Monday, August 14, 2017

Medical Hiatus (I'm Fine, I Promise)

3:29:00 PM
So this week I will be getting my wisdom teeth removed! Not looking forward to it, but it's something that has to be done. As a result, I will be taking a hiatus to prepare myself for it and to heal afterwards. (Also I'll be high on pain meds, so it's probably in everyone's best interest that I do not post anything). My healing time takes me right up to the start of the new school year, so it might be a little while before I get back to posting again because I'll need to get myself acclimated to my new schedule. So for now, bye! Wish me good luck on a speedy recovery. :)


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Concise Review of "Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief" by Rosie Sumers

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Book: Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief

Author: Rosie Sumers

Release Date: August 7, 2017

Publisher: Entangled Teen

My Rating: ★★

Synopsis: Most sixteen-year-olds shouldn’t know where museums keep their rarest jewels (the basement) and they really shouldn’t know that vans make the worst getaway cars. But for Marisol Flores, a life of jewel thievery is a birthright handed down from generation to generation, even if she didn’t ask for it. So when a rival thief targets Mari and her mother, Mari’s more than happy to flee to the anonymity of bustling New York City.

Blending in is a dream come true for Mari, but keeping her former thieving ways a secret gets way more complicated when handsome Will Campbell sets his sights on her. She can’t help but like his terrible puns and charming grin…but when her past catches up with her, it’s not only her life—and her anonymity—that’s at stake. 

Will could be the next target. 

Disclaimer: I was provided a free ARC in exchange of an honest review. Thank you "Entangled Teen" for the opportunity to review this book.

     I'm going to get straight to the point. I did not really enjoy this book. I feel like it had potential, but it fell very short. The synopsis is very misleading as the main plot happens in just the last 1/3 of the book. Most of the book feels like a contemporary, which would be fine and dandy if this was actually a contemporary novel, but it isn't, and the romance feels out of place and very insta-lovey. The main characters weren't enjoyable to read. Matter of fact, I really wasn't a fan of the narrator, Mari. She is so incredibly naive and stupid for a girl who is supposedly a master jewel thief.


     The writing was very basic and the plot was cookie cutter basic. The only reason why I'm giving this two stars and not ones is because there were a few cute moments that I liked. It's a shame. I really wanted to like this book because the premise sounded interesting and kind of reminded me of "Heist Society" by Ally Carter which is one of my favorite series from when I was in middle school, but this comes no where near as good as Ally Carter's books. Overall I'm glad this was a quick read and didn't take up too much of my time and this is not a book I would recommend at all.

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Little Boy Lost" by J.D. Trafford Lil' Review

9:30:00 AM

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Book: Little Boy Lost

Author: J.D. Trafford

Release Date: July 18th, 2017

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

My Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: In a city divided and broken, this revelation will set it on fire…

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Little Bird Publicity for the opportunity to review this book.

      So this is going to be a very quick review because I don't have too much to say about this book. This book is marketed as a book about racial unrest surrounding the murders of 12 black boys, and while the does happen, it's about like maybe 1/4 of the book, if that. I felt like the book could have done so much more on the topic of violence against black people, especially black children, and the unrest in our country. As a black girl in America, this is a subject that is very personal to me. I appreciate the prejudices shown in the book and how it highlighted how messed up our system is, but I felt like it didn't do a good enough job. Most of the book followed the main character, Justin, and his everyday life and dealing being a better father for his daughter, which is fine and all, but that's not what the book was marketed as.

      Don't get me wrong, I thought the book was alright. Reading about Justin as a lawyer and all of the politics reminded me a lot of watching my dad as a lawyer growing up and the days when he would take me and my brothers to his law office or court when no one else could watch us. But something about the book didn't feel authentic enough. The author of the book is a white male who is trying to write as a black male. I appreciate that this story is being told, no matter who is telling it, but I feel like we could have gotten a better story if it was from an OWN voice, or at least a PoC who can identify better with the main character. The author no matter how much research he has done can never identify with the struggles an actual PoC has gone through.

Monday, July 17, 2017

"Afterlife" by Marcus Sakey Spoiler-Free Review (MUST READ BOOK!)

9:00:00 AM

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Book: Afterlife

Author: Marcus Sakey

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: July 18th, 2017

My Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis: Soon to be a major motion picture from Imagine Entertainment and producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

Between life and death lies an epic war, a relentless manhunt through two worlds… and an unforgettable love story.

The last thing FBI agent Will Brody remembers is the explosion — a thousand shards of glass surfing a lethal shock wave.

He wakes without a scratch.

The building is in ruins. His team is gone. Outside, Chicago is dark. Cars lie abandoned. No planes cross the sky. He’s relieved to spot other people — until he sees they’re carrying machetes.

Welcome to the afterlife.

Claire McCoy stands over the body of Will Brody. As head of an FBI task force, she hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. A terrorist has claimed eighteen lives and thrown the nation into panic.

Against this horror, something reckless and beautiful happened. She fell in love… with Will Brody.

But the line between life and death is narrower than any of us suspect — and all that matters to Will and Claire is getting back to each other.

From the author of the million-copy bestselling Brilliance Trilogy comes a mind-bending thriller that explores our most haunting and fundamental question: What if death is just the beginning?

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Little Bird Publicity for this opportunity to give an honest review.

      You guys, this book was a complete surprise to me. I did not expect to like it nearly as much as I did. The first chapter was real rough, and I mean real rough, almost enough to make me DNF the book. But, I kept pushing onwards, and I'm so glad I did because the book was such an interesting, mentally, and intellectually compelling book that drew me in. I powered through this book in 6 hours, only taking a break two times, once to get McDonald's and another time to take a bath.


      I don't want to give away anything about the plot because the plot is so damn interesting that you should go into it blind. I will tell you that it focuses on what happens after you die and the possibilities death has. It is very much a mental mindf*** and something I have often thought about. If you don't like the idea of thinking about what happens after we die, then this is not the book for you. However, if you are ready for a mindf***, this is for you. The book also analyzes the evil in the world and looks at how bad people turn out the way they are, and it's a really interesting concept. Because there are those people who just crack and do bad shit without a visible explanation, but it's interesting because maybe there is a reason that just is more than what we can conceptually conceive. Nothing about this plot is predictable, save for the the very beginning. There are so many twists and turns that just mess with your head and just make you think. That's what I really liked about this book. It made you think. I also like how it was a combination of paranormal, fantasy, romance, thriller, mystery, and sci-fi all combined into one book.


      The characters were also great in this book. Seeing how they think and handle this situation is just so interesting because it makes you think about how you would handle it. I mean, honestly, if I died and woke up in another level of existence, I have no idea how I would handle it, and that freaks me out. And I love the romance that our main charachters Brody and Claire have. They take their love to the extreme. Like honestly, I would be lucky to ever find someone who I loved as much as these two loved each other. And I really liked Claire because she was a strong, independent, gives no shits women, who puts everyone in their place. She is also an intellectual and handles the situation so gracefully in a way I wouldn't think is possible.


       Overall, this book just makes you feel... woke, yeah that's the word I'll use, woke. It puts into perspective every little aspect of our life and the overall politics of living coupled against death and what really matters. It also really makes you look at the science of living and death and how that interplays with the perceived impossible and fictitious. Here are some quotes that give you an idea of what I'm talking about:

            "Is it really so hard to imagine there's energy to life we don't know how to measure? Some vital, quantifiable connection between ourselves and the universe that doesn't appear under a microscope"

            "It's all energy. The universe began in an explosion. Every element is forged in the heart of a star. There is nothing but energy. With enough energy, existence bends around you like the sea around a sailboat."

      As a scientist, these quotes really resonated with me, and there are others like this that container spoilers that just made me think.


      This book has already been optioned for a movie, and I'm so excited to see how it translates to movie form. I really do think this is something everyone should experience because although it will probably make you uncomfortable and mess with your mind, sometimes it's good to be uncomfortable and to think beyond the possible.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Children's Books

10:00:00 AM

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: TOP 5 CHILDREN'S BOOKS

     I'm fairly certain it's been like 6 months since I have done a Top 5 Wednesday. That might be an exaggeration, but it might also be true. Anyway, this one really interested me because I realized it's been quite some time since I've read a children's book, with the exception of "A Monster Calls" by Patrick Ness. I grew up entirely way to quickly, so by 8 years old I was reading adult mystery thrillers mixed in with young adult. So, I'm excited for this because making up this list made me remember these children books that I still love despite all the years that have passed. Here goes nothing in no particular order.

5. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (and basically everything else by Shel Silberstein)


It's interesting that this made the list considering in general I hate poetry, but I absolutely love Shel Silverstein and his poetry. His work is one of the few works of poetry out there that I enjoy. His work is so thoughtful and morbid yet enlightening and happy. It's strange to describe to those who haven't read his work. His work is a staple of my childhood.

4. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch


This is one of the first books my mom read to me as a kid, and she continued to read it to me for a long time. This book was her constant reminder to me that I was loved, and I just remember all of the happy and sad feelings attached with this book. It's not the same reading it on my own as compared to when my mom reads it to me.

3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


Yes I only read the book so that I could go watch the movie, but that doesn't negate the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was emotional and quite powerful for a children's book.

2. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott 


This is one of my favorite series from middle school. I can remember checking out these books from the library with my friend Catherine and rushing to school so that we could talk about these books. These books combine magic, history, and mythology, some of my favorite things. Also the two main characters are a twins, a boy and girl, and so I always envisioned myself as the twin girl and my twin brother as the guy.

1. May Bird series by Jodi Lynn Anderson


I have reread this series several times, and I continue to love it through time. For a children's series, it's pretty dark and twisted, but that's what I liked about it. It shined light on problems that children have that adults might not take seriously through personifications in this nightmare like world. It has a "Nightmare Before Christmas" type of vibe only WAAYYY darker. 

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Honorable Mentions: Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar, Children of the Lamp series by P.B. Kerr, The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, and Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud.

(I know there are a lot of honorable mentions, but when making this list, I couldn't leave them out because I liked them too much and wanted you guys to know about them too.)

      So what do you guys think about my list? See any of your favorites? Have you read any of the books on my list? If so what are your thoughts? Tell me your thoughts down below in the comments. I also want to hear what some of your favorite children books are!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday Tunes: Musicals, Oldies, and Kesha

10:30:00 AM

TUESDAY TUNES: MUSICALS, OLDIES, AND KESHA

     This week instead of highlighting one specific genre or album, I'll be talking about three different songs that I have been listening to non-stop like crazy. So here goes nothing, in no particular order.

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"She Used to be Mine" from Waitress




Last month I was in a real big musicals phase, and "Waitress" the Broadway musical popped up on one of my playlists on Spotify and I immediately liked it. The song that really got me going though and is my favorite in the musical is "She Used to be Mine". The song was originally written by Sara Bareilles who actually helped write the musical. There is a version she sings and one that the Broadway actress, Jessie Mueller sings, and I much prefer Jessie's version. Even though they are both fantastic singers, I like the sound of Jesse's voice more and I just feel like she brings more emotion to the song. And boy oh boy does the song have such strong emotion. If you listen really closely to the lyrics, there is just so much that is being said that really hits you.

I got bored and decided to do a rough sketch writing thing on Paint


"Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Fugees


Most of you have probably never heard this song before, but it's one of my favorite classic songs. My mom used to play it all the time when I was growing up. I can remember her cooking breakfast in the morning and singing along to this song and while I didn't like it when I was younger, it has really grown on me. I think because I'm older, I understand it more. I just love how the Fuguees all harmonize, and Lauryn Hill has such a beautiful voice. It's not too strong, but still has a power that comes over you. It's like a mixture of gospel, rap, and hip hop, and that combination just works very well.

"Praying" by Kesha




I have always loved Kesha, starting way back in 6th grade (which is crazy to think because I'm going into the 3rd year of university). I can remember going to school dances and rocking out to "Tik Tok" and "We R Who We Are" and all those other great songs. "Praying" is  quite different than her older stuff, but it is a good different, a GREAT different. This song has so much emotion and meaning that her other songs lacked while still being an anthem. She has gone through so much in her career and life and you can really here it in this song. I love how the song starts off kind of quiet and slow but builds up until the end when it's full of energy and power, and I feel like that really represents Kesha's build back into the music industry. I can't wait to hear more greatness from her.

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      Well that's all for this week's "Tuesday Tunes". If you guys haven't listened to the songs, you definitely should, and then when you have tell me your thoughts. I would love to hear what you guys think about these three songs from three very different artists.

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My Rating System

★★★★★ This book is a gift from the literary gods
★★★★ This book was pretty damn good
★★★ This book had potential but missed the bar
★★ I probably didn't finish this book or it was god awful
★ Why does this book exist?

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