Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Illusion Of Knowledge (Be Careful Of What You Write)

Brain from Freepik!

I’m not sure many are aware, but I’m currently in the process of getting my doctorate (yay!) in cognitive psychology. A speaker is coming in tomorrow to talk about overriding prior knowledge. Things such as “the Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean on Earth” or “Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb”. You may be asking “this doesn’t seem right, how can such basic, stable knowledge be overridden? How can someone change such a basic fact?” Well, it seems like this type of knowledge isn’t exactly stable.

Many studies have looked into people learning errors via reading, even though they may have the correct knowledge prior to encountering the inaccuracy. In the paper I read for tomorrow’s class (Fazio et al., 2013, which I will provide a full citation later on), participants were given a survey that tested general knowledge, which included such questions as above. Then two weeks later, they came back to read two fictional stories, each which had eight fictional but plausible inaccuracies. They were even warned that some of the information in the stories might be incorrect. After reading, the participants did a little filler task, and then answer four comprehension questions on the stories. (Whew, this feels like a mini summary I have to write for actual classes! I skipped out on some details, but this is basically how it all went down. Such as confidence ratings)

What do you think happened? Well, to sum it up, participants ended up answering fewer questions correctly when presented with accurate information, even though they answered right on the survey prior to the reading. And when they didn’t get the answer right on the survey, the effect of misinformation was larger after they were presented with inaccuracies.

I think you know where I’m getting with this. Yep, books. I think this shows how important it is for books to have accurate research. Especially in young adult books. There has been a lot of discussion about doing research on culture, ethnicity, mental illness, etc., and getting things right. If even general knowledge can be changed, then what does this say about not so common knowledge? Books definitely have an important role in educating us about certain topics, and seeing as reading has more of an impact with storing information, how can we not focus on accuracy?

I think the tricky part is knowing what is good research, and what isn’t. And that’s why I’m glad that the blogging community exists. Even before reading this paper, I always read reviews of the books I loved, even the negative ones. This allowed me to fact check certain aspects of the book, for which I’m really grateful for. Because as you can see, inaccurate information from books can so easily be stored in memory, and that’s not so great.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you as surprised as I am about this specific research?

Citation: Fazio, L. K., Barber, S. J., Rajaram, S., Ornstein, P. A., & Marsh, E. J. (2013). Creating illusions of knowledge: Learning errors that contradict prior knowledge. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142(1), 1.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #97

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Scary Books I Will Most Likely Avoid

Let's be honest, I am not at all a fan of spooky or creepy books. Why? Because that is not how I roll at all. Nevertheless, I will compile a list of books that I have seen floating around. Not that I'll read them.

I mean, unless you really want me to read them because they are THAT good, then I will consider it.

The Dead House came to mind because I now have a bookmark of it. I love said bookmark, but I don't think I would ever pick up the book. #sorrynotsorry.

The same author also wrote And The Trees Crept In, otherwise known as The Creeper Man, which to me sounds much more scarier. I actually have this book, but I'm not exactly sure if I'll have the guts to read it.

I was just reading the synopsis of Shutter, and I caught the fact that the main character is a tetrachromat. And I'm like, isn't that when you have four cones rather than three cones (in your retina?). But sure, I guess that includes auras of the undead. Anyways, I think I would actually read this. Maybe get an ebook of it or something.

I will most likely be reading Stalking Jack The Ripper at some point! Seeing as it doesn't seem too creepy compared to the others here. How bad can it be? Am I right? Right?

Okay Daughters Unto Devils looks creepy. Too creepy. Doesn't the girl on the cover reminds you of the girl from the ring? And basically any other creepy looking girl from any scary movie? Because no thank you. Bye.

Oh and speaking of the ring, how about The Girl From The Well. I remember reading reviews of this and being like "never in a thousand years, nopity nope nope."

I've heard of Of Metal And Wishes, and honestly I don't know. It doesn't sound like my kind of novel, yet I have heard bloggers rave about it.

And the cover for The Women In The Walls looks creepy enough, don't you think. Unfortunately I haven't heard the greatest things about this book, so even if I was all for horror, I will probably pass on this one!

Last Seen Leaving isn't exactly horror (Which I CLEARLY MENTIONED JOEY), but I think I would still count it as creepy and spooky. And not my type of book. I tend to keep away from thrillers as well, especially YA thriller. I haven't had much luck in that category, and I'm not sure if it's because I genuinely don't like them, or they're just bad.

Saw We'll Never Be Apart at Shannon's house this weekend, on her bookshelf, and no thank you I will gladly "be apart". Because I don't even care or know what it's about. Creepy trees? Maybe. Ugh.

Do you love reading thrillers or horror? Or no? How do you feel about Halloween coming up?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Want To Know About Boarding School? (A Resource)

Where I had fun with Freepik Designs

Hey guys! Today, I want to talk about my past experience with *drumroll please* boarding school! Not many people know I attending boarding school for high school, and even now it’s such a weird topic to talk about because it was such a long time ago. But my main motivation for bringing it up now is 1) the portrayal of boarding schools in YA and 2) I have a whole Tumblr dedicated to people asking about my boarding school experience.

Let’s start with the basics. Why did I go to boarding school?
1. Swimming

And that’s basically it. Did I end up swimming? Well yes, I did. I spent more than half of my time in the pool, which I half regret and half do not because it kept me in shape I suppose. Even though I would never go back and redo high school again, I really enjoyed my time at boarding school. I made a lot of amazing friends, some I am still in touch with today.

Now, you may be wondering, what is it like at boarding school? Well I have all the answers for you. In fact, I have a whole Tumblr page dedicating to answering asks about it. This page, called Boarding School 101, was created years back with my best friend, who was my roommate while I was there.

We get a lot of questions from students wanting to attend boarding school, as you can see from just visiting the site. So many, that I ended up categorizing and tagging the asks. I also even have a separate page of photos of the boarding school my friend and I attended. Both authors and writers in the past few years have actually asked us questions about boarding school, which is why I am blogging about it here! I feel like there is a lot of good (and miscellaneous) information from all these questions, and our answers of course.

That's pretty much all I wanted to say! Feel free to check out the Tumblr if you're interesting in boarding school at all! Whether it's just for fun, or you're writing about it. Of course, not every experience is the same, but I think overall my experience is pretty similar to others!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #96 (Featuring My Cat)

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Ten Characters I Would Name A Cat After

Featuring, my cat, whose name is Primrose. You know, from The Hunger Games. 

Look, I'm not a Shannon. I'm not a HUGE fan of The Hunger Games (sorry Shannon), but even I couldn't change my cat's name after I adopted her. Why? Well she LOOKED like a Primrose. Sweet, adorable, and well, sometimes she is a little bad. But what can I do.

Let's start shall we? If I were to rename Primrose, here are the character names I would pick! Accompanied by pictures, of course!

Liesel from The Book Thief

Because Primrose loves me books. More specifically, rubbing her face on the corners and occasionally trying to take a bite out of them.

Look at how sinister and sassy she looks in this picture.

Noah from The Raven Boys

You know, if Prim was a boy cat. Also look at her, hiding from the world.

Just your usual scratching. She's secretly mischievous and does things I don't want her to do. Speak of the devil, I just heard something fall in the kitchen.

Miles from Made You Up

Again, if Prim were a boy. Apparently cats like being in boxes because it serves as a place away from stress, anxiety, and overall petting.

Lena from Metaltown

I don't even like the Lena from Metaltown, but Shannon's daughter is named Lena and she is my best friend and of course I would name someone after her.

Aza Ray from Magonia

Prim is no bird person, but her eyes change from adorably cute to this. It's a big enough change for me. Also Aza is a cute name.

"Verity" from Code Name Verity

Verity is such an elegant, deep name. Like Primrose! But maybe more for older and more mature cats, rather than this squish right here.

Levi from Fangirl

I think Levi would make a great fish name. And I guess a cat name too.

Do you have a cat? Or a pet? What would you name them?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Review: Aerie

Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley
Magonia #2
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 10/12/16 to 10/16/16
320 pages
Rating: 1/2

Where is home when you were born in the stars?

Aza Ray is back on earth. Her boyfriend Jason is overjoyed. Her family is healed. She’s living a normal life, or as normal as it can be if you’ve spent the past year dying, waking up on a sky ship, and discovering that your song can change the world.

As in, not normal. Part of Aza still yearns for the clouds, no matter how much she loves the people on the ground.

When Jason’s paranoia over Aza’s safety causes him to make a terrible mistake, Aza finds herself a fugitive in Magonia, tasked with opposing her radical, bloodthirsty, recently-escaped mother, Zal Quel, and her singing partner Dai. She must travel to the edge of the world in search of a legendary weapon, The Flock, in a journey through fire and identity that will transform her forever.

In this stunning sequel to the critically acclaimed Magonia, one girl must make an impossible choice between two families, two homes—and two versions of herself.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I’m not exactly sure how I should review this. I don’t know if my tastes have changed over the year, since I read Magonia. Looking over that review, it seemed like I really loved it, despite the lack in world building and the almost love triangle.

Beware, if you're interested in reading this series, there are potential spoilers for the first book in the review below!

Remember what I mentioned about the ending of Magonia? How it got us back to square one? Well because of that, I’m not surprised that Aza’s destructive mother, Zal, broke out of Magonian prison, seeking revenge and control over Aza. Again. This time, there’s a rush to find a secret weapon. One that will somehow make Zal even stronger than Aza. And of course Jason, Aza’s boyfriend is brought into the mix. Though he makes some really questionable events, in which he thinks he is protecting Aza, a fugitive Magonian. But in reality he is not.

Aerie reads the same way as Magonia, not surprisingly. The writing is strangely beautiful, written lyrically. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that the plot remained similar to the first book, though with the addition of the US government now coming into play.

I’m not sure what changed since a year ago. But here are some quick thoughts as to how I feel today.

  • Why was a second book necessary? I actually thought the first ended well. Or at least had a closed ending.
  • The first book had a lack of world building, and I thought the sequel would at least expand where the first didn’t.
  • I dislike Jason a bit. I understand he feels as if he can’t do anything to protect Aza, hence going towards the government for help. But how could he NOT foresee that turning against him?
  • I remember nothing about Heyward. Apparently, she is the real “human” Aza, the one who was kidnapped by Magonian’s as a baby in order to place Magonian Aza within a human family.
  • There’s no fear of character death here. Even though I did not get as emotional as I did during Magonia, the death was well-placed.

Overall, I still enjoyed the novel, but my lack of a memory kept me from being fully immersed. I tried to look up some sort of recap, but I barely found anything. But asides from that, I felt that this didn’t bring anything new to the table. The plot varied slightly compared to the first novel, and because of that I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be. I still like bird people though, haha.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October New Release Giveaway Hop!

Hello there!

This month, I've decided to join in Shannon's Giveaway Hop that she does every month, the one that showcases new releases (SHE FORCED ME). I actually have something I can giveaway this month, and it is...

Drumroll please.

I absolutely loved Our Chemical Hearts (and you can read my review of it here), so I will be sharing my ARC with the giveaway winner!

The giveaway is US only, and the usual rules follow. This means no cheating, no using multiple emails, you know the drill!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Review: Replica

Replica by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 9/30/16 to 10/3/16
554 pages

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever...

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

A very long time ago, in a house I no longer live in, I read Delirium. I remember liking it a decent amount, though I admit that was a time I felt like I had to like everything. If I were to read it again, I’m not sure I would have the same feelings I had years ago. Nevertheless, I still keep track of Oliver’s books, because she was one of the first YA authors I read, as a young adult.

Don’t get me wrong, I did like Replica! It actually reminded a bit of Stranger Things (though Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts says I can’t just compare anything to Stranger Things, so let me specify) in that there are clones called replicas, and they’re all locked in this laboratory, and treated like lab rats. Remember the time in AP Biology when we were breeding fruit flies? And we couldn’t release the next generation of fruit flies and instead drown them? Yeah, it was like that, except with humans. Or replicas.

Gemma and Lyra are both connected to Haven, the institute that houses all the replicas. It is really sad to read about Lyra, who as a replica, has to undergo a bunch of procedures. While there, they aren’t treated as humans, but rather as objects. They are constantly referred to as “it”, and honestly, it was horrible to read. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case, as it made me care more about the characters in general. On the other hand, Gemma is leading a pretty normal life, though her parents are way too overprotective. She’s been waiting forever to go on a road trip to Florida with her best friend, but at the last minute, her parents refuse to let her go. Why? Because her father has connections to Haven, which is on an island off the coast of Florida. He doesn’t want Gemma knowing what is going on there, or the connections between it and their family.

As you’ve probably heard, Replica has a unique format. You can read either Lyra’s or Gemma’s side, but you won’t get the full story unless you read both. I ended up reading a couple of chapters at a time before flipping over to the other side and reading the same corresponding chapters (reading one chapter each took too much energy haha). Although I found this really interesting and different, it felt a little unnecessary. The chapters could have just switched off between Gemma and Lyra. But then again, I liked how there’s variability in how you can experience the book.

Oh! And Gemma lives in Chapel Hill! Which is where I am! Right now! Though it is so not true that Chapel Hill is a boring place to live in. It’s only boring if you are under 21, or not in college. Which ended up being the case for Gemma anyways (but then it’s like that for anywhere. I will never regret the day I turned 21).

In the end, this didn’t exactly blow me away, but I still found it highly entertaining and a fast read. I don’t think I can say that Lauren Oliver is my absolute favorite YA author, but she does hold a place in my heart.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Review: Fear The Drowning Deep

Fear The Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 8/3/16 to 8/6/16
304 pages
Rating: 1/2

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

There’s something about old, coastal towns that I really love reading about. Probably because it reminds me so much of New England, even though this takes place on The Isle of Man. Nevertheless, the setting here paired with sirens, sea monsters, and the likes drew me in. Although I was expecting something a little bit different, I did thoroughly enjoy Fear The Drowning Deep.

The town is continuously haunted by drownings of women, and they don't know what's causing them. In the midst of all of this, Bridey, who is deathly afraid of the ocean after seeing her Grandad jump off the cliffs, takes the job of helping out the town witch, Morag. This involves going out to the beach to collect herbs, which is terrifying for her. Along the coast, she finds an unidentifiable boy, who she calls Fynn. The two spend a lot of time together, while Bridey figures out the truth behind the disappearances and drownings.

Spoiler, it's these squishy animals. Just kidding

I'm a huge fan of stories about mermaids, sirens, sea monsters, and the likes. Fynn turns out to be an interesting character (for reasons I will not say) who ends up wanting to stay by Bridey’s side. Yet even though I say this, I didn't like the fact that (Spoiler, highlight to read) Bridey's blood is what made Fynn lose his sense of violence as a sea monster, and in the end, caused him to fall in love with her. It made the relationship seem a little fake, even though Fynn admits he found her beautiful beforehand (which I really don’t buy at all). (End spoilers) I also liked the sisterly bond between Bridey and her sisters, mainly her younger sister Grayse. The story featured a very tight knit family, one that sticks by each other, and even a stranger who is only supposed to stay temporarily.

However, I did find the writing to be very dense and detailed. Maybe it was because I wasn't too invested in the story or the characters, but there were times where I couldn't help myself as I skimmed ahead. It really wasn't until the end where the action picked up, but even so it wasn't enough to make up for my boredom in the beginning.

Overall, I don’t regret reading Fear The Drowning Deep, however I felt like it lacked the spark that makes a book unforgettable (seeing as I read this back in August, and I barely remember anything, hence why I keep notes from back then).

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #95

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten "Why I Read What I Read" Books

I just word vomited out that title.

Why do I read the books I read? Well, mainly because of you guys. And media. And I just cannot pick for myself anymore.

Weeks and months of telling Amber I'll read Because You'll Never Meet Me someday, I finally did it! Last month too! And I absolutely loved it. I actually have a whole list of recommendations from some of my favorites, because if I forget for one second I'll get yelled at.

Before becoming a book blogger, I joined a couple of groups on Goodreads. I asked about book recommendations that had not much romance but included magic, and I got Sabriel! It's now one of my favorite books, and I'm currently on the last book in the trilogy (as a reread), because Goldenhand is coming out soon!

I meant to read The Knife of Never Letting Go during The Bookish Games, but I did not. But then I read it during the summer and now all is good! Except my heart.

My ex-housemate brought Stitches home with her. It's a graphic novel that was assigned for her class. I read it. I don't remember what I read, but I read it.

Shannon recommended The Memory Book to me! Which was a perfect fit because it's a young adult version of Still Alice basically. 

It's no surprise that I read everything that has to do with WWII, but I had never read The Diary of a Young Girl. That is, until Ely @ Tea & Titles forced me to. My heart is also still broken from that. 

Here's another book Shannon raves about. Denton Little's Deathdate. I will never not pronounce it and type it as Denton's Little Deathdate. I am sorry.

I would have NOT read The Way of Kings if Faye @ The Social Potato didn't host a readalong for it. With Twitter discussions. That now that I think back on it, were super spoiler-y to everyone. But no one really cared haha.

I literally found the description of Dragon's Bait on Tumblr. I had to search through all the notes to find the title of the book, because I NEEDED it in my life. It turned out to be a very good children's book. And a good break from college.

Yeah. I read A Court of Thorns and Roses because of all the drama around it. I'll get to the sequel one day.

Do you have any recommendations for me? List your favorites below!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Review: Iron Cast

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: October 11th, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 10/4/16 to 10/9/16
384 pages

It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose "afflicted" blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Iron Cast was a surprise. A huge surprise. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, until I got myself into it.

I guess I’ll start with breaking it down. The novel starts off with Ada being caught on a con, and shipped off to an institution. Why? Because being a hemopath allows Ada to use her music to make people feel what she wants them to feel. Corinne is also a hemopath, but a wordsmith, who uses poetry to create illusions. She makes people see what she wants them to see. The two together form a great team, and a great friendship. It’s why it is no surprise that the book starts right in the middle of the action, with an escape.

Why exactly did I love Iron Cast so much? For many, many reasons.

  • Ada and Corinne have an amazing friendship. They use their abilities in amazing ways, performing cons that others could never pull off.
  • How the book alludes to discrimination as it was in the 1900s. Hemopaths are super sensitive to iron, and that's how they're differentiated between "normal" people. They're hauled off to be experimented on, the law states hemopathy is illegal, they can't even gather together without being arrested. Though Ada is African American and Saint is gay, the book focuses on them both being discriminated against by being hemopaths.
    • Side note: The cover for this book is amazing! There could have easily been a white girl on this cover.
  • The abilities of a hemopath, and how they’re all tied back to art. For example, a thespian can change their appearance to anyone, a wordsmith can use poetry to paint an illusion, a songsmith can use music or voice to manipulate feelings. I’m still unsure as to how individualized these abilities are, but nevertheless they are pretty cool.
  • The book is #squadgoals.

I didn’t have many complaints either! Though I do have to say that there was a point where there was a climax, right at the end. As a standalone, it’s a little weird since it’s not like there will be another book to continue the action. I remember there only being around 5% left for some sort of epilogue. Plus, what I thought was the real climax already happened pages ago.

What can I even say to conclude? Well, read the book of course. This was such a refreshing read, especially after all the meh 2016 books I have read recently. Oh, and this raises some questions. How would you like it if people could control your mental state or emotions? Do you think if hemopathy was real, you would vote to outlaw it?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Review: Georgia Peaches And Other Forbidden Fruit

Georgia Peaches And Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Source: Library
Date Read: 9/9/16 to 9/21/16
432 pages

Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

Before I start this review, I want to mention that I have never lived in the Bible Belt, or in the conservative South. Sure, I’m currently in North Carolina, but I’m definitely in a very liberal, college town. Most of what I’ll be saying is just me being frustrated at the whole father-daughter relationship, but you should probably be taking this review with a grain of salt because 1) it mostly has to do with my feelings 2) and you might enjoy this more than I did.

I was really excited about this book. For one it had peaches on the cover, which is an automatic plus, and it had a f/f relationship, one of the main reasons I was highly anticipating it. Although it was what I expected, it was also not what I expected.

Joanna has recently moved away from Atlanta, to Rome, Georgia with her preacher father and her new stepmother. Because the town is not so liberal as Atlanta is, her father makes Jo promise to not be so “out there” with her sexuality, especially around his new wife’s family. He promises that he’ll let her start a teen segment on his radio show, and that she can go on a summer trip with her best friend Dana. If she doesn’t out herself to the whole town.

I didn’t expect myself to be so uncomfortable, and so angry about this entire situation. I’m just going to list all my feelings about it here.

  • Her father says he accepts Jo, but he holds her summer trip above her head. He doesn’t practice what he preaches, and as a preacher, I hate him even more for it. Jo wants to start her own segment on the radio show that talks about sexuality, acceptance, and God. Her father is holding her back, saying she needs to take it slow, and at times, censoring what she says. I did end up skimming the end, so I’m sure this changes at some point, but this bothered me a lot in the beginning.
  • Jo changes everything about herself for school. Her personality, her name (from Jo to Joanna), even her wardrobe. And it hurt seeing how everyone was more accepting of her. And that she was actually enjoying it. In this case, I’m sad about how this is probably accurate of the South, and not so much at the book.
  • The forbidden fruit was not so hard to catch apparently. I was expecting more of a slow burn, and a slow come to terms with sexuality. Maybe even a pushback. But nope!
  • And because of that, there were more frustrations, more hurts, and what was supposed to be a nice, fun, relaxing read turned into a stressful one.

On the other hand, I did like some aspects of the novel. Such as the relationship between Jo and her stepmother, which throughout the course of the novel, became more and more understanding. Or more accurately, Jo’s opinion of her grew better and better.

Ok I lied, that seems to be the only thing I liked. Unfortunately, I ended up skimming most of the end because I really wanted to be done with the book (plus the due date for it was coming up). In the end, this was a miss for me!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #94

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

All About (Disney) Villains, And Their Book Counterparts

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the topic was villains, was "disney villains". So I thought, "how can I tie Disney to books?" And so here I am, comparing the villains in these books to the ones in Disney movies!

I actually do not usually read many books that have a clear cut villain in them, or it's been so long that I've forgotten about them, so this took some serious thinking on my part. But basically, each one of these books has some sort of resemblance to the villain in each book!

Mistborn --> Jafar from Aladdin

The Lord Ruler thinks he is all powerful, just like Jafar who thinks he will be invincible and ruler of Agrabah with the lamp.

Red Rising --> Shere Khan from The Jungle Book

Where the Golds expect no one to infiltrate their ranks and rise within them. Similar to them, Shere Khan wants to get rid of Mowgli because he doesn't belong. I don't remember what the name of the specific villain is in this series, but oh well!

Cinder --> Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove

It's funny to actually imagine this, but Queen Levana, just like Yzma, is searching for the true heir so they can get rid of them. And therefore take their place on the throne.

A Darker Shade of Magic --> Evil Queen from Snow White

Holland hates Kell because Kell is a better Antari. Just kidding, this wasn't very well thought out and I am too lazy to change it.

Everything, Everything --> Mother Gothel from Tangled

This one fits perfectly! In this case, Maddie is constantly stuck at home because her mom just wants to protect her and keep her "safe".

A Court of Thorns And Roses --> Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

I know this is already based on Beauty and the Beast, but can you see the similarities between what's-her-face and her curse upon everyone? And Feyre has to go through a series of challenges, just like Prince Phillip.

Nimona --> Captain Hook from Peter Pan

Technically the protagonist is the villain, and he never really wins at much. Or is constantly beat by the good guy.

Walk On Earth A Stranger --> Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians

Where Lee's uncle just wants all of her gold, or gold seeking abilities. Basically just replace "gold" with "puppies" and you have Cruella.

The Abyss Surrounds Us --> Madame Medusa from The Rescuers

I don't know if anyone has watched The Rescuers, but Madame Medusa kidnaps a little girl (I think it was for ransom?) So in this book, Cas is kidnapped for her abilities to train a Reckoner. Unfortunately no little mice will be saving her. 

The Raven King --> Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog

When you play around with the dead or the spirits, don't expect to not face any consequences!

Hope you enjoyed me using my brain! Can you think of anymore?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: September 27th, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 9/21/16 to 9/27/16
448 pages

When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.

The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.

Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.

Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.

Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. .

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Last year, I read Crimson Bound and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thinking that I again would be entranced by Hodge’s writing, I picked up Bright Smoke, Cold Fire. Unfortunately, I didn’t really end up enjoying it, and maybe it’s because I’ve never really been a fan of Romeo and Juliet. Or, maybe it’s because the only similarities between the two were the names, and the fake deaths.

Also enjoy all my commas, because that’s what I do when I am confused, apparently.

The first red flag was being thrown right into the world of “The” Juliet and Romeo. And also of Runajo, who as some sort of priestess, feeds her blood to the walls of the city. Or something. As The Juliet and Romeo secretly wed, performing the ritual to bind Romeo as her protector, she accidentally ends up killing herself. But Runajo pulls her out of death and binds The Juliet to herself, also by accident. With names like Mahyanai, Catresou, Paths of Light, I had no idea what was going on. What does this all mean? Is Mahyanai a race? A tribe? A family? What was with this Sunken Library? And the walls feeding on the blood of the people? It took me pages before realizing that this was a Romeo and Juliet retelling (the names should have cued me, but I am often pretty oblivious).

The Juliet herself is some sort of warrior who brings justice down to everyone and anyone. But she was chosen (made?) to be the warrior for the Castresou. I’m not sure why they needed her specifically, why they couldn’t just train many warriors from birth. Is it because her protector can control her? I don’t know why she doesn’t even have a real name, or why she is referred to “The” Juliet in the first place.

And I didn’t even end up shipping Juliet and Romeo together here. Since Runajo spends a lot of time with The Juliet, I wanted those two to be together. And then this other Castreou boy, Paris, ends up being paired up with Romeo (how this happened, I have no idea), so I ended up shipping those two together as well. As Romeo and Paris investigate the crimes of the Castreou, they bump into Vai, King of the Rats. Then I was shipping Vai with Paris, but then it turned out (Spoiler, highlight to read) that Vai was a girl, and swore to hold the title of a boy because her family had no other sons, or whatever. Bottom line was, it was ambiguous as to what her sexuality was, or the pronouns she/(he?) used for that matter (see?). After the discovery, “she” is used for the rest of the novel, making it even more confusing. In this case I would say it’s for practical purposes, but from Vai’s explanation, I’m not even sure. (End spoiler)

The closer I got to the end, the more I wanted to be done with this. Especially with the idea of necromancy thrown in, reminding me of how this is an inferior version of Lirael, which coincidentally I was reading as well. Though I ended up enjoying the book by the halfway mark, it was more of a “let me accept everything just to get through it”. I just felt way too invested to stop.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

An Innocent Life #17: How Is It Already October?


I am always really excited for the fall, because it gets a little bit cooler, there's pumpkins and pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin flavored cookies and pumpkin candles. PUMPKIN MUFFINS. Everything is a pumpkin and it is wonderful.

A photo posted by Valerie (@innocentsmiley) on

Have I opened up Crooked Kingdom yet? No. Not yet. Holly is screaming at me silently, but there's just so much hype around it, I am scared! I should just go for it I suppose. Though it's just so bold and pretty with its red pages. I should take more photos.

More links! Though I'll probably start limiting them from next month on, to maybe my top five. I don't know what I'm doing let's be honest.

Cynthia @ Bingeing on Books asks when do you decide to abandon a book? (For me it's when I'm not already invested in it, which sadly is with almost every book I read, whoops)

Jeann @ Happy Indulgence discusses when diversity actually isn't diverse. (I can't even get my thoughts together for this, it's that complex)

And off of that, CW @ Read Think Ponder comments on misrepresentation vs. no representation in books. (Which I also have a ton of thoughts on too!)

Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight (and I) will be setting our Goodreads Challenge to 1 next year. Just kidding, I think only I am doing that. But she talks about why there is such a rush to read all the books. Oh, and she also talks about Bookstagram woes hahah. And also removing favorite books from your shelf because they longer favorites. *sobs*

Michelle @ Tea & Titles wants to achieve a zero TBR!

Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity talks about her blogging problems (which I definitely share)

I changed my Twitter picture. It's me and my cat now (Primrose). 

A photo posted by Valerie (@vlangloisx3) on

We are obviously best buds. She is basically me in cat form. The little squish.

Grad school is a little bit hectic, but I'm absolutely loving it. At times. The social life is great though. I feel like I am going out at least once or twice a week. I HAVE FRIENDS. Really my main obstacle is coming up with a first year research project. But now that I have narrowed it down to an idea, I'm hoping I can stick with that!

Unfortunately, I've had less time to do, anything really. Though I guess it's about the same as college/undergrad, so not that much difference. I am currently reading Replica by Lauren Oliver, and do you know where the main character lives? Chapel Hill! Where I am! Right now! (Don't stalk me). So that was a nice surprise!

Also, how is it already October? How?
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