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Book Review| Me Before You – JoJo Moyes


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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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Top Ten Tuesday| Childhood Favorites

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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

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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

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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
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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
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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
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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
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‘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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Top Ten Tuesday| Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by our lovely people at The Broke & the Bookish, is all about the top 10 authors I’ve read the most books from. I’ve tried to list the authors I either have read the most from or plan on reading the most from (because I love their work and just want to read all of it). There is no real order here either! On to the top 10!

10. J.K. Rowling

harry potter

As a child of the ’90s, I loved Harry Potter as a kid. I read the 734-page Goblet of Fire when I was in the fourth grade in about a week. I was so proud of myself for that. I’ve been toying with the idea of reading some of Rowling’s “adult” books, but I’m not a huge fan of mysteries in general.

9. George R. R. Martin

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I love fantasy. Love it. How could I not love Martin’s whole A Song of Ice and Fire series? Of course, I do find some books harder to read than others, and I admit that I will skip some chapters. I can’t wait to finish the series though. Dany all the way!

8. Gillian Flynn

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I’ve only read Sharp Objects and Gone Girl, but I own Dark Places. I’m reading one book before I start it but I want to read it before I see the movie. I had heard such good reviews about Gone Girl but didn’t really think it’d be as good as it was. Flynn writes each character so well that I constantly have conflicting emotions while I read.

7. Joe Hill

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I am a huge fan of Joe Hill. I found out about him because of Nos4a2. When I realized what it said (Nosferatu, for anyone having a hard time), I felt like I needed to read this book. The title alone was genius. I think I finished it in three days. Heart-Shaped Box is my favorite horror novel, and probably my favorite Hill novel. It’s the only book to really scare me.

6. Sarah J. Maas
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I am always more than a little hesitant when it comes to YA fiction. I’ve been let down before and just hate not being able to finish a book. When Throne of Glass was suggested to me, I decided to give it a shot. A story about a female assassin? It can’t be that bad, right? SO RIGHT. I read The Assassin’s Blade after the first three, so I can say without a doubt that Maas is the one author who I’ve read the most from (if you count all the novelas that go into TAB).

5. Kristina McMorris
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McMorris is my favorite WWII author. I really just can’t read enough of her work. These are some of the books that have made me teared up as an adult which, frankly, rarely happens. Her stories are heart wrenching and the characters are so easy to fall in love with.

4. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
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These I read as a teenager. The picture doesn’t include In the Forest of the Night or Demon in my View, two books I loved as a kid. Hawksong, though, was my ultimate. I loved the idea of two completely different cultures coming together to end a centuries-long war, and I really loved the two main characters.

3. Peter Clines

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As a fan of both superheroes and zombies, it doesn’t get much better than Peter Clines’ Ex-Heroes series. Clines has created a world filled with wonderful characters that I can’t get enough of. Stealth, a supermodel-turned-assassin, is like Batman + Wonder Woman, but with a much more relatable past (as a woman, at least). I really hope Clines writes another Ex-Heroes book, and soon!

2. Jodi Picoult
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My husband thinks Jodi is my favorite author. While I do enjoy her books a lot, they can be a little too emotional for me. I like emotional stories, but there is always a deep pain in Picoult’s books. I don’t think I’ve ever read two Picoult books one right after the other because I just can’t take the emotional roller coaster they put me on. I usually need a good fluffer in the middle.

  1. Sarah Addison Allen
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When it comes to “Magical Realism,” Sarah is your girl. Each book as a hint of magic in it, just enough to make you believe that it could be possible. Her books often remind me of the movie Practical Magic in that it’s set in our world, focusing on people who happen to have a little magic in their life. Allen writes beautifully, and I am often transported to this world she has created, wanting nothing more than to be able to experience these subtle magics at work.

So those are my top 10! Do any of them match any of yours? Do you plan on picking up any of the ones I have here? Let me know in the comments!

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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!

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Top 10 Tuesdays| Fictional Bookworms

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by the lovely people at The Broke & the Bookish, is all about fictional bookworms! I’ll admit: sometimes adding a bookworm into the story feels like a cop out. As a reader, of course I want to identify with the characters; it seems like the easiest character trait to give them is to be as much of a bookworm as I am. The bookworms in my list are all characters I actually enjoy, who love books as much as I do.

10. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
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Harry Potter came out when I was five, but I didn’t read it until I was in the third or fourth grade. How could I not love the only female lead until Luna’s appearance? Hermione was everything I wanted to be: brave, smart, sassy, and she didn’t let the boys boss her around. Hermione is and will always be one of the best role models for young girls to read about.

9. Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons
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Show me a person who doesn’t like this little feminist/bookworm/activist and I will show you a liar. I don’t think I really paid attention to The Simpsons until I was in my tween years, and I quickly fell in love with Lisa. She often felt ostracized by her intelligence and, while I am not saying I’m a genius, most people from my hometown probably don’t know the sun is a star.  Bless their hearts. (I’m actually surprised I haven’t used this line on one of the multiple alcoholics running around that town). Lisa is one of few female characters who is boisterous in her beliefs and extremely unapologetic. We need more Lisa Simpsons in the world.

8. Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones
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Everyone’s favorite half-man couldn’t be more right. Tyrion, who often makes jokes about his sad existence, is a loved character because he will not sugar-coat things. He is blunt and crude, but extremely intelligent and witty. I know a lot of bookworms like this in real life. Martin’s books are successful because he writes his characters as if they are real people and he’s just copying their dialogue.

7. Daria Morgendorffer, from Daria
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I didn’t watch Daria a lot. It was just barely before my time, and now I only have hulu and Netflix so I can’t catch any reruns on TV (unless it’s available through one of those services, in which case I need to get on it). I do know that had I been a teenager in the ’90s (and not born in ’92), I would have been a Daria kind of girl. To be fair, I still was. I was a royal bitch  an angsty thing from ages 11-17. I had a hard time figuring out who I was as a kid. One part of me wanted to be like my mom, who has always been very feminine, and the other part wanted to be like my dad, who took me to more than 10 rock/metal concerts before my 16th birthday. So, as you can imagine, I didn’t fit in with most kids and became a hater of the world. Yay teen angst!

6. Matilda Wormwood from Matilda
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I loved this movie as a kid. Trunchbull scared the daylights out of me, and I’m pretty sure I was terrified to go into the first grade because of this movie. I distinctly remember being in pre-school and some older kids were helping us do arts and crafts. They were probably in middle school or maybe even high school, but for some reason I thought they were first graders. I was so scared! How was I ever going to be able to go to the first grade when I was nowhere near as tall as these people?! I’m sure I got over it quickly, because I don’t remember anything more happening about that. I wish I had read Matilda as a young child, because I feel like I wouldn’t have felt as alone, just like her. If we ever decide to have children, Matilda will be one of many books I’ll read to them.

5. Belle from Beauty & the Beast
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Ugh I wish this .gif was bigger because which one of us would not be fucking thrilled with that library?! Belle is my second favorite Disney Princess for so many reasons, but one of the biggest is because she is one of the few animated characters who loves books as much as I do. The art in this movie is astoundingly beautiful, and only adds to my love for it.

4. Lizzie Bennett from Pride & Prejudice
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My mother has an ardent (get it??) love for anything written by Jane Austen. I could not tell you how many times she has watched Emma, and it was her who introduced me to Pride and Prejudice. Let me just say this: Keira Knightley is the queen of period movies. She is wonderful in P&P as well as Anna Karenina and The Duchess (all of which are based on books!). Elizabeth is a character who screws up a lot, but will not allow herself to be pushed around by anyone. She enjoys long walks and good books (sounds like the beginning of an eHarmony account).

3. Kelsea Raleigh Glynn from The Queen of the Tearling
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He found her staring at her books with utter devotion, like a lover. 

There is so much more to Kelsea than being a bookworm, which is why she’s made it so far up in my list. Yes, she loves books. She adores them and understands their importance in our daily lives, but Johansen makes sure Kelsea’s life doesn’t revolve around these books. Many quotes in Tearling adequately describe Kelsea’s immense love of reading and literature, but they do not take away from the actual story. That alone is an extreme talent.

2. Wishbone from Wishbone
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This dog. This dog right here. I loved this show. I loved this dog. I had a stuffed animal version of him and when you squeezed his tail, he’d say, “Don’t go there!” Surprisingly, I don’t remember ever reading any of the books based on the television show. I just remember this dog dressing up as literary characters, living in a library and having great wonderful adventures. Thanks, Wishbone.

1. Poussey & Taystee from Orange is the New Black
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I am a huge fan of OitNB and I absolutely love the relationship between these two. Fun fact: I once had an interview for a job as a librarian at a jail. I did not go to said interview because it was a men’s prison and I am a paranoid person. Anyway, back to these two. The whole show has snippets of almost every cellmate reading, but it really focuses more on Taystee and Poussey since they are surrounded by books everyday. I loved their funeral for the burned books, and how hard they had fought for them. Taystee ate a bug. She ate a bed bug for those books! I don’t know any other fictional character who would go to such great lengths for their beloved books.

I know I’m probably one of ten people who don’t have Rory Gilmore on here, but I never watched the show. Ever. The only reason I know her name is because she’s pretty much worshipped in the bookish community. If I had put her here, it would have felt like cheating.

There’s my top ten! Who are some of yours? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review| The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen


81JQ-u+67GLThe Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Published July 8th 2014 by Harper
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction
Pages: 434
Goodreads Rating: 3.94
My Rating: 4.5

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

I’d seen this book floating around tumblr for a long time. I would see it in the grocery store and think, “Damn, that does look really good,” but I wouldn’t pick it up. (I have a hard time buying hardcovers because they can just be ridiculously expensive). I was at an indie bookstore in New Hope, PA when I saw Queen in paperback. I snatched it up and walked right over to the register because I was not buying anything else. Of course, it found its way off my radar while I was reading graphic novels and some books from my TBR shelf (I’ll post a picture in a new post). A few days ago, I found it in one of my old beach bags and decided to start reading it. I was absolutely hooked from the first page.

Review
Being Johansen’s debut novel, I was astounded by her writing skills. Looking back at the story, not a lot of action happens, but I was never bored reading this. A lot of the story focuses on one main event, but enough was added where I never thought, “Okay, I’m on page 156 and nothing is happening what the hell.” Even with moments like meeting the people at court, I found myself chuckling out loud or making faces at some of these fictional people. Which leads me to my next point: her characters.

Johansen is magnificent in creating a world of diverse, complex characters. Kelsea is an overweight teenager with a bad temper, but she excelled at being a queen. Her adoptive parents had a large hand at that, and they too are such different characters. Barty, her adoptive father, and Carlin, her adoptive mother, were the epitome of “opposites attract.” Barty is the nurturing, warm hearted figure while Carlin never hugged or coddled Kelsea. There is also no sugar-coating anyone in the book. Kelsea’s biological mother, the late Queen Elyssa, was vain and, at times, a little dim. At the end of the first novel, we are left wondering who Kelsea’s father is, so I can’t speak about him. Everyone in this story, from Mace to the Fetch, are all written like real people, not some romantic savior who can do no wrong.

Then there is the history of this land, the Tear. I’m still not 100 percent certain I completely understand, but it touches on their founder, William Tear, crossing the sea and leaving behind a dying land. I’m pretty sure that land is the United States. This story takes place in the future, when something has taken away so much of what we are today and gives these people what we were back in the medieval period. There are references to Rowling and Tolkien as great authors of the past, and the drug heroin even makes it in here as a lost recipe, but one that is trying to make a come back. I have seen this take on the world in at least one other book, but it left out too much, where I was confused at what the hell was going on. Queen, on the other hand, gives you just enough to realize, “OH DAMN,” and that’s it.

My last point is the lack of romanctic interest. I loved it. It’s not like there is no romance at all, because we do see that SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOULER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT
Kelsea has feelings for the Fetch. There is also a moment when Pen is trying to wake her and he has no shirt on, and Kelsea wants to reach out to touch him. I ship Kelsea/Pen so damn much. Do I like the Fetch? Of course, he’s a wonderful character. I do not trust him. I don’t think he’s a realistic choice for her. If she wants to have a little fling with him, I am all for that. If she wants him to become her husband later on, I have a hard time believing that will happen.

I have already downloaded Invasion on to my Nook, and am trying so hard to finish Cary Elwe’s As You Wish before starting it. I give this book four and a half wormies, but I refuse to cut this little guy in half, so be satisfied with looking at only four of them.

four star

PS. Yes, I know Emma Watson is supposed to be cast as Kelsea in the movie adaptation, but I don’t know how I feel about that. Kelsea is supposed to have a darker coloring than her super fair mom and she’s fat. Emma is none of these things, and I think they are very important to Kelsea’s character. I guess we’ll see.

Have you read Johansen’s book yet? What did you think? If not, do you plan on reading it after my review? Let me know in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday| Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely people at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is all about books that celebrate diversity. This list is going to be a combination of books I have read and books I want to read. I’ve included the descriptions from Goodreads as well. Enjoy!

10. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

americanah

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.

9. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

aristotle-and-dante-cover

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

8. Beloved – Toni Morrison

toni-morrison-beloved

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

7. Rat QueensKurtis J. Wiebe

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Who are the Rat Queens?

A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit.
It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

6. Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi
persepolis
Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming—both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland.

5. Ms. MarvelG. Willow Wilson
ms marvel

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!

4. Saga – Brian K. Vaughn, Fiona Staples
saga

Written by Eisner Award-winning “Best Writer” Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, The Private Eye) and drawn by Harvey Award-winning “Best Artist” Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40) Saga is the story of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Now, Hazel’s fugitive family must risk everything to find a peaceful future in a harsh universe that values destruction over creation.

3. An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir
ember in ashees

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

2. The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh
wrath and dawn

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

1. Kindred – Octavia E. Butler

kindred
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

What are some of your favorite books that celebrate diversity? Did any of them make my list? Let me know in the comments!