Some Secrets Are Best Stay Hidden (Secret Brother – A Book Review)

Secret Brother

Author: V. C. Andrews

Published: 2015

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

Amazon | V. C. Andrews

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated T for teen outrage and attempted rebellion with a tad-heavy petting that goes absolutely nowhere.

 

The most unexpected Dollanganger story of them all…

Arnold loses his grandson in the same ER that a mysterious boy was dropped off and left for dead from poisoning. The poisoning left him with amnesia. Moved by the possibility of fate, Arnold, grandpa Arnold to most, brings the boy home. Not everybody is thrilled with this.

Arnold’s granddaughter, Clara Sue, feels like her little brother is being replaced by this boy and she’ll do whatever it takes to be rid of him, even try to help him remember what happened to him before he ended up in the hospital. But, when the his story is uncovered, can she really send him back to the life he before, or will she finally move on past her brother’s death and welcome the boy into a new home?

 

So…

This was unexpected.

I’ve read the previous books of Flowers in the Attic (go ahead and take a read of the reviews if you haven’t) and I didn’t know what would be happening here. Starting out with loss right from the get go is hard. Not hard to get across. Hard because it’s tragedy and that’s heavy. On the bright side, the only direction to go from tragedy is up and to better things…unless it gets worse, which is possible i.e. the saying, “It’s not like it can get any worse.”, because we all know otherwise.

Sorry, spoiler here, even though at this point you should’ve read the Flowers in the Attic books before this one, so, not really sorry. LOL. Corey Dollanganger was the brother who was thought to have died in the very first book and now this book confirms he didn’t die. He got a second chance. But, I felt really sad, too, because his twin, Carrie killed herself, in part because of the bullying, in part because of her mother’s rejection of her, and also because of the loss of Corey. This book did make me think back to her and feel even sadder for her.

Scarlet Reader

Giphy

After losing her little brother, Willie, Clara Sue feel lost and angry and sad, and you know what? I was TOTALLY with her on that, even though I already know Corey’s story. She loved Willie to pieces. Then suddenly her grandpa brings home a little boy and nearly replaces him. If that happened to me I’d be just as pissed. She was right to act the way she did. You can’t replace family with strangers.

Scarlet Reader

reactiongifs

And that boy that was chasing Clara Sue, who I won’t even give a name because he wasn’t worth remembering was a nozzle of douches. That’s all I’ll say about him. He really got me disliking him. Pfft. The definition of a F-boy. Gross.

So, all in all, each of the kids’ feelings are understandable. Clara Sue and Corey are both in their own right to be emotional. They went through a lot of tragedy.

The emotions rolling through this book were pretty realistic. So much change after such a tragic change will make a person blow a major gasket. Sometimes it came off a little too dramatic, but this is from a teenager’s POV. So, whataya going to do?

Scarlet Reader

Giphy

The world building was pretty basic and predictable for V.C. Andrews. Rich family. Big mansion with multiple wings. Family trauma with a side of effed-up dysfunction. Predictable.

The style of the writing was pretty good, though the tone came off bland. I was getting a little sleepy in places and then I’d jolt when something juicy happened.

 

Overall

I was actually surprised that I enjoyed the book as much as I did. It didn’t move me to tears, but it did stir up some emotions. It was the kind you get for family. Protective and annoyed and a love that can really toil in the heart. Definitely one of my favorite books out of the Flowers in the Attic books. Will I reread it? Honestly? No. The family feels are nice, but they don’t screech, ‘read me again!’. I enjoy an intense read that grips me tight, much like Castiel did to Dean during that season 4 premiere of Supernatural. I say give it a good read, get your family drama out, and then donate it.

 

Quotables:

“Looking messy in public says a lot about how you live your life…” (Clara’s mother, p. 72)

“…Life is like a relay. When good people die, they pass something important of themselves on to those who continue…” (Grandpa Arnold to Clara Sue, p. 89)

“Your grandmother used to tell me you can’t fight city hall. City hall is a piece of cake compared with a woman who makes up her mind about something or someone.” (Grandpa Arnold to Clara Sue, p. 279)

“Love has a way of making memories sticky.” (Dorian, p. 345)

“A good-bye is just the curtain closing for this evenings performance. It will open again.” (Bobby to Clara Sue, p. 362)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Secrets by OneRepublic.

 

Find Me:

Twitter

Goodreads

 

Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Advertisements

The Truth is Supposed to Set You Free (That’s Not What Happened – A Book Review)

That’s Not What Happened
Author: Kody Keplinger
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - that's NOT what happened

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

Six survived to tell the story, but who knows the truth?

It’s the three-year anniversary of the Virgil County High School Massacre. The reporters are long gone. The blood of those lost is long gone. The memories still walk through the hallways of the school. Lee’s best friend Sarah, one of the victims, is still hailed as a martyr by the town, but Lee knows the truth. She didn’t die proclaiming her faith. Lee was there, next to her, when she died.

She didn’t say anything then, but now, on the eve of graduating from high school, she wants to tell the truth about what really happened that day. She’s ready to. With the contributions of the other survivors about that day and how it’s affected them, she hopes to enlighten everyone to the real feelings and stories of that horrific day.

Except Sarah’s martyrdom is important to the town. It’s even driven one of the massacre survivors away. Lee knows that when she starts this journey to share the truth about that horrific day that still gives her nightmares and sleepless nights every year around the anniversary, she runs the risk of being driven out as well. But, the guilt of having remained silent has been heavy. She can’t be silent any longer, even though every new piece of information makes her question whether she should speak out.

 

This review is info/possibly spoiler worthy. Just letting you know.

I’ve been a fan of Keplinger since I read The DUFF. I think that’s the book that makes everybody a fan of her. I got excited when this book came into our bookstore. It’s so different from other books she’s written. There’s a darker, more tragic layer to this high school ride.

A school shooting. The most popular one we know and always flash back to is Columbine, and since they’ve grown in frequency.

West Nickel Mines Amish School – 2006

Virginia Tech – 2007

Sandy Hook – 2012

Santa Monica College – 2013

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – 2018

Santa Fe High School – 2018

And so many more have impacted our country and how safe we feel in a place of learning and a place that nobody ever imagines being targeted for such violence.

This book took a POV that was—what I believe to be—touchy. Our main character had a front row seat to the shooting and her best friend died right next to her. By all rights, she should be dead too. The only POV that could’ve possibly beat this one out and made me feel even more emotional and heartbroken would be that of the shooter’s. Also, Lee broke the fourth wall by talking to me (the reader). It was her and everyone else’s story. And there were parts she could share and some she just couldn’t bring herself to get out because it was too hard.

Lee made this experience, one that people who’ve never been through something like this, personal. Her emotions and those of the other survivors were intense and real. An event like this isn’t something you glamorize and I don’t think Keplinger did that. She approached a school shooting with perspectives of kids who had suffered from it and were trying to survive its aftermath. The way she explored that aftermath was gut-wrenching with no holding back. Everybody deals with tragedy differently and she did well expressing that by using Lee’s project to get letters on their feelings about the shooting and those lost from it.

The trauma of the shooting wasn’t the only subject approached either. Sexuality had a place here, with Lee’s asexuality and Eden being gay. It’s not that it was up front, made to look just planted in. Not the case at all. It was completely natural and in Lee’s case, still being sorted out. I was so there for it! Well done! Bra-freaking-va! Sexuality is diverse and isn’t something to be given gold stars or special treatment. It’s just a part of life we need to address for ourselves, and it doesn’t need mass amounts of attention from the world. The only people it should draw attention to are those involved on a personal level. That’s just me though. Keplinger did a fantastic job with the way she wrote it into the story.

Another subject addressed? The setting of the book. Virgil is a poor town. It’s not said outright, but sprinkled throughout the book and I am so glad! I’m from a poor, shitty town that struggles economically and it was nice to see something real like this. Many towns across the country are this way. Many books I’ve read express a sense of endless monetary means. That’s not the case here and I really liked that.

Heart

The style was really unique. While we are following Lee’s POV for the most part, we get glimpses into the lives and thoughts of others—Denny, Miles, Ashley, Eden, and Kelly. This was well spread out and concise. The support system they had for each other was astounding. The writing was filled to the brim with emotion reflecting hurt, selfishness, desperation, and guilt. I was wracked.

 

Overall

This book was pretty moving for me. This was a book I wasn’t expecting. Keplinger has always surprised me. With perfectly timed humor and swelling emotions, she got me good. It was so different than many books I’ve read. Struck me like lightning with many emotions at once. Dark, scary at times, and brave.

 

Quotables:

“I wake up every morning with death on my mind.” (Lee, p. 3)

“Maybe some truths are better left buried.” (Lee, p. 2)

“Look, you don’t have to see things to be traumatized them…” (Lucas, p. 54)

“Maybe I looked normal, but so had the guy who brought a gun into my school.” (Lee, p. 152)

 

I credit these sites for informing me:

www.vox.com

The Washington Post

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Better Days by Goo Goo Dolls.

 

Find Me:

Twitter

Goodreads

 

Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Summer Reads – Nonfiction Edition

summer reads

Hello, precious bookworms,

June has been filled with a few book lists. Why? Because summer is upon us and that means days that you’ll spend lounging around, reading a great book, or many great books.

I’ve already gotten the YA Edition and the Fiction Edition up. I bring you my final list this month and that is the Nonfiction list.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson

astrophysics

On the NYT Bestsellers List, get a fast lane knowledge on the cosmos, because who has time to contemplate them lately? I wish I had the time, especially now that it’s summer, the perfect time for looking at the stars. Questions you’ve always wondered about like, the nature of space and time and how does the universe fit within us, are answered and in a timely fashion. Whether on the bus on your way to work or on a lunch break, you’ll get your moment to think about the meaning of life or at least the search for planets. I don’t read much nonfiction. I much prefer the YA genre, but this book is on my list.

Amazon

Hillbilly Elegy
Author: J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy

A powerful analysis of a culture in crisis and the disintegration of the demographic of white working-class Americans. I feel like this is a touchy subject, yet one that should, and is, discussed wonderfully in this book. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this bestseller. Vance’s story is personal and passionate from the POV of him and his family, starting in postwar America with his grandparents and moving forward through the change of America from there.

Amazon

BRAVE
Author: Rose McGowan

Brave

Rose McGowan, a powerful, feminist icon, was born into one cult and came of age in another, more prominent one—Hollywood. If you’ve kept up with this woman then you know she has no filter and that makes her powerful. She’s stood alongside women who have suffered from abuse and harassment. She stands with them and in this memoir, she shares her own experiences as only one actress who’s lived under constant exposure from the spotlight and over-sexualization. Here, she speaks up, no, she shouts and screams. This powerful book reaches out and encourages men and women to step up and be strong and be brave. Expect expletives, folks. This is another book on my list that I want to read. I am a big fan of Rose and ever since she’s comes forward and been loud and strong about her stance in Hollywood I’ve loved her even more.

Amazon

The Last Black Unicorn
Author: Tiffany Haddish

last black unicorn

A stand-up comedian, and breakout actress, Tiffany Haddish brings something brand new to memoir.  Edgy, hysterical and no holding back with her personal essays. From one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, she learned to survive by making people laugh. Through tough times, Tiffany kept her dream alive, something she found worth living for: comedy. These accounts of how she was brought up is unique and filled with laughs as well as showing how humble and grateful she is for being able to get her dream.

Amazon

#NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line
Author: David Hogg, Lauren Hogg

Never Again

On February 14, 2018, David and his sister Lauren Hogg went to school and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They believed it was going to be like any other day. It wasn’t. That day, the school experienced a shooting and by the next morning seventeen classmates and faculty were dead. David and Lauren have joined the movement for this to end, that never again should something this terrifying happen again. Never again should kids be afraid to go to school These siblings step forward with this manifesto with strong voices, they’re saying, Enough.

Amazon

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic

Elizabeth Gilbert shares her unique wisdom and perspective on creativity. She goes over the attitudes, approaches and habits we need and what fuels our creativity. Encouraging for us to find what makes us sparkle, our ‘strange jewels’, in yourself. Whether embarking on a dream or infusing it with everyday life, this gem is sure to open you up in ways you didn’t think of.

Amazon

In Cold Blood
Author: Truman Capote

In Cold Blood

For those who love the true crime variety, Truman follows the story of two men who murdered the Clutter family. No motive. Almost no clues led to the killers. With incredible empathy and suspense, Truman follows the murder, investigation, trial and execution. This insight to American just and violence is shudder worthy.

Amazon

There you have it, loves. You’ve got YA, Fiction, and Nonfiction. A wide variety. I know I’ve been expanding my interests lately and I’ve been surprised a few times. What are you reading this summer?

More to come soon…

-K.

Find Me:

Twitter

Goodreads

Thought? Tell me in the comments below.

New Dolls to Play With (Seeds of Yesterday – A Book Review)

Seeds of Yesterday
Author: V.C. Andrews
Published: 1984

On Goodreads

SOY

 

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

They escaped their mother’s hellish trap years ago, but a cruel history of lies and deceit has come full circle…

The secrets of the attic are brought forth to the next generation of Dollangangers. Bart invites his parents, Cathy and Chris, to stay at his home to which he’s had renovated to look nearly identical to the original Foxworth Hall the kept them captive for years, to celebrate his twenty-fifth birthday. Even though all of the children are fully grown and Cathy and Chris have taken on brand new last names, the beautiful and spacious place plays with Cathy’s nightmarish memories. With Bart turning viler towards his family, the dark secrets of Foxworth come full circle as the Dollangangers try to get past them and the tragedies that keep them imprisoned.

 

Real quick, I’m so sorry with how late this review is. I usually always try to get one up every one to two days, but work has been an energy sucker. Love you, booknerds. You’re truly awesome. I’m happy you’re here. Now on with the review!

 

This is the fourth book to The Dollangangers and V.C. Andrews is still keeping me twisted up. This series has really flung me around. I’ve never been more disturbed, though I must say, this one was much less twisted compared to the previous books. The focus during this book is for The Dolls to heal and the journey to finally achieve that after everything they’ve been through: getting locked up in an attic for their childhood and get abused by their grandmother, seeking revenge for that loss of innocence, The Dolls nearly losing their children to their mother and a psychotic butler. And that’s just the shortened bits. Trust me, if you haven’t read the books, I haven’t really given any spoilers away.

Reviews of the other Dollanganger books:

Flowers in the Attic

Petals on the Wind

If There Be Thorns

 The next generation of the Dolls are grown up. Jory is a famous ballet dancer, just like his mother once was. Cindy is in private school and well on her way to being an actress. Bart is just waiting impatiently to inherit what is rightfully his, the fortune left to him by his grandmother.

One of my favorite things about this is that I’m a big fan of going into a new generation. It’s so fun to watch characters grow up and see where they go. It’s one of my favorite ways to see a story pushed forward. In this case, it was more nerve-wracking because this isn’t your typical book. Happiness is always short-lived and the secrets creep and slither like vines or snakes, leaving me really uneasy because I’m never sure when more nastiness is about to happen. The whole point, making this another great entry to the series.

Thumbs Up

The suffering of each Doll child is greatly expressed and really broke my heart. Granted, after reading If There Be Thorns, I expected the damage to be more apparent. The development of the psychological damage within Jory, Bart, and Cindy, and how it shaped them later on was spectacular. What a way to reach out to some real human issues like manipulation and self-esteem and bullying. Long term consequences, people.

The imagery is still wonderful, always capturing my brain. Seeing Foxworth Hall all over again was chilling! I was half expecting the ghost of the grandmother (Freaking evil Olivia.) to be floating around. Cathy once again takes the story by the wheel, steering me with her trembling fears. Seeing her more in touch with her emotions than ever before was gutting me. At this point, she’s barely hanging on. She’s not bent on revenge anymore, but desperate to help her family. And with all of that I’m just like,

SOY

But then there’s, her beyond disturbed son, Bart and he is just…well…the guy is a jerk! WORSE THAN THAT! And well, grrrr. A devil in human skin. Some of the things he said were just downright evil and disgusting, especially about women, leaving me like this after every single time he opened his mouth.

BS

I will say this. Bart is not the antagonist. Not really. Like the rest of the Dolls, he too is tied up in the dark secrets of Foxworth, and possibly is the worst effected. I still don’t like him.

I’m still drawn in and hypnotized by the language. It’s beautiful and makes the characters truly stand out as individuals. The story is vivid and strong. I can’t say often that language stands out to me the most in a book, but it really did for me this time. Very beautiful in a haunting story.

 

Do I recommend this book? Of course! The whole series is a great read. It’s filled with toil and darkness and some seriously effed up shit. It’s nothing you’d expect. Having known a lot about the series before reading it, I was still shocked. I can’t wait to read more of Andrews’s works, though not so much the stuff after her passing. I read The Mirror Sisters trilogy and while it wasn’t terrible, it didn’t really compare to this.

 

Quotables:

“I no longer believed in fairytales.” (Cathy, p.3)

“If I am so unlucky as to lose you first, I’ll sit day by day before a window staring out and remembering how it used to be with you.” (Cathy to Chris, p. 84)

“Foxworth Hall had trapped us again.” (Cathy, p. 135)

“Don’t you feel it? Can’t you hear it? Do you sense this house is breathing, like it has a life of its own?” (Melodie to Cathy, p. 158)

“Hope…in this house of dark misery we were always clinging to hope we colored yellow—like the sun we seldom seen.” (Cathy, p. 203)

“To have blind faith in anyone but God is idiotic.” (Bart to Cathy, p. 334)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers.

 

Find Me:

Twitter

Goodreads

 

Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.

Self-Punishment is Still Punishment (Crime and Punishment – A Book Review)

Crime and Punishment
Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Published: 1866

On Goodreads

Crime and Punishment

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Well, of course, everything is in a man’s own hands, and if he lets everything slip through his fingers, it is through sheer cowardice. That’s an axiom. I wonder, though what people fear most. It seems to me that what they are afraid of most is of taking a new step or uttering a new word…

Living in St. Petersburg, a poor student, Raskolnikov, lives in a tight apartment and suddenly believes that he has been fated to kill money-lender & pawn-broker, Alyona Ivanovna and her half-sister Lisaveta. Managing to steal whatever he can grab after the act, he flees. Quickly he falls ill physically and mentally. He worries and begins to obsess about the possibilities of people knowing of what he’s done yet he manages to escape suspicion.

In the midst of his delusions, his sister, Dunya, and his mother come to visit with news that Dunya is to be wed soon. Her previous employer follows her to St. Petersburg after the death of his wife as well. And the attorney investigating the murder may be on to Raskolnikov, though many have come forward and confessed already. Raskolnikov hangs by the smallest of threads.

 

I love classics. I do. They’re the spine to great storytelling, really. That being said, they do take a while to read. The language is dense sometimes. The great depth of detail is sometimes tiring and feels drawn out, but at the same time it’s beautiful. Makes how I feel about them complicated sometimes. LOL.

The story takes place in Petersburg in multiple homes, though mostly in Raskolnikov’s, the main character. Though when ill, he goes to many places, even the police station. A good portion of this book also takes place within Raskolnikov’s mind as he deals with the treachery he committed.

The detail to the settings were very specific down the very wallpaper and lamp and I really liked that. It gives me a clear vision of everything. I enjoy being able to see clearly since my brain turns words into pictures more often than not.

Guilt, poverty, and death are the more common themes I picked up on throughout the story. Raskolnikov is always at odds with himself. While he wants to help other people, he can barely help himself. And he certainly doesn’t like others trying to help him, as it makes him feel inferior and helpless. He also tries his best to avoid talking about what’s caused him to get so uptight and ill. The tone goes hand-in-hand with this. You can feel that as Raskolnikov observes the cruelty of people around him, a few people beating an old horse to horse to death, for example.

One of the biggest questions posed in this book is: Is crime justifiable?

It’s picked up in conversation often as Raskolnikov often hints at what he’s done. Several scenarios are presented in which people argue which is right and which is wrong. It brings s about a very good question. When would crime be acceptable if ever?

I found this to be very interesting because there are many variables to think about when answering a question like this.

 

I enjoy Russian literature, as I’m sure I’ve told you dozens of times. This wasn’t a particular favorite of mine. It felt a bit drawn out, though there was quite a bit going on. It also reminds me quite a bit of the Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe with how haunted the main character is throughout the story. This one is certainly an acquired taste and does pose a valuable question.

If you love classic literature, a good debate, and watching a person lose their sanity then this one’s for you.

 

Quotables:

“Gradually he had arrived at all sorts of interesting conclusions, and, in his opinion, the main reason for it lay not so much in the physical impossibility of concealing a crime as in the criminal itself; the criminal himself, at least almost every criminal, is subject at the moment of the crime to a kind of breakdown of his reasoning faculties and of his will-power, which are replaced by an amazingly childish carelessness.” (Raskolnikov, p. 90)

“Let him have his laugh—let him! I don’t mind. What I want is strength—strength!” (Raskolnikov, p. 208)

“It’s the moon that makes everything so still. It must be asking a riddle.” (Raskolnikov, p. 294)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Coming to Terms by Carolina Liar.

 

Find me:

Twitter

Goodreads

Thoughts? Tell me in the comment section below.

Vengeance Becomes Her (Arcana Rising – A Book Review)

Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles #4)
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: 2016

Arcana Rising

My Rating:Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

He’d asked me what I would sacrifice. I hadn’t been able to answer then, but I could now.

Not Jack.

After Richter, The Emperor, wreaks utter destruction, annihilating an entire army and more, Circe, The Priestess, strikes back with a force just as strong of . Evie, giving up after such a heavy loss, nearly lets her win, lets her kill her. Only one thing keeps her going. Vengeance. She will have it.

The remaining Arcana on the board have chosen their sides and the main battle can begin. Evie struggles to fight and keep going. Evie finds herself going darker and darker after finally getting to her Gran and learning of The Empress’s chronicles. Can Evie repress the red witch inside or will she let her loose to avenge all that she’s lost, becoming what Jack helped to suppress? The true Empress.

Could it be enough to take on Richter and his allies? Evie reunites with Aric and other fellow Arcana to build up a mighty force to fight back. It may prove difficult though after the bond between her and Death has been shaken and nearly destroyed by her choices. Can she and her allies rise to the heat of battle or will they fall like those who have already been swallowed up by Richter’s fires.

When the battle is done…And all hope is lost…Vengeance becomes everything.

 

Reviews for previous books in the series can be found below.

Poison Princess

Poison Princesshere

Endless Knight

Endless Knighthere

Dead of Winter - SR

Dead of Winterhere

Day Zero

Day Zerohere

 

So…Okay.

Yes.

I’m struggling to find words. Why you ask? Because this series is completely beautiful and also very destructive on my poor heart. I’ve said it once, twice, a bazillion times. I’m completely obsessed. The aftermath of Dead of Winter lingers over this entire book.

Evie Greene is struggling with heavy losses after a brutal attack from Richter (The Emperor of the major Arcana) has left nothing but destruction its wake. Her heart completely closed off, Aric (Death) helps her to recover from her mortal wounds, promising to help her avenge those that have been taken from her. The big showdown begins now (which makes me an even bigger wreck). I’m still working on my feelings at the moment. They’re everywhere and are hard to collect.

Arcana Rising

To keep up with the basics. The tone has been completely steady and keeping me on the edge of my seat. I’m very shocked, but somehow I’m still hanging on-not in the bad sense I mean. I mean that it’s a complete roller coaster that will leave you breathless. You’re holding on for dear life while. I read this book during my whole day off last week while watching Grace and Frankie (completely amazing show and also had me on the edge of my seat). It’s been a loooong time since I’ve done that, but I just couldn’t put it down. The book was glued to my fingers. The pacing was still moving fast and with a hyper awareness, but when you’re wondering each day if it’s your last day then it’s understandable.

Unlike the previous books, except for Day Zero, this book followed multiple POVs instead of only following Evie Greene. This was really awesome because it really spread the story out and allowed me to get a look at a few other characters that I really love. Each new POV was just as intense as it’s been with Evie throughout the series. There hasn’t been a single character that I’ve hated. Well, more specifically, there hasn’t been a character that I’ve hated because it’s a terrible character that makes now sense whatsoever. I have hated a character because from person to fictional person, I just don’t like them and hope they perish. Yes, Aric, I mean you. LOL. I swear, this series is giving me the Twilight PTSD (Team Edward or Team Jacob?). I’m still Team Jack. Freaking love that human and am crying an ocean of tears for him.

Buffy - Once More with Extreme Prejudice

Of course characters that we learned about in the previous volume (Day Zero) finally make an entrance and this deadly game of thunderdome is in full swing with all of the Arcana on the board. More! Evie’s Gran is actually alive and she’s also a little (A LOT) psycho. After reading her own chronicles on The Empress, Evie comes across unsettling discoveries about her friends and past games, and is deeply unsettled and unsure about who to trust. Her friends might not be her friends. With Gran’s ill condition worsening, she isn’t even sure she can trust her. She keeps telling her to release the red witch, which is the last thing Evie wants to do. But, with Jack…missing (queue my denial)…she may not be able to keep her at bay much longer.

Also, it turns out that the major Arcana are not the only ones on the battle board. The minor Arcana are floating around as well! Those like: ten of swords and queen of cups. I’ve been wondering for the last few books if they were a part of this and I’m so giddy to know that they are. They apparently aren’t people you want to walk up and expect a buddy-buddy moment to happen. They want this game to end just like them, possibly more than them.

Did I mention that my heart is utterly destroyed? It’s been ripped out, or at least it I wish is was. It would be much better than this pain I’m in over all of the emotional dread and heartache I feel. Kresley has truly messed with my emotions.

The twists! There are so many. There were several times I turned a nasty shade of red, teared up, and cried out “NOOO!”. I was losing it, utterly upset. And no, it wasn’t because this book was terrible. Not. At. All. It was because I felt like I was being torn apart by what was happening. You know the feeling. These characters you fall in love with that have great passion and intensity go and do all of these stupid things you disagree with. They go and stomp on your heart.  But the story is so great you can’t stop, so in the end you let them. That’s Evie Greene.

Arcana Rising

Like those previous, this book was amazing. I’ve already pre-ordered the next in the series that’s due out on February 13, 2018. Usually I’m pretty patient, but not about this book. I WANT IT RIGHT FREAKING NOW. I have no idea what will be coming and I’m not entirely sure that I’m emotionally prepared either, but I can’t wait.

 

Quotables:

“The Empress’s screams had awakened the dark in me. Reverse, perverse…The Dark Calling.” (Mathew, p. 59)

“Twist, tighten, constrict.” (Evie, p. 104)

“The gods decreed this game. They set events into motion eons ago. Someone has to win. No matter what, someone will win.” (Lark, p.116)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Eyes Closed by Halsey.

 

Find me:

Twitter

Goodreads

 

Thoughts? Tell me in the comment section below.

The Seven Stages of Grieving (the thing about jellyfish – A Book Review)

the thing about jellyfish
Author: Ali Benjamin
Published: 2015

The Thing About Jellyfish

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

2/25

 

A jellyfish, if you watch it long enough, begins to look like a heart beating.

Suzy “Zu” Swanson knows a lot of things. A lot of things that most people don’t. Like there are 150 million jellyfish stings a year. That’s 411,000 stings a day. 17,000 stings every hour. She also knows that on some technical level, everybody is made of stardust. What she doesn’t know, doesn’t understand, is how Franny Jackson’s life was cut so short before she could make up for that bad thing she did to her. It doesn’t make sense that her best friend is gone.

To make things right, Zu is determined to figure out how this could’ve happen and who the villain is. To do that she forms a plan to travel across the world to figure out the truth about how she died. But, maybe all of the answers are closer than she realizes…

Sometimes when we feel most alone, the world can open up in mysterious ways.

 

This book marks 2 out of 25 authors, from my New’s Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I was very excited, too. This is actually Ali’s debut novel and she has a few more on the way and I’m looking forward to them.

the thing about jellyfish

I can’t express enough how much this book made me feel. I was incredibly moved to tears, both happy and sad. So much happened on Zu’s journey of grieving the loss of her friend. This story was so spectacularly moving. My heart was deeply moved. The style, the setting, the characters, all of it was perfect.

It’s been a long while since I’ve been in the mind of a kid. So long that I forgot how inquisitive and determined they can be and that’s exactly what Zu is. She’s strong-headed and deeply intelligent. She’s motivated by facts, particularly science. Her way of going about grieving was so interesting because it wasn’t ordinary. I learned so much from her and was greatly reminded how straightforward kids can be.

the thing about jellyfish

The setting of this book does follow Zu to school and other places, but mostly we’re in her head. We’re drawn back to flashbacks of important events between her and Frankie as they were growing up, moving to the present. Each flashback clears up the fog of this mystery about how Zu feels so guilty and why she must find a villain to blame. It was incredibly heartwarming and wrenching. Her entire mind is based on facts that she learns more than emotion because she doesn’t understand this kind of loss and it’s experienced it with her firsthand, through her eyes. The entire style of the novel follows the scientific method, which emphasizes how Zu’s thought process works.

During this journey of Zu’s, she meets two others who, unlike everybody else in her class, find her to be very interesting and try to break through her thick exteriors, which was entirely sweet. I seriously could stop the “AWWWWWE!!” that came spewing out of my mouth so loudly. They helped make the story even more relatable. For those who remember how hellish it was in middle school, remember what it was like to feel completely on the outside and understand how special it was to have those couple of friends that could and would sit on the outside with you and be all weird like you, too. It’s how you found your crew, the people who going to be with you through thick and thin and make school bearable.

the thing about jellyfish - Giphy

This book struck me on such a personal level. Like Zu, when I was in seventh grade there was a boy who died. I remember he was in my science class. We weren’t close friends, but the feeling that Zu has throughout the book was the exact same. He was a nice person so I was confused when I found out about his death.  It was a complete disillusionment. How can someone so small and young be there one day and not the next? I still think about him from time to time and wonder what it would be like if he were still here.

 

I couldn’t get enough of this book. I cried, laughed, and was even jumping around with the giggles as I read. I have to say, I truly hope this book comes to the big screen. It’s so special and I really believe that it delivers such a moving message about grieving; that it isn’t easy to understand how a child works through it. Sometimes it takes the Scientific Method.

 

Quotables:

“During the first three weeks of seventh grade, I’d learned one thing above all else: A person can become invisible simply by staying quiet.” (Zu, p. 7)

“The stars themselves were inside up. We were made of stardust.” (Zu, p. 228)

“Who knows. Maybe everybody’s end isn’t the day they actually die, but the last time anyone speaks to them. Maybe when you die you don’t really disappear, but you fade into a shadow, dark and featureless, only you outlines visible.” (Zu, 278)

“Humans may be newcomers to the planet. We may be plenty fragile. But we’re also the only ones who can decide to change.” (Zu, p. 312)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Fireflies by Owl City.

 

Find me:

Twitter

Goodreads

 

Thoughts? Tell me in the comment section below.