Category Archives: Uncategorized

Books We Want to Read This Summer

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Isis:

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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This is one of my most anticipated summer releases. It looks like a sweet romantic comedy full of culture and awesome characters. I can’t wait for this to come out so I can get to it. 

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

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I picked this up on a whim a few weeks ago, and I’m eager to read it. Nicole hyped it up for me. I love lighthearted reads so I’m hoping this is one of those for me. And it has the word “summer” in it so it’s perfect. 

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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This one also feels very summery, though I don’t think it’s as lighthearted. I’m still looking forward to reading this story. I’ve heard it deals with twins in different time periods, which reminds me of a book I didn’t finish for school called “The God of Small Things.” I’m hoping this one isn’t as emotionally draining. 

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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I’m so behind on Morgan Matson books, but I enjoyed Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, so I’m excited to finally get to this book. Every summer since I got this I’ve been meaning to read it, but it hasn’t happened yet. Hoping this is the year. I know this one is about a close friendship, and I’m fully on board. 

Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

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I’m also hoping this one is lighthearted. The title alone hooked me from the start. When I think of summer, I think of kidnapping members of a boy band. Not really! But I’m interested to see how this plot is handled in this book. 

 

Nicole:

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

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I’m currently on The Titan’s Curse in the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I’m hoping to finish the series and start on The Heroes of Olympians series this summer. My goal is to finish these series and the Apollo series by the time the third Magnus Chase book comes out. It’s a pretty ambitious goal,  but I don’t want to read The Ship of the Dead until I read Riordan’s other books. Simply because I’ve heard from other people who’ve read all of them that they think it’ll all intertwine. I don’t want to be confused or spoiled so this is my big goal.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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I got this from NetGalley, started it, and then never finished. I’m still really interested in it, though I’ve found that I have trouble concentrating when reading on my phone. I have a few others from NetGalley I really need to get to and review soon, but this one is my most anticipated.

Saga Comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

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I’ve read the first three of these comics forever ago it seems like. I never continued on since the wait was too much, and I would forget what happened. But Isis has been bugging me ever since to get caught up so she can talk about it with someone. Since she’s planning on reading Magnus Chase, I guess it’s finally time to catch up on this series for her.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

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I’ve wanted to read from N.K. Jemisin for a while now, and I’m hoping to get to this this summer. I don’t particularly know what this book is about, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. I’ve also really been into fantasy, so that’s all I need to know.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

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This book includes the occult, a supernatural power, and a murder case with a serial killer. It’s right up my alley right now. It’s been a year since I’ve gotten this book, and I think it’s high time for me to read it.

 

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier is a middle grade graphic novel that follows two sisters, Catrina and Maya, as they move to a new town. Maya has cystic fibrosis, and her parents think if they move close to the ocean it will help here. The town they move to is obsessed with ghosts, and Maya becomes determined to meet one so she will know what dying is like. They are half-Mexican, and they don’t really know much about Mexican traditions. Día De Los Muertos is a big deal in this new town, and most of the storyline involves them learning and then taking part of that celebration.

Only a little over two hundred pages, I read this easily in one sitting. The art was beautiful, detailed and richly colored. The sister’s relationship was a high point to me as well. I found the storyline logically told from a writing standpoint, but a bit boring. Overall, I thought it was nice read, but nothing special.

I do feel the need to note that after I finished reading I looked around for reviews commenting on the representation, and I found a couple concerning articles. I would recommend reading this article talking about how Día De Los Muertos is represented, and this article on the missions that the book mentions. I couldn’t find a specific article on the cystic fibrosis aspect, but I did find a couple comments talking about how the book shows the disease as a death sentence when it really isn’t.

So I wouldn’t recommend this book after all that. I think there are other books out there that get it right, and would be more entertaining as well. But if you do decide to read it anyway, at least read the articles I’ve linked and keep their comments in mind.

10 Tropes We Love

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About three months ago we did a post about tropes we hate. Today we are gonna do the opposite, and talk about tropes we love.

1. Childhood Friend Romance – I love it when two characters are friends since childhood, grow up together, and eventually realize they belong together. It’s a combination of the “Friends to Lovers” trope, so I’m including that in here too. I love the way these two people know each other so well by the time a romantic relationship is built. It’s sweet. My favorite is the one in Point Pleasant by Jen Archer Wood, between Ben and Nic, who knew each other from birth, seriously.

2. Blond Evil Guys – I’m not sure if this counts, but I’ve seen plenty of these characters in so many books. And I love every single one of them. From Draco Malfoy to Warner to Laurent, there’s so much to love. I love dark characters, and I love that they happen to be blond, and I love that they all have a sad story to explain why they’re so bad. Sometimes it’s super problematic, but it’s a guilty pleasure.

3. The Philosopher – I love a character who can bring philosophical concepts into a novel. They always look for the meaning behind every action and try to see the world in a different light. This can get pretty pretentious if it’s done wrong, which has happened many times *cough, cough–John Green–cough cough* but I think it can also be really great. My favorite example is Aristotle from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. 

4. Good Parents – I seriously appreciate good parents, especially in YA. There are countless stories where the parents never appear, are dead, abusive, negligent, close-minded, cruel, and so on and so forth. I’m so tired of reading all of these tropes. We need more books with good, supportive, amazing parents that are there for their children, even when their children are older. Again in Aristotle and Dante, both Ari and Dante had wonderful parents. 

5. There’s No Place Like Home – I’m a sucker for characters that go on a journey away from home, only to discover that they didn’t have to run away from home to be happy because the home left behind is where they felt truly happy. It sounds cheesy, and it probably is, but I never get tired of seeing this.

6. Hidden Heart of Gold- This character is usually sarcastic, cold, and a jerk to mostly everyone. That doesn’t make them the villain though. They have good intentions, but a bad attitude. Or, they are afraid of getting hurt or even being seen as nice so they hide. Whatever their reasons, I usually love this trope if it’s done well. By that I mean I don’t like when they cross over into being abusive, and I don’t like when other characters forgive them automatically. If they are in need of redemption, it needs to be done well.

7. Magnetic Hero- The hero needs to go on an epic quest, but in order to do that they need some help. A lot of times they have friends, and it’s a no brainer that they will join. It’s when the hero needs someone who is reluctant that this becomes interesting. Usually the hero is simply earnest and being themselves and not even trying that hard to convince them to change their minds. It can be because of the hero’s personality, a hidden connection the person has with the hero, or a connection with the actual quest that they choose to change their minds. It may seem too easy to some, but I typically love when this happens.

8. Fire-Forged Friends- These characters do not like each other. However, they have the same goal. For whatever reason, they have to work together to get that goal. There is usually a lot of banter and fighting and soft nice moments, and I love all of it. Typically, there’s scenes when they fight against the common enemy together, where one of them is determined not to leave the other behind even if they 100% have the choice to do so, and a conversation where they admit that each other isn’t all that bad. And I love all of it. It’s so good.

9. The Unintentional Badass- These characters usually don’t even want to be the hero. Saving the day isn’t on their to-do list, and they complain about it a lot. So, when they do something badass, it’s either a surprise or done in a way that’s not typically considered badass. They can do that by using their previous knowledge that you wouldn’t think would help, or solve the problem in any way that is not with violence.

10. Unlikely Friendships- One is a pessimist while one is the optimist. One is practical while the other is a free spirit. One is creative while one is scientific. One is old and the other young. Whatever opposites they are, if they still love and support each other, I will love their friendship.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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There is a point when a man may swim back to shore, but he was past it. There was nothing left but to be swallowed by the enormity of the sea.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia brings a new, refreshing twist to the old vampire story. Set in Mexico City, one of the only cities in Mexico that’s supposed to be without vampires, the book follows five different perspectives as the story unfolds. There’s Domingo, a regular human street kid, Atl, a vampire on the run, Nick, a vampire chasing Atl, Rodrigo, a human helping Nick, and Ana, the cop after the two vampires. Domingo and Atl have are the main main characters, and have the most chapters to themselves.

I’m pretty sure the book states there are around ten different kind of vampires though in the book we see three. How the vampires differ is very interesting as is the lore behind them all. Word building is definitely this book’s major strength, and one area that is spent the most time developed. Everything felt very real. I could really picture the world, and it all made sense.

 The characters were all developed. They all had their own histories, motivations, personalities. No one is pure and sweet. They were all twisted in some way. Domingo and Atl were my favorites which was nice since they were the main focus. The only drawback was I still wasn’t very connected to them. I was concerned and I wanted to know how everything would unfold, but I wasn’t that emotionally invested in them. I remember wondering if they would die, but I had no anxiety over it. I was very calm about it, and I wish I had been more tied to them.

Overall, Certain Dark Things is a solid four star book that I would recommend to others. The world is great. Characters were detailed. While I wish I had been more emotionally invested, I still had a good time, and it was an enjoyable read. 

My “There Will be Other Summers” Predictions

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Last year, I made a post briefly discussing the news that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is getting a sequel entitled, There Will be Other Summers.

Now that I’ve let my excitement simmer for a while, I have more coherent predictions for the upcoming sequel. First of all, can we talk about how wonderful Benjamin Alire Saenz was in letting us know he’s close to finishing writing the book? I love when authors update their readers on their writing progress.

There’s no release date for TWBOS yet, but I’m hoping it’ll come out in late 2018, hopefully, maybe. I have been waiting for this book pretty much since Saenz first talked about it on his twitter.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting Saenz twice, and I’ve heard him talk about a few things regarding the sequel. So I have come up with a list of things I really want to read in this highly anticipated book. (Spoilers for Ari & Dante ahead).

  • Dante’s new sibling! I want to see Dante interacting with the baby. (I hope he’s a boy and they name him Diego). DANTE AND ARI BABYSITTING! Yes, please.
  • Ari and Dante hanging out with Gina and Susie — maybe double dating? I would love for Gina and Susie to be a couple honestly. They would be so great together.
  • Somehow, Dante convinces everyone to go dancing together and Gina and Susie are on board with the idea, but Ari needs more convincing. Eventually, they go and Ari ends up being an amazing dancer. Hidden talent, obviously. Dante loves it when Ari dips him.
  • Prom? — Saenz mentioned during NTTBF this year that he was writing a sex scene between Ari and Dante. So, if we wanna get super cliche, I think Dante would suggest to Ari to go to prom and have after-prom-sex. I don’t think Ari would have a lot of arguments because he would just be freaking out about Dante just casually tossing around the idea of sex.
  • High school graduation. I would love to see the different graduations, and the boys having to dress up for both, in case they’re on different dates. After graduation, Ari, Dante, Gina, and Susie would all go out to the desert to drink under the stars. They would lose track of time, listening to the radio in Ari’s truck, and they would make it home after sunrise, all full of soft smiles.
  • College life. Where will Ari and Dante go to college? Will they go to separate colleges, and if so, how separate? Will they both attend college? I have no idea. I honestly think Ari would be set on going right away, but Dante would want to take some time to just do art, and both of those options are great.
  • I know this is me hoping for too much, but a road trip would be incredible. Maybe a small one where Ari and Dante take a trip to the beach? They take the truck and Dante begs to drive it sometimes even though he doesn’t have a driver’s license yet, but he swears he’s a great driver. Then Dante wants to swim in the ocean and Ari doesn’t know if he likes sand, but Dante talks him into it because what can’t Dante talk him into? They chase ghost crabs at night and pick up a bunch of seashells and Ari actually gets a tan and Dante loves it.
  • Ari’s brother. Will he eventually get out of prison or will Ari go visit him? Will there be a relationship built between them again? I can see Ari going to see him, but not really knowing how to act around him. Will his brother be involved at all, in any way?
  • Death? I don’t wanna be grim, but Saenz is known for writing tragedy into his stories (I’ve read plenty of them). I know he is wonderful and would not kill off Ari or Dante, but I’m not sure anyone else is safe. I would be so hurt if either one of Ari’s or Dante’s parents die. I love them all so much. But this is me just being super negative ’cause maybe nobody will die and everything will be full of happy moments. (RIGHT?)
  • Will this book take place over two years like the first one, or will it be longer, or shorter? The title alone implies more summers, so I’m thinking it will be set in more than a one-year time period.
  • Again with the title. It sounds sort of depressing. Will Ari and Dante be together throughout the length of the book, or will they break up? If they do break up, I hope it doesn’t last long. I get that they’re young and this is both of their first relationship, which realistically makes it highly unlikely they will last, but this is fiction and maybe we get more privileges here. I would honestly not be surprised if they do break up for a short while. But only to help them realize they don’t want to be apart.
  • I’m certain Ari and Dante will be public in their relationship, but I still wonder if they will be out only to their family and close friends, or to everyone. I think Dante would be on board with being public to everyone, even after what happened to him, but maybe out of their own safety, Ari would want to keep it hidden. Or he would just be ready to fight anyone who tries to hurt him or Dante. Let’s be honest, Ari could take down anyone.
  • I know that this book will be set right around the AIDS crisis, but I want to remain hopeful that that won’t play a role in this story. Saenz wrote Carry Me Like Water, which I believe follows a gay character suffering from AIDS. I haven’t read it yet because the premise is too sad for me to bear, so I really hope neither Ari or Dante get affected by it. I don’t like sad gays, but the good thing is that Saenz doesn’t either.
  • To end on a hopeful note, I think this book will have so many touching moments between Ari and Dante. Think of it this way: we get to see what happens after the night when Ari accepted his feelings for Dante, and he felt no shame for them. That’s such an incredible moment, and I can’t believe we get to see more! Ari and Dante are both amazing characters, and they won’t disappoint.
  • We get to see them as a couple now. And they get to do on a first date, and then many others. We get to see them around their families again, and LEGS. There are endless possibilities for happy moments, and I can’t wait.

Do you guys have any predictions for this sequel?

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

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But one thing I’d learned from being a son of Frey- I couldn’t always fight my friends’ battles. The best I could do was be there to heal their injuries.

The Hammer of Thor is the second book of the trilogy The Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan. I’ve briefly reviewed the first book here. It’s a series based on Norse mythology, and this book in particular follows Magnus and his friends trying to find Thor’s hammer while trying to stop another of Loki’s plans. 

I really liked how this book expanded on Sam being Muslim while interacting with Norse gods. It also detailed more about sign language when Hearthstone, who is deaf, signs which I also liked. This book also introduced Alex who is transgender and gender fluid, and she quickly became one of my favorite characters. I’ve looked through other people’s reviews, and as far as I’ve seen the only people with problems with the representation in this book disagree with Alex and think it’s inappropriate for children. So I think that’s a good sign.

It’s usually common for the second book in the series to have a dip in quality, but I found that I liked this one more than the first one. In the first book, I struggled with the mythology, and it slowed down reading. This time, I knew who was who already so that made reading a lot easier and more enjoyable. 

The characters continue to be the strong point of the series for me. I love all of them individually, and all their relationships with each other. They grow and change, and it’s simply a pleasure to read. Magnus is still a very strong protagonist to me. He’s soft, and the others allow him to be soft without ridicule. It’s very refreshing.

The plot is much the same as his other books. Fetch this, something goes wrong, fetch that, something goes wrong, get information here, something goes wrong, and so on and so forth. But it doesn’t bother me like it does other readers who have read his other two series with Percy Jackson. Maybe if I had read that it would, but to me it’s nice to know what will basically happen. I’m invested in the story, but even with all the action and plot twists I’m not on the edge of my seat with my heart racing. That can be a negative to some people, but it was a nice change of pace for me.

Reading The Hammer of Thor almost felt like coming home. I sank into this book, and I didn’t want it to end. It was comforting, funny, lighthearted, and everything that I needed at the moment. I look forward to the third book coming out in October.

Camp NaNoWriMo Update #3

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Suggested Word Count: 15,833

Current Word Count: 5,700

General Thoughts: Over the weekend, I had gotten into a groove. I was meeting the daily goal. I was developing the relationships between my characters. I was  doing research. I was figuring out the plot. Then, I stopped working on it. I spent the last three days reading the second Magnus Chase book.  On one hand, I enjoyed the book, and I feel refreshed and ready to write again. On the other hand, I know for sure I will never reach 25K this month. I would be happy to get 15K or even 10K honestly. So that’s what I’m going to reach for now, but without officially changing my goal on the site. 

Small Excerpt: 

         “I want to know why you think that I would help you,” she said.

          “You can’t hold onto this misplaced an-”

          “Misplaced?” Lynette laughed. “That’s funny.”

          “You don’t know the whole story,” Terrance said.

          “I know how it ended. That’s enough.”

          Terrance sighed, and dropped his head low. Lynette hated him at that moment. She hated how sad he looked, and how that made her want to comfort him despite everything.

          “Look, Lynette, don’t think of it as helping me. Of helping us. Think of it as doing something you’ve always wanted in life. You’ve always wanted adventure.”

          “Maybe jail took that out of me. Maybe that was all the adventure I needed in my life.”

          “So that’s it? You’re just going to allow this grudge control the rest of your life? It’ll ruin it. Grudges always do,” he said.

          “It won’t ruin my life. Just yours.”