Books That Made Me Cry

Hi everybody! Let’s talk about our literary feelings. Though I am not a huge crier when it comes to novels, some have certainly hit me in the direct me in the feelings. I’m sure all of you have had books like these. Maybe there are some books that you don’t want to read again because they hurt you so badly. Well, here are the books that tore my heart into a million little pieces. Obviously, there are going to be spoilers in this post.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling: We all cried at this book. I clearly remember having to set the book down multiple times in order to pull myself together. The moment we lost Hedwig, I knew it was all going to go downhill. I was thoroughly traumatized by this novel as a child and I still tear up during the movie. (Except when Snape dies because I can’t stand that bastard.)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is yet another book that traumatized me as a child. To begin out, this book is set during World War Two so it was due to be depressing. The details of the story are haunting and the characters go through such turmoil. I actually did cry at this book. It is still one of my favorites, though, and I would recommend it if you want a good cry.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: The saddest part about this novel was I went in knowing exactly what would happen. The novel is essentially a re-telling of The Illiad through Patroclus’ point of view. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Homer’s epic, Patroclus is Achilles’ charioteer and lover. The whole novel takes such an intimate look at the relationship between these two young men who are forced into a war that neither of them wants to fight. The ending is just so much more heart breaking. I’d highly recommend this novel.

Looking for Alaska by John Green: Green has been infamous for making many a teen girl cry at his novels and I was yet just another one. Though I did tear up during The Fault in Our Stars, I was genuinely shocked during Looking for Alaska. I had to flip back through the novel to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The book is more realistic in the sense that the loss is sudden and unexpected. I still have a hard time revisiting this novel.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: We all cried when Lenny died. Don’t even try to deny it. The whole book was just generally heart-breaking but the end gets me every time. It is one of those novels that was never going to have a happy ending.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: Holy cow, did this book hurt my soul. I read this for a class I took and I had a hard time discussing it without getting outraged. Though the novel does have a happy ending, it still absolutely hurts me to read about children getting hurt in any way, shape, or form. With that being said, go read this book.

See No Evil: Reviewing Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Hi everybody! I’m just out here cranking out more book reviews. I’m sure a lot of your have already heard of this novel or seen the Netflix movie based off of this book. I watched it when it first came out and, overall, I did enjoy it. I’ll be making some more comparisons in my review. For those of you who are interested, let by tell you about Bird Box by Josh Malerman.

The apocalypse started and no one saw it coming, literally. The world has been invaded by creatures that drive people to madness with a single look. Malorie, a mother of two young children, must take her chance to get her and the children to safety. With her only chance being a rough trip down a river, Malorie must embark on the perilous journey and escape whatever might be chasing her and her family or lose her mind and life in the process.

This novel carefully straddled the line between character-driven and plot-driven. Overall, the plot is certainly intriguing but the characters felt a little bland to me. It felt as though the only reason I really cared about any of them was because of their situation. The whole situation with the creatures actually gets a better explanation in the movie. In fact, the movie actually did a slightly better job depicting the whole chaotic nature of this apocalyptic scenario. I did, however, enjoy the suspense of the novel and the quick pacing. For those of you who have seen the movie, it’s not a spot-on adaptation. It is pretty close, though. The novel doesn’t hold back in depicting any graphic violence, of which there are a few instances. In conclusion, Josh Malerman’s Bird Box is a good read if you are interested in apocalyptic/survival stories. The whole thing felt a little overhyped to me, but I can’t say I didn’t find enjoyment in this novel. Overall, I’m going to go ahead and recommend reading this novel.

To Err is to God: Reviewing The Hidden Oracle (Book One of The Trials of Apollo) by Rick Riordan

Hi everybody! I know what you’re thinking. “Whoa, two posts in such a short period of time! How is this even possible?” Well, to answer your question, I’ve been feeling more motivated than ever. I also saw The Lightning Thief: The Musical today and it was awesome. I’d highly recommend it. This leads me to my next point, which is that I have been a fan of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series since I was in grade school. I was reading the Heroes of Olympus series into college. For Christmas, my mom had given me the third book in Rick Riordan’s latest series because it had his autograph. Obviously, I had to actually start the series. Now, here is my review of the first novel in The Trials of Apollo.

Apollo once had everything. He was the god of the sun, music, poetry, archery, and many other things until Zeus cast him down from Olympus as punishment. Now a mortal teenager named Lester, Apollo must restore his Oracles to power and prevent a new wave of monsters from destroying the world. With the help of some unlikely demigods, Apollo must complete his quests in order to restore his place on Mount Olympus or die trying.

After reading this first book in his latest series, I realized how much I genuinely missed Riordan’s writing. The things in the novel that made me laugh at thirteen-years-old make me laugh now at twenty-two. Riordan incorporates his usual charm and sarcasm into his writing. Apollo is simultaneously very unlikable and very charming as a main character. Though the plot is still relatively similar to the other novels, Riordan knows how to throw in new elements to make it feel just as new as before. The novel has a tongue-and-cheek feel that could appeal to adults. The characters are still relatable to teens and middle-grade kids. (Don’t quote me on that, though. I could be wrong). Reading this novel, I realized how much I missed Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter. While there are certainly novels that I can safely stow away in the memories of my childhood, this new Riordan series has brought me a fun and familiar nostalgia. If you are a current or former fan of the Percy Jackson series or a Greek mythology nerd, I am going to go ahead and highly recommend if you are looking for a fun adventure or looking to revisit your favorite YA/Middle-grade series.

Outlast the Truth: Reviewing In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Hi everybody! I’ve been on one hell of reading kick lately. I did a full KonMari on my bookshelves recently. While it was difficult to let go of my precious books, I was able to make room for some new ones, including this one. It is also perfect timing since today is International Women’s Day. Ruth Ware has been getting a lot of hype lately so here in my review of her novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood.

Nora Shaw is an up and coming crime writer living a quiet life in London. One day, she gets an odd email. It ends up being an invite to the bachelorette party of a former friend she hasn’t seen in years. Nora, to her own surprise, decides to go. She arrives upon a glass house in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by one friend and five strangers. Soon, the group find themselves in the middle of a shocking and violent tragedy. Nora must then piece together her fractured memories in order to save herself and solve the case.

Like I mentioned before, Ware has been getting a lot of hype recently and I can definitely see the reason why she is so liked. She definitely falls into the same writing style as Gillian Flynn. In a Dark, Dark Wood has a good amount of suspense. I did enjoy the main character, Nora, as she felt imperfect in a realistic way. I liked how the novel was paced as the chapters went back and forth between the weekend and what happened afterwards. There were some interesting plot points but others that felt a little shaky to me. I didn’t find this novel “scary” by any means. I mention that because a lot of the reviews talked about how it was so “scary” or “creepy.” It did kind of feel like a slightly less intense version of a Gillian Flynn novel. That, however, did not make it any less entertaining. I still wanted to find out what happened at the end, even if it was a tiny bit obvious. The writing is solid and the plot is well thought out. If you are a fan of mysteries and thrillers, I would go ahead and say to try out In a Dark, Dark Wood.

Current Favorites: Music Edition

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these Current Favorites posts and I realized I’ve never done one talking about music I listen to. I did do a writing playlist post before but I wanted to talk about individual artists I love. I’m not a huge music nerd. My taste in music is incredibly eclectic. I wanted to share my favorites, though, with you all. Feel free to leave me any suggestions in the comments as I’m always looking for new music to listen to. (Also, trust me when I say, this list is only the tip of the music iceberg.)

Florence + the Machine: I’ve been listening to Florence since I was in middle school. Her dreamy vocals and poetic lyrics are a truly a musical experience. Her music is just so imaginative and dynamic. If you are looking for a unique and powerful singer, I would highly recommend Florence + the Machine.

Panic! at the Disco: Some of you true blue emo kids from the ’00s have very distinct memories of jamming out to “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” Let me tell you that your emo dreams don’t have to die because Panic! at the Disco is still an amazing band. Brendon Urie has an amazingly powerful voice. The songs are so powerful and fun. The slower songs are still just as amazing. If you are not a Panic! fan, you ought to be because anybody can enjoy their music.

Billie Eilish: I love music that doesn’t conform to genre. Billie Eilish is one of those artists that just cares about the music. With breezy vocals and surprisingly dark lyrics, Eilish is absolutely an artist to look out for. I already love her music and can’t urge you more to go listen to her.

Hozier: If you like Florence, then I can guarantee that you will love Hozier. This Irish folk musician captured my attention with “Take Me to Church” and, after quite a long hiatus, is coming back with meaningful and soulful music. He always has this mischief in his lyrics that I love to read into. If you’re interested in folk music, go listen to Hozier.

Hayley Kiyoko: Lovingly referred to as “lesbian Jesus,” Kiyoko has brought a fresh new take on pop music that is as fun as it is powerful. She is completely unafraid to express her true self in her music. I love her pride as well as her vulnerability. I’m not a huge fan of pop music but Hayley definitely makes it so much more enjoyable.

Twenty One Pilots: Yet another band that can’t be boxed in with genre, Twenty One Pilots still has an indie feel while being so mainstream. Their lyrics are incredibly quotable and their music comes together to tell epic stories. Go beyond their mainstream stuff and listen to their albums. The way the combine multiple music styles is awesome.

Not Surviving, But Thriving: Reviewing Vengeful by V. E. Schwab

Hi everyone! Wow, it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve done a book review. It’s taken me way too long to finish this book. If you want to, you can check out my review of Vicious, the first book in the series. But for now, let’s discuss Vengeful by V.E. Schwab.

Victor Vale and Eli Ever were only the tip of the EO iceberg. Now, a new player has entered the game. Marcella Riggins is powerful, beautiful, and can destroy anything with the touch of her hand. With her sites set on the city of Merit, Marcella decides it is time to claim what she believes is rightfully her. With Victor on the run and Eli being held in an EON detention center, the two must find away to stop Marcella and her powerful friends then end each other once and for all.

Just like Vicious, Vengeful has a thrilling and suspenseful edge to its story telling. The chapters are short but they are packed with gory detail and some great examination of the characters. The novel does get gory so, squeamish readers, you have been warned. I love the complex, morally grey nature of the characters. My only real complaint about this novel was it felt a little slower than its predecessor. There were some longer sections just dedicated to some of the characters’ backstories. I didn’t find it boring by any means. I just felt it dragged on a bit at times but, once you get back into the action, the book picks up very quickly. I found it hard to set this book down. If you loved Vicious then you will certainly love its sequel.

The Most Disappointing Movies I’ve Seen

Hi everyone! This spur of the moment post was brought to you my boredom. Well, it does have a little bit of substance behind it. As you all may know, I’m a big movie buff and, in this age of streaming, I can watch any movie I think looks remotely interesting. At the beginning of the year, I always make a little list of movies I want to see. Sometimes, these movies don’t live up to the hype so this is my “warning” to you all about some of these movies that may try to trick you with an interesting premise, good cast, or good CGI.

Velvet Buzzsaw: I actually just watched this movie last night and it basically inspired this post. This movie came to Netflix at the beginning of February. The general plot is that there are paintings that come to life and kill people. It sounded great, the cast was good, and the special effects were wild. Two out of these three things were in the movie. The cast was good and the effects were well done but that was the only good thing about the movie. It took too long to set up the crazy art world. The deaths weren’t that gory or even interesting. I spent way too long questioning the supernatural powers of the paintings. I shouldn’t be bored by a horror movie. The potential was there and then it wasn’t.

Solo: A Star Wars Story: You don’t need to be a Star Wars fan to know that this movie was not good. First of all, I was never interested in Han Solo’s backstory. Second, why would I want a movie about normal humans when Jedis exist? Did the filmmakers think we were sick of Jedis? Rogue One worked because it had characters we knew nothing about and it filled in the blanks of the plot for the trilogy. For those of you who don’t know, it took forever to make Solo because they changed the directors and the script multiple times. It would have been better just to shelve the movie.

Avengers: Age of Ultron: As a huge Marvel fan, this one hurt me. Is it the worst Marvel movie? Absolutely not. It did, however, just bring some weird things to the Avengers canon, like giving Hawkeye a family and trying to make Bruce and Natasha a couple. I was so distracted by plot points like these that it took away from the better addition such as the Maximoff twins. At the end of the day, I mostly blame Joss Whedon for this. Thankfully, Marvel has more than made up for these missteps.

The fourth and fifth movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise: I adored the first three movies of the Pirates of the Caribbean series as a kid. The first two movies still hold up. The third is on shaky ground but has its moments. The fourth and fifth one, however, are garbage. I only vaguely remember the plots. Neither were particularly interesting or engaging in any way. I remember the fourth one being anticlimactic but they tried to make it funny. The fifth one was just awkward. The worst part was was that they tried to set up a sixth movie. How about no.

Ready Player One: I did a review of this novel a while ago so, of course, I was excited of the movie adaptation. The movie, however, fell into the trap that a good majority of adaptations do. Weirdly enough, the movie seemed to remove a lot the video game aspect that was so important in the book. They changed the quests to be more movie based. It was as though they didn’t feel like explaining any of the video game references. The villains ended up being more of a mafia, rather than a sophisticated corporation. Even my mom, who didn’t read the book, knew there were adaptation issues.

Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom: This was not a movie I had high hopes for to begin with. I’ve always been fine with the first Jurassic Park movie and I didn’t need anything else. Jurassic World ended up being a pleasant surprise with enjoyable enough content. The sequel, however, was trying way too hard and it accomplished nothing. Half of the movie plot wasn’t even remotely hinted at in the trailer. It seemed like a straightforward island adventure movie where they were going to save dinosaurs. That only lasted half the movie. The rest of the movie was some weird thing where they had to take down a dinosaur black market thing. The movie wanted to have some political message but it failed.

The Matrix: Here is my most controversial opinion: I didn’t think The Matrix was that interesting. There I said it. Now, bring on the hate. I just felt the plot was so heavy handed. While I liked the atmosphere, I didn’t like how all of the characters talked with the same ominous tone. Throughout the movie, all of the characters keep asking if Neo is the One and it’s so annoying. You can tell the writers gave themselves a pat on the back for the whole anagram name thing. It’s not even that clever. I can see why people love the movie but I just could not get into that.

It’s Growing Something New: Reviewing Annihilation (Book One of the Southern Reach Trilogy) by Jeff Vandermeer

Hi everyone! It has been a hot minute since I have actually done a book review. I finally sat down and just powered through this particular novel since it is shorter. I will now tell you all about Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer.

Area X sprouted from the ruins of a civilization and has been steadily reclaiming the land over the years. Many expeditions have tried to explore this mysterious new biosphere but have ended in death and disaster. The twelfth expedition, made up of four women, have set out to find the answers that the others couldn’t find. As they venture deeper and deeper into Area X, they come to realize that there is something thriving and it has deadly intentions.

This short and fast-paced novel offered an interesting mix of science fiction and mystery. Vandermeer’s writing style and narrative choices are certainly intriguing. Told through the eyes of a character only known as the biologist, her telling of the events is scientific and precise but also vague and ominous. Every step of her journey only offers more questions than answers. As a reader, I found myself exploring along with her. I wanted to put together the puzzle pieces of why Area X was so strange. The novel definitely reminded me of The Martian. I loved the eerie and beautiful descriptions. The plot was full of suspense that made you want more. If you’re a fan of science fiction and/or adventure, then I would definitely reckoned Vandermeer’s Annihilation. I am certainly interested in reading the rest of the Southern Reach trilogy.

Pop Culture Trends I’m So Over

Hi everyone! Let’s begin 2019 with a rant, shall we? I’ve been noticing some patterns in various areas of popular culture and, boy, do I have some thoughts. Some of you may disagree with me while others may agree completely. Either way, I’d like to hear your opinions as well.

Disney Remakes: I get why the live action-remakes of Disney movies are being made but just because we can doesn’t mean we should. It’s not like any of these movies, like The Lion King or Aladdin, are outdated necessarily. I’m pretty sure a child of today can watch the original movies and appreciate them. I don’t need flashy special effects or new songs. Just leave my childhood alone please.

Movie to Musical Adaptations: If you’re a musical theater fan, then you can understand this one. The next musical season is going to be flooded with musical adaptations of movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and The Notebook. Again, I see the market and the reason for this but there are sooooo many to the point that any original musicals or revivals are going to get absolutely buried. I’m not saying I think these musicals are going to be bad. I’m just saying that the originality factor has gone out the door and I blame Mean Girls (even though I do love the musical adaptation).

“Trendy” Horror Movies: You’ve got to stay hip with the kids, right? So that means making technology the center of your horror movie. I’m going to included Internet urban legends (i.e Slenderman) into this category. It’s honestly just so cheesy. It never turns out meaningful. This whole “what if your phone is possessed?” thing feels like it’s written by parents who are tired of their kids being on their phones.

Overly Dramatic Teen Shows/Movies: I’m specifically calling out “Riverdale” for this one because it started the trend. There’s a fine line between escapism and just being unrealistic. Netflix also recently had an influx of teen-centric movies that just strike me as being way too dramatic for the wrong reasons. I understand that I am not the target audience but I would still like to appreciate shows like this. Back in my day, you got some vampires and that was enough. (Also, to anyone who watches Riverdale, how do you classify the show? Is it supernatural? Is it horror? Is it a drama? I don’t get it). (Please read this in an old man voice).

Gender Swapped Remakes: Obviously, we need more female led movies but simply remaking a movie but with a woman instead of a man is just soooo lazy. There’s so much material out there with female leads that could be adapted to the screen and that should be adapted to the screen. There’s also probably plenty of people with completely original ideas out there. Though this trend is starting to die down, I’m afraid it’s not going to stay down.

Favorites of 2018

Hi everyone! Now that Christmas has passed and I have a little bit of time off, I thought that I would share my favorite things of 2018. (Note: Some of these didn’t premier in 2018 but I discovered them in 2018 so that’s why they are included on the list)

Favorite Books of 2018 

  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
  • Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
  • Vicious by VE Schwab
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
  • The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
  • The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Favorite Movies of 2018

  • Black Panther
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Deadpool 2
  • Venom
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Aquaman

Favorite Music of 2018

  • God Save Our Young Blood by BORNS feat. Lana Del Rey (song)
  • To Imagine – EP by The Neighbourhood
  • M A N I A by Fall Out Boy (album)
  • Sick Boy by The Chainsmokers (song)
  • Sober Up by AJR (song)
  • Black Panther: The Album by Kendrick Lamar
  • Nation of Two by Vance Joy (album)
  • White Noise by PVRIS (album)
  • The Neighbourhood by The Neighborhood (album)
  • Found/Tonight by Ben Platt feat. Lin- Manuel Miranda (song)
  • Expectations by Hayley Kiyoko (album)
  • My Dear Melancholy by The Weekend (EP)
  • No Roots by Alice Merton (song)
  • Paper Love by Allie X (song)
  • don’t smile at me by Billie Eilish (album)
  • Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino by Arctic Monkeys (album)
  • Love is Dead by CHVRCHES (album)
  • so sad so sexy by Lykke Li (album)
  • Holy by King Princess (song)
  • Pray for the Wicked by Panic! At the Disco (album)
  • High as Hope by Florence + the Machine (album)
  • Love Monster by Amy Shark (album)
  • Take Me to the Disco by Meg Myers (album)
  • The Pines by Roses and Revolutions (song)
  • talk is overrated by Jeremy Zucker (song)
  • Nina Cried Power – EP by Hozier
  • Venice Bitch by Lana Del Rey (song)
  • Outsiders by Au/Ra (EP)
  • Trench by Twenty One Pilots (album)
  • Delta by Mumford and Sons (album)
  • Cheering For Me Now by John Kander feat Lin-Manuel Miranda (song)

Favorite TV Show of 2018

  • Supernatural, Season 14
  • Gotham, Season 5
  • John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City
  • The Flash, Season 5
  • Arrow, Season 7
  • Supergirl, Season 4
  • Legends of Tomorrow, Season 4
  • Luke Cage, Season 2
  • Black Lightning, Season 2
  • Daredevil, Season 3
  • Iron Fist, Season 2
  • Queer Eye, Seasons 1 and 2
  • Jessica Jones, Season 2
  • Doctor Who, Series 11
  • The Walking Dead, Season 9