Tuesday Update and Y'all West!! 2/18/20

Currently Reading: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Queue:

  • A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I am finally OUT OF THE WOODS with the crazy hours at work, and I’m so excited! I can read and write again! I am shouting with joy from the rooftops!

I actually started a wattpad where I’m putting some of my stories that I have written: My Wattpad Account!

The first story I’m uploading is called The Right Queen.
Prince Thayer wants to save his flailing kingdom with his best friend, a witch named Eldra, but his father has other plans: he demands Thayer to marry one of three women who can give them a powerful alliance.

If that sounds fun to you, I hope you check it out! It’s pretty short overall, only like 15 pages, and I’m uploading a bit of it every day.

Now, on to Y’ALL WEST! They announced the authors yesterday who will be at the festival, a very exciting time! Here are some of the people/books that I am particularly excited to see! (Also, I took all these pictures from the Y’All West site, so here is me giving them credit!)

If you don’t know what Y’All West is, it is a book festival on the west coast (at Santa Monica High School) all about YA BOOKS! It’s magical and wonderful, and you can learn more about it here.

Janella Angeles – Where Dreams Descend

I LOVED this book and I am now kicking myself that I gave my ARC to my friend, because now I won’t be able to have her sign it! However, I’m excited to hear her talk at any panels because her debut was so good.

Hafsah Faizal – We Hunt the Flame/We Free the Stars

I have been wanting to read these books because they sound SO GOOD and now I have to finish them before the end of April so I can go to all her panels!

Adalyn Grace – All the Stars and Teeth

Goodreads promoted this book so hard that I feel like I have to read it, but also she seems really nice and now I have the chance to meet her and hear her speak before she becomes a giant star! Can’t wait!

Marisa Kanter – What I Like About You

Another Debut author, Marisa Kanter’s What I Like About You sounds ADORABLE! I am such a sucker for books with secret identities, and this book is all about that. Cannot wait to read this and meet her!

Tara Sim – Scavenge the Stars

An ad on instagram suckered me into want to reading this book, but now I am excited to since I have a chance to meet/hear the author talk! It looks great!

There are tons more authors coming too, like David Yoon (who I already met and is so nice), Victoria Aveyard, Angie Thomas, Adam Silvera, Stephanie Garber, Margaret Rogerson, Rory Power, Tahereh Mafi, Marie Liu, and so many more!

Tell me in the comments who you would be excited to meet at Y’All West! Bye boggies!

Tower of Dawn BOOK REVIEW

Premise: Chaol and Nesryn sail to the Southern Continent to attempt to rally the Kagnate’s armies to help Adarlan defeat the Valg.

Does that premise seem like it could be one piece of a regular Throne of Glass book?

YES, IT DOES. Because it could have.

Look, at this point I know that Sarah J. Maas could write a book about paint drying and I’d read it. She’s tied with John Steinbeck as the best writer I’ve ever read. However, with a book like this, the problem is not in the writing, but rather than it didn’t need to be a book at all.

There ARE spoilers, I think, but I’ll try to not totally reveal the ending. But some parts will be VERY spoilery so proceed with caution.

(Sarah J. Mass dragging me into this book)

The GREAT things about it:

  • I LOVED Nesryn’s story! Sorry, already into spoilers, but she deserved a happy ending, someone who actually loves her and doesn’t just use her the way that Chaol did, and dammit SHE GOT IT!

Sartaq smile at her-gently. Sweetly. In a way she had not yet seen. “I loved you before I ever set eyes on you.”

Throne of Glass, page 525
  • Nesryn finally gets the love she deserves, she is finally not second to anyone. Hell, she gonna be a queen!
  • I loved Yrene Towers. She was such a lovely characters, someone who had fought through so much (escaping Fenharrow!), who had both a toughnes and a sweetness about her. When Chaol gets pissed at her and doesn’t let her work on healing him, “Yrene followed the sound of coughing.” (pg. 317). She loved healing people so much that she did it at every opportunity. She was good through and through.
  • I didn’t see the ending, the person who was revealed to have the Valg hiding in them, so that was a great surprise.
  • The Maeve turns in this book were pretty cool, but it also made me be like NO AELIN IS WITH MAEVE SHE GONNA DIE WE GOTTA GET HER which made me want this to be over so we could just read about Aelin. I just wanna read about AELIN!!
  • I liked the world of the Southern Continent. The khagnate, the battle between the siblings, the the tower, the cool oasis in the desert, the ruks and the people who lived in the mountains. It was just a lot to cover and also OTHER THAN THE SPIDERS, I just didn’t need all of it! Or, hell, this world felt like it could have been in its own books. It just felt sort of truncated and isolated, didn’t really feel like it belonged to other books. (You could say the same thing about Wendlyn in book three except that AELIN WAS THERE, the character we love with our whole hearts).

THE THINGS THAT MAKE ME WANT TO SCREAM:

  • The main problem I had with this book is that you should not make an in series book without your main character. Aelin was a ghost in this book, mentioned by Chaol and so obviously helping Yrene in her stories, it was insane, but this book takes place at the same time (I think) as book 5. So, no Aelin. WHAAAAAT? Would you write a Harry Potter book without Harry Potter? NO YOU WOULD NOT! We do not want a Throne of Glass book without Aelin.
  • To top it off, she doesn’t even make the main character someone we love, like Dorian or Manon or Elide, Nehemia, which was truly the hardest scene to read. It was horrifying. Granted, Chaol is sort of redeemed in this book, but not really even because he has sex with another person while he is in a half-relationship with Nesryn. **Spoiler** Chaol I’m glad you are at peace with being in a wheelchair, but you didn’t have to be such an asshole on your way to that point. You didn’t DIE or get possessed by a Valg demon like your pal Dorian did.
  • The Baby Ruk dying made me be like fuck you to this book. It was so sad. I hated it but definitely set in stone that the spiders were demons.
  • Also, I couldn’t help but feel like Chaol going to the pit of his wound was very similar to Aelin going to the pit of her magic. It kinda felt like a less good version of that.

Look, at the end of the day I HAVE TO GIVE THIS BOOK 4/5 Bog Berries!

Because, even though this book annoyed the hell out of me, Sarah J. Maas is a damn good writer and this was a damn good book.

Monday Morning in the Bog/Romantic Books Shout Out! 2/10/20

Currently Reading: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Queue:

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemerer
  • Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I have been completely ignoring the old bog because I worked OVER SIXTY HOURS LAST WEEK!! I am the most tired I have ever been I think. I have no fun updates because all I did was work.

I also haven’t done much writing, because, did you see above that I worked OVER SIXTY HOURS!!! My job is fun and I like working in TV, but it has been a grind.

There are so many good books that I want to read in the coming months and I have had so little time to, but in March work should be better so I will be able to ZOOM THROUGH SOME BOOKS!

Also, since it’s FEBRUARY!!! I wanted to shout out a few of my favorite love stories.

  • I’ve shouted how much I love these books from the rooftops, but EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING and THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR (both by Nicola Yoon) are two of my favorite romantic books of all time!
  • The CARAVAL series by Stephanie Garber!! The romance between the two main characters in LEGENDARY (book two) DESTROYED ME!! It’s magical and wonderful!
  • TO KILL A KINGDOM by Alexandra Christo – I don’t read many stand alone novels because I really love series, but the mermaid/human romance in this is TOP NOTCH.
  • ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine – I know this is a kid’s book, but both the book and the movie are so cute!
  • RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard has one of those crazy sibling love triangles, but it really works with power dynamic in the first two books. The second two are really long (like they should have been one book but whatever no on asked me), but then there is a secret short story after the fourth book that YOU HAVE TO READ. It’s EXCELLENT and how the ending of the book should have been written (in my opinion).

1984 BOOK REVIEW

Premise: Winston Smith lives under constant supervision of the Party, the government in control in this alternate version of the year 1984. He starts to rebel with little things, like writing an idea in a notebook, even though he knows it will lead to his demise.

Okay, sort of a terrible premise for this book, but I will explain below why I think so!

Also, I would warn of spoilers, but this book was written like 70 years ago, so I don’t really feel bad writing spoilers.

A FEW THINGS TO NOTE ABOUT THIS BOOK:

  • There is a lot to unpack in this book, so I will do my best, but I’m sure your junior year English teacher did it better. Or hell, Sparknotes.
  • Why the premise is weird: the main character in this book is the year 1984. What the system in place, the Party, is, how it affects people, how it tortures, etc. Winston Smith is the device used to tell the story of the book. This isn’t the kind of book I’m used to reading, or really the kind of book that I like, so I’m going to knock this down a star because I will never read it again. Wanted to say this up front so you know that it’s more of a personal reason.
  • This book is written in three acts: the first act is a snap shot of Winston’s life, the second is his choice to rebel, the third is after he is caught and how the Party breaks him.
  • Winston Smith knows his fate the whole book, which is a real bummer because you hope the whole time you are reading that he will somehow escape the party, but alas, he succumbs to Big Brother just like everyone else.

But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

pg. 298, 1984

I’m not quite sure how to best quantify this review, so these aren’t even really “things I like” but rather “things that stood out to me as impressive/creative/groundbreaking for a book written in 1950 I think I’m not sure I haven’t read every book that came out before then so I can’t be sure.”

  • War is peace: this is a scary idea that is echoed through the book. The Party uses this to quell the masses, and what makes this so scary is that I’m sure it would work. A common enemy typically unites people, so if you fed a country false information about another country attacking them, they would probably be united around hating them. This is central to the world of 1984.
  • The ministries: We get to see two of the four, the Ministry of Truth and the Ministry of Love, while we don’t see the Ministry of Plenty and the Ministry of Peace. These are all actually the opposite of what they say they are: people are tortured in the Ministry of Love and people change the facts of history in the Ministry of Truth (where we spend the majority of the book). These systems solidify the Party’s explanation of doublethink, a word they use to explain how something has two meanings that seem contradictory, but the Party insists they are not.
  • Winston is “secretly” given a book that outlines the view of the party. It’s chilling to read (we read about 20 pages of it, so it’s a decent chunk of part two) because when you do, the sentences are logical, but the argument they are making is horrifying (taking away human dignity). Here is a few bits:
    • “With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. Every citizen, or at least every citizen important enough to be worth watching, could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police.” I found this sentiment horrifying because THIS COULD HAPPEN TO US SO EASILY if our government became corrupt with all the information that is tracked on the Internet. It’s remarkable that George Orwell sort of predicted this before the technology to do existed.
    • The idea of “low, middle and high people” and how they are classified. It’s pretty haunting, because it reminds you that in the world today the world’s wealthiest individuals, those owning over $100,000 in assets, total less than 10 percent of the global population but own 84 percent of global wealth (https://inequality.org/facts/global-inequality/). So the percentages Orwell argues in this fake manifesto, 85% are proles, sort of matches up with the global wealthy inequality today. It’s horrifying, plus in his book “low” people are just seen as a means to keep war going. It’s rough to read, and in reading it to try to find a quote to explain it, it was just too all wrapped up in each other.
  • There is seemingly a nod to Animal Farm, which was published three years before 1984. Julie, the person Winston secretly dates, gets all the well made food that only the “Inner Party” gets to eat. She says, “It’s all Inner Party stuff. There’s nothing those swine don’t have, nothing.” (pg. 141) In Animal Farm, the “Party” was the pigs who took over the farm from the humans.
  • The bleakest part of this book, aside from the seven years of torture in book three which is really too hard for me to write about, is when Winston is going to sleep with a prostitute (who is a prole) and she has a “cavernous mouth” because all her teeth are missing but he is so desperate for affection he does it anyway and it’s rough!
  • On page 130 they say no one has memories before 1960, which I hoped would be further explained but it wasn’t. I assume their brains were zapped when the Party took over, but I wanted to know for sure.
  • Also, you knew Winston was going to be caught by the Party, but it was just heartbreaking in the end of part two when he was. And even more heart breaking at the end of part three when he fully becomes a Party zombie, because you are left with feeling like there is no hope for this alternate universe.

This is a great read. It’s obvious to me why most people have to read it in high school. 4/5 Bog Berries!

Monday Morning in the Bog! 1/27/20

Currently Reading: A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Queue:

  • Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  • Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I just finished reading 1984 (what a DOOZY), so that review will hopefully be up this afternoon!

I wish I had more exciting things, but I was sick this weekend and then work was pretty crazy last week, so I don’t have much to report! I watched the first two Lord of the Rings movies and they really hold up? I’ve been playing way too much Zelda? Not exciting. I told you.

Lol, bye boggies!

Monday Morning in the Bog! 1/20

Currently Reading: 1984 by George Orwell

Queue:

  • Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
  • A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Life Updates:

The Elite/The One BOOK REVIEW

This is a double book review. I read them pretty fast, and I really don’t have that much to say because it kind of felt like I read the same book twice. SO…

Spoilers are ahead! These books came out EIGHT YEARS AGO! Come on!

Premise of The Elite: America has to decide who she wants to pursue: Maxon or Aspen. But while she’s deciding, Maxon starts to give his heart away to another girl.

Premise of The One: America has fallen in love with Maxon, but can’t bring herself to say it. They learn the rebels may not be the enemies they think they are, and must convince the king to change before Ilea goes to shit.

overall thoughts:

  • OKAAAY, these two books disappointed me. I did enjoy the first Selection book. America ended as a strong woman who felt confident in seeing where both relationships went. And then she… disappeared? She turned into someone OBSESSED with her feelings and it’s all we heard about.
  • I still really like the premise of these books. But everything fell flat when everything just “turned out okay.” We didn’t really see America go through hardship in a way that changed her character. Since she was a woke 5 from the beginning, there wasn’t anywhere for her to grow. She had a temper, but it was always just because the things OTHER people were doing was wrong.

THINGS I LIKED:

  • I always want to start with the good stuff, so here we go. I do like that America wants to do what is best. She puts herself in harms way time and time again for her friends, I just wish she had seen real consequences from the king for it. It would have been hard to read, but seeing her whipped for something the king didn’t like would have made me root for her in a way that I didn’t before. It seems like she stuck up for people but didn’t see any consequences for it, so it didn’t seem that sacrificial.
  • Look, I said it before, I’ll say it again, I LOVE the dresses in these books. They are the best
  • The plot with the rebels in book three was intriguing, but it felt a little too easy. I guess the argument was that they couldn’t know Maxon would be more open until the rebels saw him like America in the Selection, but I wish more story could have been built around them.
  • I liked seeing the women becomes friends in book three.

STORY ISSUES

  • Look, ultimately this book had two main things that happened the exact same way: A giant party (the party they threw for royals in book two and the tea party in book three) and then the leadership decision (the Assignment for The Report and then having to send someone to jail in The Convicting). WE. WANT. SOMETHING. DIFFERENT. America shined in all four in an unexpected way.
    • I think what would have helped with this is if they were allowed to go outside the palace. We saw the palace, with a few exceptions, for two books! I want to see more! It would have livened up the story and just been more interesting.
  • For all of the second and third books, Maxon and America were CONSTANTLY fighting. I get if book two they were fighting, but it just would have been nice for them to have gotten along. Even if she was afraid to tell him about Aspen after what happened to Marlee, hell that should have been more of her reason for being afraid to tell him, she should have not yelled at him so much! He shouldn’t have constantly gotten mad at her for breaking expectations! It was EXHAUSTING.
  • I didn’t feel like she learn anything from her father’s death. It made Maxon change her mind about him, but it didn’t give her the courage to tell him the truth and do what her father would have thought was right. That bummed me out.
  • Maxon completely overreacted to her not telling him about Aspen. SHE. SAW. HER. FRIEND. PUBLICLY. SHAMED. She should have told him, herself, from the first time she saw him, but I get why she didn’t. I would even get if he broke up with her over it, but how ANGRY he gets really pisses me off.
  • In general, the excessive talk about feelings took time away where we could have seen more happen and build into other characters/aspects of the story.
  • Okay, this is a spoiler for the end of the series. You have been warned.
    • Maxon was PISSED when he found out about Aspen that after telling America he was going to marry her the night before, HE IS GOING TO SEND HER HOME IN FRONT OF EVERYONE, is a snappy baby when she tries to talk to him, but then TAKES A BULLET FOR HER when the rebels come in and almost dies for her.
  • WHY DIDN’T MAXON GIVE AMERICA THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT ONCE? She had JUST told him that she loved him, which was huge for her, and I get why it feels like a betrayal but like HE WAS GONNA MARRY HER. Also, would he REALLY, after being so pissed, took a bullet for him? Seems like he could at least have been a little nicer to her right before. It felt like whiplash, them loving each other or not. IT WAS ANNOYING.

characters:

  • King Clarkson/Queen Amberly: Look, it’s great to have a villain. I wish Clarkson was more of a villain in book one. I wasn’t opposed to that, but I couldn’t think of the queen as a good guy in the way the author wanted me to. HER SON WAS ABUSED BY HIS FATHER. KING CLARKSON WAS A DICK. It was a step too far for me to have any pity for the queen.
  • Celeste: I liked her turn A LOT in this book, but it felt slightly unbelievable. I wish she was like publicly humiliated, she was seen crying I guess, but just something else obvious that made her turn over a new leaf.
  • Kriss as a rebel: I liked this A LOT too, but it felt like it happened too late. I wish we had known more and could have had a little more Kriss/America rebel shenanigans go on. Would have LOVED to see this.
  • Maxon: At the end of the day, it was hard for me to root for a guy dating so many women at once, and I think he was really hard on America, so I feel kind of blegh about it. I wish we had more of them being happy together at the end because I think I would have liked it more.
  • Aspen/Lucy: I really liked the idea of them together, and I wish we had ALL OF BOOK THREE to see this grow rather than like two pages at the end.

Look, I feel like I have aired my grievances with these books. The problem is I had SUCH high hopes after remembering how much I loved them after reading it four years ago, but my book opinions have changed and also, I am in a healthy relationship now, so this just didn’t read for me like it used to. I think there were a lot of places and ideas the author could have explored but she chose not to. I’m still a Kiera Cass fan, can’t wait for the Betrothed, and these get 3/5 Bog Berries for me!