You Asked for Perfect: A Review

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 9/10 it may not be in a style I typically find to be incredibly beautiful I think this cover is perfect for this book. This story is very School centric and this cover fits that vibe very well for me.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publish Date: March 1st 2019

Number of Pages: 288

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“For fans of Adam Silvera and Nina LaCour comes a timely novel about a teen’s struggle when academic success and happiness pull him in opposite directions. 

Senior Ariel Stone has spent his life cultivating the perfect college résumé: first chair violinist, dedicated volunteer, active synagogue congregant, and expected valedictorian. He barely has time to think about a social life, let alone a relationship…until a failed calculus quiz puts his future on the line, forcing Ariel to enlist his classmate, Amir, as a tutor. 
As the two spend more time together, Ariel discovers he may not like calculus, but he does like Amir. When he’s with Amir, the crushing academic pressure fades away, and a fuller and brighter world comes into focus. But college deadlines are still looming. And adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push Ariel past his limit. 
Full of empathy, honesty, and heart, You Asked for Perfect is a story for anyone who has ever questioned the price of perfection.”

Opening Sentence: “My feet pound the ground.”

Musings:

You Asked for Perfect is a fantastic novel. It perfectly encapsulates the anxiety of trying to be at the top academically in school. The pressure school provides on students to be perfect in order to get the best possible future for themselves they can and how that can reck all sorts of havoc on students mentally.

What I Loved:

Honestly everything. Personally this book managed to get me to miss school, but that’s just me. I loved the juggling act of trying to be there for your friends while at the same time juggling school and extra curricular activities. I loved the romantic elements of this novel. I loved how music played a part in this novel. I also loved that Ariel is Jewish and those elements. So pretty much everything about this novel was fantastic.

The portrayal of anxiety. I remember being in school and really struggling in AP Calc and having to drop it because it was too much for me along with my other honors and AP classes. Ariel scholar that he is pretty much aces everything and studies like a maniac. (I admit I was never one that study nearly as much as this character). But, the constant being on your phone. Testing yourself on mathway or quizlet. Reading material or listening to a audiobook while trying to accomplish some other homework assignment. Asking for extra credit (even if you don’t necessarily need it). Pushing yourself and then being super critical when you get a c or even a b. Feeling like a total and complete failure if you dare get an F. (I admit to crying on the occasion I got an F). Thinking each and every moment your in school you are working towards creating the best possible future for yourself. Essentially, this book showcases how in school aiming for perfection can at times bring you to a breaking point.

Ariel and Amir together. Ariel is bisexual and it was super cute to see him fall in love with Amir. Amir has this gentleness about him and this understanding that lets him have the ability to chill out Ariel. He is the one that calms Ariel’s storms and helps him to see that it’s ok to settle down the work load for a while. To have fun at times and to remember that your relationships with other people are just as important as preparing for your future.

The weaving of Jewish Traditions. I love it when books include some sort of religion in it. Especially if I don’t know too much about it. So, what intrigued me about this was the various foods and the times for prayer and the Shabbat dinner mostly. The family practice and unity aspects were very beautiful to me and I felt like I was learning about a different aspect of the religion I didn’t know before.

Remembering that everything is about perspective. Ariel puts in front of himself the need to be valedictorian in order to make it to an Ivy League college and make something of himself. But, he finds that all the expectations have been created by himself and himself alone. He perceives others to expect a certain level from him and perceives his parents to expect perfection from him, but in reality it’s all a response to what he said he himself wanted from himself. In other words his own mind created a cycle of needing perfection and creating that to be his identity and when he isn’t perfect he feels he doesn’t have anything else to show as his identity. This was a really deep and introspective part of this novel that was so interesting to read and think on.

His friendship. Ariel is best-friends with a girl and I love that they have their own little rituals and things they do together. I also love that she was fully fledged as a character and had her own goals and unique background and story. The author did an amazing job of making each character their own and having them come off as 3D full fledged characters.

Final Thoughts:

I highly recommend ‘You Asked for Perfect’. It’s really well written. It has a great story and a great message.

(Side note to those still in school)

I feel it necessary to say that this book really encapsulates what school was like for me. However, having been out of school for a while and having the opportunity to go to college has been taken away from me till I turn 25, I want to say this: you do not know what the future holds for you. So please enjoy the time you have now. Have fun and make friends and enjoy time with them now. Do your best, but don’t get stuck in feeling bad when your not perfect because you will have so many more opportunities in the future. Yes school is important, but it isn’t everything. Live your life to the fullest now and enjoy the opportunities you have now in the present moments. Take care of yourself and have fun. You’ll thank yourself later for it.

About the Author:

“Hello! I’m a writer and freelance editor. I currently split my time between Atlanta, Georgia and Brooklyn, New York. Thankfully both cities have good bagels.

My first novel, GIRL OUT OF WATER, is a coming-of-age story about a California surfer girl sent to landlocked Nebraska for the summer to care for her younger cousins. My second novel, YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT, explores the effects of intense academic pressure through the eyes of a teenage Valedictorian-to-be as he juggles school, friendships, and family. You can order both books from most retailers or request them from your local library.”

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The Warrior Maiden: A Review

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

My Rating: 3/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 it is a beautiful cover. I like the balance of it. It fits what the story is as a Mulan retelling.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publish Date: February 5th, 2019

Number of Pages: 320 pages

Received: the publisher provided a arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a fresh reimagining of the classic Mulan tale.

“When it comes to happily-ever-afters, Melanie Dickerson is the undisputed queen of fairy-tale romance, and all I can say is—long live the queen!” —Julie Lessman, award-winning author

She knows women are expected to marry, cook, and have children, not go to war. Can she manage to stay alive, save her mother, and keep the handsome son of a duke from discovering her secret?

When Mulan takes her father’s place in battle against the besieging Teutonic Knights, she realizes she has been preparing for this journey her whole life—and that her life, and her mother’s, depends on her success. As the adopted daughter of poor parents, Mulan has little power in the world. If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.

Disguised as a young man, Mulan meets the German duke’s son, Wolfgang, who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the new soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing him up in embarrassing ways.

From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets. But war is an uncertain time and dreams can die as quickly as they are born. When Mulan receives word of danger back home, she must make the ultimate choice. Can she be the son her bitter father never had? Or will she become the strong young woman she was created to be?

This fresh reimagining of the classic tale takes us to fifteenth-century Lithuania where both love and war challenge the strongest of hearts.”

Opening Sentence: “Galloping her horse past the big oak tree, Mulan pulled the bow string taut.”

Musings:

I always have and always will have a soft spot in my heart for retellings. The Warrior Maiden is no exception. Something about being in the world of the familiar in a brand new way is awesome to me and I was happy to read this version of Mulan’s familiar tale.

What I Loved:

Mulan’s resourcefulness. I love a character that thinks outside of the box and sees opportunities where others would see blocks. She takes charge and works as hard as any of the men she fights alongside and it shows.

An interesting brotherly dynamic. Wolfgang and his brother are at an opposition. Wolfgang May be younger, but his elder brother is the black sheep of the family. Their shared guilt over a past event affects them both. One far more then the other and it leads the brother down a darker path.

The spirituality. There is a lot of mention of religion in this book and it’s nice to see. It explores sort of how Christianity was in the past and it was unique to think of how it’s changed and remained the same to this day.

What I Wished were different:

The closeness to the original. I felt like this story was a bit too similar to the original Mulan. It was different technically in the setting, but it essentially felt like the same story. It didn’t have enough of a twist to it for me.

Mulan’s and Wolfgang’s back and forth was slightly frustrating. I just wanted them to sit down and communicate clearly to each other how clearly it was they loved each other and they were both so stuck in their own heads that nothing happened most of the time. I think it’s just a personal pet peeve of mine when two people want nothing more then to love and support each other let weird thoughts and fears get in the way. I hate how something small can turn much larger and it prevents action from being taken. It is realistic, but it is frustrating.

No Mushu. This isn’t actually a concern. Having Mushu or some sort of other animal companion is something that makes me happy in general.

All in all:

I enjoyed the story. It had some action, a bit of romance, some lives being saved. It’s a sweet little adventure retelling and it was a very entertaining read.

About the Author:

“Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing’s Best award, and her book, The Healer’s Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.”

Thanks to everyone for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Ransacker: A Review

Ransacker (Berserker Book #2) by Emmy Laybourne

My Rating: 4/5 stars!

Cover Rating: 10/10 I love this cover. It’s so painterly and beautiful. I love how you can clearly tell the emotions on each of the characters faces. It also clearly mixes the Norse mythology and western roots the story has. All in all, it is beautifully and artistically done.

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Publish Date: January 29th, 2019

Number of Pages: 448 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“The gripping, heart-wrenching companion novel to Emmy Laybourne’s much acclaimed historical fantasy Berserker.

Rare powers. Precious metals. A final showdown.

1886. The Hemstads possess supernatural powers bestowed upon their family by the ancient Norse gods. Now Sissel, the youngest at 16, discovers her gift: she is a Ransacker. She can find gold and other precious metals and pull them to her. Hers is an awesome and dangerous gift.

Sissel and her siblings have been living peacefully in a small town in Montana, trying to blend-in and escape the violent events that haunt them, but they’ve all been tricked―the handsome young man courting Sissel is secretly a Pinkerton spy, reporting to the man who wants to control them, the Baron Fjelstad.

Sissel’s beau is not the only one interested in her new talents. She’s also caught the attention of a local mine owner who’s convinced Sissel has a lucky touch when it comes to finding gold. With betrayal lurking around every corner, Sissel must tread carefully. Harnessing her powers could bring great fortune . . . or cause the powerful Baron to come hunting her and her siblings down for once and for all.”

Opening Sentence: “My dearest Stieg, I cannot tell you how glad I was to find your letter of June 10 waiting for me at the address of our contact in Årstad.

Musings:

Ransacker is the empowering sequel to one of my favorite reads of 2018 Berserker. The horror was dialed back in Ransacker to make way for a whole different sort of story. The story of Sissel. The sister who was known for being Nyette free and weak. But the sister who would not be set back by her perceived weaknesses any longer.

What I Loved:

Sissel’s strength. This is 100% Sissel’s story. She grows in this story. She finds her worth. She finds her strength. She decides for herself to take the path that she desires. Sissel shines in Ransacker and I’m all here for it.

The western feel. I am usually completely uninterested in western novels, but this one uses the western setting in a great way to tell a totally unique story and I’m all for it.

The Norse Mythology. I love a good fantasy with magic, but this sort of magic in particular is really intriguing to me. Using your powers eventually leading to some sort of physical punishment like the possibility of hearing loss is intriguing. Especially when the call to use these powers is always very strong.

Love beyond the flaws. McKray the mine owner is a swindler. He is fundamentally a flawed human being. He lied to increase his own wealth and yet Sissel saw more in him. Saw him in his totality and loved him for him completely. Though they did have their struggles love won out. That’s the kind of love that I’d like to share.

The other Beau. I may not hold any love for James, but I do love how Sissel grew from her courtship with him. Sissel knew that she didn’t want this boy. They had a friendship and James always acted like he wanted more (for not the best of reasons) and Sissel eventually chose for herself what she wanted and she did so with great respect for herself and I greatly admire that.

The continuation of Hanne’s story. I like that Hanne had her own little storyline within Sissel’s story. I loved seeing her and Owen together and seeing their relationship evolve more deeply. I always loved them together and seeing them live and grow together was a beautiful addition to the novel.

The imagery that the powers of a Ransacker creates. The way that Sissel connected with metals was so cool. They were characterized with different personalities and gold being of the most brilliance. It created this really beautiful and totally unique layer of description that I adored.

All in all:

Ransacker was brilliant and empowering and beautifully written. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to read it. It’s a worthy sequel to Ransacker with its own very unique vibe. I enjoyed every moment of reading it.

About the Author:

EMMY LAYBOURNE is a Young Adult novelist best known for her Monument 14 series, an internationally best-selling trilogy that has been translated into 9 languages. Her standalone book Sweet won a Junior Library Guild Award, was a YALSA Quick Pick and got a Perfect Ten rating from VOYA. Her latest books, Berserker, and Ransacker tell the story of a family of Norwegian teens with ancient Viking powers and are currently being adapted for television.

Emmy is a former character actress, and is occasionally recognized from her role as Mary Katherine Gallagher’s best friend in the movie “Superstar.” She lives outside New York with her husband, two kids, faithful dog and a flock of seven nifty chickens. Visit her online at www.EmmyLaybourne.com.

Thanks for reading! It’s been ages since I have written a review. I am so glad that the first I write in a while is for such an awesome novel. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

My Goodreads Year In Books: 2018

I started off the year really strongly with all the books I’d been reading. Then as time went on life threw a bunch of changes at me and my reading suffered for it. In the new year, I hope to get back into reading again. In 2018, I did get to read some incredible books. As far as that goes it was a great year. I’m excited to share them with all of you.

I look forward to the new year and what books will be coming my way. It feels good to look back and remember how wonderful it was to read all these books when I got to read them.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

Check out my Twitter and Instagram.

Check out The Candle Caffe website.

Check out some weird daily poetry updates off Wattpad.

-Till next time!

Books of Christmas Future 2018

The future is an enigma. No one can know truly what is to come or what will be. One can only let the universe know their hopes and see if the universe grants what they wish to be.

Maybe the future will grant me a story of lives past

Or maybe the future will be where it’s at

A continuation of a story I started in the past

Or something totally new to keep the imagination something that lasts

Maybe a story to spark love in my heart

Or something where demons live supreme

Maybe something with a bit of tongue in cheek

Or something written a bit uniquely

Maybe something to spark some fear

But you can’t be without a bit of tears

What ever Christmas future brings

I know I’m going to love the adventure they bring

Thanks for reading! Let’s all hope for some great stories in our Christmas futures! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

Check out my Twitter and Instagram.

Check out The Candle Caffe website.

-Till next time!

Looking for Alaska: A Review

Looking for Alaska by John Green

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 I really like this cover. I like the simplicity of it, but I feel like something different could have been done. It does fit with the story, but I feel like there are elements that could have been played with a lot more.

Publisher: Speak

Publish Date: December 28th, 2006

Number of Pages: 221

Received: from a friend

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Before. Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words—and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for Culver Creek boarding school to seek what the dying poet François Rabelais called “The Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including clever, beguiling, and self-destructive Alaska Young, who will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

After. Nothing will ever be the same. 

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A modern classic, this stunning debut marked #1 bestselling author John Green’s arrival as a groundbreaking new voice in contemporary fiction.

Opening Sentence: “The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party.”

*Spoiler review*

Musings:

This book feels like an odd one to review, because I loved it yes, but also it became something I could related to on a level that was deeper then most books I have read, but not in a way that makes it one of my all time favorites. More in a way that makes it a book that will always be remembered and a part of my life’s journey.

Some of you know that I’ve just gone through a breakup. When I first started reading this book it reminded me a lot of the person I was with. It was lighter in the beginning, funny, and sometimes serious too.. but that just kinda felt like who we were as a couple. Then, Alaska died and it broke my heart and as I was reading this quite slowly, my boyfriend broke up with me without a word and became as much a ghost as Alaska. It felt so raw to read this story where two guys look for answers for why she died while I looked for answers I would never find for why he left me. Finishing this book felt like saying goodbye to a guy I was convinced I loved and who loved me for good. In a way it’s helped the healing.

What I Loved:

The Humor. The humor in this book was amazing. It had some of the best one-liners I’ve read and some of the situations that arise with all the pranks make for some grade-A comedy. Except where the prank where a lot of Alaska’s books were destroyed.. that was no joking matter….

The important stuff. Even though this book was funny it also talked about heavy topics, Suicide, depression, grief, religion, and philosophical questions. Looking for Alaska is a hard hitter emotionally, but the humor bits break it all up nicely.

Alaska was a raging feminist. Alaska was a storm. That’s for sure. She was beautiful to Miles. She was the mastermind behind the best pranks and some days you’d talk to her and she’d say something cool and sometimes you’d talk to her and she’d make you feel like you’ve entered the loony bin (at least that’s how I felt like reading her conversations).

Takumi Rap GOD. I know that this is a book and it could have been written and rewritten to make it sound amazing, but I like to think that Takumi’s raps just come from a divine being. He’s just blessed to have the words come easy to him. Also in general I really loved this character. He was so cool to read about.

Everyone had their own thing. Each character had their own gift of sorts. Miles with the last words. Takumi with his rap skills. Alaska with her pranks. And so on. It was really cool to read and see everyone had their own thing that made them unique and in turn it made them memorable and they all had their own spotlight in the story.

Looking for Alaska destroyed me. I thought going into the book that it would end a certain way. I was very wrong. But in a way I was angry that Miles fell for Alaska in the first place. She was dating someone else. That should have been enough for him to stay away, but he didn’t and in so many ways Alaska led him on and because of all this her death destroyed Miles and me along with him. This is where the strongest connection with the pain of my break up lies. The looking back. Trying to hold on to beautiful memories. Realizing that it doesn’t matter why, I have no choice, but to let go. I felt all the emotions Miles felt acutely. But I didn’t have the luxury of knowing if all these emotions were just for what I’d lost or partially because of another even more difficult thing with my dad having had a stroke. Either way, this book will always be in my memories as being part of a journey of once beautiful happiness that led up to a lot of hurt.

Final thoughts:

Looking for Alaska is an amazing read that I highly recommend. This review became really personal, but it really couldn’t be helped with how it was read. This wasn’t the story I thought it would be, but I enjoyed it all the more for it.

About the Author

John Green is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars, and Turtles All the Way Down. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was the 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than 55 languages and over 24 million copies are in print. John is also an active Twitter user with more than 5.4 million followers.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The Ballad of Black Tom: A Review

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

My Rating: 4/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 9/10 Stars! I love this cover! I love the nods to Cthulhu in the tentacles. I love the contrast of the art piece. It’s just Tom holding his guitar looking like he’s about to go do something intense. The only word to describe this cover properly is badass.

Publisher: Tor

Publish Date: February 16th, 2016

Number of Pages: 149

Received: Through the Tor monthly sci-fi/fantasy book club

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?”

Opening Sentence: “People who move to New York always make the same mistake.”

Musings:

The Ballad of Black Tom is a wonderful nod to one of the greatest horror writers of all time H.P. Lovecraft. I haven’t read much of Lovecraft’s work, only The Call of Cthulhu, but I really enjoyed reading that story. It’s a good one. Lovecraft had a talent and passion for horror like no other. Even so, I could recognize the nods to Lovecraft’s style in the way the story was approached. Something not quite fantasy or sci-fi, but could only be explained as otherworldly. Even as it is very much set within the world we live in.

What I Loved:

The writing. Victor created atmosphere with the way he choose his details. He brought you into New York of the time period and it felt like you could smell the smoke. You could imagine the stares. The many white folk growing uncomfortable in the presence of a black man.

The places. I could imagine each place things occurred in my head. It wasn’t too much description, but just enough. When places were revisited more then once you could imagine that place again and it felt like the same place. The description was very well handled.

The story took after Lovecraft in a great way. This story was all it’s own, however it felt like a Lovecraft story. The way the horror was woven in. The way things go from kinda off to very wrong. It felt very much within the brand of Lovecraft and I really enjoyed that.

It kept me in the halloween mood. Even if this story didn’t creep me out. It did feel very horror-esque. It reminded me of what I love most about the season. What horror does. Tom is a man fighting to stay a good man. Just trying to survive, but when someone gets pushed too far you have to wonder what they’ll do when they just don’t care anymore.

Grey morality. I love books where morality isn’t black and white. In life morality isn’t black and white. Humans are the most terrifying of creatures. That is something I will always keep in mind. It isn’t just the actions Tom takes. It’s the actions of others that lead him to make the choices he did. We all like to think we are completely independent, but how you are treated in life is often majorly impactful on how you choose to act. Even that thought can be terrifying.

The guitar case. For some reason the simplicity of Tom carrying this guitar, the mystery of it made me more and more intrigued by the story. It’s not anything grand and yet the connection between it, Tom, his father, and magic is undeniable. I really loved that about this book.

Final Thoughts:

The Ballad of Black Tom is well worth the read. It’s perfect to put you in the mood for this dark holiday season. It’s fantasy, sci-fi, and horror all rolled into one. I think Lovecraft is smiling in his grave with the thought of inspiring such a atmospheric horror novel written in his honor.

About the Author:

Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, four novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver, and The Changeling and two novellas, Lucretia and the Kroons and The Ballad of Black Tom. He is also the creator and writer of a comic book Victor LaValle’s DESTROYER.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shirley Jackson Award, an American Book Award, and the key to Southeast Queens.

He was raised in Queens, New York. He now lives in Washington Heights with his wife and kids. He teaches at Columbia University.

He can be kind of hard to reach, but he still loves you.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments. Let me know any horror recommendations you may have for me. I’d love to put together a list.

-Till next time!

Perks of Being A Wallflower: A Review

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 8/10 weirdly.. I really love this cover. It’s minimalist in a weird almost awkward way, but that really fits Charlie as a person. This cover just makes a lot of sense to me.

Publisher: MTV Books

Publish Date: February 1999

Number of Pages: 213

Received: Ebook gift from Andrew @Groovyglasses

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“Read the cult-favorite coming of age story that takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory. Also a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a funny, touching, and haunting modern classic.

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

A #1 New York Times best seller for more than a year, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (2000) and Best Book for Reluctant Readers (2000), and with millions of copies in print, this novel for teen readers (or “wallflowers” of more-advanced age) will make you laugh, cry, and perhaps feel nostalgic for those moments when you, too, tiptoed onto the dance floor of life.”

Opening Sentence:

” Dear Friend,

I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.”

Musings:

First of all, I can’t start this review without saying that this book was incredibly special to me. Not just because it was generally a really amazing book, but because it is the love of my life’s absolute favorite. I always wanted to read this book, but I’m really glad to not have had the opportunity till now, because reading it in the way I did felt really special. Discussing it all with him has been one of my favorite things ever.

What I Loved:

Charlie’s depression matches mine. Charlie isn’t suicidal. He is sad and quiet, but also doing his best to “participate”. Which is what I do. The thought spiraling he gets and the break downs and the pretty often bits of crying are all things I have. However, I’m lucky that I have a pretty good handle on it on my own. I haven’t had a major breakdown in a LONG time, but I used to get them more often then I’d like to admit.

How far the Wallflower description goes. Charlie is a Wallflower. He witnesses and he listens. He is ignored even in the most intense of circumstances. There is no other word that fits who he is as a person. However, I also really loved that it’s about the Perks of being a Wallflower, because it shows all that. The way Charlie thinks about a lot of things is SO beautiful. Even when he did something that frustrated me. Still, I appreciated a lot of how he saw the world.

This book is incredibly quotable. The one-liners and the thoughts were so beautiful that you can’t help, but become attached to certain lines.

“It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.”

“I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That’s why I’m trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.”

“And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it’s enough. I really do because they’ve made me happy. And I’m only one person.”

“please believe that things are good with me, and even when they’re not, they will be soon enough. And i will always believe the same about you.”

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”


Honestly, this whole review could be just a post about my favorite Perks quotes. I adored just how beautifully this book was written.

The format. I had no idea that Perks was written in letter format before I started it. I loved how it felt very journalistic yet at the same time like Charlie is speaking to you. It made the story come together in a really different and really nice way.

Patrick. My favorite character by far was Patrick. He wasn’t the poster child of good behavior, but he was always himself. While reading, I worried about him a few times.. even over-reacted a bit. He was just so himself and funny and just an overall great person. I really liked his personality. I loved that a secondary character felt like they had a genuine personality.

Perks discusses the important things. Family, relationships, unhealthy relationships, friendship, mental health, sexual assault, etc. This book covers a lot of really great topics. It discusses the things many don’t want to talk about and it does it in a very careful and thought-provoking way.

Final thoughts:

If you haven’t read ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ I highly recommend you do so. It is well-worth the read. In a lot of ways it felt validating for me as someone who suffers from depression in the way Charlie does. I think that I would recommend it to everyone I know based off of that fact alone. I hope that everyone gives this beautiful little book a chance.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Freedom From Netgalley

I am finally.. finally free from my Netgalley obligations!!! That’s right.. completely and totally free!

I do not have a 100% feedback ratio. Because of the way I requested books at one point a lot of the books became unavailable because I took to long to get to them.. I am NEVER over requesting books again. From now on.. it’s one or two at a time.

Look at that 87% feedback rating… feels so good! I feel badly about the 15 novels that fell through the cracks.. some of them I didn’t review because they were problematic and I didn’t want to read them and others because I didn’t manage my time right and no longer had access to those books, but I got to a majority of the books and it feels like a true success!

I’m going to steer clear of Netgalley for a while.. I have quite a few books on my shelves and ebooks that I want to get to. I have some books on my shelves I should have read a LONG time ago, but now I am free to read what I want. Maybe I’ll reread a few things. Who knows? I might request the occasional Netgalley read, but for now my book shelves look really good to me.

This Netgalley clean-up took months! I kinda messed things up for myself when I did my book a day thing for the longest time.. it burned me out. Especially writing reviews all the time. It made me so unhappy with my blog and I just wanted to get back to writing posts the way I used to… daily, but whatever I wanted. It’d be nice to do some tags again. I have a couple of projects I’m thinking of doing. All I know is.. it feels good to be free!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

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-Till next time!

Fresh Ink: A Review

Fresh Ink by Many Authors

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 5/10 it’s an ok cover. A bit generic. I think they could have done something really cool with graffiti art showcasing some really great art of people of all colors, shapes, and sizes. I think it was a missed opportunity.

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Publish Date: August 14th, 2018

Number of Pages: 208 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

Careful–you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written–whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.”

Musings:

Eraser Tattoo by Jason Reynolds

““I love you.” It slipped easily from his lips. Like breathing. Like usual.”

This was a sweet little story. I didn’t realize that eraser tattoos were a thing. It was a pretty little slice of life and I loved it. The writing of this little short story was beautiful. It really drew me in!

Meet Cute by Malinda Lo

“Tamia cocked her head at Nic. “Is gender-flipped Sulu gay too?””

This was another really cute little story about the art of subtle.. yet not so subtle communication. I thought it was cool to see the curiosity of meeting a prospective love and wonder if they were of the same sexuality as you on top of wondering if there is actually any interest in the first place. I also loved that this took place at a comic-con.

Don’t Pass Me By by Eric Gansworth

“He glanced down at my paper. “I see. Hubert. But you know, the assignment wasn’t a self-portrait.” “It was, if you’re white,” I said.”

This story is one of my favorites. I so enjoyed seeing race depicted in this way. A lot of thought went into this. I could see in my mind very clearly what this would have looked like as it played out. Very well-written.

Be Cool for Once by Aminah Mae Safi

“He pulled out a Chap Stick and swiped it across his lips. Like he’d decided to draw shining arrows to all of Shirin’s favorite parts.”

I loved this short story! Shirin and the way she thinks of the guy she’s been crushing on is exactly me. I really loved how her thoughts were written.. with that dramatic flavor of a girl in love. It all put a huge smile on my face.

Tags by Walter Dean Myers

“BIG EDDIE works hard at his tag, which is the letters spelling out smoke sitting on a bed of flames.”

This story was oddly powerful to me. It felt so real. Which is something because it was set in the afterlife. I liked the style of it, written like a play. It reminded me of the sad reality of gang violence. The lives that are lost and for what? It’s a culture of kill or be killed that should never have had to been a part of reality.

Why I Learned to Cook by Sara Farizan

““You don’t apologize for who you are. I’m an old lady now and perhaps that doesn’t mean much in the world we live in, but I exist and I shouldn’t have to be sorry for that. As a woman, you have to know that. Don’t ever apologize for who you are,””

Another super sweet little story. This one made my heart all happy. I loved seeing so much cultural influence in this story. The food and the places it all felt rooted in a experience totally different from my own and I loved that.

A Stranger at the Bochinche by Daniel José Older

“Gather, my children, I have a story.”

I feel like this story could have been made into a much longer one. It was packed with great description and full of adventure. I really liked it!

A Boy’s Duty by Sharon G. Flake

“Slaughtering pigs and wringing chicken necks did as much to chase me toward books as any teacher ever did.”

Again I could see this being a whole book. I really liked the character and I loved seeing how he dreamed. This was a really cool historical set short story!

One Voice: A Something in Between Story by Melissa de la Cruz

“I wanted everyone to see the truth—that even Stanford wasn’t free from this kind of hate.”

I loved this story. It made me feel like going out there and spreading my truth in such a beautiful way. It made me want to stand up and hold hands with people of all kinds and show that in my mind we are all valid, worthy, and wonderful people. Every day I see people of all kinds. The community I live in is so diverse and I think that if the diversity wasn’t there it would be colorless. I would feel empty from the lack of beauty. Hate is out there, but the more we choose to stand against it the more it weakens. That’s what I loved most about this story.

Paladin/Samurai by Gene Luen Yang, Illustrations by Thien Pham

“Aaand I’m Japanese.. hm, I wonder what a Japanese Paladin is called? Wait lemme think…That’s right we’re called Samurai!”

This was such a fun read. It made me laugh and it made me feel happy to see people standing up for what they believed in. It was super short, but I loved the drawings especially the fantasy parts!

Catch, Pull, Drive by Schuyler Bailar

“I used to dream of getting breast cancer.”

This was my favorite one. I can say wholeheartedly that this is the story that pulled at my heartstrings the most. It was so real and so full of the emotions of what it is to live life in the body of someone who you aren’t. That line above tore me up.. I love to hear stories from the trans community. To me they have a struggle that is one of the hardest because they are just trying to show themselves and the world who they are inside and be strong when there are people from all communities and walks of life standing against them. I have mad respect for the people of the trans community they have some of the toughest armor out there.

Super Human by Nicola Yoon

““I won’t hurt you,” he says. Which is ridiculous, because that is the whole point of her being here. He is going to hurt everyone.”

Wow… just wow. I don’t have the words for this one. It gave me chills. This was such a beautiful heartbreaking story. I wanted more.. so much more and yet it was perfect in its length. So.. so good!

Final Thoughts:

Our stories matter. All of our stories matter. I am so tired of living in a world where we look at each other and our difference is all we see. We all feel. We all love. We all are trapped in the same cells of bodies that we must walk with everyday. We all have issues. We all have dreams. Every book store. Every library. Every show. Every movie. Every piece of art. Should be filled with the experiences of all of us. With all of our passions. So many of us feel forgotten by the world. So many of us feel like we don’t matter. But we matter. We all matter. I am tired of living in a world where it’s all about just pure survival. I am tired of living in a world that for many compassion is forgotten. A lot of the time the weight of it all just makes me tired. Yet, still everyday I wake up and I try. I get so angry at some of the stories I read sometimes. Stories where people get so full of themselves that they lack basic respect for fellow human lives. Where they judge like their opinion is the only one that matters. Like how they were wronged is the only thing that matters. It makes me so angry and so so very sad. Sometimes I want to shake people and tell them to open their eyes.. and see.. look at these people.. look at how they dance.. how they laugh.. how they cry.. how they celebrate…how they kiss.. how they hug.. how they scream and shout for what they believe in.. and show them don’t you do the same? Don’t you laugh and cry and celebrate and work and keep taking every day step by step… don’t you see that them living their lives the way they want to does nothing to make your life any less. Reading Fresh Ink reminded me of that chip in my soul that angers for all the wrong. That just wants to see the world be a place where we could all be peaceful and happy. That even if I can’t do much on my own.. I can work to be compassionate. That maybe, if I could inspire one other person to do the same (all the time not just some of the time) that it would all be worth it. We need more anthologies like this. More inspiring works. More words that shake the people who read them and remind them of what they are fighting for.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

-Till next time!