More Book Reviews!

Refugee by Alan Gratz || 3/5

Three different kids.

One mission in common: ESCAPE.

Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…

Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America…

Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe…

All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end.

 

I loved the plot of this book. It was amazing and I love historical fictions. I really liked how all the different character’s stories came together at the end.

But I didn’t really like the character development or the writing style.

Overall, it was a good book, but kind of unremarkable. I don’t have much to say about it.


Roar by Cora Carmack|| DNF

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

 

I really like the premise of this book and I was excited to read it, but I didn’t get far. The writing style seemed a bit off, but the main reason I quit was the main character, Aurora. She seemed lovely at first, but then enter the pretty boy, and she becomes an idiot. I didn’t want to read any more of the mushiness and stupidity. Especially since it says in the synopsis that there’s going to be another pretty boy later on.

I did get to meet the author (over Skype) and she’s an absolutely lovely person, but even she admitted that it’s a romance-inclined book, so I’m glad I decided to skip it.


The Pact by Jodi Picoult || 5/5

From Jodi Picoult, one of the most powerful writers in contemporary fiction, comes a riveting, timely, heartbreaking, and terrifying novel of families in anguish—and friendships ripped apart by inconceivable violence. Until the phone calls came at 3:00 a.m. on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily has been shot to death by her beloved and devoted Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact—leaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew.

 

This was an amazing book. I loved the characters and the twistiness of it. You never knew the entire story and your idea of what happened keeps switching as you get new bits of information.

The writing style was absolutely stunning and it was really quotable.

The part of this book that puts the sprinkles on this already-delicious cake of a book is the characters, who are all so complex and developed with their own stories and motivations. And Picoult is amazing at big reveals, which never hurts.


Far From the Tree by Robin Benway || 5/5

A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

 

Another AMAZING book with beautiful, developed characters. I loved the writing style and the neatness of the plot. All three of the main characters were vastly different, with their own lives and own problems and this was nicely portrayed. I was never confused as to which chapter was told from whose point-of-view, which is really hard to do.

The ending was a bit fast but other than that, I really liked this book.

I also got to talk to this author and she was amazing.


Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli || 3.5/5

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

 

Review of Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

So. I have mixed feelings about this book.

I feel like this book was not planned out from the beginning, so it didn’t really fit with the first book. There were inconsistencies.

  • Nick is a different person.
  • What happened to Leah’s huge crush on Nick?
  • LEAH WAS NOT BISEXUAL.
  • HER MYSTERIOUS (but entirely predictable) LOVE INTEREST WAS NOT BISEXUAL. DEFINITELY NOT.

I didn’t like it. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is better as a stand-alone.

Unlike the first book, there wasn’t much of a plot in this book. It was slow and it read like a fanfiction.

I LOVE Simon; Leah, I feel kinda meh about.

But.

I loved seeing Simon in this book. More Simon=happiness. AND there was a Six of Crows reference, which made me immeasurably happy.


A Note: I’m currently on vacation in Bangladesh until July 15, 2018, so I won’t be able to respond to comments until I get back.

Cactus Sitting

Arachnid… I have something to tell you.

My dad dropped one of your cacti. The captain, I think.

I’m so sorry.

Luckily, the cactus is still well after my amazing mother resurrected it from the bowels of death and ants. I was reading The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, to them earlier to further soothe the captain into his new orange pot (the other one broke). He’s still getting used to it, but he’s getting there.

Also, your cacti seem to enjoy romance novels. They always huddle close and blush whenever a romantic moment spikes up in the story. It’s kind of cute in a way. They like action too, but they don’t really seem to get the concept of “moving around” all that much.

One of the hardest things of cactus-sitting is finding a way to embrace the cactus without getting hurt or hurting them. I usually resort to a gentle pat, like I do when my friends and loved ones get angry, but the urge to hug them is very strong. They are so well behaved! Although Sargent Spike likes to get into some trouble with the windowsill.

I can’t decide on a favorite, but any good cactus-sitter knows that favorites make the other cacti sharply jealous, so I’ll avoid the subject with this post.

Weirdly, I found myself confiding my feelings with them today. They listen so well. (Let’s just say something very bad happened and end it there).

Anyway, I love these adorable cacti! They are so cute, not exactly cuddly and so awesome. You have raised your cacti well, Arachnid.

Ways to fill up sketchbook pages

Sketchbooks are so difficult to fill up.

For me, on average a sketchbook takes about a year to completely fill up. If I’m stuck in my room drawing all day and all night it takes at least a month.

My most recent sketchbook is almost out of pages and I’ve been getting creative with filling it so I can finish it soon. I want to get a head start with drawing in the sketchbook Arachnid gave me, so I don’t forget about it. *looks guiltily at piles and piles of unfinished sketchbooks*

The one good thing that has come out of speed-completing my sketchbook is that I’m now constantly pulling new ideas from my head. (Even if they don’t work out as expected; those are best drawings)

Here are some things you can fill a sketchbook with:

1. Sketches that take up the whole page with no spaces

I know this takes a long time, but it’s fun to do. You can fill the page up with zentangles, random shapes, puppies, doodles, feet–you name it. Usually, I enjoy making these with the adorable versions of things.

2. Cut doodles out from school notebooks or other things

I do this A LOT. Not as much as I do regular drawings, but still it is very normal for me. Plus, it is a very easy and effective way to fill up those very last pages of a sketchbook if countered with artist’s block.

3. Draw the things you are bad at drawing

Hands. Make a page dedicated to hands. Remember that no one will see your sketchbook except you. (Unless you are like me and have societal pressures for you to expose these private treasures.) Even if someone will see your sketchbook, working on the things you are bad at will improve your drawing skills.

4. Drawings inspired by music

I love to listen to music while drawing. Music takes me to another world. Some people think it’s a distraction, but I believe it’s a tool that helps me think of ideas.

5. Write/Paint

Who says that you have to draw in a sketchbook? Writing is a cool way to put ideas down that you can’t exactly draw yet. Painting and coloring can bring a splash of color into it too.

6. Pen Drawings with sticky notes

You might be asking: why sticky notes? I answer with because they are colorful ways to cover up your mistakes. Don’t use them too much or else the point of creating pen drawings is lost.

7. Create comics or short stories with pictures

I used to do this all the time in my old sketchbook. The whole thing was basically a yellow book with maybe ten pages of normal drawings and the rest being comics about a very gassy ninja.

8. Redraw old drawings

I don’t do this that often, but it’s good to do when you are running out of ideas. Generally, I draw sketches from a long long time ago.

9. Page fillers

When there are blank spaces on a page, I resort to page fillers. Those are basically simple, small and easy to draw doodles. Page fillers for me usually include: Exclamations, cats, roses, triangles, circles, squares, rainbows, koi fish and chibi characters.

10. Scribbles

Try scribbling and making stuff out of the scribbles. It’s simple enough.

The Floppiest of Birthday Flops

And so begins the prescheduled posts while I’m in Bangladesh.

This post is a bit different from my usual ones because I’m going to be talking about my real life outside of the blogosphere. Yep, that’s right. I am a real person who isn’t actually a robot inside your computer writing witty posts.

So, as you may know, my birthday was on June 5th. Birthdays are interesting things. Days to celebrate a person’s existence and their aging into a raisin, which is a true accomplishment that most people hope for someday, only to eventually die.

My last two birthdays have been flops as well, so I was hoping for this one to be absolutely amazing. Two years ago, we were in the process of moving from Michigan to Kentucky, so my birthday was somewhat forgotten and I didn’t have a celebration nor party. Last year, my actual birthday happened to fall on the first day of finals, so the actual day was lost in a slew of studying. I did have a party, but it doubled as a going away party because I was moving from one city in Michigan to another city in Michigan the next week, so it wasn’t the happiest of occasions.

I was psyched for this year. (Except for the fact that birthdays force one to confront their own mortality.)

It was floppy. Both my actual birthday and the party.

I feel like I’m being kinda whiney. The intention is for it to be humorous. *Flings humor at you*

A Random Pun From The Internet: What do you call a thieving alligator?… A CROOKODILE. *Ba dum crash* *Crickets*

So as I’m writing this, it’s 6/18/2018, which is also the day after father’s day, which is also the day after my birthday party. I invited about fifteen people. Many of them couldn’t come because of father’s day or other random things they had to do. A couple of people canceled the day before my party.

So overall, we had me, my brother, and Spinette. And we had THREE GUESTS.

And we had three pitchers of drinks.

Ten chairs.

A relatively large cake.

Three pizzas.

And six people, three of whom were me, my brother, and Spinette (people who are obligated to come).

*Crickets*

At one point, one of them asked when everyone else was going to get there.

My response: *Crickets*

We had fun. It was just kinda…awkward.

Am I allowed to have a redo?

(Also, Spinette got me My Chemical Romance and Twenty One Pilots t-shirts along with a new cactus! I don’t currently have a picture of the new cactus because Spinette is cactus-sitting them while I’m in Bangladesh.)

Mini Book Reviews!

Hello peoples! Due to finals and other life happenings, I haven’t had time to review books, but I have read quite a few books over the last few weeks. Be prepared to be pummeled with book reviews.


Ready Player One || 3/5

I feel like this book was good, it just wasn’t for me, personally.

One of the main assets of this book is all the references to ’80’s pop culture. But as I’m not particularly well-versed in ’80’s pop culture, I found them somewhat annoying whereas others could love a book that alludes to their favorite TV show as a kid.

This book took me over two weeks to finish. I think more than anything, I found it bland. I liked the plot, but it wasn’t an amazing plot. It was an average plot. The writing was also decent, but not spectacular. Average.

I didn’t like the characters in this book, especially the main character, Wade. He got on my nerves. The minor characters should’ve been developed more. The reader didn’t really get to know them, so I wasn’t attached to them at all and I wasn’t invested in what happened to them.

The plot was also overly convenient.

Let’s move on. I’m even getting bored writing this review.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson || 3/5

I usually love John Green’s books, but that’s because he is the King of Metaphor. This book, unfortunately, didn’t contain many metaphors, and when you strip John Green of his metaphors, there sadly isn’t much left.

This book, like so many of his other works, lacked a concrete and thrilling plot. Things kept happening without an overall idea holding all the different miniature ideas together.

The characters were (fortunately) developed, but they still felt bland.

I really liked the writing style, though. Especially David Leviathan’s portion of the book.


This Mortal Coil || 3.5/5

Compared to Ready Player OneThis Mortal Coil is what a science fiction should be like.

I loved the idea for this book and the apocalypse-ness of it. The characters were lovely (except for one) and they were developed (ish).

This was an addicting read that I finished in two days full of twists and turns and the writing was beautiful.

I love the concept of the Hydra vaccine and the genetic-coding aspect of it was amazing.

There was a love triangle in this book.

Also, I got a chance to talk to this author (with a medium-sized group of people) over Skype, which was absolutely lovely.

 

*Warning. Mild Spoilers Below*

Usually, love triangles don’t bother me, but this one did. Probably because I didn’t like either of the love interests. Especially Cole. Cole was not his own person with his own hopes and dreams (aside from being an artist, which was briefly touched on). It’s like his whole reason for existence revolves around being the love interest for Cat.

*End Spoilers*

 

Speaking of which, why does there always have to be some undercurrent of romance in YA books? I’m not talking about love stories where romance is the point, but high fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, and other books where survival is the main point, not love.

I dare you to think of a book where there is absolutely NO romance.


The Hate U Give || 3.5/5

So. This book.

It was amazing in that it covers an important, heavy topic and it makes you think about society and equality in a different way.

But, for me, it wasn’t as gripping as I expected it to be. The characters were lovely, but the plot was somewhat slow.

I highly recommend this book. It just falls outside of my tastes. See review for Ready Player One above.


A Court of Frost and Starlight || 3/5

This book was fluffy and light, but kind of boring. It was nice to see the characters be able to relax after the harrowing events of the last three books. But. Usually, I like it when my characters suffer (sorry). It makes for a more interesting read.

From the description, I expected there to be a lot of character development, which I was excited to read, but I was disappointed. It didn’t really talk about how the events of the past books affected the characters. Most of the book was gift-shopping.

A lovely book for Christmas-time, I guess?

It was meh overall.


Okay, that’s it for today’s segment of Harsh Book Reviews.

The Weaver Family Has Grown! (And Another Announcement)

Heyo peeps! Finals are finally over. And I didn’t suck!

It’s been a while. I hope you guys liked all those reblogs. There are still a couple left to go through.

But! Exciting news! We got more pets!

 

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My amazing friend got me cacti for my birthday!

The one on the left is Captain Cactus and the one on the right is Sentinel Succulent. And Spinette had an absolutely BRILLIANT idea.

Introducing… The Cactus Army!

IMG-0264

 

Okay… Now to the other announcement.

I know you guys JUST got me back, but I have to leave again on June 20th. We’re going to Bangladesh! *Half-hearted cheer* We’ll be back on July 15th.

In the meantime, Spinette will keep you company and I’ll have some posts scheduled ahead, but I won’t be able to reply to all your lovely comments. (Because there won’t be WiFi, as far as I’m aware.)

What should I write?

I recently got a new notebook. Unlike all my other notebooks, I actually want to fill this one with different stories and things, but I want my entries to be consistent.

I want this notebook for something specific so I don’t throw it away or forget about it.

Also I want each entry to be fast to write so I can do it every single day.

Arachnid has told me to write about our two characters: Tick and Tock. They are sisters that have an odd relationship with one another, weird appearances and peculiar tastes. Tick is the older sister who often delves into trippy, mind-bending worlds when she drifts off to sleep– which is very often. Tock, on the other hand, is the feisty, fiery and very violent younger sister who sports a deadly scythe.

While this is an awesome suggestion, I feel like probably won’t stay with it, especially when the terrible disease *gasps in horror* writing block comes in.

I’ve been thinking to make the journal into a cool thing where I write a one page story a day. With summer coming up, I’ll have some time to write too.

What do you guys think?

It’s My Birthday!

Dudes! It’s my birthday! Which simultaneously amazing and terrifying. Amazing because the entire day is dedicated to celebrating my existence and terrifying because I’m old now. I am turning into a raisin!

Scorpian (my little brother) outdid himself. He got me nine enamel cactus pins and this morning he slid this adorable note under my door. And, gah. He’s just amazing. *Radiating sibling love*

 

They’ve also left me alone and I have a headache and I’m talking to Siri…

You Float Away

Sophia Ismaa

They smile, they love
Oh, stars above
They really do love
Forever forlorn
You heart is torn

In a room full of strangers
A fresh chapter, you hope
Words mumbling and stumbling
One mistake and you’re crumbling

An alleyway, a home
Since the exit from the womb
Safe is a word we no longer know
Trust is a memory of long ago

A child sits by herself
Walls created to shield
But the words are still slinging
While the teacher pretends
That they hear nothing

Your beloved floats away
To a better world
And your world
Becomes a bitter blur
You wish all the while
That you could have gone too
Than stay in a land where comfort is few

He loves you not
Though he promised he did
He loved your glory in the sun
Your joy in the rainbow
But your rain was too much
A hailstorm of…

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Greta Thinks She’s A Labrador Retriever

I need a Greta. (I’ve finally repotted Sergeant Spike!)

Remember when you were first in love and the idea of taking a shower together seemed like such a romantic thing to do? That is until you realized that only one person could get under the shower head at a time. Plus, there really wasn’t enough room and soapy elbows polked soapy “insert your favorite […]

via Greta Thinks She’s A Labrador Retriever — Everyone Else Has the Best Titles