NON-BOOKISH ADVENTURES #4 | What I Eat as a Vegetarian (pt. 1)

*Note: this post is about food and specialized diets (i.e. vegetarianism) that may be considered constricting for some people; if you are uncomfortable with or triggered by such conversation, please take precautions before deciding to read on or not. Your comfort matters more than a blog post.*

Hi, everyone! Welcome back to another Non-Bookish Adventures post. This time, it’s the food edition! For those of you that don’t know, I’m vegetarian, meaning that while I still consume/use diary, eggs, and other animal products, I don’t consume meat. I’ve been veggie for almost three years, which is pretty cool!

I won’t get into the particulars on why I went veggie in this series; instead, I want to share what I eat in any given week! However, like the dingdong that I am, I didn’t take any pictures, so you’ll have to deal with being picture-less this time. And before we begin, I just want to point out that I’m not a dietician, nutritionist, or doctor; this is just what works for me personally, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving out any sort of medical advice.

2 July 2019

Breakfast:

  • two slices of wheat toast
  • Smucker’s strawberry jam

Lunch:

  • rotini salad:
    • rotini pasta
    • tomato chunks
    • sliced cucumber
    • Italian dressing
    • Italian seasoning

This is actually a really good salad for summer or anytime there’s nice weather — you just combine everything and pop it in the fridge for later.

Dinner:

  • garlic butter broccoli
  • potato salad
  • french fries

That night, I was spending time with a friend and we went with her mom to a local BBQ restaurant. It’s actually the one I work at! While there is a lot of meals with meat, they offer a side platter, where you get to choose three of the (many) sides, and a lot of them are vegetarian. The garlic butter broccoli is so good!

Snacks:

  • Cheez-Its
  • two oatmeal cream pies

3 July 2019

Breakfast:

  • four slices of wheat toast
  • two eggs (sunny side up)

Lunch:

  • N/A

I can’t quite remember why I didn’t have lunch. I’m pretty sure I just got caught up in something and completely forgot until later. It happens, especially if I don’t set an alarm.

Dinner:

  • macaroni and cheese
  • strawberry smoothie
  • French baguette

That night, my boyfriend and I went out to Panera Bread! It’s been awhile since we last went, and I love going. Their mac and cheese? It’s so so good. Very creamy and tasty. I ended up getting the large option and ended up regretting it because, once again, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Even without eating lunch!

Snacks:

  • Fiber One oats and chocolate granola bar
  • Hershey’s Kiss

Yeah, just one Kiss. I found it in my candy bowl right before I went to bed and decided to eat it.

4 July 2019

Breakfast:

  • 2% milk
  • cinnamon pecan Special K

I usually don’t drink dairy milk or use it in my cereal (which is what Special K is), but my almond milk expired. And I keep forgetting to buy more. 😦

Lunch:

  • N/A

Dinner:

  • Bush’s Best vegetarian baked beans
  • coleslaw
  • macaroni salad

Snacks:

  • ranch dip
  • potato chips
  • baby carrots
  • raw broccoli
  • Double Stuf Oreos
  • Chips Ahoy! chunky cookies

Okay, so this is a bit of everything because my parents and I went on an impromptu 4th of July trip to visit my aunt and uncle who were camping over by a lake. So, I didn’t really have a lunch; I just kinda snacked on chips and dip and the like. It was fun, though!

5 July 2019

Breakfast:

  • N/A

I didn’t have breakfast because I left for grocery shopping with my mom and sister and didn’t grab anything beforehand.

Lunch:

  • macaroni and cheese
  • strawberry smoothie
  • French baguette

Guess what I got twice in one week….Panera Bread!

Dinner:

  • pizza single (four cheese)
  • ranch

So these cute little single pizzas from Sabatassos are really good! I bought them when we went to Costco grocery shopping; they come in packs of twelve, six being four cheese and six being pepperoni. My mom eats the pepperoni ones, obviously. They’re just the right size for me!

Snacks:

  • Nestle Crunch-dipped vanilla drumstick

I hate Nestle as a corporation, but I really like its ice cream….Boo.

6 July 2019

Breakfast:

  • 1/2 a double chocolate chip muffin

We also got these from Costco, and if y’all have ever been there, you know why it’s only half of one. Those things are so tasty, but they’re huge. If I want a smaller breakfast, I usually just eat half, and it’s more than enough.

Lunch:

  • pizza single (four cheese)
  • ranch
  • red cherries

Dinner:

  • two eggs (sunny side up)
  • multigrain sandwich thins

Those sandwhich thins are so good! They’re great for eggs, or actual sandwiches, especially if you toast them.

Snacks:

  • Pepsi

At the restaurant I work at, we’re allowed free soft drinks/water/lemonade, so I decided after the hectic shift I had that day, I deserved some Pepsi. I usually just have water.

7 July 2019

Breakfast:

  • two slices of wheat toast
  • strawberry jam

Lunch:

  • two eggs (sunny side up)
  • multigrain sandwich thins

…I eat a lot of eggs in a week, don’t I. Damn.

Dinner:

  • pizza single (four cheese)
  • ranch
  • veggie straws

Snacks:

  • Golfish (original)
  • Nestle Crunch-dipped vanilla caramel drumstick
  • Nestle Toll House chocolate chocolate chip cookie sandwich

Sometimes you just have to eat ice cream twice in a day, ya know?

8 July 2019

Breakfast:

  • 3/4 of a double chocolate chip muffin
  • red cherries

Lunch:

  • shell pasta with white cheddar sauce
  • Fiber One oats and chocolate granola bar

Y’all. I wasn’t expecting much from the pasta because it was from Aldi, and sometimes it can be hit and miss, but it was really good! Not the taste I was expecting, but it was tasty. And it makes about three servings for me (about a cup each), so I can have leftovers.

Dinner:

  • N/A

By the time I got back from work, I was completely exhausted. It was the busiest Monday we had in a long time, and it was only me and two servers. I just wanted to go to bed when I got home, and that’s what I did.

Snacks:

  • Nestle Crunch-dipped vanilla fudge drumstick

And there you have it! What I ate these past 7 days or so as a vegetarian. If you’re veggie or just like eating an occasional vegetarian meal, let me know what your favorite meals are!

Until next time~
Kaitlyn

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You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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REVIEW #50 | “The Shadow Girl” by Misty Mount (eBook)

Title: “The Shadow Girl”

Author: Misty Mount

Pages (eBook): 300 pages

Original Publishing Date: 29 December 2017

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“Shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia has always known she was different. Most teenagers feel unnoticed and unseen, but for Zylia, it’s something much worse. She’s disappearing from this world and doesn’t know how to stop it. At times, she’s not sure she wants to. Until she stumbles across a family mystery surrounding the disappearance of her great-aunt Angelica years earlier. During her quest to unravel the mystery, Zylia discovers she’s able to cross the boundary and enter the ‘in between’ world. Now, it’s up to Zylia to save herself before she’s trapped ‘in between’ forever.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • panic/anxiety attacks
  • hospitalization
  • ableism
  • mentions of suicide and suicidal ideation
  • disordered eating

Representation in the novel:

  • N/A

⭐⭐⭐
3/5 stars

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

So, uh, I was given this copy back in January…and I’m just now reviewing. Whoops. Anyway.

The Shadow Girl is an urban fantasy/supernatural novel following Zylia, a lonely thirteen-year-old girl, through her daily life at school and home. She is part of a large family and is often forgotten about. It is not until a new girl, Terra, comes to town that Zylia finally begins to feel seen. However, something is amiss: sometimes, it really feels like people not only forget about Zylia, but physically do not see or hear her, even when she is right in front of them. She has to figure out what to do, or else she might disappear forever.

As far as characters go, I really felt for Zylia. She is young and already feels so lonely. She feels left out by nearly everyone — her classmates, her teachers, her own family. It was a bit of a struggle to read through her thoughts, mostly because I felt what she did at her age. Not only this intense loneliness, but extreme social anxiety as well. It is not outright said that Zylia has social anxiett, but the signs are all there. At least, for me they are.

I liked Terra, too. While she seems a little brash at times, her head was in the right place. I think she and Zylia balance each other out: she gets Zylia (safely) out of her comfort zone, and Zylia cautions her when she is being headstrong. To be quite honest, I really thought Zylia had a crush on her throughout the novel, but I guess not.

Her family is pretty eclectic, too. She shares a room with Ivy, the youngest, who also seems to be the most introspective out of all of them. There are two twin boys who seem to be the trouble makers; Adonia, the teen sister wishing for more popularity, and Keane, the nerdy brother. She also has a grandmother with dimentia and both her parents. However, outside of these particular traits, the characters are pretty flat. The most nuanced one is probably Zylia’s mother, and even then, it mostly goes back to how she is stressed and worried over Zylia’s grandmother.

When it comes to the plot, it was alright. Nothing too spectacular, but nothing horrible either. Even thought the plot did not feel like it started moving until about 60% through the book, it was still a (mostly) enjoyable, easy read. For the most part, nothing much happens. However, I do have a few issues. The first is the ableism surrounding the grandmother’s dementia. I understand that the story is told from a young teen’s perspective and that she probably has absorbed a lot of society’s ableist ideas, but still. The grandmother was constantly described as “crazy” and was often dealt with as if she was a nuisance. I…was not fond of it.

On top of that, there is also a side plot of Zylia wanting to befriend a fellow classmate, mostly because she thinks she is the only one to understand her and, in turn, “help” her because she saw her grab a suicide/self-harm resource flyer from a bulletin board. The biggest issue I have with this side plot is the thought process Zylia goes through. She thinks this girl and her are similar in that they are both lonely, the girl to a dangerous extent if she picked up the resource page. Because of this, Zylia believes that she is the only one able to help “cure” this girl. Which…no. Befriending someone will not make them non-suicidal or non-depressed. the young protagonist coul think this, obviously, but the thought process is never challenged. It can be harmful, to both the mentally ill person and the person trying to “help”.

The ending also seemed a bit rushed, and I felt that there were a few things left without being wrapped up. However, overall, I still enjoyed the book, even if it did have its mishaps.

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

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Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

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REVIEW #49 | “Brave Face” by Shaun David Hutchinson

Title: “Brave Face”

Author: Shaun David Hutchinson

Pages (hardcover): 368 pages

Original Publishing Date: 21 May 2019

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“Critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants—described as having “hints of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five” (School Library Journal)—opens up about what led to an attempted suicide in his teens, and his path back from the experience.

“‘I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.’

“Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabulary to understand and accept who he was and how he fit into a community in which he couldn’t see himself. The voice of depression told him that he would never be loved or wanted, while powerful and hurtful messages from society told him that being gay meant love and happiness weren’t for him.

“A million moments large and small over the years all came together to convince Shaun that he couldn’t keep going, that he had no future. And so he followed through on trying to make that a reality.

“Thankfully Shaun survived, and over time, came to embrace how grateful he is and how to find self-acceptance. In this courageous and deeply honest memoir, Shaun takes readers through the journey of what brought him to the edge, and what has helped him truly believe that it does get better.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • suicidal ideation
  • attempted suicide
  • self-harm
  • sexual assault
  • internalized homophobia
  • self-hate

Representation in the novel:

  • memoir of a gay/queer man

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/5 stars

I knew going into this book that it was going to be a tough read emotionally, but shit, I didn’t think I was going to get my heart ripped out (okay, maybe I did and just wanted to believe otherwise). Brave Face is many things: powerful, dark, sad, and at the end of everything, hopeful.

Before I get into much more, I want to thank Shaun and/or the publisher/editor. Right before the first chapter is a list of content/trigger warnings for the novel, along with resources for those going through similar things described in the memoir. Along with that, Shaun also has two chapters outlining certain warnings: the first is the opening chapter, talking about general warnings, and the second is near the end, warning about the description of a suicide attempt. I really appreciate the care that went into the making of this to make sure readers are as safe as possible as they read.

I’ve sat on this review for so long because I just…don’t know what to write? How do you write a review for a book that ripped your soul from your body, but in a good way? How do you write about a book that’s so incredibly raw that it hurts to read, but you absolutely have to keep going because, damn, this is real. Just…how? I still don’t know . But I’m going to try my best.

Brave Face is a memoir following Shaun David Hutchinson through his young adult life, highlighting his relationship between himself and being gay/queer, along with his depression. Amongst other things, it’s about being a young gay/queer man in the ’90s with little to no positive representation and a whole lot of internalized homophobia and self-hatred.

I flew through this book so quickly — the narrative just seemed to flow seamlessly. While a lot was heavy to read and I teared up a few times, there were also quite a few funny parts that I laughed outloud at. Most importantly (to me, at least), I felt for Hutchinson. Yes, he was a bit of an ass when he was younger; he even says so himself. But damn, the shit he goes through? And the self-hatred he experiences? It’s a lot.

I do want to point out that it is probably best to read this when in a good (or relatively better) mental state. There’s some graphic/plain-spoken scenes regarding self-harm, suicide, and depression, and I can imagine it has the potential to harm someone if they are in a vulnerable place mentally. Or maybe it’d help to see that others have experienced similar things. I don’t know. But I just wanted to make it all clear, just in case.

And with that, I want to end this review with one of my favorite quotes from the book, to show that there can be a bit of hope: “The problem had never been that I didn’t know who I was; it was that I’d assumed who I was wasn’t good enough. But he was. I was. And you are, too.”

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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TOP TEN TUESDAY #9 | Favorite Adult Characters in YA

Hi, everyone! It’s Tuesday, so get ready for another TTT. For those of you that don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme ran by That Artsy Girl. This week’s prompt is a character freebie: anything related to characters. For this, I decided to do some of my favorite adult characters in Young Adult fiction!

5. Sally Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Sally just tries so hard to make sure Percy’s taken care of and everything, and I love her. I really must re-read the series to remember everything she’s done because I’m 90% sure she’s done a lot.

4. Larten Crepsley from Cirque du Freak

He is such a good character! Kind of an ass in the beginning, but Larten grew on me as the series continued. The vampire is basically just an old grouch who wants to take care of his spider and “grudgingly” cares about Darren, too, I guess, if he must.

3. Uncle Will from The Diviners

Reading through the first Diviners book, I loved Uncle Will. His obsession with the occult is interesting, and I like his interactions with other characters. I’m interested to see what he’ll be like in the rest of the series.

2. Christopher Wolfe from The Great Library

Not gonna lie, I hated Wolfe in the beginning because, uh, he was a jackwagon. But by the end of Ink and Bone, I really liked him as a character. I’ve only read the first book, so here’s to hoping he isn’t killed off in the upcoming books or something.

1. Colm Fahey from the Six of Crows duology

This man. THIS MAN. Colm’s the dad who would make sure everyone was hydrated and well-fed before they went out into the Barrel to go and steal shit from people. He cares so much about his son and, in extension, the rest of the Dregs. He just wants Jesper to be happy, and he made Crooked Kingdom so good. I hope he’s thriving.

And there are just a few of my favorite adult characters in young adult books! Are any of your favs on this list? Or are there other adult characters you absolutely love? Let me know!

Until next time~
Kaitlyn

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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MONTHLY TBR #14 | July 2019

Hi, everyone! I hope your July has gotten off to a good start and that you’ll get to read (or do other hobbies) a ton. This TBR will look a little similar to my June TBR, but that’s because I haven’t read a lot in the past month. However, I still have quite a few new books I plan on reading, too.

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright

This was from my June TBR, and I started it a few days ago. It’s from the library, so I’m hoping to get it finished within the next day or two. From what I know, it’s a Little Red Riding Hood re-telling with werewolves? I think? We’ll see.

The Autobiography of Malcom X by Malcolm X

Another from my June TBR. I like American history and biographies/autobiographies, so this seemed like a good match-up. I’ve also had it on my shelf for…a few years. So there’s that, too, I suppose.

Check, Please! Vol. 1 by Ngozi Ukazu

Surprise, surprise, it’s from my June TBR. But I know it’ll be a quick read — it’s a graphic novel, and I’ve been reading parts here and there because I’m so excited to read it. It just looks so cute, and I love the art style!

Empire of Sin by Gary Krist

I mean, I guess this could partially be a re-read? I started it back in the beginning of the year and got about halfway through before stopping for whatever reason. It’s half a re-read, half unread. Bazinga.

The Black Veins by Ashia Monet

I was given an ARC for this, and I’m so excited! A road trip with a group of magical teens, found family, and no romance? Count me in! You bet I’m reading this before the release date (July 17th, 2019, y’all. Write it down and remember it).

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

When I found out that the author of An Enchantment of Ravens wrote another book, I knew I had to read it. So here we are, with my library copy, and I think I’m ready. A love for books, a bisexual protagonist, magic, and an aromantic side character? You got me.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

This is actually the Books and Tea Book Club readalong book for July’s theme: a translated book. I don’t remember much of anything about this book in terms of plot, but I do remember that the series gets pretty dark. I can’t wait to read it!

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

I’m re-reading this in order to get ready for Not Your Villain, pretty much. But! I’m also super excited for Not Your Backup, too! Honestly, I’m excited for this whole series. It’s wonderful, and y’all should check it out.

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

I kinda forgot about this series… Until I saw its newest on NetGalley! I can’t remember if it already came out or if it’s coming out sometime later this year, but I’m pumped for it. I have to re-read the first one because even though I love it, I completely forgot what happened.

And that’s what I plan on reading in July! Let me know what y’all plan to read, whether it’s one of these books or others you have in mind.

Until next time~
Kaitlyn

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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MONTHLY WRAP-UP #13 | June 2019

Hi, everyone! I hope you all had a lovely June — whether it was due to the start of summer, Pride month, or just some good reading! I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t read a whole lot in June: most of my reviews were from books I’ve read in past months. But that’s okay — life happens.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

⭐⭐⭐⭐ .5
4.5/5 stars

Y’all. This book. I was not ready for it at all. While I’m usually not one for books about fae or when the love interest, ya know, kidnaps the protagonist, this book made me love both of them. Okay, maybe not the kidnapping part, that’s still sketchy as fuck, but I adored the rest of the book. Here’s my review!

Graceling by Kristina Cashore

⭐⭐ .5
2.5/5 stars

I wanted to like this so much… I read it when I was younger and remember loving it. However, upon the re-read, I just couldn’t stand it. The characters kinda bored me, the disability rep is kinda ableist, and the writing drove me up the wall. Here’s my review, if you want to check it out!

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

⭐⭐
2/5 stars (DNF @ 92 pages)

So many people have said they liked this book, but I could not get into it. While the plot seemed interesting enough to continue, I really didn’t like the writing style whatsoever. I didn’t write an official review because I only made it through 92 pages, but here’s my Goodreads review if you’re interested.

…Apparently, I only read three books in June, but I figured I would try something new with my wrap-ups, where I give y’all easy access to the other posts I did this month, in case you missed something!

Make Up Reviews (or, reviews that I finally got around to and should’ve had done ages ago)

Top Ten Tuesday

Book Tags

Non-Bookish Adventures

And there you go! My month in blogging and reading. Did you have a reading slump this last month, too? Or were you able to read a lot? Let me know!

Until next time~
Kaitlyn

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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REVIEW #49 | “The Written” by Ben Galley (Ultimate Blog Tour)

“The Written” cover

Title: “The Written”

Author: Ben Galley

Pages (eBook): 460 pages

Original Publishing Date: 1 December 2010

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“His name is Farden. 
“They whisper that he’s dangerous. 
“Dangerous is only the half of it. 

“A spellbook has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell – a very old and extremely powerful spellbook from the time of dark elves and demons. Five scholars are dead, the magick council is running out of time and options, and the Arka is once again on the brink of war with the Siren dragon-riders. 

“It falls to Farden the Written mage to keep the world from falling into chaos. Entangled in a web of lies and politics, Farden must recover the spellbook before an ancient enemy rises, even if it takes journeying halfway across icy Emaneska and back.

“In his fight for answers, Farden will unearth a secret that not only shakes the foundations of his world, but threaten the entire future of Emaneska. Sorcery, death, drugs and the deepest of betrayals await.

“Welcome to Emaneska.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • character death
  • blood
  • gore
  • violence
  • drug use
  • drug addiction

Representation in the novel:

  • N/A

⭐⭐
2/5 stars

Before I begin, I want to give thanks to both Ben Galley, the author, and Dave from TheWriteReads, who organized this tour, for giving me the opportunity to read this book (in exchange for an honest review, of course)! If y’all are interested at learning more about Ben’s other books and himself, I’ll have more information after the review. With that being said, let’s get into it.

The Written follows Farden, a mage, when a group of mage scholars end up murdered and a mysterious book goes missing. Farden is sent out to look for said book and try to prevent whatever evil is showing up along the way. That’s about as much as I can say without getting in to too many spoilers.

First, the characters. I…didn’t really like them. While I thought the different races/creatures were a fun touch (vampires and werewolves and dragons and mages? sweet.), the characters themselves were forgettable or, in some cases, frustrating to read about. Take Farden, for example. He is the lovely protagonist that the reader has to be in the head of for the whole story (or, well, most of it since the story likes to randomly change POVs sometimes, but more on that later). He is a complete and utter asshole. The first interaction with another character the reader sees is him yelling at his maid for no good reason.

This is not a one-off thing: Farden is an ass to nearly everyone he comes into contact with, whether it be a merchant trying to sell him something or someone he has known for years. And in the beginning I thought, “Okay, ya know, I can deal with this. An asshole protagonist who learns to like and trust others throughout the novel. I can get behind that.” Except. That’s not what happens. There is little to no character development. He is the same person he was at the beginning of the novel when the reader meets him, except more pissed off. Granted, this is the first book in a series, so maybe he has development later. But I still would have expected something, and nothing really happened. In the latter half of the novel, when something happens, it got to the point where I was somewhat rooting for a character I definitely was not “supposed” to be rooting for.

He also has a drug addiction for some reason, and I want to say that I have never been personally addicted to drugs, or have even used one. I cannot say whether this is a good representation of addiction or not, and I will not try to. However, I do think that it was handled as a mere plot device, looking back after I finished the book. Overall, I thought Farden was a flat character with no redeeming qualities, and I really did not like being in his head for 95% of the novel.

As for the other characters…they were also flat. Most, if not all, of them just seemed to be cut-outs of tropes thrown together: the innocent maid; the mysterious vampire friend; the wise dragon. Which, okay, sometimes I do like trope-y characters. There are certain character traits that I love seeing done. But what I do not like is when those traits are the character’s entire personality, and that is what happened in The Written.

On top of that, here is something else that really grind me gears whilst reading: I can easily name ten characters that are human men (or were the non-human equivalent) that were either main characters or side characters. Ya know how many I can count that were human women (or the non-human equivalent)? Four. And, once again, none of them really had much depth to them. Granted, that was the fate of a lot of characters, but it was especially seen in the way the characters that were women were written, which was all stereotypical and filled with character tropes. I could not stand it.

When it comes to the plot, I was pretty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about it. Overall, it had potential and seemed intriguing at first, but the characters killed most of my initial excitement for it. On top of that, the writing did not help in this particular case. A lot of things like the setting and Farden’s appearance were described in far too much detail, and for me, that really took away from the story itself. I think it could have also been edited a tad bit better. There are a lot of instances where Farden is described as simply “the mage,” long after the reader knows who he is.

Along with that, from what I could remember, the reader does not find out Fardan’s name until the third chapter or so, even though the story is supposed to be from his perspective. Parts of the story are also told from another character’s perspective, which would have been interesting if it was not simply explained away by a character talking about their evil master plans at the end of it. A lot of it just felt disjointed to me, and I kept being dragged out of the story because of things like that.

The battle/action scenes also seemed disjointed to me, and I feel that, a lot of the time, they were a stand-in for actual plot-/character-related things. This book is steeped in fight scenes, and, me being a much more character-driven reader, I did not like that much, either way.

Like I stated before, there were a few things I enjoyed in the novel (…even if I did skim that last quarter of it). I liked all the different races of creatures. Some people may not like it because it seems to mix genres between supernatural (vampires and werewolves) and fantasy (mages, elves, and dragons), but I thought it was an interesting point of world-building. It did seem lacking in parts, but again, it is the first book in a series, so it has room to be fleshed out. Unrelated, but I really love the cover. Whoever designed it did a wonderful job, and I think it is gorgeous. Those two tidbits were the sole recipients of the two stars.

Overall, I thought the characters were flat and the writing could have been better. As a result, the plot was not as fun as it could have been. However, kudos for world-building and the cover.

Bio: Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.

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NON-BOOKISH ADVENTURES #3 | Slipknot Albums Ranked Less Good to Good

Hi, everyone! I’m back with another Non-Bookish Adventures post, and this time we’re getting into music! A lot of you may not know, but heavy metal and rock are my favorite genres, though I do dabble in others, too (hi, musicals!). My favorite band is Slipknot, and with their new album coming out in August, I figured now would be a great time to write a post attempting to rank their previous albums. I say attempt because I usually don’t review or rank the music I listen to, and also I already love 99% of their music, so uh. This is going to be fun. Also, the links in the post go to the YouTube videos for the song indicated, if you wanted to take a listen. Anyway, let’s get to it so my boyfriend can give me his judging stare once he reads this.

5. All Hope Is Gone

All Hope Is Gone album cover

It’s not that this album is bad — I honestly do enjoy all of Slipknot’s music — but it’s the one where I only really enjoy about half of the songs. “Gematria (A Killing Name” and “Psychosocial” I can listen to on repeat. “Snuff” and “‘Till We Die” have the slowness that I enjoy. But while I like the others, they don’t really do much for me when compared to other albums.

4. Slipknot

Slipknot album cover

Listening through this again, I actually do like most of the songs. “(sic)” is fun, “Spit It Out” makes me remember their concert I went to a few years ago with my boyfriend, and I like the sound of “Eyeless.” If I just wanted to spend an hour listening to the album in its entirety, I actually really enjoy it. But there aren’t a lot of songs on it that I usually listen to on their own.

3. Iowa

Iowa album cover

I’m gonna be honest, I kinda forgot what songs were on this album and which weren’t. I know “Heretic Anthem” and “People = Shit” were (yay!), but I forgot “Disasterpiece,” which…eh. It’s a good song, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t get over those first few lines. They make my skin crawl. But if you need music to be angry with, here ya go! It can be very therapuetic. Also, I don’t think I ever listened to the song “Iowa” in its 15 minute entirety more than once. Sue me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

2. Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses

Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses album cover

Now I can hear my boyfriend internally screaming as I place Vol. 3 above Iowa. But!! Hear me out! Vol. 3 is the first Slipknot album (outside of the #1, which we’ll get to) where I really enjoy listening to each individual song on their own. I just like the whole album a lot. Annnd story time: my first year in college, I was a bit of an anxious mess. It’s a miracle I didn’t have a full-blown breakdown, to be honest. Part of what helped were two songs off this album: “Circle” and “Danger — Keep Away“. I listened to them both on repeat most of that academic year when I went to bed. They helped me calm down a lot when I was anxious or stressing out over something, and I’m glad I had them. Plus, “Pulse of the Maggots,” “Before I Forget,” and “Virus of Life” are on there, so I mean.

1. .5: The Gray Chapter

.5: The Gray Chapter album cover

This album also holds memories for me: the two singles “Devil In I” and “Negative One” were the first that my boyfriend showed me, right around when we first started dating. While they aren’t my favorites of the album (“Killpop” took that spot), it’s still a nice memory to have. ❤️ Also, this is the other album where I absolutely love every song with all my heart. I think it partially has to do with timing: I was getting into Slipknot around the time The Gray Chapter was coming out or a few months before it, so it might be a bit of the excitement of waiting for it. There’s also some good gems like “Custer,” “AOV,” and “Goodbye.” I dunno, it’s a great album, and I love it.

And there you have it! My ranking of Slipknot’s albums, from not-so-best to best. I’m not sure if many of y’all are also fans, but if you are, what’s your favorite album? If not, who’s your favorite artist? Do you have a favorite album or song?

Until next time~
Kaitlyn

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

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REVIEW #48 | “An Enchantment of Ravens” by Margaret Rogerson

Title: “An Enchantment of Ravens”

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Pages (hardcover): 300 pages

Original Publishing Date: 26 September 2017

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

“Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • self-harm (for blood magic)
  • blood and gore
  • violence
  • kidnapping

Representation in the novel:

  • N/A

⭐⭐⭐⭐ .5
4.5/5 stars

Hi, this book made me a Margaret Rogerson stan, and I do not even like faerie books usually. There is just soemthing about it that made me intrigued and want to keep reading.

Starting out, An Enchantment of Ravens follows Isobel, a human girl who paints portraits for the fae population around her in exchange for charms for her family to live easier. Faeries cannot create things by way of “human” means: they cannot cook/bake, paint, write, or anything of the sort, so they pay humands to do it for them. Isobel is a popular artist in faerie circles, and she soon has royalty knocking at her door: Rook, the autumn prince. When she places human emotion into his portrait — something generally seen as weak — he forces her to go with him to the court to answer for her “crime.”

Can I just say that I love Isobel and Rook? Not even as a couple, but as their own characters. Isobel knows of faeries’ conniving ways, and she tries her best to use that to her advantage to help her family. However, at points, it is still obvious that she is only a teenager, and I love that. She is witty, but she still slips up sometimes. Rook is an ass, and I love him for it. Well, okay, I did not like him in the beginning of the adventures, but he grew on me, and he ended up being one of my favorite characters of all time.

When it comes to the relationship between them, I was a bit weary about the insta-love that seemed prevalent in the beginning. However, I was pleasantly surprised: it was more lust/initial attraction that anything, and their relationship actually developed quite well over the novel.

The plot kept me on my toes, too. I honestly did not know what was going to happen next — once I thought I figured it all out, something else popus up to surprise me. However, it was not over the top or give me literary whiplash. Whatever happened made sense in regards to what was happening in the novel. I loved it. The pacing seemed a bit off, and the ending was a bit abrupt, but I had so much fun reading it. And the atmosphere! The world-building was amazing; the reader really gets sucked into it all. And those descriptions of all the places? Absolutely gorgeous.

Just. Y’all. I love this book so much. I wish I could have gotten a five- or ten-book series in this universe. It is phenomenal.

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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REVIEW #47 | “Graceling” by Kristina Cashore

Title: “Graceling”

Author: Kristina Cashore

Pages (hardcover): 471

Original Publishing Date: 1 October 2008

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. 

“She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. 

“She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

“With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • gore
  • blood
  • violence
  • character death
  • internalized ableism

Representation in the novel:

  • N/A

⭐⭐ .5
2.5/5 stars

I really, really wanted to like this. I remember reading it when I was younger, and my friend really enjoys it, too, but. This second reading kind of killed it for me, sadly. It was mostly due to Katsa, the protagonist, and the writing overall (also, the “nice” touch of ableism at the end).

Graceling follows Katsa, a teen girl who is a Graceling, a person who has a specific supernatural skill. It could be something like swimming or cooking, or more supernatural, like mind control. Katsa, however, has the Grace of killing, and her uncle, a king, uses her to gain power. She then has to pair up with another Graceling, Po, in order to figure out a recent kidnapping.

As far as characters go, I was not all that impressed. The side and minor characters were pretty forgettable (though Katsa’s cousin Raffin was pretty fun), and I was not a fan of how Katsa sees Po throughout the novel. Multiple times throughout the novel, there seems to be this “Oh, look how exotic he is” feel, and that made me uncomfortable. His characterization by the end of the novel fell flat for me, and I felt like it was not as explored as it could have been.

When it comes to Katsa, I am a bit conflicted. When Graceling was published, it was around the time the warrior/girl with a sword protagonists became popular. I know that. But I am still annoyed that Katsa is so anti-feminine. I simply do not enjoy warrior girl main characters when they constantly speak down on femininity. However, I will give her kudos for being firm in her decision of not marrying or having children. I can totally understand that. But outside of her Grace and the fact that she is not feminine, the reader never really finds anything else out about her. Her inner dilemmas are mostly connected to the Grace and whether or not she is a monster. This could have been done well, but I got tired of it quickly. She just feels like a flat character to me, and while I did not actively root against or hate her, I was not supporting or liking her either.

I also have issues with the plot and pacing. The first half of the novel felt so slow to me. Usually, I do not have an issue with slower plots, mostly because they more often than not focus on the characters themselves, and that makes it interesting. But I felt like I was just getting info dump after info dump with interactions between characters in the middle, where nothing was really shown. Even after the action started picking up, I felt like I was waiting for something more.

Along with that, it all seemed anticlimatic. The reader experiences all these tense scenes as Po and Katsa try to figure out what to do, but the ending of the all the plot lines, including the main one, are just…there. There was all that tension and for little payoff. When the antagonist was apprehended, I assumed there was going to be something more than the two or three sentences that made up the resolution. Same thing with what happens to other certain characters at the end. It just feels like some points were plopped in there just to be something to read, and so it feels drab and basic. I wanted more out of it.

There was a side plot near the end that really threw me for a loop. I will not give out precise details, but a character becomes disabled, and the way it is handled is…not good. I am not disabled, just an FYI, but there was a lot of ableism that accompanied this plot twist. And yup. It was, essentially, a plot twist, which…Why? Not only is this idea not explored further outside of the internalized ableism of the disabled character and the ableism of the other character that finds out, but it just seems like a final “hurdle” that has to be overcome. I was not a fan of this plot point at all.

While I liked the idea of Graces/Gracelings, I was not a fan of Katsa, and most of the other characters fell flat. On top of that, the sideplots that appeared throughout the novel felt unexplored, forced, and/or rushed. Overall, I am a bit sad, especially since I remember loving this book when I was younger.

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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