Review: All the Bright Places

Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Published: January 6, 2015
Pages: 400
Add to Goodreads!

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

My Thoughts

This book struck a chord with me. 
Like honestly? It’s one out of the three books in my life that have actually made me cry. So this book is up there with Of Mice and Men and The Book Thief. Yeah. It’s that good.

I honestly don’t even know what to say and it’s been like a good two weeks since I finished this book. Violet and Finch were like my children and I wanted to protect them and guide them through a rocky recovery because recovery is not a nice paved road. It’s like a road that the city has forgotten so there are cracks, there’s pieces of asphalt sticking out–it’s not pretty. 
This book made me feel so many things and the greatest thing (even though it’s also the worst thing) that this book has given me was a sense of dread. From the beginning of the book I knew what the ending was going to be and I hated it. When it got closer and closer I wanted it to be different. I actually wanted it to be like “oh wow love wins all” because then I wouldn’t be so damn sad. But that’s what makes this book so great. 
The Characters

Violet: 
Violet was a character that was easily relatable. Sure she used to be a cheerleader and she used to be a great student, but shit happens–and for Violet shit hit the fan real hard. I’ve been in her shoes. I know what it’s like to lose someone so close and it totally changes your entire outlook on life. It changes who you are and it’s amazing how she yearned for everything that used to be–for the Violet that used to be and in the end, she comes to terms that the Violet that used to be will no longer be part of her life and it’s great. She learns to move on and grow. 
Finch:
Finch. My dear, Finch. This boy. He was honestly like a little brother to me. I wanted to protect him from everything. I wanted to keep him away from the darkness and I wanted to help him on a journey to recovery. It’s really sad because there were moments where I could see it shining through. 
Overall

This book really has a place in my heart. It’s a special little book and it’s one that I think everyone needs to read. It shows how raw and how real depression is and it shows two sides of it very clearly. Violet is on her way to recovery. Finch unfortunately is not. It’s very obvious in this book (at least to me) and it also shows the stigma there is towards depression and suicide. Especially in the end chapters. There are so many things that reflect what society does in the face of these kinds of tragedies and when you get inside the heads of these characters, I feel like the hurtful stigma that is produced is even more emphasized. 
This book also showed something really important: how one can look so happy while being incredibly mentally ill and depressed. Throughout the entire book Finch is trying to help Violet (and he does), but when you look back at Finch you realize just how hurt and how helpless he is. It doesn’t help that his family is probably feeding it. When someone is in his state, they need attention–and unfortunately, his family didn’t have any for him. 
This book is so important.
Rating

                                                                    

Tiredness, Sleep, and Anime Conventions

Hello lovelies. Today is Wednesday so it means I give you a little update in ma life.

First I apologize for not posting a Weekly Review. It’s been a really busy first couple of weeks of school and I have to take a lil bit of time to get adjusted to all this… doing. The reason I was able to churn out posts like a boss was because I was at home really doing nothing for the most part hahaha. However, now I have school so that’s going to be a bit complicating.

So. Like I said, I started school again and I think it’s going well. Taking two languages is proving to be a challenge early on. I have to learn two different alphabets and different grammar rules and stuff. It’s tough. Luckily enough I have some grasp of Japanese for being a huge ass weeb for so damn long, but I also just really like a lot of Japanese culture so I’ve watched movies and dramas. Chinese is proving to be a bit difficult. This is definitely a completely new language and I now know what everyone feels when they learn a completely new language this late in the game. You guys don’t know this, but I used to take Spanish at my private school through most of elementary and middle school. So taking any romance language afterwards is super easy! I picked up French really easily (though I’m far from fluent) and I probably won’t have such a hard time with the other romance languages as I am with Mandarin right now. But it’s okay. I’m stepping up. I’m determined guys!

But this is all costing me sleep…which is why I haven’t been really active in the community. I’ve hardly enough time to tend to my own blog and I try to catch up, but I’m taking five or six classes and that’s a lot of homework. Plus I take the bus so it just tacks on another hour or so. I’ve been so tired lately I don’t know how I’m functioning, to tell the truth.

However. This weekend I’m getting a kind of vacation for a little bit! I’m going to an anime convention in my area for four days. I’m actually a staff so I have to be there to see things through and I’m actually the head of my own department (department of two meaning there’s literally one other person than I) so what that means is I have to also look over certain things to make sure they’re okay. AH! There are a lot of things that kind of went awry, but hopefully things work out and I don’t spend half of the con stressing out.

How have you guys been?

’til next time, lovelies!

Review: Six of Crows

Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leah Bardugo
Published: September 29, 2015
Pages: 465
Source: Library eBook
Goodreads

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.



My Thoughts
Alright I had a day or two to think about this and finally I’m able to put my thoughts down coherently. Six of Crows was no doubt probably the most fun I’ve had in a book for a little while. I found myself pretty much jumping in my chair reading it sometimes. Everything I love about a book is here. Action, romance, thievery, badass teens, badass women, and impossible odds. I loved it. I remember talking to my boyfriend at Chili’s the night after I finished it and I compared Kaz to Artemis Fowl (and then the two of us proceeded to nerd out over Artemis Fowl). This was definitely one of those high octane type of reads. I felt like I was in the middle of the action and the banter was just a really great addition to the novel. And there’s no insta-love or shoe horned love triangle. All of the ships I want to go sailing off to the great seas of love and happiness came to me organically and I felt like they were all justified. 

The Characters
Kaz: Like I said, I compared Kaz to Artemis Fowl. He was very much the young criminal mastermind type that I’m completely weak to (for real, I’ll probably read any book that has this character trope). He has this dry sense of humor that I loved so much while also being incredibly calculating. If I was in the Dregs I’d probably be really bothered by all the times he would keep huge snippets of his plan out for the sake of safety. I understand the precaution, but ugh I hate not knowing the full plan. Also, disability! Characters with disabilities that aren’t hindered by them! Also, he’s totally rejecting his feelings for Inej, but come on man. It’s Inej.
Inej: The Wraith. I just -sigh- I just really love everything about Inej. She’s very stoic in that, “I’m the quiet assassin and kind of like the king pin’s body guard” way, but she’s also like a fifteen year old girl. She also has this kind of dry, straight forward humor but she’s not afraid to stand up for herself. She tells Kaz that she’s religious and she doesn’t take any of his jabs at her beliefs to heart. She knows what she believes in and she respects Kaz for what he doesn’t believe in. I also enjoyed how Inej and Kaz had this kind of silent friendship going. While she’s probably forever in his debt, they have this unspoken bond for each other (that Kaz doesn’t want to address mmm). Inej is also just inherently badass. I enjoyed her chapters the most. She was always really straight forward, but I like the little glimpses of the past that we got to see in the novel.
Wylan and Jesper: Sorry, I just have to write about them together because… um they need to be together. Like now. They have such a cute relationship that builds throughout the novel and they totally bond over really tense situations. As much as I love Kaz and Inej, I just need Wylan and Jesper to be happy together, really. Jesper has this way of making joking jabs at everyone and Wyland is very much the rookie who needs to pay his dues, but he’s incredibly useful. It gets them out of a pinch or two (or twelve). 
Nina and Matthias: Another pair I have to speak about together. They’re past is so incredible and it’s really interesting to see how Matthias changes throughout the novel. He probably has the biggest character arc in this novel, to be honest. He goes from being an extremely bigoted ex-soldier to being a traitor to his country for the girl he loves. Which, I know, sounds crazy–but when an entire country is slaughtering the people like your girlfriend because they’re scared and don’t understand their abilities, that’s not that crazy. Nina is…lovely. I love Nina. Nina is like an older sister I want to have. She’s incredibly caring and she protects the people she cares about like a mama lion. Her relationship with Inej is adorable, but also very motherly. Nina’s the mama hen. 
The Overall
So overall? I think this novel was a hell of a time. I wanted to keep reading and I was really upset when it ended with that movie type cliffhanger. You know what I mean, the ending where it just opens for a sequel but it’s definitely THE ENDING for that specific installment. URRG. 
This book had great writing, dynamic characters, diverse characters that weren’t stereotypes or just sidekicks, amazing world building (helped from the Grisha novels I’m sure, but still), was incredibly addicting, and was a fast paced action I was hoping for it to be. Even though the novel switched between a number of character’s point of view, everything is written in third person so you never lose track of who’s mind you’re in. It’s more like looking at different angles than being in six different heads. Sometimes I felt that the plot was a bit predictable, but I was so engrossed in the novel that I didn’t even care.
If you’re into things like Artemis Fowl or Heist Society, I think you’ll really enjoy this novel. This definitely wants me to start on the Grisha novels, though I have to find my copy of Shadow and Bone first. 

Rating:

                                                                  

Review: Never, Always, Sometimes

Title: Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid
Published: August 4, 2015
Pages: 320
Source: library eBook
Goodreads
Rating:

Never date your best friend.

Always be original.

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school. 

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never dye your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember. 

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

My Thoughts

So I’ve been meaning to read this book since I heard about it. I’ve been hearing some pretty good things about it and I thought that, even though I’m not a fan of contemporary, I should give it a shot. I’m pretty happy with my choice. I really enjoyed the novel. Yes, most of the time I was rolling my eyes at Julia, but this turned out to be a really human and a really good novel. The only thing keeping it from a five was that I didn’t feel pulled in like I do with novels that have fives. I didn’t instantly fall in love with it, but there was still love all the same. 
The Characters

Julia: 
I thought Julia was going to totally be a manic-pixie-dream-girl–and she was! For most of the novel I was rolling my eyes because she constantly tried to not be the “cliche high school teenager”. Ironically she became the cliche that is the “rebelling high school teenager”. It was probably why I was rolling my eyes so much. She was intentionally trying to be different. She took her shoes off at school, she deliberately didn’t go to football games and parties. She did everything in her power to not be the cliche and became a cliche while trying not to become the cliche. This comes up in a huge fight between Julia and Dave which I saw brewing ever since they decided to do all of the Nevers on their Never list and Dave was obviously having a better time. But in the end, Julia figures out why she’s trying so hard to not be “normal” or cliche and decides that.. it’s not all bad. This is what made me kind of like Julia in the end. I really, really despised her because she was trying to be a manic-pixie-dream-girl, but she realized that she was doing it for the wrong reasons. 
Dave:
I really liked Dave. He, as Julia puts it, had a heart of gold. He was really sweet and he totally felt bad for Gretchen after he kind of broke her heart (okay, he totally broke her heart). I liked that he was enjoying himself at these “cliche” moments. Dave questioned why they never even entertained the idea of at least trying out these cliche moments of high school. Even though the novel seemed to center around Dave, I think Julia definitely had the bigger character arc. Dave just kind of discovered how silly it was to try and be so different from everyone else, when it turns out, they’re not all that different. He discovered that everyone didn’t live in a perpetual cliche and the thoughts of cliches. He discovered that there’s more to a person than on the surface. 
Gretchen:
I loved Gretchen. She was so sweet and she and Dave hit it off right away. I think they were really cute together. That’s really all I have to say. She’s mostly a plot device, but she was adorable.
Overall

In the end, I really ended up enjoying the novel. A lot of the love was after the end of the book. When everything went to hell and was patched up was when I really liked the novel. I feel like Adi found a way to write what it was like to discover what you are and who you are in high school. That perpetual of “who am I” and “who am I trying to impress” that you go through in high school was really well written. Even though I moaned about how I really disliked Julia, I feel like Julia was kind of written to not be liked until she realized what she was doing. She was obnoxious and almost pretentious, but she found out that she wasn’t pretentious because it was in her personality. She was pretentious because she thought she would get some kind of validation. After she realized that she wasn’t, Julia realized that she needed to just be herself (even if that meant that she was a cliche). 
I think this is a great novel for self discovery and a coming of age type of thinking. It highlighted a lot of stuff that I kind of did in high school. Going against the current and sneering at everyone who went with the current like it was a bad thing. Looking back I kind of roll my eyes at myself, but I grew from that and now I’m just who I am. I’m not being me for the sake of another person, I’m just me. 
Quotes

“There was no greater proof of an underlying human connection than the universal hatred of Monday mornings.”
“There’s more to most of these people than you realize, you’re just too busy making fun of everyone to see it.”
“It has nothing to do with shyness. The little tortoise shell the two of you live in without letting the rest of the world in.”

School has Started. The Real Challenge Begins!

Hello lovelies!

To go and help with my resolution to blog more about my life, I decided to start posting weekly updates in my life. I initially wanted it to be called “What’s Up Wednesday”, but I’m kind of tired of these feature names dealing with days of the week so I said ah fuck it and just decided to put a title of what felt right that day.

Anyway, this week I started school again. Well it was yesterday, but nonetheless it’s school and it poses a real challenge for this blog. I moved my work schedule around so that I’m only working on the weekends so I’m not waking up at five in the morning and sleeping around 3 AM because of school work and going to close the store I work at. I’ve done that before. Not. Fun. It kind of sucks because now I have more restricted time during the weekends, but I mean I need the money and I hardly went out anyway, so no harm no foul really.

I’m taking about 19 units this semester which means I’m taking around 4-5 classes. This is kind of normal for me, but I’m taking two languages this semester and two history classes. Hopefully I can keep up with all of them. I’m taking Japanese and Chinese and while I can probably pick up Japanese relatively easy, Chinese is a daunting challenge–but I really want to know the language for when I go traveling. My boyfriend wants me to go to Taiwan with him at some point because he loved it so much and I think it would be that much better if I know the language a little bit. Actually, that’s kind of the reason why I want to learn languages so much. I love languages and the cultures they connect to and I want to be able to travel without a language barrier–because let’s face it, nothing is more frustrating than a language barrier. For both parties. So while I’m a bit nervous for what my grades are going to look like at the end of the semester, I’m really excited!

My fifth class is a directing class! I’m so honored to be invited to take this class because there’s only nine people enrolled in the class and you have to be invited to take it personally by the professor. The professor is the main acting professor of the theatre department so while he never really praised me blindly for any of my scenes, I’m really honored and grateful that he thought I would make a great addition to the class. I’m really excited because I’ve thought about directing for a really long time and now that I get to do it for an entire semester and maybe in the upcoming fall semester, it’s really exciting!

So while this semester is bound to be filled with a lot of stress and a lot of bumps in the road, I’m determined to make it out with really great grades and new experiences.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Books I Just Added to My TBR

Hello lovelies! Top Ten Tuesday is a fun little link up hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Go to the link if you’d like to join in!

This week’s topic is on the books we just added to our TBR so what are mine? Well…

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
I just read a review for this and I’m super intrigued by it. When I go on a spree, maybe I’ll pick this up. 
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
I remember reading a review about this and I think it would be a really cute and fun romance novel to read. I haven’t read many romance novels, but I’m definitely wanting to give this one a try.
Riddle in Stone by Rovert Evert
I got this when Kobo was having its buy one get one free sale, and I’m really interested by this plot. I’m getting a huge fantasy kick right now, so why stop?
Outcast by Adrienne Kress
Same sale on Kobo. I thought this was a little funny novel to read and I was interested in how the plot would go. I might add this to my TBR for February, but still unsure.
Eleanor by Jason Gurley
This is a little like The Love That Split the World. I think this would be a great novel that talks about grief with a weird sci-fi maybe fantasy kick to it?
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
Horror. I need to read more horror novels. I’ve only read a few and I’ve heard some great things about this novel. I can’t wait to get into it.
Hellhole by Gina Damico
This book reminds me of a webcomic I used to read when I was really active on Tumblr. It was about a girl who accidentally summons Satan (you’re thinking how can you accidentally summon Satan? Well… look for yourself). So I’m really excited about what the comedy is going to be in this book. I heard that there was going to be some crude humor and I’m just kind of sitting here going “GREAT”.
The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
I’ve been hearing some really great things about this book and I’ve found what I wanted! Finally a PoC character written by a PoC writer! I know this isn’t the first, but this is the first I’ve seen get a lot of hype and I hope it does not disappoint.
Inked by Eric Smith
I think this is a little indie novel, but it reminds me of Ink Exchange from the Wicked Lovely series and I’m super interested in what this book will bring. Tattoos and magic? PSH sign me up!
Bonus: Crooked Kingdom is also the book added to me TBR. It’s not coming out until September and there’s not even a cover for it, but I want it. Like now.
What’s your favorite book or books that you added to your TBR recently?

And don’t forget that my Blind Book Date sign ups are still going! If you’ve signed up, spread the word!

That’s a Wrap! Clean Slate Read-a-Thon

Clean Slate Read-a-Thon is the first read-a-thon I fully participated since Bout of Books last year. This year was slightly more successful than the first since this time I really set out on finishing the books that I had goals set for. Unfortunately, that didn’t really work out. I kind of read the same amount of books I would read within the week. Which sucks, but I did get through some novels I didn’t get to last year which was great.

The Stats

My goals? 5 books. 
I wanted to read Don’t Eat the Glowing Bananas, Doll Parts, Never, Always, Sometimes, All the Bright Places, and Six of Crows. 

Successful:
Never, Always, Sometimes
Six of Crows

Almost Successful:
All the Bright Places

Didn’t even touch:
Don’t Eat the Glowing Bananas
Doll Parts

So I guess two and a half out of the five isn’t that bad. That’s about half right? -Sigh- Oh well. Hopefully I’ll get it the next time a read-a-thon comes around!
Did you participate? What were your goals? Did you meet them?


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