The Radical Element

I was kindly given this title from the publisher through Netgally in exchange for a review.

To respect yourself, to love yourself, should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced when you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs.

Original stories by:

  • Dahlia Adler
  • Erin Bowman
  • Dhonielle Clayton
  • Sara Farizan
  • Mackenzi Lee
  • Stacey Lee
  • Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Meg Medina
  • Marieke Nijkamp
  • Megan Shepherd
  • Jessica Spotswood
  • Sarvenaz Tash

I’m determined to start reading more historical fiction and more books with feminist themes. This book fits into both those categories and is why I want to read historical fiction particularly ones inspired by real women. Many of these stories are inspired by real events and real women. There have been many wonderful radical women who helped pave the way for equality, you don’t get to hear about many of those ladies in history class. This book makes me want to make an effort to learn about them.

I hope this collection will provide an impetus for you to be the radical element in your own community, dreaming big, loving yourself fiercely, and writing the next chapter of history – Jessica Spotswood.

I’m fascinated by short stories I love how a whole and lovely story can get told in so little pages. All the stories are about different things and different girls but at there heart there all about the same thing, girls taking charge of their lives. Girls who stand up for what they believe in fight for the life they want, and in some cases learn to accept and love themselves. Most of the stories left me feeling inspired to continue to make my life into the one I’ve been dreaming of, they made me want to be the radical element in my own story.

My favorite story is definitely Better for All the World by Marieke Niikamp, it has an autistic #ownvoices protagonist who wants to be a lawyer. I was blown away by this story and now I must read Marieke’s books. I also greatly enjoyed Daughter of the Book by Dahilia Adller it’s about a jewish girl who rightly believes she deserves the same education as her brother.

Some of the stories didn’t impress but I enjoyed most of them and would give the majority of them a four star rating. Overall I’m in love with this book, with the lovely stories in contains, and the brave, inspiring and radical protagonists that are featured in each of them.

“Respect, and perhaps, one day, even love yourself. It’s the most radical decision you can make.” – Marieke Nijkamp


Book review: The Color Project

Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely, or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

For fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson, THE COLOR PROJECT is a story about the three great loves of life—family, friendship, and romance—and the bonds that withstand tragedy.

I fell in love with this within the first few chapters and couldn’t put it down or stop smiling. There was so many great things going on. Bee works in a flower shop and all the scenes of her arranging flowers are lovely. The love interest Levi is the sweetest, he’s and Bee’s first conversations are awkward and adorable. I soon found myself screaming at them to hurry up and get together. I liked all the characters my favorite is Albert who goes around throwing glitter at people he finds rude.

At first this was the perfect fluffy contemporary but you can tell that something bad is going to happen in the beginning. However you forgot about it las you get entranced by The Color Project and the romance. Then the book goes from happy to sad to aggravating real fast. The last quarter of the book is where I started to not love it quite so much. The sad thing is handled fine but there’s an overlapping storyline that isn’t. I felt for what Bee was going through but I also couldn’t help but be frustrated by her refusal to tell Levi her name.

There’s a few chapters towards the end that that felt repetitive and the characters actions, mostly Bee’s, frustrated me. Throughout those chapters the characters don’t grow, nothing really happens, all it seemed to do was draw out the book. The ending however is good and all in all I adore this book, the writing is lovely and witty, Bee has a strong voice that I found instantly compelling. This was everything I wanted it to be, it made me feel all the emotions, mostly it made me happy.

The Belles, a lavish and dark new YA series

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined.

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The world of Orleans is vastly original the idea of the magic system is what drew me to this, it was as wonderful as I’d hoped it would be. The writing is beautiful but at times too flowery, there are too many overly descriptive passages on hair and rooms. The world is very dark and it grows darker as the story progresses, the villain is obsessed with being the most beautiful and simply pure evil. I thought they were well done, all of their scenes are intense, I simultaneously wanted and didn’t want to know what they were about to do.

I thought Camila would be an unlikable protagonist, obsessed with becoming the favorite but it turns out she’s not what I wanted or expected. Camila wants to make people love themselves she wants to improve the world, she’s more kind and empathetic then anyone else in this world. Despite having admirable qualities I oftentimes found her aggravating. The other Belles are ushered out of the story early on, their only in a few scenes not enough for any development, I would like to see more of them in the next book.

I didn’t think there was any real chemistry between Camila and the love interest every scene between them was both boring and frustrating. I think he should have been cut from the book, the plot would only have needed to be slightly tweaked, and I would have enjoyed it a lot more. There are two scenes that I’m not sure are necessary they seem more for shock value then anything else. One of them definitely could have been removed without greatly effecting the plot. I have no idea how many books are going to be in this series I think everything could be sufficiently wrapped up with just one more book. I am definitely interested in seeing where the story goes.

Revisiting my first ever book review

I thought it would be fun to share with you the first review I ever wrote and see how I have grown as a reviewer. The first book I ever reviewed is All the Bright Places, I reviewed it on February 17th 2015. That’s almost exactly three years ago it feels like I’ve been reviewing books a lot longer then three years. I will insert my review below for you guys then tell you how my thoughts on the book have changed.

This book is marketed as The Fault in Our Stars meats Eleanor and Park I haven’t read The Fault in are Stars but I have read Eleanor and Park and I see very little similarity’s between the two. I’m getting really tired of the this book meats this book thing, All the Bright Places is perfect for fans of Eleanor and Park but it definitively stands on its own. Its very original the characters were realistic although I would have liked to see more of the minor characters.

Violet had a lot of fantastic character development throughout the novel. Finch is complex and quirky and I loved him I liked his point of view better then Violets. I’m not normally a fan of alternating point of views but this one was very well done the characters both had very distinctive voice, the romance was cute, the last half of the book felt rushed and the ending was predictable but well done. The writing is wonderful and overall this book is thoughtful honest and lovely.

Well I don’t think it’s too bad for a first review but now I would completely cut the first paragraph and go into more detail. I’ve definitely learned to be more critical and how to better explain why I did or didn’t enjoy a book. I am positive that if I were to reread this that I would not enjoy it as much, and I’m sure I wouldn’t call it original. But part of what I adore about reading is that where you are in life can greatly effect how you feel about a book.

When I read All the Bright Places I had just begun to read contemporary and this was the first hard hitting one I ever read. Now I have a lot of books to compare it to and my reading tastes have changed. I originally gave this four stars if I were to read it now I would probably give it three maybe even two. It’s hard to say exactly how I would feel about and I don’t remember it too well. I know though that the book did not stick with me for long like I originally thought it would. I have since read contemporary stories that deal with important topics with a lot more care.

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

It’s warming up here but a few weeks ago it was unusually cold, the brisk weather made it a perfect time to pick up a book with such an iconic winter setting. I was surprised by how much I liked it, it’s a classic that can be enjoyed by all ages. It’s imaginative and kept me entertained I liked the writing style but it was at times too simple. I was expecting it to be a lot more detailed I would have liked prety much everything to be expanded upon, especially the characters. The set up of the world is good enough for me, even the straightforward plot is compelling, but I can’t overlook the poor characterization.

There was a lot of saying this charecters is good, just, wise etc. but not a lot of explaining what made that character good. None of the characters had much going for them, the Asland seemed a bit dull to me, they were pretty much all jsimply good or evil. Edmound’s stands out because he messes up but I found him rather annoying. Lucy is endearing, she has to my favorite, Susan and Peter really don’t have much personality. I did still like this despite that big problem, and I will eventually give the next book a chance, however I don’t know if I’ll end up reading the whole series.

This is Not the End

Seventeen-year-old Lake Deveraux is the survivor of a car crash that killed her best friend and boyfriend. Now she faces an impossible choice. Resurrection technology changed the world, but strict laws allow just one resurrection per citizen, to be used on your eighteenth birthday or lost forever.

For each grieving family, Lake is the best chance to bring back their child. For Lake, it’s the only way to reclaim a piece of happiness after her own family fell apart.

And Lake must also grapple with a secret–and illegal–vow she made years ago to resurrect someone else. Someone who’s not even dead yet.

As Lake’s eighteenth birthday nears, secrets and betrayals new and old threaten to eclipse her cherished memories. Lake has one chance to save a life…but can she live with her choice?

Rating: 4/5 stars

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This is a pragmatic thought provoking story that I got way more enjoyment then I was expecting from. I was intrigued by the idea of resurrections but I was still weary going into this book I had never heard anything about it before. So for once I had no preconceived ideas of what I would think.

This was worth the read, the writing grabbed me right from the beginning, and wouldn’t let me go, when I wasn’t reading this I was thinking about it. The resurrections was an interesting concept every character had a different take on it. Some thought it was this miracles thing while others saw it as corrupt. Then there’s the fact that when you bring someone back from death they may not be the same person they used to be.

I really liked the flashbacks you got to see Lake meeting Will and Penny and how deeply they all cared for one another. The relationship between all three of them was adorable and made the rest of the book all the more sad. I really synthesized with Lake she has to make an impossible decision and no one makes it easy for her, everyone is pulling her in a million different directions.

I understand where the adults are coming from after all most parents would do anything for their kid and they should never have to outlive them. But they still ask too much of her even Lake’s own parents put a weight on her shoulders that she shouldn’t have to carry, they really aggravated me.

This book keeps you guessing some of the twists were unnecessary they were there to add drama but didn’t add any substance. All the characters are complex I don’t necessarily love them all but I can understand and appreciate them. The story took some interesting turns I love reading about alternative worlds they tend to raise some interesting questions. Overall it’s a remarkable story that’s worth checking out.

In which I attempt to review comic books

I’m going to read a lot of comics this year I’ve already read three and I want to talk about them on here but I’m not really sure how. Comics are so short that’s it’s really hard to find enough to talk about and to not spoil anything. These are like the shortest reviews I’ve ever posted, I’m hardly sure why I’m bothering, hopefully you’ll enjoy them though and let’s hope I get better at reviewing comics. Practice makes perfect right?

Paper girls

By Brain K. Vaughan (writer), Cliff Chiang (illustrator), Mathew Wilson (illustrator)

My first read of the year was extremely satisfying. I didn’t understand what was going on a lot of the time, but I really enjoyed it, and I’m hopeful that the next installment will give me some answers. I love the art, the colors are beautiful, the art alone is a good reason to pick this series up. Upon finishing I immediately wanted to buy the next volume, it ended on an exiting note. This was a fun book that set up the characters well I’m now invested in their story and eager to know what happens next.

Runaways vol 1 & 2

Brain K. Vaughan(writer), Adrain Alphona (illustrator),

The main reason I read this was so I can watch the TV show I have never before read any comics pertaining to the marvel cinematic universe but I want to this time. The story is very intriguing and it’s a fun comic book it wasn’t amazing but it has potential and I’m glad I picked it up. I liked the second volume better and I definitely want to continue the series. Sadly it will be a while before I do I found the first three volumes on Hoopla but I don’t know when I’ll get to read the rest. Comics are pretty expensive and there’s others I would rather spend my money on like the next volume of Paper Girls. In the meantime I’m excited to watch the TV show and see how it compares to the comics. I might do a book vs tv show post once I watch it.

I didn’t even realize when I was reading them that they are written by the same person and that he also writes Saga.

The Language of Thorns 

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

I love short stories it fascinates me how an author can tell a complete and satisfying story in only a few pages. Every word has to count in a short story and therefore I think it requires a lot of skill to write a good one. All of books I’ve read by Leigh Bardugo have been well written but this is written in a different style then her other works that is particularly lovely. The writing is elegant and bewitching. The spectacular illustrations definitely help to immerse you into the stories, they complement them wonderfully.
I enjoyed all of the stories however I do have a clear favorite, The Witch of Duva, it felt very classic and timeless with an ending that is far more satisfying then the traditional happily ever after. All the stories had elements of notable fairytales but took turns that made them far more interesting. Each story is gripping, classic and original. It feels like your reading an age old tales.
It’s to interesting to read the tales that the characters from Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows would have heard growing up, and fun to speculate on what their favorites stories would be. Each of these tales stands on its own and can be read without reading any other books in the Grisha verse they also add a lot of depth to the world. I love how vast the world is becoming and am so excited for more books set in this wonderful, magical world.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer

I like this version of the origin of the amazon’s so much better then the movies version and I like that it was focused more on sisterhood. It was made clear how important her sisters are to Diana, she doesn’t get along with all of them, but she respects all of them and learns from them. All she wants is to be accepted into their ranks for although she is an amazon she is different then the ot, she’s the youngest, the only one born an amazon and has never seen battle.

Diana longs go on a hero’s quest and become a true amazon it’s clear that she’s the person she most needs to prove herself to. She gets her chance for adventure when Alia’s ship crashes on Themyscira and Diana being Diana can’t let her die. By saving her Diana risked exile and causing a world war, but Wonder Woman can’t just let an innocent girl die, Wonder Woman finds a way to save everyone.

I knew that Alia was going to be important but I didn’t know that this would be just as much her story as Diana’s. Leigh Bardugo is the Queen of writing Queens she has the best female characters, and the best characters in general, their each strong in different ways. Diana is strong in a more traditional way she’s a total badass but her greatest strength is her kindness, Diana is a fierce warrior and a adorable princess. Alia is not physically strong but she is extremely bright and courageous.

This did some things better the movie, mainly the origin of the Amazon’s, and all the extra details that fit well into a book, but wouldn’t have worked in a movie. but I still liked the movie better. Because seeing the Amazon’s fighting together on that beach and Wonder Woman charging into no man’s land without hesitation was amazing. This book was also amazing and empowering in its own way and lots of fun. It was a joy to read something that showcases how powerful girls can be when we stand together.

Book review: Always and Forever Lara Jean

SynopsisLara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

My thoughts (1)This book wasn’t at all necessary but it was cute and lovely and I did very much enjoy it, even though nothing really happened. I didn’t notice until I finished that there wasn’t much going on it was about planning a wedding and Lara making plans for after high school. And there also some baking and senior year shenanigans. This book has less drama then the other two in a way it’s good and I’m so glad the there was no Genevieve drama Genevieve is hardly even in this she’s in like one page and that was enough for me. What little drama there was wasn’t too interesting it wasn’t unnecessary but it was something I’ve seen done a million times.

I had a blast reading this because everything was so cute and sweet this trilogy, that shouldn’t really be a trilogy, has so much charm. These are the perfect fluffy reads the writing is simple and lovely and I always read them so fast. Despite being so darn adorable these books are also emotional the they always have moments that make me tear up because there just so sweet.

Always and Forever Lara Jean is one of the only books I’ve read that focuses on deciding what to do after high school. I have read books that take place during senior year but in them the characters are unrealistically not worried abut getting into college, even though they apply to prestigious schools, that they always get into. I think Jenny Han did a great job of capturing the stress of deciding where to go to college and all the bittersweetness of graduation. But I was disappointed that Lara Jean never mentions what career she wants or what she wants to major in it’s fine for her not to know but she should have at least been thinking about it.