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Monday, September 2, 2019

Review of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, by Jenn Bennett

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Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci's footsteps, she's ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital's Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is-and tries to uncover what he's hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix's own family's closet tear them apart?




The Anatomical Shape of a Heart contained all of the elements for a captivating story--witty dialogue, developed families, and a BOATLOAD of internal conflict. Also, an adorable love interest with eyelashes for days.

Jack Vincent is a vandal. And yeah, at the beginning of the story Jack was admittedly sort of cliche-mysterious-dark-love-interest-dude-with-good-looks-and-a-leather-jacket.


But as the story progressed, Jack's character developed beautifully, and we get a glimpse into his motivations for his acts of vandalism. Also, we get to know Jack better as a person and he is an ADORABLE PERSON. Especially to Beatrix.

Beatrix, AKA Bex, is the semi-angsty protagonist, and she is what made me really fall in love with the story in the first place. Her internal commentary is a snark-fest and a half. And Jack wasn't the only one with a stunning character arc. I loved watching Bex grow as an individual, and her art style flourish through mediums she previously thought were unimaginable. Also, Bex's relationships are ever-developing throughout the novel, and I adored watching how they affected her, and how she reacted differently to different people.

Another character, I won't say who in lieu of spoilers, develops schizophrenia. I'd heard of the illness before this book, and I had a rough idea of how people with schizophrenia acted, but my knowledge on the subject was ultimately minimal. I think this might actually be the first book I've read with a schizophrenic character, and it was highly enlightening on the subject.

All in all, this book was just what I needed to get myself out of my reading slump. You can read a free excerpt of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart here and you can find Jenn Bennett's website here. (Also, the paperback is up on Amazon for like, three bucks if you're interested.)

But a heads up for potential readers--although the love story here was super cute, I wouldn't necessarily classify it as a super clean read.


all GIFS via Giphy

Have you guys read any Jenn Bennett books yet?

Monday, August 26, 2019

August Recap//Hello Darkness My Old Friend

So. School started.

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Which means the death of my happiness and my sleep schedule. But I'm sure you're all in school now and are feeling my pain, so I won't dwell too much on that. (Unless you've graduated already, in which case--lucky you!)

Books Read

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer, by Rick Riordan

The Hazel Wood, by Marissa Albert

And . . . that's it.

Yikes.

August was a relatively busy month for me though--which brings me to my next point.

Life-y Things

I started tennis. And it . . . could be better. 😂 I've had only had six practices, and I've already had two games, and I have one tonight too. And one on Wednesday. And, to put it bluntly, I am not good. But it's fine. *nervous laughter*

And this Wednesday, the same night that I have my away game, is also Spirit Night. My school does it every year, and I've never gone, so I'm not entirely sure how it's even going to go. But essentially, they call down all the fall sports players and introduce them and then make them DANCE in front of everyone in the football bleachers. Did I mention this was during a football game? *sigh* There's a possibility that we won't even make it back to the school in time after the away game for Spirit Night though, which is kind of what I'm hoping for. Because guys? My dancing is even worse than my tennis playing. If that is at all possible.

But I digress.

I also had my freshmen orientation last Wednesday which was exhausting to say the least. We all had to be at the school by 6:50 am that morning to help set up. And then, after a presentation, we all split up into our respective groups. Two kids got moved out of my group, and some didn't show up, so I only ended up with 13, instead of the nineteen I had been expecting. Which, was nice, but man those freshmen boys are ROWDY.

But then we got pizza afterward so it was fine.

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Writing!

Apart from the 20,000 words that I wrote that one week, I haven't had much time to write. I've started going through and editing a different story of mine, and writing a few flash fiction pieces--but most of my life is now consumed with tennis stress and school stress and procrastinating. Yay.

Previous Posts

My only post of the month (lol): A review of Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood



Have you guys started school yet? Anyone else wishing they had a time machine to go back to the beginning of summer?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Review of The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert

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Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away—by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.” 


Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began—and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.





I'd had a copy of The Hazel Wood sitting on my TBR for about a year, before I went to BookCon and met Melissa Albert. She was so sweet, and so personable, and actually cared enough to have a conversation with me, despite the line of fans snaking behind me. I had such a pleasant experience that I decided I HAD to read her book. (Well, I didn't read it that moment because I went to see her in June and it's now August but #closeenough)

I was shocked, to say the least.

For being such a kind-hearted person, Melissa Albert writes some dark stuff, guys.

A lot darker than I usually like my books. See, I'm more of a "they lived happily ever after and everyone that I like lives" kind of gal. 😂 But I ended up loving The Hazel Wood anyway!

The Hazel Wood is written in my favorite genre--contemporary fantasy. This essentially means that while the book is set in our world, there's still a heavy flavor of fantasy stirred in.

I wasn't a huge fan of the main character, Alice, when the story began. She came off as abrasive and just a *tad* mean. But she was also super snarky, and I can appreciate that. Also, note my use of "when the story began." As The Hazel Wood progressed, I watched Alice develope across a beautifully crafted character arc, and I totally respect her journey.

My favorite character out of the whole book was most definitely Finch. First of all, because his last name is Djan-Nelson-Abrams-Finch, and I've always wondered what would happen if two people with hyphenated surnames got married and had a kid--and now I finally have an answer. But also because I can totally relate to his yearning to travel to fantastical worlds that only exist between pages. Finch, despite his hardships throughout the novel, ended his journey by fulfilling the dream that nestles inside of every book-lover.

The world building was superb. The characters were real people. And the writing flowed like a river. (Side note on that, I've never been a huge fan of metaphors because the poetry unit in my English class scarred me forever--but Melissa Albert pulled it off beautifully.)

You can read a preview of The Hazel Wood here, if you're interested.

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And now that my review is done--a small personal update from me that you're welcome to skip over, lol.

Yeah, I know I've been absent for a few weeks. I'm not going to make excuses, but I am going to explain myself.

Over my unplanned hiatus I wrote over 20k words in one week which was really awesome but at the same time really not awesome because then it hurt to type.

And then tennis season started. DUN DUN DUN.

I know, I know--I am breaking all writer/reader stereotypes by trying a sport. The operative word being "trying" because I still can't serve or get a backhand for the life of me. And then I had to miss two days of much-needed practice to do training because I'm going to be helping with freshman orientation. My partner and I have to keep track of nineteen kids, guys. NINETEEN. And there are only four girls in there, so RIP me.

So if I'm ever absent for a really long amount of time again, chalk it up to either me getting sucked into a new school club, or me flailing around on the tennis court. (Either way, I can assure you I'd rather be blogging. BUT I'M TRYING TO BRANCH OUT, GUYS.) 


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See you guys (hopefully) next Monday! (I know that today isn't my normal posting day, but I was too excited that I finally had some content to wait, lol.) 

Monday, July 29, 2019

July Recap


One month of popsicles and sweating my eyes out later, and I'm still alive. Here's what I did:


Books Read:

Mothership, by Isla Neal and Martin Leicht

Looking for Alaska, by John Green

. . . That's it. I've been terrible at getting reading done this summer.


TV Show Addictions:

Stranger Things Season Three!!


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I wasn't a huge fan of the plot in this season, but I still loved getting to go back to Hawkins and see my fav characters again, and some new ones too. I loved Erica in this season--she was so snarky! But that ending? Left me in TEARS.

Miscellaneous Things:

-Went mini-golfing with some friends

-Almost hit some random dude with a golf ball

-Made ice-cream

-Went swimming in a creek

-Went to a free writing class

-Became obsessed with NCIS

-Started a new writing project (which I'm almost done with)

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On the blog: 

Versatile Blogger Tag

Five Feet Apart Review


How was your July? Anyone dreading August as much as I am?

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Versatile Blogger Award

The Rules


1. Thank the blogger who tagged you

Thanks Nicole! (If you guys haven't checked out her blog yet--you totally need to!)

2. Link back to the person who tagged you

Just click Nicole's name, and you'll be at her blog. :)

3. Share seven facts about yourself 

4. Nominate 15 bloggers


Alright, let's do this!! (This was surprisingly difficult for me, lol. I had to enlist my brother and mom for help. "Hey guys, what are seven cool things about me?" 😂)


1. I love sushi!



I know that a lot of people think that sushi's gross, but I've been eating it for as long as I can remember. 



2. I have a pet bearded dragon

Some of you might already know this, because I think it's on my "about" page. His same is Scooter, and I've had him for seven years now. And he is adorable. 😍



3. I hate blood, but love crime shows

^^Me, running from the slightest gore

That's pretty contradictory, considering that crime scenes usually involve blood. Especially shows like NCIS, which I'm currently binging. I've been learning to ignore it, lol. 



4. My favorite color is blue 



5. Coincidentally, my first pet was a betta fish brilliantly named Bluey 

(Lucky for my characters, I have since gotten better at naming things.)



6. I hate math with a passion 



7. I've been to five continents

The only two I have left are Australia and Antarctica, and while I plan on crossing Australia off my bucket list, I don't ever plan on going to Antarctica, haha. Way too cold for me!



And now for tagging 15 bloggers . . . 

Ummm

I know that I'm supposed to tag 15 of you

But if you could save me the anxiety of "what if someone already got tagged or what if someone doesn't want to do the tag etc, etc" and just consider yourself tagged (if you want to be) I will be forever in your debt. 


All GIFs via Giphy

Monday, July 8, 2019

Five Feet Apart Review

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Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions. 

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals. 

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment. 

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?





Five Feet Apart was good. It was unique. It evoked lots of emotion. (ie, leaving me in tears at 11 o'clock at night)

But, I think that, with the movie coming out and everything, this book got too hyped up for me. I mean, come on: it was Cole freaking Sprouse.

I hadn't watched the movie before, because I wanted to fall in love and imagine the characters on the page before I saw them on a screen. I think this was a wise decision, because this book was just jam-packed with internal conflict.

This allowed for more character development, and grounds for a relationship when the characters opened up to each other.

Which brings me to one of the only problems that I had with Five Feet Apart--how quickly the characters opened up with each other. If I'm grasping the timeline correctly, the characters only knew each other for a few weeks maybe three? CHECK THIS. And after a week or two, they just started telling each other things like: "Yeah, so-and-so was really close to me but then they died and now I have all of this emotional baggage."

This made for fast pacing, which I DID appreciate, don't get me wrong, I just felt like it was a little unrealistic.

But that's enough negativity.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the characters--especially Poe. Poe is a side-character, and doesn't have nearly enough page-time as Will or Stella do. But I absolutely loved his personality and his snark.

There were a good amount of subplots in the book--which I most definitely can appreciate. I liked how each of the subplots affected the characters, and propelled the plot along--just as a good subplot should do.

I think that, above all, the book and the movie were fantastic ways to bring awareness to cystic fibrosis.

You can read a free excerpt of Five Feet Apart here.

And if you want to watch the trailer, I have that right here:




So, have you seen the movie (or read the book) yet?

Monday, July 1, 2019

June Recap// Loving summer!!

Happy July first!! We made it through June, and summer is officially in full swing. I could not be more excited!!



Books read:

Five Feet Apart, by Rachael Lippincott

We'll Always Have Summer, by Jenny Han

Geekerella, by Ashley Poston

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe


New TV show addictions:

-Friends 

(Yes, this is seriously the first time I'm watching Friends)

-NCIS

-Young and Hungry 



On the blog:

Introduction to a new blogger, Lily Cat

How to Survive BookCon: 5 Essential Steps

100 Days of Sunlight Review



Miscellaneous Things:

-Went cherry-picking

-Swimming!!

-Finished my summer homework waaaaay early

-Got eight inches of my hair chopped off

-BOOKCON!!

-Made macaroons

-Went to a day of sports camp (whaaaaaa??)

-Ditched every other day of sports camp (that's more like it)

-Lost a turtle in the house

-Found said turtle

-Began editing my novel (!!!!)


And . . .


New additions to the pet fam!!!!

Meet: Mo, Dusty, and Gerald!

From left to right: Gerald (m), Dusty (m), Mo (f)

(Yes, we named a goat Gerald.)





(Sorry Gerald.)


Gerald is a Nigerian Dwarf goat, and Mo and Dusty are both pygmy fainting goats, which means that if Mo or Dusty get scared, they just fall over. Pretty much exactly like this:


Gotta love them, lol.

Anyway, how was your June? Did you do anything exciting?

Review of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, by Jenn Bennett

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci's...