Double Mini-Reviews: Go Ask Alice by Anonymous and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Hi everyone! While I wait patiently for Artemis by Andy Weir to be released on Amazon, I decided I’m going to review the two latest books I have read for my YA Lit class. They are both fairly short novels and are very popular as well so I wanted to share my thoughts about them with you. I hope you enjoy.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Allegedly taken from the real diary of a teen girl, Go Ask Alice follows the harrowing journey of an unnamed girl who falls into drug use after trying LSD at a house party. Soon, she spirals out of control and struggles to return to her normal life but she must fight her addictions first.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with this novel. Now, it’s been disputed who was really the author but, regardless, the writing didn’t sound like a teen girl, even if she did live in the 1970s. While I didn’t like the writing, I still have to admit that there are valuable things to be taken from this short novel. This was one of the first novels to talk about drug abuse among teens and it still holds up in that aspect. If you are interested in examining YA literature from the past, then I recommend Go Ask Alice. If you are looking for some “fun” YA literature, then I suggest you look elsewhere.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda Sordino is off to an awful start in high school. She is abandoned by her former friends and outed by the rest of the school after she called the cops on a party. Melinda hides the truth for months and months until she decides to speak. She will change everything.

This novel is more recent and I definitely preferred the writing in this one, as it sounded more authentic. I found Melinda to be very relatable and I sympathized with her strongly. Speak definitely illustrates the viciousness of high school with accuracy. It is certainly a heart-wrenching novel that holds up more in this day and age. Again, if you are looking for a “fun” read, then go look elsewhere but if you are looking for a short but emotionally powerful novel then I recommend Speak. Anderson eloquently and painfully depicts the struggles of hiding your struggles from the world out of fear, even on a small scale.

Ten Book Related Songs Tag

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. I’ve been busy and also I haven’t really read anything new but I hope to post something new. I saw this tag on Julie Davide’s blog so make sure to check out her site. Now, I will share with you my favorite songs based on books with links if you want to listen to them as well.

“Over the Love” By Florence and the Machine from The Great Gatsby (dir. Baz Luhrmann)

While Lana Del Rey’s song “Young and Beautiful” is a really beautiful song, this one is also a really poignant song. I absolutely love Florence and the Machine as well. The Great Gatsby is also one of my favorite books.

“I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran from The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (dir. Peter Jackson)

I am a huge Ed Sheeran fan so I was really geeked when he did a song for the album for the movie adaptation for The Hobbit. 

“As You Wish” by Alesana based on The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The movie adaptation of The Princess Bride is easily one of the most iconic movies. Any fan of the book or the movie will appreciate this duet. Alesana also has done other literary themed songs that are based off of Dante’s Inferno and Edgar Allan Poe’s stories so I definitely recommend look at their other music.

“Oxford Comma” by Vampire Weekend from the album “Vampire Weekend”

I think you writers and grammar nerds will get a kick out of this song. The chorus is pretty hilarious as it begins out with the honest line, “Who gives a fuck about the Oxford comma?”

“White Blank Page” by Mumford and Sons from the album Sigh No More 

I don’t know about the rest of you but I really loved Mumford and Sons when they first came out with their banjo-infused sound. This one is particularly angst-filled and I think it works well for writers, who are a melodramatic bunch. (Bonus points for me because I happened to find a video of them performing this song in a bookstore).

“The Writer” by Ellie Goulding from the album Lights

I know that this one is a cover of another song but I love Ellie Goulding’s take on it. It’s a very whimsical and romantic song. We could all use a little bit of whimsy and romance on occasion.

“Shakespeare” by Fink from the album Hard Believer

This is another good angst-ridden song about struggling to learn Shakespeare as a teenager and just getting nothing from it. As a teen, I could have cared less for Romeo and Juliet.

“Paperback Writer” by The Beatles from the album 1

Let’s get classic with some of The Beatles. This one of my favorite songs and I hope you like it as well.

“Annabel Lee” By Stevie Nicks from the album In Your Dreams

Stevie Nicks took Poe’s poem, “Annabel Lee” and turned it into an awesome acoustic song with a bit of a 1970s vibe. It’s really fantastic.

“Yellow Flicker Beat” by Lorde from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 (dir. Francis Lawrence)

All of the albums that came out for the movie adaptations of The Hunger Games series were really good but I love this one in particular because it’s just so damn empowering. (Also I just really love Lorde).

Those are ten of my favorite bookish songs. I hope the links work well. Also, let me know if you would like another top ten list like this. I love sharing my favorite music as well as my favorite books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After The World Ended…: Reviewing World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

There was a point when I didn’t really care about the zombie genre. My interest was peaked when I saw Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. Soon, I was hooked on The Walking Dead and I now have a better appreciation for the zombie genre as a whole. Most of these stories but you in the center of the action but they rarely discuss what happened afterwards. That is what makes Max Brooks’ novel so unique and I will now review World War Z for you.

It’s been years since the world was taken over by zombies. Humans managed to come out victorious, but at what price? One brave (but unnamed) journalist decides to travel the world to explore the aftermath of the Zombie War in order to uncover what truly happened during the zombie apocalypse and if the world will ever be the same again.

World War Z is certainly a unique take on the classic zombie apocalypse story. The novel is told through interviews with everyone from average citizens to prominent politicians. The format can come across as boring if you go into the novel without knowing how the story is told. If you are looking for a new idea in the zombie genre, then I definitely recommend this novel. Brooks provides a fascinating and in-depth look at a probable situation. It almost makes you feel as though you’ve lived through the Zombie War as well. Note: The movie adaptation of World War Z starring Brad Pitt is really good though it doesn’t follow the novel exactly. I still recommend it, regardless.

The Wonder Woman Book Tag

Hello all! I may have not mentioned this but I’m a big fan of superheroes. I’ve been in love with Marvel since the first Iron Man movie and I watch all of the CW superhero shows like Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl. I also have a pretty decently comic book collection that I’d be happy to share with you if you’re interested. In honor of Wonder Woman, I’m going to do this tag that I found on the Coffeeloving Bookoholic‘s blog.

Wonder Woman: Your Favorite Badass Female Book Character 

I’m going to name a few here. Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, Annabeth Chase (The Percy Jackson Series), Isabelle Lightwood (The Mortal Instruments), Tally Youngblood (The Uglies Series), Liesel Meminger (The Book Thief), and Tris Prior (The Divergent Series)

wonder woman

Themiscyra: A Book Setting You Want to Escape to 

Hogwarts (obviously) and Kings Landing would be pretty awesome. I’d also like to spend some time in Camp Half-Blood

wonder woman 2

London: An Overhyped Book that let You Down

I was disappointed that I didn’t care for The Clockwork Angel series and I also didn’t care for The Catcher in the Rye. 

wonder woman 3

Steve Trevor: A Book with a Beautiful Cover and Great Story

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller has a gorgeous cover with a gold-leaf helmet on the front and the story is fantastic. (Bonus points for being a Greek Mythology based story). Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also has a lovely cover. The Great Gatsby has classically beautiful cover as well.

steve trevor

Lasso of Truth: A Book You Hated 

Real talk: I hated The Circle by Dave Eggers, Allegiant by Veronica Roth, Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyers, and Anthem by Ayn Rand

lasso of truth

Wonder Woman’s Shield: A Book So Sad You Needed a Shield 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

wonder woman shield

No-Man’s Land: A Book you wanted to send through No-Man’s Land to get shot

See the Lasso of Truth tag above.

no man's land

Ares: A Villain that is Scary, but You can’t seem to Hate

Voldemort is kind of a badass along with the whole crew of Death Eaters. Hannibal Lecter is also a great horror villain. Bonus: Professor Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes series.

ares

Dr. Poison: A Villain that had no reason to exist

I honestly can’t think of any. Even if the villain wasn’t very great, they still had a purpose.

diana and steve

The Amazons: A Book that You wish has better LGBTQIA+ representation

I mean, a lot of books can fit under this category so I can’t name any one in particular. There is no doubt in my mind, though, that there needs to be more representation.

amazons

That’s the end of the tag. I tag everyone who is a fan of Wonder Woman or superheroes in general. Have fun!

 

Human Places Make Inhuman Monsters: Reviewing The Shining by Stephen King

Happy Halloween everyone! In honor of today, I decided I’m going to review one of the most classic horror novels from the master of horror novels himself. Despite the novel not being long, it took me a while to get through it but I survived the Overlook and I’m here to tell you about it so sit back and enjoy my review of Stephen King’s The Shining. 

Jack Torrance is troubled man struggling to overcome his personal demons. When he is given an offer to be a seasonal caretaker at the famous Overlook Hotel, he seizes the opportunity to offer a better life for his young family and to work on his writing. As a terrible winter creeps in, the Overlook begins to a reveal a darker side that brings about the worst in the Torrance family. Soon, Danny – the gifted child, Wendy – the caring wife, and Jack – the struggling writer must fight for survival against the long-buried ghosts lurking in the Overlook Hotel.

I have to admit that I have only recently seen the movie, along with finishing the novel. I must say that I was surprised by some of the drastic differences in the plot that were not shown in the movie. That, however, is a different tangent for a different time. The Shining is a brilliantly frightening novel that puts the reader into the isolation that the Torrance family faces. King’s narrative is a perfect balance of suspense, shock, and gore all wrapped up into one haunting novel. Surprisingly, this one of the shorter Stephen King novels so, if you don’t want to commit to one of his longer novels, then I recommend this one. Any horror fan is guaranteed to love this book as (in my opinion) it provides more shock and thrills than the Kubrick movie. Note: I’m not saying the movie is bad but, compared to the book, you would be surprised by how much Kubrick left out.

 

Creepy Quotes and Spooky Short Stories for Halloween

Hi Everyone! Since Halloween is this upcoming Tuesday, I decided to share some quotes to get you in the mood for something frightening then some short stories for us bookworms to enjoy if you’re planning on staying in. Some of these stories will be classic Halloween tales while other will be “creepy-pastas” but I hope you check them all out. I will try to leave links for you. Anyways, here we go.

“There is something at work in my soul which I don’t understand.” – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

“It is only when a man is face to face with such horrors that he can understand their true import.” Bram Stoker, Dracula 

“I have meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at the belly and it might slide out meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you can stomp on it.” – Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

“Deep in that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” – Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven

“Hell is empty and the devils are all here.” William Shakespeare, The Tempest

“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

“Sometimes human places create inhuman monsters.” – Stephen King, The Shining

“You said I killed you – haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in the abyss where I cannot find you!” – Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

“A thick, black cloud swirled before my eyes, and my mind told me that in this cloud, unseen as yet, but about to spring upon my appalled senses, lurked all that was vaguely horrible, all that was monstrous and inconceivably wicked in the universe.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot

Short Stories to Scare You:

“The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allan Poe – This one is my personal favorite Poe story. It has some very creepy sensory details that will send chills down your spine as you wait to see how the narrator tries to escape.

“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs – I remember reading this one in middle school. Jacobs’ twisted take on being careful what you wish for will have you holding your breath as the suspense grows with each page.

“The Children of the Corn” by Stephen King – I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with the movie based off of the story but you might want to check out the original story. It’s especially creepy if you live somewhere with a lot of cornfields.

“The Outsider” by H.P. Lovecraft – I could have composed this list of nothing but Poe and Lovecraft but I’m just giving you some of my favorites. This one in particular is really creepy as the narrator finally escapes the castle he had spent his whole life in.

“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury – This is another one I read in middle school and this falls under sci-fi horror and I definitely recommend it if you’re into apocalyptic type stories.

“Snow, Glass, Apples” by Neil Gaiman – I would be remiss if I didn’t include any Neil Gaiman. This is a fucked-up version of Snow White that will never let you see the classic fairy tale in the same way again.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – I’ve found this one several times throughout my school career and its uniquely creepy as it follows the diary of a woman who is slowly being driven mad through her husband’s misguided attempts to help her. It’s also kind of a feminist story, if you’re interested.

Creepypastas:

 Candle Cove”

Anasi’s Goatman Story

The Russian Sleep Experiment

Persuaded

NoEnd House

Smiling Man 

I hope I gave you enough to keep you occupied this Halloween. I apologize if any of the links don’t work. Let me know if any of these scared you or if you have some other favorite scary stories that aren’t here. Happy Haunting! Stay safe if you’re going out.

 

 

 

The Zombie Apocalypse Book Tag

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this but I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead. I saw this tag and thought that the timing was perfect since Season 8 (and the 100th episode) premiered last night. I completed two of my midterms thus far with confidence so I’m going to do a fun tag. Shout out to Bionic Book Worm who has already done this tag.

Here are the rules:

  • Choose 5 random books from your shelf
  • Randomly set your books
  • Flip to a random name and record the first two names that you see
  • Put the names in the categories listed below in the order that you saw them

The five books I picked are: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The First Person to Die in the Apocalypse – Goddammit, I got Hermione. Of all of the people you don’t want to die, Hermione is one of them.

negan

The Person You Tackle to Escape the Zombies – I got Viktor Krum and I don’t think I would feel bad about sacrificing him to the zombies.

abraham

The First Person to get Turned into a Zombie – Fortunately, I ended up picking the Foxfaced girl from The Hunger Games

daryl killing walker

The Person who Tackles me to Escape the Zombies – I got Haymitch and, with his personality in the first book, that wouldn’t surprise me.

shane walker

The Team’s Idiot – For this one, the name that came up was Laura Moon from American Gods. I’m certainly not a fan of hers so I’ll accept it. Also, (spoiler but not really) she’s undead for most of the book so she’s allowed to do stupid things.

carl

The Brains of the Team – I got the main character, Shadow Moon. I would definitely trust him to hold a group together. He’s adaptable and logical.

rick

The Teams Medic – Wesley from The Princess Bride is the medic. I would trust the guy who developed an immunity to poison.

daryl and judith

The Weapons Expert – Hell yeah! We’ve got Inigo Montoya on our team!

michonne

The Team’s Brawler – I ended up with Sherlock Holmes and he’s a boxer so I’m fine with him punching the zombies in the face.

morgan

The Team’s Leader – I am trusting this team to Dr. John Watson and that sounds good to me.

rick smiling

I’d love to hear from my fellow Walking Dead fans about what they got for this tag or tell me what you thought of the Season 8 premier if you’re caught up.

Book Tropes I Absolutely Hate Pt. 2

I’m technically supposed to be studying right now, but in order to stop myself from freaking out, I decided to rant a bit more about book tropes that I’m tired of seeing. Side note: Is it weird that I stop myself from studying out of fear that I’m “over studying?” Does anyone else do that? Anyways, back to my rant, I’m going to share a few more tropes I can’t stand and I would love to hear your feedback.

Overly-Possessive Relationships – This trope tends to pop up more in the fantasy genre more often but this fictional couple just needs each other. They can’t be apart from each other for whatever nonsense reason that the author gives them. Jealousy may be a natural part of a relationship but it turns into abuse when taken to the extremes. We shouldn’t be seeing relationships bound together with too much love. Examples of this are Bella and Edward from Twilight, Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, and Ana and Christian from Fifty Shades of Grey. 

table flip

The Snark Master – Listen, I’m a very sarcastic person and I love sarcastic characters but their personality can’t be solely that they are the sarcastic one. I want to see character traits outside of quips and one liners. It’s the worst when this character cracks jokes even during dire moments. At a certain point, it even gets cringey so please use sarcasm respectfully.

annoyed

Overly Metaphorical – Metaphors can make your book or break your book. We’ve all seen the memes from The Fault in Our Stars about the cigarette as a metaphor. You know, that’s fine but what I hate is when a writer tries to shoehorn in as many metaphors as they can. Most books are set around one over-arcing metaphor or have several running metaphors throughout but it’s just bad writing if every other person, object, or situation is a metaphor of some kind.

hades

A Whole Lot of Exposition – World building is a wonderful thing for writers. In fact, I admire writers who create entire fantasy worlds. But, what I don’t like is when a novel has to stop to give you a history lesson about the world. You can weave in the backstories without taking away from the ongoing narrative.

angry writing

The Awkward Virgin – This character knows nothing about sex. Their parents never gave them the “birds and the bees” talk. They must have slept through high school sex ed or even just biology because they are just so shocked by any sort intimacy. Female characters like this are typically supposed to be “cute” because of this while male characters like this are laughed at. How about we don’t shame people for being virgins as much as we shouldn’t shame them for being sexually active?

hate

Hip with the Kids – I may be only 21 but I struggle with learning the newest slang. Adults authors may feel the same way and you shouldn’t use modern slang if you don’t know what it means. Urban Dictionary is a great reference, honestly. If you want to write convincing teen characters, don’t try too hard. Teenagers aren’t completely stupid or self-centered and they don”t speak a different language.

angry drake

The Wimp – This character is the complete opposite of “The Punching Bag” that I mentioned in my other book trope rant. A cold breeze blows and this character is all of a sudden in a coma, or something. This character is taken down with one hit and is somehow saved by the other characters. We don’t all have to be good fighters but don’t make your character completely useless if you’re going to put them in a combat situation.

sherlock angry

The Romantic Weakness – This character is written as strong and stoic until their true love rolls around. Then, just like magic, this character melts into some kind of romantic mess from a completely different story. This sudden personality shift is so lame and takes the reader out of the moment.

sheldon angry

I realize that this is more of a writing ranting as opposed to a book trope rant but I still hope some of you share my thoughts and feelings. I’ll link you to my previous book trope rant. I would love to hear some of your most hated book tropes. Maybe we can even make this into a tag. Book Tropes I Absolutely Hate

 

Spiraling Out of Control: Reviewing Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

So I’ve pretty much recovered from my cold just in time to run through a gauntlet of midterms starting on Monday. I decided to finish the book so I wouldn’t have any distractions while studying. I mean, I’ll find distraction anyway but my urge to finish this book will not be one of them. Just a note for all of you have not finished the book, I promise to not spoil it. In fact, all of my reviews have been spoiler free but I can happily do some spoiler discussions on my blog if you are interested. For now, I will give you my review of Turtles All the Way Down, John Green’s latest literary venture.

Aza Holmes is trapped in her own mind with her recurring thoughts of bacterial microbes. When a local billionaire, Russell Pickett, goes missing, she finds herself thrust into a world outside of her worries. Along with her best friend and famous Star Wars fan-fiction author, Daisy Ramirez, Aza sets out to find out what happened to Pickett and bring his son, Davis, closure. Green’s latest novel is a journey of self-relization, over-thinking, and coming to terms with the world on a micro and macro scale.

I’m a bit biased because I’ve been a John Green fan since high school but I have to say that this book struck a cord with me that the other books have not. Aza is a chronic over thinker and so am I. Though she deals with OCD whereas I deal with anxiety, I still understood where she was coming from. Green uses his signature wit and philosophy to create a narrative about dealing with the uncontrollable. He isn’t afraid to tackle any kind of illness, mental or physical, and how it affects teens. The plot summary on the book makes it sound like a road trip kind of story but it’s more of an internal journey about finding how to cope with your problems, knowing that they may never leave you. That may sound depressing but I promise that the novel is way more hopeful than that. John Green fans will certainly not be disappointed by his latest endeavors and new readers will understand Green more through this novel. Turtles All the Way Down is a step forward in teen literature in its own honest and remarkable way.

The Guilty Reader Book Tag

I found this one on Books Are Only The Beginning so check out her blog. I’m a little under the weather right now so I have some time to blog a bit more. Hopefully, I’ll feel better soon and I can get you a review of Turtles All The Way Down, which should be arriving via Amazon today. In the meanwhile, let me tell you about all of the things I’ve been guilty of as a book lover.

Q: Have you ever re-gifted a book that you have been given?

A: I know I’ve gotten book that were re-gifted but I don’t think I’ve ever re-gifted a book. I might have given someone a book and told them it was a re-gift because I figured that they would like it more than me.

Q: Have you ever said you’ve read a book that you haven’t?

A: I have lied about reading The Diary of Anne Frank and Dante’s Inferno. I’ve lied about finishing plenty of books but I at least tried to read them and then just skipped to the ending after getting bored and/or frustrated.

Q: Have you ever borrowed a book and not returned it?

A: I have this book that I got as a kid titled The Other Emily about a girl named Emily who thinks her name is so unique until she meets another girl named Emily. I liked finding a book with my name in it so I just kind of kept it. No one said anything.

Q: Have you ever read a series out of order?

A: I accidentally read The Vampire Diaries out of order because the books don’t have numbers or editions on them so I had to guess to figure out if I was reading the correct one. Also, there are a few “non-series” that I read out of order. By “non-series,” I mean that the books all feature the same character or something like that but the stories aren’t directly connected by the events of the previous stories. A lot of detective novels work this way.

Q: Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?

A: Kids in grade school would ask me to spoil the books for them because I always read ahead and they didn’t want to read. I actually got in trouble for that once. Also, I’m pretty sure I spoiled one of the Harry Potter book for someone.

Q: Have you ever dog-eared a book?

A: No, because I’m not a monster who was raised by rabid raccoons.

Q: Have you ever told someone you didn’t own a book when you do?

A: I was hesitant to tell people I had the Twilight books. I’ve since given them to Good Will.

Q: Have you ever told someone you didn’t read a book when you did?

A: I haven’t read anything that I would be particularly embarrassed about. We all go through phases. I’ll admit I took part in the vampire craze.

Q: Have you ever skipped a section or part or chapter of a book?

A: I just finished North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and I kind of skipped through the rest of that for the sake of time. I reviewed The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and ended up skipping chunks of the book in order to finish it.

Q: Have you ever bad-mouthed a book that you liked?

A: I’m not afraid to admit that my favorite books have flaws but I’ve never just completely ranted against a book I liked.

That’s the end of the tag. I can’t wait to here your responses. Let’s all be guilty little bookworms together.