Tag Archives: Isis

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren – Book Review

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This book is important.

First of all, I’d like to give thanks to the amazing authors of this book, Christina and Lauren, for being so careful and so honest with their characters. They tackled huge topics, but nothing felt forced. I’ve never read a book like this before. It felt genuine. Also, I’m just generally grateful to this book because after dealing with a lot of personal demons and not picking up a book in months, I read this and loved it. Loved it so much.

Autoboyography is the story of Tanner, a bisexual boy living in a town in Utah where the majority of people are Mormons. Although Tanner’s mom was Mormon before, his family does not practice any religion, not even through his Jewish father. Religion plays a big role in this story. For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to stories about religion, and religion in general. I’ve studied the subject a lot, and I’m fascinated to learn about the way people all over the world practice different religions. This story, in particular, exposes religion without harsh judgment, which I really appreciated.

The gist of it is, Tanner falls for a Mormon boy who is also his TA in his Senior year of high school. Things are complicated from that moment on. Sebastian is nothing but a sweetheart, who is deeply involved in his church and faith. I really loved that. Tanner tried to understand Sebastian’s love for his religion, and there were a lot of amazing discussions regarding religion and sexuality. Because those two things never seem to coexist in peace somehow.

“I don’t actually care if you break my heart, Sebastian. I went into this knowing it could happen and I gave it to you anyway. But I don’t want you to break your own. You have so much space in your heart for your church, but does it have space for you?”

The communication between all of the characters in this book was phenomenal. There was no unnecessary drama due to miscommunication. People always spoke their thoughts and feelings. It was like a breath of fresh air, no matter how difficult some of the conversations were.

The characters were incredible. Tanner stole my heart from the very beginning, and I loved Sebastian because I got to see him through Tanner’s eyes full of love. I loved Tanner’s best friend Auddy. She was the sweetest person, so loving and accepting. My only complaint was that she got involved in the overall mess created, and I didn’t love that. Tanner’s family were a joy to read. His parents were supportive and open, and they were involved in his life. It’s an aspect rarely shown in books, but this one didn’t breeze through it. Sebastian’s parents weren’t the best, but I didn’t hate them, and that says a lot.

I connected with this book on so many levels. Sexuality and religion are two of my favorite topics to learn about, so this combination worked perfectly. Not only that, but coming from a Christian background, as well as being pansexual, I related so much to everything playing out. I’ve been there. I’ve seen the struggle. Thankfully, I’ve never felt any guilt about who I am, or who I love. I have a strong faith that doesn’t clash at all with my sexuality. But I know how hard it is for many others out there.

I can’t express how significant this book is. I would love for everyone to read it and take something from it. I would love to see more acceptance for our LGBTQ+ youth who come from religious backgrounds, who feel the need to hide who they are, who are afraid to act on their feelings. I would love for more religions to embrace these beautiful, amazing people and allow them to love who they love.

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2018 Books We are Looking Forward to

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Isis:

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Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi – I need more Warner, Juliette, Kenji, and James in my life. I also need more strong female characters. Expected publication: March 6.

 

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The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson – I’m very excited to read a new book by this author. He’s one of the best ones out there. I’m read for the gay characters. Plus this one sounds like it has Latino characters too! Expected publication: February 6.

 

If Benjamin Alire Saenz publishes anything else, I’ll be reading that too.

 

Nicole:

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Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles – I suspect this beautiful cover will hide one of the more beautiful stories in 2018. With it dealing with police brutality, it’ll be a hard but important read. Expected publication: March 20.

 

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – I’ve been watching as slowly those with ARCs have finished this book and begin to rave about it. It’s about finding lost magic. Expected publication: March 6.

 

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The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta – This middle grade about an alternate dimension featuring demons sounds amazing, and everything I want. Expected publication: February 27.

 

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Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi – I’m pretty sure this is the first from the Rick Riordan imprint, and I can’t wait for it. I only know it is middle grade and about Hindu mythology, but that’s all I need. Expected publication: March 27.

 

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Dread Nation by Justina Ireland – Zombies during the Civil War era. Honestly I need nothing else. I can’t wait for this book. Expected publication: April 3.

 

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney – This pitched as Alice in Wonderland mixed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer which sounds amazing. I can’t wait for more information of this book to come out. Expected publication: Fall 2018.

 

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria – Iron Cast was one of my favorite books last year so as soon as Soria announced a new book, I knew I was going to read it. And seers and rebellion sounds like a great combination. Expected publication: Fall 2018.

 

 

Our Favorite Books We Read in 2017

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Isis:

Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell – This is the last book I read and enjoyed this year. It contains two short stories with lovely characters and love stories. I really liked it.

 

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My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame – This was a cute manga. The illustrations were beautiful and so were the characters. It’s centered on family and acceptance.

 

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia – I liked the way this book portrayed fandom. I wrote a full review about it if you want to know my full thoughts. It was a great read.

 

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Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan – This is a sequel to one of my favorite books, Carry the Ocean. I loved the way the story wrapped up. These books are very personal to me because one of the main characters suffers from a lot of anxiety and it’s easy to relate to. But it never got overwhelming.

 

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At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson – This is the first book I read this year and it left a big impression on me. I consider Shaun David Hutchinson one of my favorite authors now because of this book. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and eye-opening. I haven’t been able to let go of it.

 

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The Last Cigarette on Earth by Benjamin Alire Saenz – I loved this collection of poetry. I don’t read much poetry, but I read all of Saenz’s poems. He’s my favorite poet. He writes about personal subjects that are so universal somehow. It’s powerful.

 

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Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat – I read the entire Captive Prince series this year in a short span of time. I didn’t like the first book, but I loved the second one, even more than the third. I’m not sure I’d recommend this series to anyone, but this book was worth the read.

 

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Nicole:

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – I’ve been obsessed with this series and this book is the main reason for that. I love the characters, the humor, and the writing. It’s a story that calms me, and really sweeps me away from reality.

 

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Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – This historical fantasy is so underrated. The characters are wonderfully complex, and the world is rich and vibrant. I’m still really sad it is a standalone because I would love to read more.

 

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Serpentine by Cindy Pon – I was nervous for this fantasy for a long time. A half-serpentine protagonist was very outside my comfort zone, but I’m very glad that I did. It was fun and well written.

 

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The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi –  This debut middle grade was my favorite book for a long time this year. I had trouble reading anything after because this book was so much fun. The board game concept is still one of my favorite plots I’ve read this year.

 

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Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh – This one of the many middle grade mysteries I read this year, and easily one of my favorites. Harper is a great protagonist with a great voice. I loved the ghosts, and the family relationships.

 

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The Ghost of Cutler Creek by Cynthia C. DeFelice – Another middle grade mystery about ghosts, but it’s also completely different from Spirit Hunters. I don’t think it’s the greatest book ever written. That’s not why it’s a favorite. I just read it at the perfect time when I needed it. That might be a little odd to say about a silly little mystery book but oh well. It is what it is.

 

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The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee – A beautiful and heartbreaking autobiography of a woman born in North Korea. It’s a book others should really read.

 

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Christmas Movie Reactions

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Isis:

A Charlie Brown Christmas – I loved this movie so much. It’s my first time watching a Charlie Brown movie, and I regret all those years I missed out on this pure and beautiful story. I related so much to Charlie Brown, and I was left with such a good feeling at the end. I plan on rewatching it many times in the future. I give it 10/10.

A Very Merry Toy Store – This was full of cliches, but in the best ways. It was sweet and warm, but it had a few bumps in the road to add to the drama. I loved that the issues were never that bad, and everything got solved perfectly. It was so nice seeing Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez in another movie together. They have good chemistry, and it’s just really fun to see them interacting. It was lovely. 8.5/10.

A Miser Brothers’ Christmas – I only half watched this movie because it didn’t grab my attention. The setting was okay, and I understood what it was trying to do, but it ended up feeling more like a poorly-made after-school special. I didn’t like any of the characters either. 2/10.

Nicole:

Elf – I know this is everyone’s favorite Christmas movie, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I thought it was funny, but I also suffered so much second hand embarrassment. 4/10.

Jingle All the Way – This was cute and cheesy, and I loved every minute of it. It had a cute holiday message to it too. 9/10.

Marry Me for Christmas – This was nothing like what I expected, and yet, everything I wanted. It was cheesy and full of tropes. There was a bunch of loose ends, and everything moved too quickly. I had a lot of fun though. 8/10. 

Favorite Christmas Songs

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Isis:

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley: You’ll be doing all right with your Christmas of white/But I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas 

This song is amazing. I love Elvis, and this song is probably his best song ever, including Jailhouse Rock. I can relate to his Christmas sadness, and the melody is beautiful. It’s one of my favorite songs year round.

Last Christmas – Glee cast: Last Christmas I gave you my heart/But the very next day you gave it away

I’ve loved this song for years, but my favorite version is the Glee version. I’m not sure why, but I think it has to do with the episode it was featured on. It was a really good episode, back when I used to watch the show. It’s one of the best Christmas songs out there.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Jason Manns ft. Jensen Ackles: Faithful friends who are dear to us/Gather near us once more/Through the years we all will be together/If the fates allow

I listen to this song year round because Jensen Ackles has the softest, most soothing voice I’ve ever heard. He rocks this song. It’s impossible for me to change it when it comes on shuffle. Do yourself a favor and listen to it.

This Christmas Life – Shane Dawson: So I just close my eyes and/Create a wonderland where/Anything’s possible there

I miss Shane’s music. I was a big fan of his music. I actually bought all of the songs he ever put out. This one was very touching to me. It talks about hating Christmas, but wanting this Christmas to be good. It was such a great video, and it’s a great song. It’s sweet and cheerful.

12 Days of Christmas – Jason Manns ft. Misha Collins: On the first day of Christmas/My true love gave to me/A partridge in a pear tree

I only really like this song because Misha sings in it. I’m not really sure which part he sings, but I love all of it. I wish he would sing a full-length song by himself. He’s a good singer.

Sleigh Ride – Pentatonix: Come on, it’s lovely weather/For a snow ride together with you

This is the first song I ever heard from Pentatonix and it’s still my favorite. I love the little jingle at the beginning. It’s such a beautiful song. I only like their version though.

The Little Drummer Boy – Harry Simeone Chorale: Shall I play for you pa-rum pum pum pum on my drums?

I used to love this song as a kid when I actually loved Christmas. During our big family gatherings my uncles would play the best Christmas music, and this one always stood out to me. It made me sad, but also happy. It felt very important at the time.

Nicole: 

All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey: Make my wish come true/All I want for Christmas is you

It wouldn’t be a complete list for Christmas songs without having Mariah Carey on it. She’s iconic. 

Winter Wonderland – Darlene Love: In the meadow we can build a snowman/Then pretend that he is Parson Brown/He’ll say, “Are you married?”/We’ll say, “No man.”/But you can do the job when you’re in town

This is the only version of this song that sounds right to me. I’m not entirely sure why. I don’t think I’ve actually heard it in years, but I always find myself singing it when I’m wrapping Christmas presents.

Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt: Santa honey, I want a yacht and really that’s not a lot/Been an angel all year

She has such a good voice. She’s only one who sings this song that I don’t cringe to. It simply makes me smile at how cheeky it is.

Jingle Bell Rock – Mean Girls: Dancin’ and Prancin’ in Jingle Bell Square in the frosty air/What a bright time/It’s the right time/To rock the night away

Who doesn’t think of this scene when thinking of Christmas songs? 

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah/Hallelujah/Hallelujah/Hallelujah

I don’t know why this song always gives me chills but it does. 

Silent Night – Pentatonix: Silent night/Holy night/All is calm/All is bright

I always loved this song the most in Elementary school when forced to sing. Pentatonix’s talent brings it to life in a new way.

Santa Clause is Coming to Town: He sees you when you’re sleeping/He knows when you’re awake/ He knows when you’ve been bad or good/So be good for goodness sake

I don’t even know the version of this song I like. It’s always a song that gets stuck in my head though.

 

Popular Books We Hated

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Isis:

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Crash & Burn (Cut & Run #9) by Abigail Roux

GR rating: 4.41 stars

My rating: 2 stars

When I read Cut & Run, the books took over my life. I read one after the other, cried over them, and had the worst book hangover of my life. I waited months for the last book to come out, but it was a big disappointment. The plot was senseless, the characters dull, the romance superficial, and the villains laughable. I hated everything about this book.

 

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

GR rating: 4.26 stars

My rating: 2 stars

Listen, I know the entire world is in love with this book. I’m in the minority here. But I will always be bitter about the fact that (spoiler alert) Blue turned out to be Random Guy #2, instead of, oh I don’t know, a character that actually interacted with Simon. I’m not going to lie. I was rooting for Nick to be Blue. I have really strong feelings about this. Don’t fight me on it.

 

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Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

GR rating: 4.08 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I can’t even remember any details from this book. I remember the kids starring in it were completely stupid. I had no sympathy for them. I don’t want to talk about them. Moving on.

 

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

GR rating: 4.02 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I don’t enjoy Dickens’s writing style at all. Add to that boring characters, a boring story line with a “heartwarming message” and I hated everything about this book. Wow, I am sounding really bitter right now. Look, I don’t like this book. If a guy doesn’t like Christmas, leave him alone. I’m sure his reasons are valid. 

 

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Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

GR rating: 3.80 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I think the romance in this book made me literally sick to my stomach. I couldn’t stand any of the characters. And the plot was stupid. All things considered, I am being way too generous with my stars. All of these books deserve 1 star.

 

Nicole:

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Blackbird by Kanoko Sakurakouji

GR rating: 4.3 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I vaguely remember cringing at the plot of romance of this series, but honestly it’s completely slipped my mind what this was even about. So it’s forgettable as well.

 

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

GR rating: 4.19 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I love Rowell’s writing, but didn’t appreciate her piggy backing off of Harry Potter. It wasn’t well developed, the character’s were boring, and I hate how some people hold it up as the epitome of diversity.

 

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

GR rating: 4.1 stars

My rating: 3 stars

I was completely generous with that rating when I finished this book. It really should be a two or even one star book. I hated the creepy instalove, the world, and even the pace of the book. I don’t understand how this book ever got hyped up so much.

 

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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

GR rating: 4.01 stars

My rating: 2 stars

This one was such a struggle for me to read. I’m surprised anyone read this when it first came out and continued on reading the series without knowing what would happen. I know if I didn’t know what the series ended I would have never picked up book two.

 

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The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

GR rating: 3.94 stars

My rating: 1 star

The main thing I remember about this book was caves. The school was underground or something, and every time the characters went into a separate room  there had to be a full page describing it. And it was never that different because a cave is a cave. The characters were also boring, and everything was told instead of shown. 

Christmas Movies We Hope to Watch

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It is now officially December. And Nicole and I have made it our task to watch some famous, or new, Christmas movies to later review right here on our blog. I am a huge fan of cheesy Christmas movies. My favorite, by far, is Holiday in Handcuffs (from the screenshot above). I’ve sort of made it a tradition to force everyone to watch it every year with me. But I think it’s good to branch out a little bit too. So, although I will definitely rewatch Holiday in Handcuffs again this year, Nicole and I will watch these Christmas movies as well.

Nicole’s Picks:

  • Jingle All the Way (1996)

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With Arnold Schwarzenegger as a workaholic father hellbent on finding the perfect toy for his son, I bet he’ll learn in a funny, silly journey that Christmas isn’t all about presents. And I will probably like it.

  • Marry Me For Christmas (2013)

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A businesswoman’s family simply wants her to find a husband. For the holidays she decides to bring along her assistant who pretends to be her fiancee. I predict they will fall in love or something, and all the lies will work out. And I will probably reluctantly find it really cute.

  • Elf (2003)

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No I’ve never seen this, and yes once I finally do I guess I will like it like everyone else does.

 

Isis’s Picks:

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

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I love Snoopy, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the Charlie Brown movies. I’m pretty sure as a kid I loved the Peanuts comics. I think it’s about time I watched this one. I have no doubt it will fill my heart with warm, fuzzy feelings.

  • A Very Merry Toy Store (2017)

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My dynamic duo: Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez, return to the world of cheesy Christmas movies with A Very Merry Toy Store. It’s the story of two toy store owners who unite forces when a big toy corporation moves into town. I am so excited about this one. I hope to love it as much as Holiday in Handcuffs. If not, then at least it will make me “aww” a lot because look at those two.

  • A Miser Brothers’ Christmas (2008)

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I’m not sure what to expect from this one. I know one of them is Jack Frost. Nicole told me to watch it. But she and I have very different taste. I hope to be entertained by it, but we shall see. Honestly, those two look sort of creepy.