Author Archives: Nicole & Isis

About Nicole & Isis

Hi! This is Nicole and Isis, and we will be running this awesome book blog. We're both aspiring authors, which means that we do a lot of reading and writing, so we hope you enjoy our posts! Currently, we're both co-writing an urban fantasy novel, as well as writing our own individual fiction novels. Basically, we're both constantly writing. But in order to write better, one must read. Therefore, we have our very own book club. Here we will discuss some of our favorite books.

The Television Tag

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I saw ProblemsofaBookNerd do this tag and it looked fun, so Nicole and I decided to do it!

1. Favorite shows?

Nicole: Stranger Things, Charmed, Gilmore Girls, 12 Monkeys, 3%, The Challenge, Chopped, Cupcake Wars, Cutthroat Kitchen, Project Runway, Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta

Isis: Are you ready? This list will be LONG because I adore TV shows: The Office, Parks & Recreation, Friends, New Girl, Lucifer, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Preacher, Stranger Things, Gilmore Girls, The Great British Baking Show, Crazyhead, About a Boy, Breaking Bad, That 70’s Show, Scrubs, Shameless, Master of None, Santa Clarita Diet, Bates Motel, The Good Doctor, This Is Us, In the Flesh, Atypical, The Twilight Zone, Jane the Virgin, The Good Place, Superstore, The Mindy Project, The Nanny, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The X-Files.

2. Favorite genre?

Nicole: I like a lot of reality television obviously. I don’t know if there is a genre for all the scripted shows I watch, but they all have a magical element or something to it. Not necessarily magical but it’s never like just regular life like a sitcom. Also crime shows. I always get caught up in those.

Isis: Sitcoms have a large piece of my heart. The majority of the shows I watch are sitcoms, often with a twist. I do enjoy supernatural shows, especially if they involve angels and/or demons. I don’t really like dramas, unless they have some sort of supernatural or comedy aspect.

3. Least favorite show?

Nicole: The OA, Glow, Being Human, Lost, Spongebob, Clarence

Isis: Family Guy, The Big Bang Theory, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. If I don’t like a show, I just don’t watch it. These are just some that annoy me without having really watched them.

4. Most rewatched show/favorite show to binge watch?

Nicole: I’ve watched the Roseanne, Gilmore Girls, 16 and Pregnant, and the Teen Moms ones so many times. Law and Order the original and SVU too. Cold Case and a few others like it I can’t remember the names to right now. I love binging The Challenge, The Real World, shows like that.

Isis: I’ve lost track of the times I’ve rewatched The Office, but my guess is at least 10 times, seasons 1 thru 7. I don’t care about the last two seasons. I’ve rewatched Friends a bunch of times too, but not as many. And Gilmore Girls and Parks & Recreation a few times. And I’d recommend binge watching Breaking Bad cause that show is a masterpiece from start to finish. I have that show up on a pedestal.

5. Do you prefer watching things week-by-week or binge-watching?

Nicole: Binge watching mostly because I don’t have cable so I can’t watch things week by week. But I’m bad at TV shows in general. Even if I like them I don’t usually continue them.

Isis: Definitely binge watching, though there’s something very exciting about waiting for new episodes to come out.

6. Favorite television characters?

Nicole: Garth and Gabriel from Supernatural. Rose, the ninth and tenth doctors from Doctor Who. The main cast from Stranger Things. Prue and Chris Halliwell from Charmed. Rafael from 3%. Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler from SVU. I’m sure there is more, but I also can’t put people from reality TV cause that’s weird.

Isis: Castiel from Supernatural, Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls, Lucifer from Lucifer, Jesse Custer from Preacher, Leslie Knope from Parks & Recreation, Ann Perkins from Parks & Recreation, Literally everyone from Stranger Things, Dana Scully from The X-Files, Lip Gallagher from Shameless, Michael Scott from The Office, Jane from Jane the Virgin, and Monica from Friends.

7. Favorite television ships?

Nicole: Um Rose and the Doctor. I really liked Piper and that ghost from that one episode in Charmed haha. Mike and Eleven from Stranger Things. I can’t think of anything else, but I don’t ship people that often anyway.

Isis: I’m aware they aren’t technically canon, but Dean and Castiel from Supernatural are THE ship, and no other ship will ever top them for me. Jim and Pam from The Office, Leslie and Ben from Parks & Recreation, Lito and Hernando from Sense8, Amy and Jake from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Lucifer and Chloe from Lucifer, Monica and Chandler from Friends, Michael and Holly from The Office, Scully and Mulder from The X-Files, Jack and Rebecca from This Is Us, and Fran and Maxwell from The Nanny. That is way too many m/f couples.

8. Show you could never get into?

Nicole: All of my least favorite shows obviously. I never got into Sense8 but since it’s cancelled already I’m glad. Same for In the Flesh. I could say this for most shows honestly. I watch the first episode, and never feel the need to continue. Like with Preacher. I also couldn’t get into Shadowhunters.

Isis: 12 Monkeys, Supergirl, Merlin, Doctor Who, Chewing Gum, Better Call Saul, Sherlock, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Don’t kill me), 13 Reasons Why, and Lost.

9. Show you fell out of love with?

Nicole: Face Off, Orange is the New Black, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, The Walking Dead, Supergirl, Survivor, Are You the One?

Isis: Supernatural – it hurts to talk about how bad this show got in the later seasons, especially cause it was such a huge part of my life. The Walking Dead, Last Man on Earth, Shadowhunters, Sense8, How to Get Away With Murder, Glee, Constantine, Twin Peaks, Melissa & Joey, Orange is the New Black (but I’m gonna keep watching).

10. Cancelled too soon?

Nicole: I usually think something is dragging on too long than cancelled too soon.

Isis: In the Flesh!!!!!! WHY. Just why. Also, About a Boy was the purest show on TV and I am so so upset it got cancelled. It deserved so many seasons.

11. Guilty pleasure show?

Nicole: I guess all the reality TV I watch but also I don’t feel guilty about it.

Isis: Orange is the New Black is a guilty pleasure. I never feel good about myself watching it, but it’s addictive.

12. What are you currently watching?

Nicole: The Challenge. There’s always a season of that on it feels like. I finished Stranger Things a little bit ago. I’m interested in looking up The Worst Witch I think it is on Netflix. I’ve recently seen things about a show called The Exorcist that I might try watching too. That’s about it.

Isis: I’m watching and loving Lucifer, The Good Doctor, Superstore, The Good Place, This Is Us, Catfish, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, just recently finished The Mindy Project (and it was amazing), and The Great British Baking Show which never fails to make me smile.

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Giveaway Winner

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The giveaway for Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is closed and we have the our winner! Nirmala from red lips and bibliomaniacs so we will be contacting you privately.

Hopefully in the future we will be able to do more giveaways. For now, the regular reviews and tags will return. Uploading has been a little wonky, we know, but life has been getting in the way a bit. With the usual two times a week again too.

TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN *GIVEAWAY*!

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Hello, everyone! We have some very exciting news. Nicole and I will be hosting our first giveaway on our blog. We’ve had this blog for over three years now, and I think it’s about time we did this. We’ll be giving away a brand new copy of John Green’s newest young adult novel: Turtles All the Way Down.

The rules are simple. Just follow us on our blog, and submit your blog’s name onto Rafflecopter. There are also two other chances to enter, which are following our Twitter account, and commenting your favorite book and why you think everyone should read it. So you have plenty of chances to get this book!

This is a U.S. only giveaway! I’m really sorry about that. Someday in the future we’ll do an international one. This giveaway starts on 11/12 at 12:00 am U.S. Eastern time, and ends 11/19 at 12:00 am U.S. Eastern time. We’ll make a separate post announcing the winner.

So, good luck!

The Ghost of Cutler Creek by Cynthia DeFelice

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“Here we go again. It sounds as if Allie Nichols, Ghost Magnet, is back in action.”

The third book in DeFelice’s mystery novels about eleven year old Allie Nichols. As with previous books, another ghost needs some help, and they go to her for help. School is ending for the summer, there’s a new kid in town, and she has a summer job of looking after her teacher’s dog. I don’t want to spoil anything but dogs play an important part of this book. I’ll leave you to make the inference about how they would be involved. I know that can be very upsetting for some people.

The mystery in this book is pretty straight forward in this one, but I still enjoyed it. I like how Allie is getting used to doing this, and how she learns from each case. Also, Michael, her little brother, is becoming a bigger part of the story, and I find that very interesting to watch unfold.

As always I zipped through this book. I gave it five stars. I simply find whenever I’m in a rut with reading or in life, picking up these books will pep me up a little bit.

Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

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All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.

The Shatter Me series follows Juliette, a girl whose touch can be lethal. She’s been locked up for almost a year because she murdered someone when the book first starts. While she was locked away, the world went to shit. It’s a proper dystopian society. Throughout this book, and again, the whole series, she has to learn about and choose what to do with this power.

The first thing everyone talks about with these books is the writing style. It’s whimsical, full of metaphors that don’t really make sense, and cut outs like this. I don’t like the strikethroughs, but thankfully as the series continue, they decrease until they are completely gone. I didn’t understand a lot of Juliette’s rambles, but I do understand they are there to show how scattered her mental state is. It made it quicker to read though which I really liked.

One of the main overarching dramas of this series is the love triangle between Juliette, Warner, and Adam. It is incredibly frustrating to read, but it isn’t the typical love triangle. I really think Mafi’s main thought when starting these books was to have something different, and she succeeded in that.  For those more into the romance, they will like this part of the books more. For readers like me, it was simply frustrating.

For this first book it took me maybe two years to finish. I think I had given up on it, but then later, I wanted to cross off some books from my currently reading list. So I finished it. I gave this book two stars.

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Time goes on even when we do not.

So you are probably wondering why I continued this series, right? Well, with the news of the of Restore Me I read the excerpt that was released, and I liked it. I was feeling down at the time, and it made me smile, so I texted Isis, who loves the series, and we decided to read the rest of the series together. So we started off again with Destroy Me, the first novella in the series. 

Destroy Me is set between Shatter Me and Unravel Me. It’s set in Warner’s perspective. I can’t say much. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I enjoyed it a lot better than I did the first books. I gave it three stars at least.

Fracture Me is the second novella. It’s set between Unravel Me and Ignite Me. It’s from Adam’s perspective. I gave it four stars.

I usually find novellas to be useless,  but these add so much to the series. Very important plot and character development happens. If you don’t read these, you’ll be missing out.

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I am no longer afraid of fear, and I will not let it rule me. Fear will learn to fear me.

The novellas do something interesting to the rest of the series. While it makes it more interesting, it also makes part of the books frustrating. Stuff is reveled in it that the readers will know, but Juliette will not. And it takes a while for everything to come out so that gets frustrating. 

Juliette’s character development is great. From the beginning of the first book to the ending of the last book, she grows so much. I didn’t love her, and I still don’t honestly, as much as others do. Which made me feel really guilty for a lot of the series since people always said she was like the ultimate feminist icon. She’s very dramatic, and so very self centered. It lasts pretty much the whole series. It gets called out by other characters, and she always has this revelation about how they are so right and how could she be acting this way. But then she continues to act how she was before. Pretty much every time she opened her mouth I was texting Isis about how annoyed I was with her. It never really ended throughout the books.

The world building in the series is bad. Nothing is explained deeply at all. I had so many questions and the books didn’t even attempt to answer them. It can be explained away with Juliette being so self centered, but that’s what I wanted and never got. Juliette’s powers still has plot holes in them. The world is never explained. 

The side characters were what really got me with this series. My favorite character out of all of them Kenji. He’s the best. It’s sad that Juliette is never interested in branching out more, because in the third book where there’s a small little group all the time, that’s where I loved these books. All of my annoyance would fade, and I really enjoyed myself in those scenes.

I gave Unravel Me three stars and Ignite Me four stars. That gives the entire series an average of 3.2 stars for me. I am going to read Restore Me when it comes out, and I have high hopes for it. I think she’ll fix what was missing from the original series. I did see Mafi mentioning adding more characters which will have more diversity. There might also be a Kenji novella. Both will be much appreciated. Most importantly, I hope for well fleshed out world building.

In the end, I find it hard to end this review. Can I really recommend it to others? I did finish the series, and plan on continuing it, but it’s not at all similar to other books I would recommend. Those didn’t cause me to go on long rants, or frustrate me to no end. Those I appreciated while reading them, not as the fifth book was ending. But I spent weeks reading them so they deserved a review even if it’s taken me three days to finish it. Even as I’m typing I still find my feelings of these books to be very complicated, but I hope I explained things as clearly as I could without going into any spoilers.

 

5 Star TBR Predictions

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I was catching up on Youtube videos, and came across this one and thought it would make a nice post so that’s what we are doing today. These are five books from each of us that we still need to read that we think will end up being five star books.

Isis:

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Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin – I’ve read some of James Baldwin nonfiction in the past, and his writing has resonated with me a lot. I think he was a fascinating person, and I’m really eager to read some of his fiction too. All I know about this book is that it’s about a closeted gay man who has a girlfriend, and a secret lover. I’ve been dreading reading this simply because I fear a sad ending, but I still think I will love it.

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Mr. Monster by Dan Wells – I read the first book in this series, I Am Not a Serial Killer a few years ago, and still haven’t stopped thinking about it. I finally have the next two books, and I’m ready to get back into the series again. I have no doubt I will adore this sequel.

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History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera – I loved More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. I know a few people who didn’t enjoy that book, but loved this one. I think the odds are looking good for me. I’m excited to get back into Adam’s books. He writes realistic characters in serious situations. I’m ready to find my new favorite book.

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Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – All I know about this book is that there are angels in it. It’s also set in the end of the world. If you know me at all, you’ll know that those are two of my favorite topics to read about. This book sounds like a wild ride and I can’t wait to get to it. I think I’ll be reading it soon. 

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Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summers by Rick Riordan – Since Nicole has praised this book countless times, but rarely explained the summary, I have no idea what it really is about. But it looks fun and lighthearted, and I feel like it has potential to become another favorite of mine. 

Nicole:

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I’ve read six of Ursula Vernon’s other series, Dragonbreath. I’ve loved each of them. So I am sure that Harriet the Invincible will be as equally entertaining.

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I’ve talked so much about wanting to read The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin on here and I still haven’t done it. That’s pretty much because I’ve hyped this up so much in my head that I’m scared it won’t live up to my expectations. I’ve heard so much about Jemisin herself that I already want to read all of her books, and I’ve never heard one bad thing said about this series. I’m not even sure what’s about exactly.

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I also haven’t read And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini yet because it makes me nervous even when I think it’ll be amazing. I have no idea what it is about, but I’ve read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author. He deals with pretty serious situations, and I tend to shy away from really sad books. I will get the guts to read this eventually though.

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I’ve read Sue Monk Kidd’s other book The Secret Life of Bees, and loved it. So even if I don’t know anything about this one, I expect I will love it. 

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The magic system in The Black Prism sounds really cool. It’s basically the colors all have different abilities or something like that, and apparently it’s amazing and unique. I love books with magic so that’s all I needed to know when I saw this one on sale. I knew I had to snatch it up since the book was never in the library.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia – Book Review

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“There is a small monster in my brain that controls my doubt. The doubt itself is a stupid thing, without sense or feeling, blind and straining at the end of a long chain. The monster though, is smart. It’s always watching, and when I am completely sure of myself, it unchains the doubt and lets it run wild. Even when I know it’s coming, I can’t stop it.”


I loved so much about this book. Eliza and Her Monsters is a story about artists, fandom, friendship, first love, family, and that creative drive that can create amazing things out of an idea. I must mention trigger warnings for suicide, bullying (both in person and online), anxiety and depression.

This book follows Eliza, a teenage girl on her senior year of high school. She’s the creator of a webcomic called “Monstrous Sea,” which has millions of fans. Eliza posts the comic online anonymously to keep her personal life separate from it. But one day, she meets one of the most famous “Monstrous Sea” fanfiction writers at her school, and things start to change.

I really enjoyed the insight into this incredible fandom. It felt so real to what I’ve experienced. I could identify with the excitement of being part of an online community of people who all love the same thing, who know all the little facts about this one thing. And the overwhelming feeling of getting to interact with the community in person as well. I loved having the perspective of the creator of the fandom, especially because Eliza was also a fan herself. Not only of her story, but of another book series as well. Eliza was charming and endearing and I was rooting for her in every page.

I had some hesitations about Wallace, the guy she befriends at school. Yes, he was very sweet at times, and yes, his passion for writing and for the webcomic was great to read about, but he had a lot of bad qualities as well. Near the end, his behavior changed, and he became a bit selfish. I didn’t like that turn. It felt like he was showing his true colors, and he wasn’t the person I thought he was. But I did enjoy the way the book wrapped everything up.

Although I’m no longer a part of the Supernatural fandom, I still enjoy the fanfiction from time to time. I still remember my years in the fandom with nostalgia. I lived amazing things in that fandom, and I have great memories from it. This book was reminiscent of all of that, including the darker parts. It felt very true, and very honest. If you, like me, have ever been a part of a fandom, have ever let the thing you love become a huge part of you, then you will love this book. And if you haven’t, then this is a good look into that world. Eliza and Her Monsters is a thrilling ride that will stay with me.