It’s worth repeating: Be Kind.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: Be Kind.

It sometimes comes off as a cheesy sentiment. Why be kind when you can make sarcastic remarks? It’s the easier route to go toward negative, even if it’s for the sake of comedy.

So, why be kind? I always assume that I don’t know what the other person is going through when I cross paths with them. I work in retail, and when someone comes in the shop with a question or they’re looking for something, I go for being authentic and kind. I know I have my rough days when I want to hide under the counter, making graphics for our social media sites, but I can’t.

I know a part of it is that I want everyone who walks into the door to become a loyal customer who tells all his/her friends ALL about us. It’s the same thing online. Sometimes I get sassy and say that I never want to read a certain kind of book or I would never do XYZ, but it never comes from the idea of wanting to offend someone. Yes, I have definitely said some things in the past that weren’t nice. Sometimes I was standing my ground and sometimes I took some things to far. We all have our moments of stupid.

Being kind is definitely a work in progress. It’s really easy for me to respond to someone asking me, “Well should I do this THIS way or THAT way?” by saying, “Do whatever you think is best.” Is it a cop-out? Yep. Sometimes I just can’t think on my feet and it takes me an hour to respond to emails asking me about how one becomes successful in “BookTube”.

I feel like being kind comes easy for some, but those of us who were raised on sarcasm and getting made fun of for our weirdness… We make the negativity our shell and our defense mechanism. Let’s turn that. Let’s treat people better than we’ve been treated.

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The DUFF by Kody Keplinger Book Review

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger Book ReviewThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Book DepositoryPublished by Little Brown on September 7, 2010
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 280
Format: eBook
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

I know, I know, finally, right? Right. I’ve finally read one of the most critically (or bloggerly, to be more precise) acclaimed books OF ALL TIME of all the Contemporary YA literature. Yes, yes, good.

Trigger (because this book is rather intense): There’s a scene in which her dad is drunk and he hits her once.

The Good:
The humor in this novel is on point. I really love YA novels that bring the humor to balance out the not-so-humorous times. It’s not the kind of book that turns from one feeling to another on a dime, but I appreciated that. It’s definitely not a crying book, but I did laugh out loud at some of the lines.

Put your pants on, we have an essay to write.

The best friend-ness. How often do you see active best friends in a YA novel!?!?!?!?! NEVERRRRR. Just kidding, but half of the time when the MC is all “Woe is me, I am unattractive,” they tend to be friendless. But even when Bianca is being shady, Jessica and Casey confront her about it. Also, I’m glad that their dialogue isn’t just boy-related. It was really refreshing.

This isn’t necessarily a good situation, but it is well-written: the parents and the divorce and the dealing with her dad’s alcoholism. DUUUUUUUUDE. Like, dudes. Yes, Bianca does run from it. Yes, she does some things that aren’t emotionally healthy. BUT. When she does deal with the things like talking to her mom and talking to her dad, it’s really, really good. Of course, she’s not the most eloquent person ever, but when she finally confronts certain situations, she’s honest. And the writing about her dad’s relapse was honest and dealt with very, very well.

Digging Deeper + AHA! Moment:
There were times when I thought, “You really think that, Bianca?!” When she talks about her perceptions of herself as well as her perceptions of other people and what people may think about her. It’s actually a really interesting study of how we view ourselves opposed to how we view others. And how we compare (and relate) ourselves to others, as well. It isn’t all about physical looks, but also how we’re perceived. Bianca talks about Vikki, who ~sleeps with all the guys~. Bianca has her AHA! Moment when she realizes that we’re all Duffs and we all think about what other people say and think about us.

There were some “Really, Bianca?!” moments when she said or thought things that weren’t good (mostly the slut shaming), but I’m pretty sure it all — or mostly all — gets resolved by the end of the novel.

The Boys:
I mean, the idea about The Duff kicks off with a boy — Wesley Rush. He’s the school… flirt?! Let’s just say that his motto is, “I don’t chase girls, girls chase me.” He has quite the reputation for sleeping around. His character gets more complex as the novel progresses (thank goodness) and he does quite a bit of realizing for himself (thank goodness x1000).

Jake is someone we get a secondhand account of, but don’t actually meet. The ex-who-wasn’t-really-an-ex who had Bianca as his lady-on-the-side. Gross. He isn’t a redeemable character, to me. Gross.

Toby. Oh, sweet Toby. He’s the boy Bianca has had a crush on since… forever. He’s genuinely a good guy. A little pretentious, but it works for him. He didn’t really have much to him, but his presence did what was necessary.

I can see why people love this book so much! It’s a really well-rounded book. The writing was great in regards to humor, truth, and all of that. Rarely does a book leave me wanting to write a review as soon as I finish, but this was an exception. I know that there are hundreds of reviews out there about this book, but YOWZA. This book packs a punch. I felt like I experienced a whole range of emotions while reading The Duff and I can’t wait to read more of Kody’s work!

A song that popped in my head while reading this novel:


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Brazen by Katherine Longshore Book Review

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Brazen by Katherine Longshore Book ReviewBrazen by Katherine Longshore
Book DepositorySeries: Royal Circle
Published by Penguin on June 12, 2014
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

This month, I kept picking up books that I couldn’t get into, so my solution? Pick up the biggest book on my shelf. And which book was that? Brazen by Katherine Longshore, the third book in a companion series set during Henry VIII’s reign as king. Tudor Times? I read Tarnish a while back for book club, so when I was flipping through Penguin’s catalog for upcoming releases, I knew I needed to request this beast of a book. Both Tarnish and Brazen sucked me in with the world, the cast of characters, and of course the drama.

Even though the ladies in this story were progressive, they had their differences and it was great discourse for how women fit (and didn’t fit) in the society at the time. It was almost like a Sex in the City in Tudor Times. Sex in the Castles? There ya go. It definitely shows when the ladies are sitting around with their embroidery or the book and they’re chatting about the boys and other gossip.

Fitz was rather swoon-worthy and adorable in his way of interacting with Mary Howard. Two awkward 14 year olds get married, and what do you expect? This. This is sooooo good. I definitely giggled every time she was bold enough to just lay one kiss on him and surprise the heck out of the kid.

Also, King Henry is the worst. Just, King of Terrible. But y’all know that from History books and whatnot, right? Dude was fifty shades of awful.

It was really interesting to see Anne in this novel in that the reader gets to see her struggles in her terrible marriage, her interactions with her ladies, and of course her slow demise. I knew what was coming, but I was just hoping for better. You know how it is? Yeah. I just wanted her to kick King Henry in the face and run off with baby Elizabeth.

Back to Mary! I loved that she didn’t forget where she came from. She remained fairly close with her brother throughout the novel, which I am a huge fan of because sibling relations are my favorite. Also the fact that Hal was kind of like the liaison between Fitz and Mary. He could tell Mary things about Fitz, and Fitz things about Mary. Good chap.

Overall, this is just a really REALLY good novel. Ahhh. It definitely has fueled my Historical Fiction kick!

And you can’t read this book without having this song pop up in your head at least once:


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October Wrap-Up 2014

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: the publisher

Are you ready for my October Wrap-Up?! Okay.

*The Body Electric by Beth Revis – I think this was my favorite of the month. Sure, I was looking forward to Blood of Olympus, but as far as reading a book that had build up AND pay-off? This one wins. It wins so hard. I mean, do androids dream of electric sheep?! We get those answers.

*Sway by Kat Spears – Oh goodness. This book. Okay, so, I know that the main character was written to be a terrible person on purpose. It took me about 30 pages to be okay with that. That’s what made it different. It’s also pretty hilarious (and terrible) that he tries so hard to win over this girl but he fails so bad. There are some rather cliche characters when in comes to YA contemporary, but it’s an okay book. I didn’t think it’d be a book that I’d be pushing on all of my friends, but if you’re looking for something that isn’t just a fluffy love story, this might be your jam.
Trigger warning: the main character’s mom is mentioned to have committed suicide. Some details are mentioned.

*The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan – Overall, I definitely love this book. Yes. Good. I loved the character development of Nico. I loved the camaraderie between Annabeth and Piper. When I said that I get the ending, i mean the VERY ending. I don’t get why we get all this build up for Geae rising and then she’s vanquished in such a short period of time. Also, I’m currently re-reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins and I’m reminded of why BoO made me feel… weird. Like, these kids are slaying “monsters” left and right with no remorse. I mean, Reyna feels it, but we don’t see it with anyone else. No one else questions it.

*The Young Elites by Marie Lu – This was not my book. Nope. I love Marie Lu’s writing, but this one just didn’t do it for me. I’m not sure if it’s that I’m not a fan of the more strict Fantasy, but nahhhhhh.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I feel like I needed a fluff read and this one delivered. It was fun and it was entertaining. It did have some big gaping problems (shaming her sister and friends for all sorts of nonsense). That was not good. Not a fan of that. I did like the weaving of fanfiction into the story. And the audiobook was really well done.

* = received for review from publisher

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Re-Reading Books: Mockingjay Part 1

MockingjayI rarely re-read books. The other day, I was thinking about how I hadn’t re-read anything in a while. I didn’t know it was a lie since I had re-read Catching Fire a year or so ago.

Anyway, I was looking through Overdrive (online library thing) and I decided to put a hold on the Mockingjay audiobook. I didn’t know when I’d get it since the movie comes out this week, but I checked back the next day and BOOM, right there waiting for me to download.

I just finished Part 1 of the book (I don’t know if it’ll be the Part 1 of the film… we shall see). I enjoy reading Katniss’s attitude in this novel. She’s been under the Capital’s thumb for so long that she decides to skip all the things she’s supposed to do and instead she goes to take naps in closets and air ducts. It sounds super ridiculous, but after being on her toes for so long in the area, do you blame her? Do you think she’s being lazy? Nope. I mean, if I went through all that — heck, made it through ONE Hunger Games-like challenge– I’d be napping it up. I would’ve painted myself to look like a tree Peeta-style and hung out in a hammock for the rest of the Games.

I think that too often we paint Katniss as this straight-up badass who can’t be pushed down without popping up again. That “Strong Female Character”. Although she does kick ass and take names, she also has those down times when she’s taking naps in a supply closet. And of course you have people calling her out for it in private, which is also freaking hilarious.

So, what have I learned from re-reading part 1 of Mockingjay? Katniss Everdeen is the Queen of Naps.

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