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May Reading Wrap-Up Part 2

And I’m back! I’m going to break up this post into sections with their own headers because I have A LOT to fill you guys in on, besides just my reading of the past few weeks. So if you’re just here to see what books I’ve read, you can scroll past everything else and just head on over to the last part of this post.

Sarah J. Maas Book Signing

During the first week of May, I attended the launch for A Court of Mist and Fury and Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, California. It took two hours of driving to reach the venue, and if you live in the are, I would very much recommend Kepler’s to you. I can’t wait to go back when I have more time to just browse. They have a Women in Science section that looks phenomenal!

The place was packed. I’ve never attended a signing that was as full as this one. There was a standing room only section in that back that wasn’t pictured here. The two pictures on the bottom left and middle are the only ones of Sarah I thought to snap, and the last photo is of me and my boyfriend, who I dragged along to the event as well. He’s actually reading Throne of Glass now and enjoying it, so that’s awesome.

Getting to hear Sarah talk about everything from writing, to high school and embarassing moments, was a lot of fun. The topic Sarah talked about most was ACOTAR. As ACOMAF had just come out, she didn’t want to spoil anything for the majority of the room. During the Q & A part of the event, there was a lull when no one was asking questions, and before I could really think, I took the mic and asked a question. What my brain blurted out at me was to ask her what her favorite fictional character was and she answered Buffy. She elaborated with a long description on how Buffy was this super feminine girly-girl, but she was also a kick-ass hero and that she has always gravitated to those kinds of stories and characters because they aren’t really common. Obviously, readers of the Throne of Glass series can see that Sarah has put her love of strong feminine characters into her own stories.

After the event, we got in line to have our books signed.

The Winner of my Give-Away Was: Aya, over at A Blessed Brownie. Aya will be receiving her personalized copy of A Court of Mist and Fury in the mail soon.

To conclude this part on the event: Sarah J. Maas is a funny and humble person who seems to deeply care about her fans because she seems to understand how dedicated they are to her worlds. I came away from the event realizing that Sarah was as much of a fan girl as I am. It was a great experience.


I’m Moving!!

I currently live in a house with two roommates and I have been dying to move to a place of my own. I currently live in Napa County, which is located in California. I will go over my job and post-grad plans in another post, but what I will say now is that I needed to move closer to the Bay Area because of work related things. And I found the cutest studio that meets all of my needs and I am beyond excited to move their this Friday. I will be taking tons of pictures there and will make sure to give a tour. There are BUILT-IN BOOKSHELVES and omg I can’t wait. I think that the first thing I will be unpacking are all of my books and I am so ready to figure out how I am going to reorganize them on my new wall of built-ins. And hang up my new Dumbledore quote posters!!

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Head over to SimpleSerene’s Etsy page if you want to snag some of these awesome HP posters as well.


Launching Etsy Skirt Shop and Attending NerdCon:Stories

Last week, I purchased tickets to NerdCon: Stories. The convention takes place in Minnesota next October. For those of you who don’t know what NerdCon: Stories is, it is a two-day conference that celebrates the power and magic of story-telling. They have guests that include authors, illustrators, pod-cast writers, actors, directors, etc. I am so pumped and really hoping that I will be able to attend.

So here’s the catch. While I could afford a ticket to the event, and wanted to purchase the ticket before they sold out, I can not currently afford the airfare to get there. Currently. a ticket from CA to Minnesota is about $380. So that brings me to my other announcement…

I will be launching my ETSY SHOP! I am selling skirts that are all things nerdy. I will be launching sometime in June (more detail to follow). I just purchased a new sewing machine with giftcards that had been collecting dust in a drawer of mine, so I am stocked. I have also bought enough material for the first 17 skirts (the fabrics range from Anne of Green Gables, Dr. Who, Star Wars, bookshelves, Marvel comics, and what I’m most excited about: The four Harry Potter Houses!)

I’m hoping that my new business is successful. I will be using my profits to save towards airfare so I can attend this convention. So make sure to check out my page when I launch 🙂


Book Reviews

And here we are. The moment most of you are probably here for. If you haven’t already, head over to Part One of my May Wrap-Up to see what other books I read in May.

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  5. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  7. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  8. Habibi by Craig Thompson
  9. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

So in this Part 2 of the Wrap-Up, I will be talking about numbers 6-9. And boy, did I read a lot of YA this month. I promise, that will be switched up next month. I will be posting an “Books I will read in June post next week” and it will be filled with some YA, but lots of contemporary and historical fiction as well.

Let’s do this.

The ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas. Let me get this out of the way first: I do not typically like retellings of Disneyfied fairytales (see OUAT and my coming review of Cinder). I love folklore and mythology. I took an entire class on Arthurian Literature during college and I could not get enough of this stuff. But for some reason, when writers try to tackle fairytales that have been tied up in neat little packages (Disney’s Little Mermaid vs. the original tale), I feel that the story falls flat and predictable.

A Court of Thorns and Roses surprised me SO MUCH. I would give it a solid 3.5-4 stars. The was Sarah uses the Beauty and the Beast tale is both familiar and refreshing. There is something nice and warm about reading a story and feeling things click into place when they fit into an arch you know exists. It’s easy to see which characters fulfill which roles. But, it is not boringly predictable. And weaving in folklore on witchcraft and mythological creatures added to such a deep world.

ACOMAF is the superior book, in my opinion. I feel that any issue I had with ACOTAR was addressed and fixed wonderfully in the second book. While I love the protagonist and the world of ACOTAR, the romance, at least toward the end of the book, was lackluster to me. It was a bit of a cliche, idealized romance, one where there was a clear power imbalance.

***SPOILERS TO FOLLOW***

The plot points that are revealed in ACOMAF make ACOTAR so much better in hindsight! The fact that Tamlin is so controlling of Feyre that she has to leave him to be herself is so true and the cliche’s of the first novel fit in so well when you realize that they weren’t right for each other. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Sarah allows her female characters to have multiple love interests during their lives. This is a reality that is often glossed over in YA fiction. Women can love and sleep with different men at different parts of their lives and they can grow into themselves and better understand what they want from a partner. Tamlin was what Feyre needed when she had nothing. But he wasn’t what she needed once she had found herself. I understand that some fans are upset because they feel like their ships are being betrayed, but I feel like the story is true and honest to female characters. And RHYSAND. I could talk about my love for him for hours. A FEMINIST LEAD MALE CHARACTER. wohoo. AND the strong female friendships. The women that Rhysand has as leaders of his court and their friendship with Feyre is great. I love seeing strong women in power. The world building also took the series to a new level. If you didn’t like ACOTAR because of the cliched romance or something similar to that I HIGHLY recommend you read ACOMAF. DO ITTT. 🙂

***SPOILERS OVER***

So basically, I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses but I freakin’ LOVED A Court of Mist and Fury.

 

Habibi and Cinder. Both of which, I cannot do.

I am not going to waste a lot of time on Habibi, which is a graphic novel by Craig Thompson. I loved his other graphic novel, BlanketsSo I picked this one up while at the library last week. I did not enjoy it. I felt it was very offensive. The novel is set in some fictional dessert land that is so clearly the Middle East. Every man is a rapist and every women is a victim. The main character is stranded in a desert for years and starving constantly, yet she is ALWAYS illustrated as having a perfect nude body with no body hair. Okay, enough said on this book.

Now on to Cinder. Oh, Cinder, I wanted to like you. You are so popular with Booktubers and the internet. But oh dear lord. You are a cliche after a cliche after a cliche. It is like someone printed out a ver very basic summary of the Disney Cinderella story and made a basic check list.

  1. Shoe: she’s a cyborg so let’s make the shoe she loses her actual foot. Great.
  2. Evil Stepsister: Pearl, a literal copy of an evil stepsister, no depth or motives.
  3. And so on…

In ACOTAR, the trope of the evil stepsisters is used with Feyre’s blood sisters. They are both weak and force Feyre to be in danger constantly to feed them. But DAMN they are well-rounded characters that become likable by the end of the second book, all while retaining the qualities that made them cruel or selfish to begin with. None of that depth is in Cinder.

And the love story is so flat. The prince sees Cinder and THAT’S ALL HE NEEDS TO LIKE/LOVE HER.

I felt like it was such a waste of a neat sci-fi idea. Sort of **SPOILERS** Cinder is the Lunar princess and can challenge the evil queen. But she’s been hidden away her whole life and has to deal with being a cyborg that people hate. But this whole big surprise is supposed to, you know, actually surprise the readers later on in the book. It’s the whole point. But I literally knew the moment they introduced the idea of a hidden princess in the beginning of the book because there was ABSOLUTELY NO SUBTLY.

That being said I MAY still read book two in the series because my friend is telling me too and supposedly it GETS A LOT BETTER. We shall see.

 

Okay, if you stuck with me through all of that you are extremely awesome! Here’s what’s to come next week:

  1. A post early in the week about life as a recent graduate. New studio tour and all 🙂
  2. An unboxing of my first Illumicrate!!
  3. A post on books I plan to read in June.

Catch you all later. 🙂

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