Uncategorized · wrap up

September 2018 Wrap Up

September was a relatively normal month for me. I’ve been trying to do this thing where I try not to let my social anxiety dictate my life. Not until I really analyzed myself in September did I notice how many of my behaviors (touching my hair incessantly, going on my phone, looking down) in social situations helped me avoid talking to people when really it’s not as bad as I made it out to be in my head.   I mentioned in my August wrap up that I wanted to live a more meaningful life. So I started forcing myself to initiate conversations and my theory is that by exposing myself more to different social situations I can start to become more myself wherever I go. It’s quite the difficult journey as I’ve had these habits for about 20 years of my life. In the meantime, here are some fun things I did.

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iSno cafe – shaved snow with brownies, chocolate chips, and whipped cream
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Patch Coffee – the usual hipster coffee shop but I liked this one’s airy atmosphere and travel pictures on the wall

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I promise my next post will not contain Cha for Tea
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Happy Hour!
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My boyfriend got a pillowpet bear. His name is Lenny.

 

Books

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The Winner’s Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (4.5/5) – I reread the Winner’s Curse trilogy this year and I am still so amazed at this series. I did an entire review on it in my previous post here.

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Sadie by Courtney Summers (3.75/5) – Sadie is a YA crime thriller about Sadie who is out to kill her sister’s murderer. It alternates chapters between Sadie’s point of view and that of a journalist, West McCray who makes a podcast chronicling his investigation into Sadie’s whereabouts. For a crime thriller, I really liked this one and I thought the complicated relationship portrayed between Sadie’s mother, Sadie, and her sister Mattie was ambiguous and consequently fascinating.  Ironically, Sadie paints her neglectful and drug abusive mother in the best light to Mattie wanting to give her normal childhood, who, in turn, sees Sadie in a harsher light. Sadie is an awesome protagonist to follow in the first person. First person is written a lot in YA and I often wonder why because a lot of the perspectives offered nothing unique or nuanced but Sadie remains brutal and mysterious even though we are in her head. I thought the accompanying podcast to this book where you can follow along on the podcast was very ingenious and realistic. I just wish the book had a little bit more to it. Despite the good exploration of their relationships, I wish I knew more about Sadie’s past because it was so interesting. I also wish I knew more about the murderer too, he became just another murderer to me. Also, for reasons I can’t explain, this book lacked a certain tension to it.

Movies

Memento (A-) – Memento is about Lenny who is unable to form new memories whichImage result for memento makes it difficult when the movie revolves around him trying to find his wife’s murderer. When I found out this was a Christopher Nolan movie, I went into it with certain expectations since I had now seen Inception, Interstellar, Batman and now this movie. And as expected, you are left in the dark about basically everything which is actually fitting for this movie as the main character doesn’t remember anything about what he just experienced and the movie starts at its ending and meets in the middle. You will get more confused as Lenny tattoos more information to his body with the same ambiguous people appearing in his life again and people chasing him. This one is not as grand as the other movies in terms of CGI and worldbuilding. It definitely has more of a thriller aspect to it and once again that ending is left open for interpretation.

Image result for princess diaries 1 and 2Princess Diaries 1 and 2 (B) – Whenever anyone feels doubtful about who they are or whether they’re enough, they need a dose of Princess Diaries. Aside from being utterly charming and warm with a cast of lovable characters (my favorite of which is Mia’s grandmother, proper but sassy Julie Andrews), PD shows how Mia, a girl who thought she was an insecure outcast, found the princess inside herself. As a side note, I am always so delighted at the ending of PD 2. To me, it is one of the most feminist endings of any rom com I’ve seen.

TV

Insecure (A) – Insecure continues to be such a delightful comedy show. It’s definitely aRelated image show made for millennials. In this season we learn more about Issa’s childhood and we finally see her recognize her mistakes and try to fix them but really come into her own. Of course, as per Insecure, it’s filled with drama and relationship twists. The dynamics between her and Molly are as solid as ever. The Coachella episode was my favorite of the season as Issa and her friends grapple with the fact that they are growing apart.

Image result for emma approvedEmma Approved Season 1 (B)– I rewatched Emma Approved because as I am writing this Season 2 is already out!! It was such a wonderful shock when I found it was coming back because Season 1 was such a huge part of my life 5 years ago when it first came out. I was still in my sophomore year of college. I remember rushing to the library after my dreaded physics class and hurriedly finding a computer and putting headphones on to enjoy the next short but sweet episode. It was definitely one of the few bright spots in my otherwise dreary sophomore year. Though upon rewatch I found the plot to be lacking compared to the nuanced commentary and wit of the book, I definitely needed Emma’s stalwart optimism and high confidence in September.

Reality showsLove Island is only the start of more bad reality TV shows I’ve started watching except for British bake off (which is so charming). I’ve since started watching Married at First Sight. It ends up being more funny than anything since I can’t take any of them seriously.Image result for killing eve

Killing Eve – It’s been said a thousand times but I just cannot get behind watching a crime show and this one did not break that streak. Though objectively this is a great show about a female assassin (never gets shown on TV) and a female detective to boot, I need to be just in the right mood to watch crime! I watched 3 episodes before I stopped but for any crime junkies out there, I wouldn’t miss this one. It’s filled with some funny side characters and the potential for deeper psychological and violent reveals.

Games

Clash Royale

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I was back to playing this game because I just liked the gameplay and I found more interest in making new decks. But alas I got frustrated with it and stopped playing it although I know it is a game I’ll come back to eventually.

Music

Yellow by Coldplay, remade by Katherine Ho – I saw Crazy Rick Asians in August and I’ve been listening to the soundtrack. I really like the rendition of Coldplay’s Yellow. Fun fact: Coldplay originally did not want the song to be played since it had racist connotations but the director sent a heartfelt letter saying this was the song that made him comfortable in his Asian skin for the first time and Coldplay approved it.

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Nobody Compares to You by Gryffin – This song was on repeat when I was driving to pick up my boyfriend from LAX airport. It’s got that airy but upbeat tone that I always gravitate to in a song.

Makeup

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Tarte Microliner

I have found my holy grail liner. I thought it was the Kat Von D liner but that one, after I’ve used it in its entirety, I’ve noticed it actually doesn’t last that long, it’s not that pigmented and it’s actually harder to take off than this liner. The great thing about the Kat Von D liner was its tip’s precision. This one is just as precise. It’s amazingly pigmented. I only need to put one line on if needed. It also comes off very fluidly and it won’t come off in crusty pieces. You can make any eyeliner shape you want with it.

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book review · Uncategorized

The Winner’s Curse trilogy review/thoughts

This trilogy is such a delight, not least of which I can say it is a wonderful departure from other YA fantasy books in its characters and its writing. *Spoilers for all three books*

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So when Book 1 starts off, we learn that the Valorians conquered Herran over 10 years ago and the Herrani have been slaves ever since. Enter our two main characters: Kestrel is a Valorian and Arin is a Herrani. Book 1 follows their initial meeting and what happens as the two worlds start to collide and Herran is on the brink of rebellion. In the first installment, they both stand high in their peoples’ regard: Kestrel is a high general’s daughter and she, as Valorian tradition dictates, is set to marry or join the army; Arin is a pivotal force in the Herrani rebellion. This romantic relationship starts off interestingly different from other YA novels–at a slave auction where Kestrel buys Arin. Off putting at best, problematic at worst. But, slowly, Rutkoski expertly asks us questions about the slavery of the oppressed, the oppression of culture when a people are conquered,  and the conquered’s bleak past and future. Although I can say all I want about what Rutkoski knows about war and slavery so intimately, I cannot lie, my favorite part of these books is Kestrel and by extension the romance between Kestrel and Arin.

The Winner’s Curse is when you come out on top of the bid, but only by paying a steep price.

-Marie Rutkoski

Rutkoski introduces the concept of the “Winner’s Curse”, essentially, did Kestrel lose more than she won when she bought Arin? And Rutkoski so expertly explores not just in the conventional way in terms of monetary loss. Under any normal circumstances and in a normal world they would have pursued a romance devoid of many problems but the relationship explores how because of this system of oppression, the unequal power dynamics, makes this relationship extremely difficult and uneasy from the start. The internal motives that may or may not be there: is Kestrel lying? Is this how she really feels, is Arin taking advantage of her for information? The first book follows how they develop feelings for each other despite their peoples’ tenuous history. The best thing is that Rutkoski offers no easy solutions but that’s what makes you root for them. Kestrel, as the general’s daughter, is ever calculating and manipulative goes against her better judgement and duty to be honest with Arin. She will willingly go into a duel for him (one of my favorite parts of the novel) and seek out his honesty. They try to hard to be honest which is why the midwinter rebellion is such a heartbreak to read. Arin not telling her to drink the wine (ugh my heart). And even when Arin lets Kestrel go to the boats and tell the emperor about the rebellion.

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I also love this world. The people are so distinct in their ways of life. The Valorians value war and honor and doing everything for your country. The Herrani admire the arts and the gods. It has influences from Greco-Roman culture and especially the Roman empire with its emphasis on war and a rigid system of honor. There are descriptions of architecture, art and frequent allusions to the Herrani religious system of gods. It makes the book more prevalent to our history.

Isn’t that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?

Rutkoski is a wonderful writer. It is immensely metaphorical and quiet and the imagery of the intangible is so precise. I love the way she portrays her characters. Kestrel is far from the stereotypical heroine I’ve come to expect from YA. I think her character especially shines in the second book.  She is not stubborn for the sake of being stubborn and consequently a “strong” female character. She also is not good at fighting and in fact does not want to go to war! Instead, she is good at war strategies and has immense cunning prowess, beating everyone at Bite and Sting. One of her fatal flaws is her dishonesty which I makes the miscommunication in this book all the more believable. She lies to herself about not wanting Arin, lies to the emperor and is a spy for the Herrani, lies to Arin about supporting Valoria and to everyone around her so much that she doesn’t know who she is. She is torn between Valoria and Herran, to her father and to Arin. And what she didn’t realize in the first book is that her first duty is to herself. I love her duty to her country but the fact that she comes into her own and figures out her own honor. I still get all the feels at the end of Book 2 when she tries to tell Arin the truth in the piano room but is brutally interrupted. Book 2 is my favorite because it shows Kestrel out of her element in the royal court where she may not come out on top. I’ve said it once before but the miscommunication in this one actually makes sense unlike the miscommunication of 90% of YA novels. And of course, once again, no easy decisions as demonstrated when Kestrel persuades the emperor to poison the grass so the people would starve and move away instead of burning the land where all the people would just die instead. I also really liked that Kestrel and Arin developed separately as the stakes with the emperor got higher and every character is cunning and has ulterior motives.

The plot is truly a weave of political intrigue which I absolutely love. Kestrel is smart but everyone is smart and I loved seeing her outplay and outmaneuver everyone, especially in the third book. The third book really explores her relationship with her father (who I personally hate). Kestrel really struggles with her father because he has done some  horrible things to her not least of which he sold her out to be sent to an internment camp where she was drugged and forced to work and lost her memory. But despite all that, she admits that she does still love him. Even as someone who would not understand, I do empathize with her especially when she recalls memories of him when she was a child teaching her strategy. Her father is a complex character in his own right as the emperor so willingly tells her during their last Bite and Sting game. He worshipped the emperor because he saw a kindred spirit in their strategizing, their brutality. I think Kestrel was someone he just did not understand and for him that understanding equated to love. The series ends with a very satisfying conclusion and those last few pages really show how Kestrel and Arin have come full circle.

Her next book which comes out in 2019 is set in the same world featuring cameos from the original trilogy and I’m so excited!! Bring it on.

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Book Discussion · Uncategorized

Discussion: My favorite romantic tropes

In the grand scheme of things, shipping is probably goes at the bottom of the list of things of importance. But shipping has always been and will probably always be important to me. I might be a pessimist at times but in my heart of hearts I will always be a lover of love stories, preferably ones with HEAs. So let’s talk about love stories and romance but more specifically, what makes a couple an OTP for me? What are some tropes on romance that I will devour again and again? 

Perhaps the most important thing to me in order to get me to ship a couple is to ask do I like them as individuals and can they exist as individuals on their own with a world apart from who they love. Love is a uniting of two people. How can I like them together if I don’t like them apart or if I get more development for one character and not the other how can I feel that they really love each other? This is where all these romance tropes are born. I love Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows because they are so independent from each other makes it more special when they come together, the fact that they are so independent lets the other person figures things out on their own while still silently supporting each other. Inej never tries to change Kaz and vice versa, but she won’t give up who she is for him.  It’s a reason why I’ve never really liked Edward and Bella from Twilight, Bella of course wanting to be a vampire solely because of Edward. What does she even like?

It sounds sort of weird but one of the most important things to an OTP for me and maybe the most important thing is their wit/banter or their chemistry with each other. You might be thinking, umm what about respect? honesty? Nope, it’s chemistry. It’s that initial attraction, something about these two people that makes you interested in them. It can start in a meet cute or some sort of romantic plot device to have them realize their feelings for each other. After that, it’s where the fun part comes in. Most if not all romances can be boiled down to a trope but when these tropes are executed well, an OTP is born.

  1. The slow burn-usually culminates in a kiss after lots and lots of angst

My favorite couples of all time have been slow-burn, sometimes so painfully slowburn. Percy and Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series are one of my favorite slow-burns that felt so completely natural and lovable. It’s even more lovable because we get to see them grow up together from kids to young adults and it’s just so heartwarming. Chuck and Sarah from Chuck were also extremely slow burn mostly because Sarah had trust issues but it just felt all the more natural and sweet when they did get together.

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Percy and Annabeth (I forgot where I got this but it’s not mine)

It’s important to note that even though I like slow-burn relationships, there’s still an initial spark to them that made me want to ship them in the first place. I love Arin and Kestrel‘s from The Winner’s trilogy initial tension but like mindedness in their wit and banter which made their slow-burn all the more heart achingly angsty.  Pam and Jim from the Office. I really got to see how they’ve changed over the course of the seasons and having them finally be together was just perfect

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Arin and Kestrel playing Bite and Sting :3 (Credit)

2. Dynamic Duo-Two people are similar and capable in ways and just are there to mentally support the other

I love this trope because we get to see dynamic duos just take on the world together and the other half knows that the other person can handle shit and just mentally supports them. This is why I love Leslie and Ben from Parks and Recreation because they are so supportive of each other even as they have their own big ambitions. I also really like this trope  because it gives both parties a chance to save the other and have a battle of wills.My

Famous hand-holding scene in 2×05 

favorite non-canon couple is Shiro and Allura from Voltron. They’re both really intense leaders that feel the need to take on burdens and responsibilities for the rest of the team. But they often disagree strongly with each other and they’re kind of each other’s voice of reason. It’s all the more satisfying when they have their moment of happiness. My other favorite non-canon couple for this trope that I’ve been shipping for years is Eragon and Arya from the Inheritance cycle. And did my shipping pay off??? Nope, Christopher Paolini just decided to leave me hanging..

One ship that does this trope well in my opinion is Once Upon a Time’s Regina and Robin. I don’t even watch the show and I know what happens to Robin but holy shit, this ship is so much better to me than Captain Swan. I just completely love their strength but understanding that they can be vulnerable with each other without undermining that strength. Another dynamic duo that I ship and I don’t even watch the show but I love their gifs on Tumblr is Bellamy and Clarke from The 100. Again, the whole they’re both leaders

Phillip and Elizabeth 

and they subtly support one another is my jam. One show that I recently started watching, The Americans also does this well; Phillip and Elizabeth are already on my top OTP list because not only are they a great dynamic duo (they both kick ass and take no names), but their well-being depends on them forming sexual and romantic connections with other people but somehow the show is able to convey that they have a special understanding for each other and their silent support of one another gives me life despite their deepest reservations about the other. And speaking of silent support, San and Ashitaka and San from Princess Mononoke I love too because they like each other but they realize they have a duty to other people besides themselves and that kind of selflessness makes me love them all the more.

3. Weird meets weird- one person’s weird is perfect for another person’s weird

Every person is some level of weird and I like this trope because it makes me believe that there is someone on that same type and level of weirdness that just makes them perfect together. Probably the ultimate example of this is April and Andy from Parks and

Jimmy x Gretchen

Recreation. April is eternally annoyed and cynical. Andy eternally naive and optimistic. But somehow their eccentric humor and personalities just mesh and it’s just so cute. Gretchen and Jimmy from You’re the Worst are both terrible and pessimistic people that shouldn’t be in a relationship with anyone decent but somehow you just love the two of them together because they just get each other and they kind of throw societal expectations of what should happen in a relationship down the drain.  The opposite of that would be Jake and Amy from Brooklyn Nine Nine. They’re both too pure for this world but they’re nerds on the inside so they just meld p

Jake x Amy ❤ 

erfectly together. My other favorite workplace couple is Jonah and Amy from Superstore (they’re not together…yet..). On the surface, they seem like the stereotypical no-nonsense girl and the idealistic guy trope but as the episodes go on, you realize that they are so similar. They love getting into other people’s business and both have the same core views about the workplace. I love them so much

4. Witty Playfulness- Usually consists of witty banter and being playful with another person that they’re usually not with others

I normally make it a rule not to ship real life people together because I don’t truly know them but usually if they have a video together or act together, I just find myself loving their dynamic. I love this trope because it’s so telling of how their minds think and it just shows that they have the same type of humor. Haven’t you ever talked to a person that did not have the same humor as you and just felt awkward. Like can I really be with someone who doesn’t understand memes?? (jk, but not jk, but jk). This is why I’m in love with

Wow please tell me you two are back together please… 

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone‘s relationship ever since I saw them in The Amazing SpiderMan. Like I’m in this for life. Just look at any interviews they have together. Any and you cannot deny that they’re meant to be (i’m being dramatic). I know that they broke up and I respect that but have you seen the things they say about each other even now? Also they both just got nominated for Oscars and they hugged during the BAFTAs just two days ago. Don’t tell me love ain’t real.

For some reason, I also love Marzia and Felix who both have really popular Youtube channels. They’re so adorable. I’ve literally watched all their videos together.

5. Opposites Attract-Bad boy meets good girl or even better, bad girl meets good boy

In real life, this would more likely not happen because statistically, you’re more likely to be with someone who is more similar to you than not. I like seeing how two people who never really like each other because of who they are end up falling for each other anyway or somehow end up spending time together because of some unforeseen circumstance. The ultimate one for me right now (non-canon) is Haley and Andy from Modern Family. I mean she’s like this popular girl who’s too cool for school. He’s not that…cool and pretty nerdy but it just works. Another perfect example of the opposites attract is Ryuuji and Taiga from Toradora. Ryuuji is sweet and kind and loves doing housework and cooking but he has a face that makes him unapproachable to many people. Taiga, on the other hand, is super cute and short but she is actually irascible and has a really bad temper. Their interactions are just hilarious because they’re so different. Nina and Matthias from Six of Crows is kind of in that same vein. Nina is flirtatious and confident, Matthias more reserved and conservative and that just makes their interactions so interesting and fun to read because there’s always that tension, having these two personalities at odds with one another. The most recent one that I ship is Jonathan and Nancy from Stranger Things. I
know, I know, that the writers dared to actually have Steve undergo character development and that was such a pleasant surprise but please, you just can’t give me angsty stares and not have me ship Jancy. Again, I love the trope because these two people would have never crossed paths if it hadn’t been for the mystery of the strange creature.

 

6. Star-Crossed Lovers/Forbidden Love

This trope is so cliche but I eat it up like no other. I think, if done right, it’s actually one of the most insightful romantic tropes to be used. Forbidden love usually means there’s some societal, cultural, or familial aspect in the way of two people getting together. And if done right, this trope can prove what love makes people do. What are they willing to sacrifice for another and isn’t that one of the most romantic things of all? To defy the selfish nature of survival and humanity itself. My ultimate couple for this one has to Sharzhad and Khalid. They’re honestly one of my favorite couples in general of all time but Renee Ahdieh really plays this trope well because they will never apologize for loving the other person even though Khalid supposedly killed her best friend and Sharzhad is supposed to die.

Also, Khalid definitely knows how to talk.

They never deny their attraction to the other person which is common in forbidden love stories. The other couple that comes to mind is Evan and Maise from Unteachable because they understand how wrong on paper it is but they are attracted to each other and they’ll hide it but they won’t deny their attraction.

7. Rivals-Always competing against one another but everyone knows they should just hook up already

I think I first fell in love with this trope surprisingly when I read The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare himself. It was further cemented when I read The Night Circus, the two magicians, Celia and Marco being actual rivals in a deadly, magical game. I like this trope because it gives an automatic level of sexual tension above the others and it makes it so much more sweet when they do find common ground. This was especially true when I started shipping Keith and Lance from Voltron. They’re always bickering and trying to outdo the other person but when they share a serious moment, it is out of this world. Please be canon!!

And how could I forget Elizabeth and Darcy, always trying to outsass the other. Jane Austen probably knew what sexual tension was before it was even a thing.

8. Friends to Lovers

This trope is precious because often the feelings of love aren’t realized until something happens but that deep-seated love was always there even if the characters don’t see it but the audience does. Percabeth is a classic YA one but I also love Emma and Knightley from Emma and the webseries. Emma and Knightley have such a deep knowledge of the other person and it’s so endearing to watch them voice what the other person is already thinking.

 

9. Fake Relationship

This is my most recent favorite that I didn’t even know I liked but like friends to lovers, it deals with the concept of being so sure that the other person is just a friend or someone you thought was one thing to you but it turns out to be another. Fake relationships are fun because the person is using the other person to get someone else so they think they won’t fall for the other person. My favorite one so far is Peter and Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve loved Before. I also liked Gia and Hayden from The Fill-In Boyfriend though it’s not as well developed or endearing as Peter and Lara Jean.

OMG HOW ADORABLE. It’s Kitty, Lara Jean, and Peter!!  Credit

Of course, great OTPs will do these tropes well but they are also some combination of these tropes. Percy and Annabeth are a combination of the dynamic duo, the slow burn, the playfulness and a few shades of the opposites attract. What are some of your favorite tropes and your favorite otps that fall under these tropes. I obviously need more pairings to ship…obviously. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and if these ships have taught me anything, if you are in a good relationship, you’ll feel the love and respect you deserve everyday 🙂

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book review · Uncategorized

Book Review: The Winner’s Kiss

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Author: Marie Rutkoski

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Pages: 496

Synopsis: Goodreads

ARC received from Netgalley in January 2016.

Release Date: March 29th, 2016


 

To say that I was scared of reading The Winner’s Kiss would be kind of an understatement. I was legitimately scared. Like scared-of-heights scared. And I’ve been severely disappointed with most of the final installments of YA series in the past few years and none have seemed to really deliver. (See Winter, Calamity, In the Afterlight, Sorcerer’s apprentice, End of Days, The Blood of Olympus, City of Heavenly Fire, Strange and Ever After etc. etc.). But, I should not have been scared because I can already tell this is going to be one of my favorite books of 2016, guaranteed. 

Let’s wipe the dust off first. I have one negative qualm with this book. Rutkoski uses a particular, overused trope that affects a character for a good 30 percent of the book that I’m just tired of seeing in fiction. I feel like it’s bit of a cop-out for dramatic tension and that’s all I will say about that.

Ok, done. Moving on..

When the story begins Arin’s army is slowly battling against the emperor’s army in a tight war of fighting and strategic tactics. The tension from the past two books has been building up to this epic and climactic end. And it delivers. The first two books in the trilogy are not that heavy on the action but oh man, does this book step it up. Rutkoski flawlessly weaves a suspenseful and heart-pounding plot through alternating perspectives and even during battle scenes, she intricately weaves in these changing perspectives from Arin to Kestrel in a way that doesn’t break the cohesion of the scene and adds just the right dramatic flair. And the best part is, it is neither convenient nor contrived. But all these battles does not mean this book focuses any less on the political strategy of war. The political strategy is still an immense part of the story crucial to several turning points of the story.

It’s  hard to write an epic romance. The author has to convince me that two fictional characters are soulmates. Fictional characters, people. At worst, the execution ends up like Nicholas and Etta from  Bracken’s Passenger, where I could not care less whether they ride off happily into the sunset or die in burning flames. And most literary couples, for me, fall into the “you two are cute” category and nothing more. I like them. I can see their love. Seeing is not the same as believing though. But with Arin and Kestrel, I truly believe it. So what is so different about Arin and Kestrel? For such a book with Rutkoski’s metaphorical prose, it would have been easy for her to have Arin or Kestrel say some swoonworthy quotes to profess their love to each other and be done with it. But no, it’s one of those rare books where I can watch the character’s thoughts through their simple, everyday gestures that speak volumes about who they are from Kestrel sleeping in Arin’s bed to Arin laughing at something Kestrel says. Their continuing romance and the depth of their character arcs just floored me in this book. I think about them everyday.

Hey, guess what this book is also funny? I love the continuing banter between Roshar and Arin and Roshar and Kestrel. He is just too damn funny. I loved the continuing exploration of Kestrel and her relationship with her father and her growing relationship with Sarsine.

But all these things I talk about don’t really convey why this trilogy resonates so much with me. And to be honest, I don’t know why either. Maybe it’s the fact that this book has a fairytale timeless quality to it or that she manages to write a conclusion that satisfied me in a way that books of late have failed to do. Or maybe she writes such unconventional characters that have the kind of depth that many literary fiction writers wish they could write. And quite possibly a romance that is unlike any I’ve read about before. Whatever it is, it is truly a gem in YA fiction. And I know it will come knocking around in my head at random times during the day just to remind me of how it will never really leave my heart.

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Misc · Uncategorized

Favorite Literary Couples Playlist

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you are having fun no matter what you’re doing, or if you’re single, married, in a relationship, or somewhere in between. I went shopping today because ya know Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to treat yo self.

I haven’t done any posts about the music that I like and that’s because I’m not versed in music. I just listen to whatever catches my attention, which means mostly pop, hip-hip and most recently, EDM/dance music.

So I decided to pair some songs with my some of my favorite literary couples. Obviously I have way, way, way more than the ones mentioned. These just are the ones that happen to pop up in my head.

  1. Let’s start off with the basics. Lara Jean and Peter from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

“No more contract. No more safety net. You can break my heart. Do whatever you want with it.”

I think their song would be Our Song by Taylor Swift because they’re one of the quirkiest couples out there that I’ve read about. And I think the beat to this song is really quirky. It’s definitely the little things with Peter and Lara whether it be going to Starbucks together or baking together. And if anything, they would totally be the couple to sneak out late at night 😉

2. Raffe and Penryn from Angelfall by Susan Ee

Raffe and Penryn are definitely are a more seductive but also the more witty/bantering couple which is why I love them so much.

“Who knew? I had no idea that someone could be such a thorn in your foot during a death march and still be irresistibly attractive in some magical, undeniable way.”
“So is this what people call sweet nothings? Because somehow, I expected it to be a little more…complementary.”

I’m kind of taking this literally but I think Next to You by Chris Brown and Justin Bieber purely because of the “end-of-the-world vibe”.

Lyrics: One day when the sky is falling, I’ll be standing right next to youu..

I think they’d probably sing this song sarcastically to each other because of the cheesiness but they’d probably end up enjoying it anyways 😉

3. Arin and Kestrel from The Winner’s trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

I really can’t pass up an opportunity to gush about them. I love them so much because they are basically equals in every way but they often find that they can’t really express their feelings for each other because of something or another (don’t want to say because spoilers) but I love that no matter how confused they are they’re always drawn to one another and how instinctly safe they feel with each other.

“You don’t, Kestrel, even though the god of lies loves you.”

So I choose, Don’t Know Much by Linda Ronstadt.

4. Khalid and Sharzhad from The Wrath and the Dawn

They’re actually quite the romantic couple so I tried to pick a romantic song.

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest

It’s My Destiny by Katharine McPhee because I think it’s quite dramatic and urgent but slow at the same time which is how I would describe the romance in The Wrath and the Dawn and there’s a lot about changing destinies which I thought was quite fitting for Sharzhad and Khalid.

Lyrics: With you, finally I can break free
With you, I saw a changing in my destiny
Dream come true, it’s so funny now that I see
How different life turned to be

5. Winter and Jacin from Winter by Marissa Meyer

Granted, I’m only like 300 pages into Winter but I ship Winter and Jacin so, so hard. I love this Stay the Night by Zedd because there’s such a fuck everything attitude to it. And obviously, there’s a lot of emphasis on seizing the moment which I think applies to Winter and Jacin. Plus, they have had a lot of nightly adventures so far and those are the cutest parts.

6. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

The couple of all couples who by the way was definitely not done justice to in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (I watched it this week and it was kind of a shit movie). Words can’t really do justice to this couple so I’ll settle for a piano piece.

“You have bewitched me, body and soul.”

Let me know what you think of my choices and what song you would choose for your favorite couple. Also, if you haven’t already,  check out my “Which Hogwarts House do I belong to?”, I’d love to know your opinion about how I got into a certain Hogwarts House..

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Uncategorized · wrap up

December 2015 Wrap Up

This is 6 days late but you know what, deal with it!!! (jk) Anyways, here is what I read in December..

4/5
4/5

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid– I think this book was disorientingly more relevant than it has ever been. A honest exploration about the US’s relationship with the Middle East before and after 9/11 in a fictional account of a Pakistani man reflecting on the injustices of American thought to an actual American. I’m still thinking about the ambiguous ending. An important story.

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester– Ah, reading a book from my favorite youtubers. How do I rate this? Well, obviously, I’m extremely biased so if you like them read it, if you don’t like them, don’t read it. I do have to compliment it for not resorting to the usual memoir style, instead it’s written half like a yearbook, half like a textual conversation between Dan and Phil. It made me laugh and smile.

4/5
3/5

The Child Thief by Brom– This ended up on my favorites list of 2015 and I also have a full review on it so I think enough good things have been said about it.

The Sun also Rises by Ernest Hemingway-My first Hemingway book. After reading Dickens, reading Hemingway was almost jarring. He writes such blunt and direct prose which is probably why his books are all so short. His writing is very symbolic and has a penchant for dialogue. He explores apathy of the generation after WWI and the pointlessness of their lives. I must admit the themes of masculinity mostly flew over my head. All in all, a smooth foray into Hemingway but I don’t think he’s an author for me.

3.5/5
3/5

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge– It’s kind of a shame that there are so few Beauty and the Beast retellings out there because after this one I just want to read all of them. The main part of this book that I loved was the romance. It was captivating and intense from the very beginning. This was the romance that I was looking for in A Court of Thorns and Roses but wasn’t there. The worldbuilding is not the best though

Everybody Loves Bacon– A cute fun story about charismatic bacon with a rather morbid ending that I did not see coming.

4/5
4/5

White Oleander by Janet Fitch-For the most part, I really liked this story. It’s about a young girl whose mother goes to jail and it documents her story as she moves from one foster home to another. At times, the story felt a bit forced, a bit contrived. But overall, I think the character arc was really interesting.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (Reread)-I simultaneously liked it and disliked it than when I first read it. This time around, I didn’t really mind the lack of physical worldbuilding. I think she makes up for it in building the world culturally. I also liked the interactions between Arin and Kestrel even more than I did the first time. However, I thought the pacing was really off and I thought the side characters besides her dad were just alright.

Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski– This short story can be read before or after The Winner’s Curse. It’s about Arin as a child. Absolutely stunning. It just feels so magical. There was really nothing more I could have wanted in a short story.

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Misc · Uncategorized

In Which I fangirl over The Winner’s Kiss Excerpt

You know shit’s going down when you start to tear up over a freaking excerpt of a book. I don’t even think it was a full chapter. Shhh, don’t judge me..

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while, you know I love the Winner’s trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. I read the sequel, The Winner’s Crime back in March this year and it remains one of my favorite books of 2015. The Winner’s Kiss comes out on March 29, 2016 and FierceReads just released an excerpt of TWK this morning. You can sign up to read it here.

If you haven’t read The Winner’s Curse yet which you should have by now because it’s amazing. I have all my reviews and discussions link in this post if you’re interested.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the excerpt so spoilers from here on out.


 

Ugh. Poor Arin, he’s still sooo conflicted. And then he finds out Kestrel is supposedly dead?? Wtf..did not expect that

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So what kind of message did Kestrel send?? Did she say what she sent the messenger for in the second book? I don’t remember! I need to reread it.

And omg, when Sarsine said

“I saw how you two were with each other. Why would you think you didn’t know her?”

and he responded..

“Because she’s a liar. She has her games, her clever tricks. Everyone falls into her trap. I did, too . . .” He trailed off, listening to his own words. He began to brush Javelin’s brown coat, leaning in hard. “She’s not dead.”

You know her so well Arin, it’s not even funny, kill me now..

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And then here come the circle of being so close to finding answers and then getting more questions. Hopefully, Arin can actually get answers this time or there will be murder. Also, Rutkoski promised us lots of kisses and there better be full on make out sessions as far as I’m concerned

Just please give me this book now. I can’t wait any longer.

On a side note, does anyone know how new cover changes work? I’m planning on preordering the book soon but I am filled with disgust at the new covers. I will accept nothing but the old covers. I can’t even begin to describe to you how much I hate this cover.

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Anyways, if you’ve read the excerpt let me know what you thought of it!

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