Dreamology by Lucy Keating

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When I was a little girl, I used to have these amazing dreams about this guy. I would first fly through the air around my childhood home and watch the sun set orange and red across the lawn. I would finally land and sit down on our front stoop.

Suddenly, he would walk over to me. He’s always wearing an oversized sweater and well cut jeans. His smile made me melt and his dark hair was always in his eyes. Because it’s a dream, there’s always some strange quirks about what you see. For example, he was an alien from another planet.

I don’t remember all the details now that I’m older but I do recall that we would kiss under the street light before he headed back up to his home planet.

While the details of the dream are a little hazy, for some reason, I’ve never forgotten that dream and that dream boy and I think fondly about that time when I was a kid.

Have you ever had that dream before where it was so amazing and so memorable that even as an adult you can’t get it out of your head?

In Dreamology by Lucy Keating, you get to experience the same feelings for the main character Alice, who has been dreaming about her dream boy since she was a kid. All she knows is that the dreams were vivid and ended when she woke up. It was a surprise to her when she began school in a new city and found her dream boy in reality.

Of course, Max isn’t who he was in the dreams. In fact he appears to be rude, indecisive, and already in a relationships. You can see how a girl who has been in love with her dream boy for so long could be disappointed by the real thing. I mean, I would never want to meet my dream boy in real life worried about the same results.

From this point on, the story begins to get a little weirder as their dreams start to bleed into reality. They visit this dream lab to get it fixed and it’s something out of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where the main characters’ brains have been altered to allow for their dreams to meld together and then have their dreams become a reality.

I love books like this sometimes. The premise is pretty simple, the story is easy to read and follow along and you finish reading it in a few days. You get to feel that rush of love when you first fall for someone. It makes you feel good and sometimes you need a little bit of sugar in your life.

But I think what I love most about this novel is how they chase each other and their dreams. If I dreamed of my dream boy every single night, I would be worried that one day he would just disappear. It’s kind of the same here. What if Alice woke up and never dreamed of Max again? Would she be okay with the real Max or would it never be the same again?

You can find Dreamology on Amazon.

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

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For my second YA novel of this month, I chose You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan.

I picked this book up last year in hopes of learning more about sexual identity and preference. It was way before I started reading diverse books, but even then I was curious as to stories like this. I was afraid of approaching people and still afraid to this day to say something stupid or make someone feel uncomfortable, so I decided to look for books that talked about being gay or questioning your identity. I definitely knew I didn’t want to be the dolf that said “so what does being gay mean?”

The great thing about You Know Me Well is the subtly of the subject. It’s not this big shout to the void screaming I AM GAY AND I HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT. The story begins with the characters already knowing this about themselves and they blossom like flower buds to fully incorporating their lives with the new knowledge that they have.

I had read Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay a few months back and she was able to do this subtle conversation about sexual preference in that novel as well. It didn’t read about a girl who is trying to figure out if she’s straight or gay. It read like a story of a young woman lost from the tragedies bestowed on her life and how she found solace in her first soulmate ever. It was beautiful.

I think the important lesson about sexual preference and identity is normalization. Asking questions and trying to understand why someone was gay are all in the past. At this point, in 2017, you either are or you’re questioning and your sexual preference doesn’t define you. Your friends are your friends because you like them and you get along. They’re not there to be your “gay best friend” or have the word “gay” put in front of phrases like “bestie” or “shopping buddy.” We’re at the point where no one should be defined by their sexual preference unless they want to.

But let’s get into the details of the story and stop talking politics.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book written by two people, but somehow these two authors are able to seamlessly combine their two stories into one. Honestly, it felt like one voice the entire time coming from one author, but what each author brings is a sense of authenticity. You’re the gay jock that’s in love with your best friend or you’re the girl in love with a crush for so long it’s almost surreal to be with them in real life. Mark and Katie dealt with things only teenagers go through and they were able to find each other to help figure this out on their own.

I loved that after a night of knowing each other Mark and Katie were just best friends. They were looking to each other for advice and trying to help each other as if this was something they did all the time.

Mark was in love with his best friend, so it made it difficult for him to discuss things with him that he wanted to talk about specifically about their relationship. Katie was in love with her best friend’s cousin and while she was secure with her feelings for her, she somehow managed to mess it up at every turn.

It was quite cute and beautiful at the same time. The writing is effortlessly easy to get through and a lot of it was conversational. I think that’s the great part about YA sometimes. You don’t get too caught up in making the language something out of an AP English class, but you make the subjects hard hitting ones where the people they’re meant to attract will learn a little bit about society.

You can find a copy of You Know Me Well: A Novel on Amazon.com

Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert

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Imagine you’re in high school.

Now imagine you’re in high school coming to terms with your sexual preference, your decisions for school, your religious identity.

Now imagine that you have a brother who is bipolar and you love him to death and you want to make sure he’s okay.

LITTLE AND LION by Brandy Colbert is a novel about mental health, understanding your sexual identity, being in love, feeling responsibilities of being an adult, being a teenager, and being yourself. It’s jam packed with excitement all within 250 pages.

Suzette (aka Little) is your narrator for the story and from her point of view alone you get a myriad of different questions and thoughts that I don’t even know I was thinking when I was sixteen.

The story begins with her returning from school in New England. She was sent there out of concern that her brother’s behavior will affect her. First, she’s struggling with her sexual identity. Is she gay? Is she straight? Is she bi-sexual? She can’t know for sure. Then, she’s struggling with her friendships with her friends prior to leaving for school. Finally, she’s struggling with protecting her brother who seems to have it together, but she believes she needs to be closer to him and help him out.

Lionel (aka Lion) seems like your average sort of guy, except last summer he was having a hyper manic moment leading to his diagnosis of bipolar disorder and testing out different medications before deciding that he was going to quit them cold turkey.

This was at the same time Suzette came back from school to finally spend a summer with her brother. They were very close for step-siblings, but Suzette’s concerns for Lionel pulled them apart eventually changing their relationship forever.

I’ve known some very bi-polar people in my life including my cousin who went from partying all night long to waking up and asking Jesus for forgiveness for the sins she committed during the evening (she just danced. I was there, God). I’ve dated people struggling with their anti-depressant medication and how the medication made them feel listless. They didn’t have any more interest in what they were doing. They hated the person they were without them.

The world for people struggling with mental illness is tough. I should know; I struggle with it myself. But in order for us to feel normal, we need to be treated normally. We need to feel that our diagnosis isn’t us; that we aren’t the mental illness people tell us we have. We need to feel that our medications don’t define us either; that anti-depressants are there to help us normalize not make us feel like monsters.

However, these are two areas that a lot of people who don’t struggle with mental illness don’t understand. This is where Suzette’s perspective comes in. I believe this story is great for a lot of reasons, but I think the most important reason is that it gives light to the perspective of those who have loved ones with mental illness. Suzette’s reactions to Lionel’s behavior feels on par with someone who hasn’t adjusted yet to knowing or being around someone with mental illness.

I think something valuable that you get out of this story is that you learn that people with mental illness are trying their best to put on a smiling face everyday and feel like the person they were before they were diagnosed. Our jobs as loving friends and family members are to always make sure they feel included; don’t approach us with kid gloves. We may be struggling, but we’re not fragile porcelain dolls.

It’s just so funny how Brandy Colbert approaches the topic. While yes, a part of the story is about Lionel, but a lot of the story is also about Suzette. I think in her own way, Brandy Colbert is trying to tell us that you should continue to live your own lives. Don’t get caught up in making sure your loved ones feel comfortable, fall in love and go out and have a great life. We’re trying to do the same thing too.

So if you’re new to knowing someone with mental illness or if you want to better understand why some people act the way they do towards people with mental illness, then I would recommend reading this book. It’s good to show you how people approach different challenges in their life and the most important lesson you can take away is that mental illness is an extremely personal struggle.

Buy it on Amazon: Little & Lion

Why I love reading YA and how you can love YA too

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I recently read an article about how young adult novels have a huge percentage of its readers being adults. Yes, full grown human beings that don’t get the entire summer off and try to eat healthy. This is a fact that I’m so excited about!

I am one of those adults and I’m prouder than proud to read young adult novels. YA, Young Adult, New Adult, Middle Grade, whatever you want to call it. I love it.

Have you ever seen the reaction of some other adult when you tell them you read YA? It’s almost like they slipped a piece of fatty meat into their mouth and while sloshing it around with their tongue bit into a giant piece of fat.

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There is this bias that if you’re an adult, you have to read “adult” novels. But why? I spend a lot of time reading novels written for adults and while a lot of them are really great, sometimes they can be so heavy (in the metaphorical sense).

Books have a tendency to take its toll on my soul. If I read too much of the “serious” stuff, I forget to be funny and goofy and a little bit silly. You’re just a shell of a human that knows too much about what’s going on in the real world and little about having fun.

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When something weighs down on you like that, then you need something to lift you up and for me, I read YA. It’s not a guilty pleasure. It’s not some big secret. Young adult novels have just as much validity as any other novel you read. Someone took time to write that story and maybe it is focused towards a younger generation, but the message is something that anyone can understand.

Young adult novels are uplifting and soulful and really engage their readers in a story that make you feel like a kid again or like a young warrior, or a traveler through time. They’re just as good as an adult novel, but they’re so overlooked by adults sometimes.

Perhaps it has something to do with knowing what to read. So I decided to put together a quick list for any adult who would like to get into YA.

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Start with the knowns. There’s a bunch of books out there that have recently been turned into movies. The Divergent Series, The Fault in Our Stars, The Hunger Games, Everything, Everything.

All of these great movies you’ve seen come out recently are all based on YA novels. If you’re interested in getting started with a good YA, start with those. They’re good enough to be made into movies.

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Get out of your head. Probably the worst thing you can do when starting a YA novel is treating it like an adult novel. Don’t. Do. That.

If you want to enjoy the novel, then you need to go into it with an open mind. Don’t roll  your eyes at the young couple who falls in love. Don’t think the novel is trite (unless other bookish folks say it is).

Keep your mind open and focus your energy on the story, not the subtext.

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Recall what it was like to be a kid. Because these novels are geared towards teenagers, remember what it was like to be a kid in their position. Now, take that feeling and then continue to read.

Some novels will surprise you especially when the novel has some political themes. Oh yes, YA novels cover political topics like the #blacklivesmatter movement.

They talk about sexual assault, divorce, heartbreak, bullying, sexual identity, and so many more things that unsurprisingly children go through every single day.

Take that feeling you had as a kid and apply to all of these situations. Can you handle it? Maybe, but these kids in these books are able to.

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It’s just a book! This is the last thing I’m going to say and then I’m going to shut up. YA is just a book. Like any other book, it’s just a book.

You don’t have to love it, but you don’t have to hate it either. If you walk away from reading a YA novel and you didn’t like it, then that’s fine!

But the next time you see an adult who happily is toting around a Morgan Matson novel, don’t scoff. The worst thing you can do to a reader is shame them for liking something they love.

Respect is the big key here and while I know I don’t have to say this to all the lovable people in the book-verse, we’re all here to support the bigger concept; to read more.

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

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I love me some good old fashion young adult. No frills. No complications. The kinds of books that don’t surprise you with turmoil or unexpected struggles. It’s like reading a book about reality and sometimes in reality, there’s not a lot of drama for your mama.

Synopsis

30312860Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

My rating: 4/5 love letters

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My thoughts

Lara Jean and the three Song girls have been my favorites ever since I picked up To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. You know me, I’ve always got to go for the diversity angle, so when I heard that the girls were half-Korean, I got a little excited to read it.

But the reason why I love the diversity angle so much is because there’s that small amount of resonance between the author and the reader. The way that the girls were raised with understanding and appreciating their Korean culture is exactly how I was raised. Even in a household when only half of the family is Korean, it was still important. I believe it’s important to always have that deep connection with your history and culture no matter what it is.

Getting back to the book though, this was such a lovely way to wrap up the entire series. It reminded me of a Morgan Matson novel in which there’s some real life drama for a 17-year-old to manage and it wasn’t earth-shattering, but it felt real. What do you do when you’re deciding on the next steps of your life? What happens after high school? All those thoughts about that post-high school life rear its head back up here.

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I loved that Jenny Han used her alma-mater as one of the possible schools Lara Jean would end up going. It’s always fun to know a little bit about the author and see how their personality is sort of injected into parts of their novel. As they always say, it’s better to write what you know.

But I think what I loved the most is that you’re transported back to being a high school senior. Not to get personal, but my life right now is pretty messy with not having a job and finding a new apartment and getting a new car. It’s all these adult responsibilities and Jenny Han’s novels have always been a nice escape from those things. I don’t have to be an adult for a little while because I’m wrapped up in where Lara Jean wants to go to college, what will happen with her and Peter, and finding yourself a bit better.

If you’re trying to find something not too complicated and just a really enjoyable read, then I would recommend this series.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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I don’t think I’ve ever read a book as relevant to today as this one. This story is about the importance of knowing that there are always two sides to a story.

Synopsis

32075671Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Rating: 4/5 Starrs

My thoughts

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This book was really stellar. If you’re not living under a cave and are aware of what’s going on right now with young, black youths being shot down by the police and you find there’s injustice in those deaths, then this book is for you.

A lot of what we read about those incidents is in the news. We hear all different sides of the story, but sometimes there’s one side that you may never hear. In this book, Angie Thomas puts us in the shoes of a young woman named Starr who watched a childhood friend of hers get shot by a local police officer. Within the aftermath of the shooting, she tries to continue living her life as normal as possible but how does someone who has seen something so tragic move on?

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The story starts with the shooting so the rest of it is dedicated to the aftermath. Starr is a character stuck between the world of opportunity with her school and grades and the world of constant struggle as her family doesn’t live in the safest neighborhood. By the time she’s seventeen she’s already seen two friends die and now she can’t speak up about her friend’s death. You can see her come to grips with her emotions and deal with the micro-aggressions of the people who don’t understand her life.

For some people, it’s really easy to speak up about something but for others it isn’t and this book really explores what happens when you can make a difference but the things around you get in the way. It’s a tough decision and something that needs respect. But it also shows the value of speaking up. Voices unheard tell a different tale and while it might be scary or cause friction, you have to remember that your voice can really make a difference.

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We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

 

IMG_2657Well, it took me long enough to write up this review and I want to do it justice because We Are Okay was one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in 2017. I finished reading this one on the flight to Florida earlier in April and sadly, it took me this long to write the review. Will I ever be better at this? It’s now my personal goal this year to be a bad ass book blogger and not bore you with things like life updates <_<

Synopsis

28243032You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Rating: 5/5 wintry evenings

My thoughts

Just a heads up, I have a lot of thoughts about this book. Good thoughts, but thoughts.

I truly loved this story and in the past few chapters of this book I couldn’t put it down. The story is laid out in a past/present format alternating between what happened before Marin disappeared and what’s happening in the future. The writing was in Marin’s point of view and really captured a maturity in someone who has seen a lot of tragedy in her life.

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The message: People grieve in different ways. Some people cry it out. Others hide it behind a mask. Some people push others away while others bring people closer. We lash out. We fight. We love. We create. We destroy. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of a friend, a loved one, a favorite pet. This is a story that shows the ways we grieve and how even though we try our best to keep a smile on our face or show people we’re ok, we’re sometimes not.

The story begins with Marin, a teenager who recently lost her grandfather. She’s in her dorm room in New York waiting for her childhood friend, Mabel, to arrive and spend the Holidays with her. However, there’s a huge veil of mystery surrounding Marin and the most important one being where she went for the few weeks before her first semester at school started.

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As the story goes along, you realize that Marin not only lost her grandfather, but her mother as well. What you get from Marin is raw, emotion-filled anxiety about who she is, who her family is, and will she ever recover from the loss of every stable entity in her life. She does the one thing that only makes sense to her and that’s to run away.

Fortunately, what you find is that she isn’t alone. Before disappearing, Marin developed feelings for her best friend Mabel and the two of them spent their summer languishing in youthful love. I loved the story between Mabel and Marin. It was unobstructed and not the plot of the story. This story could easily have been the struggle of two teenagers finding true love and the struggle for them to be accepted by society and their family, but it wasn’t and I loved it. The message stayed pure and that is that sometimes loss takes different forms in different people, but I think the most important message to take away from all of this is that nothing stays lost forever.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Remember, it’s only a game…

Maybe it’s me or the most recent weeks, but I’ve been watching and reading a lot about warp realities and the mind playing tricks on you. What is real? What’s not real? How can you tell the difference?

In a world where you can’t tell what’s real and what’s not real, how do you know who your allies are? Who can you trust?

You can easily say the same with the characters in Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com) 

27883214Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Rating: 5/5 buttons

My thoughts

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What I would do for a letter to arrive to me with an exciting journey to a magical place. I’ve been waiting for my Hogwarts letter since I was a kid. Still haven’t gotten it yet.

For Scarlett, it came at the most inappropriate time; ten days before her wedding to a guy she doesn’t know. While she’s wanted to be invited since she was a kid, it wasn’t until she was an adult and getting married to someone that it finally happens. I think there’s a strong metaphor in where childhood fantasies end and real life begin. Stephanie Garber makes an amazing argument that sometimes we all need a little magic in our lives regardless of how old you are.

And Scarlett deserves it. I don’t want to give anything away, but living the life she’s had I’m surprised that she came out of her younger years with the hope of magic still in tact.

I love that Scarlett makes mistakes and tries things that fail. I love how human she is and how slowly she learns the magic of Caraval. I think that if she found things out quickly or tested a theory and it worked on the first try then the story would be a little less believable. She’d be a little less relatable and maybe even a less interesting novel. Who gets everything handed to them on a platter?

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For a fantasy novel, there isn’t a lot of world-building but in this case I think it’s fine since the majority of the novel takes place in a fantastical world within the world. For most world-building, you’re assuming that the characters will be roaming across this world to do whatever it is that they need to. Because Caraval is specifically about the game, the only world you really need to understand is Caraval and Stephanie Garber does a good job at that.

However, I would have loved to feel a little bit more a part of this world. While Stephanie Garber includes handwritten letters throughout the story, I’d love to see the green glass key or the carousel or even the room of stars at the very end. I get that it’s up for your mind to make up what these places will look like, I think if every chapter started with a little illustration then it’d really bring you further into this story.

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Finally, I also wonder if Stephanie Garber has synesthesia. I don’t know how to describe it well, but it’s your brain processing two things at once or doing them together. For example, some people are able to perceive different colors or numbers when associating a word, a person, or a food. It’s like two sensory parts of your brain combining together to create one. Anyway, the way Scarlett associates people with color and smells feels like she may be dipping into that part of her brain capacity. It’s quite interesting and it makes me wonder if the author is as well.

 

A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab

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If you’re into video games, this book and its series definitely feels like you’re playing one. I think that goes double for A Conjuring of Light in which they have to fight a mega boss; a shadowy creature that inhabits its prey and forces them to do things. What would you do with your rag-tag team of magical people trying to save London?

If you’re into anime, this is also a good one for you. I could easily see this book series as an animated series as well. I guess that’s why it’s being optioned right now for a TV show!

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com)

29939230Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

Rating: 3/5 black-eyed princes

My thoughts

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I want to be really honest with you here. I love this book. I love this series. I love that it’s come to an end and everything is tied up into a nice little bow. But there was something about reading it that irked me. I think it had something to do with the length.

VE Schwab is an incredible author, but like many fantasy writers she falls prey to the world she’s creating. Every scene is detailed. Every movement is described. And for some, that’s an interesting part of the book. It helps to create the scene in their head. For others (like myself), it’s a little too much and sometimes it takes away from the rest of the story.

I don’t want my review here to influence you to not like this book. There will be tons of reviews who praise this book and find it to be an amazing end to a series. Trust me, I agree with those reviewers myself. But being the individual I am and the reader I am, I was a little disappointed by how long this final story was and how it dragged out a little bit. It’s the kind of thing that makes me like a story less. I’m sorry!

However, getting back to the good parts of this book, I swear it reads like either an anime or a video game. While you don’t get to learn about what Osaron actually is, you get to learn about Holland’s background. You get an ending that wraps up the entire series perfectly. You don’t get to learn about the origins of Kelly, but you’ll get some love action between Kell and Lila.

I think this books definitely has its ups and downs, but I want to stress how that’s never important to a novel. If the book is well written, it’s well written despite the things the author chose to omit. Perhaps they’ll be a prequel! Then that’ll be really fun.

 

 

 

Love, Life, and the Teen Dream

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Ah…young love.

Recently, a bookish friend asked me for some book suggestions. She was looking for teen romance novels for girls who are single and want to find love.

I obligingly provided her with a few of the authors that I loved (more on that in a little bit), but there was something I wanted address about the specific genre she was looking for. When I was a teenager, I desperately wanted the kind of love you can only get on the CW. That brooding dude with a mysterious past that’s good to you comes along to the school you’ve been sludging through the past three years and out of everyone he notices you.

It’s the same with these stories. You want to feel what these characters feel and how that one guy you hope will look at you does. 

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Here’s the funny thing about those stories; they’re not real. It’s work of pure fiction and when you go into reading a book about love, you should remind yourself that this is purely for enjoyment of stories. I know that these stories are beautiful and modeling your life a little bit off it is fun, but remember you are yourself and you’re in the middle of writing your own story. 

While I wanted to be one of those girls that fell in love in high school, I actually fell in love for the first time when I was 21. And even then, it wasn’t the best romance of my life. It shook me that I didn’t get to have that experience and it shook me even more when the mental and emotional abuse kicked in. Where is my Happily Ever After there? But then a few years after that, I found a person who loves me for who I am and finds no fault in me and jokes with me and is real with me and it’s better than any love story I’ve ever read. 

Even though that’s only one instance of love and there are tons of people who love their high school sweethearts there are literally billions of people on earth. Don’t limit yourself to that one guy or gal.  

I guess you can call me a cynic, but I want to say this as a person who is a full grown adult and in love; focus on yourself. Focus on what makes you happy and what you enjoy. There’s no point in impressing someone who doesn’t find you impressive, so impress yourself. There will always be someone on the periphery watching what you do and falling in love with you for it. You do you. Continue to be your lovable self. There is life after high school and that’s where most people fall in love. 

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Remember, what do all of those YA stories have in common? No one is going after each other. That goes for both men and women and for every gender in between! You should fall in love with someone who loves you and not with someone who doesn’t know you exist. Be your quirky self and you’ll find that the one person you didn’t even realize was The One will come to you when the time is right. Don’t rush it. It’ll only lead to heartache.

When you fall in love, you fall. Don’t get pushed and don’t throw yourself at it. Let it fall and hopefully someone will catch you.

Now, time for some romance novels for you young loves out there to read and dream of when your time will come:

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