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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.

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Graphic Novel Review| The Wicked + The Divine

 

• Published: Nov. 1, 2014
• Genres: Graphic Novel, Comics, Fantasy
• 144 Pages per Volume
• Goodreads Rating: 3.92
• My Rating: 5.00

Volume One:
Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.

Volume Two:
The second volume of the award-winning urban fantasy series where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. Following the tragic and unjust death of Lucifer, it takes a revelation from Inanna to draw Laura back into the worlds of Gods and Superstardom to try and discover the truth behind a conspiracy to subvert divinity

Working at a bookstore is the worst form of torture. My To-Be-Read list never shrinks; for every one book I finish, three take its spot. It’s especially difficult trying not to buy everything I see. Thankfully, the On The Same Page Secret Sister project helps. Now, whenever I see a book that looks interesting, I put it on my wishlist and keep my hands away from it in hopes that my Secret Sister will send it to me.

In my first box for this round, my Secret Sister sent me the first volume in this series, as well as Sex Criminals. I enjoyed both graphic novels, but The Wicked + the Divine has so many of the things I love: mythology, sassy characters, fighting, foul language and a mystery.

what i liked

The Pantheon
The 12 gods of the Pantheon don’t stick to one mythos. Of the twelve, no one religion reigns. There are gods from Norse, Irish, and Greeks myths, and gods from Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Japanese myths. From what I gathered in the story, any of the gods can be part of the Pantheon – it just depends on whose turn it is. In the beginning of Volume One, we see the previous Pantheon 90 years ago, but aren’t given many clues on who is who.

Their interactions with each other are interesting as well. I would love to see how “Jehovah” interacts with Lucifer. Are the Gods who are enemies in myth also enemies in this life, or do they realize how short their two-year existence is and simply move on from their past? It’s interesting that certain gods can be a three-person god (like the Morrigan and  Urðr), but they manifest differently per god.

The Artwork
I am picky, and I am stubborn. If I don’t like the artwork in a G.N., I usually don’t pick it up. On the other hand, if I’m invested in the story and they switch artists, I’ll keep reading. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the artwork at first. The more the story progressed, the more I began to love the artwork. Each character is distinctly different, with their own facial expressions and quirks. This may sound like a small expectation, but I’ve found with many graphic novels that artists have a hard time giving characters their own looks. (See: The Walking Dead).

did like

The Backgrounds
If there’s anything I love, it’s a story with a good amount of backstory. With the first two volumes of tW+tD, we don’t get a lot of backstory for the gods before they were turned, or even for the last time the pantheon was on earth. I’m sure most of that will be revealed in the next few volumes.

 

final thoughts

I am completely obsessed with this series. I can’t wait to read the next volumes in this series. Have you read The Wicked + the Divine? Did you love it or hate it? What are your opinions on the gods? Let me know in the comments!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Book Review| The Martian – Andy Weir

25739181The Martian – Andy Weir
Published: Feb. 11, 2014 by Crown
Genres: Science Fiction, Fiction, Adventure
Pages: 369
Goodreads Rating: 4.37
My Rating: 4.00

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

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

My father was the first person to bring this book up to me. We were in a bookstore when he saw it and told me that they would be making a movie about it soon, starring Matt Damon. When I saw it was available on Blogging for Books, I immediately requested a copy.

what i liked

The Characters
Mark Watney is such a likable character that you’re rooting for him from the first sentence. There is so much sass from a lot of characters, but nobody gives it more than Mark. It’s so relatable that it wouldn’t surprise me if Andy Weir just sat down and thought, “If it were me on Mars, what would I say?” The first few chapters focus just on Mark, but then we’re introduced to the teams on Earth and in orbit trying to save him. These are the chapters that got me through the book. I needed to know what was going on off of Mars! We see the American people become heavily invested in Mark, to the point that CNN has a show called The Mark Watney Report that focuses on updates on Mark’s time on the red planet. I’ve given my copy of the book to a friend to read, or else I’d give you all the names of these sassy characters. Looks like you’re going to have to read it yourself!

The Realism
This book is full of, “We fucked up,” moments. It’s also full of scientific terminology that made my brain hurt. Weir began working as a computer programmer for at the age of 15, so I’d say he knows a good amount of sciencey stuff to make this as realistic as possible. On the flip side, there were parts of this that didn’t feel as realistic. Mark is on Mars for almost two years, and for the majority of time he has nobody to talk to. I know Mark is supposed to be a very down-to-Earth (heh) guy, but I feel like being completely isolated on a planet with nothing but the same few books and TV shows to keep you company might fuck you up. Mark doesn’t really go through a depressive state, and maybe that’s because he’s so focused on surviving that he doesn’t have the time to? To me, I just expected he would have had more than one moment of, “I am literally alone. Nobody is here, I’m alone in the world and I have nobody to talk to.”

I’m not going to focus on the “Didn’t Like,” section because the only thing I didn’t really like was aspects of the “Realism.” I skipped a lot of the sciencey jargon. I didn’t understand it anyway, and reading it wasn’t going to immediately make me understand it. Then the whole no-depression thing… I just feel like being deserted on a planet would make even the happiest person go through a fit of depression. But that’s just me. What do I know? I’m a book blogger, not a scientist!

I gave The Martian four wormies.

four star

Have you read The Martian? Do you plan on reading it before seeing the movie? Are you excited for the movie? I can’t wait until it comes out. Let me know in the comments below!

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#OTSP Secret Sister Box 1

If you’re a bookworm who frequents Twitter or Instagram, you may have seen a lot of posts tagged #OTSPSecretSister. Created by Alyssa, Amy and Brittany, the Secret Sister Project is kind of like a Secret Santa, except it’s for 6 months out of the year and it’s focused on bookish folk. I first heard about it last year when I kept seeing a friend of mine (Lindsey, since I’m tagging everyone) posting all these pictures to Instragram and Twitter with the same tag. I looked into it and found out when the next sign ups would be, and then I signed up. Each month, you send a box (and some letters or postcards or whatever you want!) to your secret sister and, in return, a different sister sends you a box/cards/goodies. I’m not posting anything at all about the things I’ve gotten for my sister because I really want to try to stay as secret as possible. I usually hate surprises, but I’m not even trying to figure out who my sister is. I decided that I would share the box I received from my sister, partly to brag and partly to give people ideas at great little gifts. Below is a picture of the very first box my Secret Sister sent me!

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If you couldn’t tell by my blog name, I absolutely love flowers and floral designs. If I owned a house, 99.9% of all patterns in said house would be floral because I’m pretty much a 90-year-old woman in the body of a 23 year-old. When I opened my box and saw all the flowery floralness, I let out a huge squeal that scared my husband. I just love all of it. The thing with the pink flowers is actually a solar dancing flower and, unbeknownst to my Sister, I am effing obsessed with these things. Whenever I see them in people’s cars or in a window to a store, they just make me happy. They’re just dancing because they’re in the sun. You go little plastic flowers!

The notepads really come in useful at work. I work at our local Books A Million, so I’m surrounded by books on a daily basis. If something catches my eye, I write the title down so I don’t forget about it. By the end of the day, I have at least three to five scraps of paper to take home with me. Now, I can just use my handy dandy notebook! No more paper scraps for me!

I still need to find a place to put the decorative lights. I would love to put them near our desktop computer, but that’s kind of my husband’s spot and I don’t know how he’d feel about being surrounded by flowers. As for the sunflower, I think I’m going to plant it tomorrow (Aug. 22). I hope the weather is still good for it. Do you think I could keep it in the house? I’ll have to really look at the directions because I want it to last. The sunflower seeds are a healthy snack to go with my PCOS. I felt bad for my sister because it’s hard enough for me to try to eat/snack healthy, so buying stuff for another person based on the disease is a pain in the ass, I’m sure. She’s been wonderful and extremely supportive, though. I’ll probably scarf them down this weekend!

I can’t wait for the weather to get just a little chillier so I can wear my new scarf. It’s been insanely humid lately, so wearing anything more than a t-shirt is completely off the table. Once it cools down, I’ll be able to showcase my awesome flowery scarf!

 Go Set a Watchman was at the very bottom of the box and I was so damn excited for it! When I went for my BAM interview, I saw that I could get 40% off with my membership. I held off because I didn’t want to spend the money yet, figuring I’d be back anyway. I’m so glad I never bought it because it is such a great gift to receive. I have at least three books to read before I can get to GSaW, but I am so excited to read it. I’m terrified, because To Kill a Mockingbird was one of my favorite high school reads. I’m just going to take it as a completely different book and not let it ruin or change my opinion about characters I loved as a kid.

The Secret Sister Project is great for enforcing a book buying ban on yourself. After getting my box, I realized that I have a horrible problem with overbuying books. Now I’ll be able to refrain because I know my sister is doing her best to make these boxes great, and I don’t want to ruin it. Unfortunately, it’s so hard trying not to spend money on your own sister! I keep going over the $20 mark! Now with my new job, I’ll be able to save a good amount with my employee discount. Woo!

Have you heard about the Secret Sister Project before? If not, are you totally interested in it now?! Let me know in the comments below!

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