The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Trigger warning ahead: This books plot is based on a person taking her life and the after effects that happen to her family. It also deals with taboo of depression. If you have any history with suicide, please do not read this book or my review. Thank you. M.

About (Goodreads)

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

My Thoughts

Trigger warning ahead: This books plot is based on a person taking her life and the after effects that happen to her family. It also deals with taboo of depression. If you have any history with suicide, please do not read this book or my review. Thank you. M.

I’ve been looking for a book that I could finally mark less than 5 stars. This IS NOT it. This book is astounding. A debut novel by the author and she hit out of the book park (library?). Honest, raw, emotional. A roller coaster of emotions from beginning to end. From the very first sentence I was hooked. That is hard to do people! To engage your reader from the very beginning is sometimes SO damn difficult that some books don’t truly get their groove until mid chapter 1, maybe chapter 2.

I honestly think though that the character Leigh is what makes this book, which is great, since she’s the main character. Leigh is an emotional ball of fierce who is struggling like any child would with the sudden death of her mother. By going on this long journey of finding out how to find her mother again, she also learns about her long estranged grandparents, sees her father through new eyes, and learns so many new, sad, and wonderful things about her life, family, and most importantly, herself.

It takes true craft to have the reader also grieve with the character. I mean, I felt the emotions, not only for Leigh, the daughter; but also, for Dory, her mother. As someone who has depression and anxiety this story is relate-able. And that is where the author gets you. She made the story relate-able for almost everyone who reads it. Whether you have depression or some other form of mental illness, know someone who has, or maybe a close family member who has a mental illness, you can on some level feel the emotions from all characters. I think the topic of suicide and depression is such a heartbreaking yet relevant topic for today. The way Pan writes this story is exquisite and delves into how families deal with these issues. It really shows you that saying, “you never know what happens behind closed doors”. In this case, no one really knew what Dory was going through, no one noticed. It’s easy to hide behind a fake smile.

One of the quotes that really stuck with me from the book was

Depression, I opened my mouth to say, but the word refused to take shape. Why was it so hard to talk about this? Why did my mother’s condition feel like this big secret?

“She’s forgotten how to be happy,” I told him.

this conversation takes place between Axle and Leigh and it made me cry. It really is that difficult for some people to say, to understand, to deal with. Taboo. It’s a conversation people need to be able to have so they can help each other. Because mental health does affect everyone. I mean, depression comes with highs and lows. When you are in the low part, it takes A LOT to come up sometimes. And in order to get out, you NEED someone who can pull you up a little at a time.

One of the key aspects in this story also is art. Leigh is a very talented artist who expresses herself in what shade something makes her feel. “What color?” is said throughout the story and flashbacks between her and her best friend Axel. It’s such a different perspective on how to see things. Colors. They are everywhere but how often do we actually pay attention to what shade of blue, green, yellow, etc the thing/person/object/place is? We don’t. We move too fast. This book is a whirlwind yet the colours are extraordinary. It paints a new picture when specific colors are added to the mix. Leigh and Axle do a wonderful job of painting their pictures both separate and together. And y’all, you will want them together. They are precious.

I need to touch on the father. Leigh’s father is a hard working, intelligent, loving and caring man who truly does love and care for his family. The stories told about him and Dory are sweet. It makes you wonder how in the world he missed the signs? This book really conjurs up the questions people always have about suicide. Whose fault is it? Is it the families? Is the persons? I think survivors guilt is what most feel. I can’t know because I have never lost anyone close to me from suicide. I can only say from reading the book that it seemed like what Leigh was feeling until she found her answers in Taiwan visiting her grandparents. It’s really relieving to see that he does change and support Leigh in the end though. I think he realized that he needs her and supporting her and loving her is what he needs to do.

The journey in Taiwan that Leigh takes is so original, at least to me. It was a crazy roller coaster of ups and downs, and mental games. Leigh powers through memories and you’re taken on a walk down memory lane, but not just Leigh’s memories, everyone’s memories. Leigh’s, her dad’s, her grandma’s, her aunt, her father, all the important keys to her mother’s life that will hopefully end in Leigh finding the red bird.

I can relate to the part where Leigh complains about being told she’s exotic or asked, “What are you?”. My daughters are part Asian and I’ve been asked on occasion that question and been told that they look “so exotic”. My reply though is usually, “they’re not dancers.” My humor is either not appreciated or goes WAY over the person’s head.

Rating

🌠🌠🌠🌠🌠

Recommendation

I would recommend this book for high school literature classes,but as long as teachers announced the subject matter in advance; adult book clubs could also benefit from this subject matter.

Other

Please leave a comment, like, or follow me. I love feedback so long as you’re nice and it is helpful.

M.

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Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

About (Goodreads)

Things Chloe knew: Her sister, Ivy, was lonely. Ethan was a perfect match. Ethan’s brother, David, was an arrogant jerk.

Things Chloe should have known: Setups are complicated. Ivy can make her own decisions. David may be the only person who really gets Chloe.

Meet Chloe Mitchell, a popular Los Angeles girl who’s decided that her older sister, Ivy, who’s on the autism spectrum, could use a boyfriend. Chloe already has someone in mind: Ethan Fields, a sweet, movie-obsessed boy from Ivy’s special needs class.

Chloe would like to ignore Ethan’s brother, David, but she can’t—Ivy and Ethan aren’t comfortable going out on their own, so Chloe and David have to tag along. Soon Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan form a quirky and wholly lovable circle. And as the group bonds over frozen-yogurt dates and movie nights, Chloe is forced to confront her own romantic choices—and the realization that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.

My Thoughts

I’m not sure what I expected going into this book, but it definitely wasn’t this absolutely amazingness!

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book that drew me in so quickly. I was invested in the characters and what was happening. Chloe was such a strong female character and it made me love her. Her sister,Ivy, I thought was such a great and enlightening woman character. I haven’t read many books that center around autism and what it’s like for the siblings, and how the parents are and what the parents are like in the situation. I feel like in this case, the mother didn’t know what she was doing because Chloe had always done everything when it came to Ivy. You can see it and feel it. Chloe knows so much about Ivy and knows that eventually, Ivy needs to know how to do adult things. I think my favorite part is that you realize you truly never know what someone else is going through or what their home life is like. Chloe’s friends are the typical high school teens whose lives revolve around themselves. It’s normal. And yet, at the same time it is so frustrating that I wanted to punch James and Sarah in their faces. After Chloe and James’s breakup the way they talk to her is just aggravating. They truly don’t understand and don’t want to understand.

Something must be said for David. What a gem. Like yes, he’s the worst but he’s also the Best. His humour and sarcasm are life. When he and Chloe finally get along, it’s so worth the dialogue. Which, btw, is one of the BEST things about this entire book. The dialogue is amazing and just spouting with all the sass. I live for sassy dialogue and this book delivers.

I think this book would be a great tool for understanding autism in families. Also, in reference to families, this book shows the good,bad, and ugly of blended families. Step- parents often get a bad rap and while there is a heap of it in there, it also shows the presumptions made about step parents. More importantly, it shows how people with autism are smarter than most give them credit for and how irrational and uneducated some people can be about the topic.

I highly recommend this book to everyone but I think it would be beneficial for anyone who has ever had any contact with someone with autism. I feel like family members with autistic relatives could glean something from this read, some sort of truth.

Rating

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Best for ages 13 and up; book clubs for both adults and school children in 7th grade and higher.

M.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

About book (Goodreads): Vivan Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

My Thoughts

Moxie is such a wonderful book! I can’t recommend it enough. Not only is it a good book for women of all ages, but also men.

You probably think I relate to this because I’m a woman. And while that may be true, it’s also because I went to high school. I went to a small high school but I know things. I also believe that these type of situations mentioned in the book: the dress code check, the bump n grab, etc, happen a lot more. I went to a school elementary thru high school where we wore uniforms but dress code checks still happened. Is that how you wear that skirt? Your skirt is too short., your bra strap is showing,  there was even a moment where socks were checked to make sure our ankles were covered. Our. ankles. So yes, this has always happened, even is small schools is random Mississippi.

Now, as a mother of two girls I am hyper aware of what goes on in schools. I’m frightened that something will happen to them and they won’t defend themselves, tell a teacher, or tell me or my husband. It’s something that even in my oldest daughter’s young age, I still worry about. We currently live abroad and the school thankfully is very vigilant of things bullying and such, but that worry stays in your gut.

Moxie is a book that helps show the world what feminism is truly about. It helps spread the word about a movement of equality. I know things happen to boys and men too. It’s about both sexes being treated fairly, and being believed and not just swept under the carpet. Vivian is such a great and believable character because she questions herself so much about what she is doing. She questions whether her big idea will help at all and doesn’t tell anyone in fear that she will get in trouble. As the studious, good girl type in high school, I was like man, that’s so me in high school. Her BFF, Claudia, is a good representation too. The relationship between Viv and Seth is great. It was a believable boyfriend and girlfriend scenario to me because not all boys are ass-holes, but most boys don’t understand.

I also would love to mention that the mom/daughter relationship portrayed is SO good. I also love that parents for all kids are present in different ways. All ethnicities are represented and some very relevant race issues are talked about. This book is so relevant for today’s society.

Stars

🌠🌠🌠🌠🌠

Recommended for

I would recommend this book for a literature classes in 7th thru 12th grades, and book clubs for adults too. You can glean so much information from today’s society and even society’s of the past- because this shit happens no matter what year we’re in.

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I hope you enjoyed my review of Moxie! Please leave comments, suggestions, likes for me. Follow me too!

M.

City of Glass (Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

About (Goodreads)
To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns thaod hat Jace does not want her there, and her best friend, Simon, has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling The Mortal Instruments.

My Thoughts
Where to begin? I love this series so much that it’s overwhelming. I honestly haven’t found a series I’ve loved so much since Harry Potter. And I LOVE HARRY POTTER! It’s a fierce love and passion. That being said, let’s continue…

I think what made me roll my eyes hard is the Clave. Why do the Shadowhunters trust so blindly to people who clearly have been corupt for years? This time isn’t the first. The other Inquisitor was a badass bitch who was ridden with vengence, this new one is a two faced piece of shit who had everyone fooled. Why won’t you learn Shadowhunters!!

Things I’m glad about:

  1. Jace and Clary aren’t related in the biological sense. But them having angel blood has to mean something? I don’t know what but it has to be something. Pure angel blood but still human. There’s something…
  2.  Sebastian the crazy dies and Jace is the one to kill the psycho. It says a lot about a person when they’re crazier than their crazy father/creator. Pure evil Sebatian is, or the real Jonathan. How weird is it that he KNEW who Clary was the whole time and STILL kissed her. Like WTF?! I mean, demon blood I suppose could make you want weird crazy shit like that I guess. Ick. I’m just glad that Jace killed the mofo. Or did he?
  3. Valentine. Man, this guy. Summons an angel and thinks the angel has to do his bidding. The balls. I find it incredible he lived this long. But I’m even happier he dies. Like seriously, dead as a door nail. But I don’t understand why they gave him a Shadowhunter funeral? He was bat shit crazy and they did the whole thing. Someone needs to explain that to me. Why would they waste their time on someone who tried to wipe out their race?
  4. Simon and Isabelle? Ok. I knew it was gonna happen but also Maia? Vampire hotness must be gold.
  5. I think what I like most about being 3 books in is that Clary has stopped her poor pitiful me thing. She has become a Shadowhunter. She’s brave, strong, independent, and a problem solver. Yes, she needs more training- she can’t always rely on her runes but she’s a badass. The way she kills Valentine. Priceless.
  6. The most romantic scene I’ve ever read is her asking for the angel to resurrect Jace. That’s all she wants. She can literally ask the Angel for A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. and she only wants Jace. I pretty sure I swooned. Like usually the male character is all here’s my romantic gesture, but this was so much more. The love in that moment was so overpowering.

I do need to brush up on my biblical readings though. The amount of references to Old and New Testaments makes me reconsider if I learned anything in my 12 years at a Catholic school. I think I’m mostly referring to the rune Clary places on Simon’s head. Cain and Able. The one story most everyone knows and remembers. 7-fold death if you attempt to kill Simon. Goodness. I’ll say this, Cassandra Clare is a bad ass writer to create such a world and vision like she has.

One last thing…Luke and Clary’s mom. Finally.

5 out of 5 stars. (Did you expect anything less?)

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

About (Goodreads)

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein’s enormous shadow. This is the story of Einstein’s wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.

Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.

My Thoughts

I don’t normally read historical fiction books because I’m not a huge fan of history, it bores me. However, I read this book because it was highly recommended at the library and I thought, ‘why not!’. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book.

As with most books I review, I usually peruse others views on the book to see if I’m in the majority or minority on how much or little I liked the book. I’m really surprised at how many people had problems with this book. The author does her best to explain that she takes liberties with her story, as it’s fiction. Let’s remember that, shall we? FICTION. This is a novel based on real people but it. is. fiction. Are there truths? Sure, absolutely. But there’s also a lot of faslehoods, which, have you read fiction? Yeah? Well, guess what..fiction ain’t real.

Like I said, it surprised me how many people didn’t like Benedict’s “lies”. She told a story about a remarkable woman and that’s what people took from this telling.

Mitza Maric was ahead of her time. She was a genius in her own right who made a terrible mistake by marrying the selfish, egotistical Albert Einstein. When I first began reading this book, I honestly, 100% didn’t even know Einstein had been married. It’s not something that is ever mentioned when learning about him. Or maybe it was, but briefly and wasn’t stressed as important. I did a lot of google searches to see how much lined up with what Benedict wrote in this book of fiction. I was surprised to find out a good majority did line up. Mitza was remarkable. Truly. She was no doubt an outcast (as stated in the book for more reasons than just her brilliance), but that gave her determination to me. To me, even though she was this outcast with little to no confidence in who she was as a person or scientist, she was refreshing. And reading a refreshing book, opens your mind.
In the reviews I read, most people had a problem with the opening about her and Einstein’s courtship. I’m in the small percentage, who was riveted. This book captured me from the beginning. I’ll be honest, when any science-y stuff went down, I was like what? (confused face). But the story, her story, was what captured my attention and held it. Mitza was encouraged from a young age by her father, which means a lot back then, to further her education more than most daughters, or women in general, were usually encouraged. She had a limp from a congenital defect but that doesn’t really stop her. She uses as an excuse numerous times, but it never really stops her. She overcomes it as strong women do. And she is strong. Stronger than anyone, including herself, gives her credit for.

Let me be real. I was disappointed she fell for Einstein. In the novel, he seeps slimy. But she can’t see it. Was he truly in love with her? Sure, I’m sure he was well-intentioned at first. But I wonder if maybe he saw just how brilliant, just how genius she was, and he exploited that for himself. I mean he did exploit her genius. All you have to is read the book to see that. But it’s lack of compassion, empathy, love for their first child that made my blood boil. It made me despise Albert Einstein in the book so much that he could refuse to his own child. He was a selfish prick who I was so hoping Mitza would see.

My heart broke when her daughter died. As a mom, I just couldn’t even imagine the pain of losing a child and especially so young. The emotions this book provokes is astounding. Their flirtatious relationship in the beginning makes you happy and almost bashful for seeing their intimate moments, the heartache, the betrayal, the hurt and pain that Mitza endures in those couple of years from the birth of her daughter until Einstein decided to marry her are so heart wrenching that you wish to jump in the book and beat the shit out this man. He NEVER sees his beautiful daughter. I understand that back then, a child out of wedlock what a BIG no-no. But if he truly, loved and cared for Dollie as he said then wouldn’t he at least try to do something for this woman he wants to marry? Yes, is the answer all other answers are wrong.

The progression of their relationship is heart wrenching. I hated Albert Einstein so much at the end of this book I couldn’t believe that he was such a renowned scientist. Which according to this novel, he stole the success and brilliance of his works from his genius wife. Was he a genius in the book as well, yes he was. But he stole her works all because she didn’t have a degree to her name like he did. Because she had.a.baby. I was so livid the last few chapters of the book. The way he treated Mitza made me furious. I think meeting Madame Curie did Mitza a world of good. It made her wake up from whatever awful nightmare she had been having.

It’s always nice to read a book about a strong woman. Even if it takes her some time to realize her own strength. Mitza was a brilliant, strong, funny woman who deserved more than was given in this book. I really enjoyed learning things from this work of fiction. It made me learn because I wanted to know the truth versus this novel. A book that inspires learning is a good book indeed.

4 out of 5 stars. Why not 5? I think my hatred for Albert E just is so BIG that I have to give it a 4. It made me really look at him in a new light (yes, I know it’s a work of fitction but still).

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

About (shadowhunters.com)

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

 

My Thoughts (Spoilers)
So I was waiting this whole book for Simon to become a vampire. To make sure the storyline at least went with the books in the tv series. While the way it happened didn’t line up and the books story is way more entertaining, it does happen. Which makes him so much more interesting. More bold, daring. More character.

I’ll be honest, I hate the Simon and Clary love thing. It creeps me the hell out when they kiss. Like epic creepiness. I don’t like them as a couple. ( ESPECIALLY ON THE TV SHOW! but that’s a whole other matter)
I think the whole turning into a vampire situation is interesting and such a dilemma. If you’re best friend was about to die but you had the chance for them to live forever essentially, what would you do? Such a hard answer. Because selfish feelings come into play here. I wouldn’t want my best friend to die. I’d change her into a vamp no questions asked. (just so you know lol) I do think that Shadowhunters having alliances with vampires, werewolves, fae, and all downworlders is a handy thing to have. So Simon becoming a vampire should help things, maybe.

It’s really sad all the death and destruction Valentine does this book. He messes poor Jace up so bad mentally. Like, “I’m your father.” Shit, dude. He’s Valentine why believe him. But he is so convincing a liar everyone does. Enter awkwardness for Clary and Jace since they’re in love with other and they kissed. So stay with me with what I’m about to say, I love this relationship. Like, I want them together so hard. May be creepy to want that but I DO.

The Inquisitor. What. A. Bitch. I honestly was glad she died. (Man, I’m just spoiling things left and right…but really, read the book so many more details.) It’s an interesting turn of events that brings about her death, her realizations, and those of Jace’s life as well.

I liked this book as much as the first. So don’t be surprised of the 5 stars.

5 out of 5 stars!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

About (Goodreads)
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder – much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air.

It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing – not even a smear of blood – to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk.

Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

My Thoughts
I started reading this series because I’m addicted to the show. I wanted to see what the differences are between the books and the series on television. There are A LOT!

One of the one differences is that in the book Clary is 16 while in the tv series she’s 18. Which for television purposes is probably good that she’s older. But how she acts does make sense with her being so young. Another difference is her height. She’s barely 5 feet in the books. And we all can see that on tv she’s much taller. Which again isn’t surprising on t.v. Honestly, I don’t find bed too whiny or scared in the books like on tv. She’s overly annoying on television. In the books she’s age appropriate. Can you imagine having your life ripped away from you? Being told that all the myths and legends are true? She handles it like a champ I think.

Jace. Oh boy. It’s weird that he’s 17 in the book. Makes me feel awkward for writing this but whatever he’s fictional. If there’s one character that both book and tv were dead on about, it’s Jace. Goodness gracious me. Yas. Most people may say he’s a conceited,egotistical, sarcastic asshat. And to that, I’d agree 100%. But that is what makes him so gosh darn sexy. And my favorite. There’s moments that just rip your heart out because of the emotions he’s feeling. Cassandra Clare did an amazing job writing this character (and the books). Also, Dom Sherwood on the tv show is just amazingly sexy and them eyes.

This whole world of shadowhunters and down worlders is very interesting and exciting. Some have compared it to Harry Potter and even claimed that Clare stole the idea from Rowling..like it’s based off of and copied with details changed. As someone who is an avid Harry Potter fan, I disagree. This world, these characters are all Clare’s. I mean I don’t remember any witch in Harry Potter having glitter as their aura (which is what Magnus Bane glitter says to me).

Magnus Bane. I love him. He’s funny, brilliant, sexy, and badass in his own way. It’s good he’s a warlord because he’s magical. His relationship with Alec is my favorite relationship in this book. It’s so sweet and fragile. You have this hundreds year old warlock with this bow and arrow shooting, straight laced, rule following, shadowhunter. It makes me so happy. I’d also like it ssy that I’m super happy that freeform (the channel shadowhunters ison in the U.S.) cast an Asian man in this role as he’s described as an Asian man who’s good looking..Which have you seen Harry Shum jr? Yas.

I really like the bad guy. Yes. I said that. Valentine is such a BAD MAN. He’s so bad that I love to hate him. Like he’s crazy as hell and the entitlement is real with that one but for a villain, he’s awesome.

Clary is brave for going to the city of bones to try and unlock her memories. I think it shows how her character will develop over time.

5 out of 5 stars! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

About (Goodreads)
A short story about waiting and believing — but mostly waiting — by the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On. All proceeds go to the ACLU Foundation.

When Elena decided to camp out for the next Star Wars movie, she was expecting a celebration, a communion — a line full of people who love Star Wars so much, they have to share it.

She wasn’t expecting this:  a freezing sidewalk, nowhere to pee, and three nights stuck with a boy who decided not to like her before they even met.

It’s enough to make a girl leave the line…

But Elena came here for Star Wars, and it will take more than bad weather and a dumb boy to squash her spirits.

My Thoughts

This was such a cute, quick, witty short story. I loved it! Rainbow Rowell doesn’t disappoint me in her writings so it was no surprise that 1. I loved this! and 2. I understood every word about Star Wars mentioned which made me LOVE her more because she wrote a short story about LOVING. STAR. WARS.

The nerd in me was like yesssss! And the reader in me was like, WHY IS THIS ENDING HERE?!! I really could do with more to this story. Especially when it comes to Elena and Gabe. They were just getting good.

I think it says something about an author that can develop such a great character like Elena in such a quick read. The humor in this story is amazing and her knowledge about Star Wars…I mean, just when you think you can’t love someone more..they nerd out on you.

5 out of 5 stars! Pick it up now!

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

About (Goodreads)

From Julie Murphy, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’ and Side Effects May Vary, comes another fearless heroine, Ramona Blue, in a gorgeously evocative novel about family, friendship, and how sometimes love can be more fluid than you first think. Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Morgan Matson.

Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.

My Thoughts
I loved this book so much! I’m a big fan of Julie Murphy. Not only because her books are fun and unique, but also because of the Mississippi aspect. Mississippi, my home. When I find a book, or series, set in Mississippi I buy it, read it as fast as possible and then recommend it to anyone who will listen. Ramona Blue is a book that will go at the top of my Mississippi books list.

Set in Eulogy, MS Ramona Blue is a unique person. Tall with blue hair. Everyone knows who Ramona is. She’s hard to miss. In backwoods MS, being a super tall, dyed blue hair lesbian is something that wouldn’t go unnoticed. She knows who she is and isn’t ashamed. But things take a sharp turn when her childhood friend comes back to town. Ramona starts to question who she is and if she’s gay, straight, or bi.

I loved Ramona! She’s a strong, female character that I love reading about. I would for sure read another book about her adventures in college (hint hint lol). What I couldn’t get passed, was that she felt like her family and all their problems were her responsibility. She’s 17 and living like she’s 30. Working as many jobs as she can and worrying about who’s going to take care of her sister’s baby. Her sister is a whole other piece of work. Her sister is pregnant and selfish. I could not stand her. I really hoped she’d move away or something. I just can’t with her.

I was SO FREAKING HAPPY with the ending of this book. I know we all know people who deserve goodness in their lives. Ramona is one of those people. I know she’s a fictional character but seriously, the shit this child goes through is way more than most adults go through. Her dad works his ass off but still doesn’t make enough so Ramona and her sister pitch in. But somehow, Ramona has become the backbone of the family. Almost like she had to take the role of wife, or the other adult, so the family could eat, live, breathe. It broke my heart. She’s so young and no child should have to work harder than their parent to make lives better for those in the same house. Which I know kids do, but the world shouldn’t work that way. Her mom is also a POS (piece of shit), her sister and mom get along…wonder why (hmm).

Freddie comes along and Ramona’s whole world gets shook. I really like Freddie and Ramona together. They challenge each other, learn from each other, make each other better. Just like a relationship should. It’s nice to see how Murphy makes worlds collide, especially in a setting like MS. A white girl and black boy. Lesbian with a straight boy. It’s something only a creative, out of the box person could write.

I like that Ramona finally gets it. Her sister choosing her loser baby daddy over her finally breaks Ramona. And she decides to take her life into own hands. It’s great. I cheered for her! I was so proud of her for getting it.

It’s a great book to read. It explores sexuality, race, social classes, and life in general. It’s a refreshing story about a girl trying to find herself.

5 out of 5 stars!