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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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
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

Book Recommendations, Uncategorized

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

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There’s a little witch in all of us.

I first knew Practical Magic as a movie first even though I’ve never watched it. Then I saw this on a list of witch books, and knew I needed to read it this Halloween season (yes this was supposed to be up five days ago don’t judge). For those who don’t know, Practical Magic is a magical realism romance book that follows two generations of women.

Sally and Gillion are sisters who are sent to live with their aunts after their parents died. Their aunts are the neighborhood witches that the neighborhood is afraid of. It follows their growth into adults then Sally’s children when they are teenagers.

The writing is simply beautiful. So often I felt like nothing was going on, but I remember thinking that I didn’t even care because of the way Hoffman wrote.

The pacing still is a problem for me, and what makes it not a five star read. When it picked up I was so relieved, and then suddenly, it ended and I was sad cause I wanted more.

The characters were so fleshed out except for the aunts. I didn’t understand why there was a prequel all about them until the end when they are finally given screen time. That’s when I understood that that was the first time The girls saw the aunts for who they are, and that I really needed to read the prequel. 

I still haven’t seen the movie, but I’m so glad I choose to read this book. It has the perfect atmosphere for Halloween without being spooky for those who get scared easily. It satisfied my craving for witches as well.

4 stars 

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

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My mother dips her fingers in a bowl of white clay. She covers my face with it, blows on it to help it dry quickly. Her breath is sweet like rose punch. Then comes the coal. She traces the black of bone around my eyes, down my nose, my lips, my cheeks. We wear the face of the dead so the waking spirits feel at home.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova is the first book in a young adult fantasy trilogy. It follows Alejandra a sixteen year old bruja who has been hiding that she has come into her powers for years. I think that’s all that’s needed going into the story. I knew a lot more and so I knew what was happening for the first fifty or more pages, and it slowed the story down a lot. 

This is an own voices book regarding the Latinx representation. There is also the bisexual love triangle. Rishi is Indian. Diversity like this always elevates a book in my opinion. It makes it feel more real.

The world that Córdova creates is rich and complex. I particularly liked the excerpts from books in their world at the beginning of every chapter. The magic was fun, the belief system felt so real, and I loved exploring Los Lagos with the characters.

The characters themselves were great as well. I loved watching Alejandra grow into herself. I loved her love for her family. Rishi, her best friend, was a fun addition. I always loved her dialogue. Nova, her guide that she’s not sure she trusts, was perhaps the most fleshed out of the main characters. The love triangle between the three wasn’t the most compelling of all time, but it didn’t subtract from the story at all.

Some parts felt a little rushed. Particularly the action and some of the emotional bits. The guilt of Alejandra and the growth of how she felt about her magic felt very repeated, especially at the end. If they would have balanced that out a little more then I think this would have been a complete five star read for me. 

4 stars

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

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There is no escape if love is not there.

I must say The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare took me by surprise. It is a young adult historical about a girl named Kit as she moves from Barbados to Connecticut to live with her aunt and her family after her grandfather passes away. It’s a culture shock from simply how the country is to the way her mother’s sister’s family lives. They are Puritans, and the way Kit was raised was rather unconventional.

 Kit struggles with fitting in and finds friends in unlikely places. The town in general disproves of her no matter how hard she tries to fit in. Eventually, she is accused of being a witch.

I did not expect this story to be what it was. I only had it because people put it on best witch book lists which I know don’t understand at all. There is no magic in this book so that’s very misleading.

It is, however, a very good puritan book. That’s not something I read often, if at all, but I actually found myself loving Kit, her friends, and her family. Usually puritans are never relateable or in any way interesting or good people, but this book makes them so.

While not my favorite writing style, I felt it drag a little, I did enjoy the story. A lot more than I thought I would when I  figured out there was no magic. The strength of this book is the romance. I haven’t rooted so strongly for a couple in a long time.

I actually looked for a sequel, but unfortunately, there isn’t one. It’s not like the ending isn’t satisfying. I simply did not want to leave the characters.

5 stars