Monthly Archives: June 2017

Netflix Book Tag

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1.Recently Watched: The last book you finished reading

Isis: Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan. This is a sequel in the Roosevelt series, and I really enjoyed it. I think it’s an important read, really diverse. It made me so happy.

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Nicole: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. It was a good graphic novel.

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2. Top Picks: A book/books that have been recommended to you based on books you have previously read

Isis: I read The Song of Achilles because everyone recommended it after reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. But I was so disappointed in The Song of Achilles. It was not my cup of tea. I still don’t get the hype for it.

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Nicole: People recommend The Iron Trial by Cassandra Claire and Holly Black to people who like the Harry Potter books. I did not like it at all.

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3. Recently Added: The last book you bought

Isis: I just recently bought an e-book I found randomly called Bonfires by Amy Lane. It’s about two older men who fall in love, both men have children from previous marriages, both are trying to get through life. It just sounds right up my alley. I’m excited to read it.

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Nicole: I finally bought The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. I’ve been wanting it for a long time, so now I’m resisting the urge to drop what I’m currently reading in order to get to it quicker. 

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4. Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about (2 you’ve read and 2 you have never read or have no interest in reading)

Isis: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Gotta go back to the oldies. 

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I feel like everyone has heard about this book. 

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Love Shadowhunters, but I don’t like the author of the books. I don’t think I’m missing out on anything. The show is amazing.

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’ve heard mixed things about this one. I’m not interested in a new book format or whatever. The story itself doesn’t really interest me.

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Nicole: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. A surprisingly good book.

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. With how everyone talked about it, I expected it to be fantastic. It wasn’t.

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The Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I feel like everyone can still be obsessed with it, but after I found out the premise my already mediocre interest fell completely away. It just doesn’t sound interesting to me at all.

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The Black Witch by Laurie Forest. This one’s buzz is mainly on twitter, but it still counts. At first I was interested in this one because I simply heard it was about witches and it was good. Then all the negativity surrounding it happened, and I learned it was about unlearning racism, badly, in a fantasy setting. Even if it was well done, I still would have decided not to read it. It simply isn’t a plot that interests me.

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5. Comedies: A funny book

Isis: The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore. I loved the humor in this book. It was the sort of humor that sinks in and really gets to you. If that makes sense. I still think about this book. It had a lot of heart too.

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Nicole: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan. I think it’s his funniest series yet.

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6. Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king

 Isis: As a drama queen myself, it’s hard for me to really pinpoint other drama queens/kings because I think everyone should be dramatic. But Juliette Ferrars was pretty dramatic in the Shatter Me series. I really loved her development though.

Nicole: Draco Malfoy is the ultimate drama king.

7. Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover

Isis: The new Carry On paperback book has this amazing cover. Simon and Baz are cartoons and they look beautiful. 

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Nicole: Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon.

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8. Watch it again: A book/book series that you want to re-read

Isis: Eventually, I’d love to re-read the Gives Light series. I’ve talked about this one before. It’s one of my favorites. It’s set in a Native American Reservation, which is something you don’t see a lot. It was beautiful and so informative.

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Nicole: I’m not a big re-reader. I have been kind of wanting to re-read the Harry Potter series, which is the only books I’ve really re-read before. Also the two books I mention in the childhood favorites list.

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9. Documentaries: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone

Isis: I think everyone should read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s a good starting piece.

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Nicole: Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas. I think it’s not popular, but it really opened my eyes. I think it has important information that society, especially present in the media, doesn’t share at all.

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10. Action and Adventure: An action packed book

Isis: I don’t read many action packed books, but Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan was full of action. I wanted it to slow down, but it never did.

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Nicole: The  Outliers by Kimberly McCreight. This book never stopped from the first page. Every page had something dramatic happen till the very last sentence.

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11. New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read

Isis: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but I’m dying to read When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. It looks so good and sweet and summery. I still haven’t bought it yet, but soon!

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Nicole: Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh comes out on July 25th, and I can’t wait. It’s a middle grade mystery book that includes ghosts, and it sounds amazing.

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12. Max: Tag some people

Everyone, consider yourselves tagged

Favorite Childhood Reads

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Isis:

I never read much as a child. I do remember reading Clifford obsessively and these Maisy books because they had little pop ups. They were my favorites as a kid.

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Nicole:

I read a lot more than Isis. Not like now, but I’ve read a lot of different books. I remember rereading a lot of the same book over and over again. Unlike now when I rarely ever reread books.

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I’m pretty sure that I read all the Dr. Seuss books, and a lot of The Berenstain Bears seriesI would finish one book in one sitting and start on the next one right away.

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I was obsessed with Winnie-the-Pooh when I was little. I vaguely remember the book, but I watched the movies over and over again. My room for years only had Winnie-the-Pooh decorations.

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I had a lot of these Little Golden Books. I read a lot of them but Aladdin and 101 Dalmatians were a couple of my favorites. I would read these and then watch the movie and then read these again.

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My kindergarten teacher used to read to us everyday. I don’t remember any of the books she read except with the Junie B. Jones series. I loved these. I loved Junie, and all of her mishaps. I found this through my teacher, but I loved it so much that I would go to the library to get the ones she didn’t read.

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I remember always picking this series up though I don’t remember what actually happened during it. I do want to find these in thrift shops or the library and reread them when I can. 

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I’m so glad I decided to do this post, because I’ve been trying to figure out the name of this book for ages and I could never find it. I tried one more time so I could add it to this list, and I finally figured it out. In elementary school sometimes if you got there early they would take you to the library and the librarian would read to everyone until it was time to go to class. This was one of the books she read though I never got the full story since sometimes I would miss school or come later so then I missed out on parts of the story. But I always wondered what happened at the end. Now that I remember the title, I’m going to look it up and read it again.

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We had to read these books in fifth grade, but I never minded the work involved because I loved these stories. With Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry especially. I went to the library and got all the other books in the series. When I finished them all, I was so upset that it ended that I wrote my own fanfiction of it. Not that I knew the term then.

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These aren’t so much children’s books, but I felt the need to add them here. I didn’t read as much as I got to middle school, but these books were my everything. I would get in trouble all the time for reading the Maximum Ride series in class. I never liked getting in trouble, but I just had to know what was going to happen. Though by the time I think the third or the fourth book came out I was over them. I think I read all the books that Lois Duncan had out. I would read them in one or two sittings because I was so captivated, and then I would immediately go to the library to get another one. This was also the time I picked up Harry Potter, and became obsessed with that. Then, for years Harry Potter books or fanfiction was the only thing I read.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is a young adult, fantasy graphic novel. It follows Nimona, a shapeshifter, and Lord Ballister Blackheart, a hero turned villain,  as they team up to take down the corrupt Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics and their “front man” Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin who Blackheart has a lot of past with. The art style is bright and colorful, and characters are well developed and  funny. Here’s an example of the art and tone here:

I was very surprised when I read this. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Blackheart, while still a villain, never wanted to kill anyone. In a lot of ways this felt like more his story than Nimona’s even with her name being the title. But I loved their friendship. It was my favorite part of the comic. I also loved how scientific Blackheart was, and his motivations for being against the Institution. 

Blackheart doesn’t have an arm, and he was made that way by Goldenloin, his former lover at the hero academy. Though in the comic it is only heavily applied that they were lovers. I didn’t like that much though I have found out the author regrets not making it explicit. Their relationship was complex, and really added another layer to the story that it needed.

The ending surprised me a lot. I did not expect it at all, but after thinking about it for a couple hours, I think I like it. It’s not the typical happy ending, but it fits these characters and their story perfectly. 

I rate this comic five stars, and would recommend it to others. I enjoyed myself the whole time reading, and was disappointed and surprised when it ended.

T.V. Show Spotlight: 3%

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Name: 3%

Seasons: 1

What It’s About: It’s a dystopian thriller, and Netflix’s first original Brazilian production. It’s set in a future  where people generally live in bad conditions. However, there’s a paradise called the Offshore, but in order to be able to get there they have to pass a series of tests. You can only have one chance at it in your life, and only 3% pass it. It follows multiple people over the eight episode season.

My Thoughts: I had no idea what to expect from this, but I loved it so much more than I thought I would. With every episode there was a twist I wasn’t expecting. I grew fond of all the characters, and enjoyed watching their journey. There was one episode I didn’t like as much, it was bit slower though it was important overall, but I liked all the others. Though the audio took a bit to get used to. Since it’s from Brazil, the original is in Portuguese, so when I switched it to English studio it’s slightly off. But it isn’t a big deal. Also, trigger warning for suicide and some torture in the later episodes. It just got renewed, so I can’t wait for the second season.

Rating: 8 out of 10

 

Books We’ll (Probably) Never Read Tag

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1. A really hyped book you’re not interested in reading?

Isis: Caraval by Stephanie Garber. It doesn’t sound appealing to me at all. I’m not sure why there’s so much hype surrounding it.

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Nicole: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I thought this sounded interesting because when people talk about it they just mention clairvoyants, but when learning more I learned about the slave/master romance it mainly involves around. Who wants to read about that?

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2. A series you won’t start/won’t be finishing?

Isis: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I mentioned this before, but I don’t like assassin books at all.

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Nicole: The Mortal InstrumentsThe Infernal Devices, basically any of the shadowhunter books.

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3. A classic that you’re not interested in?

Isis: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. I don’t think I’ll ever get to this one. It’s probably one of the few classics that have never appealed to me.

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Nicole: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. I’m not interesting in reading about white men who think they are misunderstood.

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4. Any genres you never read?
Isis: I don’t think I’ve ever read any sci-fi. It’s something I stay away from. I’m not into it.

Nicole: I don’t think I’ve ever read a western or a cyberpunk. I wouldn’t say I would never read a book from either of these genres. They just aren’t on my usual radar.

5. A book on your shelves you’ll probably never actually read?
Isis: I like to think I will read everything, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the Spanish version of Stephen King’s 11/22/63. I bought it for my mom a few years back and she never read it, and when she passed away, I kept it. My sister read it and loved it, but I’m not sure I would like it.

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Nicole: I recently got rid of a lot of the books I didn’t think I would ever read. But I’ve stubbornly held onto a couple for some reason. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

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Shelter the Sea (The Roosevelt) by Heidi Cullinan – Book Review

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“The problem is, a lot happens when people don’t regard you as a real person. They think they can ignore you, and worse, they think they can use you.”

When I read Carry the Ocean two years ago, I loved it from the bottom of my heart. The book and its characters lingered with me for a long time. It felt incredible seeing someone with anxiety facing daily challenges and coming out stronger. Every time I dealt with anxiety in my own life, I remembered Jeremey, and I felt comforted, knowing I was not alone. This is the kind of impact books can have on people. For that reason, and many others, I adore this series.

Shelter the Sea is the sequel following Emmet and Jeremey from the first book. It follows the events right after the ending, and it explores a more political struggle overall. Emmet has a great job and Jeremey is still David’s aide, and the two of them are still in a very loving, healthy relationship. But problems arise when the building they live in, The Roosevelt, faces financial difficulties. This is the story about how Emmet, Jeremey, David, and now Darren–their lovely new friend–work together to help the Roosevelt, and fight to stop a bill that would only harm people with special needs and mental health problems.

Getting back into this world after two years was a breeze. I instantly remembered every character and their unique personalities, along with most of the major events from the first book. This is unusual for me because I usually forget what I read, even if I love it more than anything. Reliving Emmet and Jeremey’s love was the sweetest thing ever. Even though I had already loved them before, I grew to love them even more in this book. Emmet became the face of their public fight, and he was a hero to many other people with autism. Regardless of the level of difficulties he faced, Emmet shone through until the very end. I was so proud of him. And of course, Jeremey was not left behind. His depression got really bad, and it was a fight that seemed impossible, until it wasn’t. I was relieved to know he was getting better.

There’s a lot of diversity in this book, which I really appreciated. I love the issues Cullinan discussed so bluntly, things that shouldn’t just be brushed over. The political issues resonated with me the most, especially because in our current political climate, people with mental health issues and disabilities rank lower than most people. The message spread in this book is one of inclusivity and hope for equality.

“To be honest the fact that we had to lip sync and dance and I had to keep giving speeches and put Darren’s and my autism and David’s quadriplegia and Jeremey’s social anxiety on display to get people’s attention made me realize how much people had been ignoring us all this time.”

The addition of Darren to the group made me so happy. I loved that Darren was given a voice even though he struggled with verbal speech. Rather than simply pushing him aside, he was given the spotlight a few times, and his intelligence was put to good use. I’m looking forward to rest of the books in the series, which will follow David and Darren closely. I really want a happy ending for all of my Roosevelt Blues Brothers. They’re some of my favorite characters of all time.

Writing With a Ten-Year-Old

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Summer’s here, schools out, and with that I am back to watching my boyfriend’s nephew during the day. He’s ten, turning eleven in July. He can be what you would call a reluctant reader. Video gaming is his preferred activity, and he always puts up a fight when I make him read a little bit everyday.

Last year I actually managed to conjoule him write a “book” with me. It takes a little bit of time, but once we start writing or we start talking ideas he does enjoy it. I promise I’m not torturing him. Anyway, it was five pages typed about this duo who has a lot of powers and like to solve crimes. The plot is all over the place, there’s virtually no description, and he’s convinced he writes better than J.K. Rowling.

Yesterday we started on book two. We managed to plan a plot line from the first book to continue on with, have a nice little mystery we will solve, and planned out two more books in the process. In terms of actual writing, we only got around two hundred words, or one page, down before he was tired and wanted to play Call of Duty. I call it a success. It took a bit more than an hour or so, and most of that was deciding on a font and switching the color to the perfect shade of blue.

I’ve written before about my troubles with self doubt when writing. I tried to do Camp NaNoWriMo this year, and failed epically. I didn’t even do the final update. Since then I haven’t written on that project at all. I’ve thought about it a lot, but that doesn’t equal words on the page which in turn doesn’t give me progress. I only write with Isis on the project we do together. I still haven’t finished those backstories I talked about. I’m basically where I was when I wrote that first post almost a year ago.

Writing with this ten-year-old, I couldn’t help but think that I could really learn from him. He doesn’t ever think about writing anything that other people would enjoy. He wrote it, so obviously it’s amazing, and other people will love it too. Whenever I try to describe the setting or the weather or a character’s description or action during dialogue he always asks, “Nicole, why are you writing that?”

He’s very simple and to the point. If the characters are searching a house for information, they go into the drawer and find it. They don’t search the whole house first. They simply know where to go, and they go do it. There’s no character development here. They need to go to the police as the ending? You write, “They went to the police and told them all they needed to know. Then they went home. The End.” I’m sure he would make that even simpler. There’s no editing. You never second your first thought, and the scene will simply change as you get tired of it or get a new idea.

And you know what? It’s the best time I’ve spent writing in a long while. When I’m writing, I usually have a ball of anxiety nearly suffocating me. I have so many worries and concerns. I agonize over every sentence. It takes me hours to write a three sentence paragraph. On a good day I might be able to write five hundred words. And I never leave my document satisfied. I’m never proud of what I write.

When writing with him, there’s never doubt. After every sentence there’s a compliment of how good it is. Every new idea is met with a high five or a hug. There’s a lot of jokes and laughter, and at the end there’s no doubt that what we wrote is the best thing ever.

It’s very freeing, and something I really want to take into writing my own novels. At least in the first draft. Seeing as I never get to a second draft with my own books, this could only help me out. I’m forever seeing authors advise people to first write for yourself, but I always find it hard to take their advice. There’s always a voice in the back of my head saying, “Yes. That’s good advice for real writers,  but you aren’t a real writer.” There’s no doubt in this ten-year-old’s head that he’s a real writer and will be a best seller and he hates the idea of books and writing every other day.

Of course I don’t expect to write this, and have all my problems solved. But I do think I should think of this, and try to channel it more. It can’t hurt at least.