Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Not Entirely Spoiler Free ūüėČ

 

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I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this book. I’ve seen it’s cover on dozens on Instagram pages, websites and all over Facebook. Finally, I told myself that I had to see what all the fuss was about and I now understand. This book is AMAZING!

Written by Benjamin Alire Saenz, Aristotle and Dante is a coming of age story not just focused on a boy becoming a man but a boy learning about himself. There was so much to love about this story because Benjamin Saenz writes in such a relatable way that you can’t help but feel for the characters.

The story is told from Ari’s point of view where he explains his hatred of summer, people, school and life in general. Ari is an angry teen who prefers to be alone than to make the effort to have friends. While he loves his parents, he’s convinced that they don’t understand him and he doesn’t understand them. He’s a Mexican American living in El Paso in a community with other Latinos. He is the youngest of four by 12 years and that makes him feel even more alone. He has twin sisters who treat him like a son instead of a brother and a brother who is in prison. He barely remembers his brother and his parents never talk about him. That only fuels Ari’s anger.

Saenz paints a beautiful picture of a boy at odds with himself, angry with the world and hopeless. Then one day, Ari meets Dante at the community pool. Dante is also a Mexican American but more fair skinned and can’t really speak Spanish. Throughout the story there are moments when Dante doesn’t feel Mexican enough and Ari feels too Mexican, something I can relate to. Dante offers to teach Ari how to swim and soon they become friends, much to everyone’s surprise.

Ari then begins to see life a little differently as Dante shows him another side of the world. Dante is smart, artistic, creative, an avid reader, a hater of tennis shoes, lover of animals and a great swimmer. He says he’s crazy about his parents, something Ari finds odd but soon understands. It makes him want that bond with his parents. But Ari’s parents are more closed off and talking is not something they do. Dante’s parents, on the other hand, are open books.

Toward the end of the summer, on a rainy day, Dante is out in the middle of the street, trying to save an injured bird. He doesn’t see the oncoming car but Ari does and pushes him out of the way only to be struck himself. He wakes up in the hospital with broken legs and a fractured arm. Dante can’t stop apologizing to Ari and telling him what a hero he is. On top of that, Dante tells him his family is going to Chicago for a year. Ari is not happy.

And this is where their relationship changes as they drift apart and begin to experience teenage things like drugs, alcohol and girls on their own instead of together.¬† This is also the time when Dante confesses via letter that he thinks he’s gay. Ari doesn’t know how to react to that.

When Dante returns the following summer, their friendship seems strained. But soon they start hanging out again and its almost like old times. That is until Dante kisses Ari. It becomes obvious in the story that Dante is in love with Ari, a sentiment that Ari doesn’t return. This drives a wedge between them. Dante tries to move on to another boy but while out with the other boy, he is accosted by four thugs and subsequently beaten for being gay.

This infuriates Ari and brings him to his breaking point. He goes after the thugs and after the boy Dante was with since he left him there to¬† be beaten. While this is happening, Ari’s parents finally begin to open up to him and start talking about his brother. During the last few chapters it becomes painfully obvious that Ari is also in love with Dante.

This book is absolutely amazing and beautifully written. I finished the whole thing in one day and can’t wait to read more by this supremely talented author.

5 out of 5!!!

 

 

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Passenger – Alexandra Bracken

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NOT ENTIRELY SPOILER FREE!!!

Today I’m reviewing Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken. It’s the tale of Etta, a violin virtuoso who literally stumbles into a different year in history, only to later find out she has the ability to travel through time.

This ability is passed down through the generations as Etta learns that her mother was also a traveler through time. The book begins with Etta practicing for her big night at the Met where she is to make her debut as a solo violinist. During her performance, she hears strange sounds that cause her to stop playing. She is escorted off stage where she continues to follow these sounds that no one else hears. No one else except for Sophia, another soloist. Together they find a portal and pass through it landing them 1776, just off the West Indies, on a large ship.

Shortly after, Etta finds out that Sophia is also a traveler who shoved her into the portal on purpose because her grandfather needs Etta for a mission. The entire time, Etta has no idea whats happening since her mother never told her about her abilities.

One thing that I love (among many) is the way Alexandra Bracken weaves her story. It’s difficult when dealing with time travel to know when to drop hints or clues but Alex did it beautifully, so that each time something was revealed, you were able to follow the story and not have to go back because you were confused. Small tidbits that didn’t make sense when they were spoken or seemed irrelevant were later deemed to be vital to the story. I loved those moments.

On the ship, she meets Nicholas (my new favorite male character ever!) who is a black sea captain and also a traveler. I bring up his skin color because it plays a heavy part in the story. Throughout the first half of the book, it’s painfully obvious that Nicholas is an amazing man, great leader and captain. It is also painfully obvious that his skin color causes him a lot of disparaging comments made at his expense. There are many times that he is disrespected and looked down upon. I do love how Etta comes to his rescue when another officer from a competing ship tries to woo her by demeaning Nicholas. It doesn’t go well for him. After all, Etta is from the 21st century, where everyone is equal. (Supposedly)

Though also a traveler, Nicholas wants nothing to do with the lifestyle, simply choosing to remain in his current time as a sea captain. He has his reasons. However, he is related to Sophia (the bastard child of a slave) and both are controlled by Cyrus, the head of the Ironwood family of travelers. Cyrus sees himself as the leader of ALL travelers and is in need of something that only Etta can find, the astrolabe, which her mother has hidden. Nicholas and Sophia are ordered to bring Etta to him.

Once Cyrus threatens Etta with her mother’s life (because naturally mommy dearest won’t give up it’s location), she agrees to find the object. All that is left is a letter written by her mother which can only be decoded by Etta. Then they must follow the clues in order to locate the object. I love how throughout the first part of the book, the interactions between Etta and her mother Rose are tepid but full of information that Etta will need later on. Everything, every interaction and conversation in Alexandra’s writing has purpose. There is no filler, just wonderfully descriptive writing.

I’m also a huge fan of history, so I love that they went to Paris in the 1880, London in the 1940, Damascus 1599 and Angkor 1655. Not only did they go to these time periods, but Alex also added tidbits of history to coincide with the story.

One thing I didn’t love was Etta’s mother Rose. She doesn’t come across as affectionate toward Etta. She doesn’t even bother telling her that she has the ability to travel time. I understand why she didn’t tell her, it gets explained later, but she is still written as cold hearted. A lot of what happens in the book doesn’t need to happen but it does because of Rose and her inability to trust in others. There’s a lot of secrecy which I can’t stand. So many stories wouldn’t happen if people just told each other the truth! But then we would have nothing to read ūüôā

My favorite part of the book was the blossoming romance between Nicholas and Etta. He was so stubborn and so sure that a white girl would never want him but he was proven wrong countless times. I love that they each had their own issues and insecurities keeping them apart but in the end they said ‘the hell with it’.

I’m not sure how I feel about Sophia, it’s difficult to like her considering she spends most of the book being a whiny bitch but you do feel some sympathy for her in the end. Perhaps in the next book her character will grow on me.

I knew there was a second book so I wasn’t expecting a neat and tidy ending but I was mostly satisfied with it. This book does true justice to not only historical fiction but time travel as well. It’s written so beautifully that I had a hard time putting it down to go to sleep. I’m excited for the next book and I can’t wait to see Nicholas kicking some ass. I would also love to see him in the 21st century.

Overall, I loved this book and give it 5 stars out of 5. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, YA, time travel or just want an interesting read, than you will not be disappointed.

 

 

Book Review!! A Court of Mist and Fury

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Not a spoiler free review!

The second installment in what I’m calling the Court series – A Court of Mist and Fury,¬†finds us back in the Spring Court where Ferye, a newly made Fae,¬†is set to marry Tamlin, a man she loves but maybe not as much as she thought…

After enduring countless horrors at the hands of Amarantha Under the Mountain, Ferye finds herself broken but Tamlin isn’t there to pick up the pieces, having to deal with his own issues.

His anger and rage become apparent/borderline abusive in this book as he refuses to let Ferye do anything on her own, for fear that something will happen to her again. The final straw is when he locks her in the house and she has a massive panic attack.

Thankfully, her bond with the Night Court high lord, Rhysand, saves her as he takes her away from the Spring Court. This further angers Tamlin and he vows to get her back. Meanwhile, in the Night Court, Ferye is subjected to Rhysand’s merry band of friends whom she eventually bonds with and lets admit it, we all love them!

Throughout the novel, she expresses her disgust for Rhysand, convinced that he is a horrible¬†lord. But as with the previous book, he proves her different and she slowly falls in love with him. The difference this time around is that Rhysand lets Ferye be herself. He doesn’t treat her like a fragile being but instead teaches her how to use her new power and how to fight, something Tamlin forbade.

Rhysand is convinced that war is coming and with the help of his friends and Ferye, they attempt to stop a mad king from exacting his revenge and annihilating humans once and for all. The book follows their adventure into other Courts where they play detectives and treasure hunters.

But in the end, it’s Tamlin who screws everything up in his desperate attempt to get Ferye back. Basically, all hell is unleashed¬†– thanks a lot, Tamlin – you jerk!

Overall, I give this book 5 stars!!! I absolutely loved the world building, the descriptions of the Night Court and the blossoming relationship between Ferye and Rhysand. At first I was all – Team Tamlin – but now it’s Rhysand all the way.

And while I might have spoiled certain things, I still left plenty out so please go buy this book! As I mentioned in my post on ACOTAR Рthis book also contains explicit sex scenes and swearing so parents be warned! I read this monster of  a book Р600+ pages Рin 2 days!! I am so looking forward to my copy of the third installment, A Court of Wings and Ruin which should be arriving shortly.

5 out of 5

 

 

Book Review!!! A Court of Thorns and Roses

So, I’ve decided to start reviewing books because I read a lot and I love to talk about the books I’ve read. I feel like, to be a great writer, you have to immerse yourself in literature and let it inspire you. (read inspire not copy!)

I’ve decided to start with a book from a series I love – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Please be warned – this is a NOT SPOILER FREE! Read with caution ūüėČ

The first installment in this series features our protagonist -Feyre, a 19 year old young woman who hunts for food so her family doesn’t starve. Her older sisters Nesta and Elaine act like they’re not poor while their father does little to help them. It is up to Feyre to save the family.

The world they live in is divided by a wall between the Fae- or faeries, and humans. Humans fear the Fae, as they have powers and do horrible things to people. At least, that is what humans believe.

The book opens with her in the forest, about to shoot a doe when a large wolf appears. Fearing for her life and needing money and food, she decides to kill the wolf. Much to her surprise, she does and she then proceeds to skin it and sell the hide.

Upon her return home, after selling the wolf’s hide, her house is invaded by a large beast that demands answers for his fallen friend, the wolf. As a Fae, this beast is terrifying¬†when ¬†he tells them that whomever killed his friend must come with him as punishment. Ferye, being the dutiful daughter, admits it was her and lets herself be taken. Her horrible family does little to stop her.

The rest of the book then takes place on the other side of the wall, where the Fae rule. The beast who kidnaps¬†her – Tamlin, takes her to the Spring Court, where it is later revealed, he is the ruler of. There she meets Tamlin’s other friend Lucien, a Fae who takes a instant¬†dislike to the human.

Much of the book is spent with Tamlin trying to be nice to her even though she’s his prisoner. After a while, she¬†finally accepts that he’s not a monster and begins to fall in love with him.

There’s some foreshadowing about their relationship and it’s importance in breaking a 50 year old curse that I liked. One thing I didn’t like was that Ferye could have prevented A LOT of trouble if she would have just told Tamlin she loved him when he said it to her. Stuff like that irks me but if she would have then the story would have been different so I get it.

I will say that Sarah J. Maas does a fantastic job creating sexual tension because both characters are dripping¬†with it throughout the story and you find yourself rooting for them to¬†finally hook up.¬†There were a few things I didn’t care for¬†(mostly Ferye’s internal whining, I can’t stand characters that whine) but they were not important enough to turn me off the book.

Apparently if Ferye had said I love you then the curse placed over the Spring Court would have been lifted. As a result, Tamlin lets her¬†return to the human side of¬†the world.¬†Since she didn’t say it¬†– cuz she’s a ho – Amarantha ( a supreme bitch) invades the Spring Court and takes Tamlin for her own. Tamlin of course refuses her but he can only do so for a little while, according to the curse.

Ferye finds out and decides to go Under the Mountain – where Amarantha’s court is – and rescue Tamlin. Doing so causes her and others psychological damage as they have to endure countless horrors at the hands of Amarantha. She’s one crazy bitch. We also learn more about a character named Rhysand who plays a major role in the next book.

Sarah’s storytelling is addictive and I found myself reading this 400+ page book in less than 2 days. I will also warn those with young children who want to read this – There is graphic sex in this book.¬†It¬†is described in detail, so if you don’t want your 12 year old to read something like that, don’t buy them this book. As an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed the sex scenes ūüėČ

Overall, I loved this book. I felt like I was in the Spring Court with them, witnessing Ferye and Tamlin’s interactions first hand. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 only because¬†Ferye’s incessant whining pissed me off ūüôā

4.5 out of 5

 

Book Pre-order!!

So excited to announce my book is now available for pre-order on Amazon and kindle!

http://bit.ly/2xUiMijAwaken

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Writing Prompt #5

imageWrite about meeting an Alien who doesn’t know anything about earth or humans. Explain to them what love is.

 

Chapter 6 Excerpt!

       Please enjoy a snippet of Chapter 6!

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            On his way home, Ethan found himself smiling wide. He had figured out something important at work and suddenly he felt like he was right where he supposed to be. A wonderful sense of belonging filled him; something he had always wanted but never achieved in school.

            He took the steps up to the train platform two at a time, carefully winding his way through the other passengers. When he reached the top, he surveyed the area, checking the time before choosing a bench near the middle of the track. He always liked to sit at the center of the train. For some reason, it seemed like the safest place to be. Whether it was or wasn’t, he didn’t know, but he sat there every day anyway.  

            As soon as the train began its approach, Ethan knew something was wrong. A high-pitched screech pierced his ears, his hands jumped to wrap around his head. A quick look around confirmed that others were equally assaulted by the sound.

            He glanced down and gasped as the large structure beneath his feet shook dangerously. Turning his face toward the train, he realized the cars were shifting off the rails, the wheels wobbling from left to right. He got up quickly, joining the other citizens who were now also on their feet, searching frantically, unsure of what to do or where to go.

            Since he stood in the middle of the platform, he was farthest from both stairways. On either side of him, he saw people running toward the exits, desperately trying to avoid the impending carnage. He made his way to the stairway on his right, giving him the most time to get to safety. He was being pushed and prodded, the anxiety of the situation finally catching up to him and all those around him. The dissonance behind him roared closer, drowning out the screams of desperation as the other passengers progressively grew more frantic.

            Soon, everyone was clawing their way to the stairs, no longer mindful of manners or decency. Ethan was slowly pushed outward, inching near the edge of the platform. The sounds of metal grinding on metal mixed with shouting, stomping and chaos painting a very real picture of the impending disaster.

            It felt like minutes but in reality, only seconds had passed. Ethan watched numbly as the scene unfolded. First the scaffolding began to crumble, large splinters running up along the walls and cracking through the floor. Next, sparks rained down from the oncoming train as it howled into the station. Ethan stumbled, the floor no longer stable enough.

            A loud explosion caught Ethan’s attention. Turning around, his eyes widened as flames shot out in every direction, catching the surrounding structure on fire. The front of the train twisted, crashing into the side of the tracks, causing a chain reaction, each car smashing into the one in front of it like an accordion. Shrapnel flew; large pieces of metal and glass sailed through the air, landing on top of people or cutting into the walls, slicing through the floor. Ethan ducked fast, his head narrowly avoiding a chunk of steel.

            Across from him, a young girl stood against the wall, trapped and shivering, blood running down her face from a cut above her eyes. He gave her a reassuring smile which she returned. But then her eyes grew with fear. Ethan only had a split second to put his hands out before a massive train door smashed into them. The force alone should have been enough to level him and the girl. Instead, Ethan stayed standing, his arms still held out defensively. He watched as the door fell at his feet. He then noticed two small indentions on the door. They were shaped like his hands.

Writing Prompt #4

Write a story with you as the villain…

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Have fun with this! See how evil you can really be!

 

Writing Prompt #3

Write a story about a child going outside to play, however, the child lives in a post apocalyptic wasteland.

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Look what I got in the mail today! First official proof! One step closer…

 

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