Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review of Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Side Effects May Vary
by Julie Murphy
Standalone
330 Pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

During her sixteenth year, Alice is diagnosed with cancer, leukemia to be exact. Instead of getting sad, she gets even. She gets even with everyone who actually deserves her wrath. When she finishes her bucket list, she gets a new surprise, she miraculously goes into remission. Alice not has to learn how to deal with the choices she made, and decide what she wants to do with her life... and her relationship with her lifelong best friend, Harvey.






As soon as any of you who have not read this book sees the word "cancer" in the synopsis, you will immediately compare this to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I am here to tell you that this is nothing like The Fault in Our Stars. The only similarity in this book and The Fault in Our Stars is that the main girl has cancer. The Fault in Our Stars is about loving when you are dying, this book is about accepting life and forgiveness. I think The Fault in Our Stars is a better book (better written, better romance, etc.), but I enjoyed this book more (less sad, just fun). If you are looking at this book hoping for the next The Fault in Our Stars, you are going to be very sadly disappointed or gladly surprised.

Now that I have got that out of the way, I am going to tell you about tis book. It was told from both dual POV and dual time periods. The two point of views were Alice (the girl with cancer) and Harvey (her best friend). I didn't really have a preference between the two POVs because honestly they both sounded about the same. The two time periods were "then" and "now." The now is exactly as it sounds, when the actual story was taking place. The then is any time between a month before Alice got diagnosed and "now." I really preferred reading the then chapters because Alice was a lot less whiney, and she was spending her time preparing for her death rather than being annoying.

A huge part of this book was "the list." This was Alice's bucket list of things that she wants to do before she died. It had a few things like drive a car or go to her childhood vacation place during the off season. Then there were things like getting back at her cheat in ex-boyfriend or ruining her "mortal enemy's" life. The latter two things on the list were wildly entertaining. You get to see the evil genius come out of Alice, and it was just funny.

Another important aspect of this book was family. Alice's and Harvey's families were very close, so the aspect of the two families was beautiful. It was not like many YA books where they ignore the parents, but it was very good for the book that the parents were there. They may have not been the best parents (some of them were very good, but still), but that added another layer to the complexity that is this book.

I don't know if this is an isolated opinion, but I thought that Alice and Harvey's relationship was toxic. They were truly better off friends because they just didn't seem happy to be together. Yes, they and fun sometimes, but it just was not a relationship that was going to last. The two of them together was honestly just a relationship that was destined to fail. It would be a horrible breakup too. Since the families were so close, the two of them breaking up would be horrible. I just wish that the book focused on the list rather than the relationship.

Having said all that, I did like the book. It was not perfect (no books are), but it was very enjoyable. It was a very happy book for one about cancer. I appreciate what the author was trying to do, and you knew that she knew that everyone would compare it to The Fault in Our Stars, and she did a great job making her book stand out and be unique.


The Rating:

Have you read this book? I would love to hear your opinion about it in the comments.


XOXO,
Belle

Friday, February 27, 2015

Review of The Camelot Kids by Ben Zackheim

The Camelot Kids
by Ben Zackheim
Book 1 in The Camelot Kids Series
514 Pages
Self-Published

From the back of the book:
What would you do if an odd girl in  cloak told you, "You know you're a descendant of King Arthur's knight, Lancelot, right?" You'd probably do the same thing as 14-year-old New Yorker Simon Sharp does. Back away nice and slow. But Simon learns the truth when he's kidnapped by a drunk troll, rescued by a 7-foot mad named Merlin, and thrown into training with 149 other heirs of the Knights of the Round Table. Can Simon survive a prophecy that predicts the world will be saved through its destruction?





The Short:
I don't think I have had such a fun time with a book since I read Percy Jackson. To put this simply: I loved this book. It was very well paced, and the world was magnificent. I am just blown away. Throughout the book there are illustrations of things that are particularly hard to imagine, and they were all beautiful. I do know somethings about Arthurian legends, and this book just made me want to read more about King Arthur. This book was just great.

The Good:

  • Like I said, the illustrations in this book were beautiful, and easy to understand. I am really impressed with the artwork that was put into this book, and it just really enhanced the story. 
  • This was just a good story. There were no real flaws with its plot, and I really appreciated that. It did take a little bit to get into the book, however, but after the story picked up, and Simon moved to Scotland, it got very hard to put down. 
  • I really liked most of the main characters, and the author did a very goos job of creating them. The thing that really got me about this story was how in depth you got to understand the main characters.
  • I loved the world. I really liked how everything was described, and that there was a lot of incorporation of the Arthurian legends. I did learn some about King Arthur's reign, and that was cool. Another great thing along these lines was that they made some histories up. It was not all classic King Arthur, but there was some details about the world and the History of Camelot that was long after Arthur's reign, and I really appreciated that.
  • Just the magic in this story was so cool! It was just everything that you could want in a magic system, and a magical world: dragons, spells, knights, elves, trolls, and wizards. I just thought it was great.
  • If there is only one thing that I can appreciate about the physical book, it would be the overall quality of it. I'm not just talking about the words right now (even though those were fantastic). What I mean is the paper and the cover and the binding. It was just very well done especially for a self published book. I can really tell that that author spend a long time creating the cover, and making sure the book works well as a book. I am giving the author so much respect for this aspect of the book.
  • The humor in this was lovely. All the sarcasm was well placed, and very well done. You were never really prepared for what was going to come out of Merlin's or Maille's mouth next, but whatever it was, it was always entertaining. 
The Bad:
  • The amount of times that someone winked at Simon was insane. It was as if every time someone looked at Simon, they winked at him. I didn't really notice it as first, but after a wink every other page, it was hard not to notice it. If I got a dollar for every time someone winked at Simon, I could buy myself the second book. 
  • I really wish we got to see more of the side characters. I hope in the next book there will be more characterization of the rest of the heirs to the Knights of the Round Table. Even Josh and Russ who were not that minor of characters didn't get much of a personality. I am really curious to see if the other heirs will act a lot like their more famous predecessors. 
  • There were a few problems that I had with the pictures. Yes, they were beautiful, but I just wanted a few more of them. They were very well spaced, but it would have really helped the novel to have added even five more pictures. Also, some of the pictures were placed incorrectly. There would be a random picture and then five or so pages later it would have been relevant and would have made sense. 
  • I really wish the author did more with the whole Arthurian legends thing. He did incorporate it a ton, but it could have been more, and I think I would have appreciated the story a whole lot more if I would have been learning about the Knight of the Round Table while reading this epic quest. 
The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle
______________________________________________________________________________
I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a truthful one.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Review of Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

Franny and Zooey
by J.D. Salinger
Standalone
201 Pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books

This is two stories: one a short story, the other a novella. They involve the two youngest children of the Glass family, a fictional family that Salinger decided he would base many stories off of. 
From Goodreads:
The short story, Franny, tells the tale of an undergraduate who is becoming disenchanted with the selfishness and inauthenticity she perceives all around her.
The novella, Zooey, is named for Zooey Glass, the second-youngest member of the Glass family. As his younger sister, Franny, suffers a spiritual and existential breakdown in her parents' Manhattan living room, Zooey comes to her aid, offering what he thinks is brotherly love, understanding, and words of sage advice.



Going into this I had unobtainable high expectations because The Catcher in the Rye is one of my favorite books ever. Unfortunately, this book could not live up to the hype that I have created for this book. It was a magnificent book, however. I really feel like I came to understand Franny and Zooey even though this book was so short, and took place within a very small time window. 


The time frame of this book was very interesting. The Franny took place in about an hour end to end. That is not that big of a feat since it was only about 50 pages. Zooey, on the other hand, was about 150 pages, but it took place in only about two hours (if I had to guess). None of that mattered though. Salinger was such a great writer that it wasn't annoying that there was so little plot because there was so much going on below the surface.


I wish I could have read this in school (has any one ever really thought that?). Okay, hear me out. I could tell that there was so much symbolism and other subtext in this book, but I couldn't analyze it since I don't have a literature major. I did appreciate it though. I could see many of the themes from Catcher in the Rye (dealing with the death of a loved one, for one). If I really took the time to analyze this book, and even if I was to reread it, I think I would so much more out of this book. 


I have already said this in this review, and I'm going to say it a lot more, but Salinger is a great writer. He used many big words in this book, but not too much as to where it was hard to understand. More importantly, he understands how teenagers and young adults think. He doesn't write like an adult writing about a 20-year-old girl, but instead he puts himself into the character's place, and writes how they would write. It was quite beautiful, really. 


You could actually see and understand Franny's existentialism in the both stories even though it was a lot more prevalent in Zooey. It was not just a girl being sad, but it was something that was building up for years, ever since her eldest brother died. She was just having so much going on, and she felt alone, so she started saying "the Jesus prayer" and trying to pray "incessantly." Zooey also understood. He was not trying to tell her to stop being a child, but instead he put himself five years back, and thought how he did when he was 20. Zooey and Franny's sibling relationship is like the one that me and my older brother have, one that is built upon mutual respect. What took me and my brother years to create, is something that Salinger could create in less than 150 pages. 


That is why I liked this book. 


But I can't give this book five stars. After so much raving, one would think that I would give this book five stars, but I can't, and I don't know if I will ever be able to give this book five stars. I don't think I can give any Salinger book five stars because it was not The Catcher in the Rye. I knew that it would be nothing like Catcher, but I also knew it would be great. I feel like it would be dishonest to give any other Salinger book five stars because I saw myself in that book. I didn't see a brother or friend or relative, no I saw myself, and I have to save that five stars for a book in which understood me on a molecular level. 


The Rating:


Have you read this book? If so, what was your opinion, I would love to hear your thoughts.

XOXO,
Belle

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review of Purgatorio by Dante

Purgatorio
by Dante
Book 2 in the Divine Comedy



Dante and Virgil move on from Hell and explore purgatory.














I don't know why, but for some reason I got it in my head that I wanted to read more Dante. I didn't like The Inferno that much, but I felt the need to keep reading because I thought that Purgatory would be at least somewhat interesting. I was wrong. Dead wrong. I thought this was kind of pointless. I get that the idea of heaven and hell; it makes sense to me. It you're good, you go to heaven. If you're bad, you go to hell. What is the point of purgatory though. If you're bad, but you are still good, you go to purgatory? If you're a good person, but does bad things, you go to purgatory? I just cant grasp the concept of needing a place like purgatory, and that is where my problem with this book came in.

I was pretty excited about this book for the first seven or so cantos, but then it just got really repetitive. It was the same thing over and over again: goes to a level of purgatory, sees people being punished, people freak out because he's live, talks to people, moves on. And thats it. Sometimes the talking to people lasts more than one canto, and I was just so bored.

I think I read this book in like two days, but I was just so done by the time Dante went to the Earthly Paradise that I just read the notes at the front of each chapter giving a description in modern English about what the canto would be about, and what would happen. I only did that for the last three cantos because I was getting so annoyed with reading it, but didnt want to give up on the book entirely.

There is a 100% chance that I am going to read The Paradiso sometime in the somewhat near future. I don't know what possessed me to feel the need to read all three books, but I guess I'm determined, and at this point it is a pride thing, so I have to finish the last book.

The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Review of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane 
by Kate DiCamillo
Standalone
221 Pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press

There once was a china rabbit. He was loved by a girl named Abilene. He was dressed in the finest silks, and had a gold pocket watch, but he didnt love Abilene back. One day he went overboard of a ship, and became lost.










The Short:
I am not going to make a very big long review about this one, but the short of this is that I loved this book.

The Long:
I haven't been affected this much by a book in a long time. I don't think I cried as hard or as long in a book, not even The Fault in Our Stars. Not even Allegiant. I don't know what it was about this story that resonated with me that much, but I reached a point about fifty pages in and started bawling. I didnt stop crying until about ten minutes after I finished this book. I have never loved a children's book as much as I loved this one. No matter how old you are, I think you will love this book.


The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Review of The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman

The Last Good Day of the Year
by Jessica Warman
Standalone
288 Pages
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Ten years ago, Sam and her best friend, Remy, witnessed Sam's four-year-old sister, Turtle, being taken away from Sam's own basement on while their parents were celebrating the New Year. The kids pegged the kidnapper as Sam's older sister's boyfriend, Steven. Fast forward to 1996, Sam and her family moves back into the hours where Turtle was taken from. As new evidence and new memories begin to surface, Sam and Remy realize that they may have accused the wrong person.





The Short:
This book is just irritating. Its less than 300 pages, but nothing happens until the last six chapters. I was so and reading this book because I kept reaching milestones of 50 or 100 pages, and there would still be no plot development. I didn't find any of the characters very well made or relatable, and there was honestly no point to this book other than to marginally frighten you. I got to the point where I had ten pages left, and I was still contemplating giving up on this book. I had such high hopes for this book from the synopsis, but it just didn't get anywhere near where I was hoping.

The Long:
This story is written in two ways. One, it was written in Sam's present day, Summer 1996, in a present tense. The second was retrospective, and it was current Sam telling the story of 1985, 1986, or earlier in 1996. I didnt really have a reference on which one I liked better, they were both sort of boring.

I kept getting feelings throughout this book that I have read this plot before. It reminded me somewhat of The Lovely Bones since it dealt with a family grieving and trying to make sense of a child's murder when they can't find the body. Also, it reminded me of a more obscure writing, one that I would be surprised if that many people have read. It was a story originally written on Reddit under the subreddit of r/nosleep. This story came in many parts, and was written under the screen name of 1000vultures. It told the story of a kid who his whole life had a stalker that was obsessed with this kid, and as he grew up, it became increasingly frightening to him. It was published under the name Penpal by Dathan Auerbach. I don't know if that was intentional that the author added so many similarities to Dathan's work, but I saw too many parallels to ignore it.

I honestly hated the characters. My most hated was not the murderer/kidnapped, but instead it was the man character's mom. She was probably the most hateful person that I have ever read about. I get that her daughter was kidnapped and probably killed, but she was the kind of mom that showed her favoritism so much, and I can't stand it when parents do that. She hit her oldest daughter at some point in the book, and that was the point when I lost all respect for her. The biggest problem that I had with the mom (I don't even remember if she was given a name.) was that she was a beauty pageant kid/mom. She was the type of person that would talk behind her best friend's back just because she didn't have makeup on. I just had a very deeply rooted hatred for this woman.

Throughout the book, there were a lot of snippets from a book about Turtle's murder. I liked that they were in there, but I felt that the snippets were out of context. Some of them had zero relevance to what the chapter it followed or preceded talked about. Also, you didnt know who the excerpt was referring to. It would say "he" and you were supposed to know what male character it was referring to.

I didnt like the marketing of this book. The first line on the back of my book says "A powerful THRILLER..." This book was probably the lest thrilling thriller I have ever read. I don't think I ahem been more disappointed with a book in a very long time.

My last grievance with this novel was the ending. I'm not going to spoil it (don't worry). I thought it was too open ended for this book. This book was a kind of book where you needed closure on everything, but this book gave you the "make up your own ending" kind of thing. It just irritated me.

I am going to end this review on a positive note since this was all negativity. The second to last chapter, and the first page and a half of the last chapter were magnificent, and actually thrilling. Those nine-and-a-half pages are the only reason that I cant give this book one star.

The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

_________________________________________________________________________
I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a truthful one. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Review of Invaded by Melissa Landers

Invaded
by Melissa Landers
Book 2 in the Alienated Series
356 Pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion















The Short:
To be honest, I had no expectations for this book. I liked Alienated enough (I gave it 4 stars), and I knew I was going to want to read the sequel, but it wasn't like i couldn't wait for this book, or I was dying to know what happened since it was just not a favorite of mine. That begin said, I was kinda meh on this book. It wasn't a bad book at all, but it just wasn't anything special, nor was it better than Alienated. I wouldn't say that I am disappointed, but this book seemed to have a bad case of the "second book syndrome."

The Long:
When comparing this book to all the other alien books/movies/TV shows I've ever seen/read, this book and this series really falls short. Its just very average or a read. I think that the author could spend a lot more time on the action, and less time with Aelyx and Cara whining about their love life. There really wasn't an abundance of action until the last 50-or-so pages of the book. I think that there could be a lot more action in the next book (please be a next book), but this book was just very mundane.

Now that I have ranted about how there wasn't enough action, lets talk about the action in this book. There wasnt enough of it first off, and secondly it would be broken up at the worst times. Sometimes something suspenseful would happen when Cara wasn't whining about Aelyx, then the chapter would end right when stuff got interesting. That happened over and over and over. I understand why the author chose to do that since she didnt want you to become bored, and when the action is halted, and you jump to the other point of view, you are more likely to keep reading. What we did get of the action was very good, and I really think that the author can step up the action in the third book.

If you didnt know, this book is told from two point of views, Cara's and Aelyx's. I always enjoyed the Cara chapters more since they were more about discovery and there was overall much more action on her side. Aelyx chapters were just fine. For every one good chapter, there would be two or three okay ones. I just wanted more interest in his POV.

This is one of the only YA books that had a actually good brother/sister relationship in it. The way that Cara and Troy acted around each other was very funny. The author really did a good job of showing the connection that only a brother and a sister could have. Their relationship could have been pushed to the side, but Melissa Landers did a very good job of making it important.

Thank you, Melissa, for adding a villain to this story. The first book didnt really have one, so it did a very good job of setting up for the next book's action. They are very good villains too, I have to say. They are not the kind of villains that are out in the open, but more of in-the-shadows kind of villains.

Can we just talk about how two of the side characters had one of the worst cases of insta-love I have seen. It wasn't the main characters, so that was good, but insta-love in general seems pointless to me.

The main problem that I had with this book was the pacing. It was paced okay, but you never really knew how much time had passed between chapters. I just wanted to be able to make a time frame in my mind, but it would have been impossible.

The Rating:




Have you read this book? I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Also, what do you think about this reviewing style? I am thinking about doing something like this for either all reviews (probably not. I like using a direct reviewing style) or reviews of sequels, so I can minimize spoilers.

XOXO,
Belle

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review of Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt

Hold Me Like a Breath
by Tiffany Schmidt
Book 1 in the Once Upon a Crime Family Series
400 Pages
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Penelope Landlow's life has always been difficult. From her rare disorder that makes her more susceptible to bruising and injury, and the fact that her family deals in illegally transplanting organs. Penelope's life has consisted of staying within the walls of their estate and being babied by everyone she encounters. Everything starts changing around her, and she needs to be able to adapt with it.






The Short:
Wow. Just wow. I thought this book was great. I have never read a book where the family is so illegal. Usually in the books I read, the people's lives are "hard" because they are teenagers, and teenagers always have hard lives. Penelope actually has it rough though. She has the actual problem of her family dealing in blood, and she actually cant be touched unless she wants to have bruising. I think my favorite part of this book were the subtle fairy tale references. They were so well weaved in and it just made me smile. This is a very good book, and one I think you should all lookout for.

The Good:

  • I literally just said this, but the casual fairy tale references made me very happy. They would compare something that went on to Repunzel or a moat, and I just was like "I see what you did there, and I really appreciate it." 
  • This was supposed to be a retelling of The Princess and the Pea, and I could kind of see where the author was going with it, and I am really glad she didnt take it too far. I liked the elements of the story that she threw in, but she didnt make every little detail from the original story in this book. 
  • Can we just talk about how wonderful the concept of this book is. Crime Families. What?! What YA author writes about it, and does it so well. Nice job, Tiffany Schmidt.
  • Could this book have been any more action packed? I don't think it would at all be possible to make it any more epic. All the death, violence, and unlawfulness just tied together to make a book that I read in two days. JUST SO GOOD! If you are planning on reading this book, just know that you will not be able to put this book down.
  • The romance was one of the best ones that I have seen in a YA novel. It was unexpected, and fresh. It was angsty, but it was real problems not the average stuff you see in YA.
The Bad:
  • I really did get that Penelope was fragile, but if they said it one more time in that book, I think I was going to scream.
  • All the "plot twists" were visible from a mile away. I wish there was a little more development and buildup to a plot twist that would actually surprise me.
The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

______________________________________________________________________
I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a honest one. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Review of Glassford Girl Book 1 by Jay J. Falconer

Glassford Girl, Book 1
by Jay J. Falconer
Book 1 in the Emily Heart Time Jumper Series
182 Pages
Self Published

This is the story of Emily Heart who has the strange and terrible ability [or curse] to jump forward in time. That may sound well and good, but she can't control it. The story takes off with Emily and her  new friend being shot at in the streets of Phoenix. All she wants to do is be able to keep her and her friend alive, and that is a possibility, well, until she feels herself starting to jump forward.









The Short:
I don't have much to say about this book. It was good, not great, but worth reading. It was a very action packed read, and something that I would recommend if you just want a quick exciting read. This was not at all something special, but thats okay because I was captivated from the first page.

The Good:

  • It started well, and it kept that momentum going throughout the whole book. It was fast and action-packed, and a VERY easy read (not only because it was less than 200 pages). I am going to sound awful when I say this, but thats all this book had. It was just exciting. Nothing really beyond a good and fast plot.
  • Ummmm. For a self-published (or any book really) this was so high quality. The paperback was soft, and the pages were smooth. I really liked the physical book. Also, the cover is pretty. I am loving the orange.
The Bad:
  • The characters were just kind of there. I didn't really care for any of them in particular, but I didnt have anything against any of them. It was just kind of lacking in characterization.
  • There was one element of writing that the author used a lot, and every time it was used I got annoyed. Okay, bear with me here. He would say something like "Things to avoid: perverted men." Then a few paragraphs later he would say, "Things to avoid: perverted men, stray dogs." Then he would keep adding to it, and I just didn't like that element even a little bit. 
  • There was nothing special about the story. It was fast, but it was juts that: fast. It is not a life changing story, but instead one that will get anyone out of a reading slump since the first scene is a shoot out. 
  • The back of the book mentions love, but there is literally no relationship in this book. There is insta-love though. It wasn't developed at all, but Emily saw a guy and was immediately in love with him. It was SO ANNOYING!
  • I thought was a pretty choppy. Emily would be taking to someone then she would randomly zone out and dream about the past. I get why the author did this since he wanted to give backstory, but he could have done it in a much more effective way.
Final Thoughts:
Okay. I was really mean to this book. It wasn't that bad. I just didn't think it was that great. I don't think I would recommend it too often, but it was good enough for something I wanted to read in only a few hours. I am probably going to pick up the next book if it comes out in paperback, but until then I can easily hold off.

The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

____________________________________________________________________________
I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a truthful one. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Why I Am Not Putting the "Content" Part in My Reviews Anymore

Since my first review, I have said the "content" of the book (drugs, sex, violence, language, etc.) at the bottom of my reviews. I have really thought about it recently, and I don't like doing it. Yes, it is partially a lazy thing because I don't usually remember how many times a book says "fuck" or "shit" because quite frankly: it doesn't matter. Sometimes you need to talk about these type of topics and more so in YA lit.

I get that there are the parents out there that would slap their kid for saying a curse word, or have to read the book before they will allow their kids to read it, so there is no "questionable" content. I'm sorry but at this point in society, most people are so desensitized to these type of things that they won't even notice it.

Now, I am going to justify each one, and why I don't feel the need to tell you how much of it there is in the book:

Sex: Lets be real here, sex is not that bad. I get that it is something very special between two people, but YA literature is for teens and young adults, and people of those age groups have sex whether their books talk about it or not. Just because Tris Prior had sex doesnt mean that someone is going to completely change their views on sex, and go against the rules for sex that they have set for themselves. Also, I really think that more books should cover that topic because teens do have sex. And as a teen I can say that what I want in my literature is for something that I can relate to. Just because I haven't had sex doesnt mean that other people haven't. Slut shaming is also a problem in books. In books, it seems that if someone has had sex, they are a slut, WHICH IS NOT THE CASE!! People have sex for many reasons and its not because they are a slut. If two people are in a healthy relationship, it would not be slutty for them to have sex. It's not okay for to completely ignore the topic of sex, and especially in YA literature because teens just need someone or something to relate to, and teens do have sex.
The part of this that I just hated having to mention was homosexuality. I guess I felt that some people would want to know whether of not there was any homosexuality in it, but I just felt awful every time I specifically mentioned it outside of what I already said. Its not bad to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, or whatever else because you no matter what are a person. I just want to read a book where the main character is gay and that it, no struggling about their sexuality, just gay and living life as a person. Not as a gay person, but as a normal human being because thats exactly what they are.
Books should also be allowed to be about the bad parts of sex. Not every book needs a perfect relationship. There should be more books about women AND MEN dealing with rape because sometimes the teens just need someone to relate too especially when it is too hard to talk to someone else. Also, there should be books about people getting into an abusive relationship, and coming out the other side. These are issues that cant be covered up, and need to be written about.

Drugs: This is a harder topic to talk about because I don't experience drugs firsthand, and not many of my friends do drugs. I am going to defend this anyway. YA literature needs to talk about drugs because everyday teens and myself are being asked whether they want to do drugs. People need to know that they have the option to say no. If the people in the books would be honest about drugs it wouldn't be a problem. The books should not in any case glorify the drugs and say how good they are; it should mention them and the real effects of the drugs- not just what the health book says about the drugs. It just needs to be honest. I want a author (that is someone other than Ellen Hopkins because we all know that she writes about whatever she wants) to have a character try drugs and actually be a person, not a drug addict who gets addicted from smelling weed for the first time, but a normal person to just have that conversation with their friends "Hey, you wanna smoke pot?" I just want an honest answer of yes or no, and for them to have real consequences.

Violence: Books don't make people violence. People make people violent. Just let a fight happen. Let the badass main character fight that equally badass dragon. It doesnt matter. Just let there be violence. This is one that I understand to a certain extent. Some parents don't want their kids exposed to violence, but the counterbalance to that is that by the time a person is a teenager or young adult, they should not be too squeamish about violence.

And finally, Language: I really truly feel that in society (American at least) curse words have become so average and everyday that it done even affect you if someone was to say a curse word or is an author was to write one. I am very guilty of throwing around curse words on a minute by minute basis because it has become a normal part of my everyday vocabulary. I know some of you are thinking, "This is so teenage of her." And my response to that is exactly. It is very teenage of me to say curse words as if they were the most casual things ever, and I know for a fact that millions of other teens do that too, so in literature written for teens or young adults, it would never be an abnormal thing for authors to casually throw in the word "fuck." Parents might freak out over it, but honestly if a kid curses, nothing is going to stop them from cursing.

Do you agree with me on any of this? Do you think I am completely misguided? I am very interested to know what you have to say.

XOXO,
Belle

Thursday, February 5, 2015

February 2015 TBR

This post is probably going to be very incorrect about what I am actually going to read, but that okay since my TBRs are never very accurate. Since last month, I barely read anything, I am going to try and read at least 10 books in the month of February. I am almost 100% positive that I am not going to obtain that goal, but since this is all for fun, why not challenge myself?

To Finish:
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
We are reading this for lit right now, and I am about halfway done with it, and I am loving it. Hamlet is such an entertaining character, and I am so glad we are not really analyzing this book because I am just enjoying the story right now. 

The Camelot Kids, Volume 1 by Ben Zackheim
This is a self-published book that I received for review, and I am about 60 pages into it, and I think that it could get very interesting and epic. I am part of a blog tour for this book, so my review will be up near the end of February.

For Review:

The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman
I got this book a few days back in my mailbox as an unsolicited ARC, so I should be reading to fairly soon. It sounds like it could be a very interesting read, and since it is a thriller, it is probably going to be a very quick read also.

Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
I got this book for the same reason as the last one, and I think it sounds a lot more interesting, so I will probably read this book before the others. It is about crime family, and I think it is a fairy tale retelling of the Princess and the Pea, but I could vey easily be mistaken. I haven't heard anything about this book, but it could be very good. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I got this book through net galley, and I will be reading it on my phone if I have a weekend (my camp retreat) where I want to read, but not bring a book, but I don't know if I am actually going to read it this month. I haven't read a Sarah J. Maas book yet, and this one sounds pretty good, and if I actually like it, I may decide to pick up Throne of Glass, so this is a pretty important read. 

Glassford Girl by Jay J. Falconer
I won this book in a giveaway, and when I received it, I just wanted to read it so much. It is a very short book about time travel, and all the reviews said it was a very quick and fun read. I think it will be a pretty good book, and I cant wait to read it. Also, it is a self published book, but it is such nice quality, and I just love it already.

Random Reads:

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
I don't know if I am actually going to read this, but it is about pirates and I have this weird thing about pirates, and I don't really get it, but I love pirates. I think this book is going to be amazing because pirates, but I just really want to read it.

I think that is all I am planning on reading in February. Of course I said that I wanted to read 10 books this month, and I only showed seven, but I may be receiving more books in the mail, and I don't like having too much of a structure with my reading since I usually just break away from it anyway. I can tell you for sure that I am going to read at least four of these books, but thats okay because I don't know what I want to read. 

What are you reading this month? Have you read any of these books?

XOXO,
Belle

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January 2015 Wrap Up

If you didn't notice, I did not create a TBR for this month because I literally had no idea what I wanted to read. I guess I had a pretty bad reading month because I didn't actually finish many books, but thats okay because it doesnt even matter that I am behind on my reading challenge since I can make up the amount that I am behind over the next few months. I read three full books this month, but thats okay because I am reading two books right now, and I will be finishing more this month.



Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
This book was pretty okay. It was just another average YA contemporary book. It had a good enough romance that took waaaaay too long to develop completely, but it was pretty well paced since it did cover five years. The characters were fine; the side characters meant nothing, and that was disappointing, but whatever.
3/5 Stars

Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
I think I really wanted to love all these books since I loved the first book so much, but I decided sometime over the month that I get overexcited for first books, and don't like sequels as much. I don't know why I do that, but it happened with this series. I still loved this book, however, it was not up to the caliber of the first book, but thats okay because this was awesome.
5/5 Stars

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by George RR Martin and Daniel Abraham
I really love this series. The books (of the ones I have read), the TV show (can we have season 5 now. Please and thank you.), and now I can love it in one more adaptation. This was awesome; I knew that I loved this story already before I read this book, so I was completely judging this based on how I liked the art and everything like that. It was honestly great, and I'm glad that I am reading this adaptation.
4/5 Stars


I am in the middle of two books right now that I started right now, and those are Hamlet by William Shakespeare (halfway done) and A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (less than 100 pages left!!!), so look forward to those reviews soon.

What did you read this month? Did you do better than me?

XOXO,
Belle