Review: Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy #1) – Chinua Achebe


Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy #1) – Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart

Title: Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy #1

Author: Chinua Achebe

Release Date: September 1, 1994, originally: 1958

Publisher: Anchor Books

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 209

Source: Foundations of the English Major

THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. THINGS FALL APART is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.

3 out of 5 stars


Things Fall Apart follows two storylines that intertwine. The underlying message deals with European invasion and taking over of culture in Africa. I read this for my Foundations of the English Major course, and it was fairly quick read because the writing style was so simple, but the story was a little hard to follow.

I LOVED the writing style because of the simplicity. It was beautiful and easy to read, but there was something that made it difficult to understand. I’m not sure if it was because the names were hard to pronounce and distinguish or if I just didn’t know enough about the Ibo culture to fully appreciate it, but there were some parts that definitely went over my head.

The beginning was about the Ibo culture, but then part three was all about the Europeans coming in and trying to convert everyone to Christianity and that just made me angry. I’m a huge advocate for the fact that all cultures matter and that cultures aren’t wrong, just different to your own. It makes me sick that this happened and is still happening today because, yes I understand that you want people to believe what you believe, but other people’s cultures and religions are valid.

I’m looking forward to the discussion about this book for class because I want to understand more about the story. I think this was an interesting read and would recommend it if you’re looking to dive into another culture.

Review: The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli


The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited

Title: The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli

Release Date: April 11, 2017

Publisher: Balzar + Bray

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 336

Source: Public Library

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?

5 out of 5 stars


I loved this book and can now say that Becky Albertalli is one of my favorite authors.

The Upside of Unrequited follows Molly who is one of a twin duo who is highly unexperienced in the romance department. Molly has had 26 unrequited crushes and has never even kissed a boy. When her twin sister gets a girlfriend she feels left out because they’ve ALWAYS been best friends and have always told each other everything. She doesn’t know what to do. She’s confused and sad. She starts working at a store called Bissel and may or may not start to fall for a nerdy boy obsessed with Tolkien and Game of Thrones…

I totally get why everyone loves this book. This was so cute and perfectly written! I’ve had my annoyances with the term “adequate representation” because I don’t think a book should just be checking off boxes of different ethnicities, genders, religions, sexual orientations etc. but this book ACTUALLY has amazing representation.

Molly is heterosexual. Molly’s sister, Cassie is lesbian. Cassie’s girlfriend is pansexual. Molly has two moms one of whom is lesbian and the other is bisexual. Molly is fat. One of Molly’s moms is black. Some of the family is Jewish.

Okay. So this sounds like a super random hodge podge of different things and you might be thinking “wow that looks like it CHECKS OFF A LOT OF BOXES” but the way this was done was so seamless. There was no questioning about anything which I think made it feel like REAL representation. This book felt so so so real and I loved it.

The way that anxiety was represented was also perfect. I have anxiety so I could relate so much with Molly. She overthinks EVERYTHING and I think to someone who doesn’t overthink everything it would just seem like unnecessary worrying, but this is literally me. She texted someone and two minutes later when they didn’t respond she would freak out and feel like she made the biggest mistake of her life. Dude me too. I think anyone with anxiety could benefit from reading this because it is such an accurate representation of what it’s like.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

Because that’s the thing about change. It’s so painfully normal. It’s the most basic of all tragedies.

I feel this on so many levels because I’m not one that likes change and this is so true it actually hurts.

All the characters were so fun and unique. I don’t even understand how and author could possibly create this many beautiful characters, but Becky Albertalli doesn’t fail to amaze me. The characters from Simon were here!! I had heard that they would be, but I completely forgot about it and then they all showed up to the wedding and aww omg I couldn’t not smile.

Molly and Reid were quite possibly the cutest couple on planet earth. Enough said. Read the book.

ALWAYS READ THE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS BECAUSE:

And to Grandma Molly. I never knew just how much I could miss a person. I lost you while drafting this. I thought of you every time I typed your name. What would I give to hear you call me mamaleh one more time.

omg can this get any cuter? I almost started crying when I read it because aww.

Review: Goblin Market and Other Poems – Christina Rossetti


Goblin Market and Other Poems – Christina Rossetti

Goblin Market and Other Poems

Title: Goblin Market and Other Poems

Author: Christina Rossetti

Release Date: March 5, 2012 – originally: 1862

Publisher: Dover Publications

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 68

Source: Foundations of the English Major Class

Features 32 works — among them “The Convent Threshold,” “Up-hill,” “Cousin Kate,” “Winter: My Secret,” “Maude Clare,” and celebrated title poem.

3 out of 5 stars


This wasn’t what I was expecting. The title poem suggests mischief and magical creatures, and yes the goblins were that but I thought there would be more.

I think the first poem was the only one with a fantasy element which was very disappointing to me. I LOVE fantasy obviously if you’ve seen a lot of the books I read, so when you go in expecting that and get only tragic poems about death and despair it throws you for a loop a little bit.

That being said, the poems were beautiful. I will say that. There’s a reason Christina Rossetti is known for “Goblin Market” because the poem was beautifully written. But I found myself getting lost in the poems! Let me explain a little more.

These are short poems; most of them were only a few stanzas, but the wording was almost too flowery for me to understand. I think this is a time period situation because a lot of the other literature I’ve read from around this time is very similar in the sense that the descriptions are very in depth and the word choice is a little over my head at times. I kept getting lost in the little poems! I would try and focus and pay attention to them, but I think most of the deeper meanings went over my head. This could also be because I read it late at night, but that’s on me.

I think there are worse things to have to read for a class, so I’m happy with this as a required reading. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to anyone not interested in literature and poetry because it is hard to understand sometimes.

Review: Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley


Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Frankenstein

Title: Frankenstein

Author: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Release Date: October 21, 1994 – originally: 1818

Publisher: Dover Publications

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 166

Source: Foundations of the English Major Class

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

4 out of 5 stars


I read this for my Foundations of the English Major class and I was pleasantly surprised, but I still didn’t love it.

The synopsis of this book explains everything so I’m not going to go into detail, but I liked the framing of this story. It started off with letters from a captain of a ship to his sister and Frankenstein’s story is told by him in his letters. I’m not going to lie, I was kind of shocked when I found out how the letters connected with the story.

I don’t know if this was just me being clueless, but I thought the creature/monster was named Frankenstein. Nope. The man who creates the monster is Frankenstein and the monster doesn’t get named. This is apparently a big deal, should probably learn a little more about why that is before I write my essay over this book… ha.

This book took me forever to read. I read it when it was assigned, but it just went so slowly. There were so many words on each page in the edition I have and omg it was dragging on and on and on. I listened to an audiobook I found on YouTube while reading through it.

I annotated this and there’s honestly nothing better than flipping through an annotated book. #englishmajorlife It’s so cool seeing what you thought was important while going through it. Love it.

Yeah, I don’t want to talk a ton about this because I do have to write a paper on it (ugh why tho). I would recommend this, but only if you’re going to be talking about it in a class. It’s hella boring if you aren’t.

Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli


Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Release Date: April 7, 2015

Publisher: Penguin

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 303

Source: Parnassus Books *super cute bookstore in Nashville!*

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

5 out of 5 stars


Why did I put off reading this for so long?! I think I didn’t want to be disappointed because I knew it was hyped up, but there’s a reason it was! THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD.

I’ve had this book on my radar since it came out and took the Booktube community by storm. I wanted to read it and have wanted to since it was released. Why did I wait so long? Because I’m a freaking idiot.

This book follows Simon Spier who is a normal 17 year old boy who goes to high school. He’s involved in the theatre department at school and has a great group of friends. One thing no one knows is that he’s gay. No one except his secret email correspondent he found on the school Tumblr page who goes by the name Blue. Simon and Blue use pseudonyms so they don’t know who the other is, but they email back and forth and Simon finds himself falling in love with this boy. He wants to know who he is but doesn’t want to lose him, so he doesn’t push Blue into revealing who he is.

This story was so cute and I don’t even understand how someone could not enjoy it. It was the perfect mixture of cute, heart-warming and smirking happiness with a very real-life feel. I loved that the only reason Simon didn’t want to come out was because he didn’t want it to be a big deal, not because he was scared. There aren’t enough young adult books about people with good, strong families who are supportive and loving all the time.

The whole time I was making guesses and trying to figure out who Blue was, and I did guess it, but I wasn’t disappointed that I guessed it. I kind of knew right away when the character was mentioned, but still SO CUTE.

“And I can’t stop smiling. I mean, there are times when it’s actually more work not to smile.”

Simon’s group of friends was amazing and had just the right amount of drama for a high school group. This made me miss high school and how simple it was, but how everything seemed like a huge deal. In the best way possible. *I mean I’m only a freshman in college but it’s very different from high school.* When you’re in high school EVERYTHING is a big step. From having your first kiss to starting to drink coffee. Everything seems like the biggest deal, and it’s adorably accurately portrayed in this book.

“White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t be a default.”

I love that Simon isn’t scared to be who he is. He never apologizes for being gay and I love that. It shouldn’t be a big deal, just like he said he didn’t want it to be. His family is so supportive and the scene where his parents come into his room and his dad tells him that he’s so proud of him… I was so happy for him! Even though he wasn’t worried, his parents were so supportive. I strive to be like his parents when I have kids.

“I know I didn’t make it easy for you to come out. We’re very proud of you. You’re pretty brave, kid.”

I LOVED that this book was about the love story and life of Simon, not the fact that he was gay. There isn’t enough of that portrayed in literature. Sexual preference and identity should have no impact on finding someone to love, and the story of that. This was cute and beautiful and perfect. I loved it.

The writing style reminded me of John Green and Jenny Han. Very easy to read and fast enough to read it in two days *raises hand.* Also, the acknowledgments section of the book is so cute and is such a bonus part of books for me now. There are so many hints and clues put in there and awwww. I love when authors mention their other author friends because it makes you feel like part of it because you’ve read books by all of them. So cute.

If you’ve been putting off this book, read it. If you’ve never heard of this book, 1. where have you been? 2. read it because it’s a perfect story.

REREAD Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) – Cassandra Clare


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

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

Title: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Release Date: March 27, 2007

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 485

Source: Public Library

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…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

5 out of 5 stars


I don’t even remember how many times I’ve read this book anymore, but rereading it made me so unbelievably happy!

I LOVE this series, and the Shadowhunter books are my favorite books. For me, these are my Harry Potter books. So many people went through their difficult preteen years with Harry Potter, and that’s great. I love HP, but the Shadowhunter books ARE my HP. These books have helped me through so much from horrible anxiety to switching friend groups. Reading this brought back so many memories for me.

You can read my original review if you want my original thoughts and gushing even though it’s HELLA CRINGE because I wrote the post when I was 15. Yikes.

This book gets better and better the more I read it. I have this plan that I’m going to read all the Cassandra Clare books before the release of Queen of Air and Darkness on December 4th. I don’t have that long, but it won’t be difficult to read all the books considering I’ve already read them and I LOVE THEM ALL.

I forgot where this book ended. Lol in my original review I said I liked Jace and Clary as a couple and as siblings. ha ha ha hell to the no. They are such a cute couple and I forgot that because they’ve never really been my favorite, but I still really like them. I think my favorite couple is Alec and Magnus, and I can’t wait to find out about this new warlock baby child they adopted because something is up. But this book reminded me that they are so awkwardly horrible at not showing their emotions when they’re siblings. I laughed out loud during the big reveal because I just remember how shook I was when I first read it. Man, good times. This is where it all started.

I also forgot how bad I felt for Simon when Clary was blindsided by his declarations of love and didn’t say that she loved him back. It just hurt my heart. Also, when he fricking shoots the skylight out and kills the Greater Demon that was Dorothea you can tell that he is a vampire. I just realized that because it talked about how he moved unnaturally fast and how he acted so strong. Yes, boi because you’s the Daylighter. I can’t wait for them to realize he’s a vampire again and then we’ll get the Sizzy sexy times with the vampire bites. Yep. Excited for that.

I forgot so much of this book and I’m so glad that I re-read it. I love this series and it means so much to me. I honestly can’t wait until I get later in this series and get to re-read the Dark Artifices again because they might be my favorites, but I’ll also get to revisit Will and Tessa. Yayyyyyyy. I love everything about this re-reading of this series. I can’t wait to see all the things I’ve missed for the books I’ve only read once.

TIME TO REREAD ALL OF THE BOOKS.

Review: Guilt in Our Pockets: Poems from South India – Carlos Reyes


Guilt in Our Pockets: Poems from South India – Carlos Reyes

Guilt in Our Pockets: Poems from South India

Title: Guilt in Our Pockets: Poems from South India

Author: Carlos Reyes

Release Date: July 17, 2017

Publisher: Lynx House Press

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 48

Source: Free Book Table!

This new collection by the internationally known poet and translator Carlos Reyes adds to the rich treasure chest of poems from a restless and inveterate traveler whose work has taken us to Spain, Ecuador, France, Ireland, the Arctic, the Galapagos, Mexico, Panama, Italy, and now India. In these poems a talent for visual texture and detail, coupled with the poet’s familiarity with a huge variety of social and cultural matrixes, produces a close and sometimes troubling view of the contrast between American assumptions of privilege and India’s blend of fantastically rich culture and the bitterly desperate social and economic circumstances to be found there in the lives of common folk.

2 out of 5 stars


I found this book while looking through a stack of books on a free book table in one of the English buildings on campus. I was intrigued because I’ve never read any poetry from India, so I brought it with me.

I found this to be a little lackluster for me. I understand that the premise is to show that we, Westerners, are more privileged than those in impoverished countries, but this made me sad pretty much the whole time. Again, I get that that is probably the purpose of this poetry collection, but it was just very sad.

But home is always

where I am at the moment.

This was my favorite quote because I agree with this! Home is wherever you are whether that be with being at college or traveling the world. You can have more than one home.

This didn’t feel like it had a conclusive ending, so it left me hanging a little bit. I wish that the last poem would have wrapped up the collection a little bit more. I also don’t really feel as though I learned that much about South Indian culture while reading this, which is disappointing.

Carlos Reyes sounds like a pretty cool guy. The bio on the back of the book says:

“He lives and writes in Portland, Oregon, when is he not traveling.”

So obviously travel is a huge part of his life, so I think he would be an interesting man to meet!