Saturday, December 29, 2018

Mini Reviews

Hello, Dragonflies, and Happy Holidays! 

I hope you all had an amazing holiday season, and that you took the time to relax this week. It's been a hectic year, hasn't it? 

So I've been absent for a while, and may be for a while again. Uni can be rough at times! 

Image result for mini reviews banner
Not my image!
BUT, I have been reading when I can! So, for consistency, I'm going to be writing a few mini-reviews of books I've recently read. I managed to complete my Goodreads goal of 40 books this year, which I'm really happy about :)

1. A Lady's Guide the Petticoats and Piracy
I had no idea what to expect getting into this book - I didn't read A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and virtue, but had heard that they could be read separately, so I went straight into Lady's Guide. I really enjoyed reading it! The story was fun and beautifully crafted, I loved the combination of pirates and the timeframe it was presented in, the girl power in STEM in parallel to the love of pretty things. It's not incompatible! I enjoyed reading and learning about the characters and their pasts, as well! I got this book in the YA Chronicles box, check the side banner for a discount code you can use for your next box! 

4/5 feathers! 

2. Beyond the Clouds 2 
This is the second book in a manga series that is published in French for some odd reason. My brother got it for me for Christmas, and I must say, I read it in a day! I love the world that Beyond the Clouds has been set in - imagine a mix of steampunk and fantasy, with a hint of mythology. It's everything I love wrapped up into a visual form! The art style is absolutely fantastic, I would so love a poster of it up in my room! I can't say much about the story without giving anything away, but if you read French, I highly recommend this series! 

4.5/5 feathers!

3. The Shock of the Fall 
This was actually one of the first books I reviewed on my blog - I believe I gave it 5 stars. Well, my opinion stayed solid! This book hits you in the feels over and over again. It's so raw and real and everything that I think every young adult should read, if just to see that some situations are difficult to understand unless you are directly involved. I cried and laughed and read it in a day! 

5/5 feathers! 

4. I am the Messenger
If you guys have been following my blog or instagram for a while (@justanotherbookishblog), you'll know that this is one of my favourite books. I recently re-read it, and it still is! Like the movie Amelie, it really gives you the idea that it is easy to care for others - whether it's helping by picking up an ice cream cone for someone who could use it, or to scare someone into being a better person. Care comes in many forms. The ending of this book shook me to my core, as I haven't read it that way before (again, for spoiler avoidance, I won't say what it was!). 

5/5 feathers! 

5. Throne of Glass
I also re-read all of the Throne of Glass series up to Empire of Storms! I have reviews for all of them except for EoS as this was my first time reading it! And holy stars it was incredible! It was a little slow for me at parts, but I truly loved it! The whole fight scene on the boat marked me, and the ending is cruel in every way! I have yet to have started the last book (I think imma skip Tower of Dawn, I don't like Chaol), but I hopefully will soon! 

I think that's all I've read recently! Again I know these reviews are short, but I wanted to write them up and give them an 'official' rating anyway :) I need to get back to studying - It's a little bit difficult to do so, as we have family over from now until the day before my exams, so I need to take every moment I can to study. 

Stay bookish! 

Miss you guys <3

Sunday, December 2, 2018

12 Days of Giving - Days 2 - LIV Livres Solidaires

Hello, Dragonflies! 

This is the second day of #bookish12days, and I'm so happy with the turnout! Not as many people are participating in the event as I would have hoped, however I've received messages about what people are doing for the greater good around them, and it makes me so happy! 

"I planned on giving (it) to people living on the road in my city, since my country has a hight poverty rate..." - @nabaimran2003

"I'm currently helping on a food bank" - @sunny.pages 

"I love that you're doing this!" - @sjmtrash 

"One of the best giveaways that one could enter. Go and enter peeps. The world needs some kindness."

I've had feedback on individual charities, just as I've gotten opinions on how the event is being run. For those of your participating, thank you! A little information goes a long way! 

Today's Charity is LIV Livres Solidaires. This charity is based in Belgium and works to collect books and educational supplies to send to Haiti, a Francophone colony that has been hit by misfortune, through corruption and tropical storms. This combination makes it very difficult for children and adults alike to receive a solid education. 

This is a charity that I have had the pleasure to work with in the past, through my university. I can assure you, the cause is worthwhile! 

Today, my theme was sharing, and I challenged people to tell me the books they'd like to share with the world. I narrowed my choices down to 6:

- The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery 
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan 
- The Giver, by Lois Lowry
- The Infernal Devices, by Cassandra Clare
- A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab
- I am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak 

Each of these books have an incredible message behind them, that have gotten me forward in various stages of life, and have helped me grow. 

Stay kind, 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

12 Days of Giving - Day 1 - Books 2 Africa

Hello, dragonflies! 

This is the first day of 12 Days of Giving, #bookish12days, has begun! 

Today, I am spreading word about Books-2-Africa

This is a charity that I discovered recently, that I found has a really good way of working. Books2Africa is based in the UK and collects books that will be sorted based on quality and on need, before sending them out to specific countries for specific uses. 

Literature is an important angle of a modern education. We have all read books in school, and, if you're reading this, you've definitely learned to read. Many countries have very low literature rates, partially because of the lack of teaching facilities and medium, such as - you guessed it! - books. Being able to understand specific areas and their specific needs really makes it possible to tailor the aid that is being sent. 

Today, I am being helped by the amazing Elizabeth Sagan to spread the word about Books 2 Africa! You've likely heard of her from Instagram and from the blogosphere - she's incredible! Thanks, girl :) 

Finally there is a link on the sidebar to donate money to the event! At the end of the 12 days, a poll will be added to determine which charity the money should be sent to :) Of course, this is completely optional! 

Stay bookish! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Once Upon A Time - Series Thoughts

Hello, Dragonflies

So I just finished re-watching (the first 6 seasons of) Once Upon a Time. I started watching OUAT with my dad when the first episode came out in Europe. Since then, I watched every episode as they were released! However, I haven't taken the time to binge the series. 

Until now. 

And let's just say, I have a lot of thoughts! 

Some a very random (ok, most are very random), but they all have a point! Sorta! Ok maybe not ^^

  • Snow and Charming are adorable both in-show and IRL, and their story is so lovely! 
  • I forgot how dark this show actually is! In high school so many people would say it's a kids show but there's some seriously messed up stuff! 
  • Baby Henry is too cute
  • I don't care if Hook is a villain at first, he's my favourite character. He's kind yet tortured and is growing past what he's done and he's committed and thoughtful and hot and we all need someone like him in our lives
  • HAHA dwarves hatch out of eggs! 
  • Oh dear fast forward pregnancies
  • These guys have no peace - one baddie is defeated and BOOM new curse
  • Regina is so interesting! I'm so happy things turned out well for her! 
  • OUAT Anna is 100% relatable
  • Rumplestiltskin has such contrasting personalities, I always find it hard to trust him. 
  • Season 1: Only one magic bean is left in all the realms. Season 6: Magic Beans have solved 99% of all problems 
  • I love how Leroy's always the one to be like WE GOT A PROBLEM, PEOPLE, always while dramatically bursting into a room with other dwarves in tow
  • Red ate her boyfriend while she was a wolf. Ew. 
  • Dark Hook is so cool 
  • I love how each of the 'good' characters can also play evil roles really well! 
  • David and Snow are awesome. Again. They always have a plan even when there is nothing logical to do.
  • Ok Hades was cool until he got sappy for Zelena in the fakest relationship in the show. NOT COOL to torture Hook though! 
  • The Hercules arc was perfect
  • Ok I thought that the musical episode would make me cringe but I absolutely adored it, it was everything the show stands for, with Disney-like music, and an ending that properly made me cry tears of joy for the characters
  • What did make me cringe was when they changed actors for some characters. Killian's brother Liam? Cinderella? Young Baelfire? Short-haired Rumple? (Ok I realise that doesn't count but it was odd!)
  • Epic Merida arc 
  • I don't get what's so attractive about Gold. So many people in the series just love him and ew no

That's it for now I think! Very random post, I know, but this show makes me smile, every time! It really does well in conveying the hope it talks about, in the long run. 

Stay bookish, 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

12 Days of Giving, #bookish12days

Hello, dragonflies, and happy thanksgiving! 

I am taking this opportunity to say that I am thankful for what I have - a steady family, friends who I know I can count on, an education, a safe place to live, and access to every basic need. 

It sounds obvious, but I promise, I have a point. 

Since I started university in 2014, I have been involved in my uni's Charity Committee - I spent two and a half years running it and a year and a half helping out when I could. This really passed on a lot of insight regarding the world we live in. 

So many people don't have access to education, or have to walk for a long time through dangerous areas to get to school. The illiterate population in the world is large, as is the amount of people who can read, but don't have access to books. Kids are pulled into street gangs to be able to possibly make money, children in lower-class urban regions don't always have access to the things we do... it's these types of problems that have had me thinking for the past few years. I am so happy that I have been able to participate in helping several low-scale charities to help specific areas of the world! 

Giving feels great. 

Now, I'm not in that school anymore - my new uni isn't the easiest to start committees in, yet I still want to help people. 

So, I decided to do something. 

Between December 1st and December 12th inclusive, I am hosting, both on my blog and my instagram, an event called 12 Days of Giving, #bookish12days. Every day during that timeframe, I will be advertising a charity that I have chosen. Some of these will be charities I have supported with my university in the past, whilst others I have discovered more recently. This event will be split into daily and event-wide mini-events. 

- Every day a new charity...
- advertised with the help of a larger influencer... 
- accompanied by a relevant blog-wide event 

The 12 days total will have
- a large giveaway... 
- in which extra entries can be gained if you can send me proof of donation to your local charity. 
- a personal donation to a local charity of books and school supplies! 

I have so much planned for you guys! You can already get hyped with buzzwords like 'Secret Santa', 'contests', 'photo theme challenges', 'tags'... 

I honestly cannot wait to start sharing these charities with you! They will be mostly educational and bookish, but I also do have a mental health charity :) 

I am not sure weather or not I'll have a money drive that will be sent to the most popular charity, but in any case, I am someone who wholly believes that even just raising awareness can help! 

If you want to follow this event, make sure to follow the hashtag #bookish12days! The influencers I have contacted have all sorts of ways to advertise these charities, so who knows what platform this may end up on! 

Stay bookish! 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Hello, dragonflies! 

The time has come! JK Rowling has blessed us again with an extension to the Wizarding World we all know and have come to love! Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is officially out in theaters all over, attracting hoards of Potterheads - because that sounds better than Newtheads - who were eager to see how our favorite universe got extended. 

Image result for the crimes of grindelwald

So yesterday I was both bored and freezing in my dorm room, which has a dysfunctional heater and no hot water, so went downtown. Walking by the movie theater, I noticed that this movie was starting five minutes from then! First time at the movies by myself, but it was fun! 

Now I went in trying not to have any firm expectations or hopes, to have the maximum surprise effect. Now, I have many many thoughts and feels that I want to discuss! 

Note: This will be in two sections; I'll start with the non-spoilery bit and will let you know once spoilers will begin!

My first note is Holy Headwig, Jude Law was an amazing Dumbledore! Perfect casting, perfect role representation! He had that awesome eye twinkle going on when he smiled, and was such a cool professor! No wonder people have such respect for him, even in his younger adult life, he just shows that he owns the room. 

This movie in general did feel like a filler-movie. There are five of these Fantastic Beasts movies that are in the works, and I think that this one in particular built a base for something much bigger than we can imagine for now; although I do have my theories, that I'll discuss in the spoiler part!

I loved the way they portrayed the magic in this movie... mostly. Some uses of magic were incredible, and really brought me back to the feeling of first watching the Harry Potter movies so long ago. (Disclaimer: I've been feeling old while writing this - The first movie came out 17 friggin' years ago, I was five!). Other moments weren't the most consistent with what we know about the magical world and laws that, as total nerds, we took as fact. 

I also felt like the movie was... I'm not sure, maybe edited strangely? I felt like some moments that should obviously have been there were just cut out for the sake of making the movie short enough. Again, more details in the spoiler section! 

Overall, I enjoyed watching the movie! It was a fun break, and really satisfying to be able to fangirl about the magical world again! 

If you haven't seen the movie, you should stop here! I'm not going to hide anymore details! 

Image result for fantastic beasts gif crimes of grindelwald
BOOM epic magic time this GIF is so satisfying 

Aaah, how to write this in a way that makes sense, that is the question. 

Let's go big point by big point. 

First, the character development. 

I feel like this movie kind of put a break on the characters we know and are growing to love. I love Newt Scamander - he is adorable and so delicate and has the biggest heart. I do agree with the theory that he may be somewhere on the autism spectrum, but that doesn't take anything away from his character, at all! You could tell he had a kind of relationship with his brother that involved a lot of guidance, which I appreciated. 

Another character I liked a lot was Leta Lestrange - I'm so sad she's already dead! In the entire movie, she certainly had the most interesting and well thought-out character arc! I loved the flashbacks of her and Newt's friendship when they were at Hogwarts together, her story with Credence (Is it just me or were they on the Titanic when she swapped her crying Lestrange brother for him!?), and her whole morale tilting. She really made for an incredible character! 

The others felt... flat. Credence and Nagini were simply running around 90% of the time, Jakob served no purpose but to show Queenie's intentions, which didn't make sense in the end. We never really learn much about Tina... from the movie it is difficult to catch the fact that Newt is now a famous author or why Queenie suddenly sides with Grindelwald... it was all a bit flat to me, and I feel like this really could have been resolved if there was a bit more meaningful dialogue between characters in the movie. 

Second, the storytelling. 

I mostly loved this! The flashbacks to various childhood memories were probably some of my favorite parts - everyone's back at Hogwarts and learning about friendship and magic and it was just so sweet! I think that one of the coolest ones was Dumbledore's memories of making a Blood Oath with Grindelwald, which was something we haven't seen yet! I loved how we could finally see what Dumbledore really sees in the Mirror or Erised! 

We do know of Unbreakable Oaths, but these were represented wrong in this movie with respect to how they were shown in the HP movies. Considering the director and author are the same, canon should be law. This happened many times - polyjuice potion was as common as aspirin, spells worked differently, laws were different, even the way magic manifested itself was vastly different. Many times, I felt like I was watching fanfiction, just because of the inconsistencies between the OG series and what we were now seeing. PolandBananasBooks has a great video on YouTube that focuses more on specific inconsistencies, I would highly recommend it! 

I do think that this movie did bring the magic element out well - One of my favorite scenes was with the Kelpie - sure, I agree with the masses who say that it was too long and took away from plot-building screen time, but I loved how it brought the light-heartedness back to the movie! This is also the case for the scene in which Newt uses that golden power to see what happened with the circus, I loved it! 

One last bit about the storytelling I adored was how they tied the Wizarding World with our muggle history. Sure, the entrance to the French Ministry of Magic was plain stupid (anyone could see that!) and the fact that the magic community just understood muggles so well was off-setting after what we learned from the OG series, but some bits were so well done! You can totally see Grindelwald's point about muggles once he points out that World War 2 was going to begin if they didn't do anything. It would be scary for anyone. Also, flashback to what was possibly the Titanic was super cool! 

But, like I mentioned, the story was told in such a way that the magic was really put forward. If I have to use one sentence, I'd say that they really tried to pull on our nostalgia by being flashy and giving us familiarity, to the point where they ignored quality or consistency. 

I have no idea why Queenie joined Grindewald. What was the point of the big fire dragons? I'm sure Leta knew what she was doing when she switched the babies. The wand didn't choose Credence so does that make him go crazy? What about Nagini? I just feel like the lack of dialogue lead to many plotholes. 

BUT THE END REVALATION! Nowhere does it say there were 4 Dumbledore siblings - We know about three, and that there was a showdown at some point in which Arianne died - I find it incredible that there's a 4th one, and I can't wait to see what happened for him to be wiped out of history! 

Also side note but I wanted to see more of Bunty, she seemed like she would be a fun character to have around! 

That's most of my thoughts about it, for now! I definitely enjoyed watching it, but I felt like I was watching fan fiction most of the time, which was very odd for me. Overall, I'm giving it a 3/5 feathers! I would, however, love to see JK Rowling put this in book form! I think that with a little fleshing out, this can be an incredible story! 

Have you seen the Crimes of Grindelwald? What did you think? Let me know! 

Stay bookish! 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella

Hello, Dragonflies! 

Look I'm being an active blogger again! That hasn't happened in a while! But my current courses allow for a little more relax time, so between each Throne of Glass book I read, I've been reading something totally different from that world. And fast. I finished this book in a few hours this afternoon. 

My formatting is being odd?

I just started and finished reading Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella! 

 "Audrey can't leave the house. she can't even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother's friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again - well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she'd thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable."

This was definitely super cute! Our main character is Audrey, a 14-year-old with severe anxiety and depressive episodes. "To put you out of your misery, here's the full diagnosis. Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and Depressive Episodes." She also often mentions being 'overly sensitive' which hey! something I can relate to! I'll talk a bit more a bout this later. 

The problem is, her disorders are so prominent in her life that she quit school and went to a mental hospital for a while. She comes back home, to a mom who takes everything in the Daily Mail far too seriously, a brother who is addicted to video games, a 4-year-old, and a dad who's doing his best to keep everything running smoothly. 

Now her brother's best friend, Linus, comes into her life, and she starts coming out of her shell, little by little. 

This book is funny and quirky and yet manages to keep a light atmosphere while exploring very dark topics as mental illness. I thought that the balance was perfect, and that this book could easily be appreciated for younger audiences, just as much as older readers! 

That's all I can really say without spoilers! You've been warned! 

This book was so, incredibly wholesome, and really relateable. My mom's often taking things on the news at heart (we basically live a no-sugar life now, among other random things, haha!), my brother also had a time where he would hide to play video games, and now it's just accepted. I also have weird brain episodes where my 'lizard brain' says one thing but my normal brain says something else. Being overly sensitive was really shown well, for once, in a book. Too much external stimulus is exhausting, overthinking is a great friennemy... things like that. 

There were so many moments that were really heartwarming, and others that I could easily see in a movie! Audrey's relationship with Linus was adorable, and I absolutely loved how he would just make sure she was okay, or that what he was doing would not freak her out too much. He was such a sunshine in the book! 

I also just really loved how, while Frank found a passion for cooking, the family accepted his love for video games, and went to the tournament with him, despite having obviously been against his addiction. In fact, the entire family dynamics of the book was something I wish I could see more often in literature - everyone really loved each other, despite the little mishaps here and there. Like I said, sometimes reading this felt like looking into a mirror. 

I just had one problem with it. While the book in general portrayed mental illnesses in what I thought was a really elegant yet powerful way (especially with the scene where Audrey meets an old friend of hers, who has awful misconceptions about Audrey's mental stability!!), I had a hard time with the fact that Audrey got better so quickly. 

Now I feel like a hypocrite. I usually don't like it when people say a book is bad because it did a bad job portraying an illness. That is not what I'm about to say. As I've been saying, this book did a really good job with it! There was only one thing that I wish could have been re-thought. 

I have friends with anxiety and depression. I myself was recently diagnosed Overly Sensitive, which is also a type of anxiety. None of us have had it so bad that we ended up missing school because we had to go to the hospital. And yet we also all know that these things don't just go away. (Overly Sensitive being a mix of being mentally affected by too much stimuli, the sudden overthinking of a simple thought, or being extremely affected by what I downplay as 'people being idiots'. You also just feel things more deeply, like when you miss someone or somehwere, for instance.)

The book did give an excellent message. Sometimes, pushing yourself to do something scary is a good way to learn that it might not be as bad as you thought. I guess it's the same as telling a kid 'how do you know you don't like broccoli if you've never tried it?'. 

The odd thing was that once Audrey tried the scary things, and got a boyfriend, all of her doubts just vanished. I do understand the boost of confidence that being in a relationship - romantic or platonic - can bring, but it doesn't fix everything on it's own like that. You might slowly learn to find coping mechanisms, to accept your fears but don't let them own you, but not once have I experienced anyone telling me "Oh my depression vanished once I got up and did something about it!". 

I know I'm not explaining myself very well, it's a difficult topic. That's why I'm in no way putting any author down for trying to address it. If I can't even express myself correctly within a blogpost, imagine how difficult it must be for authors to write it in a book. 

I'm giving Finding Audrey a 4/5 feathers! 

Have you read Finding Audrey? What did you think? Let me know! 

Stay Bookish! 

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Midnight Dance, by Nikki Katz

Hello, Dragonflies! 

Yes I'm changing fonts! I find this one more comfortable to read, don't you? 

I just finished reading The Midnight Dance, by Nikki Katz

This cover is everything! 
"When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late."

I honestly had no idea what to expect when I started this book - this was purely a cover-buy for me, on every level! I was instantly intrigued when the premise promised memories, the 1800s, and Italy. Other than that, I didn't know anything about this book!

Let's start off with the positive, shall we?

It certainly wasn't bad. In fact, I really loved the idea that Katz put forward in this book! The Midnight Dance was an awesome story of mind control, mixed in with a bit of steampunk and a unique boarding school-like idea. Mind-control books are really not that common, and I really loved how Italy in the 1800s was portrayed!

I also really liked the character relations. The main character, Penny, is in a facility with her sorelle (sisters), and they all get along so well! It was lovely to read about! Cricket is also absolutely adorable in every way! The Master is the right amount of creepy and charming, giving this really odd character you loved to hate. 

There was a lot going on, and I was there for it! 

However, the book itself felt a bit too condensed. You guys know by now that I'm a sucker for quick standalones. (I say as I'm re-reading Throne of Glass, fully knowing that Kingdom of Ash is almost 1000 pages long... help me) 

My problem with this book is that everything deserved more pages - longer paragraphs, shorter chapters, and a more fleshed-out world development. The ideas were incredible! But with so many events happening, most of which are a new concept, it's difficult to make it all make sense in 300 pages.

I'm not the best reader (is there even such thing?). I openly admit to skipping words and/or sentences when descriptions get too long - my eyes and mind wander a lot. Even so, I can usually grasp almost every detail in a story: maybe not a character's hairstyle or the fact that their sword was peeking over their left shoulder, but I can still hold onto the plot and characters enough to know things that, according to Buzzfeed, 'only a real fan would know'. 

The Midnight Dance could have easily been a book I would have latched on to if not every sentence was so packed-full of details that missing a word made the rest of the paragraph confusing. For instance - the end of the book spans over about 30 pages, in which our main character, Penny, does an incredible amount of traveling, dancing, convincing, discovering, traveling back, trapping, healing, and reuniting. Out of nowhere, Cricket appears and giant revelations are given about the antagonist. 

In 30 pages. 

This structure made the book a little tiring to read, so I had to take it bit by bit. 

But seriously, Nikki, if you're reading this, I hope you don't take it badly! Stories like yours, that are so creative, deserve so many more pages! That's only a compliment :) 

For me, this book gets 3/5 feathers! Keep going with the writing, Nikki, but give your ideas more words! 

Have you read The Midnight Dance? What did you think about it? Let me know! 

Stay bookish! 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Top Ten Non-YA Books

Good evening, dragonflies! 

So I'm 100% writing this out of procrastination - after several hours of studying the same topic over and over again, I just need to sit down on my blog, with a few Oreos and a cup of tea. 

I know I haven't written in a while! I was gonna last week, but I was back in Paris to see my family, and it ended up being incredibly busy! I had a great time, but I physically did not have the time to blog, almost at all. 

In the past weeks, a book that I was highly anticipating came out - Bridge of Clay, by Markus Zusak! If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I love his books, and I can't wait to read this one! 

This got me thinking - I'm generally a YA blogger, but I also do love some non-YA books, that I think can be appreciated by more people than just me! 

Many of us in the YA-verse seem to be 'stuck' in our genre in a way - after all, it is what we see the most of on social media, as that is the type of content we decided to follow. 

So with this post, I decided to present to you my top 10 non-YA reads! 

See the source image

Disclaimer: Most of these can definitely be read by a young adult - my definition of a YA book is a little vague, it's more of a feeling. So you may not agree with my selection, but that's ok! 

1. I am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak
This is honestly one of those books that I feel doesn't get enough recognition in the world. It has such an odd feeling to it - it is both a feel-good book and a book that really makes you think about the state of society on a small scale. I'm super due for a re-read of this! 

I am the Messenger is about a guy named Ed who starts receiving playing cards in the mail, each with addresses and times. Once there, he needs to figure out what to do on his own - sometimes it's helping people in the little ways that count, sometimes it's serving them the lesson they deserve... 

2. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
It's no secret that The Giver is one of my favorite books - I read it several times as a child, and again more recently. Every time I read it, little details jump out at me. I love the idea of a dystopian world where everything is so regulated that individuals can't even see color, and cannot know about the history of their world. No questions. 

The Giver is about a young boy, Jonas, who was chosen to become the next Receiver of Memory at the age of 12. He meets daily with an old man who is known as the Giver - the wise man in the town who holds the history of the world in his mind through memories passed town through generations. 

3. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan
This is such a staple for me! I adore Percy Jackson to bits, yet it's considered Middle Grade. I still feel like the books - especially the later ones - deal with some serious topics in a perfect, understandable way to anyone who reads it! 

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is about a kid who discovers he is the son of the Greek god, Poseidon. This, of course, comes with all sorts of complications! 

4. Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown
I just love Dan Brown's books. In case you're confused, he's the guy who wrote The DaVinci Code, a book that I'm pretty sure everyone has heard of at one point! For writing though, I preferred Angels and Demons, the plot was incredible, dark and just crazy enough to be totally enthralling! 

Dan Brown's most popular books center around professor Robert Langdon - a type of Indiana Jones character who specializes in symbology. He's called onto many missions that usually end up with him running for his life and trying to save the world from cults! Yeah, not very YA ^^ 

5. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
Me Before You. Oh geez, this was such a good book (and movie!). It's one of those books that you know can only end badly, yet you read it anyway, having your heart torn to pieces and stepped on in the process. But this book is still so hopeful and positive and bluntly honest, I loved it! 

Me Before You is about Lou Clarke, a young woman who begins to work as a caretaker for the not-exactly charismatic Will Traynor - a young man who, due to an accident, is quadriplegic. They slowly learn to become friends as Lou decides to show him how much fun life can be despite his handicap. 

6. Stardust, by Niel Gaiman
Is this YA? I'm not sure. This book is magical in every way - a real fairytale for adults who though they have heard it all! The movie is also incredible - steampunk flying pirate ships, fallen stars, crazy witches and a dead king, it was all amazing! 

Stardust is such a big story, but vaguely I can describe it as being about Tristan Thorn leaving his village and crossing into a world where magic is real. He quickly becomes entangled in a whole political intrigue, involving arguing heirs, a murderous witch, and a fallen star. 

7. See You in the Cosmos, by Jack Cheng
This kids/MG book is absolutely adorable and I want everyone to pick it up! It gives you all the warm-and-fuzzies, is incredibly nerdy but also really hits home with more serious topics that can be understood by older readers. Jack Cheng did amazingly with this! 

See You in the Cosmos is about little Alex who has one wish; to send his iPod full of his daily life recordings into space, just as Carl Sagan once sent the Golden Record. He meets all kinds of people on his way, making for an adorable, heartwarming story!

8. A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J Maas
Well whereas ACOTAR is super popular for YA readers, I think it's safe to say it's not YA. New Adult, sure. But some of the scenes in these books push the graphic imagery a bit too much to be recommendable to teens who aren't used to it! However, the trilogy is incredible, and SJM is a fantasy queen! 

ACOTAR is about Feyre, a girl who stumbles into the world of Fae, and who is held in a palace by Tamlin. It's a Beauty and the Beast spinoff. 

9. Eragon, by Chris Paolini
I don't count Eragon as being a part of the big YA trope, although if it was published more recently, I think it may have been written in that way. Eragon is epic and, although the ending was a tad disappointing, I still really enjoyed reading it! 

Eragon is about a boy who discovers a dragon egg. Soon, this egg hatches, and, as a dragon master, he gets involved in all kinds of intrigue. (It's been a long time since I've read them, haha!)

10. Siberia, by Ann Halam
Another MG book that deserves so much more love! This book is a light Sci-fi that involves genetic mutations in a (post-?)war Siberia. 

This time, I'm not going to describe it to you, because it's one of those books that has so many plot details that giving any of it away would be a spoiler! I can just say that it's seriously amazing, and that you should check it out asap! 

That's it! This is my list of my top 10 favorite non-YA books! Do you agree with these? What is your favorite non-YA read? Let me know! 

Stay bookish! 

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Perks of Being a Re-Reader

Good afternoon, dragonflies! 

I am a huge re-reader.

In fact, 9/30 of the books I've read so far this year were re-reads, as is one of my current reads. 

Also, yes I realize I haven't read loads this year, if you take a look at my more recent Bookish Talks, you'll start to realize why! 

So, when combining my love for re-reads and my lack of time to read, my physical TBR is becoming absolutely huge! 

So... why 'waste' time re-reading?

Part of my bookshelf!

A friend of mine on Instagram, @anniekslibrary, suggested that I make a blogpost about my reasons for re-reading, and I thought that was a great idea! There are many reasons why I reach for books that I have already read, at least once. 

1. New books coming out
If you are in the YA bookish community in any way at all, you know for sure that Kingdom of Ash, the final Throne of Glass book by Sarah J Maas, is coming out later this month. It is one of the biggest publications of the year, as far as hype goes! 
But although the hype is real, her last book in the main series was published in 2016...
Now, I don't have super memory. On top of that, my blogging style has changed a lot over the years. I don't remember a lot of the ToG books, although I can give a general storyline and I know which specific parts I found incredible. I could never, in good conscience, go into the next book without a re-read. 

This isn't only applicable to ToG! In my head, any series that is still growing merits a re-read to enjoy the full experience of the series all at once, rather than reading a book a year. 

This is also why I've been avoiding new YA books that are going to be the start of a new series. I'd rather read either stand-alones or series that are already all published! 

2. Mood
I am a huge mood reader - never have I been able to stick to a monthly TBR list, different books call to me at different times. If I'm definitely in a mythology mood, I'll reach for Percy Jackson. If I know I want a book that features characters that make my heart do things, it's The Infernal Devices. Something more serious? I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak. 

3. Comfort
Now we're going into some more psychological territory, so brace yourself! 

I'm in a relatively new city, studying a new degree, and on my own for the first time. Even when I went to Australia for a semester, I had spoken to people who I would live with before hand, so it was easy to become friends. Now, I'm hours away from anyone I know, and everyone in my house is very keep-to-yourself individualistic. I am as well, but the lack of a common area makes it impossible to casually meet people. Additionally, people in my degree all know each other from previous studies - it's an odd situation, especially for an introvert. But I'm making it work as well as I can :)

So it's been very, very tempting to re-read old favorites just for the sake of comfort - re-reading such books gives a sense of familiarity. It's not even a conscious choice, I just thought about this recently. But I don't mind, it's nice!

However, who's to say re-reading's all that bad? It's something I wholly enjoy doing, despite the fact that it leads to a lack of blogger content (oops!). 

I feel like re-reading is an act that really increases your appreciation for a story. With every re-read, you notice more little details and jokes that you did not notice before. Maybe something in your life happened that'll make you understand a character's emotions or motives on a deeper level. Sometimes you'll end up loving a book you thought wasn't interesting, simply because you read said book a few years too early.

Whatever the reason, a re-read always offers new insight on the story you thought you knew. 

(Also, you can become an absolute genius when it comes to random book trivia! Re-reading Harry Potter has come into use more than once!)

So I guess this is it! My three main re-read reasons! My re-readsons, if you will, as well as why I enjoy re-reads! 

Do you re-read a lot? Can you relate to any of these reasons? Let me know! 

Stay bookish! 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Chaos of Stars, Kiersten White

I'm gonna start off with the disclaimer that this was a total cover buy. 

Good morning, dragonflies! 

I just finished reading The Chaos of Stars, by Kiersten White! 

Oh my gods the cover!

"Isadora's family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you're the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she's only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there's no such thing as a clean break from family."

First thing's first, I walked into this book thinking it was going to be about the importance of family, artfully crafted along the tales of ancient Egypt. I was all in for it! I've always loved Egyptian mythology and thought it sounded a lot like something I would love. 

Sadly, this wasn't so much the case. I'm going to go through everything that stood out to me point by point, as I find that that'll be the best way to review this. 

1. The plot
When you think 'ancient gods', you tend to think 'plot of epic proportions' - after all, these gods used to be combined with some of the greatest myths of all time. 
I could not find the plot of this book until about 80% through. Then, by the time a bit of plot did appear, it was resolved in about five minutes. The rest of the book seemed to be purely about Isadora, our main character, complaining about family and resisting everything good in life. 

2. Isadora
You guys know how important characters are for me - they're usually even more compelling than the plot. But Isadora was the most annoying teenager I've read about in a long time. Sure, she had reasons to be mad at her family - I would also be if I grew up thinking I was immortal but then was taught how to prepare my tomb - but only in the end did she ever admit that maybe her mom did care for her. The entire book was her complaining. 

I must say I also didn't understand her absolute refusal when it came to love. It got to the point where she would feel the butterflies and the love and even the lust when she was with Ry, but would get mad at him for having such feelings in return. I did not understand that resistance. 

3. Ry
Ok Ry, also known as Orion, was kinda cute in that sweet, head-over-heels in love kind of way. He came up with the cutest lines to express his thoughts, and seemed to be the most genuine of all of the characters in the book. 

I just don't get how he ended up having a private jet in the end? Too easy, if you ask me. I thought it was hilarious. 

4. Supporting Characters
In general, I found the supporting characters to be much more interesting than the main ones - they really were the points that made me want to continue reading, for the most part. 

5. The culture
As I said, I grew up loving ancient Egypt, its stories and culture. It was like the Renaissance for me - completely fascinating. 
I get that Kiersten wanted to use Ancient Egyptian culture and put it in modern day, with a teenager 'stuck' with ancient, godly parents. But I feel like with that came a lot of disrespect for the ancient culture... 
Every chapter started with a little tidbit of mythology, always combined with disapproval from Isadora, or a sarcastic comment, or a sense of disgust. Sure, some aspects were nicer (bringing an exhibit to a musem with accurate stars, explaining the magic behind amulets etc), but I found that the book as a whole did not bring a sense of respect to the culture. A book that did this better was The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. 

That's all I'm going to cover for this book, unfortunately. I was really disappointed by it, but I have heard that Kiersten's other books were incredible, so I'm not casting her aside as an author, for sure :)

I'm giving The Chaos of Stars 2/5 feathers. 

Have you read The Chaos of Stars? What did you think? Let me know! 

Stay bookish!