Review #40: Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

a forwardsandbookwords review
Cover Reviewkill the boy band: A lot of people don’t like this cover because it looks like it would be an ARC. I actually really like the simplicity, though. Underneath the dustjacket, the book is solid, hot pink with black lettering. It looks pretty cool, but if you read it without the dust jacket in public, everyone will be sure to look at you and realize that you’re reading a book called Kill the Boy Band.
Title: Kill the Boy Band
Author: Goldy Moldavsky
Description: Stand-alone YA contemporary
Publishing Information: Released February 23, 2016 by Scholastic, Inc.
Pages: 312
First Line: People have called me crazy. 

Barnes and Noble          Amazon         IndieBound        Goodreads


The book follows four friends who are self-proclaimed fangirls of a British boy band called the Ruperts. Each of them have their favorite member of the band, which is composed of four boys all bearing the name Rupert. After getting a hotel room at the same hotel that the boys are staying in, one of the girls accidentally kidnaps the least talented member of the group. The girls dig themselves deeper and deeper into trouble as they try to figure out what to do with him.

pros and cons

When I review books, I try not to compare them to other books. There are so many different genres and goals for different pieces of writing, so I just don’t think it’s fair to match them up against each other. Instead, I try to think about what the book is trying to be (like, what the synopsis claims that it’s going to be) versus what it actually ended up being. If the book does exactly what it said it would, how can I say that it was a bad book?
From the synopsis, this book sounded absolutely ridiculous. Four fangirls “accidentally” kidnap a member of their favorite band? A band that is obviously parodying One Direction?
Well, this book was certainly one of the most ridiculous books I’ve ever read. So, kudos for that. The characters of the fangirls are so, so exaggerated (but at the same time, not that exaggerated? It’s actually kind of scary).
Basically, just ridiculous. It was exactly what it promised to be, but I can’t say I really liked it. Maybe that’s my fault for picking up a book like this.
A lot of my issues with it were personal things. There was more swearing than I like (and yes, I know that swearing is pretty much unavoidable in most books but there’s using it well and then there’s using it just to use it). Some of the motives that the characters had for acting the way they did were pretty extreme, and just not things that I like reading about.
None of the characters were particularly strong, either. They didn’t learn from their mistakes and they didn’t really reconcile anything by the end. They all had unique personality traits but nothing much deeper than those. The main character (I don’t think we ever learned her name? Which is interesting) had potential to have a really interesting backstory but the author didn’t tell us much about it. **mild spoiler ahead – skip to the next paragraph to avoid** One character, named Apple because she was eating an apple when her parents saw pictures of her and decided to adopt her, was portrayed as really just a fat, crazy girl. I was extremely hopeful that she would go through character development and we would learn more about her actual personality, but that was really all we got. Her favorite Rupert was Rupert P. It was speculated by the main character that she liked him because he was the ugliest and she felt like he was actually attainable for her. I wish there was a moment at the end of the book where Apple realized that she is beautiful and her life doesn’t have to centered around practically worshipping ugly guys because she feels like she deserves nothing better, but no such luck. In fact, the last we hear about her she is following a new boy band and in love with a new character, who is conveniently described as extremely unattractive. Sigh.
And speaking of personality (maybe for the first time if you chose to skip the spoiler), the mood swings in this book were unbelievable, and I don’t think they were written that way for comedic effect. If a character suddenly decided that they wanted to stand up for themselves, it wasn’t gradual. It went from timidness to full out yelling and storming out. It was almost cringe-y. Like, hey. Calm down, pal.
Negatives aside, the book made some interesting points about fan culture. I wish it would’ve had more parallels, though, showing both sides. The negative perspectives were plentiful, and the positives were really only represented by characters who had already been written to seem crazy. It did make me think a lot, though, which can sometimes be rare for a humorous, YA contemporary.
And it definitely was humorous. Most of the humor was found in the exaggerations of character, however, and if this isn’t really your style then you might find 300 pages a bit too much to suffer through. Another aspect I really enjoyed was the inclusion of supposed lyrics from the boy bands songs, which emphasized the cheesiness of it (because let’s be real – it can be pretty cheesy). In fact, I might even say that these were my favorite parts.

Coming to the hotel now was only the tip of the iceberg compared to some of the cray things other people had done. If you really thought about it, we were the rational ones. And for one night we would be sleeping under the same roof as The Ruperts. My feelings on the matter could best be summed up with lyrics from The Ruperts’ hit “I’m So Excited.”

Yeah Yeah Yeah!
I’m so excited!
Yeah Yeah Yeah!
Tonight is the night!

The parallels to One Direction were great, as well. Each member of the group audition separately on a British talent competition and were later grouped together. Some of their personality traits immediately made me think of specific members, as well. Considering I used to consider myself a pretty big fan of good ol’ 1D, I enjoyed making the connections.
Finally, this book was ridiculously fast-paced. I finished the entire thing in a span of maybe four hours? It almost read like a middle grade (although it is definitely not) just because the plot really held no regard for realistic-ness. I enjoyed how unpredictable it was – eventually you realize that there’s literally no way to guess what happens next because so many ridiculous things had happened already.

final thoughts

Though I liked reading something so fast-paced and easy (I’m a bit behind on my Goodreads goal) I can’t say I completely loved the content. Usually books put out by Scholastic aren’t too explicit, but this one had a bit too much for me. I certainly didn’t have any trouble finishing it, though. It really depends on your personal preferences. If you’re in the mood for something light-hearted and crazy, maybe pick this one up from the library.
2.5-3/5 stars

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Quickie Reviews & A Rant

Sometimes you have good days, and sometimes you have days where you get your braces tightened and it’s impossible to eat anything but you’re so hungry so you spend five minutes chewing a Goldfish with only your front teeth only to discover that it is horrendously stale.
But enough about me. How is your day going? I know that I said I was going to be posting randomly, but ever since then I’ve posted every day! Don’t worry. It won’t last.
So while I was gone I read some books (although not nearly as many as I wish I had, it’s seriously shameful. I stumble across some long, boring ones that I tried to push through and just couldn’t. Also I reread Harry Potter, and it’s not like after the fourth time around I realized how much I secretly hate them, you know? Nothing new.) I want to share my thoughts on them but I definitely don’t have time to review each and every one by itself. So here are 11 quick reviews, all leading up to one not-so-quick rant. So, um, stick around? Brace yourself?
Maybe leave early.
(If I can somehow persuade you to read a book in 3-4 sentences, click the title to be taken to their Goodreads pages)

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – I had to read this one for school. It wasn’t nearly as hard to understand as I thought it would be, and I actually ended up really enjoying it. All of the analysis and projects definitely took away some of the fun, but I’m glad I read it and I would definitely recommend it to someone looking to read a classic that isn’t too complicated but still incredibly well-written. 4/5 stars
  2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – I was really entertained by this book. It was a darker plot that still had funny moments and an easy-to-follow plot. I just feel like the whole girl-meets-boy (who is equally as quirky as girl), boy-and-girl-go-on-adventures-until-something-tragic-happens thing wasn’t that original or amazingly executed in this story. It was a nice break from the other boring books I was reading at the time. 3.5/5
  3. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare – This was another one I had to read for school. It wasn’t a bad play at all, and the ending honestly got to me. It’s so tragic and frustrating and you just wish that you could grab the characters and scream, “Thou art an idiot.” I definitely think that reading this in school kind of ruined it for me though – we would read one chapter as a class, then listen to a recording of it, and then watch the movie clip before moving onto the next part. It took forever3/5
  4. The Martian by Andy Weir – Sooo good! I don’t know why it took me so long to get to this one. I meant to read it before the movie came out (which I still haven’t seen) but after I missed that deadline I guess I wasn’t really in a rush. Mark Watney is so funny. I didn’t think I’d be able to handle a book of just mostly narrative – I usually like some light dialogue – but it was fantastic. 5/5
  5. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – Once again, for school. I thought this book was so quirky and hilarious. I flew through the first half. If I’m being honest, I do think it got ridiculous to the point of being hard to follow, but I still enjoyed it for the most part. The beginning was definitely my favorite, and I need to watch the movie. 3.5/5
  6. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I don’t think that this book was nearly as amazing as everyone made it sound, but that’s not to say I didn’t completely love it. Based on the hype I was expecting fantastic writing and a life-changing plot. However, it was so entertaining. I read it in one sitting, and immediately took it to my friend’s house so she could read it. I totally, totally predicted the ending, but I was okay with it. The romance was pretty insta-love and unrealistic if you’re one of those people who hate that, but I was okay with it. It was just one of those addictive contemporaries that I love so much. 4/5
  7. We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist – This book was really okay. Like, it wasn’t bad. I just expected it to be funny stories, as opposed to stories. The whole plot was that this guy went around and found everyone that he ever almost dated and asked them why it didn’t work out, but that was really about 10% of the story. The rest of the book was him dragging out the backstory of how they met into multiple chapters. And then the stories were basically, “I met her, I thought she was cute. We became friends and then I was going to ask her out because I got scared.” And then when he meets up with them again the girls are like, “Well, yeah. We didn’t date because you never asked me out.” I’m explaining this poorly. It had a good message, it just wasn’t very… interesting. It was just stories. And I know he’s a Youtuber, but I don’t watch his videos. Maybe if I was more invested and interested in his life I would’ve enjoyed it more. 2.5/5
  8. Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy – I’m a sucker for long titles and unique formats, and this book is told entirely in lists. The issue is, it’s more than 650 pages long. The idea is great, but when that idea lasts so long and is backed by a mediocre plot, there’s only so much you can do. I didn’t actually finish this one (I think I have about fifty pages left) but I’m counting it because if I really wanted to I could finish it in about an hour. I just don’t really care what happens to the characters. It’s hard to get attached when you only learn about them through lists. It was a cool idea, though. 2.5/5
  9. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – I loved this book so much. I know that some people have an issue with it because if Harry Potter wasn’t a thing this book really couldn’t be a thing, but it doesn’t bother me too much. They really aren’t that similar, and the plot was so unique and good. I can’t imagine the last time I finished a book this long so fast. Rainbow Rowell does it again. 4.5/5
  10. This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp – I was really hoping that this book would be more than it was. The entire plot takes place over maybe an hour, while a school shooting is going on. The little hook on the cover is “Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun.” It sounds like it should be so chilling and crazy, but it just wasn’t to me. It felt like the entire book was either brutal murder or vague backstory. It had so many perspectives that it was hard to keep them straight. I read it very quickly, but I wasn’t super hooked. 3/5
  11. The Crown by Kiera Cass – You know how I feel about these books. Poorly written, but ridiculously entertaining. I read this in one day and loved every second of it. 4/5
    BUT… this is where the rant comes in.

If you’ll recall, I wrote a predictions post about this book a million years ago. As it turns out, that post ends up pretty high in the search results when you Google what happens at the end of the series. In the days leading up to and following the release of The Crown, my blog was being flooded with people who weren’t wanting to wait to know what happens (like, that post now has around 10,000 views).
Most of the comments on that post were really nice, and I appreciate all of them, even the ones that weren’t (I would tell you to go and read them – there are some really interesting ones – but I don’t think I approved them at the time and they’re so buried now). I love getting feedback on my writing and interacting with people. Most of them pointed out that I forgot to consider one of the bachelors (did he really have a chance?) and gave their own predictions.
However, there were three comments that stuck out. Again, I really do love all of the comments and I know that no one means any harm by them. I’m not trying to call out or make fun of anyone, I just like ranting. Honestly, thank you for those comments, you three.
One of the comments was in all caps, screaming at me because I predicted that one of her favorite characters was going to die. Look, I didn’t want it to happen. I just thought there was a pretty good chance. I honestly loved this comment – it’s crazy to me how books can provoke so much emotion in people. Can you imagine writing fictional characters that people get so attached to that they’ll yell at real-life people over them? My favorite part was that it concluded with the commenter saying that she loves the cover of the book because I don’t.
That’s when you know that she’s really angry, because I stand with months-ago me. It’s a horrible cover.
The second comment just blatantly spoiled the ending of the book. It was really my fault for reading the comments before I read the book – I should’ve known someone would spoil it. It was just funny because the comment just opened with, “(name) wins her heart.” There was no warning, no chance to realize the potential danger and get out. It was devastating.
Perhaps more frustrating though, was a comment that said (name) wins, except she didn’t really say the name. She said the first and last letter, and then put stars in the middle. It’s a nice thought, because you’re not really saying the name while still potentially being able to discuss with people who have already read the story. Except… except in what story are there two guys competing for a girl’s heart whose names are the same amount of letters and begin and end with the same two letters?
None. At least, not The Crown. So when she did that, there was only one option.
*sigh* The thought was there. She even went on to say that I can’t say that she spoiled the book because she didn’t actually say his name.
Pro-tip: If you have to explain how you didn’t spoil something, you spoiled it.

That’s all from me, folks! I hope you enjoyed these quick little reviews – I might do some more like this in the future. I also hope you liked hearing that rant-y story. I’m over it, though. It was reasonable for them to assume that if I spent so much time making a predictions post, I would’ve been dedicated enough to get the book right away and read it immediately and I would’ve already known what they told me.
Be sure to let me know any of your crazy stories or if you’ve read the books I’ve reviewed in the comments! You can also subscribed to my blog and follow me on my other social media below, if you’re feeling generous. 🙂
Happy reading!


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Review & Discussion

What the Book Is and a Ramble-y Story

If you haven’t heard already, at midnight on Harry Potter’s birthday the script-book edition of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released. And if you haven’t heard already, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth Harry Potter story, told in the form of a play that you can actually see if you’re super lucky and live in London, or that you can read in the form of this book.
Also, do you have to pay property tax on that rock you live under?
I personally didn’t go to a midnight release party for it because I’m a fake fan. But seriously, my sister’s graduation party was that night and I was exhausted. Also – and I don’t know if this is TMI – but I’m literally so sunburned. All of my skin is falling off and I didn’t want people thinking that I was cosplaying as a molting basilisk.
I had to go to the DMV the following day to get my temporary driver’s license (which isn’t really good for anything but WOOOOO) and I figured I would be super bored waiting so my mom and I ran to Barnes and Noble and – not too surprisingly but completely disappointingly – they were completely sold out.
In a panic, we went to Target, wondering, might they have a copy left after all this time?

hp target

Target did a thing where you got a free poster with the purchase of the book so that was pretty cool even though the poster wasn’t anything too amazing. The cashier was really friendly and talked about how he felt like a fake fan because he didn’t even realize it was coming out until he was stocking the shelves. He still gave me a funny look when he asked me if I wanted it in a bag and I almost yelled, “No!” and grabbed it.
Watching people put hardcover books in those plastic bags stressed me out so much. You are literally begging the universe to rip the dust-jacket.
But I digress, it was a good day overall.

happy nerd

Spoiler-Free Review

**because this is a play, the plot moves very fast and it will be hard to review this without revealing any details. If you haven’t read the book yet and want to go into it blind, stop here.**
So the basic premise of this book is that it picks up from the epilogue in Deathly Hallows where the grown up squad of Hermione, Ron, and Harry are seeing off their children at King’s Cross. The main focus in this story is on Albus Severus Potter, who is having a hard time feeling like he fits into his family or anywhere. This leads him to make some extremely poor decisions and almost ruin the entire world.
First of all, let’s talk about the characters. Scorpius Malfoy is my spirit animal, obviously. He’s just an adorable little nerd trying to get through life and be brave while simultaneously being afraid of everything. Rose Granger was also fantastic, just a really funny, strong character. She reminded me so much of Hermione without the authors blatantly trying to make them the exact same person.
Albus kind of annoyed me. He did sort of remind me of Harry though. He just really wanted to do what he thought was the right thing, but didn’t always think it through very well. I’ll get more into that with the spoilers.
As for the plot, it made sense if you didn’t think about it. I don’t necessarily mean that in a super negative way, it’s just true. It was fast-paced and entertaining and I’m sure that’s part of the reason why it translates so well onto the stage. However, if you pause and think about the actual logistics of some of the magic and time-travel, it’ll make your head hurt.
In some ways, the plot also seemed a little cliché and predictable to me. The whole “tiny change in the past creates crazy ripples in the universe” element was well done but nothing new. However, the different alternatives that we get to see poses some very interesting “what-ifs” and allows more old characters that we’ve missed to be incorporated into the story.
And speaking of old characters… let’s talk about Harry, Ron and Hermione. They’ll always be some of my favorite characters of all time. How could they not be? I was excited to see how their personalities would stay the same and change as they got older.
Here’s the issue: You know how Maxon and America were all grown up in The Heir and The Crown? And like, it was them, but it wasn’t? Like they were older, but it seemed like their characters just served the purpose of being some parents, and even though they were well-developed as parents, they didn’t seem like the well-developed younger characters, just grown up? It’s like they were completely different people with the same names, and some of the old trademark qualities being extremely forced as if they’re screaming through their beaming, remembered faces, “Look! It’s us! I promise!”
If you haven’t read the Selection and didn’t really get that comparison, I was also reminded of one of my favorite songs at the moment, called “Next Year” by Two Door Cinema Club. It had a line that goes:

Maybe someday,
You’ll be somewhere,
Talking to me,
As if you knew me

I know it sounds dramatic, but I couldn’t stop thinking about that line. They really just didn’t seem like the same characters at all. And I know that they’re grown up and I know that they’re not going to be completely the same, but the entire time it felt like these characters were talking, trying to become people that they just aren’t anymore. Like those characters were really new, more boring characters Polyjuice-potioned into being Harry, Ron and Hermione. Impostors. Impastas.

noodle harry.jpg

As for the formatting, I didn’t really mind it being a play. I’m sure that some of the issues with things not being very well-explained could’ve been fixed if it was a full narrative, but that was really my only issue with it. I found it interesting – as I was reading, I pictured everything on a stage. Did that happen to anyone else? It was weird, but not unpleasant.
The stage directions/descriptions were really amazing, too. I had to slow down a lot when I was reading to make sure that I was really reading and appreciating everything, because there were some beautiful little gems in there. My favorite was this one:

There’s a silence.
A perfect, profound silence.
One that sits low, twists a bit, and has damaged within it. 

First Line: A busy and crowded station.
Pages: 308
Hooked by page: 1
Rating: 3.5 stars
Recommend for: Harry Potter fans. I can’t say it felt like a completely genuine Harry Potter story, but it was great to have new Hogwarts adventures.

Goodreads          Barnes and Noble          Amazon         IndieBound

Spoiler-y Discussion

pretty harry

First of all, can we talk about how beautiful this book is? People were going to buy it no matter what, but I’m grateful that Scholastic took the time to make it look nice and all high-quality. The binding, man. It’s got that stripe-y stuff going on – that’s when you know it’s well made.
On to the discussion – where to begin? I liked seeing where the characters ended up. Hermione was the Minister of Magic, which was awesome in a way but also kind of forced, I felt like. Hermione is smart and strong, so let’s make her the leader of the Wizarding World, of course! Ron is funny, so let’s have him own a joke shop! (Also, why was Ron running Fred and George’s joke shop? What happened to George?) It felt like they were taking the easy way out.
And speaking of taking the easy way out, some things were just oh-so convenient. Delphi just so happened to have Polyjuice potion, which normally takes, like, a month to brew – lying around? And they just happened to have some sort of DNA from Harry, Ron and Hermione?
Whatever. Moving on.
I thought the idea of Amos wanting someone to go back and save Cedric was a solid basis for the plot. It was exciting enough because it would involve evil by facing Voldemort in the past without introducing an entirely new force of evil. But like, if you’re going to bother going back in time to save a life, why not just go big and go all the way back to when Voldemort was a baby and kill him then?
Goblet of Fire has always been one of my absolute favorite Harry Potter books (although, aren’t they all?) so when the plot involved a lot of time-traveling back to that time I was pretty excited. But as soon as they mentioned time-traveling, I just knew something was going to go horribly wrong. Time is just so weird and nothing about it makes sense when you start going backwards.
Initially, when they started messing with the competition in order to stop Cedric from reaching the final I thought the mishap was going to be that if Cedric had a rough start to the competition he wouldn’t want to help Harry with the egg clue and things would be thrown off that way.
I loved all the alternate universes though. Getting to see Snape again when he wasn’t mean and got to know about how he would end up being a hero was my favorite.
The whole thing about how after Cedric was embarrassed in the competition he got super angry and awful and became a Death Eater and then kiLLED NEVILLE was too much. I mean, I liked it, but liked it in a way that was more like, “THIS IS PROVOKING A LOT OF EMOTION IN ME WHICH MEANS THAT IT’S GOOD WRITING” as opposed to, “Nice.”
The one alternate universe where Albus and Harry’s relationship stayed exactly the same except Albus was in Gryffindor was kind of strange to me. Like, how in the world did messing with the past cause Albus to be sorted into a different house? Did those changes change Harry, thus affecting how he raised his son and causing Albus to grow up with different values?
I think the whole point of it was for Albus to make the realization that the fact that he and Harry didn’t get along wasn’t due to him not being in Gryffindor.
Do you mean to tell me, small child, that your father, who named you after the Slytherin headmaster and was almost sorted into Slytherin himself, doesn’t hate you, a Slytherin?
All of the arguments between Albus and Harry were so uncomfortable for me. It was like if angsty, book-five Harry as an adult was fighting angsty, book-five Harry as a child. When Harry told Albus that sometimes he wished that Albus wasn’t his son, I literally cringed.

control your emotions.gif

Jumping to the ending, because I’m out of control. Delphi always seemed kind of off to me, but that was more because I thought she was just an awkward and under-developed character with an intriguing but unexplored backstory rather than evil.
I’m not kidding, at the beginning when we first hear about the rumors that Scorpius might be Voldemort’s son, I was literally thinking, “No, he can’t be, because Voldemort and Bellatrix were in love.”
I HAVE SHIPPED IT SINCE DAY ONE (read: book five, but whatever).
The thing that seemed off to me was that Delphi said that she was born right before the Battle of Hogwarts. Like, define “right before”. Was Bellatrix pregnant when she was torturing Hermione or killing Dobby? Or was the baby born a while before that when our gang is in the woods?
In that case, where’s the baby during aforementioned Hermione torture and Dobby murder? Or the Battle of Hogwarts, for that matter?
It would’ve been cool if some things in this book explained little details foreshadowed in the original stories. Obviously it couldn’t, because this book really is just an additional, unplanned thing.
Anyway, once we find out that Delphi is Voldemort’s daughter and Scorpius and Albus are trapped in time, they manage to get a message onto Harry’s baby blanket. In hindsight, it’s a good idea, but I wish we had gotten to actually see them go in and get it. You’re not supposed to make contact with your previous selves when you use time travel because it can really mess you up, so what happens if you unwrap a blanket that’s around your dad as a baby? Poor Harry was already so messed up, what happens when he stares into the eyes of his son who is more than ten years his senior?
The entire Augurey thing was so, so weird to me. Did Voldemort somehow know that he would be killed at the Battle of Hogwarts and planned to have this baby that would travel back in time and save him? I can’t think of any other reason why Voldemort would want to have a child, but that isn’t at all foreshadowed in the books, which just reminds me again that this book is more milking the franchise than finishing off the story once and for all.
Harry transfigures into Voldemort, which I didn’t even really know was possible, but it worked for the most part. It was heartbreaking to hear Delphi, whose only purpose, it seems, is to save her dad even though he will never learn to know or love her.
Even more heartbreaking was reading about Harry reliving the death of his parents and not being able to do anything about it. GAH. That was painful, but very well done. 10 points to Gryffindor.

So those are my thoughts! I could go on forever but I’ll stop there. If you’ve it this far, thank you! I hope you enjoyed what I had to say. Feel free to leave any and all of your thoughts in the comments below. You can also follow my blog and on my other social media if you feel so inclined.
Thanks for reading! 🙂


Hamilton: An American Musical – Review and Ramblings

Okay, so if you’ve followed literally anything in the past few months you probably have heard of Hamilton. If you’re not at all interested in it, you’re probably rolling your eyes pretty hardcore right now because, oh look!, another post about it.
Whoops, sorry.
If you do like Hamilton, you’re probably bobbing your head in excitement (or because immediately, just after hearing the last name of one of our founding fathers, there were about a million rap songs running through your head, and how do you not head-bob along to those?)
Also, you might be kind of annoyed because I’ve finally started blogging again and my first post back isn’t even really book related, but it kind of is. Also, Hamilton. Also… I really feel like it kind of is. Just wait for it (wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, I AM THE ONE THING IN LIFE I CAN CONTROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL)
At the end of June, my family was lucky enough to be able to travel to New York to see Hamilton on Broadway. We bought our tickets months in advance, fortunately before Lin-Manuel announced when he would be leaving, because otherwise it really would’ve been impossible to get tickets. I was really excited because I had never been to New York or a Broadway show and HAMILTON WHAT?
If you have no idea what Hamilton is, here’s a super summarized version of the incredible story: This fantastic guy named Lin-Manuel Miranda who used to have a siq ponytail (and who I still respect even though he cut it off) read a biography of Alexander Hamilton and was inspired to write a hip-hop musical which went on to win 12 Tony’s and change my entire life.
TL;DR: (seriously, you couldn’t even read the super summarized version? Fine.) HAMILTON IS SO GOOD. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS? LOVE YOURSELF.

My sister discovered Hamilton before anyone else in my family and at first we all kind of made fun of her because it seemed like any phrase we said could prompt her to go into a rap about a founding father. However, sometimes being around something so much can get you kind of attached to it, and then you end up realizing that a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton is exactly what you never knew you needed. And because my sister just graduated high school and will be headed off to college pretty far away from where we live, my family decided to take a family vacation together during our last summer with everyone living at home; they definitely knew how to make it memorable.
We saw Hamilton on our third day in New York, and we did lots of other fun things as well but I won’t get into that because this is probably going to be a very long post already.
So we got to the show and waited outside for a while for the doors to open. I was freaking out the entire time because my sister had found some online horror stories where people got to the show only to find out that their tickets weren’t real. There really wasn’t any reason for me to be concerned, but I totally was. Like shaking with nervousness.

hamilton sign
(hence this extremely shaking and awful picture of the sign, whoops)
We got up to the front of the line and they scanned our tickets. I was too nervous to really pay attention to anyone else, so when I heard The Beep when my ticket was scanned I had no idea what it meant.
Good beep? Bad beep? Beep in The Adams Administration after “Hamilton publishes his response!”?
It was a good beep, and my panic only lasted about two seconds before I was ushered in so the next person could get beeped, but it was extremely dramatic in my head.
We get our little playbills and got to our seats. Inside the playbill there was a list of people who were going to be doing the show that night (I’m sorry if it’s like this for literally every show ever, I’m new at seeing things like this). We had basically all of the original cast* with the exception of Jonathon Groff. I would’ve loved to see him because, you know, he’s Jonathon Groff, but Rory O’Malley absolutely killed it and I can’t imagine how it could’ve been any better – the sass and humor in King George’s songs translate amazingly to the stage.

(And speaking of the stage… it was incredible. The entire theatre was so beautiful. There were tiny little TVs on the wall area of the higher up seats (does that make any sense?) facing the stage, so if you turned around you could see the piano being played in the pit, which was cool)
Then all of a sudden the lights were dimming and the show was starting. I’m pretty sure that the message to turn your phones off was something cute-sy and related to the show, but I was too excited that I honestly don’t remember at all. Is it possible to faint from excitement? I was almost to that point, but I calmed my self down because I didn’t want to miss Hamilton because I landed myself in the emergency room.

er we are meant to be.gif

Now, if you like Hamilton or you watched the Tony’s, you’ll be very familiar with the opening number. It’s casual, slower rapping, talking about the “ten dollar founding father without a father”. You don’t have to be too profoundly intelligent to realize who they’re talking about – Alexander Hamilton (hence the title of the musical – wow!). However, that doesn’t make the big reveal any less dramatic, in the song and especially in person.

Well the word got around, they said, this kid is insane, man!
Took up a collection just to send him to the mainland.
Get your education don’t forget from whence you came,
And the world’s gonna know your name,
What’s your name, man?

Then Lin-Manuel Miranda, this majestic, ponytailed genius comes walking out, and you can barely hear “Alexander Hamilton” over the screams.
(And it’s kind of funny how that works. Imagine if a couple years ago someone told you that the name “Alexander Hamilton” would send a room full of people of all ages into absolute hysteria. It would’ve seemed crazy. It still is crazy.)
Lin-Manuel, who’s like, my favorite person, favorite writer, favorite Tweeter, and phone lockscreen, proceeds to stand there as the screams die down. It gives me chills every time I think about it. Normally I’m not one to really obsess over celebrities or anything like that, and while I’m ecstatic that I got to see him, I feel like the part that sticks with me the most is thinking about what he must feel. He got to stand on a stage in front of a sold-out crowd almost every night for months, and he got himself there. He got to work hard for so many years and then was met with such overwhelming, visible success.
I’ll probably make another separate post just about this sometime, but I just think that would be amazing. To be able to easily see how much you’ve changed the world. You think about J.K. Rowling, who wrote seven books, and forever changed history. Maybe not in the same way that wars and politics do, but in ways that are equally unfathomable when you think about it (is it unfathomable if you can think about it? I’m rambling.) There’s a Harry Potter world in Orlando now that has many, many people working at it. Her books led to some people’s careers. Her books led to movies that kickstarted actors’ careers and fame.
We’re talking changed lives people.
And that’s kind of why I love Hamilton so much. It’s just one of those things, and I really think this is only the beginning.
Plus, the music is fantastic. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to see the show or if you have any interest in history. Anyone can appreciate it. It’s also not just hip-hop. There’s such a good mix that literally anyone could find at least one song that they enjoy. My personal favorites (in no particular order) are:

  1. Satisfied
  2. Wait for It
  3. Dear Theodosia
  4. Burn
  5. Guns and Ships
  6. Farmer Refuted
  7. Washington on Your Side
  8. It’s Quiet Uptown
  9. The World Was Wide Enough
  10. One Last Time

If you haven’t listened to the album yet, give it a try. It’s only like, three hours long, which seems kind of long in hindsight but not when you consider that you might discover something you really like. You can listen to most of it on YouTube I think, buy it on iTunes (you won’t regret it) or listen to it on Spotify. I’ve heard of some people who were planning to see it who only listened to the first act so that the second act could be a complete surprise for them. I had the first act completely memorized by the time I saw it, but a lot of the second half was pretty new to me, mainly because my sister and I would listen to the discs when we played ping-pong and I would beat her so quickly (LOL) that we wouldn’t even get to Dear Theodosia. I did like having some things that felt more new when I saw it. No matter what you plan to do, you can definitely just search for the album on Spotify and then listen to it through, but if you want to listen to it in a playlist that I feel is more appropriately titled (“AHHH”) feel free to hit up mine right here. You can follow me if you want; I have literally the worst taste in music.
The last thing I’m going to talk about before I get into kind of spoiler-y stuff about the show (haha you thought this was close to being over, didn’t you?) is the book. Everyone calls it the Hamiltome, but I think technically it’s called Hamilton: The Revolution (Goodreads confirms). I can’t say that I think you would like it if you aren’t already a fan of the music and know it pretty well, but if you are… get. on. that. I read it as soon as I got home from seeing the show and there’s definitely tear stains on my copy. Again, it’s not that the book is particularly sad, I just overthink things and really want to be a writer and reading about the journey and all of the victories makes me happy cry. I’m a mess, sorry ’bout it.
The book includes every song in the show with annotations from Lin about his writing process, different inspirations, etc. It also has many different little stories written by different people involved with the process and they were honestly so good. I was worried that I would be tempted to skip over them to just keep reading through the lyrics, but that just wasn’t the case.
Finally, it’s just a beautifully made book if you’re into judging things like that (aren’t we all?) Solid binding, deckled edges, thick paper (my tears didn’t bleed through to the other pages). Again, definitely worth the investment if or when you realize that you are hopelessly attached to the show and can’t get enough.

The Show (Spoilers about little things that you might not want to read if you’re planning on seeing it!)

Some things transferred so differently (but so well) to the stage than I thought they would. I was constantly surprised. For example, after the wedding scene in Satisfied, Alexander was high-fiving all his friends and whatnot, and then he literally dabbed. Not going to lie, it was the first time someone ever dabbed and I didn’t hate it.
And speaking of Satisfied (and really all of the songs I guess) the stage had two turntables on it that would rotate and the choreography was absolutely fantastic because of it. The whole “Rewind” part in Satisfied was just so, so incredibly done. I was blown away.

schulyer sisters.jpg
Also, Daveed Diggs. Daveed Diggs, man. He’s just so great. If I’m being honest, I didn’t really know much about the performers other than Lin before I saw the show, but I left with a profound appreciation for all of them, Daveed in particular. He’s just hilarious. The attitude and the accent, and the two roles (Jefferson and La Fayette) performed so incredibly… I just don’t even know what to say. The rap battles, everything. SO GOOD.

The Reynold’s Pamphlet was never really one of my favorites (not to say that it was bad, everything is amazing), but seeing it on stage really changed my perspective. Picture Jefferson, Burr, King George – everyone! – “making it rain” with the Reynold’s Pamphlet, all around Hamilton. Even the guy in the pit reached up and got one handed to him. It was just really, really well done.
Also (I need to find more transition words), the mockery! I don’t really know how to explain it, but certain parts where you wouldn’t really have noticed things were being made fun of without facial expressions or hand gestures in just the album were so sarcastic! “Talk less, smile more” was consistently referenced, mimicking the same hand gestures that Burr uses when he first shares that advice with Hamilton. And my favorite? In The Room Where it Happens, the line about “You get love for it, you get hate for it, you get nothing if you wait for it, wait for it”? Not only is it referencing the past song, but it’s totally making fun of it. Good stuff.
Finally, in “A Winter’s Ball” when the line goes, “But what do we have in common” and Alexander, Burr and Laurens say, “We’re reliable with the ladies” they slide across the stage all dramatically. It was such a little thing but it was one of my favorite parts. They all just looked so funny in their olden-outfits, and they looked like they were having so much fun. It made me happy.
I could go on forever. I’m not going to, though, because I know that I’ll probably bring Hamilton up more in future posts and I’d hate to make you get sick of something so wonderful.
I hope that you listen to Hamilton and love it. I hope that if you’ve already listened to Hamilton, you get to see it and love it. I hope that if you’ve already seen Hamilton, you get to see it again. And if you’ve already seen Hamilton 1,000 times, I hope you casually bump into Lin-Manuel on the street and he gives you a high-five, because how cool would that be?

lin legs.gif

If you’ve stuck along this long, thanks for reading! With the exception of the first three, I do not own any of the images/gifs used in this post. Feel free to comment down below and let me know if you like Hamilton, and if so what your thoughts are on literally everything! You can keep up with me here by following or subscribing by email, and in other places by following me down below.
Happy reading! 🙂



Well hey.
It’s been a while, even by my standards. Remember when I used to joke about how awful and inconsistent I was at posting when I would go, like, three days in between posts?
It’s not my fault. I’ve gotten super busy and famous ever since Lukas Graham wrote his song “7 Years” based on how loNG IT’S BEEN SINCE I POSTED.
(I mean, seven months to be exact, but you get the idea).
I honestly don’t have a good excuse for why I stopped posting other than the fact that I wasn’t having enough fun with it anymore to justify how much time it was taking up, which is more my fault than anything. I’m also ridiculously particular about things and after I had been gone for a month I felt like I would have to review every book I had read during that time in order to feel like I was back on track which is stupid but so am I a lot of the time so I guess it works out.
I’ve also felt horrible and kind of shunned myself (if that even makes sense) from the blogging world because since I stopped blogging ARCs that I requested many months before I stopped blogging finally arrived because it was closer to the release date and I wanted to read them and review them but I felt like I couldn’t because of the whole feeling like I wasn’t on track crazy thing. So then I put it off and a couple months (read: seven) went by really fast and here we areeee.
(I seriously feel horrible about this. I know that other people who could’ve really enjoyed these books and helped the publishers out by getting publicity, so I’m hoping to read them soon and get reviews out so that at the very least you guys can still hear my thoughts on them, even if it is late).
I really have missed blogging, though. The issue was that I wanted to post every single day along with reviewing every book I read but I don’t have enough good ideas to write posts that I’m proud of every day and I don’t read enough good books to write fun reviews that I would want to read. But we’ll get to that later.
I also want to make it clear that I’m perfectly aware that most people weren’t too affected by the fact that I stopped blogging and a long explanation isn’t really needed but I do want to start blogging again and felt like I couldn’t just casually jump back into it.
To put it in terms that all of you might understand better, (this is a book blog after all) I didn’t want to pull a Voldemort, who just showed up four books after all the parties celebrating his death like, “LOL, sike!”
Basically I’m going to start blogging again, but not with a schedule that has set posts every single day. I’m going to review books but not if I feel like I have nothing noteworthy to say, and I’m not going to follow a particular format. My favorite posts that I’ve written on here are the ones that were random and took days to write, like my predictions posts and my weird edits. I definitely won’t be posting as often but when I do I’d like to think that they are more high-quality and are more worth your time (also, thank you for sticking around throughout this hiatus – unlike One Direction, I really am coming back).
I also haven’t really been reading your posts, obviously, so if you’ve written something in the past seven months that you thought was fantastic (I mean, I’m sure everything was) feel free to toot your own horn and leave it linked down below so I can get caught up with you.
So I think that that’s about it from me. I have so many notifications since I’ve been gone and it’s hard for me to efficiently go through them, so if you’re a new follower who I haven’t followed back or otherwise interacted with, please, please comment so that I can check out your blog!

Follow me…

On Insta (I like to think I’m artsy)
Twitter (Let’s be real – I’m the worst at using this one)
Goodreads (Soon to be updated regularly once again)
Bloglovin’ (Still don’t know how this one works)

What’s Next?
Follow my blog to be notified when I post again (which will be sooner than March!) My upcoming posts will be…
1) All my thoughts on Hamilton ever
2) Cursed Child review/discussion
3) Spoiler Ranting Part 2

Happy reading! 🙂

Match Made in Mondays: Premise Do-Overs

match mondays

Happy Monday! It’s taken me so long to write this post that it might actually be Tuesday where you are, but hopefully you’re having a good day no matter what day that actually is.
If you’re not already aware, Match Made in Mondays is book meme that I created here where we make pairings and incoherent ramblings. You can read all about it here, but it’ll make more sense later.
Today’s topic is…

THIS BOOK’S premise + a do-over = A Match Made in Mondays

Unfortunately, we’ve all encountered books that seemed like they had so much potential but unfortunately disappointed us. Today’s pairing is to give that premise a second chance at having a great book written about it.
I have two answers (because I’m so rebellious that I’m breaking my own rules, clearly).
The first one is my most recent read, Made You UpIf you read my review, you know that I wasn’t completely disappointed by this book, but it’s nothing like what I expected it to be and I’d really like to read a book that was written like I thought it would be. Does that make any sense at all? Of course, whenever I thought that a book was going to have a brilliant plot and it didn’t, I always think, “Well, why don’t you just write a book with that brilliant plot?” Unfortunately, Made You Up kind of had that brilliant plot, so any similar book that was published exactly like I wanted it to be would likely just seem like a knock off of Made You Up, you know?
And my second answer…
Harry Potter. 
Woah, slow down everybody. Drop your pitchforks.
It’s not that I’m dissatisfied with Harry Potter and think that it shouldn’t exist (if that’s what you thought I was saying, than you definitely haven’t been here for very long). What I’m saying is, I wish I could read more stories about magical boarding schools and really enjoy them without automatically comparing them to Harry Potter. I just want to love more magic school stories.
I guess the ultimate solution would just be for J.K. Rowling to write more Harry Potter books.

i love magic

That was this week’s Match Made in Mondays post! Sorry it was so short, but hopefully you enjoyed it! Be sure to let me know what books you think deserve do-overs, and link me to any fun posts you made today so that I can check them out.
Thanks for reading! 🙂


Review #39: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

a forwardsandbookwords review

Cover Revieacb5f-madeyouup2bcoverw: I love it! It’s so beautiful (and honestly it was what made me first want to read this book).
Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Description: Stand-alone YA contemporary mystery.
Publishing Information: Released May 19, 2015 by HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 428
First Line: If I was good at the grocery store, I got a Yoo-hoo.

Synopsis (taken from Goodreads): 

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

pros and cons

The things I liked about it, I loved so much that they completely destroyed me. Unfortunately though, I had some issues with this book.
Going into it, I had only read the blurb on the inside of the hardcover jacket. Even if I had read the full synopsis though, it still seems to describe a different story than this one really was. The blurb, which is what intrigued me (along with the gorgeous cover) reads,

“Let’s play twenty questions.”
“Okay . But I ask the questions this time.”
“If I guess it before five, I’ll be really disappointed.”
The corner of his lips twisted up into a smile and he said, “Don’t insult me.”
“Are you alive?”
“Do you live here?”
“Do I know you?”
“Did I make you up?”

Unless I completely missed it (which is possible), this conversation wasn’t even in the book. If it was in the book, this moment wasn’t relevant enough to the story to really stand out, because the book isn’t really solely focused on our main character, who has schizophrenia. Instead, it was about a girl who is solving a mystery and dealing with jerks at school and fighting with her parents and falling in love and, oh, yeah!, she has schizophrenia.
Mental illness isn’t what defines a person, so maybe it was good that the only plot line of the book was the fact that the main character has schizophrenia, but there was just so much going on. There was bullying and history and Nazi Germany and a snake in the ceiling and a haunted scoreboard and family drama and sabotage and partying and abusive adults. It almost felt like Francesca Zappia had all of these really great, individual ideas and tried to fit them all into one book. They started overshadowing each other and I wasn’t sure what was relevant and what was even going to end up being real, which can be really exciting but it also had me extremely confused.
Within all of these plot lines, there were some really, really terrible people. It almost wasn’t enjoyable to read about. Obviously sometimes books don’t need to be super enjoyable, and instead they’re meant to send a message or make us think, but it just felt like there was so many crazy, unnecessary sad and scary things in these little side plots. It made me… well, sad and scared.

“I am real. This”–he put his other hand over the first-“is real. You see me interacting with other people all day long, don’t you? I talk to people; I affect things in the world. I cause things to happen. I am real.”
“But-but what if this whole place”-I had to suck in air again-“what if everything is inside my head? East Shoal and Scarlet and this bridge and you-what if you’re not real because nothing is real?”
“If nothing’s real, then what does it matter?” he said. “You live here. Doesn’t that make it real enough?”

Now for the love interest… I don’t know. I’m not a fan of the whole “bad guy gone sweet” trope, even if we do usually get a backstory that occasionally almost excuses the jerkiness of these people. I grew to like Miles, but I think that’s only because he seemed like a completely different person in the last third of the book or so. His transformation didn’t seem very realistic because it wasn’t really a transformation. It was just like he was replaced with a new Miles that wasn’t a jerk.
Yes, we got a backstory eventually. Yes, I kind of shipped them eventually. Yes, he got nicer (like they all do) eventually.
I don’t know. It took him long enough.
Tucker, on the other hand, was fantastic. He’s one of my favorite best friends/sidekicks I’ve read in a contemporary. Great guy.
This book kind of lacked any good family support systems for any of the characters that we got to know; they all had pretty horrible home lives. It could be argued that Alex’s family was pretty good, but her mom drove me crazy. Refusing to acknowledge your daughter’s wishes and listening to what she has to say is not protecting her.
Last complaint. There was too much unnecessary swearing. This is really a personal preference, but I just didn’t enjoy it. But, you know, that’s just me.
There were things about this book that I really enjoyed. It was incredibly fast-paced, funny (I mean, not always. See above: scared and sad), very quotable, and sent some powerful messages.
One of the big twists really got me. I didn’t see it coming, and I was absolutely heartbroken and angry. I also absolutely loved the ending.
I loved the conversations Alex had with her Magic 8 Ball and the games of Twenty Questions that Miles was impossibly good at. I loved the crazy jobs that Miles did for people.
That’s enough quirkiness and side-features of the book for one contemporary, wouldn’t you think? Because normally, books with such great plot twists and endings and formats like that would be getting five stars. How could they not? Unfortunately, there was just too much going on. I couldn’t focus on the effects and the heartbreak from that plot twist when I was worried about how nine other side stories were going to work out.
I think this book had a ton of potential, and it didn’t completely disappoint me. It just wasn’t what I expected at all, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would. However, I am glad that I read it. It was entertaining and books that make you feel so many things (sad, scared, annoyed) clearly are connecting with you in some way and therefore doing something right.

final thoughts

So, did you think all of that was incoherent? Just wait for me to try and sum up my overall feelings.
Giving this book a low rating would imply that it wasn’t amazing, right? But this book was amazing. There were so many freaky elements and it surprised me and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished it.
However, I feel like it could’ve been a lot better. Looking back on it, I remember my favorite elements and feel like it’s a five star book. The issue is, it’s a five star premise. The execution just didn’t work for me, and maybe it will for you. There are plenty of reviews out there that completely praise this book, and I’d like to think that this review is one of them as well, because I did enjoy it. I’m glad I read it. I might even read it again one day.
I keep contradicting myself.
I don’t know guys. I really liked some parts, but I really didn’t like some other parts. There were so many different parts to have feelings about.
This book is somewhere between a 2.75/5 and a 3.75/5. You would think that would make it a 3.25, but that doesn’t feel right either.
I’m a mess.
Goodreads         Barnes and Noble         Amazon          IndieBound

Thanks for reading! 🙂


End of the Year Book Survey!

2015 end of the year book survey

Hello and welcome to the first tag-ish thing I’m doing on a Friday! This is more of a survey (comprised of about half a million questions) than a tag, but I saw it on Joey’s blog at Thoughts and Afterthoughts and it looked really fun so here I am. The survey was started on The Perpetual Page-Turner’s blog if you’re also interested in participating. Let’s get right into this.
(P.S.: You can click on the title of any of these books and be taken to either my review of it or the Goodreads page. It’s a surprise)

2015 Reading Stats

How many books did you read?
I honestly have no idea. I started using Goodreads when I started my blog (July), and for a while I don’t think I was using it correctly. So, keeping track incorrectly since July, 38?

Number of re-reads?
I re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the illustrated edition… and maybe The Fault in Our StarsThat could’ve been 2014. I’m a mess.

Genre you read from the most?
Contemporary, without a doubt. They’re just so cute.

Best in Books

Best book you read in 2015?
What kind of question is this? I have no idea, especially considering that I don’t remember half the books I actually read during this year. Can I just cheat and say Harry Potter? Harry Potter.

Book you were excited about and thought you would love but you didn’t?
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL *sigh* I was so disappointed with this one. Even in my review I was trying to convince myself that I liked it more than I did. It was more of a two star book for me honestly.
Also, 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith. I read those two books back-to-back and I was incredibly underwhelmed.

Book that you pushed most people to read (and they did) in 2015?
Definitely The Lunar Chronicles. They’re just fantastic books. Why wouldn’t you want to read them?

Best series you started in 2015? Best sequel of 2015? Best series ender of 2015?
Woah, rapid-fire! Okay… Best series starter of the year has to go to Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff because that book absolutely destroyed me. Best sequel goes to The Heir by Kiera Cass and series ender… you should know this by now.
Winter by Marissa Meyer.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Definitely Sophie Kinsella with Finding Audrey. That was such a good book. Or Jenny Han with her To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before duology. Like, how had I not read Jenny Han before?

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Illuminaeagain. It’s a 600 page science fiction book… AH.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of 2015?
Illuminae. I’m sensing a theme.

Book you read in 2015 that you’re most likely to re-read next year?
Throne of GlassI read it early 2015 (or maybe late 2014, but who knows) and I would like to continue on with the series but don’t remember anything.

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
I really like the cover for Match Point by Erynn Mangum. It’s really cute and colorful and goes with the story well.

Most memorable character of 2015? 
Iko from The Lunar Chronicles. Gotta love her.

Most beautifully written book you read in 2015? 
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. Maybe not in terms of the actual writing and words used, but all of the different perspectives and side-stories made it an incredibly powerful story.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015?
Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech. This was such a great message that I really enjoyed reading.

Book you can’t believe you waited until 2015 to read?
Paper Towns by John Green. I bought it immediately after I finished The Fault in Our Stars like, two years ago, and I never got around to reading it until a very long car ride this summer when I discovered that IT IS A FANTASTIC BOOK.

Favorite passage/quote of 2015? 

“Did you see any rice in there? Maybe we could fill Cinder’s head with it.”
Everyone stared at him.
“You know, to…absorb the moisture, or something. Isn’t that a thing?”
“We’re not putting rice in my head.”

-Marissa Meyer, Winter

Shortest and longest book you read in 2015?
Shortest – Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman (at approximately 80 pages)
Longest – Winter by Marissa Meyer (at approximately 800 pages)

Book that shocked you the most?
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew. I picked it up on a complete whim and I ended up really enjoying it.

OTP of the year?
Thorne and Cress from Winter, Kady and Ezra from Illuminae, Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter (LOL).

Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
Nimona and Ballister Blackheart from Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. Their sidekick/super-villain relationship was hilarious.

Favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you’ve read previously?
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. Gotta love Morgan Matson.

Best book you read in 2015 based solely on someone’s recommendation/peer pressure?
I don’t think I really read any books like that this year… but maybe next year. I did ask for a lot of books for Christmas based on recommendations, and I’ll be reading those soon. 🙂

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Ezra from Illuminae is pretty cool. Although, if life as we know it has to end and I have to be cooped up on a sketchy spaceship to meet him, I’ll pass.

Best 2015 debut you read?
I know that as soon as I post this I’m going to remember some, but I honestly can’t think of any debuts that I really loved this year. Be sure to leave any good recommendations below!

Best world building/vivid setting you read this year?
This is kind of a weird answer, but Landline by Rainbow Rowell. Thinking back on that book, I can still vividly picture all of the scenes and I read it months ago.

Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella. It was such a cute and fun story.

Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2015?
For some reason, Kiersten White’s story in My True Love Gave to Me made me cry. It wasn’t even that sad, it was just a really cute story. I don’t know.

Hidden gem of the year? 
The Lauren Holbrook series by Erynn Mangum were such fun reads.
Okay guys, I don’t want to go back and change my answer because the laziness has gotten to that point. But that’s my answer for that other question, too.

Book that crushed your soul? 
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Most unique book you read in 2015?
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
Seriously y’all, have you added that book to your TBR yet?

Book that made you mad? 
Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson, simply because it really shouldn’t exist. But it does and I read it and I loved it, so who am I to complain?

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

New favorite blog you discovered in 2015?
I started my blog in 2015, so every blog I discovered was new. Due to that fact, I’m given the right to cheat. EVERYONE. Seriously. You all are the bomb-diggity.

Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
Winter by Marissa Meyer because it was also a discussion and I really want to start writing more posts like that.

Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Back in the early days of my blogging (circa July) I parodied the first chapter or so of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and made it about my dog. I also dressed up my dog for the occasion. It’s always going to be one of my favorite posts.
Also, my Thanksgiving book cover edits. Those were so fun to make.

Best event that you participated in? 
I didn’t really participate in any… but I’m hoping to change that in 2016! I’m kind of terrified to be a part of blog tours or author interviews because I’m worried that I completely misunderstand what they’re all about and I’m going to do them incorrectly.

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
I was terrified to ask publishers for ARCs because I’m still such a new blog and I was worried that they would completely reject me and then laugh about the tiny little blog that wants books while sipping coffee in some gold-plated conference room. However, publishers are actually really nice and I was added to three blogger lists this year which was amazing and completely unexpected.

Most popular post this year on your blog?
My predictions post for what will happen in The Crown by Kiera Cass. At least once a day someone who is searching trying to find out who is going to die in that book is directed to my (most likely) completely inaccurate ramblings. Sorry.

Post you wished got a little more love?
Maybe… this one?
It did get quite a bit of love for the amount of followers I had at the time. Honestly, any posts that were read by literally anyone is more love than I thought any of my writing would get when I was first starting out, so thank you.

Best bookish discovery? 
Book Outlet (although that was more late 2014… we’re counting it!). Although, whether or not this was a good discovery based on how much money it’s eaten up is debatable…

Did you complete any bookish challenges/goals you set for yourself this year?
I didn’t set any! But I am this year, so hopefully I’ll complete all of those.

Looking Ahead

What’s one book you didn’t get to in 2015 that will be your number one priority in 2016?
I don’t know if it’ll be my number one priority because I’m not really in the mood to pick it up right now, but THE THRONE OF GLASS SERIES AHHHHHHH. I just want to know what everyone’s always talking about and join the bandwagon and get all excited about the new releases… sigh.

Book you are most anticipating for 2016?
The Crown by Kiera Cass. I’m so ready.

2016 debut you’re most anticipating in 2016?
Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky. I just know that it’s going to be fantastic and hilarious and I’m. So. Excited.

Series ending/sequel you’re most anticipating in 2016?
See the aforementioned Kiera Cass book.

One thing you hope to accomplish in your blogging during 2016?
Higher quality posts all the time, and just to keep blogging. Hopefully I’ll make it to another end of the year survey!

A 2016 release you’ve already read and recommend to everyone?
None… but hopefully I’ll be reading some good ones soon!

If you actually read my answers to all of those crazy questions, thank you for your dedication! I’m not going to tag anyone to do this because I feel like there’s a big difference between tagging people to do a typical ten question tag and tagging someone to do a fifty question survey… that’s a lot of pressure. However, feel free to answer the questions yourself if you’re interested and link it below so I can be sure to see your answers.
I hope you all have a wonderful 2016. Thanks for reading! 🙂


December Wrap-Up of All the Things!


Happy Friday Eve, and New Year’s Eve! I cannot believe that 2015 is coming to an end, which seems to be what everyone is saying, but seriously. Last month I said that my November Wrap-Up of All the Things was going to be my last wrap-up post of 2015 because I was assuming that I was going to be a mess as usual and not get this post out until a couple days into 2016.
HAHA past Audrey. I actually have my stuff together. Kind of.
Let’s get into this!

blogging accomplishments

Today marks my sixth month of blogging, which is absolutely bonkers. Who actually thought I would make it this long? “Not I,” said the pig.*
This month marked the milestone of reaching 450 readers, which is 448 readers than I ever thought I’d have. Thank you all for reading my ramblings, I hope you’ve enjoyed them.
I also started doing “What’s Up Wednesdays” this month, which is literally the only new posts that I said I would start doing last month that I actually did (more on that later). I’m really, really enjoying making those posts, and I plan to continue on with them if you guys are liking them as well.
I continued to make my Match Made in Mondays posts this month, which is really fun. As of right now I’m going to continue doing that, but I don’t have anymore topics lined up, so I definitely need to remedy that beforehand (if you have any ideas, feel free to leave them below).

*In case you didn’t get that reference:
not i said the pig.jpg
You should probably read The Little Red Hen at your earliest convenience. It’s a fantastic piece of literature.


This month wasn’t too amazing of a reading month for me, but that’s okay. I feel like I could’ve read a lot more, but I started the month off a little rough trying to finish a book that I wasn’t really enjoying. Ah, well. Also, I still didn’t read Throne of Glass or Crown of Midnight. But is anyone really surprised by that? I read two graphic novels and four regular books this month.

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins (and lots of other people)
Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain

I’m also about 200 pages into To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which I’m reading for school. This morning I started reading Made You Up by Francesca Zappia and I’m about 20 pages into that, and at some point I’ll probably finish reading The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, which I started this month and I’m about 100 pages into that. Can we round all of that up and pretend it counts as another book? No? Fine.

happy (haul)idays!

Welcome to another embarrassingly large book haul. You’ve got to understand that 1) my Black Friday BookOutlet books arrived to my house this month and 2) pretty much all I expressed interest in receiving for Christmas were books. So… let’s just get into this.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson


january tbr

In the ideal world, these are all the books I would read in January. But, you know. Finals.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (finishing)
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (continuing… this one’s going to take me a while)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I better finish this one in January or I’m going to be horribly behind in English class)
The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (I don’t know, I just really want to reread it)

You’ll notice that I didn’t include Throne of Glass this month because who am I kidding? I NEVER GET TO IT. 

future plans

So I’ve been this for, what, three months? But I’m actually doing these things this time. I’m going to plan it out better, and if they don’t happen during January, they are happening within the early months of 2016. I pinky swear. Those are legally binding.
First of all, I’m not really loving Feature Fridays anymore. Usually I don’t have ideas for them and then I just end up not posting on Fridays, which I hate doing. They might come back occasionally, but from now on (starting tomorrow if all goes well) I’m going to be doing tags every Friday, because I’ve been hardcore slacking on tags (like, I haven’t done one since September) and I really like doing them. So that’s one thing.
I don’t know if the middle grade Sundays are going to be very consistent right away, but I’m trying my best. I really want to start rereading the Harry Potter books, so that could be a thing that happened.
Baby Book Babble is a-go. It’s gonna happen. Eventually. I want to make sure that it’s really well put together, so it might take a while. But it’s going to happen.
There will be more giveaways in 2016, which will be fun. I’m starting to make my reviews a little longer, and I’m still kind of experimenting with that but I’m also going to try and include more quotes (once I stop reading graphic novels). Woot.
As always, I’m going to keep blogging! I hit a rough patch in December and if anything January will probably be a little worse because of my semester ending and finals and STRESS AHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
But we’ll see.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Review #38: The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew

a forwardsandbookwords review

Cover Reviethe shadow herow: It’s a solid cover. It gives you a good sense of the art style and the subject of the book (superheroes, obviously).
Book: The Shadow Hero
Author(s): Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
Description: Graphic novel YA compilation of 6 comic issues (did that make any sense? I’m new to the comic/graphic novel world. I don’t know what I’m talking about)
Publishing Information: Released July 15, 2014 by First Second
Pages: 169
First Line: In 1911, the Chi’ing Dynasty collapsed, ending two millennia of imperial rule over China.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The Shadow Hero is based on golden-age comic series The Green Turtle, whose hero solved crimes and fought injustice just like any other comics hero. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity…The Green Turtle was the first Asian American superhero.
Now, exactly seventy years later, New York Times-bestselling author Gene Luen Yang has revived this nearly forgotten, pioneering character in a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the golden-age Green Turtle.
With artwork by the unmatched Sonny Liew, this hilarious and insightful graphic novel about heroism and heritage is also a loving tribute to the long, rich tradition of American superhero comics.

pros and cons

I picked up this book completely on a whim. I was just sitting on my couch, thinking about how daunting my current read (a Brandon Sanderson book – ahhh) is, and that maybe I should pick up another little book on the side. The Shadow Hero was sitting on the couch next to me because my sister was planning on reading it soon, and I just picked it up.
I’m not going to lie and pretend like I know anything about superhero comics or the history behind this one, but it was fascinating. If you read the synopsis, you’ll know that this was a re-vamped version of an unsuccessful comic from “The Golden Age”, and reading about the history behind this story in the back of the book after finishing the actual story made me enjoy it even more.
I don’t typically read superhero story or watch any of the big superhero movies, but this story did seem to have a few of the typical superhero tropes (that I can’t get too into without spoiling things). Still, the culture and that was included was refreshing and helped to make this such a fast read.
The Plot: 
The plot really took me by surprise. It was a lot funnier and more (for lack of a better word) ridiculous than I thought it would be. It follows a boy named Hank whose mother is unsatisfied with her life in America. Of course, this is before her life is saved by a superhero and she decides that her son’s destiny must be to become a superhero. The only issue is, he doesn’t have any powers, and in his attempt to prove himself to his mother, Hank makes some very powerful enemies.
The story was incredibly fast-paced, as graphic novels tend to be. I love that it was able to combine a kick-butt story with culture and also a ton of humor. The ending wasn’t anything unexpected, but it was satisfying and I enjoyed it.
The Characters:
I really liked the family dynamic in this book. Sure, the mom was a little crazy and the dad was sad all of the time, but going into this with the knowledge that it was about superheroes, I expected our main character to be either an orphan or the child of mad scientists.
Hank’s mom was hilarious. She was crazy, but the scenes that included her were absolutely crazy and ridiculous and my absolute favorites. She also had some pretty admirable character development throughout the story.
I also really loved Hank’s relationship with his dad. While his mother thought that his grocer father was nothing to be proud of, Hank loved working with his father and someday dreamed of taking over the family business. It was a really cute element of the book.
All of the side characters were pretty well developed, although I sometimes had a hard time keeping track of all of Hank’s enemies (which either gives you a taste for my horrible memory or what a horrible situation Hank is suddenly thrust into). Hank’s love interest was fantastic. It seemed like the type of thing that would be insta-love, but it really surprised me. She was maybe even more kick-butt than Hank, which was really nice because in the time period that the book takes place in (and even still today *sigh*) calling people a girl, or saying they fought like a girl, was used as an insult.
Like I said before, Hank’s mom was fantastic. I think my absolute favorite moment was pretty close to the beginning of the book when she decided that Hank was destined to be a superhero. She was eavesdropping on some ladies who were talking about how a famous superhero become a superhero, and one of the ways was exposure to acid. In the next scene, she and Hank are walking by an accident involving a truck carrying toxic waste, and she literally kicks her son into it. It was so unexpected and hilarious and I did a horrible job of describing it, so I apologize.
I also loved reading all of the history and explanation behind the graphic novel at the end of the book. It was honestly fascinating and really added a lot to the story.
The wasn’t really anything in particular that I didn’t like about this book, but it just wasn’t my favorite. It wasn’t mind-blowing by any means, but it was a solid story. There were a ton of fight scenes, which just aren’t my favorite, but that’s a personal preference.

final thoughts

This was a really enjoyable, quick read. I’m not huge on superhero stories, but it was entertaining and exceeded my expectations. If you like reading the classic superheroes or watching the superhero movies, you’ll probably enjoy this story. It was definitely nice to read such a unique story while also learning about the history behind it.
4/5 stars
Goodreads         Barnes and Noble        Amazon       IndieBound

Thanks for reading! 🙂