BOOK TAG // UNPOPULAR OPINIONS

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UNPOPULAR OPINIONS

I know this is an old tag of Booktube and Bookstagram, but I have yet to participate in it myself. I’m usually discussing the stories I adore and the characters who have captured my heart, although I have not spoken in-depth of my dislikes. I’d like to think I’m more optimistic when it comes to the arts, but there’s nothing wrong with talking about the things I’m not fond of, so I thought this tag would be a good way to vent a tad.

(Note: I mean no offense to anyone who likes the books or characters I mention below. These are simply my opinions and I mean no harm towards anyone.)

Q. What’s a popular book or series you didn’t like?

A: All right, well there are actually quite a few of these because for some reason, I find most popular books are overhyped and are simply repetitions of the same best-selling themes we’ve seen before.

One of my least favorite popular books is probably A Court of Thorns and Roses. I found the writing to be simple and repetitive and the characters to be predictable and a bit bland, but what really bothered me about this book was the problematic themes. Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin was borderline abusive and possessive. I’m so tired of these controlling men to be romanticized as something you want in a man. It’s not cute to hold someone against a wall and basically force yourself on them until they give in. You know what is cute though? ASKING FOR CONSENT.

Q. What’s a popular book or series that you love but everyone else seems to hate?

A: There are a couple of books I happen to love but don’t have the best reviews, though the most popular out of that bunch is probably The Paper Magician.

Yes, this book was slow at times and didn’t offer too much character depth (which is typically a massive no from me), but there was something so charming about this series. I love Holmberg’s writing style and the sort of magic she created. I could see everything play out in my head as though it was a film, and that’s not something I experience often. This series isn’t mind-blowing, but I really enjoy it.

Q: What’s a love triangle where the character didn’t end up with who you want or an OTP (one true pairing) you don’t like? *spoilers for The 5th Wave ahead*

A: Many people don’t know of this book, and this is one of novels that actually doesn’t have great reviews but I think is ONE OF THE BEST COMING-OF-AGE STORIES EVER MY HEART IS STILL BROKEN. *ahem* But The Vanishing Season by the incredible Jodi Lynn Anderson features the most realistic love triangle I’ve ever read, which is why it didn’t end the way I wanted it to. Anderson approached the situation with realism, and though it made sense and I knew it was going to happen, I was still devastated and I STILL AM.

As for an OTP I don’t like, it has to be Cassie and Evan from The 5th Wave series. Sorry, but I think stalking someone you were meant to kill and falling in love with them from simply observing them over weeks (months?) is both unrealistic and quite frankly creepy. BEN WAS MUCH CUTER AND HAD A BETTER PERSONALITY. Just saying.

Q: What’s a popular genre you rarely reach for?

A: As a writer, I try to keep an open-mind and read just about any genre. But, I typically don’t like reading books that are all about romance. There has to be some magic or family drama or a war going on in order to keep my attention, otherwise I’ll probably be rolling my eyes at the absurdity of romance. There are a few romance books I have loved *side-eyes Etienne St. Clair* but those are very rare occurrences.

Q: Who is a popular or beloved character that you don’t like?

A: This has to be Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. I only read the first novel, but I found Katniss to be extremely bland and unrealistic. She showed no emotion during chaos and death, no sense of urgency or doubts. She came across sort of robotic, only showing feelings towards Peeta or Gale (both of which I also didn’t like).

Q: Who’s a popular author you can’t seem to get into?

A: Definitely Sarah J. Maas. After reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, I don’t wish to continue reading anymore of her work. Quite frankly, I’m tired of seeing her books all over Bookstagram when there are hundreds upon hundreds of books without problematic tendencies.

I don’t say this as an attack towards Maas at all. I don’t think she was trying to write anything problematic or make POC feel lesser, but still, I don’t wish to continue with reading any of her books.

Q: What’s a popular book trope you’re tired of seeing?

A: Oh my stars, let me get the list.

I’m so tired of the “you’re different from other girls” saying (It’s demeaning towards other women and WOMEN NEED TO SUPPORT WOMEN). I’m exhausted of the special snowflakes who begin as underdogs. Also, why must every family member die? You don’t have a single cousin or SOMETHING COME ON. Also, INSTA LOVE AND LOVE TRIANGLES CAN JUST STOP. And finally, I have had enough of the shy girls who are super awkward and clumsy but attract the attention of the most popular douchey guy. No. Just no.

Q: What’s a popular book series you have no interest in reading?

A: Definitely A Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Again, her writing style wasn’t for me and I’ve heard the problematic tendencies in her series, so I don’t plan on ever reading this series.

Q: The saying goes, “The book is always better than the movie”, but what film or television show adaptations do you prefer to the book?

A: I would have to say Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children played out very well on-screen. I did enjoy the book, but there was something lacking in my reading experience. I suppose it felt younger than the intended audience, and not nearly as scary as I thought it to be. (Also, it was in the film where I discovered Finlay MacMillian and I have never been the same since.)

I still haven’t recovered.

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LET’S CHAT

Once again, I want to apologize to anyone after this short rant of mine. I do not mean in any way to attack your favorite books or characters, although I do urge you to consider some of these things that can be very harmful and problematic to certain communities. I’m still becoming educated myself, but it’s important now more than ever to listen to unrepresented voices and give them the recognition they deserve.

I don’t enjoy being negative, but it feels good to get those thoughts out. I hope you all enjoyed this book tag and hearing my thoughts on certain subject matter. I would of course love to hear your opinions as well and if you agree or disagree with these thoughts.

I look forward to participating in more tags in the future!

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BOOK REVIEW // SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS BY CLAIRE LEGRAND

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SYNOPSIS

THINGS FINLEY HART DOESN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT

• Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
• Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
• Never having met said grandparents.
• Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real–and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

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REVIEW

Some Kind of Happiness is, by far, my favorite middle-grade book I have ever read. I find most middle-grade stories to be flat and predictable, which is understandable because they are geared towards a younger audience. But with Some Kind of Happiness, Legrand delivers a powerful story with layered characters and a deep concept.

Beneath these trees, I feel the same way I have always felt when opening my notebook to a clean page:

As long as I am here, I am safe.

Our main character Finley is a dreamer. She writes stories of the Everwood, and in these stories, she feels herself. She feels safe. In the outside world, even with her very own parents, Finely doesn’t feel like she fits in. When they begin having problems and send them to her father’s parent’s house, she can’t help but feel like it’s her fault. That she is this smudge on the family. Those feelings only increase when she moves into the Hart house with her perfect grandparents, aunts and cousins.

I must keep myself held tightly together, straight up and down, like someone has stuffed me into a too-small bag and zipped me up.

If I move too much, or say even one word, the zipper will burst open and I will fall out.

No one wants to see that.

Finley was my favorite character. She is a wise eleven-year-old who has a fascination with crossword puzzles and unique words. She loves to learn and explore, to believe in magic. But no matter how Finley tried to distract herself, she couldn’t escape her blue days and the Dark Ones—in other words, anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are often discussed in later ages, so it was refreshing to have these topics explored within a younger character.

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I don’t have clinical depression (though I have experienced some deep, dark lows), but I have had issues with anxiety (and most likely will continue to). So when Finley was describing these feelings—the weight on her chest, the rising panic, the dark thoughts, how it felt like no matter how hard she tried, she was lost at sea, drowning—I started getting emotional, because I knew exactly what she was going through.

When I lose myself, my insides become a storming sea in which it is very easy to get lost. Even something as simple as breathing feels difficult.

But on days like today, the sea is tame, and I hardly feel heavy at all.

(Why can’t every day be like this?)

Now I have to applaud Legrand on this. Her writing style is absolutely stunning. She has this effortless way of weaving words together to create a powerful punch with only a few short sentences. She created such lush scenery that I truly felt as though I was somewhere else.  And the way she made her characters so uniquely individual and gave them all of these fascinating layers—it was magic. It was haunting without being too sad. Sweet without being too cheesy. It was this perfect melody that I couldn’t get enough of.

I search for the proper word to describe the expression on his face: Adoring. Soft. Bashful. Nervous.

None of those quite work; his expression is all of those things at once, and more.

The best way to describe it is this:

Mom and Dad used to look at each other like that.

What? I’m not crying. YOU’RE crying. No, but really, I almost cried several times while reading this.

Some Kind of Happiness is a beautiful, moving story about family, love and the importance of self-love and self-health. This is not your typical middle-grade book. This novel explores important issues in an ethereal light that is both beautiful and chilling. By the time you flip the last page, you will feel like a new person.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository]

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LET’S CHAT

Well this easily has to be one of my favorites of the year, or perhaps even of all-time. Some Kind of Happiness is up there with Tiger Lily, which is saying A LOT. I highly recommend you lovelies give this novel a read and let me know what you think!

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BOOK REVIEW // THE CROWNS OF CROSWALD BY D.E. NIGHT

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SYNOPSIS

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

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REVIEW

If you love the magic of Harry Potter and whimsical charm of Cinderella, then you will love The Crowns of Croswald. Night creates such a fantastical setting with creatures like dragons, hairies (fairies), and shorehorses. And in the Halls of Ivy, all sorts of magic is taught. Instead of wands or wizarding hats, magic is found within ink and quills and stones and glanagerie bottles. I found this magic to be fun and creative, something I could easily picture in my head.

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We follow Ivy as she goes from a maid to a student at the Halls of Ivy. But something I would have actually liked to have seen more of was her time as a maid. I only glimpsed a peek into Ivy’s horrible life, then she was suddenly swept up into the Halls of Ivy. I think this would have allowed for a bit more depth in character and story, but this was nothing major.

I really enjoyed following Ivy throughout her story. I must admit, the beginning was a tad slow, but once I was about half through, they tale picked up. We get to see more of Ivy’s friends—Rebecca and Fyn—and her magical potential. (Also: her love interest’s name was Fyn which just made me think of Fin MacMillian which is ALWAYS a plus.)

You’re welcome in advance for blessing your life with the sight of this beautiful boy.

RIGHT BUT ANYWAYS, Fyn and Ivy’s friendship was very endearing and sweet. They were best friends, and I always find that to be the most charming. They would happily follow each other on their adventures, no matter how crazy they seem. Not to mention, Rebecca and Ivy’s friendship was also cute and funny.

I will have to be honest in saying I found the plot points of the The Crowns of Croswald to be predictable, but I believe this is because it is geared more towards middle-grade readers. But don’t get me wrong, I think readers at any age can enjoy this novel. It has that classic fairy tale feel full of magic and adventure.

If you’re in need of something fun and whimsical, you should definitely pick up The Crowns of Croswald! You’ll be sure to fall in love with this magical world.

Thank you so much to so much to Meg Bruce and D.E. Night for reaching out and sending me one of the most beautiful parcels I’ve ever received. I’m so thankful. 

The Crowns of Croswald will be released on July 21, 2017.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazon}

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LET’S CHAT

What are some upcoming releases you lovelies are looking forward to? I’ve been saving loads of book from fall 2017 and 2018 to my want-to-read list and I’m SUPER excited. Which reminds me, don’t forget to follow my Goodreads if you haven’t already. *wink*

I hope you enjoyed this review and consider picking up The Crowns of Croswald when it releases in one week! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this whimsical fantasy.

P.S. You’re welcome for that Fin Macmillan GIF. It’s what I’m here for. *double wink*

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