Sunday, November 22, 2020

Vicious - VE Schwab


 Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab 
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5 Stars

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Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.
 

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Chances are most readers have heard of or read anything by VE Schwab.  I regret to inform you, reader friends, that this is MY FIRST VE SCHWAB BOOK!  Yes, despite having known who she is for years, and knowing I would love her books, this is the first book of hers that I have actually read.  And - I loved every single violent, twisted second of it.

Let's just get right into it, shall we? 

It took me a minute to get used to the dual storylines, but the author did a great job of jumping back and forth from their college days to the present. That style works very well for this book. I think the author did a great job of telling Victor and Eli's stories, and working their past into who they are in the present. 

I loved and hated all the characters in this book.  I loved that they were so well developed, and so distinct and unique. They had well developed personalities that stood out from the characters around them and made them each their own wonderful, twisted, evil persons.  I really shouldn't say I hated all the characters in the book - I actually liked Sydney, and I truly did love the way each characters personality grew throughout the story. But man did I detest Victor and Eli.  The way they used people, the way they justified what they did to meet their own needs and their own end was just so messed up.  It all worked in the context of this story and where the author took it, but what they did to each other, to other people, it was so fucked up.

Vicious started with an experiment that developed into something that was so well written and so well developed that I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. This book was truly well plotted, well developed, and well worth the read.  I felt like everything worked in this book, no matter how dark and twisted it was.  The events of the novel flowed well together to move towards the end.  It was interesting to see everything come together as it did - like Eli meeting Stell, and the manipulation from Serena that ensued (because, hi Eli hasn't aged AT ALL!) 

I loved the exploration of the idea about their being ExtraOrdinaries with these abilities, and I think the look at Eli, and why he hated other EO's was so important to this book. I like that the author explored that and showed that these EO abilities aren't always what they've cracked up to be, and that they can impact each character differently. 

I loved watching the relationship between Victor, Sydney, and Mitch develop as well. They had this great friendship, odd yet great, and watching them work and grow together was great.  Although I didn't really love Eli and Serena, I liked watching what happened in their relationship also, mostly because I was fascinated by Serena's power. 

Overall, this is a book everyone should read (adult Fantasy, though!)  If you've already read it, let me know what you though in the comments. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

It's an Unboxing!


 Hey reader friends! I had a little bit of a hiatus there, because I needed a break, and because I GOT A NEW KITTY - and I'll admit when not working, I've been spending time with that little bugger.






Isn't he the cutest little nugget? His name is Felix.  So, now for the other best part of this post: My monthly Magical Reads Crate Unboxing! 


There are so many AWESOME THINGS in this box! They include this adorable hat: 



Also, it comes with other super cute stuffs!


This tea smells so amazing, like I'm just going to drink it all in one day, I swear! There are chunks of real fruit in it.



Of course, there is an Ashley Poston Signature card and a super fun poisoned apple pin that says "Just One Bite."




This bookmark is MY FAVORITE THING in the entire box.  Look at how pretty it is! 

And the requisite photo of everything that is in the box.  Pretty standard. 



This chapstick is delightful, and I love that on the bottom it says "Do your lips feel chapped and chapter?"  SO FUN! 


AND FINALLY: The Book. I read the description and I AM SO EXCITED to read it.

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Now, reader friends, I'd like to hear from you. Does anyone else get the Magical Reads Crate? What did you think of this box? Have any of you read the book yet? Don't post spoilers, but do drop a "Read it and liked it" or even a "Read it and hated it" in the comments.  

Sunday, October 25, 2020

It's An Unboxing!

 

Hey reader friends!  Welcome to my Fantasy Monthly Unboxing Post, in which I show you the cute things that I got from CrateJoy's Fantasy Monthly Box.





1. (Because I didn't put the book first!) The Book Club Questions for the Fantasy monthly book! Let me tell you, it's a book I am  truly delighted to read.

2. Two bookmarks with Kiera Cass quotes on them. The first one says "Love is Beautiful Fear," and the second one says "True love is usually the most inconvenient kind."


3. THE BOOK! Over the Woodward Wall, by A. Deborah Barker. I opened the book to read the description and discovered that the book sounds wonderful, and the author is Seanan McGuire, author of one of my favorite series - the Wayward Children Series.  

4. A cute button with another Kiera Cass quote on it. The button reads: "Break my heart. It was only ever yours to break anyway..."

5. And finally, a card with the same quote as the button on it!



Thursday, October 22, 2020

Halloween Booktacular

 


Happy Almost Halloween, reader friends!  

I read whatever I want year round. But there is something about October that just feels like the perfect time to share some spooky reads.  Halloween, amiright?! 

So, here's a list of some of the books I think are perfect to read in the month of October! 

1. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman

2. Coraline - Neil Gaiman

3. Slasher Girls & Monster Boys


4. Welcome to the Dark House - Laurie Faria Stolarz

5. Sawkill Girls - Claire LeGrande

6. The Diviners Series - Libba Bray

7. The Monstrumologist - Rick Yancey 

8. The Rot and Ruin Series - Jonathan Maberry

9. The Stalking Jack the Ripper Series - Kerri Maniscalo 

10. The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall - Katie Alender 

11. Dracula - Bram Stoker 

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Your turn reader friends - what books do you think are absolutely perfect for this time of year? Let me know down in the comments! I'm looking forward to what you have to say.

Monday, October 12, 2020

It's An Unboxing!

 

Hi reader friends - for those who don't know, I recently ordered two book boxes from CrateJoy. I'm still waiting for my first Fantasy Monthly Box, but I got my first Magical Reads Crate - and it's great!

This box contains some pretty cool stuff.  But FIRST, let me tell you - it also came with freeze dried Astronaut bananas that I already ate (and they were wonderful), and a pair of socks based on the Illuminae files that are in my dirty clothes hamper, because I couldn't wait to wear them. I'll take a pic of those after laundry day and share them!

Moving on to the other items:

A nice letter from Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman:


Megan and Amie's Signatures, of course: 


A Wallet with the phrase: I Will Call You Beauty for that is What You Are:



My Favorite Item in the ENTIRE BOX: A pin that says Not Idly Do the Leaves of Lorien Fall: 


My other favorite item: A medal based on A New Hope (Where are all my fellow Star Wars Nerds at!)


And finally, the book of the box: The Other Side of the Sky, by Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman
 


Okay reader friends, have any of you ordered this box? What do you think of the stuffs inside?! Let me know in the comments below. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Felix Ever After - Kacen Callender

 

Title: Felix Ever After
Author: Kacen Callender
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5 Stars

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From Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle....

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.

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I don't even know where to start with this book! I loved this book so, so much.  I loved the way it explored such tough things for Felix, and the way it explored what he went through with being bullied and the relationships in this book, and just every damn thing. 

So, if you don't know - the basis of the book is Felix being trans and still feeling like he's struggling with his identity, and then being bullied by someone from his school to top it off.  He goes through this book searching to find out who he really is and what he wants in his life.  

There were so many things I loved about this book, including:

* Felix's development throughout the story. He is such a sweet kid, and he seems (to me) almost just so shy and timid at times. That seems to lead to some tension, but he learns to voice more of who he is throughout the book.  As he learns more about himself and the people around him, it leads to him being more confident and speaking up for himself even more, which is great! 

* The relationship that Felix has with Ezra - it was just wonderful and so supportive (even when Felix was in the whole "Hey I'm catfishing Declan" phase...)

* How the story developed and how each character had a significant roll in Felix's life in some way, even if it wasn't in the best way. Like Marisol stating that Felix is a misogynist because he "chose to stop being a woman." She actually said that, like Felix just chose to be a guy so that makes him a misogynist. And when she gets called out on it, she acts like everyone is targeting her and making her out to be a horrible person - and then she starts going off again about Felix being a woman and that you can't just change like that. I just had it up to the limit with her. It hurt me to know that there could be someone like that who would just treat Felix like that because of who he is.  The shitty thing is though that this stuff does happen in real life - and it needs to be stopped. 

* I think this book does a good job of exploring the complications that exist in relationships.  When Declan and Ezra broke up, Declan knew why, even if Felix didn't. And that's why seeing the development of the relationship between Declan and Felix was even more complicated that it could have been.  It started with Felix genuinely believing Declan was the one who put up the pictures, and that creates tension and anger and frustration, but then it leads to Felix continuing to message Declan even after he realizes Declan didn't do it, and that leads to complications of another sort. The story does a great job of following that out and even though I cried my way through this story, I think the way it is written and the way it follows these complications is incredibly well done and incredibly important. 

This whole book was filled with a well written story that developed well and had wonderful characters.  The book takes a hard look at what it's like to be a black, queer, trans boy, and damn it Felix went through some shitty things in this book and he came out on the other side knowing he was coming into being the best demiboy he could be, and I loved every second of watching him grow and learn and stand up for himself throughout the book. 

Now, reader friends, before you go - let me just say one more thing. This relates to the thoughts I had about Marisol and my god were they bad!  So, she had this whole idea that Felix wasn't a real boy, that he was just pretending and that he was misogynist because of it and all that.  I want to be crystal clear: trans boys are boys, trans girls are girls, and it is absolutely not ever up to us cis folks to determine otherwise.  If you hear someone talking like this about trans folks, please call them out, because it is utter BS. 

And finally, reader friends, if you've read this book please drop a comment down below and let me know what you thought of it. I can't wait to hear from you! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Sick Kids In Love - Hannah Moskowitz

 


Title: Sick Kids In Love
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 Stars

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Isabel has one rule: no dating.
It's easier--
It's safer--
It's better--
--for the other person.
She's got issues. She's got secrets. She's got rheumatoid arthritis.
But then she meets another sick kid.
He's got a chronic illness Isabel's never heard of, something she can't even pronounce. He understands what it means to be sick. He understands her more than her healthy friends. He understands her more than her own father who's a doctor.
He's gorgeous, fun, and foul-mouthed. And totally into her.
Isabel has one rule: no dating.
It's complicated--
It's dangerous--
It's never felt better--
--to consider breaking that rule for him.

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Considering this book is called Sick Kids In Love, it is remarkably light.  Don't get me wrong - there is a lot of talk about being sick, and about the struggles that come with being sick in a world full of healthy people. But, this book is filled with a lot of levity and hilarity, and that was great. 

Ibby has JRA (Jr. Rheumatoid Arthritis) and has spent the majority of her young life being doctored for that.  It's nice to see a book talk about the fact that even kids can get RA.  It's not as common, as RA is most common in adults in their 30's and older, but right now there are 50,000 kids in the US living with JRA.  Anyway - the REVIEW!  

I really appreciate that this book explores what it is like to be sick or to have some sort of chronic pain/health issue.  There is still, in 2020, too little knowledge about what it's like to live in pain, to live with health issues every single day. The author really does a great job delving into what arthritis can do to a person's body.  There is a lot of depth and exploration into what a person's body goes through when dealing with chronic health issues.  

The author also does a great job of exploring what it's like to be sick when you're surrounded by people who don't deal with any chronic health issues. I know all too well that people without chronic health issues don't understand what it's like to have to fight the urge to even talk about what you're going through at the risk of making someone else uncomfortable.  Ibby really struggles with that with her friends - and while she also starts out the book struggling with the idea of calling herself sick, she also has all these moments where it seems she struggles with not wanting to disappoint her friends. So, she says she'll go skiing, or go to that party, or go out for dinner, even though she may be in a lot of pain. But her friends really struggle to get that as well. 

This brings up the issue of character development and growth as well.  In the beginning of the book there was a lot of emotional discomfort. Ibby didn't talk about a lot of stuff that she struggled with because she thought her friends didn't want to hear about it. Her friends didn't bring up a lot of stuff because they didn't know exactly how much pain Ibby was in all the time. So it led to a lot of miscommunication about why Ibby couldn't handle doing stuff.  By the end of the book, she had actually grown in her own views about her JRA, and she had actually taken the time to talk about that with her friends and voice her frustrations. That gave them the chance to open up to her and let her know that it was okay for her to be honest about where she was and what she was going through. Although Ibby did suffer the loss of one friend who just couldn't come to terms with Ibby being sick or having this relationship with a sick boy (there's more to it than that - which basically boiled down to Ibby's friend only hitting on Sasha because she felt bad for him because he has gaucher disease.)

Most of the characters go through great developments and realizations about themselves and that is something I really love about this book.  It's not always a given that characters will grow or develop, so when it happens, I love it. 

I love the way this story unfolds.  From the beginning when Ibby meets Sasha while they are getting infusions, to all the moments she sees him while she's candy striping, and pretends that she doesn't like him, but hi it's obvious she does.  I love watching their cuteness together throughout the story, and I love watching that Sasha calls Ibby out and stuff, and reminds Ibby that it's okay to not be okay all the time. They have this great relationship that works, and would work even if they were just friends! I love watching what unfolds between Ibby and her dad as well, and watching her learn that she needs to speak up more towards him and let him know that she needs him. 

Overall, this is an adorable read that I think anyone would love!  Go Read It Now! And if you have already read it let me know what you thought of it in the comments.