whole story for why Anne was visiting was just ridiculous. Did they really think no one would check on it? The side plot of Simon pursuing Gemma felt unnecessary. Ann was definitely treated more horribly than she should have been and Gemma did literally nothing when she discovered that Ann was still self-harming. Which in and of itself is extremely problematic. Not to mention the fat shaming that Ann suffered from her so-called friends. Overall, it was just an okay book for me because there were some bright spots, but I found myself wanting to read other books instead.


The Sweet Far Thing – 1 star


I literally gave zero f*cks by the end of this book. I only finished it when I did because I had already checked it out from the library 3 times and it was due back again and I have a problem with DNFing books because I’m weird like that. I absolutely hate when books take forever to build up to a climax (700 or so pages in this book’s case) and that made me care even less. I also hated that I spent 700+ pages trudging through the girls making stupid mistakes, failing to fulfill promises, and going through their debuts to get to a battle that was over so quickly, I didn’t even realize what was going on. I actually liked that parts where Ann was gone because I was so over her character by that point. Felicity and Pippa’s relationship seemed to be a bit of “hey, look, diverse book!” but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that yes, there were hints here and there throughout the previous two books. Gemma got on my nerves even more, especially when she started getting council from Circe of all people. I mean, really? Really, Gemma?! The whole thing with the Rakshana and the Order was annoying and I wanted them to just get over themselves. I really didn’t like the centaurs or Neela or Philon and I guessed that it was Neela who had a hand in making it seem like the Untouchables were responsible for a character’s death because hello, she was open from the beginning about how much she hates them. I was just incredibly frustrated throughout the entire book and there were so many problematic aspects that rubbed me the wrong way. Ann was still fat-shamed. Gemma’s sexual assault from Rebel Angels was never addressed. Felicity’s backstory of abuse by the hand of her father was used to excuse her bitchiness. It was all just too much for me and I really didn’t enjoy this book.

Here is a sample of my real-time updates from GoodReads:

p. 542: “I just really don’t care anymore. This is being dragged out. The only reason I’m trying to finish it is that my library book is due tomorrow.

p. 653: “I’m seriously considering just giving up at this point. It feels like trying to pull teeth. Also, something just happened to Fee and my thought was, “I literally don’t care.””

p. 712: “It shouldn’t take 700+ pages for the action to start. That is about 600 pages too many.”



Reading Wrap-Up: Harry Potter

If you’ve been living under a rock, then you wouldn’t know that there have been a lot of Harry Potter material that has been published in the past two months. And being the Harry Potter trash that I am, I pre-ordered everything. And I had lots of feelings, mainly about Cursed Child. So without further ado, here are those thoughts.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – 3 stars


I’m not sure how I feel.

I want to preface this with the fact that I was very aware that this is a play that was not written by J.K. Rowling before I started to read it. I don’t have any issues with the format. Though I have issues with the nature of the play – I’ll explain that a little later.

I’m not sure how I’m going to frame this review since I have a lot of thoughts. And the more I think and talk about the play, the more problems I am having with it. I think the easiest way to format this review is to go over the characters, then the plot, and then the staging? I don’t know.

-Albus: I get that he was having to deal with living in the shadow of being Harry Potter’s son. I do. And I understand that in many respects, he had it harder than Harry did because Albus grew up in the wizarding world knowing full well who his father was while Harry did not. And I understand that he was given shit for being Slytherin. But I just became increasingly frustrated with his decisions throughout the play. There was a reason why the Time-Turners were all destroyed and why Harry was so reluctant to go mess with time, yet Albus didn’t even think about the consequences. He just needed to prove to Harry that he was worthy. I also didn’t get why he only focused on the fact that he has two cousins, not one, during the alternate realities where Hermione and Ron weren’t married. I just. I was frustrated.

-Scorpius: Well, I have a new son. I love him to bits and pieces. I was thoroughly surprised by just how wonderful and pure he is and I will protect him until the day I die.

-Rose: I was most disappointed in Rose. She was a bit of a…well, a bitch. I have a very hard time believing that she is the child of Ron and Hermione. Yes, she is an over-achiever who is both smart and good at Quidditch, but to basically be all “Oh, you want to be friends with Scorpius Malfoy? Oh, you’re a Slytherin? You are dead to me,” to Albus was just appalling. Yes, there were times where Ron didn’t talk to Harry (especially during Goblet of Fire). But, like, you understood his motivations (such as always being second best and having to live up to the pressures of being the youngest brother and all of that) and knew in your heart that he and Harry would make up because there was no way that they couldn’t be best friends. But Rose was just mean. And the only reason why she spoke to Albus later was because her mother told her to. Not because she wanted to. She had some of her parents in her, but not enough for me to even remotely like her.

-Draco: To quote my friend, Chelsea: Who would have thought that Draco Malfoy is a better father than Harry Potter? I mean, really. He genuinely cared about Scorpius. He cared so much about Scorpius’s happiness that he was willing to look past the fact that Albus is Harry’s son simply because he saw that Albus made Scorpius happy. And yes, he probably should have disclosed his information about the 2nd Time Turner that Lived (I’ll grumble about this later) a bit earlier, but overall, he did what he thought was best for Scorpius. He finally got the redemption he deserved.

-Ron: I am so sick of people characterizing Ron as the comedic relief. He is so much more than that. He is the one who remained calm during the Devil’s Snare scene. He is the one who threw himself in between Sirius and Harry when they thought that Sirius was going to kill Harry. He was not the bumbling idiot that the movies, and now this play, made him out to be. He is much more than corny Dad jokes. He is not Fred, and it felt like the play was trying to make it so.

-Harry: Harry read almost as a second antagonist to me. There is absolutely NO way that he would ever tell his son that he wished that he was not that son’s father. I don’t care how antagonized he was. The Harry Potter I know and love would never ever utter those words and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. I just had so many problems with his characterization in this play. I realize that he is older and you change as you become a parent and all of that, but there were just so many times that I was like, “Huh?!” when it came to his actions. Especially when he went all Dictator on Albus, Ginny, and McGonagall in the alternate universe. I realize that it is an alternate universe, but still. My heart did break for him, though, when he watched his parents die. It was the only time in almost the entire play that I felt anything other than rage at what I was reading.

-Hermione: She was completely and totally under-utilized. And don’t even get me started on her becoming a bitter old spinster Defense Against the Dark Arts professor in the alternate universe where Ron and she don’t get married. Hermione Granger does not need Ron and her family to be happy (though I love that she is happy with them). She could’ve ended up single for all I care. But she would not be bitter about it. Also, I don’t know why, but I never saw her as Minister for Magic. Not that she isn’t badass enough to be one, but I always imagined her wanting to remain in magical law and working on getting equal rights for everyone, a la S.P.E.W. And maybe she can do that even more effectively as Minister for Magic, but yeah.

-Ginny: I never cared much for Ginny, but she was such a background character here and that upset me. Ginny never would’ve stood by and let Harry get away with what he said to Albus. She would’ve kicked his ass into next year. She was basically around just to make Harry feel better about himself. She lost almost all of her agency, and that really bothered me.

-Delphi: I just really don’t like her. She was boring. She was predictable. She was just. Nope.

-Cedric: Don’t even dare try to tell me that he would become a Death Eater and kill Neville Longbottom because he was humiliated one time. I am pretty ambivalent towards Cedric Diggory, but I will defend him to the death when it comes to his bravery, loyalty, and pure goodness. I don’t care if it was an alternate reality. CEDRIC DIGGORY IS AND NEVER WILL BE A DEATH EATER AND I WILL FIGHT ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE.

-Side characters:
*McGonagall: Painfully under-utilized
*Snape: STOP TRYING TO MAKE SNAPE A HERO. STOP TRYING TO REDEEM HIM. I don’t want to read that he is proud that Albus has his name. I would’ve much rather had more time spent on Ron and Hermione learning about a world where Harry is still alive and they have children together and they are happy.
*Trolley Witch: What. The. Fuck. Was. That. Nonsense?
*Ludo Bagman: I forgot just how much I dislike him. He is even worse in the play.

Plot: Or where I write about all of the problems I had with the plot and what I found incredibly hard to swallow
-I refuse to believe that Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort have a child. I refuse to accept that Voldemort was able to have an orgasm. He is incapable of love. Hell, he is incapable of friendship. I know you don’t need either to have sex and make a baby, but I always read him as asexual and just not interested in that at all. Not to mention, HOW DID NO ONE NOTICE THAT BELLATRIX WAS ALL HUGE AND PREGNANT? The timeline makes absolutely no sense. Delphi was born sometime before the Battle of Hogwarts which means that the trio would’ve noticed either that Bellatrix was pregnant or had just given birth when they were at Malfoy Manor. Also, if either of those were the case, there would be no way that Bellatrix was physically up to torturing people. You don’t bounce back from giving birth that quickly.
-Again, I refuse to believe that Cedric is a Death Eater.
-The Time Turners were all destroyed for a reason. And it was bad enough that there was one. Why did there have to be a second ex machina Time Turner?
-I predicted that Delphi was behind wanting to save Cedric from the beginning. I didn’t think she was the child of Voldemort because I really didn’t think they would go there. It was all just so stupid.
-The train scene with the Trolley Witch was just too much.
-How exactly did they have Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s hair for the polyjuice potion to be able to sneak into the Ministry?
-That scene with Albus kissing his aunt (dressed as Ron, granted, but still) was a little more than disturbing.
-Why did they have to have Scorpius pursuing Rose? Not everyone has to be in a heteronormative relationship, thank you very much. Especially because Albus and Scorpius are clearly in love with each other and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. It felt very much like queer-baiting and I was not there for that.

-Okay. I have a minimal background in theater in that I was a ballet dancer for 16 years. I say minimal because I was never really apart of the technical side of theater. But I’ve seen enough set changes and I’m best friends with someone who is in the theater world in the technical side of it that I feel pretty confident in my following complaints.
-There are 37 settings in Part 1 alone. That is INSANE. Especially that one scene where there are like 5 set changes and each set change only lasts like a minute. I cried for the techies each time I read that it was a new set.
-How in the world were they going to do the effects of the invisibility cloak in live theater?
-How in the world are they swimming in the lake/bursting out of water?
-How in the world are they doing the bookshelf scene? While it was cool to read, if it was a movie, it would be much more feasible.
-How in the world are they managing to have the changing stair cases?
-How exactly did they pull off transforming Harry into Voldemort? Or Albus, Scorpius, and Delphi into Ron, Harry, and Hermione respectively? Unless all of that happens off stage and I missed it?

The Good?
-I loved that Albus was sorted into Slytherin. I thought it would be too easy to sort him into Gryffindor (though, I mean, I guess you could say it was also too easy to sort him into Slytherin).
-Scorpius and Albus’s friendship. Though, let’s all be honest, they are totally in love with each other and need to come to terms with that fact.
-The nostalgia in the first couple of scenes. Especially the line, “Best to do it at a run if you’re nervous.”
-Finding out that Harry is afraid of pigeons. It’s so random, but oddly perfect?

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this up. I had purposefully avoided any and all spoilers. I just knew that it was based on a story that J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany came up with. And I knew that it is supposed to be canon. And because of that knowledge, and the fact that while Rowling did not write this, she did give it her stamp of approval, I had a really hard time accepting a lot of what happened to be canon. It read like a really bad fan-fiction, to be honest. And I am interested to see the play in person as I’ve read from people who have seen it that there are scenes that made sense when it was played out (aka Harry telling Albus he wishes he wasn’t Albus’s father). Also, while I have a ton of issues with the staging, I am intrigued to see how in the hell they pull off what is proposed in the script. I really really wanted to like this, but I just don’t. There is just too much that I’m having to begrudgingly accept to make me like this. I feel like this medium was not the right one for the 8th story and that it would’ve worked better as the Rita Skeeter book that was mentioned on Pottermore forever ago during the Quidditch World Cup because then it would be more natural that it wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling and I wouldn’t feel as bad as having a hard time as accepting things as canon because we all know that Rita Skeeter loves to stretch the truth. I originally gave it three stars after I finished reading it, but I don’t know if that really stands anymore. Part of me wants to keep it because it’s Harry Potter and I am Harry Potter trash and part of me wants to downgrade it. For now, as of August 5, 2016 (when I wrote my original review on GoodReads), I will keep it at a 3-star rating, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I lower it in the future.

Also, to support the statement that this reads like fan-fiction, I’m going to leave this review with gifs from A Very Potter Musical/Sequel (retrieved from Tumblr):











Pottermore Presents: Short Stories from Hogwarts on Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies – 5 stars

Minerva McGonagall is a badass with a tragic backstory.

Remus Lupin is also a badass with a tragic backstory. And I loved reading more about how he and Tonks fell in love.

I actually enjoyed reading about Trelawney and actually wish there was a little bit more.

It was also really fun to read about Kettleburn since we’ve heard of him but never really saw him.

I just really enjoyed reading these short stories.


Pottermore Presents: Short Stories from Hogwarts on Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists – 5 stars

This was a really fun read.

Umbridge is actually my most hated character. Yes, I hate her even more than Voldemort. So it was really fun to read her background. She is just so evil. I loved seeing how she wormed her way into the top ranks of the Ministry.

The timeline about the Ministers for Magic was also really great to read. I love getting as much history from the wizarding world as possible.

I also really really enjoyed reading about Slughorn. He was one of my favorites upon his introduction in Half-Blood Prince and I really appreciated that his story shows a different side to the Slytherin House that is usually overlooked.

There really wasn’t anything too new with Quirrell or Peeves’ stories, but they were still entertaining to read.


Pottermore Presents Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide – 5 stars

This was another fun read. Though admittedly it made me want a real-life version of Hogwarts: A History even more.

I really enjoyed seeing more about the magic of the portraits of Hogwarts. I also really quite enjoyed the ballad of Nearly Headless Nick. And the fact that Neville asked to be placed in Hufflepuff. Bless him.

I’m surprised they included Time-Turners given the whole thing with Cursed Child, but hey, what can you do? I wish that there was a little bit more information about the subjects taught at Hogwarts rather than just a list of what was mandatory for the first two years and then an additional list of electives. Also, I wish that there was more background on the founders of Hogwarts. Like I said, it made me wish that Hogwarts: A History was a real thing.



Series Review: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – 4 stars

I remember reading this back in 2005 right before the first movie came out. My mom said that I couldn’t go see the movie without having read the book, so I spent the entire drive from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Metuchen, New Jersey, reading. I was about 12 at the time, so I didn’t really connect with what the girls experienced. Now that I was just shy of turning 24 and have gone through the high school experience, I appreciated the girls a lot more. I feel like Brashares did an excellent job of creating real teenage characters and I absolutely love the friendship that the Sisterhood has. There were times that I questioned the parental figures in the book, but I did appreciate that, for the most part, the parents were present. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style and there were a couple of times that the shift between characters really confused me because it went from paragraph to paragraph with no line break. Overall, though, I had a better appreciation of the book now that I am 11 years older than when I first read it.


The Second Summer of the Sisterhood – 4 stars

Carmen absolutely drove me crazy in this one. She was just so absolutely horrible and bratty towards her mother and David. It also really bothered me that it was basically the exact same plot line from the first book, only it was her mother instead of her father.

Tibby’s general attitude this book just frustrated me to no end. How on earth did she not think that her original movie was going to be upsetting to her mother? And while I’m glad she got over wanting to be friends with Alex and Maura (I think that’s her name?), it’s annoying how long it took her and that she treated Brian like crap because of how they treated him.

Oh, Lena. Lena, Lena, Lena. I just. I need her and Kostos to just get a mind-wipe of some sort to just forget the other exists. Also, what the heck was that with Paul?

While I appreciated what Bridget wanted to get out of her summer, did she really need to lie to her grandmother about who she was? However, I appreciate how her depression was portrayed because it was a realistic one. It was really wonderful to see her grow.


Girls In Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood – 3.5 stars

Bridget was having another relationship with Eric. And I’m sorry, but she literally went into a depression after her first attempt at a relationship with him, so why in the world would anyone think this was healthy?

Carmen was being a brat again about her mom being pregnant. But at least she was able to do nice things for once. And I really liked her and Win together. Why couldn’t they stay together?!

Tibby needs to figure out her shit with Brian. Like for real.

Lena needs to get over Kostos. I’m sick of hearing about him. Also, her scholarship seemed to be a side thought and the reason for her drawing rather than just her drawing her family because it makes her happy.


Forever In Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood – 3 stars

Bridget – GIRL. STOP. YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND. YOUR PROFESSOR HAS A FAMILY. STOP STOP STOP. I am so frustrated with her – has she learned nothing?!

Tibby – I understood her freakout about how her first time was basically rape (or at least, I never saw where she said yes) and possible pregnancy. However, I still think she was a little vicious to Brian. And then the whole thing with Effie and Brian and just. No. I was over that storyline really quickly.

Lena – I really wanted her and Leo together. They seemed right to me. But stupid Kostos had to get in the way. I really kind of hate him at this point. But I did feel for her in the whole Tibby/Effie drama. It’s hard to choose between your best friend who is basically your sister and your actual sister when you know more about what is going on than your sister maybe does. I just don’t know if Effie knew everything like she thought she did.

Carmen – I wanted to punch Julia in the face for Carmen. But I loved seeing Carmen grow into her true self again.

Also, is it bad that I’m kinda glad that the Pants disappeared? Because good Lord they must be disgusting by now. Four summers with four sweaty ass teenage girls wearing them and not washing them? Ew.


Sisterhood Everlasting – 3 stars

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this.

I did enjoy catching up with the girls, but I had a lot of problems with the story.

First off, and this is a minor complaint, but can Lena shut up about her “large feet?” I think it was mentioned that they are 9 and a 1/2. Well, lemme tell you, I wear between a 9 and a 9 and a 1/2 and I certainly don’t think my feet are large.

Tibby – I don’t get why she couldn’t just tell everyone what was going on in her life. Also, did she leave loving notes for her family (including her daughter) like she did for the Septembers?

Bridget – ARE YOU REALLY TELLING ME THAT SHE WENT 5 MONTHS WITH ABSOLUTELY NO PRENATAL CARE? SERIOUSLY?! That bothered me so freaking much. And I don’t get why Eric just handed over 10K to her. And then dropped everything to meet her in Pennsylvania after nearly 5 months. And that he was just like “yep, let’s have this baby.”

Carmen – What does Brashares have against iPhones? Jeez. Also, how did she not see how absolutely horrible Jones is as a person? Is she really that vain and shallow now? Also, is Roberto supposed to be a new love interest for her? Also, why is she the only one who never really seemed to be in a happy relationship? That really bothered me throughout the entire series.

Lena – Have I mentioned how much I hate Kostos? Because I do. At least they are together now finally so that the circling can be over. But I’m not actually happy about that because I really really hate him and never understood why Lena was in love with him. Or why he was in love with her, for that matter.



Series Review: The Mortal Instruments

I read City of Bones way back in the spring of 2014 for my Young Adult Fiction course and never wrote a review of it but I did give it 3 stars. I had no desire to re-read it in order to write a review, but I was curious about how the rest of the series played out, so I read the remaining 5 books over the course of June 2016, starting with City of Ashes.

City of Ashes – 3.75 stars

Though it’s been 2 years since I read City of Bones and I remember very little about it, I do know that City of Ashes is a definite improvement. However, it still isn’t quite hitting the 4 star mark for me.

All of the characters grew on me, but I just cannot get behind Clary and Jace right now. It’s just too disturbing for me. Clary was still fairly useless and clueless about the world that she now belongs to, which was maddening at times. I think my two favorite characters right now are Isabelle and Magnus. And I ship Magnus/Alec so hard it hurts.

I had been spoiled about what happened to Simon, but I thought that particular transformation was kind of cool to read. However, I got some hardcore True Blood flashbacks later in the book with him drinking Jace’s blood and the result of that à la the vampires drinking Sookie’s blood.

The epilogue hit me right where it needed to because I need Jocelyn to wake up finally and I hope that it becomes a big part of City of Glass. It bothered me just how little Clary went to see her mother. I know there was a lot going on, but you would think she would still make time to visit.

Valentine is such a psychopath and I loved seeing his character develop. His development made me look forward to seeing what happens in the rest of the series.

City of Ashes also made me excited to see the development of Clary’s and Jace’s special abilities and how they affect the war that is clearly brewing. Along with this excitement came the hope of seeing that Clary gets more educated on the world of Shadowhunting, because girl needs to get her shit together.

Really, the reasons why the book didn’t get 4 stars are the forced love triangle, the weird relationship between Jace and Clary, and how useless Clary is during battles (though her ability is freaking awesome when she actually remembers to try to use it). But given how much better this is than the first book, my hopes grew for the rest of the series.

City of Ashes

City of Glass – 3.25 stars

Oh Clary. How much I wanted to punch you in the face multiple times while I was reading this. How can you still be so freaking naive about how little you know? I mean, seriously. Clary is a freaking useless heroine save for her rune magic. And she is so impulsive, to the point of hurting those around her. And don’t even get me started on the fact that she willingly told secrets to someone she literally just met. I know that ‘Sebastian’ was supposedly friendly with the Lightwoods and all that, but come on. He was way too interested in her way too fast and she should have been way more on guard. And then there’s how she reacted when Jocelyn (!) finally returned. Yes, I understand that Clary was hurt by the fact that her mother had kept the Shadowhunter world a secret from her, but can you really blame Jocelyn for trying to protect her daughter? Okay, maybe she didn’t go about it in the *best* way with the whole mind-wiping thing, but come on. I guess it made Clary’s lack of visitation in the last book make more sense. Because she had all of the *rage* built up in her and all that and even though she claimed that all she wanted was to be with her mother, it was clearly not the truth.

The amount that Clare forced Jace and Clary down the readers’ throats was almost disturbing. Yes, it was clear that they were going to be able to be together because there was clearly more to the story than the two knew, but just ew. I could barely stomach when they were together, despite my suspicions that a Sebastian was actually Clary’s brother, especially when they kissed and it was all *ew, gross, get away from me* and he was all familiar and all that nonsense. I just. No.

Along with the *huge, shocking* reveal that Sebastian was not Sebastian that I saw coming a million miles away was also the reveal that Lake Lyn was the mortal mirror. I mean, come on, why else would Clare have Clary and Luke land there when the portal went all haywire.

I did appreciate that this one didn’t take place in New York and instead was mainly set in Idris. I did love the world-building that happened there and I kind wish I could go to Alicante myself.

Also, I loved that this book certified that Valentine is bat-shit psycho. I mean, seriously. The crap he did was down-right mad scientist, all in the name of purifying the race. I was *almost* sad that he died. But not really. Because he was just as annoying as his children.

This definitely felt like a conclusion to a trilogy, so it will be interesting to see how the other three books play out. I don’t think I realized that it was not necessarily a 6 book series, but that it was originally a trilogy that expanded. For me, it cleaned up too nicely. I know that Max died, but literally none of the other main *good* characters died (save Jace being magically saved by the power of lady-boners). It felt way too anti-climatic for this major battle only for the good guys to win.


City of Glass

City of Fallen Angels – 3 stars

Despite the decent rating, I have to ask: Why didn’t the series stop after the first 3 books?

I was so ready to have non-creepy relationship moments between Clary and Jace but no, he had to get all moody and closed off. I did like that Clary was finally getting some training because holy jeez did girl need to get a clue about the Shadowhunter world. I missed Alec and Magnus and honestly would’ve preferred to read about their adventures rather than the stupid romantic tension between Clary and Jace. It was kinda nice to read more about Simon, but holy shit is he just stupid for not telling Isabelle and Maia about the other one. That’s just asking for trouble. I’m not particularly looking forward to Sebastian being the main baddie, mainly because I’m so over the trope of the original baddie’s offspring coming back (*cough* Cursed Child *cough*). I wish that Clare would’ve thought of a new conflict to go with because it feels like it’s setting up to be almost an exact repeat of the previous three books.


City of Lost Souls – 3.75 stars

I’m getting really tired of Cassandra Clare writing about incest. Like. Seriously. Please stop. The entire relationship between Sebastian and Clary just grossed me the eff out. And I really want Jace back, please. I absolutely loathe this whole controlled Jace. Clary continues to annoy me, surprise surprise. I just really don’t like her as a protagonist. I’m not particularly fond of the side story with Simon/Maia/Jordan. And I’m not 100% on board with Simon and Isabelle, but I think I’m getting there. Also, screw Cassandra Clare for messing with my OTP. I trusted her to take care of them. I definitely liked this better than CoFA, but it’s still not hitting the mark for me.


City of Heavenly Fire – 4 stars

This was definitely my favorite of the series.

I was glad that Jace was back, even if he had fire in his veins and couldn’t exactly touch Clary. Magnus continued to be one of my favorites, even when he was being all drained of energy and all that. I’m getting really tired of these YA fantasy/dystopian/what have you stories ending with almost no main character deaths, to be honest. The authors build up to this huge battle and then only minor side characters are killed. Sebastian got on my nerves. He is just so generic as a villain and it was frustrating. And while I was frustrated with the lack of death, the ending is really what made it a 4-star read for me. It felt like a good conclusion to the series while still leaving it open for the characters to make appearances in the other books.


The Bane Chronicles – 3.5 stars

I’m still debating whether that’s my final rating or not

I enjoyed some of the stories, but not others. Magnus is one of my forever favorites, so it was really fun to get to read about his shenanigans. I think my favorites were the story about his first date with Alec and fretting over what to get Alec for his birthday (shocker, my OTP stories are my favorites). I didn’t particularly care for what happened in Peru or Magnus’s interactions with Marie Antoinette. I still haven’t read TID, so the story with Jem, Will, and Tessa didn’t have quite the punch for me that I think it would’ve if I knew the characters a little better. Seeing Magnus and Raphael interact was interesting and I really liked their dynamic. The stories about the Hotel Dumort didn’t particularly appeal to me, but they weren’t awful. Overall, it was a fun, quick read.



Series Review: The Lunar Chronicles

Cinder – 4.5 stars

As with other books/series that I’ve been reading recently, I’m ashamed that it has taken me this long to read Cinder. I loved so much about this book and this made me look forward to reading the rest of The Lunar Chronicles.

First off, the characters are freaking golden. I love how Cinder is sarcastic and savvy and willing to do whatever it took to save herself and Kai. I love that Kai acts his age. He’s only 18 or 19 when he becomes Emperor and you can tell that. He isn’t perfect. He is just trying to do what is best for his country. I cried like a baby about what happened to Peony. I need Iko in my life. I like how Adri and Pearl stay true to the original story while still being their own distinct characters. I even enjoyed the other side characters like Dr. Erland and Torin. And Levana is just deliciously evil and I couldn’t wait to read more about her.

Normally, I’m against The Chosen One, but since this is a re-telling of Cinderella, that really didn’t bother me. I had my theories about who the lost Lunar princess was at her first mention and so when the reveal happened, I was happy to be proven right, which is usually not the case. I’m so excited to see what happens with that reveal later on in the series. Also, normally I’m against insta-love and insta-connection. But for some reason, it just worked for me in this book.

The only reason why I took off a half a star is because I wanted a little more world building. Like, how exactly did they come up with the idea of continents being countries? And the exact spread of letumosis throughout the entire Earth. And also, how the whole cyborgs are second-class citizens came to be a thing. Hopefully I’ll get some of these answered in the rest of the series and the novella bind-up.

Overall, though, I really really enjoyed Cinder!


Scarlet – 5 stars

I just. *flails*

I love Scarlet. I love her with Wolf. I cried like a baby when Wolf turned on her (though I saw it coming and I knew he would be redeemed, but still, I think I felt my heart rip open).

I love Cinder. I love her friendship with Thorne. New brotp. Like for real. I still love Kai. And I need him to get his shit together. Because he needs to be with Cinder and not with stupid Levana.

I’m so glad we still got Iko. I would die if Iko couldn’t be a part of the book.

The story was engaging. I love how fresh Marissa Meyer makes the fairy tales and how she is weaving all of the characters together. I also liked that we got a little bit more world building. I just ahhhh!


Cress – 5 stars

I am so in love with this series and I really really wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it. Cress and Thorne are literally my OTP of the series right now because they are just too cute and ugh. My heart broke when Cress saw Thorne with the escort droid. Iko remains my forever favorite. I just love her so much. Cinder is growing so much as a character and I love seeing it. And can we just take a minute to appreciate Konn Torin? He’s always there for Kai no matter what and just bless him. Meyer continues to impress me with her writing and how she has created this complex world yet seamlessly integrates her stories while remaining true to the original fairytales. I’m just. AH!


Fairest – 4.5 stars

It’s official: Levana is batshit crazy. And I absolutely LOVE her for that. It was really interesting to get to see her backstory to understand a little bit better how she got to be where she is in the Lunar Chronicles. Levana is just so psychotic. And Meyer writes it perfectly so that while we as the reader understand Levana’s motivations, we absolutely do not sympathize with her. If anything, Meyer has written it so flawlessly that we hate Levana even more. I love that she took us from Levana’s early childhood where her sister abused her up to her adult life. I’d say the only reason I took off half a star is because Levana is just so horrible that I couldn’t stand to give it the same rating as the rest of the series.


Winter – 5 stars

This was a perfect conclusion to the series. Meyer managed to keep the stakes high while staying true to the Snow White fairy tale. I love how she continued to weave the characters together. And while I know I’ve complained about characters not dying after the buildup to huge battles, in this instance, I am okay with it. Because, at least in the Disney versions, the heroes all live. And since she’s retelling fairytales, it really didn’t bother me. All of the main 9 characters, as well as Konn Torin are my beautiful space baby cinnamon rolls and I need them to live happily ever after for the rest of forever. I went on Tumblr right after finishing reading this and just embraced going down the rabbit hole of reblogging and liking all of the things. The book is long, but I never felt like it dragged. I truly felt like it was worth reading all 800+ pages. I just love this book so much and it is in my top three favorite books of the year.


Stars Above – 5 stars

Oh my stars!

Why does this series have to be over?!

My favorite story was definitely Something Old, Something New. I was squealing the entire time I was reading.

I loved that we got to see Cinder’s origin story. I loved that we got to see Cinder and Kai’s first meeting from his point of view. I loved Meyer’s take on the Little Mermaid. It was really interesting to see the creation of Levana’s mutant army. I loved seeing Cress’s satellite origin story. Thorne’s backstory was just perfectly him. And Winter and Jacin’s story is just adorable yet sad because we got to see exactly why Winter begins to go crazy.

Everything about this was just perfect, in my opinion.