Helen's Weekly Exploits #1!!

by - 10:17 PM

Review: I'll Give You The Sun

by - 11:18 PM

Review: A Court Of Mist And Fury

by - 10:28 AM

Review: We Are The Ants Plus Side Rambling (Always A Plus!)

by - 9:58 PM

An Explanation In Which I Bluff A Bunch

by - 12:01 PM

Review: Kill The Boy Band

by - 9:10 PM

Review: Across The Universe

by - 1:36 PM

NEW BLOG NAME!

by - 9:30 PM

The Hows & Whys Of Me Vs. The 100

by - 1:27 PM

A BIG Mush Pot

by - 9:11 PM

Review: A Game of Thrones

by - 1:28 PM

Review: Me Before You

by - 1:19 PM

Helen Goes From School Life To.....BEING DEPRESSED

by - 11:40 AM

Review: Ruin and Rising

by - 9:39 PM

Review: Siege and Storm

by - 7:28 PM

Monday, December 12, 2016

Helen's Weekly Exploits #1!!

Introduction

This weekly exploits post is a post about my week! Blogging has always seemed like a way of posting about what's going on in your life, and I feel like my blog hasn't been doing much of that lately. (Or rather - much of anything haha; I've been AWOL but I'm back!!) Posting only reviews is great and all, but I want to share some things about myself as well. Totally not just an excuse to blabber on about myself... Also, I have done posts like this before, but I went back and read through them; I am... taken aback. 10/10 would NOT recommend.

Anyway...

How Was My Week?

Slightly shitty.
I had school, as usual, and then I had Winter Sing on Friday! That's my school's winter performance thing where we sing songs as classes or chorale. We weren't bad, just all the good singers graduated? Anyway, that was,,, interesting.
Yesterday, Saturday, I had two choir concerts! It was exhausting but I'm glad it's over so I don't have to worry about it! Also, holiday cheer and all that!

I made a holiday moodboard to spread holiday cheer! Also if you like The Raven Boys, I wrote a "cute" holiday fanfiction story (for an English assignment).

This Blog

I've been busy remaking this blog and some of the code/CSS/HTML is really frustrating me and I want to TEAR MY HAIR OUT UGHH
Blogger really makes me want to move to easily formatted, regularly functioning Wordpress sometimes. However, I really like customizing my blog and Wordpress doesn't offer that unless you pay for it! Rip

Music

I really do think my music taste has progressed since last year (when I started this blog) (oh dear I missed my one-year anniversary). Last year, I was delving into indie music, and now I am a certified music snob! I really love indie folk because it's really calming; movie soundtracks are also amazing because they're meant to be played peacefully in the background, you know? I still like pop music, and indie pop especially. I'm that person who gets personally offended when an unknown indie pop gem gets released onto mainstream radio?? and?? it?? ruins?? it?? Also radios usually slightly speed up songs to keep on schedule and fit in ads - it is annoying to no end. At least I don't have perfect pitch - oh god that'd be terrible.
Anyway, I'm gonna link some of my playlists here:

(for the rainy days)

(for the classical magic days)

(for the vibe-filled days)

(for the peaceful days)

(for the chill days)


That's ... basically it for this post!! Thanks for reading!

How was your week?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review: I'll Give You The Sun

I'll Give You the Sun

I'll Give You the Sun

by Jandy Nelson
A story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal told from different points in time, and in separate voices, by artists Jude and her twin brother Noah. Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways ... until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else--an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they'd have a chance to remake their world.

I FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK

honestly?? it's been a while since i've read sUCH a good book like this is high on my favorites shelf like "my thoughts are stars i cannot fathom into constellations" (not to be john green quoting) and i cAN'T EXPRESS MY LOVE

(here is my expletive-filled reading progress)

i'm very thankful that i have lived in the time of this book - i'm blessed, moved, and grateful. i'm shook!! the prose and writing are to DIE FOR and my lovely narrators jude and noah are so good together and they have an amazing twin relationship and i love how this story was woven and i fell in love with all the characters like their mom and guillermo and oscar and brian and their dad and this was honestly such an Experience™ and i would like to relive it over and over again

"“his soul might be a sun. i've never met anyone who had the sun for a soul.”

if i could achieve one thing before i die - it's to write as well as jandy nelson does! her prose was artsily abstract and impeccable in my perspective - i couldn't get enough of the way she wrote these characters! i felt like a little bit of all of them sometimes, and this book is one of those books that reminds you how desperately you want to be a writer.

again - i LOVED "this story about artistic passion and pleasure, about the ecstatic impulse, about split-aparts" and about the amazing sand women and noah's paintings and brian's eyes and oscar's lean and guillermo's teachings and dianna's magic

is there really any true way to do justice to the magic that is this book? NO, but i just want you to know that it has left me shattered and reeling from this experience of falling in love with a book. will i ever find a real life split-apart, or soul mate? will i ever get to have the pleasure of meeting anyone as poetic and artistic as the sweetwines? as beautiful and soulful as jude? a grasping soul like noah? the effortless charisma, yet the hidden pain of oscar? guillermo's booming artistry and his drenched in passion love with dianna sweetwine? these are all beautiful people whose stories i fell in love with from the perspective of two very special twins. twins who divide up the world between them; who could never play rock/paper/scissors because they always landed on the same. these twins who were torn apart by their decisions in growing up and brought back together along with all the beautiful characters - through fate.

"Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: A Court Of Mist And Fury

A Court Of Mist And Fury

by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: ✰✰✰✰✰
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Okay. [minor spoilers ahead, in my opinion, they don't spoil major plot points or anything]

I'm trying to pour out all my feelings coherently. I don't think it's working. CUT ME SOME SLACK, BOOK HANGOVERS ARE HARD. (Spoilers don't really matter, because most of the spoilers I allude to in this review are kind of obvious from reading like 10 pages of the book...ANYWAY.)

I really really really hope you realized that I LOVED THIS BOOK. A Court Of Mist And Fury is a thing of beauty and darkness and ravaging and freedom and finding out who your true friends are. I think it is absolute magnificence.

First of all, the ROMANCE. BE STILL MY OTP HEART. I have to say, I was a Feysand shipper since Day 1, when Feyre met him at Calanmai and was like, "YO. HOTTEST DUDE EVER. STANDING RIGHT THERE. HE SAVED ME. OML." (I mean she was still loyal to Tamlin at that point, so...) BUT NEVERTHELESS. I was still like, "YO! SUPER HOT DUDE WHO HAS A DAMN GOOD HEART AND SAVED YOUR LIFE. HE'S A KEEPER." And then she stuck with Tamlin over ACOTAR.

What's great about Rhysand is that he really RESPECTED Feyre's space and independence. I saw this post on tumblr and it went something like: "Ianthe: try on this pretty dress! // Feyre: ok // Tamlin: stay at home ok? // Feyre: i guess. i lost something // Tamlin: what? // Feyre: my will to live // Ianthe: ok but still try on this dress." Very definitive of the first chapter. As you know, Feyre is not one to be coddled like that but she WAS. The Spring Court all treated her like she was so fragile, and couldn't handle the pain and traumatization! They kind of had it right on that last part, but keeping her indoors as if she was in a cage definitely wasn't helping! Anyway, she finally snaps, and Rhysand whisks her away.

Now I want to talk about something before I begin talking about the magic that is Rhysand (I know you want it but PATIENCE CHILD). During Feyre's time at the Spring Court, that whole first section of the book, I kept thinking that Sarah J. Maas was writing in a weird style. There was something about the writing. It was kind of clipped, in a feverish way. It was very subtle, but I think it represented the bewilderedness and anxiety of Feyre being cooped up with no one to properly help her recover from Amarantha and becoming High Fae without expressly stated consent. (AND NO I WASN'T FLAILING ON GOODREADS ABOUT HOW I WAS VERY CONFUZZLED BY THE WRITING STYLE AT FIRST NO NO I WASN'T I WAS COOL AND CALM ABOUT IT YESSIREE)

(evidently you can see that I was updating my progress on my phone as you can see from the bewildered typos)

About the difference between Tamlin and Rhysand: while I don't want to get too into detail, there is one key difference: one acknowledges his actions, and one doesn't! Also, Tamlin has some pretty shady history! His hands are NOT clean - quite the opposite in fact! I love that SJM took off the sugar coating from his character, showing us the harsh truth that contrary to what most YA novels might want to tell you, the first love interest is NOT always going to be the love of your life. This is a theme in SJM's other series Throne Of Glass, too! The protagonist doesn't stay with the first guy forever. Feyre fell in love with Tamlin because he was there at the right place in the right time for her love. He rescued her at a very low time for her and her family. Imagine starving, and not having enough money to buy any. BOOM. You hunt a wolf, and later a hot Fae comes over and is gruff at first, then reveals that he's good and caring for our family's every whim. Wouldn't you fall in love with him too? But there are always different sides to the story!

I really really really liked the overall story. There were so many careful details that were just naturally tossed in, like a childhood memory, or a nursemaid someone once had, that totally added and made a difference in how masterfully this writing was done. ACOMAF was so elegantly crafted, and while I am a fan of Sarah J. Maas, I was not expecting the level of goodness this book is! There are SO many new backstories and flashbacks and details that are revealed about all of the characters' pasts (and some hidden as a premonition!) that just tie the story together. [Show spoiler] ACOTAR was definitely the beginning of character development and plotline, while ACOMAF is the FLESH of the story. I definitely recommend this to anyone that doubted this trilogy by judging ACOTAR only! Will it get better in book 3? I sure hope so! While you wait, I totally love this fic of what someone wrote as their personal book 3! TRUE DEDICATION, Y'ALL. There's like forty chapters!

{hahahahahahahahahahaaha people who do WORK. and COMMITMENT. who has time for that? haha jk I AM NOT GOOD AT FOCUSING I'M SORRY}

ANYWAY. I really love that Feyre isn't a lovestruck maiden (like she kinda was with Tamlin at first because DUH - hot fae warrior dude with a huge dilemma of getting a human chick to fall for him to save the kingdom?? FORBIDDEN LOVE ANGST STORY ALERT) in ACOTAR, because she's survived horrible experiences (Amarantha ahem ahem) and has been through a couple toxic relationships already. At least she learns. She doesn't clamber instantly for the love of a dude (like those YA protagonists who jump from one dude to the next). SHE TAKES TIME TO KNOW HIM AS A FRIEND FIRST. Important stuff, ladies! Feyre is actually fine subsisting on her own and being independent - who needs men? Yes, Rhysand DID help her a bunch after her traumatic Tamlin situation, but all in all, she really just needed to get away from him. Everyone needs guiding/rescuing sometimes.

I really really enjoyed the friendship and Inner Circle dynamics of this book. Rhysand had LADIES in his inner, most trusted circle of warriors and friends! Amren and Mor totally SLAYED. They're total examples that you can keep going and living your life even if something very disturbing happens to you - even if you haven't been able to go back to your beloved home in a LONG time. I think they're great people to have around Feyre, and be her badass lady squad! Nesta and Elain, Feyre's sisters, are like the moon and sun. Nesta is stark, stoic, and strong to protect her loved ones. Elain is gentle and lovely, but will still fight as hard as she can to do what it takes for what she loves. Cassian (golden dude) and Azriel (brooding shadow dude) are both incredible as well! They have very distinct personalities and harbor loves for certain people. Rhysand is just very well developed - so damn sexy and flirty and HEART EYES GALORE. He is partly this cold High Lord who does what has to be done to keep of the pretense to protect his people and what he loves. He is also a very kind, loyal guy who openly loves and protects Velaris and the Illyrians. Ah, the Illyrians. You can tell that the flying Illyrian warriors treasure they wings above anything. Whenever someone tortures them, it will be hurting their wings that breaks their strong spirits. And who can blame them? Illyrian fae get majestic, powerful, beautiful wings that take them places, soaring where others cannot. The breathless thrill of the wind on their faces, flying free.... Wings are very valuable.

{side note: this is a more mature novel compared to normal YA! SEXY TIMES! some NSFW scenes!}

{other side note: i would make a moodboard for this story since it was so awesome with imagery, but i'm not talented enough with finding images. i would also write poetry to describe feysand's eternal love, but also not poetic enough!}

{side note 3: i don't wanna be mainstream and like this so much (EW WHY IS THERE SO MUCH HYPE I MEAN IT DESERVES IT BUT I WANNA KEEP IT ALL TO MYSELF I'M SELFISH I KNOW BUT I DON'T LIKE BEING MAINSTREAM OK I LIKE BEING SPECIAL), but Sarah truly made a gem of a novel. [clapping hands emoji here] 👏}

{side note 4: ew how long was this post? VERY. y'all should just implore me to write you guys monologues or something. they'll be dramatic and freaky and flailing and you'll love it.}

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review: We Are The Ants Plus Side Rambling (Always A Plus!)

we are the ants book cover

We Are The Ants

by Shaun David Hutchinson
From the “author to watch” (Kirkus Reviews) of The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley comes a brand-new novel about a teenage boy who must decide whether or not the world is worth saving.

Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.

Only he isn’t sure he wants to.

After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.

Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.

But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it… or let the world — and his pain — be destroyed forever.

"Life is bullshit."

I, er, don't even know how to start with this review. I am horrific at using time wisely, so of course I read it about 5 days before I decided to review it. Luckily, I only forget some things... *cue worried audience of maybe one person*

Aliens

You must've (mistakenly??) thought this was sci-fi! Well you're right for the first 150 pages, at least. Then the aliens don't really show up until they're needed as an obstacle for Henriego (yes I made a ship name don't judge - they're so cutteeee). Still wondering if the whole alien/doomsday thing was a giant metaphor for whether Henry thought the world was worth saving/living for or not. Clever, Mr. Brilliant Author. CLEVER.

The Characters

The characters are all such tortured little bunnies - I want to fanatically squeeze them all and tell them everything's going to be okay... Except it probably isn't, because, you know - doomsday is coming and all that. Henry was SUCH a refreshing perspective! He was incredibly strong and brave and quirky, but you could tell he still had flaws - he could be a little more thoughtful, a little more brave, a little more lots of things. Potential. But he wasn't. And that was enough for the people around him. He was still struggling to deal with Jesse's suicide (his former boyfriend whom he loved a bunch but I never really cared for him because we never met him??) while Marcus, his messed up, secretly gay, flamboyantly popular fuck buddy (this book is a book of tortured souls, man) makes Henry feel like dirt. Then they hook up a bunch still. Then Diego comes in.

(also here's a good depression quote from this book)

“Depression isn't a war you win. It's a battle you fight every day. You never stop, never get to rest.”

DIEGO. I LOVE DIEGO VEGA. I'm pretty sure there's an artist with a similar name. *Googles artist* YES THERE IS A ARTIST WITH THE NAME OF DIEGO! Awwwww.... Look at Helen remembering stuff from art class and studying Frida Kahlo! ANYWAY. Diego is also tortured (an ongoing trend here - but I love it #sorrynotsorry), and he has a shady past that Henry wants to know about but Diego refuses to tell him (until a point when they knew each other really well and were really close so then they have heart-to-heart confessions). He's such a character! I loved him with Henry, because Diego showed up (pretending to be a nude model actually) at a time when Henry was an emotional pile of dog shit (thanks Marcus) and super-depressed and not wanting to press the button, and is pretty much what keeps Henry from killing himself. Honestly, they're all such deep, emotionally raw characters with issues (ahem Marcus ahem) and I don't even know how to describe it.

Henriego

With time, I could probably think up a better ship name. Alas, I don't have the time. ANYWAY. Their banter:

"Mr. Kauffman forced us to read A Farewell To Arms last year. I hated it. Hemingway's writing is so bland. He never says anything."...
"It's not about what he says but what he doesn't say."
I sniffed the air. "I smell bullshit. Do you smell bullshit?"
..."It's not bullshit... Hemingway wrote in the negative spaces. His stories were shaped by what he didn't tell you."
"It still sounds like bullshit," I said with a smirk.

YOU SEE THAT? SEE IT. They're so cute! [Show spoiler]

Me Trying To Figure Out My Feelings On This Book

Me Trying To Figure Out My Feelings On The Ending

Seriously. I don't know if this is a spoiler or not so be warned: this is the last sentence (not including the letter to Ms. Faraci...

"Honestly? It doesn't matter."

YES. You guessed it. HE IS TALKING ABOUT THE WHOLE DOOMSDAY THING. AH. WAH. Really just adds to my theory that it was all just a spectacularly huge metaphor for whether Henry will think the world is worth saving. Very thought provoking. I think this is a fitting ending for a spectacular novel.

“We're all Holden Caulfield at fifteen, but when we grow up we want to be Atticus Finch.”

Thoughts

All in all, I absolutely LOVED this novel. I might, er, be flailing, er, a LITTLE bit (hahaha understatement of the year).... but I can see why some people might DNF after the first 150 pages. I don't know, I guess some people are genuinely interested in sci-fi! Lol, no - sci-fi is really cool, but THIS BOOK ISN'T THAT. Some people just don't like romance? And then the rest of the people are homophobes. If you're homophobic, what are you doing here? #weneeddiversebooks ANYWAY. I loved this book, some might not love it, I read it and it got me out of a slump, yada yada. JUST READ THE DAMN BOOK. You won't regret it? :)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

An Explanation In Which I Bluff A Bunch

*waves awkwardly* Well, er, hi. Yes, this is Helen. Yes, she has returned from the dead. Yes, her blog looks really odd now. Yes, she is a certified psycho who is incredibly indecisive and can't choose between designs.

The truth is, though no one really cares, I am a fledgling blogger who is bad at accomplishing stuff. I see blogs that went like, "Oh I was only about a month old and had only a couple hundred followers but I still got ARCs and cool swag from publishers BUT YOU SHOULD BE AT LEAST SIX MONTHS OLD." HAHAHAHAHAH I am six months old and I have like 1 follower. (Hey, better than 0!)

Also I am very good at wasting time. I just get on Pinterest or Tumblr or Twitter or Wattpad and spend lots of time doing stuff. I don't even know what I do. I just WASTE TIME. URGH. THE CURSE OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA. Also I waste a lot of time obsessing over what my blog looks like, and it doesn't even matter because it's the content that should be obsessed over. URGH. HELEN WHY ARE YOU SUCH AN IDIOT. You guys be like:

Oh well. Bear with me, please. I'm working on multiple reviews right now (We Are The Ants & The Forbidden Wish), and both books are AMAZING books (because I don't review books that I don't like because I frankly have nothing to say besides cussing it out a bunch XD) so it's incredibly hard to do justice to them. *sigh* #TheStruggleIsReal (Edit: Lady Midnight TOO! At this point, it'll probably be a series of mini-reviews)

Also, this IS totally a filler post because I feel I haven't been posting even every other week! And that feeling sucks, because I know I have a LOT to put into this blog, and I really really really want it all to work! My brain constantly goes, "HELEN. NEW IDEA. PUT IT OUT NOW." Then I lack the motivation to actually push through and make an actual POST about it. There's just SO MANY! And I'd love to have discussions, but those would probably flop because I don't have followers? Or many people that come by here regularly? AND I TOTALLY WISH I DID. URGH. I also hate that new readers will have to see this post when they come... ANYWAY.

The point is, a total bookish related post is coming up! And I don't want you to think that I've died and fallen off a cliff and then the blog died too! Don't worry. If you're here, I LOVE YOU.

Source: http://chippythedog.tumblr.com/post/142172941866

Monday, March 14, 2016

Review: Kill The Boy Band

Kill the Boy Band

Kill the Boy Band

by Goldy Moldavsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars ✰✰✰✰✰
From debut author Goldy Moldavsky, the story of four superfan friends whose devotion to their favorite boy band has darkly comical and murderous results.
Okay, so just know from the start that it wasn't supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near The Ruperts, our favorite boy band.
We didn't mean to kidnap one of the guys. It kind of, sort of happened that way. But now he's tied up in our hotel room. And the worst part of all, it's Rupert P. All four members of The Ruperts might have the same first name, but they couldn't be more different. And Rupert P. is the biggest flop out of the whole group.
We didn't mean to hold hostage a member of The Ruperts, I swear. At least, I didn't. We are fans. Okay, superfans who spend all of our free time tweeting about the boys and updating our fan tumblrs. But so what, that's what you do when you love a group so much it hurts.
How did it get this far? Who knows. I mean midterms are coming up. I really do not have time to go to hell.

The Flaws

Yes, it has its flaws. For one, some parts are confusing. We don't ever learn the MC's actual name, do we? Also, the ending is unsatisfying in a satisfying way. So that's not really a flaw, because the character of this book is just, well, - *sighs dreamily* - NOT the type to get a happy ending.

The Relatability

It totally highlights the importance of fangirling! A book like this is pretty rare to find in the publishing world. It's cynical and dark in all the right places! The sheer brilliance just amazes me, and I think you can tell that I am in total AWE of this book. The brilliance is not the part that's rare, however. I think KTBB was poking fun at certain parts of society in a very thought-provoking way!

A Summary

Basically, the Ruperts are a boy band aka 1D that formed through a competition thing (fuzzy details, man!) where they got grouped together through the sheer fact that there were four Ruperts competing that day, and they could all kinda sing (or at least perform or do something). I had a lot of yelling out and being like, "THAT'S GENIUS!" over the course of reading this (a couple hours spread out over 2 days).

You know, just look at my reading progress from Goodreads! It's quite interesting! Also, I really love how the plot just thickens and gets darker and darker and the MC (do we ever find out her real name?) goes through a lot of questioning her character. Out of the four girls, she's probably the goody-goody, stuck in a shell daydreamer. She is an undeniably strong person, but just from the synopsis, you can tell that the ensuing chaos is going to throw her already fangirl life (fangirls live life on the edge - that's what makes fangirling beautiful) out of whack.

The joy you find as a teen, however frivolous and dumb, is pure, and meaningful. It doesn’t matter that it might ferment and taste different when you’re older. That’s the whole point of being a teenager—not worrying about the future.
Other people may have seen fangirls as crazy teenage girls obsessed with a fad, but they couldn’t understand the small but important joy you can get from indulging in these fandoms. They didn’t understand that a new gif of Rupert K. grinning at you could be the difference between a crap day and a beautiful one. They didn’t get the friendships that formed, the community of people who shared in your same joy. Maybe it was obsession, but it was also happiness; an escape from the suckiness of everyday life. And when you find something that makes you happy and giddy and excited every day, us fangirls know a truth that everyone else seems to have forgotten: You hold on to that joy tenaciously, for as long as you can. Because it’s rare to get excited about anything these days. Ask your parents.

These words will always be dear to my heart. There are a LOT more that I can completely relate to, but I can't overload you with all the good quotes can I?

Another total plus: THE HUMOR.

How fabulous is the humor? VERY FABULOUS. The whole plot just keeps twisting and turning and going places that get darker and darker... sometimes I was just like, "She did WHAT?!" and kind of made a really odd face like -


and just had to go on reading! I honestly could not stop. As a fangirl, I just had to know!

Characters

I loved the characters. Apple is ME! See that screenshot of my reading progress up there? Basically, the scene where they actually kidnapped Rupert P. (is this a spoiler? idk - the synopsis tells you!) involved Apple sighting him, then instinctively (where she got this instinct, I don't know and I frankly don't want to) goes over at full speed and then like tackles him or something. It was HILARIOUS, because then she just casually turns up back at the hotel room and is like, "Girls, I found one." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Apple is introduced as the rich one of their little foursome of fangirls, then you see that she's kind of heavy, and Asian. Man, I relate (kind of kidding, but GO AWAY INSECURITIES).

Onto the actual characters! They're all kind of bubbles - distant, and you don't get to know them too well, even the MC. I daresay especially the MC. I keep highlighting this, but I DON'T EVEN KNOW HER NAME! Names are an important part of identity, you know. Oh well. I get to keep on calling her MC! The story is told in first person, but it definitely reminds me of 3rd person because you are literally only in MC's head and are experiencing only her experiences. I see how this could be interpreted as more like 1st person, but usually, 1st person stories still divulge a lot of the going-ons in the background. This one doesn't, and is very detached (I honestly cannot find the words to describe it better). So it's actually NOT that much like 3rd person, but it's weird. READ THE BOOK. It's fabulously brilliant in how the author figured this style of writing out and realized this style of writing totally fits! All this character development that is not really much character development is on purpose, because this story is a story that isn't meant for you to get attached to. I think it's really just a fun, hilarious story that some will love (like me!), some will be like meh, and some will think it is stupid and a horrible excuse of a book. You'll see what I mean by bubble characters if you read the book; they're all very real yet kind of depicted through a muted shade - MC's eyes. Her thoughts are vague, yet clearly communicated (does that make sense?) as well, but that's all good. It's realistic, and that's what I love! A total band fangirl - depicted in all her realism and ferocity and inner fears and rambunctiousness and trysts through life!

Other

This book also touches on some topics of depression and hallucination. These situations are dark (and funny at the same time), but if you can imagine it, it's just very stressful and could involve jail for assault and kidnapping! (show spoiler) Obviously, when something drastic happens, people start blaming each other - even close friends! Well, "close" friends that turn out to be not so close.... People turn on each other and MC starts doubting herself - it gets dark, I told you! But it's light-hearted at many times, too!

All in all, this was a very satisfying read for me. It's a light (in the beginning), darkly hilarious, and overall kind of cynically SILLY read! I genuinely hope everyone that reads this enjoys KTBB, too! It is really a book that spans a wide range of topics that I felt were justly depicted, and if you like my blog (*crosses fingers* *crosses fingers again* *CROSSES FINGERS SOME MORE*) and you like me as a person (see latter parentheses), check this out! Be a good reader pumpkin!



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Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: Across The Universe

Across The Universe

Across The Universe

by Beth Revis
My rating: ✰✰✰✰ (3.5 but I round up cuz I'm kewl :)
Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed. She expects to wake up on a new planet, 300 years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, Amy's cryo chamber is unplugged, and she is nearly killed.
Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader, and Elder, his rebellious and brilliant teenage heir.
Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she? All she knows is that she must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

WOW. WOW. This book is definitely making me feel some odd feelings.
> Things That I Did Like:
  • The world-building. There could've been more, but the world - imagine being frozen for 300 freaking years! This book definitely explores some interesting topics...
  • The twist at the end - you'll see. It explains a lot, and probably saved this book from being 3 stars.
  • THE POTENTIAL. From reading the summary, I'm sure you can see what I mean. You could expand in so many directions from this base idea! I'm not sure if the way Beth Revis expanded was exactly for me, but really. Lots of potential.
> Things That I Didn't Like:
  • The character development could've been improved on so much.
  • CHEMISTRY. It has to do with character development, but Amy and Elder? I didn't feel any chemistry! They pretty much only liked each other because they were reasonably attractive to each other and weren't complete [Show]
  • Even though I liked how the ending cleared things up, I also didn't really like how sudden it was. I have a feeling the author meant for it to be this way so readers will want the sequel, but I think she could've allotted and gave clues to the ending. Why did [Show] There was no backstory!
    I DIDN'T SEE THE END COMING BUT IS THAT GOOD?

Anyway, this book really delved into some dark topics. The ship is doomed! Just kidding. (Am I?) They have resourceful Amy and responsible Elder!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

NEW BLOG NAME!

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THE BLOG NAME HAS CHANGED FROM YA PRETTYNESS TO "A KISS TO YA"!

Isn't it so punny? A kiss to ya (like you)! A kiss to YA (young adult)! :) I'm such a genius, to be honest.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Hows & Whys Of Me Vs. The 100

Okay, soooooo guess what?! I'm starting my own feature on this blog called Me Vs. The World! If I accumulate enough posts, I'll put that on my nav bar so it's super official and stuff! Honestly, it's just me having opinionated opinions about stuff in the world that I feel like I'm kind of a minority in (like this post - everyone I know seems to love The 100) and justifying the hows and whys of me coming to feel this way.

^^ I feel like that was a run-on sentence but it serves its purpose!

First of all, let me put this out there: I SHIP BELLARKE.

Honestly, they have so much chemistry, and even I, an apathetic unicorn, felt it. AND I only watched Season 1 (I know, shame on me, but BLAME NETFLIX THAT WAS ALL THEY HAD AT THE TIME.)

Something I really liked about the show was how well it was written. It was very thought out, and the dialogue was definitely what you would expect in their situation (I would die of fear - really I cannot handle not knowing where I am or what's going to happen; I am a very huge cowardly person). They are all very brave people in there - just from Season 1, there was torturing, shooting, weird Grounder people who were out to get them, etc. etc. IT WAS SCARY, MAN. And I only got through it because I didn't have anything else to watch, really, and I like some intensity. Remember, I watched S1 a little over a year ago! BEFORE I found How To Get Away With Murder, because HTGAWM had a horrible banner and a boring blurb so I only started watching it because of the lovely Sasha @ A Book Utopia and her YouTube channel! I pretty much sealed my devotion for her right there and then! (GREAT TASTE)

But getting to the point - I do not watch The 100 anymore, even though pretty much everyone I worship online does. The reasons:

  • Netflix didn't have Season 2.
  • By the time I realized I had Xfinity TV (gosh, I probablykiss that thing once a day - IT'S BEAUTIFUL), it was on Season 3 already; Season 2 wasn't even available On Demand anymore (TAKING BACK KISSES) and I had to pay. If you didn't know already, I am a broke bunny.
  • It was, er, a little too scary, if you know what I mean. I'm the kind of girl who doesn't get nightmares, but still gets really freaked out by shows like The 100 because she hates when anything jumps out at her suddenly. (Also gets freaked out by books like The 5th Wave because the 1st wave hit a little too close to home - half a million people died just because the electricity went out.)

Basically, the point of this post is to tell you that The 100 is an amazing show for people who aren't scaredy-cats like me. Really. The cast all aren't afraid to get gritty and dirty and bloody, and I really admire that. Also, there's a lot of interesting relationships between the characters, as well as a lot of risk-taking and sometimes backstabbing. And this is all coming just from my observations on Tumblr and watching only Season 1! So if you're a normal person, watch it if you haven't already. Plus, you know there's someone out there like you if you do get freaked out - we can freak out together! :)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A BIG Mush Pot


I figured out this thing where you don't actually deviate from what your blog post is supposed to about. Yes. Progress, Helen, PROGRESS! I mean, this post and its title is probably the worst one to start from, but whatever. I have to get some feelings out. I'm cautioning you. Get ready for a load of GREATNESS!

Cassandra Clare - What She's Keeping From Us

I will summarize these 2 articles for you: Cassandra Clare is not who we idolize her to be. She cyber-bullies, she gets her publishers to cover up her mistakes, and she plagiarizes, etc. etc. Honestly, I cannot believe it. And it explains a lot - it makes total sense. Valentine and his Circle? AHEM VOLDEMORT ALERT. Oh, Cassandra Clare. Or should I say, Cassandra Claire? Or Judith Rumelt?

My Music Aspirations

I've always thought I was born in the wrong decade. Don't get me wrong, I love Taylor Swift, Twenty One Pilots, and Halsey and all (I feel like Lana Del Rey isn't considered exactly 21st century style), but I think I'd really like to be in that Britney Spears-esque part of the 90's (and before that). I definitely appreciate technology, though, even if it turns us into complete zombies with nothing better to do at home sometimes. Isn't it amazing that everyone can be connected and communicate within seconds? I am totally a 21st century girl this way. But man, music was, well I have to say, better back then. Or at least easier to find good music mainstream. I am incredibly disappointed in a lot of the popular music. I can't complain, though, since some of it is infuriatingly catchy even if the quality is iffy.

What I really would want is to be one of those cultured 25-year-olds who are like, "Yeah I totally saw Fall Out Boy in concert 10 years ago. Their old music was better, but 'Uma Thurman' is pretty good." Or one of those people on 8tracks who have great playlists accumulated over time, including random but great artists that totally don't seem to fit together but just do.

Some people are just like, "Oh yeah Of Monsters And Men were great. So were Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys. Oh, old times were great." I think I just want good music taste in general. Oh well. I'll be one of those people one day.

Book Reviews

My posting is totally irregular - it'll be explained below. If people somehow actually happen across my blog and like it (God forbid - what are you thinking?) and stick around, they might notice my book reviews posted on Goodreads. I have decided to post reviews on this blog (this a big step!) and then repost on Goodreads (I don't actually know how - I'll look it up).

However, I have realized that reviews from other people make me totally biased for my own reviews. If you're a reader, reviews are pretty useful. If you trust the reviewer's judgement and think it's pretty similar to yours, cool. You have found a blog that you are going to follow! That always makes a blogger's day, especially one that's just starting out like me (WINK WINK). But if you're a book reviewer/blogger that's a beginner (more world-weathered ones probably know this), reading other reviews, especially strongly pushing ones (some people are passionate, man!), trust me. NOT A GOOD IDEA. You will become biased, and adapt their feelings as your own - some are very persuasive...

Leading onto the next topic....

Why I Don't Trust Astronomy/Zodiac Signs And Horoscope Gibberish

Zodiac signs and etc. are very overrated. They're so detailed that you often believe them - like the topic above, you can adapt to whatever it tells you. Say you're a Capricorn (like me) - it lists off a bunch of qualities that you are likely to have. There are so many that you are likely to have at least one in common (or more; luck is seriously a player in this). I do agree that it can very easily seem a lot like you. Mine says I'm ambitious (for one). I am not very ambitious. Yes, I do have great hopes for myself in the future, but I wouldn't go so far as to use ambitious to define my personality. I'm actually pretty easy-going. My point is, if something like zodiac signs tells you what you are, you will immediately find all the aspects you have in common with what it's saying. I'm telling you what I think - It's total BS.

Basically, if you're into that super-accurate Myers Brigg test thing, I'm an ENFP. Some famous ENFPs are Peeta Mellark from THG, and Carrie Bradshaw from Sex And The City! I'm very independent (well I just hate relying on others). I think this thing is much more accurate than zodiac signs or whatever!

Tumblr

First of all, let me say this: Tumblr is addicting.

But it's totally fabulous! So many kind and cool people are on there, and you can find fans and spectacular edits of pretty much any known fandom on there. But a big problem for me: Unless you make edits or do something with your own skills (for the ones that have any), you won't get much exposure to potential followers. And it's so hard to make permanent friends and such!

But at the core of my frustration, it's honestly the fact that I have realized that the people who have lots of followers on Tumblr deserve it, and I, with really nothing to contribute, DON'T. That's a realization that will always haunt me - curse my justified brain!

My Brain

*read in cool accent* My brain is odd. Everyone's brain is odd. Mine happens to be an editor brain. It can't write for shit, but sees the flaws in writing after it's done. Methinks my brain will be an editor one day.

Basically, how I know this is that I'm constantly reading writing of my classmates (they suck at writing) and critiquing them. They kinda hate me for it. :/ I've tried to cut back, so whenever I see a horrible line of writing that makes NO SENSE, I just turn my head and cringe, instead of what I would've done otherwise: cringe to their face and tell them (relatively nicely) how they could change it. Needless to say, people don't always appreciate that from someone like me.

Another aspect is I get an explosion of ideas while I'm playing piano (seriously - I recommend taking up piano lessons, because it's GREAT for brainstorming once you get the hang of it) and then I can totally mentally elaborate on a subject I feel very passionately about but then later I can't remember ANYTHING. It sucks. I've started writing them down, but *starts tearing up a little* the inspiration hits only once!

I also know this because I can't write for shit. That is bolded because really - I CAN'T. It's horrible, but when it comes to writing something, it never turns out right and I never like it. Oh well. ("Oh well" usually means not that I'm giving up, but rather that I don't want to depress myself further by thinking of a subject.)

So many ideas, so little blogging time! This is the product of me writing all my ideas down - A BIG MUSH POT OF A POST. I need to get myself together....

My Problem With Lifestyle Blogs

Like the title says, I have a problem with lifestyle/style/fashion blogs. They're always so peppy and "chic" and the photos are so filtered that I cringe. Plus, I DON'T REALLY GIVE A SHIT. I mean, some people do, but not me. Some people might care about what you ate for breakfast and why _____ brand of pressed juice is WAY better than _____ brand.

I know I'm being very opinionated on this, but I am just stating why I don't like lifestyle blogs that much.
(Also I'm very jealous hehe)
They are not very beneficial to the reader or fun to read. But that might just be preference! Some people like hearing about the latest coat you bought! YOU care! Your mom cares! That's two people already!

I'm sorry if this offended anyone and or scared anyone off if they thought this was too bitchy. Or unfair. Unfairness is something I felt about that too but I need to get feelings out, man! :) Also one the subject of not giving a f*ck, you probably don't about this post. It's okay.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Review: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones

by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars ✰✰✰✰
Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

This book was VERY long and VERY vividly detailed. It might be my age and un-maturity talking, but this book had so much world-building and action! I LOVED that! The scandalous aspects - incest, etc. - were, well, scandalous, and I can't complain. It was juicy. What I didn't like so much was the length. The length doesn't bother me, just a lot of scenes were drawn out and sometimes there's a little too much detail, you know?

However, in some ways, the details painted a very vivid picture of the world. George R. R. Martin definitely knew what he was doing, and hinted at other plots, other bigger pictures to be elaborated on later. Like Cait said in her Goodreads review, he made us feel ALL THE THINGS. We were completely manipulated by the author and his masterful writing. I applaud him.


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Review: Me Before You

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)

Me Before You

by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars ✰✰✰✰✰
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and he is not interested in exploring a new one.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, Lou sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Blurb should be NOT A ROMANCE, EVEN IF IT'S A WEEPIE.

When I first read it in 2014, I was already imagining Emilia Clarke as Lou! It was hilarious (her family is just goals) at times and was not even very romantic, but yes, mostly about life and all the paths and choices you can take and where life will lead you. The romance, however, was VERY skillfully interweaved with the plot.

Btw, this is a total weepie. If you don't cry, you must be like a very apathetic unicorn then, maybe. And Will? Aside from that being one of my favorite names ever (Herondale anyone?), he was sarcastic and witty and everything (and more!) someone in his difficult position should be. I like how Jojo really didn't make him very optimistic or make him make any empty reassurances, because just how. HOW.

Can anyone ever move on from someone like Will?

Also, like Emily May said (sorry I'm on my phone so idk how to link it), Louisa is just soooooo relatable and likable. She's hilarious and awkward, and is how I would probably be if I were cooler and wittier. Whenever she falls (or in this case gets herself into super awkward situations), she picks herself right back, while still somehow maintaining her dignity with an air of, "Oh, silly me! Some tea, Will?"

Really. This book is fabulous, and the movie is going to be agjakskdblbsvsisowpqhwy UGH SO FABULOUS. Daenerys and FINNICK??!! ( I had SUCH a thing for Finnick.) (Come to think of it, I had a thing for Daenerys, too. When reading GoT, I always did look forward to her point of view.) Super hot cast yay!

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One day, I swear, I will start doing reviews the other way around - reviewing on this blog, THEN reposting this blog review to Goodreads. However..... I don't know. I like reviewing on Goodreads. It's nice.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Helen Goes From School Life To.....BEING DEPRESSED

So. It's no secret that I am not the most popular person at school. I go to a private school. It's quite interesting (not in a good way), compared to a public school. I feel I am likable, but really - I feel a sense of detachment from my classmates. I have one best friend that is funny and cool and is as much of an outsider as I am - Rainbow for now. It's an odd relationship. Everyone in my grade at school are like how John Green said, "All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm." Except not really. But you get the idea.

Honestly - what people talk about nowadays, if you just hear the conversation, it's so inane. It drives me crazy. How is it possible that people find ENJOYMENT in this? I have realized that I've been thinking of myself as above these kids for a while, but I'm trying to set that aside. I really don't get the point of life in times like these. Why does anyone live? WHAT IS THE POINT.
Really, if you get down to the heart of it, you can keep going on and on like, "We need life for joy!" Then, "If there was no life, there'd be no point in joy. Humanity doesn't even exist." "But humanity is nice and good!" "Well, if there was nothing - absolute nonexistence, it wouldn't matter because that concept would never have been known or existed." It's really a paradox. Gets you thinking about alternate dimensions/realities.

Anyway, if people are going to be silly and shallow and vapid and care about nothing but the fact that "HAN SOLO DIED IT'S SO SAD" (well actually that wasn't a very good example because it was sad, but...), the point of life is pretty much moot. We can believe in some higher power, like, "God created us to spread His word!" or believe in some odd mythology or some scientific theory ("We evolved from apes! Joy!"), but why?

*----This is a very depressed girl talking. Even Rainbow got depressed.----*

Also, a fact: I am Chinese.

What this means is that I have very strict parents who, unfortunately, don't approve of me reading books. They want me to "focus on my studying". Total bs. I'm a multitasker.

See, if it weren't for books, I'd probably go ahead and kill myself. Well. Isn't that depressing. I mean, I know, I'm an interesting person, and I could easily make friends and be popular and stuff, but I'm so SHELTERED where I am now. That's why I want to go to NYC for college. THE CITY OF LIGHTS. OR DREAMS. Or the tagline: "Being better than your current city since a long time ago."

I'm going to make a life for myself someday - whether it be through cool friends, or a cool penthouse, or a cool blog or whatever...

I am going to have something that people are going to want for themselves.

You can quote me on that.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: Ruin and Rising

Ruin and Rising Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars ✰✰✰✰

Okay. This book explores a lot - the first part was pretty slow, but I think that's okay - lots of world-building.

This book, I think, could've been better, what with all the room for character exploring with the Darkling, and Mal could've been, you know, hotter. As a final book, I can't really criticize it. It wasn't spectacular, but it was definitely GOOD. The world building was fantastic, and NIKOLAI.

NIKOLAI. I literally bookmarked like 30 pages of just fabulous Nikolai quotes. Did I mention NIKOLAI??!!! Of course, in Siege and Storm, there were more moments, but, still....NIKOLAI.

After all the gushing, something I didn't really get was the whole Darkling thing. After the confrontation at the end of S&S, since Alina got a little of his power, she could see him? And speak with him amiably? In R&R, the Darkling and Alina pretty much talked as equals. The Darkling is evil. He's trying to confuse her and worm his way into her heart. Well, Leigh, it's working on the reader, too! Did he secretly have a good heart? Was the mad, power-hungry Darkling really a softie, as shown by the declarations of intimacy [Show] Well, we will never know, because Leigh never elaborated on his character that much. She showed us like 1% of his soft side, then didn't clear anything up? Like, that makes me mad?

Anyway, this whole build-up throughout the entire series has led to.....what? The Darkling dying? We get it. That was going to happen, unless she pulled a Divergent series, which even in that case, the villain dies. Like Jesse @ JesseTheReader said, there really wasn't a plot.

BUT - in the end, I still really liked this book. My heart is soft, and Leigh is a spectacular writer, and NIKOLAI.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Review: Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars ✰✰✰✰✰
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

WOW. For any book, I get a certain feel. The setting, the characters, the plot, how DARK it is..... I'm weird. I can't explain it. All I know for sure is that this book's "feel" is COMPLETELY different from Shadow and Bone. They are both definitely good! While S&B was kind of a lighter, trying-out-my-new-abilities-then-getting-betrayed thing in a "first-book" kind of way, S&S was darker, and Alina definitely got stronger as a person. BUUUUUT ....

Nikolai was ABSOLUTELY FUCKING ADORABLE. OKAY? OKAY.

Seriously. He might be one of my favorite characters EVER, along with Magnus Bane (that is a very high ranking for me). He totally lightened up the darkness, and was totally the perfect contrast! He was the beam of sunshine that I fell in love with!

“Of course not," said Sturmhond. "Anything worth doing always starts as a bad idea.”
“I took a breath. “Your highness—” “Nikolai,” he corrected. “But I’ve also been known to answer to ‘sweetheart’ or ‘handsome.”
“Sturmhond had a way of talking that made me want to shoot someone. Preferably him.”
“Watch yourself, Nikolai,” Mal said softly. “Princes bleed just like other men.” Nikolai plucked an invisible piece of dust from his sleeve. “Yes,” he said. “They just do it in better clothes.”

Speaking of Mal, he is.....I have nothing to say. He was hot when he took down all those Grisha in the brawls and stuff, but then the whole (show spoiler) pretty much canceled that out. However, I am a loyal fangirl, and I don't deviate from the intended boyfriend/romantic interest that the author intended unless in seriously special circumstances. After all, authors control us with their words in their stories. We are subject to their whims. Every single word is carefully orchestrated by them, so nothing you really feel about the story is going to be alone. If you ship a weird, out-there couple, chances are, others felt the chemistry too and ship it right along with you (unless you decided to ship a character with a banana she ate in like Ch. 17 or something. That's just weird ok?). Anyway, Mal is steady and loyal (for the most part, i mean, he tried to be faithful), but there was some SERIOUS chemistry with Nikolai that Leigh Bardugo put in there. It can't be unintentional. Either she just wants some serious buzzing on tumblr and stuff, or there is going to be issues that are resolved. I don't know. Maybe Nikolai dies or something. I had a feeling from the start, honestly, but HOPEFULLY Leigh's not that cruel. I seriously hope so. #TeamNikolai #IfAlinaDoesn'tWantHimWellIWantHim

Also, something Leigh had going in her favor (for me), was that she didn't dwell too much on her attachment to the Darkling. He did haunt her and make her hallucinate, but there wasn't this big emotional epiphany moment where she breaks free of the hold he has over her - the strong, horrible hold that is NOT really there because Leigh is fabulous.... If there had been this whole emotional Darkling-induced funk that Alina was stuck in, it would have slowed the book down. Authors do that a lot - they stick their main character in a FUNK.
All in all, I am rating this 4.5 stars because I am yet an amateur reviewer and I cannot, for the life of me, rate a book that I wholeheartedly enjoyed anything under 4 stars. And I'm generous, so.... :)

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