Monthly Archives: January 2019

Review: The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1) – E. Lockhart


The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1) – E. Lockhart

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver, #1)

Title: The Boyfriend List

Author: E. Lockhart

Release Date: September 26, 2006

Publisher: Ember

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 229

Source: Goodwill

Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it’s unusual, but give her a break—she’s had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she:
lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list), 

lost her best friend (Kim), 

lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket), 

did something suspicious with a boy (#10), 

did something advanced with a boy (#15), 

had an argument with a boy (#14), 

drank her first beer (someone handed it to her), 

got caught by her mom (ag!), 

had a panic attack (scary),

lost a lacrosse game (she’s the goalie), 

failed a math test (she’ll make it up), 

hurt Meghan’s feelings (even though they aren’t really friends), 

became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)

and had graffiti written about her in the girls’ bathroom (who knows what was in the boys’!?!). 
But don’t worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

2 out of 5 stars


This book felt messy.

There were so many points while reading this book that I realized it was so unrealistic and so dramatic. My gosh, SO DRAMATIC.

The Boyfriend List follows Ruby through the telling of stories of past boys she’s liked or dated. She starts having panic attacks and her parents decide to send her to a therapist. This therapist tells Ruby she needs to sort through her problems, and most of her problems are stemming from boys…. so she makes a boyfriend list.

This was a fast read, but so so dumb. This girl is supposed to be 15, and I don’t know if I was just an abnormal 15 year old, but I did not think about boys this much. I’ve never been boy crazy, so I totally could not relate to this book. It was just so ridiculous sometimes! She lost friends over having crushes on different boys. Come on.

I also had a problem with the fact that she was calling them panic attacks….

These were definitely anxiety attacks because there was a definitive stressor causing the situation. They weren’t just randomly striking. This is just lack of education on the author’s part. I’ve had anxiety attacks and it’s similar to how she was describing these panic attacks she was having. I think when you’re talking about mental health you should actually be factual with your information.

There were way too many characters with not enough description for any of them. If you’re going to have that many characters, at least give some sense of background information. Some of the characters just had names that made no sense to the context of the story. Another thing. If the character adds NOTHING, then the character does not need to be there. Some of the friends listed in this book made no sense because they added nothing to the plot of the story at all.

I’m just confused at the boys she chose over others. She had a cute boy from another school that was super nice and liked her, but she just ignored him. She was friends with a nice boy from art class who always complimented her, but she was mean to him. Umm. I’m just confused why she chose the guy who didn’t even really like her and then ended up ditching her for her best friend.

I think that books like this give such unrealistic expectations to young readers. I picked this up because I enjoyed We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I liked the writing style of that book because it was poetic and there was something deeper to the story, but this just showed very unhealthy relationships.

The relationship with the only “real” boyfriend of this book was so so so unhealthy. It reminded me so much of my own ex-relationship because the boy dictated everything and just assumed it would be fine no matter what. It isn’t healthy to show teenage girls that that’s a “normal” relationship! That isn’t how you should be treated. Your boyfriend should want to hang out with you and not make fun of you in front of his friends.

The family dynamic in this book was so whack. At one point the therapist brought up that Ruby is just following the actions her mother takes in her marriage.

  1. don’t tell a 15 year old girl that her parents are fighting and have an unhealthy relationship.
  2. if you show the mother in the unhealthy relationship, make it change by the end of the book to prove… something. That women can make their own choices and not be controlled in relationships. Don’t just let it continue on. Don’t bring it up otherwise!

I think a lot of situations in this book should have been handled much differently. I don’t think that I’ll pick up the next books in the series, but we shall see. They’re short and this first one was easy to read.

Aubrey Joy

Review: The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Cassandra Jean


The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Cassandra Jean

The Bane Chronicles

Title: The Bane Chronicles

Author: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Mauren Johnson, Cassandra Jean

Release Date: November 11, 2014

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 507

Source: Barnes and Noble

Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices can get to know warlock Magnus Bane like never before in this collection of New York Times bestselling tales, in print for the first time with an exclusive new story and illustrated material.

This collection of eleven short stories illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality, flamboyant style, and sharp wit populate the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.

Originally released one-by-one as e-only short stories by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan, this compilation presents all ten together in print for the first time and includes a never-before-seen eleventh tale, as well as new illustrated material.

5 out of 5 stars


I love Magnus Bane.

I’ve already read all these stories, but it was nice to reread them and get back into following one of my favorite characters from this series. My favorite stories were the ones with Alec, of course. Alec and Magnus are one of my favorite couples from this series and I love getting to see them together again.

It’s crazy how many of these stories I had forgotten. I’ve always been up to date with the Cassandra Clare books and read them right when they come out *except for QoAaD, but we don’t talk about her yet….* so I read this originally back in 2014, which is 5 YEARS AGO. Crazy stuff.

I don’t have a ton of thoughts behind these stories because I’ve already read them so I knew all the little connections, but it was fun to read about old characters again. I really like Raphael’s stories and it was cool to see Tessa in today’s time instead of Victorian London.

I’m excited to continue my reread of this series; I’m almost to The Dark Artifices again!!

 

Aubrey Joy

Review: The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5) – Brandon Sanderson


The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5) – Brandon Sanderson

The Hope of Elantris (Elantris, #1.5)

Title: The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: 2006

Publisher: Brandon Sanderson

Format: ebook

Page Number: 25

Source: Brandon Sanderson’s Website

The following is a short story I wrote in the Elantris world back in January of 2006. At that point, Elantris had only been out in stores for about seven or eight months, but I actually hadn’t written anything new on the story or world since 2000, when I’d finished the first draft of the original book. This story was originally posted for sale on Amazon.com; once the contract with them ran out, I posted it on my website.

There were always a few holes in the manuscript where I decided not to include viewpoints or sections of explanation in the name of streamlining, particularly at the end. In the back of my mind, I knew what happened. This story talks about one of those holes; it is meant to be read after you’ve finished the novel and takes place during the events of the climax. In the annotation, I’ve written a further explanation of why I wrote this piece. Some of you may find it interesting to read this ahead of time; I put it in the annotation, however, as I know others would rather enjoy the story without bias beforehand, then read my thoughts afterward. 

Either way, if you haven’t read the novel Elantris, this contains major spoilers. Might I suggest reading the book first? This story won’t work at all for you if you haven’t.

As always, thanks for reading!

4 out of 5 stars


Now I know it may seem backwards that I rated this short story 4 stars when I only rated the first book, Elantris, 3 stars, but it was just so cute!

This is a short story set in the world of Elantris, and Brandon Sanderson published this on his website as he just wanted to have the story out in the world living its literary life.

I loved that we got a little more backstory on some of the events at the climax of Elantris. I loved getting to see Sarene and Raoden again *even though I literally just finished Elantris yesterday morning….* They’re just so cute together and love each other so much. So sweet.

I think getting this story from the perspective of another character was really cool and added a unique twist, because in the book you get three main perspectives. There was also an annotation section from Brandon Sanderson and he named the girl Matisse because he wanted to impress one of his wife’s favorite students. CUTE.

This story made me really excited to read more by Brandon Sanderson!

Series:

Elantris (Elantris #1)

Aubrey Joy

Review: Elantris (Elantris #1) – Brandon Sanderson


Elantris (Elantris #1) – Brandon Sanderson

Elantris (Elantris, #1)

Title: Elantris (Elantris #1)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: May 30, 2006

Publisher: Tor Fantasy

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Page Number: 622

Source: Barnes and Noble

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

3 out of 5 stars


You guys. I finally finished this book after reading it for a month!

Elantris follows three main storylines of Raoden, Sarene, and Hrathen. Raoden is the Prince of Arelon, Sarene is from Teod and is to get married to Raoden, and Hrathen is a Derethi priest sent to convert everyone in Arelon to the Derethi religion.

This book is really hard to explain because there’s so much going on at all times, it’s actually crazy. In short, there is a ton of politics, super cool magic, interesting characters, and a slowly developing plot that wraps up nicely at the end.

This is a typical high fantasy in the sense that it is mostly surrounding intricate politics. I really enjoyed this book and was debating between 3 and 4 stars. I would give the first 3/4 of the book a solid 3 stars, but the last 100ish pages would definitely be 4 stars. So I’m going with my gut and saying 3 stars is a solid way to describe the book.

It was such a slow read for me. This could be because I started reading it when I started backpacking around England, so I was a little preoccupied with… literally everything. I didn’t have a lot of time to read during the trip, so that could have also contributed to it feeling a little disjointed. I also just feel like this is a slow-paced book. It was a really good book, but you have to love reading in order to get through it.

I personally really enjoy “slow burn” books where it takes awhile to get everything sorted out and figure out what’s happening, but it’s also kind of exhausting. This book was 622 pages long, so when I was reading it, it felt like it took me forever to make any notable progress. That being said, I think it was a beautifully crafted book.

I really enjoyed the characters of this book, and the story was definitely character driven. There was a lot happening with the plot, but it mostly focused on the characters. I loved Raoden and how he developed this second life when he got sent to Elantris. I think it said a lot about his character and morals because he didn’t just give up or give into the pain he was feeling.

At the time of reading it I REALLY wanted him to tell Sarene who he was once she started going into Elantris, but after finishing the book, he told her at the perfect time. Any earlier and it would have disrupted the story, and any later it would have been too late. I love them together and seeing how much they love each other just makes my heart so happy.

The magic system was pretty cool, but it took so long to actually get to anything dealing with the magic. I honestly think this book could have been at least 150-200 pages shorter. There was a lot of this book that wasn’t necessary to the story to be able to understand and appreciate what was happening.

I’m looking forward to reading more Brandon Sanderson books because I’ve heard that the Mistborn trilogy is AMAZING. I enjoyed his writing style, so can’t wait to pick those up!!

 

Series:

The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5)

Review: The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living – Meik Wiking


The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living – Meik Wiking

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living

Title: The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living

Author: Meik Wiking

Release Date: September 1, 2016

Publisher: HarperAudio

Format: Audiobook

Page Number:

Source: Libby

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable, audiobook edition of The Little Book of Hygge, written and read by Meik Wiking. Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: hygge. ‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’ You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right. Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress. Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He is committed to finding out what makes people happy and has concluded that hygge is the magic ingredient that makes Danes the happiest nation in the world.

3 out of 5 stars


This was a really great audiobook, but would also recommend flipping through the physical book as well! I started listening to this audiobook and then my mom sent me the physical book because I was talking to her about it. It’s a super cute book to be able to look through, and a great hyggelig book to have on your cozy coffee table or in your reading nook.

This book finally gave me a word to describe my favorite feeling of coziness and being happy at home: hygge.

Hygge is formally defined as: “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture),” but really just means the happy, cozy feeling you get from being comfortable, usually in your own home.

I found this book on the Libby app from my library, and it was the perfect thing to listen to while walking around campus. I related to so much of this short book because I have recently come into the knowledge that I am such a homebody. I went on a 17 day backpacking trip to England right after Christmas, and was so homesick. All I wanted was a day to be back at home with my family playing cards, snuggling with my dogs, having a reading party with my mom, and ending the night snuggled up and cozy in bed.

To me, this is my perfect hyggelig evening. Oh, maybe add in a couple Harry Potter movies and a cup of tea and we’re set.

I LOVE being at home. It’s something I’ve struggled with being away at college. I go to school 5 hours away from home, and even though it doesn’t seem far away now that I’ve traveled halfway across the world, it’s still a journey to get home. I just love my family so much, that I feel safest and most at-home when I’m…. at home.

The author of this book is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, and his job is literally to try and figure out what makes people happy. Firstly, such a hyggelig job, secondly, what a happy way to spend your life!

There was a lot of information packed into this short audiobook including great examples of hygge, facts about why Danish people are so happy, recipes, and how to have the perfect hyggelig evening with family and friends.

I think a lot of introverts would relate to this book. My personality type is INFJ *kind of obsessed with learning about the personality types* so I make strong, deep connections with people, but also enjoy being by myself. In my humble opinion, I have the perfect personality type for hygge ;) All joking aside, I do believe that some of the feelings experienced with hygge can resonate with an introverted individual as we are comfortable being alone or with a small group.

After writing this, all I want to do is put on some warm socks, a big sweatshirt, and climb back into bed and read my books. Sorry, college, you don’t have any hygge.

Review: Up to This Pointe – Jennifer Longo


Up to This Pointe – Jennifer Longo

Up to This Pointe

Title: Up to This Pointe

Author: Jennifer Longo

Release Date: January 19, 2016

Publisher: Random House

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 361

Source: Thrift Store

Harper Scott is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. But while Kate is a naturally gifted dancer, Harper has had to fight for every step. And now it’s make-it-or-break-it time: if their auditions go wrong, their dreams are over. Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in her way, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.

Harper may not be a natural, but she is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the daring explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station…in Antarctica.

Extreme, but also somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.

3 out of 5 stars


This book was good, but I wasn’t blown away.

For some reason I decided to not finish the last 50 pages of this book before leaving for my 17 day England travels, so when I came back and finished it, it felt a little disjointed. That was all on me, though, because I just chose not to prioritize it…

Up to This Pointe follows a girl named Harper Scott who wants to be a professional ballet dancer. Her dream has always been to be in a ballet company, but something happens and her dreams are momentarily put on pause. She decides she needs to get some distance from San Francisco and finesses her way into going to Antarctica for researching for 6 months.

She jumps on a plane and heads out to the frozen tundra where she is finally able to be seen as herself and not just “the dancer.” She meets people and makes new friends who help her see she has other interests instead of just dancing.

I related to the whole “oh my gosh my life isn’t what I thought it would be right now and I have no idea what I want to do with my life” more than you will ever know lol. I have been having all these same feelings for a couple months, so I related so much to this! I also don’t know if I want to go into the professional dance world even though I’ve been dancing for almost 15 years of my life. Life is weird, guys.

I didn’t love the relationships or the ways they were portrayed throughout this book. Harper meets this super cute and sweet guy in San Francisco who really likes her, then she just leaves and goes to Antarctica. Fine. No worries, I guess, but then she meets another guy while she’s there. I don’t think she really likes him I just think that she’s “dating” him because it’s convenient and she wants attention. But then other times I think she actually does like him. I don’t know. But the original super sweet awesome cute boy from San Fran is sending her emails and letters and she just doesn’t read them.

?

What the heck. Why wouldn’t you read them and respond? She likes him. A lot. Or so she said before she left, so idk why she wouldn’t look at them. Plot device? I don’t know.

He also just keeps sending them even though she isn’t responding. I admire that his character has resilience, but that is totally not what would have happened. He would have emailed for maybe a month and then got the message that she wasn’t interested. Because that’s what she was portraying to him. Just seems a little fishy to me.

There was also LITERALLY NO WAY she would have gotten the opportunity to go to Antarctica.

  1. She’s not even a science student. She’s not going to college and she graduated school early.
  2. She has no skills that they would have possibly known would be useful to being there.
  3. She applied to go and knew she was going within such a short time.

Not realistic at all. People would be waiting to go and working for years and years to get a spot on the list. There literally no possible way that could have happened… but this is also just a book, so I’ll give it a little grace.

I know there was a lot of negative in this review, but I actually did enjoy a lot of this book. I love books about dance, even though it’s not always done in a way that makes a ton of sense.

The reality of dance is this: it’s a lot of hard work for not a super great reward all the time. You work for hours a day and might not get a part because you’re too tall or won’t fit into a costume. Dance is so subjective and that makes it so difficult. You could have amazing technique, but your body doesn’t fit the type they want. Again, a lot of work for not always a great reward.

I loved the family dynamic because everyone was so close; it reminded me a lot of my own. I’m so close with everyone in my family, so it’s nice to see a strong family unit that doesn’t have any disruptions in it.

Overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone that dances because there are some little tidbits of info that only a dancer would understand :)

Review: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World – William H. McRaven


Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World – William H. McRaven

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World

Title: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe The World

Author: William H. McRaven

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Format: Audiobook

Page Number:

Source: Libby

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world,” he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves-and the world-for the better.

Admiral McRaven’s original speech went viral with over 10 million views. Building on the core tenets laid out in his speech, McRaven now recounts tales from his own life and from those of people he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even in life’s darkest moments.

3 out of 5 stars


I gained such a new appreciation for Navy Seals after listening to this audiobook.

This is a short book talking about lessons Admiral William H. McRaven learned during his career as a US Navy Seal. The title originally caught my attention because I, too, make my bed every morning. I love climbing into a nicely made bed, and this was the first lesson talked about during the book.

Part of the training for becoming a Navy Seal is to look professional, and that always included the barracks. Each individual was to make their bed pristinely every single morning. I liked that this is what the book started with because the idea behind it is this: if you make your bed, no matter what, you’ve started your day off with finishing a task. It’s simply that you can have something positive done right at the beginning of your day. Plus having a nicely made bed is so much nicer to sleep in, and makes your bedroom look 100x more organized.

I liked the advice given throughout this book, but I found some of it to be pretty generic. I was intrigued by the stories the author told about his life in the Navy. I knew it was intense, but not as intense as he was describing it. There is literally no way that I could do half of what he had to endure. Anyway, I liked the stories even though the advice was a little average.

There were moments that I was getting chills or getting teared up because of some of the stories. I think I’m just becoming a big softy, but I almost started crying multiple times just because something was so touching.

I’ve come to really love self-improvement books because there is ALWAYS something to be gained from the advice given. I love having positive information in my ears as I walk on campus during the day.

Yay for the first book of the year!