Aside

Book Review| Uprooted by Naomi Novi

uprooted-covuprooted2

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

I received this book from my OTSP Secret Sister, though I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. It’s always caught my eye when I walked into a bookstore, but I can be choosy when it comes to my fantasy books. I always heard great things about it, though, and now I know why. It took me a few days to really get into, but once school ended, I was really able to give myself to the book completely.


thoughtstest-2thoughts-2
thoughts-3


 

 

uprooted-vocab-vol-3


archetpyes-2
The Woods: Novik uses The Woods in the common archetypal way: they’re the source of evil, a place where people go in but don’t come back out. Within literature, forests are places of the unknown. Nobody knows the origins of Novik’s Woods, or why the woods are magical. Woods are usually a place of transformation, which is a recurring theme between many different characters.
The “unknown” part of this can also be attributed to The Dragon, since the townsfolk know little to nothing about it.

Agnieszka: Taken by The Dragon, we soon find out she’s actually a witch, but she finds the spells The Dragon tries to teach her just don’t fit well with her. She’s your typical “main character” of our time; she isn’t beautiful or pretty, she’s constantly dirty; she doesn’t find herself “special”; she defies The Dragon often and can be pretty temperamental. However, being our main character, she easily fits into The Hero archetype, specifically that of The Initiate.

The Dragon: A powerful magician whose job is to protect many towns and provinces, his dislike for Agnieszka is immediate. He is constantly demeaning her; he scowls at her dirty clothes, yells at her when she can’t figure out a spell (and yells when she does), and he finds comfort in the orderly way magic is – until Agnieszka shows him otherwise. The best archetype I could find for him was the Evil Figure with the Ultimately Good Heart. We are introduced to The Dragon as a thief of young women, but the more we read, the more we learn about him.

Kasia: The ignored “chosen” girl, Kasia is constantly spoken about in high regards. Agnieszka finds her to be almost perfect; Kasia is braver, prettier, more talented, smarter – the list goes on. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER However, she’s captured by The Wood and is possessed by the evil within it. Before being taken by The Wood, she would fit more into the Platonic Ideal archetype. In fact, for most of the story she would. The only time she would fit into another archetype, The Creature of Nightmare, is when she’s possessed. The character who embodies the Creature of Nightmare throughout the book would be Queen Hannah/ The Wood-Queen.


final-thoughts

Uprooted was an enchanting novel filled with fascinating, complex characters, each one completely different from the next. The writing alone was spellbinding; each sentence pulled me deeper and deeper into the world Novik created. While there were a few city names I found difficult to pronounce, Novik kept the general world knowledge as a need-to-know basis. No map was needed, nor was a glossary. I did end up reading over the words used for spells rather than trying to sound them out; I know I would just butcher them, so I didn’t even bother.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, books that aren’t parts of trilogies, books with a hint of romance, complex characters and storylines that keep you questioning until the very end, I would highly recommend Uprooted.

siggy

Aside

Book Review| Me Before You – JoJo Moyes


Me-Before-You-book-cover-Jan-12-p122.jpg
Published: Dec. 31, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Chick Lit
369 pages
Goodreads Rating:  4.30
My Rating: 5.0

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

I really only picked this up because the movie was coming out and I’d enjoyed other JoJo Moyes books in the past. Once I saw the trailer for the movie, I was a little put off. I still have yet to see the movie, but Emilia Clarke’s acting in the minute-long trailer just seemed very over the top.

I needed a good romantic book to help get me through the beginning of my husband being away due to his military career. I was completely unprepared for how much I would love this book.

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS MAY BE AHEAD

what i liked

Louisa’s Family Dynamic

Louisa’s family is very typical of a lot of families. There is a lot of love, and some repressed anger. There are secrets and intense moments of truth. Louisa’s parents, as much as they want to support her, need her to support them. It says a lot that somebody living in the United States can relate to the Clark family’s financial problems; we all know how one bad economy can affect the world.

This family was very authentic in everything they did. From the parents choosing a favorite child (even if they won’t admit it), to Louisa and Treena’s constant back-and-forth, this was one of the few literary families that didn’t feel too happy, too sad, or too melodramatic.

The Traynor Family (or,more specifically, Mrs. Traynor)
If there is anybody misunderstood in this book, I think it’s Mrs. Traynor. She loves her son the way most mothers love their sons; completely, if not a little too much. There is a constant feel of tension between the two, as if she has babied him all his life and he resents her for it. I picture the two of them at his college graduation, and she’s licking her thumb to wipe a smudge of dirt off of him or to tame a cowlick.

She is used to being the matriach, the person in charge of the family.With Will taking that power from her, I think she felt very lost. For the first time in a long time, she has no control over what is going on with her family. I think that’s why she was harsh and cold towards Louisa.

Will & Louisa

I mean, obviously. Their relationship was absolutely amazing. Starting off with an awkward meeting and continuing on until Louisa decides she is done dealing with Will’s nonsense. I think I really connected with this relationship because it wasn’t an immediate attraction. It took most of the book for the two of them to realize their feelings for each other. The wole wedding scene was so frustrating for me because all I wanted was for them to kiss and reveal their feelings. Unfortunately they were both too afraid and unsure of the other that nothing happened.

did like

The Ending

This isn’t entirely true. I liked the way the book ends. I think it’s great because it isn’t a typical happy ending. The thing I didn’t like was how quick it ended. I wish that there had been more time between the island scene and the Switzerland scene. It felt like so much was left unsaid between them and, as somebody who loves to talk and talk and talk about their feelings, it killed me.

Louisa’s Reaction on the Island

My god, girl. First, how the hell are you going to leave a man who can’t walk ON A BEACH with a lot of SAND?! IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. I get being hurt and upset and whatever, but poor, poor Will. Or, as my Spanish I class taught me, p-p-p-pobre Cenicienta. I have never felt such sadness for a character before. He depends on Louisa for so much, and he knows how much this will hurt her, but he can’t lie to her or lead her on. He knows his mind and he knows his heart. All I can picture is this poor man confined to a wheelchair, watching the woman he loves walk away from him as he tries to talk to her about this. He’s calling out for her and she’s just ignoring him. It’s not as if he can run to her, scoop her into his arms and tell her how wrong he was.

I completely understand the hurt and pain Louisa is feeling here, but my empathy lies more with Will at this point.

The Beginning

It’s not that I didn’t like the beginning so much as it just didn’t suck me in. Until Will became a larger part of the story, I felt like I was slowly trudging along. I’m not exactly sure why I could not get into it at first. Maybe it was just the whole angry, despondent feel of the book after Louisa lost her job and can’t find a new one. I am very glad I pushed through the beginning because this book literally brought tears to my eyes. final thoughts

Concerning the Controversy

I am not in any way shape or form trying to say how people should feel. When the movie first came out, a lot of people were angry and called it something along the lines of, “suicide porn.” People were angry because they felt the book and the movie showed that handicapped people were better off just killing themselves. I don’t think that was what JoJo Moyes was trying to convey at all.

As somebody who has dealt with depression and anxiety for years, I have come to realize that you can’t save everyone. Sometimes people are beyond help, some people don’t want help, and sometimes people don’t realize help is out there. To me, Will did not want the kind of help Louisa and his family wanted to give him. I am a huge proponent of assisted suicide. If a person is in their right state of mind, is in pain or is terminally ill, who are we to deny them the dignity of death before they lose themselves?

All in all, I loved this book. I might give it a 4.5 rather than the full 5, but it’s still a book I would recommend.

Aside

Book Review| I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai

malalaPublished: October 8, 2013
Genres: Nonfiction, Biography, Memoir
327 Pages
Goodreads Rating: 4.01
My Rating: 5.0

Synopsis from Goodreads

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

Since the fateful shooting back in 2012, Malala has been one of my idols. The shooting did not stop her message, but gave her a larger platform to spread her message. Malala doesn’t advocate for girls alone; her goal in life is to see that all children have the opportunity to go to school.

I’m not going to post a “Did/Not Like” section because, as a biography, I don’t think that’s a fair assessment. Instead, I’d like to just give a general rundown of what I thought with a few quotes in there that really stood out to me.

Prologue

When Malala describes her attacker as, “a young man in light-colored clothes,” I was surprised. tumblr_mig49zyqzJ1rzlgoko1_500 I always pictured the man to be in typical Taliban garb – black clothes, terrifying looking, just like in the comics posted on the internet (right). It never occurred to me that, to Malala, the young man on the bus was not a threat. The Taliban did not rush the bus, screaming, “Allahu Akbar,” and threatening everyone. After the shots were fired, the bus driver immediately rushed them to the hospital, where Malala’s months in the hospital began.

I’ve always had issues when people decide to take artistic license with history. Obviously some are “necessary” for the audience of the story, like Maus. Even that stuck to history in  a way that a younger audience could appreciate. Art Spiegelman, the author of Maus, didn’t shy away from the harsh realities his father faced during the Holocaust, and it didn’t sugar coat or intensify scenes for shock value. This comic, however, seems to be perpetuating a stereotype about terrorists – that you’ll know one when you see one. The truth is, you won’t.

 

Chapter 10
“My father said the Taliban presence in Swat was not possible without the support of some in the army and the bureaucracy. The state is meant to protect the rights of its citizens, but it’s a very difficult situation when you can’t tell the difference between state and non-state and can’t trust the state to protect you against non-state.
Our military and ISI are very powerful and most people did not like to voice these things publicly, but my father and many of his friends were not scared…. ‘A state is like a mother, and a mother never deserts or cheats her children.'”

Malala’s father is a constant source of reason in her life. Had she been born to different parents, her life could have changed in so many ways. It’s passages like the one above that show how much her father saw through the false promises of these militants and his own government. Living in the U.S., it’s so hard to understand how absolute the corruption is in countries like Pakistan. If more people around the world knew about it and were able to do more, it would help the people of Pakistan (and countries like it) more than wars would.

final thoughts

The more I read this book, the more I realized that education is the key to stopping terrorism. Terrorism is an idea, just like racism is. You cannot fight ideas physically; no matter how many people you kill or bombs you drop, you won’t be able to stop people’s thoughts. However, if you were to fully educate people against the ideas and ideals of terrorism, you wouldn’t just educate one person – you would educate whoever that person educated, be it their children, siblings, friends, or family members.

Malala has been an idol of mine for years, but only after reading her book did I begin to truly understand her message. This is a book I believe everyone should read. If you really want to help the people under the control of terror, you need to understand why terror came into power in the first place.

siggy

Aside

Book Review| I Am Legend – Richard Matheson

61aUlQj4PSL• Published: January 21, 1999
• Genres: Horror, SciFi
• 160 pages
• Goodreads Rating: 
4.06
My Rating: 4.00

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville’s blood.

By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive like this?

I first picked up I Am Legend when I was about 14 years old. I wanted to read a vampire book where the vampire were actually monsters instead of love interests, and had heard good things about Legend. Unfortunately, it was a bit too “old” for me at that age, so I put it on the back burner. I’ve owned the book for a good bit now, and just recently decided I really needed to just read it. It isn’t very long, and I needed a good Halloween book.

what i liked

The Book is 1000x Better Than the Movie

This is not an exaggeration. I wasn’t a big fan of the movie to begin with since I knew the antagonists were originally vampires. I had read the first few pages before the movie came out, so I was expecting vampires the whole time. When I saw that it was badly-done CGI zombies, I became completely uninterested. I honestly can’t see how they could say the movie was based on the book at all because 90% of it is different. In the book, Neville is an alcoholic who doesn’t take care of his body. He is completely alone. He is a war veteran, not a doctor. His family dies after being infected by the disease. The vampires can talk to him and try to coax him out of the house. The book is so much more intense than the movie and I loved it.

Alternative Future (SPOILERS BELOW)
The book was published in ’99 but takes place in the mid-70’s. The emergence of a new society – this one ruled by vampires – gives us a completely new idea of the future. We know they view their rising as a revolution, so it makes me wonder whether or not they’ll find peace soon or later in their evolution. We’re never introduced to their leader, so we have to rely on our own thinking to imagine what happens after Neville’s death.

words learned

• Prostration (noun)
1. extreme mental or emotional depression or dejection
2. extreme physical weakness or exhaustion: heat prostration.

• Desultory (adjective)
1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.

• Maudlin (adjective)
1. tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental: a maudlin story of a little orphan and her lost dog.
2. foolishly or mawkishly sentimental because of drunkenness.

Reveries (noun)
1. a state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing: lost in reverie.
2. a daydream

final thoughts

If you’re looking for a short, creepy book, I am Legend is for you. Definitely try to pick up a copy that has some of Matheson’s short stories too – they’re worth it. He Who Kills and Dance of the Dead were my two favorites. I’m so spoiled by epilogues that I wish Legend had one, but that’s really just nit-picking.

Have you read I am Legend or any other books by Richard Matheson? Do you have any favorite Halloween books, or books to read around Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!

signature

Aside

Book Review| Queen of Shadows – Sarah J. Maas

79329_originalQueen of Shadows – Sarah J. Maas
Published: September 1, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Pages: 648
Goodreads Rating: 4.69
My Rating: 4.5

The queen has returned.
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past.
She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.
The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

What can I even say? I sped through this series in about four days. I finished this book in a day. I stayed up until three in the morning finishing this because I simply could not put it down. This post will be filled with spoilers. Continue reading at your own risk.

I don’t like to review books immediately after finishing them. I like letting them sit so I have time to let the hype wear down. It lets me review honestly. Let’s start with what I liked.

Note: I will refer to Celaena as Aelin through the post.

what i liked
New/Revised Characters
We see a lot of familiar faces in this book. Two in particular stood out to me: Lysandra and Kaltain. Both were rivals of Aelin when she was younger, and they become heroes in their own right. Lysandra, who was so close to paying off her debts to the brothel that took her in, saved a young girl from experiencing that same fate. She does so much more by the end of the book, but that is the one thing that came across as completely selfless. When we learn about her past, her future actions are a sort of vengeance against those that took away magic. Helping a child escape the fate of courtesan is the bravest thing she ever did.

Kaltain, on the other hand, is barely more than a human shell throughout the book. It isn’t until the end that she is finally able to inflict her own vengeance. I can’t remember who exactly she burns alive, but I wish she had been able to tear that whole place down. I can’t even imagine the horrible things she’s had to endure. It feels as if she deserved to inflict more pain than she did.

New Ships
I was fully on the Chaolena ship. I have since jumped ship and fully support Aelin/Rowan. I don’t even know what their celebrity name would be, I’m so new to the ship. I know a lot of people who read GoT who were completely against Aelin/Rowan and now they ship it. QoS completely erases any idea that Chaolena will be a thing again. I’m okay with this. They both grew as people, and were no longer compatible. It happens all the time with people.

I liked the ships introduced to us. Caol and Nesryn, Dorian and Manon, Lysandra and an endless amount of possibilities. Right now, I wouldn’t mind seeing Lysandra with Aedion, but who knows. I am most excited for this Dorian/Manon ship because MANON. IMMORTAL WITCH + LOVE + MORTAL = FEELS. SO MANY FEELS.

Though this doesn’t go with “ships,” I did love the character development of so many people. Manon, as well as her 13, grow so much in this book. They go from mindlessly listening to orders to questioning these orders. So many character growths. So good.

did like
The Ending
Before you throw anything at me, let me clarify: There were only a few things I didn’t like. Mostly, it just felt too clean to me. Everything worked out for once. I fully expected somebody to die, and was a little disappointed that they didn’t. Of all the times for somebody to die, this would have been the best time for it. Do I want characters to die? Of course not. Do I expect them to when the book centers on a war? Yes. The whole ending just felt like all the loose ends were tied up nicely, save for the one or two needed to continue the series. Now that the king has been taken care of, I don’t even know who Aelin will fight against now. Is it her kingdom against this Wyrd-kingdom? Maybe.

Have you read Queen of Shadows yet? Do you plan on it? What did you think about it if you did? Let me know in the comments below!

signature

Top Ten Tuesday| Childhood Favorites

top ten tues2

This week, I wanted to focus on books I read as a kid and loved. So many of them were critical in forming my love of reading, as well as determining which books I’d try as an adult. These range between ages 9-13. Most of these I read between elementary school and middle school, with one or two being in the first  years of high school. PS. Please don’t judge me for the books I read as a child. I didn’t know better.

10. Twilight by Stephanie Meyers

twilight

Yes, my dear friends, I absolutely loved this book. I was always searching for good supernatural fiction, so when I came across Twilight, my 12-year-old brain didn’t know what to do. I was a weird kid in middle school in the sense that I was the only kid who didn’t own any Abercrombie and Fitch, so I really identified with awkward Bella Swan. At this age I didn’t realize just how toxic and abusive the Bella/Edward relationship was. I just saw an awkward girl being showered with attention and thought it was the best love story ever written. (Until Breaking Dawn. I hated that one).

9. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

angus thongs and full frontal snogging

For some reason, I just really liked these books. Georgia Nicolson was funny, and her life was more interesting than mine. The first time I had ever heard of the “pencil test” (you stick a pencil under your boobs and, if it stays, you’re considered to have big breasts) was in these books, as was a few other moments of adolescence. I probably read these at 13 or 14, right when I was really learning the ins and outs of sex. I never finished the series, but it never got that intense in these books. A little heavy petting I think, but it definitely taught me a few things my school didn’t.

8. Goosebumps by R. L. Stine
goosebumps

Specifically, the book above. I read this book at least twenty times. I loved it! The whole “choose-your-adventure” thing had me hooked. If I died, I could just flip back and nobody would know. It felt like I was cheating by not starting the book over, but nobody stopped me. I was invincible! These are the original roleplaying games. Of course, being Goosebumps, they had a hint of creepiness to them. One wrong chapter and you’d be turned into a vampire or fall down a laundry shaft and never seen again.

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry
The-Giver
I read The Giver in elementary school (5th grade, I think) and I loved it. It was completely different than anything else I had ever read. This was really the first dystopian novel I read. Some parts were confusing to me as a kid. When I realized Jonas could only see in black or white, or how animals didn’t exist in this world, I was so confused. What could happen in the world to make animals completely disappear? At some point, Jonas stops taking these pills they were forcing the children to take, and he then starts feeling the emotions once repressed by the pills. It took me a few years (and a re-reading) to realize at one point, Jonas probably has a boner. It’s a book one can read at a young age and re-read as an adult to fully appreciate.

6. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
diary of anne grank
In fourth grade, we started learning about the Holocaust. Depending on your reading level, you had specific books you could choose from. I really wanted to read Maus, a graphic novel based on the Holocaust but uses mice and cats instead of people. Unfortunately for me, my reading level was too high and I wasn’t allowed to choose from that pile of books. Instead, I read Anne Frank’s diary. I had never felt so much from a non-fiction book before. Anyone who has read it knows just how powerful it is. Anne Frank, at such a young age, was a powerful writer who could control words in ways adults rarely can. This was probably the first book that made me experience what we know as “the feels”. I don’t remember if I knew her fate when I began the book, but I had hoped with all my might that she made it through in the end. When I found out she didn’t, it took a lot to keep the tears in.

5. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
scary-stories-to-tell-in-the-dark-covers
I
‘ve talked about these books before, and I’ll probably talk about them again. Of all the books I ever checked out in my elementary school’s library, I checked these out the most often. I used to sit on my babysitter’s steps and read these out loud to the younger kids and try to scare them. They used to play along and scream when they were meant to, but I don’t think it ever really scared them. The stories weren’t the scary part; it was the pictures inside that were really terrifying. They still give me the creeps. I can’t wait to have children so I can share these horrifying books with them.

4. Most of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ books
atwater rhoades
So there are only two books shown above, but I read most of the Hawksong series. I stopped after Wyvern, I think. Atwater-Rhodes is the reason I started reading supernatural fiction. In a small town with a limited amount of YA books in our library, hers were the ones I kept going back to. I loved the stories, and I really loved the romance. Hawksong was such an insane idea to me at a young age; two creatures, enemies by nature, are forced to marry? How is the fabric of nature not ripped in two?! Then, of course, we have the vampire/demon/witch stories that follow. It’s a shame these books never received the attention Twilight did because I truly believe they’re better. (Though I haven’t read them in 10 years so I could be very wrong).

3. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
series of unfortunate events

I am fairly certain this was the first series I actually read on my own. If I had been old enough to know what a fandom was, I would have been 100% committed to the Series of Unfortunate Events fandom. There was nothing I disliked about this series. It was the first book series I found where there was no happy ending. Ever. How could I expect there to be when the name is literally about unfortunate events? I was an optimistic child I guess. I just always expected the parents to be alive, that they were hiding somewhere, waiting to collect the Baudelaire children. I never finished the series, so it’s possible there was a happy ending after all.

2. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
harry potter
Of course HP was going to be in here. Harry Potter was the first series I read, but I read a lot of it with the kids I was babysat with. I remember when I borrowed Goblet of Fire from the library at school as a fourth grader, I thought, “There is no way I’m going to be able to finish this by the time it’s due!” I finished that book in a week. I was so impressed with myself. Remember how big that thing was?! And I, at age 9, finished it in a week. I had to push myself to finish OotP and HBP. I don’t really remember reading DH even though I know I did. I guess, as I grew up, they lost their magic to me. I tried re-reading them a few years ago and couldn’t finish GoF. I was halfway through the book and hadn’t made it to Hogwarts yet! It’s a series that was magical to read as a kid, but just didn’t hold up as an adult.

1. Alanna or The Song of the Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce
alanna

Alanna was the first heroine I fell in love with. She switched places with her twin brother to become the first woman warrior . During this time, she fights demons, immortals, king-killing cousins, falls in love with both a prince and a thief, and does all of this while being constantly sure and unsure of herself all the time. This was the first series I ever read that actually talked about Alanna hiding her identity realistically: she had to wear a binder for her breasts and had a mother-like woman help her whenever her period appeared. Once Alanna began having sex, the same woman would teach her a tonic that acted like a contraceptive. Pierce does a spectacular job at showcasing the difference between a toxic relationship (Alanna x Jonathan) and a healthy relationship (Alanna x George). If I could go back in time, I would have smacked my hands away from Twilight and put in more Tamora Pierce books.

There you have it folks! My top 10 childhood favorites. What are some of your favorites? Were you shocked at any of mine? Did any of yours make the list? Let me know in the comments!

signature

Aside

Book Review| I Take You – Eliza Kennedy

22237470I Take You Eliza Kennedy
Published: May 5th 2015 by Crown
Genres: Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Humor
Pages: 320
Goodreads Rating: 3.00
My Rating: 4.00

Meet Lily Wilder: New Yorker, lawyer extraordinaire, blushing bride. And totally incapable of being faithful to one man.
Lily’s fiancé Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and has no business getting married. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights—and mornings, and afternoons—of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet.

I received this book from Blogging from Books in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t even know how I picked this book out. It isn’t extremely popular on the Twittersphere or Tumblr, so I don’t think it was on my TBR shelf. It wasn’t even a book I would typically read, even though I do like contemporary fiction. The last “non-typical” book I read, that I thought was contemporary fiction, was Stephanie Evanovich’s Big Girl Panties, which I hated. The beginning of BGP had such promise, but the ending was awful. To say I was hesitant about this would be an understatement. I should not have been worried, because I loved it.

Spoilers will be in this review. Read more at your own risk. Spoilers will be following this sentence. You have been warned.

In the beginning of the book, I was not a big fan of Lily’s. She is completely unfaithful to her fiance, Will, and can be extremely unapologetic about it. I am all for sexually active women, but once you add another person’s feelings into the mix, that’s when I start to have an issue. Will is described as perfect multiple times. He has three PhDs, he is smitten with Lily, and he’s all the good keywords: sweet, dorky, kind, et cetera. When our main character is cheating on him and leading him towards inevitable pain, I’m not excited about her. She’s hilarious and intelligent and a complete feminist, but that does not make her a good person. The good news is she knows she’s an asshole and wants to change. I loved Lily by the end of this. Her thoughts on everything, from marriage to her own life, is that of somebody is deep denial. She ignores her past because she doesn’t think it can affect the future, but that is exactly what happens. Lily can be fierce and emotional, strong and weak, lovable and detestable all at once, and it is so great to read about a character that I’m not even sure I like half the time.

Her best friend, Winifred “Freddy”, is one of few women supporting characters who isn’t written as catty or overly supportive. Is she extremely supportive? Yes, but she doesn’t kiss Lily’s ass the way others might. When Lily wants to drink all day, Freddy is there to keep up. When Lily decides she’s had enough to drink and thinks, “Hey, let’s do some lines of coke in the hotel bathroom!”, who’s there with some cocaine? Good ol’ Freddy! She is the epitome of a best friend, who will be there whenever you need her, who won’t steer you wrong but will let you find your own way.

 Lily’s four mother-figures (one biological, two step-mothers and one grandmother) provide an interesting look at parenting.  All three wives are divorced from Lily’s father, so they have all felt the pain that comes with a failed relationship. They all love differently, and they are all convinced that Lily has no right to marry anyone. I don’t know why Kennedy decided to add two extra motherly figures, unless to show just how screwed up marriage can really be.

I didn’t really fall into the story until halfway through it. There were some characters I just didn’t trust, and I wanted to know what big secret made Lily leave Florida. Finding out about the dynamite, Teddy and Lee made me softer towards Lily, but not too much. While I still felt like she shouldn’t be sleeping around if she was trying to marry somebody, I didn’t trust Will at this point. He seemed too good to be true, one of Lily’s bridesmaids was disappearing all the time and, at this point, Lily had slept with Will’s boss. There was no way Will wasn’t going to find out about her infidelities; it was just a matter of when.

The feminism in I Take You was absolutely fucking great. First, Lily is a lawyer. Not a paralegal or a receptionist; no, her job is lawyer. Second, she likes having sex. She has no apologies for this, nor should she need one (though, to be fair, I feel like an apology should have been made had Will not been doing the exact same fucking thing but whatever). Freddy and Lily hate the word “slut”, calling it “the S-word,” and even dislike the use of the word “cunt.”The two talk often of double standards, which is a huge theme in this book.

When Lily finds out that Will has been cheating on her the same way she’s been cheating on him, she loses it. She calls him a whore and has a miniature rage-fest, where she is filled with jealousy. At one point, a few hours after the revelation, Will makes a comment like, “Why was it okay when I wasn’t enough for you, but not when you weren’t enough for me?” Similar sentences like this are thrown at Lily, who tries so hard to make excuses for her own behavior. She can’t, of course, and comes to face that.

I Take You always has great little speeches about sex, how humans feel about sex, how we’re conditioned to think about sex and if monogamy is even really meant for us. It actually had me thinking about whether monogamy really was the best thing for people. Personally, I think it’s subjective. Some people can’t deal with the thought of being with one person for the rest of their lives, and some can’t bear to be parted with their significant others. I don’t think we are biologically conditioned one way or the other. I also don’t agree with Lily’s mothers when they said that infidelity is inevitable in marriages. Maybe I’m a romantic, and maybe I’m naive. I like to hope that, as a faithful spouse, my spouse will return the favor and be faithful back. If not, we’ll have to break his dick off. Sorry, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

I definitely give this book four wormies and suggest it to any self-proclaimed feminist or feminist-supporters. Read on, ladies!

four star

Have you read I Take You? Do you plan on reading it? Let me know in the comments!

signature