BABY | a poem

TW: sexual abuse

BABY

I love you, baby. 
You say as I undress. 
Naked and open is the only way you’ll stay. 
I comply in exchange for some company. 
Daydreams of us keep me hoping for happiness, 
As my head is shoved deeper into your pillow. 
Harder! Harder! 
I moan, 
Hardly realizing it’s only a cry for help. 
Any attention is better than none, right? 
I begin to realize the severity of my actions, 
But you wrangle me back with that soft, sweet sound… 
Baby.

Life Update | where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and what’s to come

Hello my darlings! Long time, no see. I hope you’re all doing wonderfully!

I’ve taken a step back from my blog this past month, primarily from a stressful life and unsuccessful reading experience.

As I’ve talked about in the past, I’ve been in a weird reading slump; half finishing books and never meeting my TBR goals. Even though I have finished quite a few memorable and thought-provoking reads, I haven’t been able to really enjoy and appreciate a well-written book. Maybe it’s me, or maybe I have yet to find something that kindles a flame inside my dead heart.

Either way, it’s not been a very good reading time.

Since I wasn’t reading any new books, I didn’t have any drive to post on my book-focused blog. It didn’t feel right. Eventually, I succumbed to smoke sessions and reruns of The Office and Trailer Park Boys to fill my spare time while simultaneously avoiding my graduate application. Ya girl wasn’t getting shit done.

But I’m happy to say that I’m feeling inspired and motivated enough to announce my return!

It could be the recent full moon, or the fact that it’s my birth month (happy libra season!!), but I’m ready to reorganize both my life and my blog.

After some minor reflections, I’ve decided to revamp my blog to not only book-related content, but also an outlet to experiment with my own writings, as well as a few random shit posts.

TBR posts and typical book hauls just aren’t doing it for me anymore, which I hope is a good thing, and I want my writing to be both organic and authentic.

Not that I think my previous posts are bad or disingenuous, but they felt very structured and often forced. I wasn’t having fun with it, but I think I feel more comfortable now to branch out into new, fresh and fun content and writing, whatever that may consist of.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be doing book reviews, hauls, and recommendations, but I’m going to take a break from TBRs and, maybe (depending on how many books I finish), monthly wrap-ups. However, I’m going to be posting more poems, short stories, articles, or whatever I’m feeling at that particular time.

I’m definitely looking forward to letting myself relax and enjoy writing rather than making it a chore, as well as getting my shit together for grad school, and I’m ecstatic to dive into some new creative elements!

Honestly, with Trump testing positive for COVID-19, things are already starting to look up. Nevertheless, VOTE. HIM. OUT. PLEASE. FOR THE LOVE OF HUMANITY.

I hope you all have a wonderful and spooky libra season! Sending much love and successful reading endeavors to all of you, and thanks for sticking around for this sporadic mess of a life update.

A Comforting September TBR | & what i read in august

August was a rough month for both my reading and mental state. With all of the tragedy and loss happening across America, I’ve had a hard time picking up any book. There’s obviously more important things to focus my energy on other than reading Twilight, ya know?

To put it short, multiple aspects of life has been hitting me all at once, and reading has been the least of my worries.

What I Read In August | Spoiler: Not Much

Sadly, I only finished one book in August, Stephen King’s 11/22/63.

To be fair, I did start two other books; J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Voltaire’s Candide. I was enjoying both stories a lot (especially Candide), but, for some reason, I put them down and are now collecting dust.

I hope to finish Candide this month, primarily because it is so short and a cute story to read. The Catcher in the Rye might fit into my reading this upcoming month, but I’m not counting on it.

What I Want To Read In September | Classics Galore

2020 has not been my reading year, as you all have probably noticed, so I’ve decided I’m making TBR’s more for fun rather than what I might actually be reading that month. Of course, these are the books that I’ve been in the mood to pick up recently, but take this list with a grain of salt.

For the upcoming reading month, I decided to pick some comfort reads that I’ve been meaning to pick up for so long. Mainly well-known classics that I feel like I’m going to really enjoy. September is the time to enter my literature comfort zone.

Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

I have yet to read a Charles Dickens’ novel, and I’m honestly ashamed.

Everyone always raves about Great Expectations, and I think it’s finally time I give it a go.

Surprisingly enough, I don’t know much about the story other than its Victorian elements, but I’m really looking forward to seeing the depth of Dickens’ writing and storytelling.

Metamorphoses – Ovid

After reading Kafka’s The Metamorphosis in July, I’ve been dying to pick up Ovid’s Metamorphoses to see how Ovid influenced Kafka’s story.

I found this beautiful copy at my local used bookstore, and it seemed like fate. Naturally, I now have to get to Metamorphoses immediately.

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

I don’t know if this is only occurring to me, but I feel like I’ve been seeing The Picture of Dorian Gray popping up all over my newsfeeds.

Oscar Wilde’s novel is yet another book I’ve been meaning to read for ages but have kept putting off. No more!

As someone who adores unlikeable characters, I have a feeling me and Dorian Gray are going to get along very well. I’m super excited to pick this book up soon.

The Song of Roland

To be honest, I threw this one in for fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I do want to read The Song of Roland at some point, but it’s not one of my priorities, per se.

Yet another book that I don’t know much about, but I’m definitely still pumped to pick it up, nonetheless.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Please don’t hate me because, no, I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice. Yes, I am ashamed of the fact, but that’s precisely why it’s on my TBR.

yet another book haul.

I’ve been caught in yet another reading slump — 2020 is not my year, apparently.

However, one thing that always works me out of a slouch is a trip to my local bookstore, Mr. K’s. The store is full of stacked books, and I honestly spend way too much time in there — the classics section is where I am happiest. Mr. K’s also offers store credit for books, so it keeps my shopping sprees pretty cheap.

I had some store credit and a free afternoon, so I took a dive into the books and began my search. I circled the entire store a good 2-3 times, unashamed. There were some books I had to leave behind until next time; however, as you can tell by the picture above, I snagged some pretty solid reads (fingers crossed!).

As you probably noticed, this haul was consists of primarily classics. I haven’t been reading as many classics as usual since I graduated, but I miss my precious literary fiction. I’m also hoping to go back to school in the near future, so I’d like to get back into the swing of digesting dense novels.

Enough of my blabbering, let’s get to the good stuff!

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The Books

Sadly, I regret not picking up Sean Carroll’s The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself when I noticed it — I’d really like to learn more about the cosmos and space in general. Hopefully it’ll be there the next go around!

Metamorphosis – Ovid

This book is one of those I’ve been meaning to get to for years, but I never convinced myself to actually buy it (why do we do this as humans?). I finally said enough was enough and bought the thing — I think the fact that it was only $3 helped a lot.

Like many of the books I buy, I’m not too familiar with Ovid’s Metamorphosis other than it’s popularity. I’m assuming it is about a character (or characters) that undergo some type of change. Since I’ve recently read Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and Apuleius’ The Golden Ass, which deal with characters physically changing, I’m super interested in seeing how Ovid’s compares.

Sons and Lovers – D. H. Lawrence

Much like Ovid, D. H. Lawrence is one of those writers that I’ve had on my radar for quite a while. I was originally going to get Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but Sons and Lovers just so happened to catch my eye that particular day.

Again, I don’t know anything about this book, but for some reason, I feel like I’ll really enjoy D. H. Lawrence’s stories if I would simply read one. I hope to pick this one up pretty soon!

Candide – Voltaire

I’m sucker for anything French: literature, food, music, everything. Naturally, I’m dying to pick up Voltaire’s Candide.

Whenever I’m more comfortable with the French language, I’d like to try and read Candide in it’s truest form. I’ve heard it’s fairly simple French, but I’m hoping that having an understanding of the story will help me in the translation.

This book is a pretty short read, so hopefully I can knock it out in only a day or two.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses – Pierre Choderlos de Laelos

Yet another French classic!

Next to Candide, Les Liaisons Dangereuses is the most talked about French classic that I’ve encountered. Set in 18th century France, right before the revolution, this novel seems like the perfect sultry, drama-filled novel that I’ve been waiting for. Since I’m an absolute sucker for romance and revenge, I have a pretty good feeling about this one.

Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation – John Ehle

I love perusing the cultural/religious studies section of the bookstore, and I’m so happy that I stumbled upon John Ehle’s book about the Cherokee Nation.

Since East Tennessee was the original location of the Cherokee Nation, as well as tragically and immorally taken from them, I’d like to learn more about them. According to my dad, one of my great-grandmothers was 100% Cherokee. I don’t know if it’s because of that, but I’ve always loved learning about Native American culture and history.

It’s a true travesty how the US education system portrays the genocide of Indigenous Americans. It’s not something to gloss over or take lightly, and I look forward to reteaching myself more about these groups and what happened to them.

I’ve never heard of Ehle’s book, but it has a Goodreads rating of 4.16, so I’m hoping it will be a good start in my Native American studies.

The Merciless – Danielle Vega

Funny enough, Vega’s novel is a book I bought a while ago; however, I recently got it back from a friend and figured I would include it in this haul since I’ve never read it.

Danielle Vega’s The Merciless is the first in a YA horror series. I read online somewhere that it’s a mix between Mean Girls and the Exorcist, so it obviously has potential. I do feel like I’ll either really love or really hate; sometimes those are the hardest books to ever pick up.

The Merciless is one of those series that I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about, but it seems to intriguing not to at least try out. Kat from paperbackdreams said the first book was pretty good, but the rest of them were not worth the read. We’ll see if I end up taking her advice on that or (potentially) torturing myself through the entire series.

The Book of Love – Diane Ackerman & Jeanne Mackin

At last, we have The Book of Love edited by Diane Ackerman and Jeanne Mackin. This anthology contains multiple writing selections from famous literature texts discussing love in all of its forms, from flirtation and marriage to jealousy and heartbreak.

While in college, I wrote a few papers on love and relationships. It’s one of those topics that greatly intrigues me, perhaps because love makes people do crazy things. If I ever need to write future papers discussing themes of love, I’ll be able to quickly find other resources with this book. It is, perhaps, one of my most favorite purchases to date. What a great find!

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The Excitement and Panic

Buying more books truly helps my reading slumps, seeing that I’m now hurrying to write this so I can start reading as soon as possible. However, if you saw my bookshelf tour, you’ll know my TBR shelf is getting quite full.

I always feel a sort of panic when buying new books to add to my TBR, but I try to remember that I have a whole lifetime to read all of these magnificent books!

What books have you recently picked up? I would love to know!

11/22/63 – Stephen King | The Multi-Genre Manual

To this date, this is the largest book I’ve ever read!!! (I’m really excited about it, if you can’t tell.)

I don’t know what it is about finishing a long-ass book — a good one, in this case — but it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something great. As someone who reads slow as fuck and never finishes series, I’m super proud to have made it to page 842 (even if it did take me 4 months to do so).

I’m terrible at transitions and introductions, so let’s just get into the review!

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The Details

Stephen King’s 11/22/63 is a multi-genre — Sci Fi, Historical Fiction, Romance, and a splash of Dystopian — novel that follows Jake Epping, an English teacher turned time traveler.

After his friend, Al, discovers a “rabbit hole” in his diner that travels back to September 9, 1958, Jake is tasked to try and stop the assassination of president John F. Kennedy. Once Al is diagnosed with cancer, he provides Jake with all of his notes and sends him into the past with hopeful ideas of a better future — specifically one without the death of Kennedy.

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The Review

Why wouldn’t my first Stephen King read also be my longest read? It feels like it’s meant to be.

My first King book ended up being a 4/5, so that must mean I started with a good book. I’ve always heard very controversial opinions about Stephen King, whether it’s his endings or long descriptions, and I was a little skeptical picking this up.

Thankfully, 11/22/63 was the perfect first King read because it had all of the elements I love: marvelous writing, captivating characters, a unique plot, and an alluring, complicated romance. However, I do want to include a TW for male gaze because it made me pretty uncomfortable throughout the narrative, which is the main reason why this novel didn’t get a 5/5 rating (you can only hear so many descriptions of a woman’s breasts).

I now understand the hype surrounding Stephen King’s ability to craft complex characters where you genuinely feel like you know them. Other than Jake’s slight sexism, he has been one of the most 3-dimensional and interesting characters that I’ve ever read. The way he spoke of Sadie was both admiring, yet a little creepy, but I think that harmony is what makes King’s characters so great. He seems, at least in 11/22/63, to be very talented with implementing equally positive and negative elements within his novels. A ying-yang, if you will. As a libra, that is much appreciated.

Speaking of characters, I was shocked and surprised that King had me feeling sorry for Lee Harvey Oswald, the president murderer. This definitely doesn’t help the fact that my family and past coworkers label me as a “communist”, but seeing Lee as a “family man” — I use the term lightly — reminded me that Lee was still a human. Killing someone because they don’t share your opinion is messed up regardless, but I love an unlikeable character, and King portrays him in a light that made me feel bad for the poor guy. King probably made most of it up — he even put a disclosure stating that he’s not trying to explain what happened. Either way, I admire King’s ability to transform a hated man into a, somewhat, sympathetic family man.

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Another aspect that I loved about 11/22/63 is how Stephen King includes multiple genres, like historical fiction, sci-fi, etc. It could’ve been the size of the book, but I feel like I read 5 different types of stories in one. With all the different plots, I feel like I lived a lifetime alongside Jake Epping, and I can truly say that I’ve never felt that way with any book or series. Maybe it’s the amount of description and details or my own personal reading experience, but I care a lot about this story regardless.

To be honest, I put this book down for about 2 months in between reading it — life was busy, as always –, but I didn’t have any problems picking it back up. It did take me a minute to remember the first half of the book, but King was wonderful at keeping me up to pace. Of course, I had moments of “wtf is happening? who is that?” but I usually found/remembered the answer within a few paragraphs.

Let’s conclude with the ending, shall we? No spoilers, of course.

The ending of 11/22/63 upset me so much, but in the best way possible. Now, I know King’s ending are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I admire his ability to catch his readers off guard. It’s something I keep thinking about, and those, to me, are the best types of endings; whether you like them or not.

The way things ended with Sadie and Jake broke my fucking heart, to say the least. I was more invested in their relationship than the main JFK plot, and the way things concluded for them hurt me wayyy more than the state of the world with an almost-assassinated Kennedy. Sadly, the dystopian world was very underwhelming, but I was on the edge of my seat (or bed) to see what happened to Sadie and Jake. Honestly, if Stephen King completely erased the JFK plot, I would probably like the book even more. Then again, it wouldn’t be a King novel without multiple story lines that may not even have any purpose at all? Of course not.

One thing I actually loved about the ending of 11/22/63 was the explanation of the Green/Yellow/Black Card Man. I never really knew what the man represented (I had my guesses, of course), and King impressed the hell out of me with his take on dimensions and time travel. His intelligence definitely shines through his writing and creativity.

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The Show

I watched the Hulu adaptation of 11/22/63 because JaMeS FrAnCo, and I enjoyed it at the time. However, after reading the book, I’m disappointed in the adaptation.

It’s been a while since I watched the show, so I definitely need a refresher to write a thorough review. The one thing that bothers me is the fact that they gave Jake a helper, Bill. Bill’s brought up in the very beginning of the book for a few pages, but they attached him to Jake’s hip throughout the show. He didn’t even need him! I understand that it creates more dialogue since no one probably wants to follow one single guy just waiting for one single day to come up, but I think James Franco could have pulled it off and made it just as good.

I’ll have to rewatch the show to have a concrete review of it, but I don’t even know when I’ll get to it. Maybe one day!

The End

Even though I know King’s 11/22/63 won’t be for everyone — that’s King for ya –, I would 100% recommend it to anyone and everyone. I have always been terrified of larger books, but this book has me goggling at IT for Halloween time. It definitely has some faults and is a little dated, but the characters and writing are enchanting and phenomenal. A super enjoyable read!

August TBR | Big Books, Old Faves, and Quick Reads

July was the month of defeating the reading slump, and August is the month of catch ups.

As someone who typically makes super overly ambitious TBRs, I tried to switch it up a bit by making a more realistic list of books I want to get to. I’m hoping this takes the pressure off of me wanting to finish 10 – 15 books in a month — why do I do this to myself? I have no idea — and gives me some room to pick up some extra books that I might be feeling in the moment.

Basically, my reading is very sporadic and unpredictable, so I’m trying to adjust my TBRs accordingly.

Anyways, enough of my mindless babbling and more books!

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The TBR

11/22/63 – Stephen King

I started King’s 11/22/63 this past April, got about halfway through it, and then sat it down for some reason. I believe moving in July was my main reason for putting it down, or it could be the size of this behemoth intimidates me, but, nonetheless, I’m picking it back up.

11/22/63 is what I’m reading currently, and I’m around 65% done with it. This is my first King novel ever, and I understand both why people love him and why people get frustrated with him. There’s definitely a lot of description and kind-of boring spots where it feels like I’m reading about paint drying, but King’s writing is so beautiful, so I don’t really mind the extra pages.

Whenever I finish this book, it will be the longest book I’ve ever read ever. I’m very excited, to say the least.

Insomnia – Stephen King

Yet another King book! Does this mean I’m becoming a Stephen King fan?

For some reason, I’ve been in the mood to read big books (500+ pages), and this one was calling my name. Whereas 11/22/63 is 849 pages, Insomnia is 912. Ya girl is working up her reading stamina so she can read King’s It and The Stand without taking all year.

The cover is what originally sold me on Insomnia. Just look at it! I love the deep red and the huge eye within the palm of the hand. It’s beautiful.

The main reason why I want to read this is because it follows a man suffering from insomnia (obviously), and he starts off sleeping a few hours to not sleeping at all. It reminded me of the Russian Sleep Experiment urban legend about scientists forcing people to say awake until they go mad. I feel like this is either going to be a disturbing in the best way possible or the worst. We’ll just have to wait and see!

The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

Honestly, I have no idea what this is about. I just know that it’s a once-controversial classic that people tried to ban from libraries.

I mean, I love books that legislatures have tried to ban simply because of curiosity. Why did people hate this book so much? What makes it unacceptable for schools and libraries? I have to find out.

I threw this book on my TBR mainly because it’s short. Plus, I’ve been meaning to pick The Catcher in the Rye for about 3 years now, and I need to do it already. Fingers crossed I finally get to this.

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Twilight – Stephenie Meyer / re-read

So, you may or may not have heard about Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, but it’s the greatest YA emo paranormal to ever exist. This series completely consumed my hormonal and emotional pre-teen years, and I just want to immerse myself back into this world again.

Plus, if you didn’t know, Midnight Sun — a companion novel from Edward’s POV — was released yesterday. As a ride-or-die Team Edward Cullen gal, I’m obligated to read that, so I’m going to refresh my Twilight knowledge — as if I don’t know every detail by heart — before I grab Midnight Sun.

To be honest, I’d love to do a week-long Twilight readathon, but we’ll see if I even have the time for that.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

If you saw my Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone review, you’ll know I’m reading the series for the first time. I’m trying to finish the series by the end of December, but I didn’t realize I will have to double up two books in one month in order to do that. However, I’m still going to try and make it happen, but we’re sticking to one this month (again, realistic goals).

I’m super excited to hear about Harry, Ron, and Hermione, along with Neville, and ready to immerse myself back into the magical world of Hogwarts. I already know it’s going to be a 5/5.

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The Excitement

I’m feeling so good about my reading going into August!

I’m excited to read some old favorites and big books, and, hopefully, to discover some possible new favorites.

Let me know what you’re reading for August and whether you were a Team Edward or Team Jacob ally growing up!

July Reading Wrap-Up | The Reading Rush and New All-Time Favorites

Now that I’m starting to read more consistently, I’ve given in to making the infamous “monthly wrap-up” posts.

July was the month that I defeated my reading slump! Huzzah!

I managed to finish 5 books — I didn’t even realize I read so many — and it’s been my reading habits have been uphill ever since. Even though I did read a lot, I’m still 9 books behind on my Goodreads challenge, so there’s no time for slacking.

I’m still really happy with how much I got completed, thanks to The Reading Rush, and I managed to find a few new favorites of (possibly?) all time.

Enough of my blabbering. Let’s get to the books!

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The Wrap-Up

The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd | 4.5 / 5

The first book I finished in July was Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, and, honey, it rocked my world.

Set in 1964 South Carolina, this novel follows Lily Owens, a motherless white girl living with her abusive father, T. Ray. Her life has been molded from the traumatic afternoon when her mother was killed, and her black housekeeper, Rosaleen, has stepped in to help raise her. After Rosaleen insults a few racists in town on her way to register to vote, Lily decides to free them both and escape to Tiburon, South Carolina — a town deeply embedded with secrets of her mother’s past.

The Secret Life of Bees resonated with me so much, having been born and raised in the “Dirty South” myself, surrounded my racism and abuse almost daily. My mother is still alive, unlike Lily’s, but my relationship with her is pretty rough. Kidd’s story of this girl attempting to rekindle a connection with her lost mother helped me process my own feelings I have towards my own mother. With that, I hold this book pretty near and dear to my heart now.

This story discusses themes of grief, racism, and feminism throughout, and it’s a book I think would be very special in the right hands. It’s, perhaps, become one of my new favorites of all time. The only reason it didn’t get 5/5 is because the story did kind of drag, but that’s literary fiction for ya.

I’ve been meaning to do a proper review of this book, but I could never find the right words for some reason. Apparently it takes a month for my brain to fully process this story. Nevertheless, I’ll probably need to reread it before I do a review to fully digest my thoughts and opinions. Let me know if you all would be down to see that.

The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka | 4 / 5

After I finished Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, The Reading Rush began — you can read all about my experience, TBR, and more in-depth reviews in my previous posts.

I mean, what is there to say about this classic that hasn’t already been said?

Kafka’s The Metamorphosis tells the story of Gregory, a traveling salesman who wakes up one morning as a giant roach. Rather than worrying about the repulsive state of his body, all Gregory can think about is not being able to work so he can support his family. The short story then follows Gregory and his family, and how they cope with Gregory’s misfortune.

I originally gave The Metamorphosis a 4/5, which I left above, but now I’m starting to think this might be a 3/5. It was a unique, memorable story that explores family relationships and the difference money can make, but the grammar errors that were intentionally left in disrupted my reading experience more than I would have liked. Maybe I should try reading a different edition? Or are all editions left original? Either way, it might need a reread. Thankfully, it’s only 50-something pages long.

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Adèle – Leila Slimani | 4 / 5

After reading two literary fiction books, my brain needed a reboot. Naturally, I picked up a thriller — both easy to read and captivating.

Leila Slimani’s Adèle follows an unhappy married woman living in the heart of Paris, France, who only craves to be wanted. This character analysis dives into the complicated and secret sex life of Adèle, and the inevidable chaos that ensues.

I don’t want to spoil this novel since it is a thriller, so the summary is a bit shorter than usual.

Good news: another book I can add to my favorites of all time! July has been good to me, huh?

I love character analyses (I have no clue if I spelled that right; no judgement), especially when that character is unlikeable — Richard III, Alex from A Clockwork Orange, and the like — and Slimani did that. I feel like Adèle shows what it means to be human through her faults and mistakes, but Slimani pushes the boundaries of Adèle’s character, making you wrestle with whether she deserves pitty or punishment.

The only problems I had with Adèle is I wanted more of Adèle and her life and it tended to drag in a few spots. I was a little skeptical to pick it up because Noelle Gallagher said she hated it, but I think it’s just one of those books that you either love or hate.

Honestly, the more I discuss this book, the more I want to do a spoiler-filled review because I have so much to discuss, but I also don’t want to ruin it for people who are reading this that haven’t picked it up yet. Thoughts, anyone?

A stranger in the House – Shari Lapena | 2 / 5

If you’ve read my spoiler-filled rant about Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House, then you already know how much I didn’t like this book. This thriller had so much potential!!! Disappointments happen, I suppose.

Much like Adèle, I don’t want to explain A Stranger in the House too much because it’s also a thriller. In short, Lapena’s novel follows Karen and Tom Krupp, a newly married couple, after Karen has a car accident when fleeing from the wrong side of town. Diagnosed with anmesia, Karen is unable to piece together what happened the night of the car accident. Once a man is found murdered near the car accident, secrets from Karen’s past creep into the present.

I don’t know if it as the crime aspects or the writing style, but this was such a huge disappointment. My mom let me borrow A Stranger in the House and really hyped it up, saying she couldn’t put it down and she had to know what happened. Me, however, not so much. The writing was basic, the characters were flat and one-dimensional, and I simply didn’t give a shit what happened to Karen or Tom. Lapena had so much potential with Tom and Karen’s neighbor, Brigid, but it went in a completely different direction. If you ask me, this should’ve developed into a domestic thriller, not crime.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone | 5 / 5

We’re not going to mention or discuss the author because she’s a homophobic and transphobic bitch. Moving on…

I loved this book! Are we surprised? Absoultely not.

I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books (gasp!), and I decided that this year I was going to change that. How can you even say you love books and NOT have read Harry Potter? That’s the thing; you can’t. Okay, okay, enough of the hype.

Truthfully, this book tore at my heartstrings, made me giggle, and was overall an incredible and magical joy to read. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are the most precious group of friends, even if they did get off on the wrong foot. Nothing builds closer friendships than mutual trauma, or so I’ve heard. I’m excited to see their friendship blossom into something even bigger, and to follow more of their adventures and hoodwinks.

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The Conclusion

What a terrific reading month, wouldn’t you say?

I’m super happy with how much I was able to read this month — goodbye, reading slump! — and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can fit in for August. Hopefully I can catch up on my Goodreads challenge — fingers crossed.

Let me know what you read this month! Any goodies that I should be adding to my TBR?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone | A Poser No More

I’m 22-years-old and I’ve never read the Harry Potter series.

It’s funny how I already know I’m going to get so much shit for this, but alas, we will prevail. At least I’m getting to it now, right?

I’ve watched all of the movies and visited the theme park in Orlando, FL — I even bought an interactive wand — but I’ve never read the books! I might have started out as a possible Harry Potter poser, but I will finish as a true fan.

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Author Disclaimer

With all of the controversy surrounding the author of the Harry Potter series (I refuse to acknowledge her name because she’s vile), I thought I would include a disclaimer in this post.

First off, fuck that bitch. I don’t agree with her views and morals AT ALL. Her transphobic and anti-LGBTQ+ tweets and opinions make me nauseous and enfuriated.

Even though I adore the Harry Potter movies and amusement parks, I wrestled with whether I should start the series at all. I don’t want to support the author at all; however, the Harry Potter world as it’s own entity is loveable, incredible, and heart-warming. So, what do we do about this?

In the end, I decided I would go ahead and start reading and reviewing the series simply for the love of the magical world and story. However, I don’t plan on putting the author’s name anywhere — of course, the book cover has it on the front, but that’s besides the point — and if I start collecting other editions of the series, I plan to only buy used/secondhand books. No royalities for her.

If you’re also boycotting the author, let me know what your plans are and any tips/advice you have!

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The Details

If you happen to live under a rock and don’t know anything about the wonderful world of magic, this series follows Harry Potter, an 11-year-old orphan boy living under the stairs with his horrendous relatives, The Dursley’s.

Harry’s life has always been lifeless and dull; that is, until he receives a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. After discovering an unknown world, Harry embarks on a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and a lot of magic.

The REview

Of course, I gave Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a 5/5 — is anyone even surprised? I doubt it.

I love the magic, the world, and, most importantly, the characters. Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s friendship is so adorable — trauma seems to lead to incredible frienships — and I can’t wait to watch it unfold throughout the series.

The magic system and world-building is impeccable, obviously, and each addition, whether it be the name of a store or a type of spell, just makes the world even better. Perhaps my favorite detail is the types of candies introduced; like, they really thought of everything, huh?

Even though I, and many others, absolutely love this book, I’m having a hard time discussing it for some reason. I guess it’s just one of those books that you have to read to experience fully.

I say that as if you, the reader, haven’t read this yet, but I’m assuming everyone and their mom has read this series front to back. Then again, you might be someone like me who lives almost 23 years without reading it; in this case, READ IT!

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The Leftovers

Please feel free to bash me in the comments for not having read the Harry Potter series yet.

My plan, as if I ever stick to them, is to finish the entire series by Christmas, but I’m also not trying to binge each book and make it a chore, so we’ll see how it goes.

Check out my Goodreads to follow my journey in real-time through this magical series.

A Stranger in the House – Shari Lapena | A Spoiler-Filled Rant Review

I mentioned Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House briefly in my Reading Rush Wrap-Up, but I wanted to make a spoiler-filled post discussing the grimey details because it was an utter disappoint…

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The Details

Lapena’s novel starts off with a woman having a car accident. That woman is Karen Krupp, wife of Tom Krupp. After rushing to the hospital, the Krupp’s discover Karen has a concussion and temporary amnesia. While all of these events are occurring, a man is found dead on the “bad side of town”, very close to where Karen’s accident occurred.

As Karen tries to remember what happened that night, both the Krupp’s and local detectives attempt to put the pieces together while simultaneously unveiling the many lies hidden within this seemingly innocent suburban home.

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The Rant Review

We’re diving right into the spoilers because I just simply can’t hold back. You have been warned.

I gave Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House a 2/5. Since I didn’t decide to DNF this book, I bumped it up from a 1/5. It was bearable, to say the least.

I want to start off by saying that I hated the ending of this book. Since all of the charges got dropped against Karen and Brigid, I feel like there was no point to this story. To be fair, I don’t read a lot of crime thrillers — any thrillers in general, really — and this might be a good ending to some readers, but it just feels so dissatisfying to me. Of course, Brigid’s life is ruined in the end and the Krupp’s prosper, but I just wanted a more impactful ending. Where is the tragedy, people?

Another thing about the ending that irked me was the fact that we never learn what really happened the night of the murder! Did Karen kill Robert? Brigid?? Granted, it’s pretty obvious that Karen is probably the murderer, but still. At least give me some type of closure.

I’m not going to say I saw everything coming — obviously I didn’t see that cringey ending coming — but most things were not that difficult to predict. It felt like every other crime thriller movie I’d ever seen, just in book form. This is typically why I stay away from thrillers because they all feel like the same story repeating over and over again.

With only 3 focal characters, minus Detective Jennings and Rasbach, it wasn’t difficult to see Tom and Brigid’s affair unfold. To be honest, their relationship throughout the entire book made me cringe. From the disturbing seduction scenes, to the blackmail sex, I just wanted to throw the book every time they were in each other’s presence.

Without the serious adult topics, like affairs and bloody murder, Lapena’s novel felt very amateur. The writing felt very simple and basic, which is not a bad quality by any means, but I guess I expected a little more from an adult thriller. (Could be bad judgement on my part.)

None of the characters had any depth to them, except Detective Rasbach — I really enjoyed how Lapena molded him into this sensitive, yet harsh detective. It was more dialogue back and forth rather than connecting with any of the characters at all, so I didn’t really care what happened to them. At one point, I did feel sorry for Brigid because she dreamed of being a mother — I assume that is what feeds her want for Tom — but it almost felt like she was forgotten about towards the end of the story.

The premise of A Stranger in the House is intriguing; however, as much as I love Detective Rasbach, I wish Lapena would have cut the murder plot out entirely and focused the story on Brigid’s obsession with Tom and Karen. A Stranger in the House had the potential to be a creepy, disturbing tale of an obsessive neighbor who attempts to kill her “lover’s” wife and take her place. Sadly, it was more murder mystery than psychotic lovers. Obviously, I miss judged this one.

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The Conclusion

I may not have enjoyed Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House — clearly — but that doesn’t mean this is a bad book. It just isn’t the right one for me.

I’m still having a hard time deciding whether I like the thriller genre or not. On one hand, I loved Leila Slimani’s Adèle, a domestic thriller. Perhaps I’m just not a fan of crime thrillers, since that seems to be my main problem with this novel.

Rather than being biased and throwing the entire crime thriller genre to the curb like a heartless villain, I might dip my toes into a few more. Who knows, I might find one that changes my world!

With that being said, if you have any good crime thriller recommendations, send them my way. Clearly, I need all the help I can get.

Checkout my Goodreads for more real-time reading updates.