Mini Un-Review: Black Five (My First DNF)

It’s come. The day has come my loves. I have put down a book… without finishing it. 
I know! I know! I’m just as upset as you are about this, but alas. I must.
Title: Black Five
Author: J. Lynn Bailey
Published: November 2015
Pages: 400
No one ever accused Penelope Jackson of being normal, nor did they suspect the dark secret she kept. A dangerous web of deceit and secrecy unravels when news of a stranger’s death puts Penn on a collision course with the very person she’s been hiding from her whole life. Her fragile world is shaken to its core with the sudden arrival of Vacavious and she soon discovers the bizarre and magical world surrounding her seemingly ordinary life.
No one is who they claim to be, including those closest to Penn. A mysterious security detail emerges from the shadows scrambling to protect her as powerful forces await the fall of her protective veil on her eighteenth birthday. 
Penn prepares to fight against unseen evils before it’s too late. The world of Nighmerianotte and its population depends on her survival, for she is the Sanguine.

*I received this book from Poorhouse Publishing for an honest review*

Why the DNF?

This is going to sound like the most ridiculous reason to DNF the book, but… the font. You’re going, “Alexa what are you talking about?” Let me explain. At one point of this novel Penn finds the journal of her father and she has to read it. Which, okay this is totally up my ally even though it’s pretty much info dumping. However, the journal… is written in a font that I literally cannot read. Or rather, I can hardly read. I actually have to try and put effort into reading the pages. If you’re like me, that’s pretty much the ultimate turn off. 
This isn’t like Illuminae (which I haven’t read yet, but from what I’ve heard) where you have to flip the book to read it etc. etc. I mean this font was illegible. I don’t know who chose the font, but it was a really bad choice. I totally get it. Messy handwriting. That’s fine in… real life. I guess–but there are fonts that look messy and legible. If I can’t relax and enjoy the book because I can’t read it, I can’t really go on. 
This sucks because I kind of want to know what the hell is going on in this book. I want to know how this ends and how Penn decides to deal with all of this. Yes, there’s this very tropey edgy teen vibe I’m getting from most if not all the characters, but I was somewhat having a good time. To have to put it down because I can’t read it is really upsetting. I didn’t want to believe that I DNF’d this book, but I haven’t touched it in weeks. 
The writing in this book was interesting. The premise brought in a lot of intrigue and mystery. The characters were actually fun to read about. Their banter was great and I wanted to know more about these characters and their relationships. I really, really wanted to read this book to the end to find out what’s going on. There are some things that I didn’t like, but they were small in comparison. Except for this dang font! 
This is such a sad thing. This is the first book I just straight up DNF’d. It sucks even more that this was a book I kind of liked! Ah. Well. C’est la vie right? I might go back to this book since I’m still interested in the story, but we shall see. I’m not going to rate this book because of the fact that I didn’t finish it. 

Weekly Review 2.28.16

Hello lovelies! I’ve been so busy with school and real life that I haven’t been able to just sit down and write posts. I hardly have enough time to do my homework on time -sigh-. However, I wanted to post a weekly review since I haven’t in such a long time.


In the Life

Still juggling a job and school. I actually picked up a second job closer to home and I’m going to test it out, see if I like it better than where I’m working (I’m mostly sure I’m going to like it better, but you never know). This is going to hit really hard on me because I’m going to have to juggle two jobs, school, and the blog together. Not to mention all of my cosplay that I want to do over the summer! 
I got my first test back in my Chinese class and I’ve come to the harrowing conclusion that I need HEAVY work on my Hanzi (the Chinese characters). I didn’t realize how bad I was until the test came around. It really knocked my grade down to a B. I’m working on it though. It’s just remembering the characters are harder than remembering the conversations. 
I get to direct my first scene very soon! I’m really excited! I’ll be directing a scene from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. It’s one of my favorite plays and it’s actually the very first scene I did in theatre so it has a very special place in my heart. The scene I’ll be directing will be the first scene between Algernon and Cecily. If you know the play, then you know what’s going down. An easy breakdown is that Cecily thinks that she’s engaged to Algernon, but Algernon is unaware of this because Jack pretended to be Algernon. Ah I love this scene so much, I can’t wait to get started!
In the Blog

I haven’t posted a lot. I’m sorry! However, be prepared for a haul coming up. I browsed the book section at my local Salvation Army and I have to say, I’m thoroughly impressed with what I found. I’m really excited to start these books. I also bought a book on Book Depository (my first purchase from them actually) and so I’m going to have a quick little review about my experience on there. I’m still waiting for my package to arrive however. Shipping from their warehouse to the US said 5-8 days so I should be getting it within the week. 
I have been cracking down on my blog organization to help me bring new posts to you guys a lot faster than I have been (and more consistently). I have a folder on my Google Drive for all things related to this blog and I’ve started a new doc about discussion posts and just posts in general of what I want to post on this blog. I always have these post ideas popping into my head, but then I don’t write them down and I forget. It sucks! So now that I have this, I’m hoping to put in some more discussion posts. 
I’ve also lost track of where I am with the challenges I’ve signed up for this year. I know I’m a little behind on Flight of Fantasy and the Retelling challenge so I need to start working towards that. 
ICYMI

Even though I haven’t been posting too much, I did post some things this month. So instead of what I posted this week, I’ll put down what I posted this month. 
What did I post:


How was your week?
If you’re a blogger, what’s your favorite post you put up this week?

Late Feb & March TBR

Hello lovelies! I didn’t get to post anything on February (I know, I’m sorry I’ve been so tired and busy ;-;), but I wanted to post a TBR list for the end of this month and in March. It’s a bit of a longer list mostly because I have spring break in March so I’ll get to read a bit more. Yay!

Late February

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Initial thoughts: I’m currently reading this and I’m really enjoying this. This is really cool adding magic to something that’s essentially origami. 
Author: NisiOisin 
Initial thoughts: My friend has been wanting me to read this for so long. This is the first novel in a series of light novels that inspired the anime series Bakemonogatari (this is one of many I think there are about two more after Bake). I took a peek at it a while ago and I liked it, so I’m excited.
March

Author: Chris Pavone
Initial thoughts: This is an ARC I was granted through NetGalley and I’m excited to read this. It’s got spies and time travel so I mean what’s to lose right? 
Author: Tract McMillan
Initial Thoughts: Another ARC from NetGalley that I’m excited about. The plot seems really family oriented and I’m interested in how I take to this kind of writing. I think this is an adult fiction novel, but I’m not 100% sure on it. Either way, I’m really looking forward to this book.
Author: A. G. Howard
Initial Thoughts: A Wonderland retelling that I’ve been eyeing for quite some time. One thing to know about me, I love, love, love Alice in Wonderland and any Alice in Wonderland retellings or adaptations. I really, really do. So I’m definitely really excited about this one. 
Author: Heather Dixon
Initial Thoughts: Grabbed this on a Kindle daily deal and I liked the blurb enough to buy it. I can’t remember it right now, but I hope this turns out to be cool. From the cover it looks like it might be some steampunk? Hope it is. I love me some steampunk.
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Initial Thoughts: My first Thrift Books buy that’s been waiting to be read. I’ve heard great things about this novel since it came out, so I’m pretty stoked to read this.
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Initial Thoughts: This is really a hype read. I haven’t really read much about this book but I’ve heard a lot about this book so I’m interested in seeing how it is. I’ll have to go out and buy myself a copy so I guess this will be one of my book buys of the month.
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Initial Thoughts: A Sherlock Holmes adaptation….but where it’s the descendants taking the place of Sherlock Holmes and Watson? I’m intrigued. You’ve got me hooked. This will be the second buy of the month.
That’s about all that I got for this month. All of these picks were pulled out of a jar. What books do you have in your TBR this month? 

Review: The Miniaturist

Title: The Miniaturist
Author: Jessie Burton
Published: August 26, 2014
Pages: 400
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“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed…”

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Miniaturist. I’m not well versed in historical fiction since I haven’t dabbled in it a lot, but I had a lot of fun with this. I know that personally I felt that the pace was a bit slow at times and I’m pretty sure that this can be a turn off for some people, but personally it made me relax and really take in the story. I never felt incredibly rushed or jittery to finish the story. I felt that I could go at my own pace. The fact that I was able to relax so well made me give this book a better review; I love books that just let me read slowly without feeling like I’m being left in the dust.

Nella for the most part is treated as kind of an outsider looking in, and that’s how I felt the entire time as a reader. I never felt like I was a part of the story because Nella herself is never fully introduced to the household or welcomed in a warm way until near the end of the book, so most of the time she gives us readers a really objective view of the story. She asks the same questions I ask and, even though we never found the answers, Nella felt extremely relatable because of it. The one downside of it was that I never felt a strong attachment to any of the characters. I did care if someone lived or died but I never felt heartbroken over it. It was a strange feeling, but I know how that can also turn some people off of the book, but I felt like it was a fun experience being a fly on the wall.

This book also touches on really heavy topics for Medieval/Gothic Europe’s setting. I’m not going to list them because spoilers, but I commend the author for putting it in. It gave the story a lot more depth and it showed the great hypocrisy that flourished around the time inside the church. I had no idea that this book was going to touch on such heavy topics that are still prevalent today. It was so refreshing.

Another thing that I was completely okay with, but I know people are going to have issues with are the loose endings. There are only a couple questions answered at the end of the book. I liked the open ending because it felt so right for the book. It felt really inviting and it made me want Nella to have better things come to her in her life in Amsterdam, but I know that people are going to be irritated about the lack of answers. For instance, you find out who the miniaturist is, but you never see Nella interact with them face to face… like at all. So if you’re not a huge fan of that kind of stuff, you might not like the ending and it can make or break the book for you.

TL;DR

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a great historical fiction novel that has that relaxing mundane feeling, but also the really good intrigue of a mystery novel. If you’re a fan of open endings, full sail ahead, if not–I might not pick this book up just yet.
I liked The Miniaturist, what other historical fiction novels should I read?

The Writing Circle: Character Playlists

Hello lovelies! I wanted to talk about writing today since I want to get into writing once more this year and actually participate in NaNoWriMo. I have a story I started writing last year that I want to delve into more since I was really passionate about it. But today is not the day to talk about book ideas and plot arcs.

Today is the day to talk about characters and their playlists. But more importantly, do you as a writer make playlists for characters?

There are just some songs that I listen to sometimes and I just go “Oh that’s totally ___’s song!” and mentally add that to their playlist. When I make playlists and I start playing them, it helps me write in the mindset of their character. This is a bit difficult when I’m writing a third person kind of novel, but most of the time I’m pretty okay with it! I love how certain music makes me feel a certain atmosphere and when I write about characters, I need music. Music is like a personality fingerprint. Even if someone listens to all kinds of music, it tells a lot about what they’re personality is.

If I want to make a character badass (or at least they feel badass), then I usually have songs that have a high BPM or they tend to hype me up for a work out. If I want a character to come across as regal, I play certain classical music. I sometimes have music that people wouldn’t think that character listening to. It all adds to their personality and it’s so fun to discover songs and just automatically connect it to a character I’ve created.

Sometimes I don’t even create a playlist. I just have an “anthem” for that character. A song they listen to all the time.

What about you? Do you have a certain playlist or song associated to your characters?

Review: A Carpet of Purple Flowers

Title: A Carpet of Purple Flowers
Author: Tracey-anne McCartney
Published: October 17, 2015
Pages: 360
Source: NetGalley
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Bea lives a simple life residing in a SW London second-hand bookshop. It’d been an especially difficult year, first with Bea’s uncle dying, then splitting up with Brandon, her philandering, druggie boyfriend. The shops trivial daily conversations, local faces and ordinary calm was all she desired but that was all about to change. No-one expects to bump into supernatural beings, let alone two opposing sects of a forgotten race. Bea’s quiet existence turns into turmoil as she slowly starts to unravel a secret past, a lost history in which love, revenge, betrayal, magic, power and karma are not mere cycles of a soul, but a sacred journey upon a web of many possibilities. The future is not set in stone, and the choices that Bea makes ripple through the cosmos. As the secret unfolds she realises that no matter what form your soul takes there are consequences for your actions in which time has no relevance we call it karma, they call it Vororbla. 
Will she cope with the heartbreak and truths revealed before her? What would you do if your very existence came into question? 
Join Bea on her journey as she uncovers the truth of her past via A Carpet of Purple Flowers.

My Thoughts

*ahem*
I’m gonna start this review by saying that I really didn’t like this book. I was really interested within the first couple of chapters and the synopsis seemed good enough but oh man was I wrong. I’m just going to put this as a really quick review. I’m not going to really break it down to characters–well no, I will break them down but not as extensively I do with other books. This is mostly because I don’t really have much to say other than I really disliked it. I really didn’t like it. Let’s just start with something.
The Good:

Um. I guess the first couple of chapters were good? I really liked how Bea was at first and I liked how Karian was introduced and I thought it was going to be like a dark-Holly-Black kind of fey story but that didn’t happen. I really liked how things were going for Bea and Karian for a little bit and then they had a date, he stood her up, he apologized, and then he left again. Like um. What?

The Bad:

-rubs hands together- oh boy. Where do I even start? Let me just preface this part by saying that I love slow burning romances. I love romances that take like three books for the ship to kiss. I love that shit. It’s why I read shojo manga so frequently. I love romances that grow and it’s two people finding more and more things to like about each other. I think it’s genuine, cute, and really heart warming. 
This had none of that. 
This had that bullshit instant love. The bane of my bookish existence. 
Of course there has to be a love triangle right? Of course. But here’s the thing. Remember how I said Karian just disappeared? Well that’s when new hottie comes in. His name is Chance (but not actually Chance I actually forgot his real name oops). He literally appears for like five seconds in real time and suddenly THE PLANETS HAVE ALIGNED AND THE HEAVENS OPENED UP BECAUSE THEY’RE IN LOVE. I’m sorry how ridiculous does that sound? I’m not even joking. He’s Fey and he uses his glamour but somehow Bea can see him (oh I forgot to mention that’s how she saw Karian too. She just happened to see him but none of the other Fey. How does that work?) and suddenly they make eye contact and it’s supposed to be like this instant fire and passion and I’m just sitting here like, “Romeo and Juliet at least had a party to fall in love. Y’all fall in love the second you look at each other? What is this?!” 
So Chance and Bea have this whole thing happening and they’re in love and Bea can’t stop thinking about him, etc. etc. and then he disappears. Yup. Just like Karian. He just *poof* gone. Okay, not really gone that way but to Bea’s perspective he just disappears. He goes back to his realm and all that without a word. Don’t worry I have a point here. When Chance disappears guess who reappears?
If you guessed Karian you’re right!
Yeah. 
I know. Great right? Not at all convenient. And then suddenly Bea is drawn back to Karian again. Like girl what? Honestly all feelings of Chance just went out the window and suddenly she’s all about Karian. I just. I can’t. 
The Ugly:

Alright, I got like three things to say in this category. 
1. This book was melodramatic as -bleep-. Oh yeah. I don’t know how anybody feels about my dropping the f bomb but there it was. 
I think I’m going to pull up the quotes I highlighted in this book for reference because holy hell I could not take how melodramatic it was. Let’s look at some quotes:
“Bea’s mouth flew open, aghast, and her hand grasped her chest, as if trying to save the heart from breaking its way out of the surface.”
It wasn’t a piece of heaven that you showed me…but hell.”

“Bea heard her name spoken aloud, the sound pierced through her heart like a blasting gun, on target, but the rhythm of the war drum within kept her feet walking without any form of acknowledgement.”

I mean that last quote alone is just… what? This book was melodramatic that I almost laughed at some parts because it was just so ridiculously dramatic. It was like it was trying to be dramatic without actually being dramatic. 
2. The sex. 
I had no idea there was going to be so much sex in this book. I mean I’m not knocking it for the sex it was just. I suddenly thought I was reading an adult romance novel all of a sudden. Granted I’m not sure this is listed as Young Adult, but a lot of the sex seemed unwarranted and just out of the blue? And this was pretty explicit. Not details explicit but very much the “oh I know what’s going on and I’m a bit uncomfortable about it right now” feeling because it doesn’t build up to it. It just suddenly happens and you’re left to recover. 
3. The characters. 
I will be honest, I didn’t care for any of the characters. I didn’t. They all could’ve died at the end and I honestly wouldn’t even care. They were flat and they had one purpose and one purpose only. You couldn’t think “oh that’s so Bea” when something happened it was just like “oh alright”. 
Overall:

Overall I didn’t enjoy this book. I finished it because I didn’t want a dnf on my record. I hate not finishing books even if they’re terrible. I’ve only dnf’d one book and it was New Moon. Couldn’t get into it. The phase passed. There’s a lot of things that are just wrong and not fun in this book. The pacing was weird. Backstory? What backstory? Plot holes everywhere. I just. I don’t know how this book has such high ratings, but I guess other people liked it. 
Rating:

                                                                                            

Disclaimer: I was given a free ARC in return for an honest review. 

Tiredness, Sleep, and Conventions Pt. 2

Hello lovelies!

I know I’ve been MIA other than reviews lately, but I’ve just been so stinking busy that I can’t even go on to check people’s blog posts. It’s honestly just been school, homework, sleep, repeat. I did have a mini vacation, but as soon as that was over it was back to doing homework before my week started up again. So I’m just going to give you a low down on what’s been going on in my life so far.

The Life
So far my life has been slightly hectic, but so far I can handle it. Having two language classes is starting to take affect. There’s a lot of homework to surf through and there’s a lot of language because I’m learning two new languages. Good thing I tend to be good at picking up languages.
Chinese hasn’t been too hard (yet). WE just started on characters and I think once I get the hang of it, reading by characters instead of Ping Ying (the Romanized version of Chinese). The accent marks are really crucial for reading Ping Ying, but as you know, a lot of Chinese words in text hardly have them, so it’s hard to know what it’ll sound like to say it correctly. Japanese has been pretty easy, though. The hiragagana is a bit to take in since we suddenly had to know the entire alphabet by the test lmao–but I’ve seen so much of it that I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it.
My directing class has been really fun so far. It’s interesting to see what my classmates have to show as their way of direction and they’re way of story telling. (I had this entire post laid out before this that had a lot of detail but then Firefox decided to be a huge butt and mess up the formatting so now I have to retype it and I’m honestly not for that. I promise to make a better post next time.)

The Convention

Some of you may know that I went to a convention this past weekend and boy was it an adventure. There were a lot, I mean a lot of things I could’ve handled better. I was  definitely not as prepared as I should’ve been (and usually am) but I think that’s because I had so much homework to make sure I had done before the con started, that I had no real time to just sit down and work everything out. I just hate how unprofessional it made me feel. Sure conventions are a lot of fun, but it is still an event that’s put on and I’d hate to be someone who’s donating their hard work to find that the person running it is incredibly disorganized. That and the people who had to help me out (I’m so sorry). I was so frazzled ah. 
In the Books

As much as I love talking about myself, this is a book blog so let’s list some things I got done with book wise. I haven’t been able to read as much as I had been able to over the break, but I’ve gotten to read more which is nice.
Books I’ve Read:

Don’t Eat the Glowing Bananas (review posted)
Thoughts: Funny, fun, but just a little lacking
The Carpet of Purple Flowers (review to be posted)
Thoughts: Ugh. Just. Ugh.
This post was written on Friday with intent to post it on Friday, but I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but my computer was down because there was this whole thing with the battery being inflated (which is dangerous) and then my computer wouldn’t even work with a charger plugged in… A lot of nonsense. Finally, it just started shutting down randomly, so I ordered a battery and decided to wait until I got it (which I did today, Sunday). So now that I have the battery I can post this up. Sorry if it’s a strange weekly review. I haven’t posted one in a while (again, sorry!). 
How was your week?