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Heartstopper: Volume Two (Heartstopper #2) by Alice Oseman

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Bullying, homophobia, sexuality struggles, anxiety

🌻 Heartstopper Vol. One (Heartstopper #1) – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Last time on Heartstopper Vol. One… Charlie makes friends with Nick! And that friendship soon blossoms into a crush or possibly even bigger than just a mere crush. Now Nick knows Charlie is gay and Charlie is pretty sure Nick isn’t. But things soon get shaken up at a party both, Charlie and Nick, attended. Love works in mysterious ways and this is their story to tell!

Love works in surprising ways, mysterious ways, but after things seem to go down a strangely different path… Charlie thinks he blew it. Nick is soon swept into a storm of discovering things about his family, his friends, and even a few things he never knew about himself… until now. In a new bind up of the life of Charlie and Nick, we’ll encompass even more parts of Charlie’s and Nick’s life that Heartstopper Vol. One cut too short!

“I don’t want to lose you because I did something stupid.”

Chapterlings, I loved this book! When I read the first volume, I was an emotional mess and granted, I could have cleaned that review up, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. If I ever do a reread, I might post a review in further detail on here, but on my heart ached just as bad in this volume and it did the first. I’m emotional, in love, and completely soft about this whole graphic novel. Everyone needs to pick up this series because Charlie and Nick are too precious and their story deserves to be read!

If you haven’t read Hearstopper at this point, this whole graphic novel series is based off of the life of our main characters, Charlie and Nick. We follow how they become friends, navigate life, meet their friends, and learn how they come together. Along their journey you’ll read about the homophobia Charlie deals with every day, you’ll see how their mental health is affected by those around them, and even get into some detail of toxic and abusive relationships. But it’s not just those dark moments, there’s also many moments of love, light, and laughter. The innocence of one’s crush, the adoration of all the doggy photos and kisses, and moments that are almost too cute to process. It’s a insanely cute graphic novel series that offers so much from two very different main characters. It’s a series that will make any heart melt and have readers ‘awing’ over!

Volume Two is back with all the cuteness that we loved from Volume One if not more! Officially, Charlie and Nick are in love and it’s so stinking cute that my heart is going to burst from all the adorable moments that are about to unfold. However, things are never quite that simple. Nick has a few things he needs to work out with himself and along the way he’ll soon become more aware of the challenges Charlie has been facing every since he came out as gay. Not to mention, they have to come to terms with how, when, and who they want to come out to – if that even means at all. It’s going to be a struggle for the two of them, but just like the first one, they’ll figure everything out in the end!

Unlike the first volume where we were watching Charlie develop feelings for Nick, this time the roles are a bit reversed. I loved it and I still love it! Instead of us learning about Nick’s crush on Charlie, we watch Nick discovering his sexuality. And boy did this hit me like a ton of bricks. Being bisexual myself, I felt for Nick immensely. Even more so during one particular part in this comic more than anything. There’s a moment where Nick, Tara, and Tara’s girlfriend, Darcy are all talking and that whole entire scene, the whole conversation, it threw me for a loop. Just that part alone was just so much in one section and I all I could think was, “This. This is it. This is exactly what it felt like every day until you came out as bisexual.” Reading that section got me so emotional and just impacted my heart with waves of reminders, love, and a fierce fire of pride for my sexuality. Alice Oseman has a way of hitting you in all the soft parts of your heart and memory where you can’t help appreciating her work, but also getting really emotional about everything.

I will say this, that one scene where Nick finally loses his composure… that added five years onto my life. While I don’t fully approve of violence unless it’s absolutely necessary, I have been hoping someone would slap or punch Harry. I feel like Harry’s character has potential for redemption, but at this time, I still very much dislike Harry and having everything play out the way it did… I loved it. I loved the way Nick challenged his friends and I like how everything felt like a natural reaction for that moment in time. In retrospect to Harry, I actually have an appreciation for Tao. Now before you come at me, I don’t approve of a lot of the things Tao said to Charlie when it come to Nick. However, I definitely appreciate Tao’s side of things and where he was coming from. I think in his own way, Tao was trying to be a good friend and was coming from of a genuine place of love and concern for Charlie. And I loved that we got to see a bit more of Tao, his friendship with Charlie, and why he feels so strongly the way he does. I really loved that even though these two scenes felt a little cringe-worthy just based off of the conversations, everything felt natural and realistic in both of these moments. Both situations felt like they were being challenged and I loved that those situations were handled in Nick and Charlie’s own way.

“I wanna kiss you so bad right now”

I think the best thing to take away from this graphic novel series isn’t just the cute scenes or how hard topics are handled, but the way these characters communicate with one another. I find really good communications among characters has always been a weak spot of mine and it’s one of the many things that will keep me invested in the story-line. Granted, there are some misunderstandings between some of the characters, but the fact that the flaws are added in makes all the characters all that more human. I really love how Oseman add this small little bit, but it’s perfection and it’s these little bits that make a story marvelous.

Overall, I have never had any complaints with this graphic novel series! My only complaint would be that everything has ended far too soon and I need more now! But seriously, if you haven’t picked up this series, then what are you doing?! It’s so precious and I think many readers will feel connected to Charlie and Nick. Plus, there’s cute doggy moments and we all need more cute dog scenes! And I think we can all agree, we need more books with a little more love and cute moments to spread around!

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No Judgments (Little Bridge Island, #1) by Meg Cabot

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Arc was given by William Morrow via HarperCollinsPublishers in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published before the release date (September 24, 2019)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Toxic relationships, sexual assault, manipulation, alcoholism, animal abuse, death/loss of a loved one, anxiety, trauma/PTSD, substance/drug abuse, talk of fertility issues

A hurricane is the last thing on Bree Beckham’s mind. She’s already escaped one storm, what’s one more to add to the list?! However, she is extremely worried about all the animals that end up abandoned due to the hurricane. And when she finds out many pet owners are going to be cut off from the Little Bridge Island for a while, the lives of innocent animals fall onto Bree’s shoulders. But with so many animals scattered all throughout the island, she’s going to need help – help she reluctantly accepts from the broody, yet devilishly handsome Drew Hartwell, the island’s most notorious heartbreaker or at least according to the rumors. And just when Bree thought thing couldn’t get more complicated, suddenly her true identity is revealed and her remorseful ex shows up out of the blue! The real question is will she be able to weather the storm and find paradise in the end? Only the secrets of this book can tell you…

Friends, this is just the kind of book I needed to pull me from falling into a really bad reading slump! After reading a really good high fantasy book, it’s so easy for me to fall into a reading slump, but the sassy, broody, tension rising contents of this book kept me high on cloud nine! And I kind of love it?! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been so excited about a romantic read, but this book was so good and it was incredibly hard not to fall in love No Judgments! Now let me tell you all about it!

“I hurried into the kitchen, trying not to freak out over the fact that Drew Hartwell-Drew Hartwell-was in my apartment, shirtless, being nice to my cat.”

No Judgments follows our main character Bree Beckham who is full of sweetness, family complications, and one adorable rescue cat named Gary who thinks the world of her! Oh yeah, there’s just one thing about Bree Beckham…she’s riddled with secrets and everyone is dying to know them. No seriously, there’s more than one skeleton in her closet and only Drew Hartwell can peel back the layers that is Bree Beckham. Drew Hartwell is Mermaid Cafe’s notorious heartbreaker. Some say he’s crazy, others say he’s a playboy, but the truth is a lot more simpler than that. And dogs, lots of dogs! When Drew ends up catching the full on phone call Bree has with her mother, he can only assume she’s a “Fresh Water” or tourist and will soon flee to the safety of the main land. But when the hurricane hits in full force and Bree finds herself in too deep trying to take care of all the abandoned pets on the island, Drew immediately jumps in to help! With both of them working as a team, they’ll not only become a beacon of safety for all the animals, but they’ll soon discover that they’ll slowly becoming each other’s sanctuary.

Honestly, I loved the tension and boiling chemistry between Bree and Drew. They’re both these two stubborn forces coming together and boiling so much sexual tension between them. Some of the time I didn’t know if I should be laughing or clutching my pearls. The banter is so good and as someone who loves reading banter between two characters, I was living for it. It’s definitely one of the many things that really get focused between these two characters. So if you’re not a fan of banter being a big focus of two love interests, it might be a bit bothersome. I do want to add about a moment Drew and Bree shared together though. I loved how the author normalized confining in someone so intimately about the trauma a person can suffer. I don’t find many books that will have a causal scene where the main character talks about the trauma that they’re dealing with. Often times in books, I find a lot of moments when characters talk about they’re trauma it’s very intense, but I loved the way Bree and Drew were slowly and peacefully talking about the things they’ve been through, and the weight they carry on their shoulders every day. But other than that, can I just say this is the animal obsessed romance I have been waiting for?! We rarely get to see a romance between two animal lovers in romance, in smut, in fantasy, books in general rarely give us two animal lovers who turn into love interests. And this has added twenty years onto my life for just that factor. The way Drew and Bree not only feel so passionately about their own pets, but about others could warm even the coldest heart. And watching them to come together and put that love into action, not just for their own pets, but to help others – it’s so wholesome, heartwarming, and it’s one of the key points that bring these two so close together. I will forever screech into the void about how precious they are, the how and why to their relationship developing, and how freaking adorable their pets act towards the other person. It was too cute and you should be prepared for cuteness overload.

“I could feel the heat coming off his body through his damp clothes, heard his breath quicken as our hands touched, and when I looked up, I could see that his gaze was on mine.”

Aside from how much I adored the relationship of Drew and Bree, I was very drawn to Bree’s character. I think for a lot of readers, Bree’s character is going to be a little hard to understand or handle because there are times where she’s overly snappy or abrasive towards Drew. Unfortunately, I think the only way someone reading about her character could truly understand why she acts the way she does towards Drew, it isn’t just for her developing feelings for him. Sadly, that reason is a lot deeper and in my opinion, if you haven’t gone through the kind of trauma that Bree experiences then it might be one of those things that might get overlooked or pushed to the side. And for myself, I was instantly drawn to her character because she reminds me so much of myself. Obviously, the very big secret gets revealed at a certain book, but I definitely think if the reader puts how her trauma plays a key part in everything in this book to the side, a lot of readers are going to be frustrated with her character, might not like her, or think that she’s being immature. I think I’m the odd one out because I found Drew’s character frustrating at times or found myself face-palming because of something Drew did. His character was really hard for me to get into. I think the first time his character impressed me, a little, was with the whole Socks situation. That was the first scene where I felt like I had to give credit where it was due. However, throughout the book it was very hot and cold with my feelings for Drew’s character and his development.

Now the reason why this wasn’t a five star read for me was due to a bunch of little things. For example, it felt like Bree was constantly fighting her mom throughout the book (which she was) and at times it became a bit too much with everything else going on in the book. And then, there was the “Me Too” moment that almost knocked me out of my chair. I had to reread it to make sure I wasn’t misinterpreting things, but there was definitely a “Me Too” moment added into this book and that caused a lot of internally turmoil for me. I don’t want to go into details, but that whole bit dragged me through a loop because I am one of those people who have a lot of mixed feelings about that whole movement. There was also a brief moment where the author used dog breed stereotypes to make the dogs seem aggressive because of their breed. And I also don’t like that in this particular moment the dogs were used as a means to instill fear especially since anyone who is reading this might get a very wrong message and think it’s okay to use dogs in that manner.

However, my biggest issue that really bothered me out of this whole book was near the end of this book and even now I’m still shaking my head at how it was all handled. To prevent myself from going into spoilers, I’m going to keep this as vague as possible. This bit bothered me to know end and I wish I could say I was proud of the main character and how the situation was handled, but I’m not. The whole entire situation changed the entire mood. Even the after events of this one whole scene weren’t able to make me forget what happened in this section because it felt so out of place. Most of this book is very light, fluffy, a fun time, but you get to this part and it’s like a huge mood switch. I feel like this scene could have been written in some many ways and what the author chose…it was very out of place, the situation takes a dark concerning turn, and the whole entire thing felt so unnatural and realistic. In my opinion, physical violence, especially pulling a gun out on someone (no matter if they’ve done good or bad things in their life), should be used as a last resort. Unless the person has physically put their hands on you in that moment, you have no business going into a mode of survival if your life is not in immediate danger. As someone who has gone through extreme trauma in their life and has sat face to face with some of those people who have inflicted that trauma, I have never once found it necessary to put my hands on someone or go to such extreme measures because at the end of the day, no matter how much I wish I could hurt them back or make them suffer, violence is never the answer or a solution. So when that whole scene happened in this book, it felt like I had been hit with a ton of bricks because of all the things that could have been put into this book, it felt like the author went with one of the most extreme actions a person could take in that situation when there was no threat/danger to the main character’s life. Not to mention, in reality, most victims of sexual assault who suffer trauma or PTSD from that particular moment in life usually end up having flashbacks, a build up of anxiety and panic, or they end up flee the scene when they come face to face with with their previous attacker. Also, the main character had every opportunity to turn around and walk away from the situation because she shouldn’t have to face her previous attacker if she’s not ready or evern want to, but instead she chooses to instigate it. So the fact that our main character has a completely sound mind when she follows through with her actions, it’s unrealistic and it’s the most troublesome thing I read out of this whole book. Also, most sexual assault victims only go to such extreme measures if their previous attacker has physically put their hand on them in the current situation. I don’t know if this is how the author thinks someone who has suffered from the trauma of a sexual assault, but let me be the person who has gone through this situation to say this is not realistic or accurate in any form. The fact the author wrote our main character pulling a gun out on an unarmed person who has done nothing in that current moment, it blows my mind away because there is nothing that indicates she has a reason to be doing that or acting that way. I truly wish this scene had been written any other way, but for whatever the reason the author felt this scene was necessary and it kind of ruins the mood for the rest of the ending of the book. It paints the main character in a really bad way and it left a really sour taste in my mouth that I wish I could mind wipe from my memory.

“Whatever the reason, instead of replying, I found myself flinging my arms around his neck, pressing my body against his, and kissing him full on the mouth.”

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It really gives me some nostalgic feels of missing my hometown. I am from a small town and this book definitely reminded me of what it means to have a community come together after a tragedy. But even so, there were many other elements that I loved like the passion and love for animals woven throughout this book. For me, my reading experience was mostly positive because it felt like little pieces of me were woven throughout this book and I loved that. However, that one scene was definitely hard to process and if you have similar values like I do, I think it will be very challenging to get through that one scene. I think many readers are going to enjoy this book, but I can definitely see how many readers may not enjoy this book due to a lot of elements threaded in this book. Either way, I do think this book is worth the read. There’s a lot of warm moments and so many animals! And who doesn’t love animals?!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Wilder Girls by Rory Power

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, parental death, grief, animal death, gore, graphic content, graphic violence, body horror, talk of self harm, emesis, talk of starvation, suicide/suicide ideation, non-consensual medical treatment/testing

“Some days it’s fine. Others it nearly breaks me. The emptiness of the horizon, and the hunger in my body, and how will we ever survive this if we can’t survive each other?”

Raxter School for Girls was like any other boarding school for girls. Everyone has their group of friends, classes felt longer than they should, and some of the teachers were pretty cool. But it’s been eighteen months now since the whole school has been put under quarantine and eighteen month since the Tox. Eighteen months since they promised a cure. Now, Hetty’s life has been flipped upside down as the Tox seems to grow and expand every day. Claiming a new life or new territory in it’s clutches. Now that most of the teachers have died off, only a couple of students have survived the infections, and only one teacher and a headmistress keep the peace. But when Hetty’s friend, Byatt goes missing, Hetty will stop at nothing to uncover the truth of what’s really happening. Horrifying beasts, lies, secrets, and the risk of losing everyone… Hetty will learn of things she never imagined where happening.

This book… this book right here was a real trip! I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did especially going in knowing the way this book ends and it being a stand alone book. I was blown away and I’m still reeling from this book as whole! This is going to be such a huge fall read for so many readers and if it hasn’t already made it onto your TBR, you should hop on that!

Wilder Girls follows two point of views. Most of the time the point of views are told from Hetty, but we have enough sections throughout this book that we can see things through Byatt’s perspective. While I liked Hetty’s point of view, I think Byatt was the most interesting because we got to see an area that wasn’t on the island or in the boarding school. In fact, some of the things that happen in Byatt’s sections had me cringing more than Hetty’s. And with both perspectives, it was so easy to get wrapped up in everything happening. You get sucked into this hole of what’s happening to these two girls and you find yourself unable to forget the things that are happening to them. Although, I will say that I really enjoy when Hetty, Reese, and Byatt are all together. They give me some nostalgia of my old friends and our little band of misfits.

I do want to take a moment to appreciate how natural the relationships are described and explored in this book. No group of friends are perfect, no school clique is perfect, and you’ll get those flaws. I loved that Rory tapped into that and showed us those flaws and to show us how even the unlikeliest pairing can find attraction to one another. I really liked that the topic of having friendships and romance can both coexist together and that there’s always room for that in someone’s life. The romance that bloomed in this book felt so vivid that ever time an intense intimate moment ended I would want more. And I really liked how this book subtly addressed how people hurt one another not because they mean to, but people are messy and they make mistakes that can hurt someone’s feelings. I loved that and it made me get a little soft and sappy. But I think the thing that I truly appreciated out of all of this was all of the characters were allowed to be selfish and mean – not because they’re terrible people or have ill intentions, but it was all due to the circumstances they’re in being unkind and that every person has a limit of how much kindness and positivity they can dredge up when your life is on a thin line of life and death.

“She’s never liked us much, not since she complained that there were no boys on the island, and Reese gave her the blankest look I’ve ever seen and said, “Plenty of girls, though.”

And among all of this beautiful chaos, I never stopped being invested in the characters and their feelings. I think this will be the part many readers differ on just due to the character development, but I truly loved each of the three main characters when they’re together and when they’re away from one another. As I said before, it’s a bit of a nostalgic type vibe for me because I have been around personalities like all three of the main characters. And it was so easy for me to become invested in them because they’re emotions and energies I recognize all too well. And I think the parts that really choked me were the most emotional parts. I won’t say which two, but one was an extremely emotional point for Reese and the other was a highly emotional point for Hetty. Their feelings are just unforgettable and they leave an emotional imprint with you while you read this book.

Speaking of unforgettable things, can I say holy cow this book packs a punch?! If you were expecting a book to slowly chill you to the core then this is not the book for you. Everything happens in waves and it’s incredibly hard to recover from. Rory doesn’t not hold back at all. She went full throttle with dark, scary, traumatic, morbid, and terrifying. Rory really makes you believe that this is something that can truly happen. This is the book you want to go in blind to especially if you’re a lover of horror and survival books. Rory writes so realistically that you will feel like you’re actually in the book experiencing everything and that’s something you really want to feel with this book. If you’re like me, you’re going to have a hard time putting this book down once you get started.

“It’s like that, with all of us here. Sick, strange, and we don’t know why. Things bursting out of us, bits missing and pieces sloughing off, and then we harden and smooth over.”

I did have a few issues with this book though. My first issue is a minor thing and not that big of a deal, but I really would have liked the author to have done more research when bringing the military into this book. The wrong military branch was used for issuing the quarantine of the island and the boarding school. Instead of it being the Navy, it’s supposed to be the Coast Guard. I can understand why many would assume it’s the Navy especially since the Coast Guard isn’t mentioned often and is the branch of military that’s often forgotten, but as someone who has family and friends who serve in the military, I feel like someone needed to state this correction. Also, a lot of the times it would throw me off every time the Navy was mentioned instead of the Coast Guard while I was reading. It made reading the beginning a little difficult. Then there was the minor incident near the end where Hetty saves the last young child of the surviving girls only for Hetty to later on grab Reese and basically throw the other girls to the wolves. I felt like there was no true purpose of that if Hetty and Reese were just going to abandon all the other girls and leave them on that island to die. I still have no words for that whole part.

I really wish I could end my review with that, but I have to talk about that ending. Now as I mentioned, I already knew I was going to dislike the ending. I knew the ending was going to be problematic before I even considered picking up this book… However, I wasn’t expecting it to go down the way it did. I’m still trying to bleach the ending from my memory and not let it be associated with the rest of the book. The ending tried to go a typical science fiction route, in which case the explanation should have been slowly revealed throughout the book from start to end, but instead it was just dumped into your lap at the end. Nothing in the whole story indicated to that this was how the book was going to end. It really felt like the author didn’t know how to close out the book so she went with two topics that are very popular and often over used. The first one is often featured in hardcore sci-fi books and movies, the other being more popular in fiction and dystopian books. I honestly would have loved the ending more if we had no answers rather than the answers we were given. I would go as far to say anything would have been better compared to that ending.

“We don’t get to choose what hurts us” 

Overall, this was an enticing read for me. As I mentioned, I loved this book and it was extremely hard for me to put down. I loved the characters and I loved the essence this book gives off with it’s darkness and horror. I definitely believe this is a book many readers will pick up during the fall season due to the fact that it’s such an atmospheric read. I also truly believe this is a book worth reading and putting forth the time into it. However, just know that this book might not conclude the way you want or hope it would.

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Warriors: Tales from the Clans by Erin Hunter

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, loss, grief, bullying, manipulation

Tales from the Clans features three stand-alone Warriors novellas, which were previously available only as ebooks. Each novella in this paperback bind-up centers on a never-before-told story in the Warriors world—giving both first-time readers and dedicated fans a chance to experience spectacular new adventures in the series.

“Perhaps that’s the best way to recover, to return to the way things were before as quickly as we can. We won the Great Battle, so nothing needs to change.”

This book is a bind-up of three novellas from the Warriors series. Each of these novellas were originally published as ebooks; Tigerclaw’s Fury, Leafpool’s Wish, and Dovewing’s Silence. These three novellas are told in the sequence of past, present, and future. If you’re not familiar with the order of the series then this may be lost to you, but for those who are fans of the series then you probably already made this connection. In this bind-up you’ll read from the perspective of a clan traitor, a medicine cat, and the struggles of a ordinary warrior. You’ll learn about dark thoughts, secrets that can only be shared with a sibling, and how mistakes can impact everyone. Prepare to step into never-told-before stories from the cats of ThunderClan.

This was such a easy read for me and as someone who’s been of this series for a really long time, this was a perfect way to dip my toes back into this world. To be honest, it’s been such a long time since I read anything from this world that I nearly forgot everything that’s happened. But nonetheless, I’m so happy I picked up this novella bind-up. If you’re not familiar with this series then I probably wouldn’t recommend this book for you because you might not be able to enjoy it or even understand what’s happening in these novellas.

In reality, I don’t want to give too much away because I feel that it might be a spoilers for those who have yet to truly read the series or to those who aren’t familiar with the series. So I’m just going to do a breakdown of all three of the novellas and talk a little bit of what I liked and disliked in each one without any spoilers. This is a spoiler free zone!

🌻 Tigerclaw’s Fury

This was probably my least favorite of all of the novellas in this book. For those of you who are familiar with the series you know who Tigerclaw is and you yourselves probably dislike him as much as I do. To those who aren’t familiar with the series, Tigerclaw is known as a super villain throughout this entire series. He’s evil to the core, he thinks the only way to achieve greatness and power is by instilling fear and harm to those around him, and he’s has the horrible idle that only the strongest members of a clan make the clan above all other clans. He’s just a really horrible character and he’s not my favorite. I personally don’t like reading about him because of my knowledge of knowing how evil and toxic he is. He uses lying and fake acts of kindness to brainwash other’s into his cause. On top of all of that, it seems like he has a borderline personality disorder to add to how he goes about doing things. There are parts in this novella where he has an internal conversation with himself, one moment he’ll be talking in a logical manner of plotting and scheming then the next moment he’ll be like “only harm and fear will solve this issue.” So unfortunately for me, this was not the type of novella I wanted to be reading. However, I can appreciate seeing how he got from one phase in his life to the next phase in his life. It was definitely interesting to see that process and read about how he went from one clan to the next. Overall all though, this wasn’t my cup of tea and it definitely shifted the vibe of the other two novellas.

“If mercy is power, then I have never been more powerful.”

🌻 Leafpool’s Wish

Now this is the novella that might get you a little choked up. I’ll admit, I got soft and sappy while I was reading this novella. Leafpool is ThunderClan’s medicine cat meaning she’s a healer, a nurse, a doctor, a shaman, etc… any of those terms could be used to describe what she does for her clan. However, the terms of how she’s supposed to live her life is like that of a nun. No children, no relationships/lovers, only devoted to StarClan and helping her clan as their medicine cat. I have always had a soft spot for Leafpool and even more so with her relationship with her sister Squirrelflight. I’m always here for a sibling relationship. And one of my older favorites, Yellowfang, makes a few appearances in this novella.So the nostalgia was hitting hard. However, I went into this novella knowing what she had done and if we’re being honest, I was a little bitter about how she handled everything. Not to mention, I found her dumping her situation on her sister just for the sake of her staying the clan’s medicine cat was a selfish act and even more shocking of her trying to play it off as selfless act, for the “good of the clan”. I understood the reasoning and I know why she was so hellbent on staying as the clan’s medicine cat, but it still gave me insight to a side of her character that I never saw before. Nonetheless, I still like her character and I still felt sympathy for everything coming full circle for her.

“Leafpool stood outside the barrier of thorns and closed her eyes. Three tiny shapes filled her mind, three pairs of eyes—amber, green and blue—glowed from the shadows.” 

🌻 Dovewing’s Silence

Let’s just be honest, this was probably my favorite out of all the novellas in this book. Granted, there is a lot of pain, there’s death, and you can feel the resentment radiating from the pages, but this was so brilliant. This novella makes me wish I had read from end to beginning because this one novella is worth a thousand reads. I got so emotional with this one. There were so many characters I became familiar with, had fallen in love with, only to read that they were taken away by doing what they were destined to do or what they wanted to do. But this was so beautifully written and it will make your heart ache especially anyone who has experienced loss. We also get to see the three siblings come together again and we got to see them struggle only to come together. I was real soft and sappy, I still am! I do, however, think a lot of fans/shippers of the Dovewing and Tigerheart romance are going to be let down by this. This novella isn’t about that relationship, it was never going to be about her romances. This novella is more centered around her trying to find normalcy after a really intense battle that claimed the lives of loved ones and friends, making sense of losing her abilities and what that means for her and her siblings, and standing up for what’s right. I think if more readers, especially fans, go in knowing this then it will be less of a disappointment. For me, I wasn’t bothered by the lack of her romances being addressed more or not enough. However, I can understand why some readers would see this as a let down. I still really enjoyed it, but it’ll definitely make readers soft especially if you’ve read the majority of this series!

“All battles leave deep wounds, whether you can see them or not. And wounds take time to heal. You know that, Dovewing. Don’t give up hope.”

Overall, I truly loved the novellas in this bind-up. As I stated, I think this bind-up could have been done without Tigerclaw’s Fury. It just shifts the mood too much of the book as a whole. I would say that two-thirds of this book is very soft, sappy, and bittersweet while the other third is enough to turn readers off or have a reader dnf the book. I definitely think if you’re a fan of the Warriors series then you should pick this book up. I know I’m glad I picked this book up and have it to add to my library.

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood #1) by Becky Albertalli

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Homophobia, public/online outing, bullying

“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”

Sixteen-year-old Simon Spier has it all; a loving family, great friends to spend time with, and a part in the school’s musical. There’s just one thing, he’s no so openly gay. When his emails with the mysterious gay boy from school, Blue, fall into the wrong hands, Simon’s world is suddenly flipped upside down. Now Simon is forced into the role of being the wingman for his blackmailer, Martin. With the energies between his friends already skating on thin ice and the emails with Blue turning more flirtatious by the day, Simon’s junior year has become one giant complication.

I loved this book! I already broke the biggest rule as a reader; ‘Don’t watch the movie before reading the book‘, but I honestly couldn’t help myself. Besides, the book and the movie were both beautifully done! And I’m so in love with both of them that I just can’t get over how great they both are! But after all this time, I finally read this book and I’ve fallen in love with these characters all over again.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is about a boy named Simon Spier who ends up getting his world turned upside down. After his private emails with the mysterious Blue fall into the wrong hands, Simon is suddenly forced into positions he would never put himself in. Now he’s risking it all to prevent the truth being made public to the world and to protect Blue’s privacy. Now Simon has to navigate everything without alienating his best friends, compromising himself, or missing a shot a true happiness with the most precious human being he’s never met before.

“The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat — soft and persistent, underlying everything.”

This book has been a serious breath of fresh air breathing life back into me and it was such a nice change of pace! When all my friends were telling me “Malli, you’re going to love this book! It’s going to knock the wind out of you and take you on a romantic, wild ride,” I thought everyone was exaggerating. Clearly I was wrong, I adored this book! This book as a whole was like having your cake and eating it too!It put the biggest smile on my face and even now I can’t stop smiling.

The romance blooming between Simon and Blue was like a roller coaster ride. It starts off slow and building things up, but then you hit the drop and it just takes off with flying colors! Even though we have no idea who Blue is, he easily became one of my favorite characters. Just the way Blue is portrayed is very smooth, but in a really adorable way. And as these two wonderful characters email each other, we don’t just learn bits of Blue, but we also see another side to Simon, we learn more about him. Just those emails alone, we get so much information and I loved every second of it. I wish we had more of the emails because they were like little treasured hidden among the chaos. When we finally find out who Blue is, even before I watched the movie, I was surprised both times. I swoon every time!

As for the friendships and family, well, I ADORED Abby! She was hands down my favorite friend out of all the friends Simon had. She stepped up to the bat so many times and all I remember was saying “Damn, Abby is about to knock someone out!” She was such a positive force and even though she’s a fictional character, her energy in this book radiates like the sun. Aside from Abby, I definitely had a lot of issues with Leah. I can understand why she feels the way she does (everyone gets like that sometimes), but her actions and how she goes about saying things (all the time!), I wish she had been challenged more with her attitude and behavior. I almost wish Leah hadn’t been a character in this book. As whole, I think the friendships felt very real and even though we have this close-nit group of friends, we still see them argue and face challenges with one another. This goes the same for Simon’s family. I loved the dynamic of Simon’s family. I really loved the way Simon and his sisters are so close, but he’s also close with his parents. I really liked how we got to see them be overly nosy about things, a little on the crazy side, but they felt so real, like a true healthy family dynamic. I even liked the way Blue talked about his family and how they celebrate the holidays. It touched close to home and landed on a warm, soft spot in my heart.

And of course, I can’t finish this review without talking about the core of this book. Those hard hitting topics of some pretty hard subjects to talk about. We have a long list of blackmailing, bullying, homophobia, and above all else, the difficulties in trying to find and express our own identities. For some readers, they may not find it relatable or may seem unsure of what to think. So let me get a little personal and be the first to say that this… THIS is a lot of what I experienced and went through in high school. I can openly say, the way Albertalli handled certain things, not making them dismissed or fully treated, it’s very accurate to a lot of the things I have personally experienced. Yes, Albertalli could have dove more into those issues, but if her goal was to create a light and fluffy contemporary romance instead of diving too deeply into the darkness of those hard subjects then she accomplished that (and did it very well, might I add!). But there are some heartbreaking moments, moments where you may cry (like I did) and moments where your heart will ache for these characters. It’s all beautifully written, flawed, but sincere in a way that makes you love it all the more.

“He tells me to pick the music. I’m not sure if he knows that handing me his iPod is like handing me the window to his soul.”

Overall, I don’t think I could love this book even more. I loved the movie and I loved the book. I read this book all in one sitting and if that doesn’t say something about this book then I don’t know what does! This was the five star book that I’ve been aching for and this book delivered so much for me. I hope the day never comes where I stop loving this book or these characters. If you’re looking for a book that sweet, fluffy, but flawed and sincere, then this is the book for you and you should pick it up immediately!

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books that Changed My Life

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!


Hello Chapterlings! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a bit different than the others. While the others are a bit bright and full of anticipation, this one is going to be a bit different. It’s going to be a bit sappy, a bit emotional, and there’s going to be a giant piece of me that gets poured into this post. Reading has always been an important part of my life, but there have been a few books that have made an impact with me. They changed my life, they altered my paths, and to all of that, I’m very thankful for these books to have come into my life when they did. Without these books, I definitely believe my life would have turned out far more different. So prepare some sappy, emotional bits, but I hope you enjoy this post nonetheless!

Please note, these books aren’t in any particular order.


🌻 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

For coming into my life at the darkest time and pulling me out of that darkness.


🌻 The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall by Shannon Kirk

For teaching me to grieve, but to also to remember all the good and let go.


🌻 To Make Monster Out of Girls by Amanda Lovelace

For coming into my life when I needed to be reminded to hold my head high and be proud of my scars, they are the results of my strength and all that I have overcome.


🌻 Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

For being the voice and perspective of poverty and hunger through the eyes of a child. For being the book I needed as a child, but the book I longed for as an adult.


🌻 The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

For being the most relatable book I have come across in my entire life. For being the book that shattered me into a million pieces, but for being the book that put me back together in a million ways. For being everything when I needed anything. For being the book I never knew I needed until I had it.


🌻 The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Cassandra Jean

For being the first book I read with a bisexual character. For being the book that made me proud in my sexuality. For being the book with my most favorite character who instilled the strongest confidence and pride in me.


🌻 Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston

For teaching me that it’s okay to vulnerable, but still fight for what you believe in, to fight for what’s right.


🌻 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

For reminding me that through hard work, you can achieve all your goals and dreams. For being the book to remind me that through all the pain and hardship, you can still find happiness.


🌻 The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

For being my friend, my companion, my source of adventure when I was too sick to be around anyone. For being the words of bravery to keep fighting and the anchor to keep me grounded. For being the first book that made me fall in love with reading.


🌻 Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

For giving me the strength to keep chasing my goals and dreams despite all the obstacles. For reminding me the greatest love is found in the most unlikeliest places and in the most unlikeliest people. For giving me so much when I least expected it.


Okay, friends! I think that’s all the books that have impacted me, changed my life, and made ripples in my heart. Of course, there are probably plenty more and more to come, but these are the ones that I hold dear to my heart the most. Words can’t even begin to express what these books have done for me. But please let me know some of the books that have impacted you or have changed your life! I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did writing it. And until next time; may your books be five stars, I love you! ❤️

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P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #2) by Jenny Han

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🌻 To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1 – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Ableist language, slut shaming, suicide joke, cheating/implied cheating, adultery

“People come in and out of your life. For a time they are your world; they are everything. And then one day they’re not. There’s no telling how long you will have them near.”

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

Synopsis from GoodReads

Lara Jean wasn’t expecting to truly be this in love with Peter. When things get more than messy, Lara Jean is forced to look deep inside herself to figure out what she really and truly wants. Scandalous videos, time capsules, dream boys from the past, and snowy kisses – P.S. I Still Love You is about to deliver all the things that can really happen in a small town with a girl growing up and walking her own path.

Okay friends, let me be honest for a minute. I think I’m the odd one out because so many of my trusted friends really loved this book or swears this is the best book of all three. However, I think I was expecting so much more from this book. I can’t pin point the exact thing because it feels like a number of little things added up to me rating this book somewhere in the middle. It just really felt like it was missing something, an extra umph, if you know what I mean.

For starters, don’t think I disliked this book. There were some many parts and moments that I feel in love with. For example, when Kitty takes Lara Jean’s side and supports her sister or the moment Lara Jean and Kitty have a heart to heart during Kitty’s birthday party. There were so many heartwarming, sweet moments scattered throughout this entire book. I really loved them. I even loved the parts where Lara Jean’s sisters rallied to her defense with the leaked video. I love a good moment between siblings where they rally to each other.

I think what I really and truly loved in this book was the amount of diversity we see shine through. We, as the readers, get to explore and see more into Lara Jean’s culture and family traditions. It’s such a rare, but beautiful thing that authors should do more often in their books. We also get a minor gay character. Thank you Jenny Han for adding that character and making them appear more frequent in this book!

“So much of love is chance. There’s something scary and wonderful about that.”

And let me take this moment to say this… Team John Ambrose McClaren. I love a character who is romantic, appreciates a girl for who she is (flaws and all), acts like a gentleman, and loves a good homemade cake, but has the class to back it all up and throw down when others want to be jerks. I loved him, I adore him, and I regret nothing by choosing him over Peter. He was the real V.I.P. of this book and his character made everything feel more entertaining, more interesting. I think he was the only character that I felt an attachment to in this book. Plus, he hand wrote letters back to Lara Jean. And there were some really good moments with John Ambrose and Lara Jean that made me all soft and swoony. I just really loved his character.

Aside from all this good, those little things that were bothersome were really hard to forget. My two biggest issues are the ones that bothered the most. For starters, Peter’s attitude and how he handled a lot of situations. There were moments in this book had me going, “Did you really just do that? Did you really just act like that?” I let a lot of his behavior slide and convinced myself he was just being protective or jealous, but for me, it reached a point where I was over it and I just wanted to wash my hands of him. The second issue I had was that one little scene with Genevieve’s father and Anna Hicks. Something about an older man with a daughter and a girl the same age as man’s said daughter gives me icky vibes. I don’t want to get into details, but it gave me little tingles of creepy. Everything else that followed were minor things like the beginning feeling like an extended epilogue, Lara Jean leading John Ambrose McClaren on, Kitty coming off as an un-supportive sister, Lara Jean badgering Josh about his new girlfriend, etc… it all just added up to an un-fun time and I didn’t like it. It was annoying and it felt like filler to fill the void in the empty space until something suspenseful or drama filled happened. Not my cup of tea.

Overall, I did like this book, but there were very problematic things that happened in this book that completely turned me off from reading it at certain points. I definitely have to say that John Ambrose was a huge highlight for this book and probably one of the most exciting things that has happened (in a positive light) that has left an impression with me. Otherwise, parts felt dragged out or like a lot of fluff has been added just for the sake of having things happen. However, as someone who did enjoy the first book, I would recommend picking this book up. There are truly some wonderful moments just like the first book had that will make your heart all soft and mushy. On the the other hand, if you’re someone who really didn’t enjoy the first book or thought it was just “meh” then I don’t recommend reading this book anytime soon. It definitely had great moments just like the first, but it definitely leaves you with a desire for more than what you actually get.

“If two people are meant to be, they’ll find their way to each other.”

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