Book Reviews

The Outsider by Stephen King – Book Review

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“Time had passed. And time probably did heal all wounds. But God, some of them healed so slowly.”


I have to be honest. I was hesitant about picking up this book. The summary made it sound just like your average mystery story. I’m not really into mysteries, so I kept putting this one off. But I’m glad I gave it a chance. It might not have blown me away, but it did keep me very entertained.

This book follows the investigation of the brutal murder of a young boy in a small town where everybody knows everybody. The main suspect, seen by many witnesses in the town, is a well-known coach named Terry that’s always surrounded by young boys. All clues point to him being guilty. All except his solid alibi that proves he was miles away during the time of the murder. All that leaves is the impossibility that this man was in two places at once. Here begins the mystery.

I was very intrigued by the premise. I’ve been really into true crime lately, and that’s what this book felt like: a supernatural true crime story. And it was really interesting. I wasn’t sure who, or what, the killer was, and I just wanted some justice for that poor boy. I was sad, though not surprised, when my favorite character was killed. It’s just like Stephen King to do that. But anyway, I enjoyed this book nonetheless.

Although it felt a little too long, I’d recommend this book. It kept me hooked from start to finish. I loved the characters, the plot, and the satisfying ending.

3,5 stars

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Lists, Uncategorized

Most Anticipated Books of 2019

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A new year means a ton new books being published. So we whipped up a list of books we are most excited for. And tell us what books are coming out that you need to read! Are they the same as ours? Or are we in desperate need of hearing about more books? Tell us in the comments below.

Isis:

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Expected publication: January 29th
She wrote The Hating Game which I loved, so I’m super excited about this book. I have no idea what it’s about, but I don’t care.

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Shadow Me by Tahereh Mafi
Expected publication: March 5th 
I need more Shatter Me books and this one is from Kenji’s POV so I’m sure it won’t disappoint. 
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Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Expected publication: April 2nd
I just need more Warner in my life. 
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Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

Expected publication: May 7th
I’ve been following Christine’s channel on YouTube for a long time. I’m so excited to read her first novel. I’m sure it’ll be great.
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Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Expected publication: 2019
While I didn’t love Carry On, I’m always up for good m/m romance.
Nicole:
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An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Expected publication: January 8th
All I know is this is a thriller focused on women doing a psychology study which is kind of what what of my own books is about so I am all in. Isis was able to get me a couple of this already and I’m excited to pick it up.
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The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Expected publication: January 8th
I saw this cover on Twitter one day, and that’s all I need to want to read it.
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The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Expected publication: January 15th
Historical Paris with magic? Sign me up! I don’t think I’ve ever read Chokshi’s work before, and I’m excited to pick this one up because I’ve never seen a bad review about any of her books.
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Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Expected publication: January 15th
I need to read everything Rick Riordan Presents puts out so obviously I have to read this one.
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On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Expected publication: February 5th
This one is about a young girl hoping to become a rapper. I think it’ll be really interesting since I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about a rapper.
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The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
Expected publication: February 5th
A girl suffering from OCD must find her mother during the race riots of 1969 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I have no doubt this will be an amazing debut. Just look at that cover.
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Game of Stars by Sayantani Dasgupta
Expected publication: February 26th
The first book was in my favorites of 2018 so of course I’m looking forward to it’s sequel.
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Internment by Samira Ahmed
Expected publication: March 19th
This one is about a possible near future where Muslims are forced into concentration camps. I don’t think this will be a fun read but a necessary one.
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You Owe Me A Murder by Eileen Cook
Expected publication: March 5th
I’ve been getting more into thrillers and this one sounds insane. It’s about two girls murdering for each other.
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The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
Expected publication: May 14th
I saw this cover and knew I needed to read it. All I know is it is a YA fantasy, and I don’t need to know more.
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Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Expected publication: July 9th
A feminist Lord of the Flies with the most beautiful cover I’ve ever seen? I’m so excited for this debut.
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The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
Expected publication: August 6th
A corporate team has to do team building in an escape room and dark secrets come out. I’m so excited for this.
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Daddy by Robyn Harding
Expected publication: August 20th
Sugar daddies and murder sounds like it will be a wild ride that I can’t wait to get on.
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Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
Expected publication: 2019
This is described as Coco meets Stranger Things so I would have wanted it anyway. But I discovered Ortega on Twitter through PitMad when she was talking about her 80s punk witch book and I knew she was someone I needed to follow because she was going to be a new favorite author whenever she gets published. I’m so excited it’s finally happening!
Book Recommendations, Book Tag, Lists, Uncategorized

Our Favorite Books of 2018

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Usually I would have had this up on the last day of December but I’ve been sick so it’s a little behind. But here are our favorite books that we have read in the past year!

 

Isis:

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Autoboyography by Christina Lauren 

This books started me off on a really positive note for the year. I read it while I was struggling with my mental health and it helped me get out of the hole where I felt I was buried. It’s such a good book about sexuality and religion and how the two can coexist. 

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The Long Walk by Stephen King 

When I finished this book I wanted to cry. I didn’t know what to do because I instantly missed it. This book made me so upset but also so happy. I loved so many of the characters and I felt so attached to their lives and their stories. I’ll never forget this book. 

 

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Turtles All The Way Down by John Green 

I related so much with the characters in this book. This is one of my favorite John Green books. I loved the representation of a character with anxiety and OCD. It was quite a ride. 

 

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Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi

I was really happy with the continuation of the Shatter Me series. It wasn’t perfect at all, but I got to read it alongside my friends and discuss it and that made it so much better. Also, any book with Warner is an awesome book. 

 

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne 

This is one of the best rom-com books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It made me love the enemies to lovers scenario and it’s something I still can’t move on from. I loved the characters and the way they fell in love in the most unconventional ways. 

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Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram 

This book was so touching and so heart-warming. I loved the representation of depression and Iranian and Persian culture. It was such a sweet book overall. I wanted to keep reading it even after it was over. 

 

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A Sucky Love Story: Overcoming Unhappily Ever After by Brittani Louise Taylor

 This was a really great book. It was insane from start to finish but I couldn’t get enough of it. Brittani’s love story is quite sucky, but she did overcome some of the worst things a person could go through. 

 

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Riding With Brighton by Haven Francis 

I loved this coming of age story. It’s also a coming out story. The characters were lovely and so was the romance. It was one of those feel good stories that I know will always be there when I need a pick me up. 

 

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Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat 

This was an amazing start of this series. It totally blew me away. I loved the setting, the characters, and their stories. I can sense a very nice romantic build up between the main characters and it’s awesome. I can’t wait to continue with the series. 

 

Nicole:

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The Assassin’s Curse duology by Cassandra Rose Clark

These two belong together since really they should have been one book. These were my first two reads last year, and I love them so much. The pirates and the magic are everything I love about fantasy. And it has one of my favorite romances of all time.

 

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The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta 

This is the perfect start to a new middle grade fantasy series. It was so fast and funny and simply had everything that I love in a book with the added greatness of Indian rep that I hadn’t seen before.

 

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The Clocktaur War duology by T. Kingfisher

Again I have to put these two together since they should have been one book. This series made me laugh, made me cry, and made me stay up way too late in suspense. It’s one of those books I wish I could erase just so I can read it again for the first time. The lovely characters are some of my favorites of all time, and the romance was so sweet and realistic.

 

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The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

I did not expect much when I first picked up this book. So to have it as one of my favorites of the year is amazing to me. But this is such a hidden gem of a book about being true to yourself and your friends. With the best romance. I almost wrote fanfiction about this book when I finished it simply because I was not ready to leave the characters just yet.

 

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Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

My absolute favorite book of the year also happens to have the best cover. Witches, zombies, female friendship, and fat rep? There was nothing that could make me dislike this book, but Anderson knocked it out of the park. Everyone needs to read this book.

Book Reviews

A Sucky Love Story: Overcoming Unhappily Ever After by Brittani Louise Taylor – Book Review

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An incredibly shocking cautionary tale. I can’t believe everything this girl had to go through. I’ve been following Brittani Louise Taylor since I found her on YouTube around 2009. She made Twilight parodies with Shane Dawson, and I was hooked.

I’ve always liked Brittani. She has always given off good vibes, and I think she’s a genuine person. I used to follow her vlogs and sketches. When I found out she was engaged and pregnant, I was very surprised. A while passed, and I stopped watching her videos. When I heard about this book, I was even more surprised. Brittani was a big part of my teenage years, so of course I had to read her book. I just wish it wasn’t on this topic.

This book follows Brittani’s love life through the span of a couple of years. She found love on Tinder, and it sent her life on a complete spiral. I could easily relate because, just like her, I went on Tinder in the hopes of finding someone I could have a real connection with. I think this book is just another bit of proof that Tinder is definitely not the right place to find a partner.

I have to say, everything in this book was shocking. Some of it was crude, but the honesty swept me away. There were many things I didn’t like, or agree with, but I respected Brittani for being so genuine in her writing. I am no one to judge her decisions and the ways she expressed herself about certain people. I loved the way she wrote the book. At first, she stayed far away from cusswords, but by the end, she was cussing like a sailor and she was not apologetic about it. I loved it. She evolved along with the story. I was able to experience everything in the same way she did.

To say the least, this story is insane. There are twists and turns that you wouldn’t see coming. At least, I didn’t. It’s incredible that she had to live through all of this. I teared up a few times. My mom was a victim of domestic abuse, so it always gets to me when reading about the topic. I really felt for Brittani. But again, I respected her so much for everything she did. She is a survivor. She got out, even when all she could feel was fear. I felt that fear, too, while reading this.

I recommend this story to anyone wanting to read about a strong woman overcoming one of the worst situations imaginable. However, if you are sensitive to domestic violence and abuse, you might want to stay away from this. I was extremely angry all the time reading this. So, just be wary of that before going into it.

5 stars
Film Reviews

Bohemian Rhapsody – Film Review

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Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t just the story of Queen, and their incredible front-man Freddie Mercury. This movie is about a queer, talented misfit from Zanzibar. Before this movie, I didn’t know a single thing about Queen outside from knowing all of the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody thanks to my love for karaoke. I didn’t know a single thing about Freddie Mercury. I went to see the movie simply out of a whim on a night out with my friends.

While I was watching the movie, I was completely surprised to find that Freddie Mercury was, in fact, not straight. It wasn’t at all what I had been expecting, but I loved the portrayal. On screen, Freddie was an effeminate man with beautiful moves and a voice like no other. The story is a classic “rags to riches” story, and that was what I had been expecting. But I didn’t know there would be so many layers to it. I loved seeing Freddie’s family, his dynamic with the rest of the band, his days touring, and the way he felt so strongly for Mary.

I am aware now that many details in the movie are not true. Many things were changed, probably to add tension and build up to the famous Live Aid concert scene, which is a big moment in the movie. I think the film had a great balance of everything. But I don’t think I would have enjoyed the movie as much as I did had it not been for Rami Malek’s amazing performance. The man has talent. Actually, now that I’ve delved into the world of Queen, I think Rami Malek is a bit similar to Freddie Mercury. I think they’re both incredibly blunt and honest in everything they do. I also believe the rest of the cast fit the band members very well.

The most meaningful thing to me was seeing Freddie Mercury being idolized and loved, to this day, while knowing all of those details about his life. I couldn’t believe that there was this outstanding queer icon in the world that I was not aware of. Being pansexual, I live for any queer representation in the media. Seeing people worship this man for being who he was made me so happy. I think this is an important movie for the LGBT+ community, even though they mostly labeled Freddie as gay, despite him identifying as bisexual. But that is not surprising, considering the constant erasure of bisexuality. However, I still think this movie is excellent and deserves a lot of love.

My rating: 9/10

Book Reviews

Binge by Tyler Oakley – Book Review

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“No person, no matter how important society deems their relationship to you, has the right to denounce you for who you are.”

I went into this book a little biased. I’ve been watching Tyler Oakley’s videos for years. I absolutely love his podcast Psychobabble that he does with his best friend Korey Kuhl. I listened to the audiobook for this book, which was narrated by Tyler. Truthfully, it just felt like a really long episode of his podcast, minus Korey (who was deeply missed). So, it’s really no surprise that I ended up loving this book.

I’ve read very few Youtuber books. Actually, I’ve only read two, and those were by Shane Dawson and Hannah Hart. I’m not big on Youtubers making books, but I’ll read them if I really like the person. I gotta say, Tyler Oakley is a great writer. I enjoyed his writing style because it was SO him. His entire essence was in this book, and I thought that was awesome. On top of that, Tyler talks about a bunch of really deep, personal things. Many of which I was really surprised by.

My favorite thing about nonfiction, especially memoirs, is that they’re personal. Often, very personal. I cannot express how much I respect and admire people who can get that personal. It takes a lot of courage to open up that much about your life. I should add trigger warnings for eating disorders and homophobia. I had no idea how much Tyler had gone through. It’s important to tell these stories though. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be battling an eating disorder, but Tyler was able to survive that and share his story. He also talks about his journey coming out, and his shaky relationship with his father who wasn’t as understanding as everyone else.

The story that touched me the most had to do with Adam. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, or heard about it, but there was such a vulnerability to the entire thing. I was rooting for Tyler and Adam, until I wasn’t. Overall, Tyler Oakley was just himself. Honest, fun, quirky. What can I say? I love the guy.

I haven’t read that many memoirs, though I deeply enjoy them. And I have to say, this one is a great one to pick up.

4 stars

Book Reviews

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld – Book Review

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If you know me, then you know I’m probably the biggest Pride and Prejudice fan. I’ve seen a variety of adaptations and read a ton of retellings. This story has a huge space in my heart, especially because it was something my mom and I bonded over before she passed away. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are two of my most beloved fictional characters. But I have very mixed feelings about this particular retelling.

Eligible is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic, and it does have a lot of similarities with the original Pride and Prejudice, but it’s also super problematic. I hate to start with the negatives, but I need to talk about them. There is a lot of blatant racism, homophobia, and transphobia in this book. It was incredibly offensive, and I immediately hoped no trans or other people of color read this book. The Bennet family is a rich, snobby Republican version that I completely despised. While the original version of the Bennets could be overwhelming, I never hated any of them. But Mrs. Bennet was just awful. So awful.

I also found myself disliking Liz Bennet. This had never happened to me before. In all of the retellings I’ve seen/read of this story, Lizzie is always my favorite character. But in this book, I wasn’t sure why Mr. Darcy fought for her. She just wasn’t worth it to me. I don’t want to get into too many details about why, because the list is lengthy. If you’d like a clearer review explaining the racism and transphobia better, read this one.

Despite my complaints, and all of these terrible issues I found, I did enjoy most of the book. I loved Mr. Darcy. I’ve loved Darcy since Colin Firth brought him to life in that incredible BBC mini series. I mean, there is no better Mr. Darcy than Colin Firth. There just wasn’t enough Mr. Darcy in this book. He was the most decent character in the story, though. Aside from Darcy, I also liked Charlotte. I thought she was great. And Kathy de Bourg was a great feminist character. I was surprised by this because her original character is nothing like this. But these few characters were really the only likeable ones, aside from Jane, though she wasn’t my favorite.

I was mostly confused because I thought that the author might have had good intentions, but she wasn’t careful enough to realize how offensive her story was in the end. I wanted to love it. I was ready to be obsessed over this retelling. But it just rubbed me the wrong way. I can’t say I hated it, though. I finished it in two days. It kept me entertained, for sure. But I wouldn’t really recommend it to others.

3,5 stars