Book Review: The Tales of Beedle the Who?

Greetings, muggle.

As you’ve probably already noticed, I am a fan of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. My admiration came from a young age, but despite that admiration, I’ve yet to read all of J.K. Rowling’s works. What can I say? I’m a college student who always has her head stuck in a textbook.

This Halloween, I binge-watched the first three installments of the movies. Why? I was too scared to watch anything terrifying but still wanted to embrace the Halloween spirit.

It’s been a while since I immersed myself in the glory of the Harry Potter series and I’ll admit, I miss it. Still, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read all seven installments, therefore, I decided to read The Tales of Beedle The Bard.

“The heroes and heroines who triumph in his stories are not those with the most powerful magic, but rather those who demonstrate the most kindness, common sense and ingenuity.”


What You Need to Know

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Rating:***1/2

Genre: Fantasy

Age Group: 10+

Length: 105 pages

Illustrations were drawn by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPré, who also illustrated all seven of the Harry Potter books. According to Scholastic, proceeds of this novel will benefit the Children’s High-Level charity, which protects children’s rights and seeks to protect young people.


What It’s About

The Tales of Beedle The Bard is a collection of short stories that is first mentioned in the last installment of The Harry Potter series. The Tale of The Three Brothers, in particular, helped the wizarding trio defeat Lord Voldemort. These stories are popular among young wizards and witches, and have often been challenged by wizards who are anti-muggle. The current installment had been translated by Hermione Granger after it was given to her by Albus Dumbledore. The collection is comprised of 5 different tales: The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Warlock’s Hairy Heart, Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump, and The Tale of the Three Brothers.

The tales include commentary written by Albus Dumbledore eighteen months prior to his death.


What I think

One reason I was attracted to this novel was to explore the power of the short story. Having only read novels, I wanted to know if I could learn to appreciate short stories.

Author, Stephen King, says “A lot of writers […]have a tendency to think of the novel and once you get your mind set on the novel, it’s very easy to lose whatever trick is that involves writing a short story.”

This idea got me thinking, how many of my favorite authors can write short stories?

J.K. Rowling is one of them.

Each different story has a different message, as it should be, but one thing I enjoy is the way everything makes sense. What I mean is this, given that the events in The Harry Potter series deal with bloodlines and the balance between good and evil, it makes sense that these stories often depict the beliefs accumulated by pro and anti-muggle wizards.

The main reason this book got three and a half stars was because I didn’t feel like the stories, besides The Tale of the Three Brothers, were truly memorable. Still, I felt like this was a fun read that could be enjoyed while snuggled up in a fluffy blanket with a cup of hot chocolate at hand.

The Wizard and The Hopping Pot

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(Source: Illustrations by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPre via HarryPotter.Wikia)

The plot of the first story is fairly simple—a selfish wizard, whose father was a famous healer, inherits an enchanted pot. Inside the pot, there is a shoe with a note reading: “In the fond hope, my son, that you will never need this.” The mean-hearted man, refuses to help those who seek medical care. With each refusal, the pot is overcome with the malady of the person and grows a foot to follow him around. The wizard can no longer sleep due the noise and complaints made by the pot, and he decides to cure all of those who were brought before him. The pot then begins to settle down and once it is rid of the diseases, the shoe appears once more. The wizard then places the shoe on the foot of the pot, and they walk off into the sunset.

I’ll be honest, this wasn’t one of my favorite stories in the collection. It wasn’t that the writing was bland, but the I felt like I didn’t take much away from the story. In other words, it was easily forgettable.

I still felt that there were a lot of overlying messages that make it a perfect bedtime story for children—the consequences of greed and pride, as well as the importance of helping others.

I enjoyed the afternotes with Dumbledore and I felt like it did add to Harry Potter, however small it may have been. Dumbledore mentions that this story has been challenged by wizards because muggles are not depicted in a negative light. This was especially important because magic is usually seen as evil in the muggle world and wizards and witches are the subject of horror.

I can definitely see myself telling this story to my future children or even using it in a small in-class assignment for elementary students.

The Fountain of Fair Fortune

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(Source: Illustrations by J.K Rowling and Mary GrandPre via HarryPotter.Wikia)

The second story is about a mystical fountain, rumored to grant fair fortune to those who bathe in it. No person has been able to accomplish the feat, but one day, three witches are able to penetrate the walls surrounding the fountain. One of the witches accidentally drags a knight along with them, and so they are forced to work together to reach the fountain. The first witch wants to be given health, the second seeks to make a fortune, and the third wants to be cured of heartbreak. The knight has no hope that he will be given the opportunity to bathe in the fountain. The group comes across major obstacles, the first being “Pay me the fruit of your labors.” As the group solves each riddle, they are able to move a bit forward. Along the way, the second witch is able to mix a potion that cures the disease of the first witch and in return, will be able to give her fortune. Therefore, they no longer have use of the fountain. The third witch comes to the realization that she never loved the man who broke her heart and lets the knight bathe in the fountain. The knight, who has fallen in love with the third witch, bathes in the fountain and then asks her to marry him. She accepts and all three of the witches, along with the knight, live full and happy lives without realizing the fountain had no powers at all.

An article by The Statesman, reports that fantasy books are twice as popular with young readers than novels set in a more realistic world. While I definitely believe this to be true and include myself in this statistic, I think it is equally important to relate fantasy to reality.

The Fountain of Fair Fortune is a great example of using fantasy to draw from realism. The knight from the story feels that he is less than the women who have been gifted from magic but finds that he is able to create his own fortune after all.

I feel that the underlying message of this story, magic isn’t necessary to solve problems, is a powerful one. We often tend to escape reality by reading, but it’s also crucial (especially for children) to know that things can be achieved of their own merit.

I like this.

The Warlock’s Hairy Heart

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(Source: Illustrations by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPre HarryPotter.Wikia)

This story is about a wizard who recurs to dark magic in order to keep his heart from feeling emotion. For years, the wizard thinks he is the envy of all, but when he overhears a negative conversation about him, he decides to take a bride. He chooses a beautiful woman and begins to court her. The woman is not fooled by his facade and tells him she will not marry him because he is incapable of love. The wizard then shows her his heart, which has been locked away, and has been so neglected that it is covered in hair. In order to prove the woman wrong, the wizard opens his chest and puts the heart inside his body. Still, the years have taken their toll, and when he realizes his hairy heart will take away his magic, he decides to switch the woman’s heart with his own. He kills the woman, but before he is able to replace the heart, he dies with a heart in each hand.

Out of all the stories, this is the darkest and most disturbing. In reality, most fairytales, such as Cinderella, are as dark as this one so it isn’t a surprise that J.K. Rowling wrote this. Still, I should warn parents about reading this to children under 10.

Despite the uncomfortable mental image this story conjured, one of my favorite things about this story is the sophistication in which it was told. The message in this story is that emotions, albeit conflicting at times, make people human. This can be a difficult thing to explain to children, but I think that J.K. Rowling wrote it in a way that leave an impression on children.

One thing I’ve always loved about J.K. Rowling’s writing is that she talks to children as though they’re adults. This, I feel, is an important thing because, according to Time Magazine, children are more perceptive than adults. That’s right people, they know things.

 Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump

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(Source: Illustrations by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPre via HarryPotter.Wikia)

The fourth story is about a man who pretends to be a wizard in order to receive money and gold. The king, who wants to keep all magic for himself, solicits the help of a wizard who will train him in magic. The fake wizard, who has fooled the king, is then tested but when he realizes that one of the servants is a real witch, he threatens her into helping him. The king puts on a show to display his new skills but does not know that the witch is behind these acts. When he is asked to revive a dead dog, the woman stops using her magic. She is soon discovered to be a witch and the con-man admits he has lied. The witch is hunted but threatens the king that if any witch or wizard is harmed in his kingdom, he will feel the strike of a blade. It is then proclaimed that no witch or wizard will ever be harmed, and a statue of her is built. The witch then leaves the kingdom, never to be seen again.

From the very beginning, the title of this story compelled me. Babbity Rabbity is a fairly strange name and truthfully, I thought it was about a rabbit.

Of course, I was wrong (kinda), but I didn’t feel that this story resonated with me on a bigger scale. I liked the messages within the story—lies are always uncovered, magic is not to be trifled with, arrogance can lead to treachery.

My biggest issue with this story was that it didn’t provide much besides minor details about the wizarding universe.

The most enjoyable thing about this story are comments by Dumbledore. He talks about the persecution of magic folk and the importance of respecting magic’s limitations. As the blogger, WriteMeg, said “Any fan of Potter will be delighted to relive one hundred pages with Dumbledore’s running dialogue, and there’s some insight to be gained about the Wizarding world from Beedle, who lived in the fifteenth century.” A fun historical lesson is always appreciated.

The Tale of the Three Brothers

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(Source: Illustrations by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPre via FanPop)

The last story is one that may be familiar to all who have read or seen the Harry Potter movies. This is the story of the three brothers. The three brothers are walking through the forest when they encounter a river that has claimed the lives of many. Skilled in the magical arts, they build a bridge, but are stopped by death who feels cheated. Faking admiration, death asks them what they might like in return for their skills. The first brother receives the most powerful wand on the earth, the second receives a resurrection stone, and the third receives a cloak of invisibility. The first two brothers meet untimely deaths because of the gifts, but the third brother, who chose his gift wisely, is able to evade death for years. It is only after he reached a great age, that he passes down the cloak of invisibility, meeting death and departing life as equals.  

This is my favorite story in The Tales of Beedle the Bard. 

One of the reasons that I feel this story is cherished by people is that it adds to the story of Harry Potter. The deathly hallows are introduced which in turn helps Harry, Ron, and Hermione defeat Lord Voldemort. This is what I was expecting from this collection, I wanted the stories to interweave with Harry Potter. This is a story that both mystifies the reader and demonstrates powerful tropes: immortality cannot be reached, humility is prized, and wisdom is a virtue. Blogger, JCarsonWrites, says “It’s the sort of story you can imagine reading as a child and being totally intrigued by.” I wholeheartedly agree.

While I understand that this collection is its own, I felt like it was just a fun read. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it.

Like I mentioned previously, I felt like it would have been more memorable if it added to the story of Harry Potter. Overall, I think this is a book that will most likely appeal to readers that want to know every detail of the wizarding world.

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(Source: Giphy)

Still, it’s the wizarding world. Who doesn’t want to read about that?

Happy reading!

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The Word with Book to Movie Adaptations

 

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(Source: Pixabay)

I love book to movie adaptations, even the bad ones.

Okay, maybe not the bad ones.

However, book to movie adaptations give me a reason to read and I do HAVE to read the book first. Experiencing the magic of watching a scene I read, reimagined on the big/small screen, is awesome.

There are plenty of book to movie adaptations coming up, but here are a few titles that I am most interested in.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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(Source: FoxMovies)

This particular book to movie adaptation is one I have been looking forward to for a long time. Why?

Because it’s straight up creepy. Yes, creepy.

This novel is about a sixteen-year-old boy named Jacob who witnesses his grandfather’s murder at the hands of a mysterious creature. Of course, no one believes Jacob, and he soon begins to have nightmares. Jacob then travels to Cairnhold Island after it is suggested by his psychiatrist. During his visit to the orphanage his grandfather grew up in, Jacob discovers old photographs that suggest a mysterious secret lurking behind the inhabitants of the home.

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(Source: Reelz)

According to ComingSoon, the movie adaptation is set to release on March 4, 2016 with Asa Butterfield as the lead. Filming began earlier this year with Tim Burton as the director. Other cast members include: Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Chris O’Dowd, Ella Purnell, and Terence Stamp.

Personally, I cannot think of a greater director than Tim Burton for this project. His talent for portraying dark and playful themes is a perfect fit. Will he be able to stay true to the novel and embody the eeriness of Ransom Riggs work? I sure think so.

The biggest challenge of this adaptation will be to appeal to a larger audience. If done correctly, Tim Burton will be able to adapt a movie franchise that could be as successful as The Hunger Games trilogy.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

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(Source: ComingSoon)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a novel in possession of a good premise, must be in want of…brain-eating zombies.

Wait, what?

That’s right folks, zombies are taking over the word. An article on LiveScience, reported that fantasies about the zombie apocalypse make up a large part of post-apocalyptic pop culture. Well, I believe it.

As you might’ve already guessed, this is a parody of Jane Austen’s, Pride and Prejudice, in which the characters are set in an alternate reality. Elizabeth and her sisters are zombie-fighting warriors while Mr.Darcy, is a famous zombie hunter. The premise to this story remains true to Austen’s work, however, there is more action and brutal twists to the original plot.

Being a Pride and Prejudice fan, I am interested in this dark interpretation, but I’m also skeptical. Will it flop like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (which was also written by Smith)? Or will it surprise us like Warm Bodies (another zombie book to movie adaptation)?

Pride and Prejudice is one of the stories that have passed the test of time, therefore, I want to see it kept alive in this story. It would be easy to make a historical fiction romance with zombies in it, but since this is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I will want to see the zombies integrated to the story rather than placing emphasis on them. What I mean is this, if the zombies compromise the overall message of the story, it will go terribly wrong. Feel free to disagree.

Based on this trailer, it seems like the story will focus on the effect zombies have had on societal life, which can be an interesting turn. This could work…possibly.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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(Source: MovieNewz)

I have some beef with this franchise.

It’s been a while since I finished the last installment of the Divergent Series, but the second movie installment left me feeling like I had been reading a different book. This was an unfortunate experience because it’s always great to see your favorite scenes on the screen. Not only did Insurgent fail to do that, it left me feeling incredibly underwhelmed. As movie blogger, TheMovieGuru, said “the film’s choppy structure and tediousness prevents it from ever doing anything interesting.” Am I expecting much out of Allegiant? Sadly, no.

This story is about a sixteen-year-old girl, Tris Prior, who lives in a futuristic Chicago, where society is divided into different factions based on virtues. Tris, who does not fit into any faction (divergent), is then forced to pick a faction and face the dangers that come with being divergent. In the last installment, Allegiant, we see Tris Prior stepping across the wall that surrounds Chicago, finding out what lies ahead, and exactly what it means to be divergent.

Personally, I felt that the strongest book in the trilogy was the first one. Still, Veronica Roth did write a powerful and surprising conclusion to the series. In fact, it was so surprising, that many readers were outraged with the ending. Needless to say, it was not a happy ending.

Despite this unhappy ending, I would like to see it happen in the last movie installment. Do I see that happening? I think there’s an equal chance it can go both ways.

A recent article on MovieNewsGuide, reported that a petition was signed by fans to change the ending of the movie. The screenwriters have already strayed from the original content so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up seeing a new ending. Would it be so bad? It depends.

One major flaw I see is that the creators have decided to split the novel into two movies. Despite the thickness of the novel, the book does not have enough content to be split into two movies. I think the screenwriters noticed this and decided to rename the second part to The Divergent Series: Ascendant. What is Ascendant? I have no idea.

Despite my strong reaction, I do not feel like the movies are necessarily bad. Yes, I’m disappointed, but I think people who have not been introduced to this series would enjoy the movies. I will definitely have to check out this last installment. Who knows? It might surprise us all.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

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(Source: Collider)

Will I ever get enough of the Harry Potter world?

Eh, probably not.

When it was first announced that this would be turned into a movie, all I could think about was how it was a bad idea. How could they possibly turn a textbook into a movie?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a fictional textbook written by magizoologist, Newt Scamander. This textbook is first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when Harry takes a look at the list of required materials for first-year students. The textbook offers descriptions about different magical beasts, their environment, and whether or not they are dangerous. The reading also includes a forward by Albus Dumbledore, information about the author, and subsections titled: What is a Beast?, A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts, Magical Beasts in Hiding, and Why Magizoology Matters.

So, how is this becoming a movie? I have no idea, but I’m excited to find out.

According to YouTube channel, Clevver Movies, the movie is set to be released on November 18, 2016 with oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. The film is being directed by David Yates and the screenplay has been written by our very own J.K. Rowling. Interestingly enough, this will be the first installment in three movies and will include noted actors: Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman, and Katherine Waterston.

Oh, and there’s more.

When interviewed by Entertainment Weekly, David Yates told reporters that Fantastic Beasts would most likely resemble Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Since this is my favorite of the Harry Potter movies, I just about swooned.

Did I also mention that the story will take place in 1926 AND we’ll get the first glimpses of the AMERICAN magic system?

I truly believe that the success of this movie will come down to J.K. Rowling’s ability to write a screenplay. We know she’s a truly talented writer, so I have hope.

The special effects will have an even more important role in this franchise because so many beasts will be explored. As long as the script and visual effects have quality, I suspect we can expect great things from Fantastic Beasts.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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(Source: ShadowhuntersTV)

The last and final book to movie adaptation I will talk about is The Mortal Instrument Series by Cassandra Clare.

This series is about an 18-year-old girl named Clary Fray who lives with her mother, Jocelyn Fairchild, in New York. One night, she and her best friend decide to visit a popular night club, where she witnesses a young man killing another attendee. Unbeknownst to Clary, the young man belongs to a race of half-human/half-angel warriors that fight demons threatening the human world. The attendee is actually a demon in disguise, and no one but Clary can see these angel-human warriors. Clary begins to think she’s going crazy, but when her mother goes missing, she reaches out to these warriors to find her mother. Along her adventure, Clary begins to realize that there’s a reason she can see these warriors and she might hold the key to her mother’s disappearance.

This book series had everything to be a hit, but it went wrong.

The series is now at its second attempt to reach viewers. The movie, which was released on August 21, 2013, had a budget of $60 million dollars and grossed $99 million worldwide. Not exactly the best performance.

So, what went wrong?

Well, for starters, the screenplay was not well adapted. Rather than building a plot and having it progress, problem after problem was shown to the viewer. This was confusing, especially to those who hadn’t read the series, because it felt like the story was going in many different directions. The second issue with the screenplay was the predictability. Everything in the movie adaptation was predictable. The script largely strayed from the book, which might have led to the lack of mystery and suspense. Blogger, TheM0vieBlog, offered a great summary in which he wrote “The only real problems with The Mortal Instruments become obvious when the movie slows down and starts playing into the teenage fantasy tropes with earnestness rather than self-awareness.”

The biggest issue was the cliché writing of the movie. Not only did it feel like I was watching a fifth Twilight movie, it felt like I was watching a knock-off version of Twilight. Sad, I know.

The special effects and music choice were bad as well. Imagine getting a Justin Bieber song put in the background of a Harry Potter movie.

Fans of the book series were disappointed, and understandably so. Still, there was hope, and earlier this year, ABC Family announced they were picking up a tv show based on the books. The series was renamed Shadowhunters and recast.

Making this franchise a tv show was a smart move. The novel has way too much content to show in 2 hours and a tv series would allow enough time to show character development.

The biggest obstacle I see in the tv series is the script. How do you make angel-human warriors appealing and sound mature? That’s a tough one. The tv show would have to get rid of all of the sappy language that was used in the movie and get good actors to do a quality job. Honestly, I think sticking to the book would be a safe bet. Cassandra Clare has a way of making heart-warming scenes great without being cheesy, and battle scenes fierce without being cliché.

In reality, I think the companion series, The Infernal Devices, would be a bigger hit. It’s set in the same shadowhunter universe but takes place in the 1800’s. The magic gives it a steampunk feel and the characters are much more lovable and complex. It would also add maturity to the script, given the language used in Victorian London.

ABC Family’s Youtube channel recently released two previews of the series. Although I am a big fan of these novels, I am sad to see that the script continues to show it’s sappy roots. Also, the effects are just…meh.

What do you think?

This show will premiere on January 12, 2016 and I do hope it gets enough viewers to help the show progress. Maybe it will get better and if it does better, we might see The Infernal Devices made. Fingers crossed.

So far, 2016 holds some promising book to movie releases. I can only hope we see these titles provide entertainment and gather even more fans/readers around the world.

Happy viewing!

Book Review: What One Monster Did For Me

(Source: TowerBabel, Illustration by Jim Kay)

A Monster Calls has been on my to-read list for a long time, but for some reason, I never got around to it. I liked the premise and it looked interesting enough, but I never felt the pull.

I was browsing the internet in search of a book when I ran into The New York Times review of A Monster CallsThe writer recalls her time with one of the authors, Siobhan Dowd, whom she was was interning for in 1997. Unfortunately, Dowd passed away from breast cancer in 2007 before she could write the novel.

After Dowds passing, Patrick Ness was contacted and asked to consider finishing the novel. In an interview with Dymocks Booklovers, Ness explains why he took on the project: “There was such vividity and such power in her ideas, that I started getting ideas for how the story might go on almost without being able to help it.”

Needless to say, I had to give the novel a go.

Who am I?’ the monster repeated, still roaring. ‘I am the spine that the mountains hang upon! I am the tears that the rivers cry! I am the lungs that breathe the wind! I am the wolf that kills the stag, the hawk that kills the mouse, the spider that kills the fly! I am the stag, the mouse and the fly that are eaten! I am the snake of the world devouring its tail! I am everything untamed and untameable!’ It brought Conor up close to its eye. ‘I am this wild earth, come for you, Conor O’Malley.”

“You look like a tree,” Conor said.


What You Need to Know

(Source: PatrickNess, Illustration by Jim Kay)

Rating: *****

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy

Age Group: 12+

Length: 216 pages

According to an article on ComingSoon, production has now started on the film adaptation of A Monster Calls. The cast includes Liam Neeson, Lewis Macdougall, Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebell, and Geraldine Chaplin. The film will be directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and will be released on October 14, 2016.


What’s All the Talk About?

Thirteen-year-old Conor has a lot going on in his life. His mother has cancer, the bullies are after him, his grandmother wants to take him away, his best friend betrayed him, and his father is busy spending time with his new family. On top of everything, Conor has horrible nightmares, ones that wake him up in a cold sweat. Things only get worse when he begins to hear his name whispered late in the night. It’s the monster coming for him, the one from his nightmares.

Except, it isn’t.

One dark night, a monster appears in the form of a yew tree that is just outside his home. The monster is enormous, able to inflict serious damage. Conor isn’t scared of this monster, it’s not like the one in his nightmares. In fact, Conor is a little disappointed he’s not the monster who he thought would appear. Appalled at the lack of fright, the monster looms over his window and with a booming voice declares that he will visit him on further nights and tell him three stories. When he finishes the last story, Conor has to tell him one as well, his story. Over the course of the nights, the monster tells him the stories, each one with a different purpose. The first is of an evil queen, the second about a selfish man, and the third about an invisible man. Conor’s life intertwines with these stories very nicely, and we see him starting to grow, leading to the last and final story. Conor is then forced to relive the nightmare he fears the most, revealing a truth so well hidden, sending the reader on a whirlwind of emotions.

What I Think

It’s like having a papercut…in your heart.

Initially, I was skeptical about the premise of this novel: Would it be too childish? Would I feel out of my element? Would it leave me satisfied?

The problem was not that I found the “monster in the closet” trope unappealing, the issue was that I felt the story would be too middle grade. I am a 21-year-old college student that despite her love for fantasy and YA novels, finds it difficult to connect to characters that are so young at times. A 2012 survey conducted at The Guardian said 55% of YA readers are adults, so why am I having this problem? Am I forgetting what it felt like to be a teen? Not really, but…

I was wrong.

A Monster Calls isn’t a story about overcoming the fear of a giant monster, it’s about facing a terrifying truth.

(Source: Telegraph, Illustration by Jim Kay)

***Disclaimer: Potential spoilers ahead.***

That being said, I’ve been blown away from the writing style Ness employs to write this story, and the illustrations are breathtaking. Fellow blogger, TheBookSmugglers, puts it best in her review: “It is superb in its storytelling as it celebrates storytelling itself as the Monster tells his stories. It is unforgettable as it follows a young boy dealing with the saddest thing of all: the prospect of losing a mother. It is hopeful and beautiful even as it leads to the liberal production of heartfelt tears.”

Now, let’s talk about the monster.

Initially, I thought the monster would either be some kind of friend or mentor that Conor would turn to. In other words, Groot from The Guardians of the Galaxy, or even a hardwood version of Albus Dumbledore.

Nope, not even close. The monster is an ancient being: majestic, arrogant, proud, but definitely wise in his ways. One of my favorite things about the monster was that it helped set the theme of the novel, the story became almost fable-like, and helped the reader understand the depth of the novel. The reader knows something is coming, but not sure what it is. Oh, and I can soo imagine Liam Neeson as the monster. It’s Neeson!

The relationships in the book were well developed as well. Conor’s tumultuous relationship with his father, for example, reflected a harsh reality for many children. Rather than comforting his child through a trying time, his father is absent and too busy spending time with his new family. This relationship, in particular, made me quite angry and sad for Conor. We never see any mending between father and son in the novel, but I felt that this is an accurate depiction of other father/son relationships. Still, you deserve a good slap in the face for that, Mr. Conor’s dad.

Conor’s grandmother is a different story altogether. She is depicted as stiff, proper, and even unfeeling at times. Even though this was how Conor thought of his grandmother, the reader is clearly able to see that she struggles to cope with her daughter’s illness. This was where I thought Conor was a bit annoying because all he could think about was that his grandmother wanted to take him away. Although this is understandable, I couldn’t help but feel bad for his grandmother, especially when Conor destroys the precious items in her sitting room. Ouch.

“Her mouth closed, but it didn’t close into its usual hard shape. It trembled and shook, as if she was fighting back tears, as if she could barely hold the rest of her face together. And then she groaned, deep in her chest, her mouth still closed. It was a sound so painful, Conor could barely keep himself from putting his hands over his ears.”

Unfortunately, we do not see too much of Conor’s mother, even though she is a central part of the story. We know she is a single mother, has cancer, and loves Conor, but we do not get to meet much of her personality. This was something I had a problem with because Conor’s problems stem from his inability to accept that his mother might be dying. Personally, I just wanted to know why his mother sheltered him from her illness. It seemed cruel that she would keep her upcoming death a secret from Conor, but at the same time, it was understandable. The dynamic relationships also make this novel perfect for adult readers due to the maturity and realness the issues are dealt with. Blogger There’sABook, wrote about her cancer scare and how this book affected her, “It’s difficult to imagine them [her children] growing up without me and it came with a great deal of comfort that if this awful outcome came to pass that I would have a book to give to them that would bring them some sort of peace. Needless to say, this was an incredibly emotional read for me and one I won’t soon forget.”

The stories the monster tells Conor are beautifully interwoven throughout the novel. The tales are filled with imperfect characters, unexpected storylines, and even more unexpected conclusions. Each one reflects a challenge in Conor’s life: the first one deals with Conor’s misconception of good and evil, the second one with the destructive nature of selfishness, and the third with the meaning of being visible.

I liked the stories, they provided a fresh way of getting the point across. Rather than teaching a lesson, or reprimanding Conor, the monster used the stories to change his perception. I approve. 

This all leads to the fourth and final story, Conor’s truth. Originally, I thought it would be about a traumatic event in Conor’s life. Again, I was mistaken.

The monster forces Conor to confront his recurring nightmare. Conor puts up a good fight, he doesn’t want to face the meaning behind that nightmare, more importantly, he doesn’t want to admit what he did in that nightmare. Still, the monster is able to push Conor into accepting the truth of what he did, and that is where we see the first glimpses of tenderness from the monster.

“You do not write your life with words’ the monster said. ‘You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

giphy

(Source: Giphy)

The conclusion brought a culmination of sadness and satisfaction, leaving me both grief-stricken and happy. There is a clear emphasis on adolescent emotion and the transition from teen to adult. Suffice it say that I highly enjoyed this novel despite my initial thoughts and encourage readers of all ages to pick it up.

This novel might even help us embrace some of our own monsters, prepare to be hit in the feels.

Happy reading!

I’ll Admit, I’ve Judged Books by Their Cover

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(Source: Pixabay)

It’s okay, we’ve all done it. We’ve all judged books by their covers and anyone who says they haven’t are in denial.

You’re walking down the aisle of a bookstore, looking for a title to catch your eye, when you see it. BAM! It’s love at first sight. You see a book so beautiful it almost brings tears to your eyes. (Just me? Okay.) Assuming you like what it’s about, you buy the book and proceed to lose yourself within its pages. 

Why do we do this? Why do we pick up the beautiful book? Easy, because we like beautiful things, it’s in our very nature.

Needless to say, book covers do not determine the quality of the novel, but it does determine whether you pick it up from the shelf and read the premise. Am I right or am I right?

First impressions are important, and the same applies to books because they leave preconceived notions about the setting and characters. Smashwords founder, Mark Coker says it best, “In addition to promising what a book will deliver, the [cover] image also promises (or fails to promise) that the author is a professional, and that the book will honor the reader’s time. ”

You might be wondering, what makes a good book cover?

I’m no book cover expert, but I own both beautiful and ugly books, so here are some of my favorite covers and why I gravitated towards them.

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

(Source: Time)

When I was 7 years old, I was introduced to what would become, one of the most influential books of my life. The first movie had not come out yet, and unlike most readers, I bought the third book first. Blasphemy!

Yes, I know what you’re thinking—how could you? Well, for some reason, I didn’t know it was the third book and proceeded to buy it. Needless to say, when I realized it was not the first, I stopped reading.

Truthfully, what drew me in was the story the cover told me. Relevance, in my opinion, is one of the most important things to look for in a cover. I wanted to know who this young wizard was, why he was holding a glowing egg, who the people in the back were, and most importantly—why the heck it looked like a megalodon was about to eat them?

Book covers should convey information, they need to appeal to the reader and make them ask enough questions to actually read the book. It would be easy enough to put a picture of Hogwarts on the cover, but adding bits of information draws the reader in.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

(Source: Penguin.co)

According to Rachel Carlyle, research has shown that by age 11, children stop challenging themselves as readers and fall back on more popular titles, meaning classics are being read less and less. Can we really blame them?

I remember being assigned classic novels to read and hating them. The problem was partly that I abhorred being told what to read, but I also disliked how boring they seemed. Every classic novel seemed to have a cover in which the main character looked as though he or she were posing for a portrait.

I was in my senior year of high school when I was assigned to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë…I was not excited.

I was bored out of my mind when I spontaneously decided to buy a copy before winter break ended. Instead of posing for a portrait, the copy I bought depicted a hand drawn Jane, running away from Thornfield Hall. Now we’re talking!

Where is she going? Who is she running away from? She looks cold!

Collage Artist, Megan Coyle, writes that color is used to articulate mood and atmosphere, so it is no surprise that this cover appealed to me and continues to be highly sought out. The blue tonality of the cover created an atmosphere that screamed darkness and genuinely made me want to read the book. I ended up reading the novel before winter break ended, and Jane Eyre is now one of my favorite novels of all time. Covers matter people!

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

(Source: Collider)

I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with typography. Let’s say you’re reading a romance novel, what type of font might you see in the cover? I would guess something cursive-like.

Typography can encourage readers to pick up a novel, and when I run into covers like Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, it’s hard not believe.

This novel is about a young man who plans to kill his bully and then commit suicide. Considering the gravity of the novel, the designer of the novel did a great job in choosing the color scheme and type of font.

The red does a great job in illustrating the anger and madness, the font gives it a youthful appeal, while the gun shaped hand gives me a semblance of what the book is about. Although the novel was more of a 3.5-star book to me, I still appreciate what the designers were able to do for the book, and feel it will continue to appeal to many more readers.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

(Source: TMISource)

Have I mentioned I’m a big fantasy novel fan? I read them whenever I get the chance, and there are plenty of covers that I love.

Unfortunately, fantasy novels like to show actual people on their covers. Typically, this is a big no-no for me. I like to be able to envision the characters, not have them envisioned for me. Therefore, it was a surprise to me when I loved the cover for the last installment of Cassandra Clare’s, The Infernal Devices.

Rather than simply taking a picture of a model and pasting it onto a book cover, they’ve edited the picture to make the model look ethereal. More so, her profile has a light shadow to it that makes it easier for the reader to envision the character to his/her liking.

The potential reader might also notice the Blackfriar’s bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background, letting him/her know that the story takes place in London. More importantly, the character’s state of dress lets us know it’s Victorian London. Also, what’s up with the book she’s holding? Things to think about.

Have you ever picked up a book that had a velvety feel? I know it’s a strange question, but if you’ve noticed, books covers have left behind the glossy finish and have opted for the semi-matte. This book is one of them.

If you see the physical copy, this book along with the other two in the series, are velvety and look like they have some type of foil-like top coat. It’s book makeup!

The texture doesn’t make a good book cover, but it definitely adds to the appeal. The designer also chose a cool-toned palette with a pop of rose and gold which gives the novel a gloomy but intriguing tone. I can also say, that this cover definitely reflected the quality and had the best-written epilogue I’ve ever read. EVER.


I might be overanalyzing covers, but the truth is, they do make a difference, at least to me. Personally, I try to give every book a chance but as YouTuber, Ariel Bissett said, “As animals (the way that we started), we had to learn to profile, to choose out of a selection of things—which one was better? […] We choose the things that appeal to us.”

What can I say? I’m shallow, but I admit it. Happy reading!

(Source: Giphy)

Book Review: A Princess in Disguise, an Ex-Street Lord, and an Evil Wizard…Do I Need to Say More?

(Source: Wallpaper222)

Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter…it is no secret that fantasy has always been a weakness of mine. Whether it’s the magic, knights, time-travel, dragons, or a combination of all, this genre continues to lure me in no matter my age.

I have been reading fantasy novels since I was 5, but there are only a handful which I hold dear. Even now at 21, I find myself constantly looking for fantasty novels. I mean, why not? Even Albert Einstein said you should let children read fairytales in order to become more intelligent. Whether or not I’m a child is irrelevant.

I was on YouTube, watching Peruse’s Project video of her favorite fantasy novels when she she mentioned The Demon King, after saying it dealt with a QUEENDOM, I was sold.

“The Demon King was the monster in every scary story. The devil you wouldn’t name for fear of calling him to you. The one that waited in the dark down a crooked street for bad children to come his way”


(Source: CindaChima)

What You Need to Know

Rating: ****

Genre: Fantasy

Age Group: 14+ due to some mild language.

Length: 519 pages

This is book #1 in a tetralogy, followed by  The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, and The Crimson Crown.  A companion series is set to come out on April 5, 2016.


 What’s All The Talk About?

Ex-street lord, Han “Cuffs” Allister, has decided to turn his life around. No more stealing, no more spending time with thugs, and definitely no more fighting. Han’s focus is now on providing for his impoverished family, doing whatever it takes to make sure they don’t go hungry. Unfortunately, things aren’t looking so good and the only thing of value he has are the inescapable silver cuffs he has worn around his wrist since he was a baby. Han knows they hold magic because he has yet to grow out of them, but the mystery surrounding the cuffs grow year, and his mother refuses to speak.

(Source: CindaChima)

When Han and his best friend, Fire Dancer, encounter three wizards setting the mountain of Hanalea ablaze, a fight takes place. One of the wizards, Micah Bayar, begins to use magic against them, and Han takes an opportunity to steal the amulet that controls his powers. Unbeknownst to Han, the amulet once belonged to the legendary Demon King, who single handedly broke the world a thousand years ago.

Han soon finds himself on the run from The High Wizard, who also happens to be Micah’s father, and will stop at nothing to see the amulet back in his hands.

Princess Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells, has decided to let go of propriety and seek some adventure. Disguising herself as a maid, she travels along the roads of Fellsmarch to witness the way her people live. Appalled at the poor living conditions, Raisa becomes determined to do good by her people and earn their loyalty.  Little does she know that her mother and the High Wizard have plans of their own for her. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, she is pressured into marrying, but her three years at Demonai Camp have changed her. Living amongst her clan people have taught her how to be a warrior–a warrior Queen. As a hidden evil begins to creep itself into her kingdom, Raisa and Han’s world collide in a way that leaves the reader hungry for more.

What I Thought

Oh, Cinda.

How she created this world is beyond me, but one thing is for sure, she is one fierce writer. I’ll admit, I was a bit lost at the beginning of the novel, but as the world began to unravel, I was pulled into this story of magic, love, grief, and madness.

This story focuses on two perspectives: Han and Raisa. While they definitely seem to embody some of the cliché molds fantasy writers use for their characters fellow blogger Fantasy Faction has talked about, the story itself is extremely entertaining. More importantly, we see the characters grow from one phase to another. Sure, Raisa is a spoiled and entitled princess, but she recognizes it and tries to fight it. One of the things I found most intriguing was the relationship between Raisa and her mother. Although her mother is cold and infuriating, Raisa’s love for her the Queen makes it difficult to hate her completely.

“When she was little, Raisa used to creep out from the nursery to watch her mother sleep, afraid that she would stop breathing if Raisa wasn’t there to intervene. The fact that there was something ethereal, almost otherwordly about her mother only reinforced Raisa’s fears.”

Next there was the love aspect of the novel. I shipped Han and Raisa from the moment I read the first chapter, they’re meant to be, end of story… I wish!

To my dismay, we don’t see much of Han and Raisa together in the story. While it is clear that their lives will intertwine at some point, it doesn’t happen until more than halfway into the novel. They don’t even spend much time together and quickly go about their own way. At first, I didn’t like this, but as I reached the end of the novel, I realized that The Demon King is only an introduction book. There is much more to come, and more importanly, hope for my ship!

Still, we see Raisa struggling with her feelings for Amon (her guard), and Micah Bayar. Honestly, I felt bad for Amon, it is obvious that he loves her but can never be with her because of an oath he took. Micah, on the otherhand, I did not feel sorry for. He is rude,  entitled, arrogant, and clearly has a hidden agenda.

I also want to talk about The Demon King the author keeps referring to.

“The Demon King stole Hanalea away on her wedding night. He chained her in his dungeon when she refused him. He tortured her with dark sorcery, trying to win her heart. When she resisted, he broke the world.”

The legend rises more questions than answers as Han tries to figure out the truth about The Demon King: Was he truly evil? Why were the Bayars in possession of his amulet? Who killed The Demon King? Why are they hiding the truth?

Although the legend was a bit cheesy, I felt like it provided enough of a mystery to keep the reader interested. I wanted to find out more about Han and his connection with The Demon King, and I wanted to know about what the amulet would do to Han.

***SPOILER***

I was in a trance-like state when I learned Han was a descendant of The Demon King, even though I should have anticipated it. The cuffs were placed on Han in order to control his magic because he displayed great power as an infant. This knowledge is shared after his mother and sister are killed by The High Wizard, and makes Han feel even more culpable.

(Source: Giphy)

I appreciated the fact that Chima does not compromise the depth of the novel in order to satisfy readers. His family’s death was devastating, but I find that good fantasy novels are rarely free of death. Again, this novel definitely fit into the classic fantasy trope that people always use, but as The Book Smugglers said, “Ms. Chima proves that even the oldest tropes can still be really entertaining. “

The novel ends with Han and his friend Fire Dancer heading off to Mystwerk House at Oden’s Ford, in order to control his powers. We also see Raisa running away to Wiens House at Oden’s Ford, in order to complete her warrior training under disguise.

Yes, cliff hangers are overrated, but…

Surprisingly, I found satisfaction in the ending, knowing this first novel was only the beginning. Chima definitely made this novel a thrilling one, and packed on the heat for the last few chapters. I can tell you one thing, you won’t regret picking up The Demon King, happy reading!

It’s All About The Money: How to Find Cheaper Books

(Source: Pixabay)

It’s a beautiful autumn day, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, my mood is excellent, and it’s PAYDAY!

Those 40 hours of work are sure starting to pay off and I feel over the moon looking at the fat check I just received. Who wouldn’t?

Since I have nothing to do, I decide to read a book (big surprise there.) I head on over to my local Barnes and Noble and as I browse through each aisle, my mood darkens with each step. $15, $20, $25…that’s the average listing price for each book I pick up. Do I really want to spend $20 of my hard-earned money on one book? no.

Why, oh why, must personal enrichment be so costly? Dost thou know?

Who cares? Here’s how I went from spending $20 on one book to getting a bigger bang for my buck.

1. Book Outlet

(Source: Pixabay)

This incredible website is my go-to on saving money for books. Instead of heading straight to a Barnes and Noble website or store, I ALWAYS check if it is available on BookOutlet. They have books from every genre, with prices ranging as low as 50 cents to a couple of dollars (yes folks, miracles do exist!) One popular book I found at a bargain price was Cassandra Clare’s fantasy novel, Clockwork Princess. This hardcover book usually retails at $20 but is available at BookOutlet (brand new) for $5.99.

Also, make sure to check out the Scratch and Dent section which sells books cheaper than they already are.

WARNING: Scratch and Dent books usually have some type of defect, e.g., torn or bent page, missing dust jacket, or slight discoloration in cover. These defects are usually very mild and mostly undetectable at first glance.

2.  Amazon/Barnes and Noble website

  It is no surprise that Amazon has a great number of reduced prices for books, but one thing I always find helpful is using the bargain selection on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Yes, I know what you’re thinking—What can I possibly buy from the bargain selection? I’m glad you asked, my friend.

Classics, young adult, contemporary, dystopian, the list is endless.

While you might have difficulty finding a popular in-demand novel, you are still able to find books such as John Green’s young adult novel, An Abundance of Katherine’s.

Personally, I use these two websites for finding novels of a particular kind—classics. Call me boring but I enjoy the challenge of reading stuff written by dead people. Whether it’s Jane Austen, Alexandre Dumas, or the Brontë sisters, these websites have a large selection of classics in the bargain section. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some truly awesome copies, such as this cover of Emily Brontë’s novel, Wuthering Heights. Isn’t it beautiful?

Not only are these two websites a great tool for finding books, but can be used as an alternative to BookOutlet. Even if you are not using the bargain section, you can save yourself a few dollars if you use the B&N and Amazon website.

3. Thrift Books

(Source: Pixabay)

 Thrift Books, an online-based bookstore, definitely gives BookOutlet a run for its money. You can almost always find the title you are looking for at a discounted the price. The only issue is that certain titles can be difficult to find in good condition. Still, my favorite thing about this website is that they inform you on the condition of the book. You always know what you buy and it saves you a lot of money.

Recently, I bought a HARDCOVER copy of author Cinda William Chima’s, The Crimson Crown for $4.38! You also get free shipping on any order of $10 or more and are kept updated on any sales going on.

4. The Book Depository

(Source: Pixabay)

Every so often I want to read a book that I cannot find at a discounted price anywhere. I am then forced to ask myself: Am I willing to pay full price? Decisions, decisions.

Sometimes you just have to call it quits. If I really want to read a book badly, I might have to hand over those $20. What do I do? I go on BookDepository.com. They might have a 10%, 20% or even a 30% discount on books, but most importantly, FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING. HUZZAH!

If you want a book that bad, go on this website and save yourself those couple of bucks that go on shipping, it’s expensive and annoying.

5. OverDrive

(Source: Pixabay)

Last but certainly not least is a little app called OverDrive. This app is great for lending books, but you’re going to have to do some work. First, you have to pay a visit to your local library and get a library card. Proceed to make an overdrive account and put in the required information. Once you put in your information, you have a whole range of books at your fingertips. Magic!

Basically, OverDrive is an ebook library, this is great for people who love reading on their phone, kindle, iPad, etc. The only downside is that you don’t get to keep the book, but if you’re like me, this would be beneficial because you’re not buying books you don’t like in the end. It’s FREE, c’mon!

Disclaimer: This app works like an actual library, in other words, once it’s checked out, you’re going to have to wait. Sorry!

(Source: Giphy)

According to The Telegraph, reading for 6 minutes a day can help reduce stress levels by 68 percent. As a college student, I know what it’s like to feel stressed, but I also know what it’s like to be broke. Nobody wants to spend their hard earned money on a $20 book, but reading helps me with stress, so I knew I had to find a way to make my money last. That being said, I hope these resources help you as much as they have helped me, happy reading!

Book Review: How Jojo Moyes Made Me Cry and Why I Loved Her for It

Picture by Unsplash, via Pixabay

Picture by Unsplash, via Pixabay

It all started on the day of my nineteenth birthday. Being my nerdish self, I had more than a couple of books on my wish list. My mother, bless her soul, decided to support my ever-growing addiction to books and bought me a couple of novels as a gift. I, in all my maturity, thanked her profusely and ran upstairs to my room where I proceeded to pick out a book, lock my door, and cease to exist for the next 4 to 6 hours.

The story that unfolded next is permanently etched in my mind.

“Hey Clark’, he said. ‘Tell me something good’. I stared out of the window at the bright-blue Swiss sky and I told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn’t have met, and who didn’t like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other.”


 What You Need to Know

Photo taken by me.

Photo was taken by me.

Me Before You is soon to become a movie, read more about it here and click on the links to see which actors will play the lead roles!

Rating: *****

Genre: Contemporary

Age Group: 18+ Due to controversial topics

Length: 369 pages (Hardcover copy)


What’s All The Talk About?

Picture by Martin Cavaney, via MelfordMercury

Louisa Clark is a small town girl living her life day to day without an ounce of ambition or willingness to explore the unexplored. She has never expected much out of life and it seems life has never expected much out of her. Lou figures she’ll marry her fitness-obsessed boyfriend, Patrick, and pop out a kid or two while maintaining her loving if not exasperating family.

Lou has a terrible time finding a job that she can really handle when she comes across a caretaking job for a wealthy man in his thirties. No bathing, changing diapers, or cleaning up puke, how hard can it be right?

Ahem, wrong.

Will Traynor, aka ex-Master of the Universe, has been rendered quadriplegic ever since a motorcycle ran him over one cold rainy morning two years ago. The glamor, adventure, hordes of gorgeous women, and enthusiasm that were once present in his life are no more. Bitter and depressed over his physical incapability, he has shut everyone out of his life and has no desire to please or make friends with anyone, least of all his mousy caretaker, Lou.

When Lou and Will first meet, there are no fireworks or seeds of lustful thoughts that take root, only a strong sense of dislike for one another. In fact, Will tries to run Lou off by making her life near to impossible. Not only was this insanely hilarious to see, but Will’s sarcasm is what made him loveable and unforgettable. *sigh*

“It’s not the bloody carrots that upset me. It’s having them sneaked into my food by a madwoman who addresses the cutlery as Mr. and Mrs. Fork.’
‘It was a joke. Look, let me take the carrots and—‘ He turned away from me. ‘I don’t want anything else. Just do me a cup of tea.’ He called after me as I left the room, ‘And don’t try and sneak a bloody zucchini into it.”

Despite Will’s efforts to run Lou off, they form an unlikely friendship that begins to mend wounds, not only for Will but for Lou as well. Lou’s less than extraordinary life soon begins to take a turn. No longer is she content to be with a boyfriend that cares little for her or to put her dreams away to please her family (you go, girl woo!). Will opens her eyes to the world and makes her see that while his life is ruled by his physical disability, Lou’s has been defined by her emotional disability.

Just as Lou is beginning to attain the courage she needs to live, she learns that Will has plans for himself, plans that not only would destroy her but would defy everything he has taught her. Will plans to kill himself in six months, and Lou is determined to make him see that life is still worth living.

What Do I Think?

Despite my love for Will Traynor, and although this novel is generally categorized as a romance, it really isn’t. While there are parts that are swoon-worthy and romantic, romance is only a small part of the novel. This novel is about friendship and acceptance, it is about learning to deal with the harsh realities of life and loving a person enough to let them go. Most of all, this is a story of healing and finding the courage to live your life the way you want it. Really, it just made be a blubbering mess, and if you’re anything like me, it will have you constantly reaching for a new kleenex. *sniff*

Jojo Moyes has managed to enthrall her readers into genuinely caring for the main characters and deals with a controversial subject (euthanasia) with enough respect and thoughtfulness that makes you question your own take on the issue. Not only did I find myself resonating with Lou, but this novel had me thinking about the characters long after I reached the last page.

***SPOILER***

When I first reached the ending of this novel, I was happy, upset, nostalgic, and joyful. I felt all the feels and may or may not have looked a bit like this.

Unfortunately, Will goes through with his plan to die and does so in the arms of Lou and his parents. Needless to say, I struggled with the ending and as I stared off into nothingness, I realized how much I appreciated the depth and realness of the characters. Life is not composed of happy endings people, authors do not owe us one, and great books do not need to have one.

With that being said, I loved this book, it is extremely rare for me to find a book that causes such turmoil in my soul, and an abundance of warmth in my heart all at once. I laughed, I loved, and yes, I grieved. (cue in the violin music)

I am now almost 21 years old, and as you can see, it is a novel that I still think about, one I knew had to be my first book review, and one that I will continue to recommend. Hopefully, you’ll feel compelled to pick up this jewel, happy reading!

P.S. This book is a part of Oprah’s Book Club. Read it!

P.P.S. Check out this other great review I found!

5 Simple Ways to Find a Great Book

There is a pleasurable feeling in recommending a good book to a person and having them enjoy it as much as you do. Whether it’s mystery, fantasy, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, or even romance, the question I get asked the most is: “how do you find these books?” Whether it’s my spy-like research skills or my lack of an abundant social life; finding good books has become my forte. Here is a list of my favorite ways of coming across rich, compelling, and MEMORABLE books.

  1. GoodReads

Yes, this is a source that many of us bookworms recur to, but what some people may not use often is the Listopia section on GoodReads. Listopia is my holy grail on finding books specific to my own cravings. What I mean is this, if I am sitting alone on a Saturday night in need of a funny young adult novel, I look up “funny young adult novels” on GoodReads and the Listopia section works its magic. Recently, I fell in love with Diana Gabaldon’s, Outlander, and because I craved more of that Scottish galore, I used Listopia to find books within that framework. Trust me, it was verra verra helpful.

Disclaimer: this is a method that works best on google if you’re using a phone because the app does not let you search through the lists.

  1. Instagram/Hashtags
photo-3

Snapshot taken by me.

This one is a fairly simple one. This is a tool that can be used to specify your own interest with a single word or phrase. This is a great way of finding books that are being read from people all over the world and their opinions on whether they liked it or not. One of my all-time favorite novels was found through Instagram (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes) and all it took was to search up “NewAdultLit,” and voila! There are, of course, an abundant of professional reviews that lean toward the academic, but reading the reviews left by your average joe has a definite magic in its own.

  1. BookTube

Yes, it’s a thing, and one that is garnering more and more attention. This is the area that is dedicated towards YouTubers who make videos about the books they buy, read, and review. Among these videos may be a couple centered on book events, top ten books of the year and anything related to literature.  One user I follow is PeruseProject and if you love fantasy fiction, she has some great titles to recommend such as The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima. (Tune in soon for my review!)

4. Pinterest

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Snapshot taken by me.

The wonderful thing about Pinterest is that you can browse through just about any topic without feeling bored or overwhelmed. One thing this site does beautifully is the lists: “15 Books to Read Before They Hit Theatres,” “31 Books That Every Badass Woman Should Read,” “50 Books, 50 States,” the possibilities are endless. This is a great way of finding books that are popular amongst readers. That is to say that not all popular books are necessarily good, it is up to us as the readers to investigate and decide whether it is right up our alley.

5. Library

Last but not least there is the library, an ancient but useful source of information. It would seem as though we are forgetting the value of a good library and it is important to take advantage of the resources it provides. What I like to do is grab a list of books I am interested, grab them from the shelf, and sit down and preview them. Not only do I save money, but if the preview of a novel is not good enough, I save time as well. After all, nothing is more frustrating than tossing a book across the wall because it was just…ugh.

 Ultimately, the best resource for finding books is yourself. Everyone has different tastes and only you can decide whether a book is good or not, so make smart choices. Do not believe the advertising made by the New York Times on the cover of a book, but take the time to find out the plot, setting, theme, and length. Trust yourself and follow your gut.