Top Five Wednesday Rewind: Children’s Books to Read as an Adult

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This month the Top Five Wednesday group gets to write about topics that we may have missed the past few months.  Choosing the topics was fairly easy for me and I am excited to share my lists with you. This week, I am recycling the topic from March 14th, 2018: Children’s Books to Read as Adults.  As someone who dearly loves middle-grade and children’s classics, I am thrilled to be able to write this post. The Goodreads group for Top Five Wednesday can be found here. and is hosted by the lovely #ThoughtsonTomes and #gingerreadslainey.  

  1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians – Rick Riordan’s original mythology series is one of my favorites of all time.  It is hilariously narrated by Percy Jackson, a young man who discovers that he is a demigod and must deal with all the trials and tribulations that come with being the son of a Greek god.  In the first book, The Lightning Thief, Percy is only twelve years old, but despite his young age he is hilarious and insightful and I think any age group can relate to him.  I did not read these books until I was in my early twenties (#regret for not reading them sooner) and I absolutely adored them.  I marathoned the entire series and read the last installment, The Last Olympian, in which Percy is 16, in one sitting.  I highly recommend this series to everyone.  
  2. Harry Potter (Duh.) – I cannot make this list without mentioning Harry Potter.  While there is some controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling these days, Harry Potter will forever and always be my favorite series.  It has such valuable life lessons for children and adults alike. In my opinion, this series is as close to perfect as a series can get, and I believe that everyone should read it.  My grandmother adores this series and she was in her sixties when she read it, so I know that any age group can enjoy these books. If you haven’t read Harry Potter, please give it a try, because it is truly amazing.  Except The Cursed Child. Ignore that one.
  3. Little House on the Prairie – I chose this book series for one simple reason: it is delightful.  Laura Ingalls Wilder takes us back to her childhood and we get a glimpse of what life was like in America in the 1880s.  It is full of childish wonder and innocence and recently provided me with a much needed escape from reality. If you’re looking for a book to read to your children, or just a quick joyful book from a child’s point of view, I highly recommend picking up this series.  Little House in the Big Woods is the first in the series and remains my favorite to this day.  
  4. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White’s classic children’s novel was one of my favorite childhood reads.  Wilbur the pig remains one of my favorite protagonists because of his unique voice. While this book is a bit of a tear-jerker if you’re sappy like me, I highly recommend it.  I plan to read it to my son when he gets a little older and I hope he loves it as much as me.
  5. – By far my favorite Dr. Seuss book and, in my opinion, one of his most important works.  This famous children’s book provides the reader with a message of encouragement that I think we all need sometimes.  I recently procured a copy for my young son and as I was reading it to him, I realized that the message was one that I needed to hear as well.  It tells readers young and old that you can and will do great things in life. The book explains that there will be bumps along the way, but as long as we keep pushing forward, everything will be alright in the end.  If you’re feeling down about where you are in life or feeling like you haven’t achieved your goals, I suggest giving this book a quick read. It did wonders for my attitude.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post!  If you did, leave me a like and a comment and let me know which children’s books you’ve loved and think everyone should read.  I’d love some new recommendations. I’ll see you all in the next one!

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Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

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          Don’t you guys just love when you find a book that absolutely kicks your reading slump’s ass?  I have spent over a month trying to find a book that interests me enough to keep reading and was unsuccessful until I picked up Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven.  A friend and coworker of mine recommended this book and I devoured the whole thing in one sitting.  I was messaging her while reading and she was immensely entertained by my ramblings and fangirling. Although I had one pretty big issue with it, I adored this story and highly recommend it.  

 

          Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven is about two teens navigating high school and overcoming personal struggles.  Jack Masselin has been secretly struggling with a rare neurological disorder called prosopagnosia for most of his life.  He is determined to keep his problem under wraps. Libby Strout was once known as America’s Fattest Teen after having to be removed from her home by a crane.  Now, after two years of healing and homeschooling, she’s attempting to reintegrate into society and struggles with self-image and the unkindness of her classmates.  After a vicious prank, Jack and Libby are forced to spend time together doing community service and eventually learn that they have more in common than anyone could have guessed.  

 

          One of the things I loved most about this book are the characters.  I related to Jack and Libby more than I anticipated when I went into this book.  Libby suffers from panic attacks and anxiety just like me. The descriptions of her feelings and experiences with her mental health had me wondering if Jennifer Niven could somehow see into my brain.  As far as the mental health aspect goes, it was like she was writing me as a character. I have seldom felt completely represented in literature concerning my anxiety and Libby was a character that made me feel like I’m not alone.  Now, thankfully, I do not suffer from prosopagnosia like the other main character, Jack. However, I spent most of my teen years struggling to hide my anxiety and depression, so I felt a connection with him based on his efforts to remain undiscovered.  He, like me, found it very difficult to ask for help out of the fear of being judged by his peers. It was very refreshing to see my feelings reflected in these characters.

 

          The message of this book is simple: above all, be kind.  Unfortunately, kindness is all too rare in our world these days.  It is easy to let the negativity reign free and kill our joy. Holding Up the Universe reminded me of the importance of staying positive and keeping a smile on my face.  It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about you; all that matters is how you see yourself and how you treat others.  

 

          There are several references throughout this book that made my fangirl heart soar.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing some of my other fandoms creep up in this book. I actually took pictures of each reference and sent them to my sister because she’s a fan as well.  And because I am absolute fangirl trash ;).

 

          There was only one thing I did not like about this book, but admittedly it is a pretty big issue.  SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: there is a trope present in this book that I do not appreciate. The idea that love can somehow heal or transcend mental illness.  While I have not done much research on the subject, I find it very unlikely that romantic love can overcome something as uncontrollable as brain chemistry.  I love my husband very much, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have anxiety attacks when he’s around. My husband helps calm me down and loves me in spite of my somewhat shaky mental health, but he is not a cure all.  The idea that a mental illness or disorder can be thwarted by romantic love is very unrealistic and, I believe, damaging to young readers. A young girl might fall prey to this idea and believe that she is not really in love because her depression is still present even if she has a boyfriend or that she’s somehow broken because love can’t cure her.  Love is beautiful and important, but it is not the antidote to mental illness.

 

          All in all, I enjoyed Holding Up the Universe very much despite my issues with the tropes.  I do highly recommend this story, but I must caution young readers to be mindful of the more problematic aspects.  4 out of 5 stars to this one!

 

          I hope you all enjoyed this post!  If you did, leave me a like and a comment as I would love to talk to you!  I’ll see you all in the next one!

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Books of 2017

2017 has been a really good reading year for me.  I read so many fantastic books; narrowing it down to five was extremely difficult.  As always, the Goodreads group can be found here.  The group is hosted by the lovely #ThoughtsonTomes and #gingereadslainey.  It is a lot of fun to come up with these lists every week, so come and join us!  Without further ado, here is my list of the top five books of 2017.

1.  The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

I love this series so much.  At the urging of my husband and Reagan of #peruseproject on booktube, I picked up The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima.  I was blown away by this fantasy world and this is one of my all time favorite series now.  The Crimson Crown is the fourth and last book and it was my favorite.  It was absolutely incredible.  Please read this series!  It isn’t nearly as popular as it deserves.  

2.  Winter by Marissa Meyer

Picking my favorite of The Lunar Chronicles was almost impossible.  I loved every one of them, but the finale was the book that knocked my socks off the most.  It was one of the most successful conclusions to a series I’ve ever read and I will most likely be rereading this series soon. 

3.  The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

The fourth installment of The Heroes of Olympus was definitely my favorite.  I loved the intensity of this booking was thrilled with all of the amazing Percabeth moments we got.  It gave a lot of depth to already incredible characters and I could not put it down. 

4.  The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Kudos to Rick Riordan for claiming two spots on my list.  The Last Olympian was my favorite of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series which is a high honor because I adore the entire thing.  I read this book in one sitting and I cried when it was over.  I love Percy and Annabeth and their world so much. 

5.  Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

This.  Book.  I am still obsessed with Carry On and it’s been weeks since I read it.  SnowBaz is life.  This books is a must-read and I cannot contain my love for it.  Instead of reading books I can count toward my Goodreads goal, I’ve been reading Simon Snow fanfiction.  It’s amazing and I highly recommend it! 

I hope you guys liked this post!  If you did please leave me a like and a comment and tell me what your favorite book of the year was!  See you guys in the next one! 

Non-spoiler Review: The Blood of Olympus: Book 5 in The Heroes Of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Finishing a series is bittersweet.  I am always so excited to reach the end and find out how the story plays out, but it’s very hard for me to let go.  I spend all this time with the characters in these amazing worlds and then suddenly it’s over.  I have to say goodbye and return to my everyday life.  I feel as though I’m losing close friends and closing the door on an entire world.  

As you no doubt guessed, I have finally finished The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan, the final book in The Heroes of Olympus series.  It was a thrilling novel and I am very happy with it, but there were a few unanswered questions.  Had I read this when it came out, I may have been irritated by the questions, but I know that we see some of these characters in the next series, The Trials of Apollo.  

Despite the unanswered questions, this book was fantastic.  It was exciting from start to finish and while it wasn’t my favorite in the series, (The House of Hades for the win!) it was well written and hilarious just like the rest of Rick Riordan’s books, and it did contain some of my favorite scenes of the series, including some kick-ass battles and an oh-so-adorable Percabeth scene that made me squeal.  

My only complaint is that I wish I could have seem from all the main demigod’s perspectives.  I understand why Rick left some of them out; it would have been a bit much to keep up with all those points of view.  Though I love them all dearly, I will miss Percy’s perspective the most.  He’s out main man, the star of the show, and though I’m sure he appears in the other books, this was our last with Percy as one of the main characters.  He is one of my favorite characters of all time and losing his voice as a narrator is like losing a piece of my heart.  

This book was wonderful and I am so happy to have completed this series.  It is now one of my all time favorites and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.  

4.75/5 stars to The Blood of Olympus and 5,000,000/5 stars to The Heroes of Olympus as a whole. 

I hope you guys liked this review!  Leave me a like and a comment; I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about these books!  Thank you so much for reading!  See you guys in the next one!

Review: The Lost Hero: Book 1 in The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Guys, this is one of the best books I’ve read all year.

I imagine that most of you have already read Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.  I, like most who have read the series, ADORED it when I read it earlier this year.  So, naturally, I was very excited to read the sequel series featuring Percy, Annabeth, and their friends plus some new characters.  The Lost Hero is the first installment of this sequel series, called The Heroes of Olympus.  This series takes place after the events of the original PJO series, so if you haven’t read those books (what are you doing with your life?) you should go read those right now because they are amazing.  They are technically a middle-grade series, but I know that all age groups can and do enjoy these books.  I didn’t read them until I was in my twenties and loved them more than words can explain.

After reading the first book in this series, I have the strong feeling that I am going to love The Heroes of Olympus even more than the original.  The Lost Hero follows Jason, Piper, and Leo, three teenage demigods who are abruptly thrust into the world of Greek myths and are sent on a dangerous quest to free a captive goddess and prevent the end of civilization.  But of course, each of them is battling a personal problem that makes their quest even more impossible.  Jason has no memory of his life before suddenly waking on a bus with Leo and Piper.  Piper is hiding a dark secret.  Leo is struggling to find where he fits in with his new friends and trying to keep his abilities under wraps.  The trio arrives at Camp Half-Blood only to almost immediately be sent on their quest while the rest of camp frantically tries to find a missing demigod named Percy Jackson.

Like I said before I adored this book.  The story is action-packed and fun.  There was not a dull moment while reading; the characters went from battle to battle kicking ass and taking names.  We met some interesting creatures and gods and got to know our three main characters very well.

While Jason is no Percy, I still really enjoyed him as a character.  He’s brave and kind even if he is a bit clueless from time to time (hardly his fault since he’s an amnesiac).  Piper is awesome.  She’s Cherokee, so the Native American representation was nice for me (who is also part Cherokee) to see.  I don’t see Native Americans represented very often in YA so kudos to Rick Riordan for that.  Piper is smart and refuses to let her problems overwhelm her.  Leo is definitely my favorite of the new characters.  He’s hilarious, resourceful, and badass without being a pretentious jerk.  I love him so much.

You can probably tell that I really loved this book.  I am convinced that Rick Riordan can do no wrong for me.  I could not put this book down and I am so excited to continue one with the next book, The Son of Neptune.  

5/5 stars for sure.

I hope you guys liked this post.  If you did please leave me a like and a comment because I would love to talk about these books with other fans 🙂  I’ll talk to you guys in the next one!

Review: The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

“…like it or not, you are, shall we say, the Dragon Heir.”

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I finally made my way through this book!  It took me months to read, but not because it was unpleasant.  I LOVED this book so much.  It took me forever to get through this book partly because I didn’t want this story to end.  I know there are two more books in this series, but the Heir Chronicles were originally intended to be a trilogy, so I’m not sure if the next books will feature the characters to whom I’ve grow so attached.

The Dragon Heir was exciting and heartbreaking and almost everything I wanted it to be.  There were definitely some unanswered questions and the ending seemed a little abrupt, but overall I really enjoyed my time with this book.  The characters developed beautifully from book one to book three and I loved reading about them more every second.  The cast of characters was huge, although there was admittedly not much diversity.  It was wonderful getting to know the characters, but I would have loved to have some POC characters or some varied sexuality included.  The world was stunningly complex and it was extremely interesting reading about the political scheming on both sides of the conflict.  If you like action-packed, political urban fantasty (who doesn’t?) you should most definitely look into this series.  I have loved everything I’ve read by Cinda Williams Chima and I highly recommend her books.

4/5 stars

I hope you guys enjoyed this post!  If you did please leave me a like and a comment and don’t forget to follow this blog to see future posts!  I hope you all have an amazing day!  I will talk to you in the next one!

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Tahereh Mafi has gained another fan. While I was unfortunately underwhelmed by Shatter Me, Unravel Me knocked my socks off.  It was exciting and fun and I was completely engrossed the whole time. 

With the first installment of this trilogy (although it’s soon to be a longer series) I was a little put off by the elegant writing style. I had a hard time following the audiobook.  Unravel Me was easier to understand and this time I found that the writing style enhanced rather than detracted from the story. 

The world is much more complex than I realized reading the first book. Far from being the freak of nature she believed herself to be, Juliette is one of many special people with incredible abilities.  I was not expecting this to be a super powers story, although I guess I should have. I’m not sure what to make of the political climate of this world.  The dystopian setting seems to take a backseat to Juliette’s self discovery and her ever complicated love life. 

Speaking of our protagonist, I enjoyed Juliette much more in this book.  She continues to grow more confident in her abilities even as her opinions about Adam and Warner are challenged.  I’m not sure how I feel about Adam anymore. Though he has good reason, he’s a little angsty for me and he’s unnecessarily shady about his powers in my opinion. Warner, however, has completely stolen my heart.  He’s one of the most complex characters I’ve read and he fascinates me.  Kenji, of course, continues to be hilarious. 

I loved this book.  My affection for Unravel Me makes me look at Shatter Me with new eyes.  I’m sure that if/when I reread it, I will enjoy it more than I did the first time. If Ignite Me is as good as everyone says, this will definitely be one of my new favorite series. 5/5 stars for sure. 

I hope you all enjoyed this post! Please leave me a like and a comment if you did! Thanks so much for reading 🙂 I’ll talk to you guys in the next one!