Books to Read after Watching Dumplin’ on Netflix

I recently watched Dumplin’ on Netflix because I love to support YA adaptations as much as I can and boy — I cried. I haven’t yet read the book (If you didn’t know, there’s a book and I’ve heard it’s great) and now, I think I just might have to pick it up! Here’s a little description from Goodreads about Dumplin’:

“Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.”

It was recently made into a movie by Netflix so if you have a subscription, you can watch it! I highly recommend it. Definitely a tear jerker but are they sad or happy tears? I couldn’t tell.
I decided I’d conjure up a little list of recommendations of books you can read after watching the movie because I knew there’s tons of us out there who’ve just watched it and loved it.

1. Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

“It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.”

If you didn’t know Dumplin’ had a sort-of sequel, now you know! Puddin’ came out this year and it’s a companion novel to Dumplin’. You better get reading!

2. Little White Lies (Debutantes #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“Eighteen-year-old auto mechanic Sawyer Taft did not expect her estranged grandmother to show up at her apartment door and offer her a six-figure contract to participate in debutante season. And she definitely never imagined she would accept. But when she realizes that immersing herself in her grandmother’s “society” might mean discovering the answer to the biggest mystery of her life-her father’s identity-she signs on the dotted line and braces herself for a year of makeovers, big dresses, bigger egos, and a whole lot of bless your heart. The one thing she doesn’t expect to find is friendship, but as she’s drawn into a group of debutantes with scandalous, dangerous secrets of their own, Sawyer quickly discovers that her family isn’t the only mainstay of high society with skeletons in their closet. There are people in her grandmother’s glittering world who are not what they appear, and no one wants Sawyer poking her nose into the past. As she navigates the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, Sawyer’s search for the truth about her own origins is just the beginning.


Set in the world of debutante balls, grand estates and rolling green hills, Little White Lies combines a charming setting, a classic fish-out-of-water story, and the sort of layered mystery only author Jennifer Lynn Barnes can pull off.”

If you’re looking for a book set in the south full of debutantes, here you go!

3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

“Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?”

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli is another body positive story about a fat girl and her journey finding love and self acceptance.

4. I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil

“Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?”

5. The Sky is Everywhere

“Lennie’s family life is far from conventional. Her mother left when she was just an infant, and her eccentric grandmother raised Lennie and her big sister, Bailey, with some help from their uncle Big (who also happens to be the town lothario). But when Bailey dies suddenly, Lennie is completely lost; she’s never lived without her attention-grabbing big sister, and now she has to learn how. She isn’t prepared for her feelings about the perfect boy who just showed up at school, and she’s even less prepared for the sudden pull she feels toward Bailey’s fiancé, who seems like the only person with whom she can truly share her grief. Suddenly, she’s giving more thought to the mother who abandoned her, and Gram’s explanation of the “restless gene” that runs in their family just isn’t enough to explain her mother’s absence. The Sky is Everywhere is a beautiful reminder that family ties don’t always break for those who are left behind.”
If you’re looking for a book with a strong focus on family and relationships, here’s a perfect fit.

6. Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

“Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.


Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.”

If you didn’t know, Julie Murphy also has other YA books as well! I’ve actually read her book Ramona Blue and really enjoyed it. 🙂
If you read any of these after watching Dumplin’, let me know! I’d love to hear what you thought.
Are you following me on all social media?
 
 
 
 
 
*the little graphic of Dumplin’ isn’t mine. It’s from the cover of the book*

How to Be Eco-Friendly in 2019

It seems to be trendy to be eco-friendly but is it really that hard? It’s only right for us to treat our planet with respect. We’re given this beautiful world to live in but we do things so carelessly without thinking of it’s future affect on our planet. The idea of being completely waste-free or eco-friendly may seem daunting — but, it’s truly not that hard. You can start in small easy steps and the difference will matter. I decided to share with you some of the ways you can slowly start to become more eco-friendly and love our planet. If you already do some of these, congrats! The Earth appreciates you. If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’re hopeful and the Earth appreciates you too.

1. Get a Reusable Water Bottle

The amount of waste you make when buying a flat of plastic water bottles is insane and it’s so easy to combat. Buy yourself a reusable water bottle. Whenever you have a reusable water bottle, it’s more likely you’ll even drink more water. You won’t have plastic water bottles laying all over your car or bedroom floor. Trust me, I’ve been there. I bought aKlean Kanteen last year and it comes with me everywhere. It literally goes everywhere with me and you can tell by the way it floats in the background of my photos.

Similarly, you should think about getting a reusable coffee cup to cut your morning waste down. You might buy coffee everyday and you’re throwing away a plastic or paper cup into the garbage creating more waste. How about you just get a reusable cup? It’s easier and you can sometimes get a discount at coffee places for doing so. For example, Starbucks!

2. Bring Your Own Grocery Bags

I know you’ve come across a plastic bag stuck in a tree, floating across the street, or simply in another plastic bag hanging on a door in your kitchen. I’m aware that you can re-use these bags around your home but they always end up in the trash and then eventually, the ocean. “…plastic shopping bags kill large numbers of wildlife each year. In the water, plastic bags can be mistaken for jellyfish by wildlife. This makes plastic bag pollution in marine environments particularly dangerous, as birds, whales, seals and turtles ingest the bags then die from intestinal blockages.”1 Another large problem that comes with plastic bags, they don’t decompose quickly at all. In fact, there’s estimates that state it could take a plastic bag 20-1,000 years to decompose.2 Instead, I recommend using your own grocery bags. You can even purchase insulated grocery bags to help keep specific items cold. This also goes for produce bags. You can invest or even make your own. For the non-crafty, here’s a link to some affordable re-usable grocery bags. For others, here’s a little DIY on how to make your own.

As for produce bags, you can make them but also here’s a link to shop. 

3. Use Rechargeable Batteries

Batteries are extremely harmful to the environment and it only makes it worse whenever they’re not thrown away correctly. If you didn’t know, there is a proper way to dispose of batteries. Hint: Most Ikea stores have a bin to recycle batteries. It’s better to use rechargeable batteries because you’re not buying new product and throwing old out. Rechargeable batteries consume less non-renewable resources and make for an easier solution to batteries. Whenever you throw out old batteries, you’re allowing toxic waste into the environment. It’s also way more convenient to always have batteries instead of constantly searching your house whenever the batteries in your remote die.

Here’s a link.

4. Use Cloth Instead of Paper Towels

I feel like this is pretty self explanatory but there’s so many things in your daily life that create so much waste. It’s frustrating because there’s almost always an alternative but we tend to use more wasteful products. Paper towels are one of these things. You use so many in a day and you seem to add them often to your grocery lists. You can use old towels and cut them instead pieces to use for cleaning. (You do have your own DIY cleaning products right?) It’s so much less wasteful to just use fabric and cloths instead of paper towels. Not to mention, it’s not that hard to replace them either.

5. Buy in Bulk

This one might seem a little advanced for those who are just now dedicating their lives to being eco-friendly but don’t worry, I got you. Whenever you buy in bulk, you’re getting more for your money and you’re not creating wasteful packaging. You can buy or even thrift things like reusable glass jars and buy things like quinoa, coffee, or rice in bulk. It makes things so much easier and it’s not that hard. Whenever you go into the store, you subtract the weight of your jar from the weight of the product. That’s it! Here’s a list of a few stores that allow things in bulk:

– Whole Foods
– The Fresh Market
– Bulk Nation
– Lucky’s
– Earth Fare

Here’s a list showing you places specific to your state.

6. Recycle 

I’ve been learning this phrase since I was in kindergarten but just to remind you: Reduce, Reusable, Recycle. Recycling has gotten a bad rep recently and I still truly believe that you should still recycle. In terms of plastic bottles and paper, of course you should recycle these things. But, there’s other ways to recycle like recycling your favorite pair of jeans into shorts and making the old into new.

7. Step Away from Fast Fashion

In 2018, I became conscious of the fashion industry and how harmful it can be to people and the environment. I began investing in pieces I felt would truly last and my main source of clothes shopping became thrifting. Fast fashion allows for exploitation of people in foreign countries (mostly women and children), creates more waste, and proves to be low quality clothing. Whenever this quality is so low, you’re forced to throw it away (I HIGHLY recommend donating) or continuously buy more. You should watch the documentary called The True Cost to truly see the horror that is fast fashion. To avoid supporting such an industry, thrift your clothing. It’s cheaper and you can find great quality items at half the cost. You’re also reusing clothing instead of constantly allowing for more manufactured clothing.

8. Buy Reusable Straws

I’m so glad that this was brought up in 2018 because it makes more people aware of how wasteful some simple things in our lives are. Plastic straws are plastic and are harmful to the environment but there’s always an alternative. You can use paper straws or metal straws instead. You can easily buy these things on Amazon and even some sets that include a spoon, knife and fork as well.

9. Try a Bamboo Tooth Brush

I think you’re seeing a pattern now, right? Tooth Brushes are made out of plastic and you should be throwing it out and replacing it every few months or so. This is incredibly wasteful and there’s always a better way to go about brushing your teeth. Bamboo toothbrushes are better for the environment and barely feel any different. They last longer and are better for the environment. What more could you ask for?

10. Cut Wasteful Makeup Remover

Whenever you remove makeup, you’re using things like cotton pads, cotton swabs, makeup wipes, etc. that you just throw out after one use. It’s better if you just use something like Micellar water and a reusable rag to remove your makeup. I actually use cold cream because it genuinely removes makeup so much more than a wipe and you’re not tugging down on your skin. Isn’t that a win?

11. Get a Plant Friend

Save the environment, plant some trees! But also, plants in your home are incredibly beneficial as well. There’s so many different species of plants that can improve your home life by clearing the air of toxins and even helping you sleep better. They’re stress relievers that also reduce carbon dioxide levels! Not to mention, having green foliage in your home is a staple if you want to feel like you’re an interior designer. If you’re not great with plants, I plan on making a post soon on the best plants to start with. Keep up with my blog if you’re interested in that! Also, did you know you can grow a Lemon tree indoors? Talk about multi-tasking.

13. Don’t Take the Paper Receipt 

It really is that simple. When asked for an emailed or paper receipt, go for the digital receipt. You’re not creating waste but you’ll have the receipt just in case. You can just ask for no receipt at all as well! This way, you’re not taking home extra paper that you know will just end up in the trash.

14. Become Mindful

Easy, right? These are the small steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and live an eco-friendly lifestyle. Once you start doing small things like use a reusable water bottle and get rid of plastic straws, you’ll become more aware of the things in your life that are wasteful and find alternatives yourself. You won’t need an online guide on what to look out for — it’ll become an instinct. That’s the goal you should be looking forward to. You’ll go grocery shopping and chose the less wasteful option and maybe you’ll have your reusable grocery bags on hand. You’ll find yourself thrifting more whether it be online or at your local Goodwill. Whatever small step you’re taking, the Earth is thanking you!

Let me know how you plan to start your eco-friendly journey and tag me in any posts relating to this one! I’d love to see it.

How do you live an eco-friendly life?

LGBT+ YA Releases of 2019 pt. 1

 

What’s more exciting than a new year full of new LGBT+ releases? Here’s part one of my blog posts sharing with you all the LGBT+ releases for this year. Let’s support them by pre-ordering, adding them on Goodreads, and of course, reading them!

1. I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver [May 14th, 2019]

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.”

2. The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Kahn [January 29th, 2019]

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.


But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?”

3. Song of the Dead  (Book #2) by Sarah Glenn Marsh [January 22nd, 2019]

“Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom’s borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia’s waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can’t help being mesmerized by the new magic–and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria’s mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won’t be enough to save their fates.

In this enthralling, heartrending sequel to Reign of the Fallen, Odessa faces the fight of her life as the boundaries between the Dead and the living are challenged in a way more gruesome than ever before”

4. You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman [March 5th, 2019]

“Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.”

5. Kings, Queens and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju [May 7th, 2019]

“perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.


Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.
 “

6. Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian [June 4th, 2019]

“It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS.

Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance…until she falls for Reza and they start dating.

Art is Judy’s best friend, their school’s only out and proud teen. He’ll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won’t break Judy’s heart–and destroy the most meaningful friendship he’s ever known.”

7. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi [June 11th, 2019]

“Sana Khan is a cheerleader and a straight A student. She’s the classic (somewhat obnoxious) overachiever determined to win.

Rachel Recht is a wannabe director who’s obsesssed with movies and ready to make her own masterpiece. As she’s casting her senior film project, she knows she’s found the perfect lead – Sana.

There’s only one problem. Rachel hates Sana. Rachel was the first girl Sana ever asked out, but Rachel thought it was a cruel prank and has detested Sana ever since.

Told in alternative viewpoints and inspired by classic romantic comedies, this engaging and edgy YA novel follows two strongwilled young women falling for each other despite themselves.”

8. the Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown [April 16th, 2019]

“Before, Jessica has always struggled with anger issues, but come sophomore year that all changes when Vivi crashes into her life. As their relationship blossoms, Vivi not only helps Jess deal with her pain, she also encourages her to embrace her talent as an artist. And for the first time, it feels like the future is filled with possibilities. After In the midst of senior year, Jess’s perfect world is erased when Vivi suddenly passes away. Reeling from the devastating loss, Jess pushes everyone away, and throws out her plans to go to art school. Because art is Vivi and Vivi is gone forever.

Desperate for an escape, Jess gets consumed in her work-study program, letting all of her dreams die. Until she makes an unexpected new friend who shows her a new way to channel her anger, passion, and creativity. Although Jess may never draw again, if she can find a way to heal and room in her heart, she just might be able to forge a new path for herself without Vivi.”

9. These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling [May 29th, 2019]

“Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans. 


But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.”

10. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia [February 26th, 2019]

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.


On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?”

Please note that this is PART ONE of many posts sharing the LGBT+ releases of 2019. I just couldn’t fit them all in one. Isn’t that lovely?!

Let me know if you’re getting any of these releases!

Pick these up at your local book store or Book Depository | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble!

Are you following me on all social media?

Song of the Dead [REVIEW]

Screen Shot 2019-01-30 at 9.37.20 PM

 

“The Dead must stay buried.

Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom’s borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia’s waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can’t help being mesmerized by the new magic–and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria’s mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won’t be enough to save their fates.

In this enthralling, heartrending sequel to Reign of the Fallen, Odessa faces the fight of her life as the boundaries between the Dead and the living are challenged in a way more gruesome than ever before.”

I was sent a copy of Song of the Dead by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Please note this is a sequel so the review + description contain SPOILERS.

Edition: Hardcover, E-book

Release Date: January 22nd, 2019

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Razorbill

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Before we get into the review, I would like to highlight that this book is #OwnVoices and contains a f/f relationship! Yay for diversity in YA 🙂

I went into these books not knowing it was only a duology and now that I’ve finished Song of the Dead, I totally feel like there could be more built onto this world?! I haven’t read such a lovely YA fantasy in quite some time so these books were a breathe of fresh air for me. I loved the romance dearly, the world was new and interesting, and it kind of gave me A Darker Shade of Magic vibes? It might’ve been all the ship traveling, the magic, and a chase for romance. Oh, and Sarah Glenn Marsh doesn’t mind killing her characters off!

I loved seeing Odessa and Meredy’s relationship grow into something much more than it was in book one. I was thrown off at first because I mean, it was a sudden romance with her exes sister. But, I don’t judge. I lived for their relationship from beginning to end. I don’t want to say it was predictable but maybe just a bit. Am I mad? Definitely not. I like how they were able to bond and help each other through Evander’s death. Their grieving was written so well and made me truly feel for them. The chapter where they hear Evander’s voice again even though it’s not him was heartbreaking! I can’t forget to mention that this is a f/f relationship in a Young Adult book done right. It felt so right and I’m so glad I get to see these things in the books I read.

As for the writing, it was fantastic. There’s so many “I need to mark this with my sticky notes” moments. She captures feeling so well and brings her characters to life. Odessa was written as such a strong, caring and ambitious lead. Her actions were always justified and she wasn’t afraid of anything. Odessa is definitely my favorite type of main character.
The only problem I had with this book is that I loved the world, but I wish it were more in-depth. For Fantasy novels, I appreciate a connected, in-depth world that’s descriptive, fascinating, and makes sense. It was sometimes hard to follow whenever they were talking about magic, the world, etc. because it didn’t feel like enough. The world seems so complex but I still don’t understand it completely. This is my only reason I bumped it down .5 stars! It was still an incredibly interesting world to read about but I need more!
Overall, I enjoyed reading this duology but obviously, I wouldn’t mind another book. The world was so fascinating, the romance was captivating and the writing was so well-done. This sequel was SO much better than the first book and definitely worth reading.

Have you read Reign of the Fallen? Let me know!

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How To Read Classics/Recommending

                               A GUIDE INTO CLASSICS!

So many people in the world are extremely intimidated by classics and for so many different reasons. Classics can be scary due to the difficult vocabulary, their length, the essential meaning, age, or even from when they were forced to read them in high school. Too many great novels are ruined this way but that shouldn’t stop you! Sometimes it’s better to read a novel at an older age. You’re able to focus the novel with extended amount of time to read it and truly understand it’s purpose. That’s why I’m here today to explain a simple guide into reading classic novels. I’m going to start off with some basic guidelines,

  1. Don’t let high school assignments ruin you! I know several people who have let reading classics in high school ruin classics for them all together. I’m sure you were forced to read How to Kill a Mockingbird or 1984, right? Shakespeare, as well! Try re-reading any of those novels now and see how you like them, but only if you really enjoyed the writing style and theme. These novels are not as bad as you think they are, especially without having to analyze them and do pages of work on them.
  2. Those high-school classics you were required to read aren’t the only classics in the literary world. There is hundreds of fantastic classics up for grabs, you just have to do your research! I’ll be listing several classic books and authors near the end of this post.
  3. Don’t force yourself to read a book just because it’s a classic. If you’re willing to read a classic, make sure it’s a classic that has a plot and topic that peeks your personal interest. I’ve made the mistake of reading a classic for the sake of it being one, and I dreaded it. Read for your personal interest! I’ll put the main topics after some of the titles I mention below.
  4. Don’t let high vocabulary scare you away, or the language! For example, Shakespeare can be quite confusing to some but there are ways around it! No Fear Shakespeare is a perfect example, you can find them online and in-store! While reading a classic with higher vocabulary than what you usually prefer, look them up! Write these words down and look them up as you go. You won’t regret learning so many new words, trust me.
  5. Make sure you start off short and with something basic. You don’t have to, but it’d be easier to get into and enjoy if you do so. Near the end of this post, I’ll be putting separate lists of the lengths of each novel!
  6. Fear not, you’re allowed to watch the movies first. Many classics have movie adaptations and sometimes, it helps to understand a novel better! They may not be exactly the same or at the highest quality, but it really helped me enjoy reading the novel more. Once again, I’ll make a list of a few I know of.
  7. Surprisingly, sometimes a time era can throw you off. I know I prefer certain time periods when I’m reading books more than others. Find a time era that interests you the most!  

MORE BELOW


                                              THE CLASSICS

Novels under 300 pages:

*These aren’t the only classics I recommend, check these authors*

POPULAR CLASSIC AUTHORS:

  • Charles Dickens
  • Ayn Rand
  • Harper Lee
  • The Bronte Sisters
  • Jane Austen
  • George Orwell
  • Mark Twain
  • H.G. Wells
  • Oscar Wilde
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Sylvia Plath
  • J.D. Salinger
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Ray Bradbury
  • William Golding
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Shakespeare (how could I not mention?)
  • John Steinbeck
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Elie Wiesel
  • Homer
  • Shirley Jackson
  • S.E. Hinton

&

SO MANY MORE!

Here are classics listed by genre for those just starting to read them! (where I found this list)

FICTION  
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Adam Bede by George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Silas Marner by George Eliot
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift ~ A satirical work
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Action/Adventure
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Children’s
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Comedy
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Most Of P.G. Wodehouse by P.G. Wodehouse

Crime/Mystery
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The Complete Sherlock Holmes: All 4 Novels & 56 Short Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Fantasy
The Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White
The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Historical
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Horror/Gothic
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Dracula by Bram Stoker
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Psychological/Philosophical
The Plague by Albert Camus
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

Romance
Little Women Louisa May Alcott
Emma by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen ~ Forbidden romance
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte ~ Forbidden romance
The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
A Town Like Alice Nevil Shute

Science Fiction
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams ~ A comic novel
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury ~ Dystopian
Lord of the Flies by William Golding ~ Dystopian
1984 by George Orwell ~ Dystopian
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand ~ Dystopian
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: WITH The Mysterious Island AND Journey to the Centre of the Earth AND Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

Short Stories
Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allen Poe

Poetry
The Complete Poems by William Blake
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Complete Poems by Banjo Patterson
Ariel by Sylvia Plath

Plays
The Plays of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose
The Complete Works by William Shakespeare
Complete Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde ~ Includes the novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, poems, and essays

NON-FICTION
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell ~ A comic autobiography
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
The Fall by Albert Camus
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Here are some good links I’ve found online about classics:

https://www.goodreads.com/genres/classic-authors

http://www.uticapubliclibrary.org/resources/literature-and-film-guides/classic-bestsellers-by-women-authors/ (Woman authors!! Yay!!)

http://www.abebooks.com/books/features/50-classic-books.shtml

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/800527-classics-for-beginners-to-read-list (I have this list above, but here’s the link for credit!)

http://classiclit.about.com/od/foryourreading/ht/aa_difficultboo.htm

Classics made into movies:

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls050165969/