Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

review

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

Let me just start off by saying I’m usually not a big contemporary reader so when I rate a contemporary 5 stars it’s just through the roof amazing! “The Hate U Give” is probably one of the most hyped books out there and it is 100% worthy of all of it, not only is it just an overall incredible read but it’s also a very important book. It focuses on the Black Lives Matter movement and speaking up for equality and against racism and police brutality.

I wish I could go into more depth on the subject matter of this book but I am not one to talk about important issues such as these that I don’t know anything about personally (not saying I’m completely ignorant I just don’t know enough to go giving you all the information you need). All I can do is try and give “The Hate U Give” a review that will do it at least some justice and convince you all just how much you need to get your hands on a copy.

PLOT

First things first, I cannot believe this is Angie Thomas’s debut novel! Her writing is phenomenal and she writes like a pro, it was easy to follow, entertaining, and very emotional. Trust me when I say that books have to be VERY well written for me to get so immersed in the characters and story that I’ll be crying and I did more than once throughout this book!

As I mentioned above this book focuses mainly on racial inequality, our corrupt justice system, police brutality, and racism and in my opinion it really nails all of these things and sheds light on the truth of the way our society works. While this is some pretty heavy stuff that doesn’t mean “The Hate U Give” is that way the whole time, in fact there is a lot of humor in the otherwise somber plot. I loved how many light-hearted moments were included even though what Starr was going through is very tragic and scary.

The story is very character driven and that being said almost every single character has their own storyline that interconnects with everyone else’s as well. So the plot is very complex and there is never, NEVER a dull moment. You will be hooked from page one and will be 100% invested in these character’s stories.

Remember when I said the writing is very emotional? That’s probably one of the things that stuck out the most with me, just how emotional this story gets in so many different ways. There were times when my heart was absolutely broken, other times when I was over-joyed, and times where I was legitimately terrified for the characters.

This last thing I want to say involving the plot is kind of a side note but I wanted to mention it because it pissed me off so much! The white kids at Starr’s private school decide to hold a protest for Justice for Khalil which is awesome….except the only reason they did anything was to get out of class and they didn’t actually care. How about NOOOOOO? I did really appreciate the fact though that some of the other white characters refused to do it once they found out it was just a gimmick.

characters

If I was going to be honest and tell you what my absolute favorite part of this book was I’d have to say all of the characters! There wasn’t a single character who didn’t have a personality and a story all their own.

Starr is an extremely down-to-Earth and relatable character, I was rooting for her the entire time! Not to mention she’s also sassy, smart, and brave but she also isn’t without her flaws as well. Overall she’s very complex and has earned a spot in my favorite bookish heroines!

I also absolutely adored the family dynamic in “The Hate U Give”, literally loved it to little bits and pieces! It’s definitely a nice change to see a loving, supportive family in YA with children/teens who respect their parents and elders. I mean how many times do we see YA heroes/heroines that blow their parents off? Too many is the answer and it drives me nuts to see kids be so disrespectful.

The secondary characters were amazing as well and it was almost mind-blowing to see so many complex and developed characters all at once!

romance

So this is going to be very brief because while there is romance in the story it definitely does not take over the plot, THANK GOD! While I do love the way Starr’s interracial relationship is handled by themselves and outside parties I just didn’t like it overall, I felt that Starr and Chris just didn’t really have any chemistry. I think that Starr’s friendships and family relationships were handled a lot better with much more depth.

in conclusion

This is usually where I state the things I did like and didn’t like in the book and honestly there just isn’t anything I disliked that strongly, it is a 5 star book after all! I loved the story, the writing, and most of all the characters and I have zero complaints.

RECOMMEND

If I could give every single one of you a copy I would that’s how much I wish everyone would read “The Hate U Give” because as I said not only is it just a plain amazing book it’s also an extremely important one that handles some very serious and all too real issues.

GO READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!! YOU WON’T REGRET IT!!!!!!!!!!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Unique Books I’ve Read

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is unique books and you can put any kind of twist on this that you wish but I’m going to be simple and do up the most unique books I’ve read! I absolutely love books that break the mold so unique books are some of my all time favorites.

These books aren’t really listed in any particular order and I will link up my full reviews to each title, although two of these were done when I was VERY new to blogging so I’m sorry they suck!

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10.) Alice by Christina Henry

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I love a good retelling and retellings of all kinds are unique on their own considering that they are a re-imagining of another story. However, I found that “Alice” is even more unique that your regular retelling, it’s dark, horrific and yet still really fun to read through if you’re a fan of Alice in Wonderland. Although I will say read my full review for trigger warnings and to see if it is a book you could stomach…it is pretty gruesome.


9.) Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

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Good YA Horror books are kind of hard to come by, especially if you actually want to be terrified out of your wits. This book not only does that but it also has a really unique setting and the story itself is something I haven’t ever really seen before. A family being terrorized by the supernatural out in the middle of the prairie back in the 1800’s is definitely not an over-used plot!


8.) The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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There aren’t many YA books involving cults (at least that I know about anyways) so a book that not only has this element but also has a very important and powerful plot: believing for yourself and not for others. It’s a very emotional book as we watch Minnow come to terms with herself and everything she’s been taught to believe.


7.) My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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This is a historical retelling of Lady Jane Grey’s story with some added magical twists! I think what makes this story unique is that it is absolutely hilarious and silly, you don’t read many books that manage to be a comedy and yet still very heart-warming and touching!


6.) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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This is about a boy named Todd who lives in a town on a different planet and in this town men can hear each other’s thoughts and there are no women. The world is 100% original, detailed, and just downright interesting and I think that’s enough to make it one of the most unique books I’ve read.


5.) Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

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I don’t even know where to begin with this book, it’s a mish mash of the past, present, and future and everyone’s stories on this island mix together. The non-linear style of the story makes it not only intriguing but also, once again, very unique!


4.) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Laini Taylor’s writing is absolutely gorgeous and I have yet to find any author who can compare to it, but if that’s not enough to convince you of her book’s uniqueness then the plot certainly will. It’s a long, fleshed-out world with its own mythology that centers around a centuries old war between angels and chimera. Hello originality!


3.) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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I don’t think I need to explain this one too much since I’m sure you all know what makes this book unique! The formatting is “out of this world” (lame pun alert!) because there is some amazing typography, diagrams, and designs throughout the book that make for a really unique reading experience.


2.) The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

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Like with “Illuminae” what makes this one unique is its formatting, the story is told throughout a series of newspaper clippings, video transcripts, and journal entries. This is a creepy psychological thriller about a girl whose twin goes missing in a mysterious fire at her boarding school except….she doesn’t have a twin.


1.) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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Magical, parallel Londons and a boy who can travel between them. Now that just screams uniqueness! I absolutely love the ideas Schwab comes up with for her books they are never, ever boring.

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What makes a book unique for you?

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

What are some unique books you’ve read?

Do you have any unique books on your TBR?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your Top Ten Tuesday as well!

The Sassy

The Makeup Book Tag

Top Ten Tuesday(52)

I found this tag on Kayla Justice, so be sure to head over and check out her answers as well! I really loved how she included her favorite makeup product along with the book so I’m going to be doing that too, I mean this is all about makeup AND books after all!

I do have reviews for most of these up if you’d like to read my full thoughts!

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Primer – Pick a book that left a lasting impression.

Nyx Angel Veil Primer & Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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I absolutely love using this NYX primer because it not only holds foundation well but really smooths out the face too, I could easily just slap this on and be done!

“Stormdancer” is also easily one of my favorite fantasy books it has pretty much every element I look for in a perfect fantasy book. Action, world building, and next to no distracting romance! It left a lasting impression because of all of those things too, it was just TOO GOOD!  If you love fantasy this is one I definitely recommend.


Foundation – Pick your favorite first book in a series.

Maybelline Dream Cushion & Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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My skin is actually pretty clear so normally I’d use a powder foundation because it’s quicker but when I have time I absolutely love to use this cushion foundation because it’s also pretty quick. It also lasts for a while and goes on with no hassle.

This may be cheating since the third book hasn’t come out yet but I didn’t enjoy “Gemina” (the sequel) nearly as much as I did “Illuminae” so I think it’s safe to say it will remain my favorite first book in this series.


Concealer – Pick a character you wish you could get rid of.

Maybelline Master Conceal & Celaena from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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I like this concealer because not only is it full freaking coverage but you also use the tiniest drop for big areas so a tube lasts a long time

Sorry, not sorry but Celaena drives me nuts! If I could get rid of a character it’d be her! If you brag about being literally the BEST assassin of all time, ever then you need to prove it and not spend all your time complaining, mooning over boys, and obsessing over clothes and shoes.


Powder – Pick your favorite last book in a series.

e.l.f. HD Setting Powder & Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

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Setting powder is something I’m not really picky about but I prefer a solid powder over a loose powder and e.l.f. is cheap!

I’m notorious for not ever finishing series, period. So the pretty obvious pick is of course The Deathly Hallows because I thought it was a fantastic end to a wonderful series!


Eyebrows – A Book you think everyone should read.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade & The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Hands down my favorite brow product and I now refuse to use anything else ever! It fills them in perfectly and its quick and easy too, the Soft Brown matches my eyebrow coloring exactly.

Everyone should read The Hate U Give! Everyone! Not only is it an important and very powerful book it’s also just a wonderful, perfect book that I truly enjoyed reading! Go read it now!


Eyeliner – Pick a dark and mysterious book

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Liquid Eyeliner & Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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I’m not too terribly picky about eyeliner and this one works well enough so…..

If there is one book that comes to mind that is both dark AND mysterious it’s Night Film. It’s eerie, suspenseful, and at times downright horrifying! If you looked up dark and mysterious in the dictionary of books a picture of Night Film would be by both…seriously.


Mascara – Pick a Long Book.

Pacifica Dream Big Mascara & And I Darken by Kiersten White

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Mascara is another thing I’m not super picky about but I love Pacifica Dream Big for two reasons: 1.) you can twist the wand to have it be longer or shorter and 2.) it has unicorns on it!

I’ve read plenty of long books so I’m just going with And I Darken because it was longer and awesome the entire time.

Blush – Pick a book that had a cringe-worthy romance.

Becca Cosmetics Blushed With Light Palette Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

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Becca blushes are amazing and the only ones I have are in this trio palette so I’m going with all of them, so much pigment!

I’ve read many cringe-y YA romances in my day but one that really takes the cake is the one betwen Edward and Anne in Blackhearts. I just…..can’t even begin to explain because the whole book was awful for me as well but the romance was so trope filled!


Highlighter – Pick a book that brightened your day.

Colourpop Highlighter in Monster & My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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I like all highlighters for the most part, I’m like a bird, attracted to shiny, glittery things. I like the Colourpop highlighters because they’re very pigmented and creamy and the shade Monster is duochrome so it’s really unique.

My Lady Jane is probably the most guaranteed book to brighten your day becaue it’s so light-hearted, fun, and silly! Those words describe it perfectly and it’s just such an entertaining read!


Lipstick – Your favorite book kiss.

Colourpop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Viper & And I Darken Kiersten White

Related imageImage result for and i darken book cover

Colourpop lipsticks are amazing! The Ultra Matte Lips dry down and don’t come off and I personally don’t find the formula drying at all. I also just loooove this shade, so pretty!

I spent the better half of this book shipping Lada and Mehmed and waiting for them to kiss, so of course it’s one of my favorite book kisses. It takes a really well written romance for me to ship it too especially in YA!

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Have you read any of these books or used any of these products?

Also if you would like to do this tag then go right ahead!

The Sassy

March Wrap-Up

Top Ten Tuesday(51)

March wasn’t the best of months for me but it was still alright as far as reading went! I did have a bit of a blogging slump there at the end which was absolutely ZERO fun but I’m back now and will hopefully be getting more posts up. I do apologize for all the posts I’ve missed from you guys and I know there are comments from WEEKS ago I still haven’t replied to but bear with me I’m getting to it all!

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Books Read This Month: 5

The Women in the Walls by Amy LukavicsBad Blood by Demitria LunettaThe Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie OakesThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I pretty much enjoyed every book I read in March which is amazing especially since I did not have such good luck in February. Of course I’d have to say “The Night Circus” and “The Hate U Give” were my favorites and both are definitely 5 star books! I’m not sure how the heck I’m going to be able to write reviews for them……


Reviews Finished This Month

The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle Van Arsdale

The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

I should have finished a lot more than 3 reviews but…blogging sluuuump!


Tags & Memes Done This Month

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite YA Fantasy & Science Fiction

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR


Other Posts Done This Month

February Wrap-Up

Discussion Post: Reviewing Books Long After Finishing Them

My Recipe for the Perfect YA Fantasy Book

Mystery Blogger Award

Unplanned Hiatus/Blogging Slump Update


What I’m Currently Reading:

Living Dead GirlTiger Lily

I’ve been switching books a lot lately trying to find the ones I’m in the mood for so if you follow me on Goodreads I’m sorry! I did finally settle on “Living Dead Girl” which is a super short book and then after that I’ll be going straight into “Tiger Lily”!

I also have a poll on Twitter going right now about which of the following books I should read next: “Red Rising”, “The Song of Achilles”, “Starflight”, or “An Ember in the Ashes”! So if you don’t follow me on Twitter feel free to leave a “vote” in the comments below!

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How was your reading and blogging month this March?

What were your best or worst reads?

What are you currently reading?

What books are you excited for this coming month, April?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Book Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

a title here(59)description

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

review

I’m not quite sure how to define this book because while it is technically a contemporary it never really FEELS like your typical contemporary YA. “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly” is definitely 100% it’s own book, I’ve never read anything else remotely like it. Overall I’m very impressed with it!

PLOT

I’ve always found the cult mentality and just cults in general to be very interesting, I’m morbid like that, and I feel like this book portrays both of these things extremely well too. It’s hard to imagine people blindly following someone or something that just seems so ridiculous and unbelievable to the rest of us, which is shown in this book. I really enjoyed just how developed Oakes made her “Kevinian cult”, with the Prophet’s prophecies, his own version of a bible full of made up stories, polygamy, and even the brutality of their punishments.

The violence can get very graphic at times which not only made it more realistic, I think, but also really helped to drive the point home that these things actually happen in the world. I mean a major part of the story revolves around the fact that the main character gets her hands cut off. So if you’re the more squeamish type this book may not be for you.

However, as interesting as the cult aspects of the book are it isn’t the sole focus instead it focuses more on Minnow, her story, and how she’s learning to adapt with a way of life that goes against everything she’s been taught to believe. This is the part of the book that makes it so powerful and what makes it such an amazing read.

The ending was really the only part I had any complaint about as far as the plot went, it felt kind of anti-climatic although it was still very solid. I felt like the revealing of the Prophet’s death should have been a little more dramatic and what happens to Minnow after her story is complete a little more defined but I’m happy with the choices she made.

The pacing is a little slower and there definitely is not a ton of action but the story Minnow tells about her time with the cult is interesting enough to keep you turning pages, trust me!

What I easily loved the most about this book was Minnow’s narrative, it was compelling with some wonderful snippets of humor as well. I also loved her character in general but I’ll get to that in a bit….

Also the writing! It was just plain amazing I can’t believe this is a debut novel, Stephanie Oakes writes like a pro! I will definitely be reading more books by her when they come out.

characters

As I said a little earlier Minnow is by far the best part about this book, her narrative was amazing and she’s a very strong character especially after all she’s been through. She was complex and realistically developed throughout the story, going from believing blindly to questioning everything she’s been taught.

The side characters are also really well developed, mostly everyone in the juvenile detention center such as the other girls, guards, and teachers. I loved how the “don’t judge a book by its cover” sentiment really comes into play here as a lot of the girls have a lot more to them than initial appearances.

romance

There is a little bit of romance but nothing major, Minnow develops a relationship with an African-American boy, Jude, who also lives out in the woods. Their romance is really very sweet but at the end I was still very happy with Minnow’s decision regarding Jude.

in conclusion

Overall “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly”  is a powerful story with a message that’s easy to grasp, thinking and doing for yourself and no one else. I think that’s something we can all get behind.

What I Liked:

  • Minnow and her narrative
  • Side characters!
  • The realistic (and brutal) portrayal of cults and cult mentality
  • The overall message of the book (thinking and doing for yourself and no one else)
  • The writing
  • The side romance was sweet and didn’t take precedence over the story

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The pacing was slow at times
  • The ending felt a little anti-climatic
  • The Prophet! (even though that was the whole point….but still!)

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend reading this book if you’re looking for a unique YA read that also has a really strong message! Overall it’s just a wonderful, dark, realistic book.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository / Book Outlet

The Sassy

The Mystery Blogger Award

Top Ten Tuesday(50)

So I’m finally getting around to doing some of the awards I’ve been nominated for! Sorry for the wait guys but know I really appreciate you all nominating me to do this! I was nominated by Jessica @ The Awkward Book Blogger, Emily @ Emily M. Bird, & Amy @ Curiouser & Curiouser (Thank you!) so be sure to head over and check all of their blogs out guys!

Also sorry in advance for the long post, I did have 15 questions to answer!

The Rules:

  1. Include the award image in your post
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  4. Mention the creator of the award: Okoto Enigma!
  5. Tell your readers three things about yourself and answer the questions set by the person who nominated you
  6. Nominate ten to twenty other bloggers and notify them on their blogs
  7. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice
  8. Share the link to your best/favorite post!

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Three (extremely random and weird)  Facts About Me

  1. I have recently become obsessed with playing Dungeons & Dragons (It’s cool!)
  2. I really, really, really love sloths
  3. If I could cover every part of myself in glitter all of the time I’d do it

Jessica’s Questions

Who is your ultimate OTP/book boyfriend/book girlfriend?

Well…..since this was NOT book specific I’m 100% going with Aragorn and Arwen because I would fight anyone and everyone who tried to break up this OTP!

What is one book/series you can’t love without?

Okay well besides the obvious choice of Harry Potter I’ll go with The Hobbit because without it I wouldn’t have the perfection that is called Middle Earth.

Any pet peeves?

Let’s see….

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Dog-earring book pages, people who chew with their mouths open, & people who talk loudly in the movie theater. (THERE ARE SO MANY MORE TOO!)

What is one thing you’d like to accomplish before the end of this year?

Maybe take out a significant chunk of my enormous TBR……that’d be great.

Weird: Why did the chicken actually cross the road? (get as creative as you’d like with your response)

The chicken crossed the road to escape my futile attempts to pet it.


Emily’s Questions

What is your favorite opening sentence from a book?

“People often shit themselves when they die” – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Not only do I find this the most hilarious first sentence ever I feel it sets the tone of the story pretty well right away too.

Who is your favorite villain from a book?

AIDAN from “Illuminae” by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

What is the first book to make you cry?

I honestly don’t remember that far back but probably “The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis which I read in 4th grade and absolutely blubbered like a baby because of a certain death…… ya’ll should know if you’ve read this book too!

Favorite book cover?

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Random. If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what movie would you choose?

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


Amy’s Questions

Why did you start a blog?

Because of course I love books and wanted a way to share my bookish thoughts and feelings, especially since no one I know is even remotely into books the way I am!

What are you most proud of in your life?

Nothing major but I suppose in all honesty I’m proud of the fact that I’m not some horrible child to my parents, that I didn’t get all into drugs or other messed up things and made them want to disown me. Kind of a weird answer but that’s true.

What’s the last film you watched and did you enjoy it?

I think the last movie (not TV show) I watched was Kong: Skull Island and it was pretty good, mostly action.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Teleportation, because I’m a lazy sack of crap who wants to be able to skip the travel part of things and go where I want when I want.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I actually really dread these kinds of questions because the honest answer is I don’t know, I go with the flow. I supposed I hope to at least be married in 5 years and traveling.

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My Questions:

  1. What is your favorite game to play? (physical, board, card, video, any kind!)
  2. Werd/Random: Do you like sloths as well, why or why not?
  3. Would you rather live in a fantasy or sci-fi world?
  4. What book are you looking forward to the most in 2017?
  5. If you could go to one big event anywhere in the world what would it be? (concert, party, launch, award show, etc)

I’ll Nominate Some of My Newer Followers!

Maggie D @ Books, Books, Murder

Judith @ Chain Interaction

Hilary @ Ravishing Tales

Kristina @ Krazy Book Lover

Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books

Amanda @ Literary Weaponry

Nikki @ The Night Is Dark and Full of Books

Icebreaker694

Maddie @ Stories and Spoons

Swetlana @ Reading Through The Nights

The Sassy

My Recipe For The Perfect YA Fantasy Book

Top Ten Tuesday (12)

So this is pretty self explanatory but this post is going to be about all of the elements I personally think would make up the perfect YA Fantasy book! These are things that will guarantee a 5 star rating from me! I’m thinking this may be a sort of series of posts I’ll do and just switch up the genres so we’ll see how this one goes first. I’m not really sure if this counts more as a discussion post, bookish list, or just a random post!

I will also provide examples of books I feel embody these “ingredients”  perfectly and will also link reviews if I have them! This post is also very similar to another I did that

Also I’ll be using quite a few gifs so if you don’t like gifs….well….don’t continue on then because there are more than a few and they’re lame but also perfect!

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World Building

Yes most fantasy books have world building but the key thing for me is that it’s well developed and complex world building. I want to know every detail about the world the story is set in from the land to the cultures, tell me everything! It just isn’t fantasy unless the author can thoroughly transport me into the world they’ve created.

I also want it to be unique and creative, I don’t like reading about the same ‘ol things that are overused in every YA fantasy book. I want different groups of people with unique features or ways of life, magic, creatures, kingdoms, everything! I could care less about a female heroine staying cooped up in a castle all day and fretting over boys and ball gowns.

Example: “Nevernight” by Jay Kristoff


Unique Mythology

This one goes hand in hand with the world building but I do find that while a book may have good world building it may not necessarily have any mythology of its world. I like when stories are provided about why certain events occurred or stories about the gods and deities that might inhabit the world or even tales of ancient heroes and battles. I feel original mythology (or mythology based off of “real” mythology) really adds a whole lot more to the world building.

Example: “Stormdancer” by Jay Kristoff


Strong, Badass Characters

I don’t know about you guys but I don’t like my YA fantasy books full of helpless damsels, I like strong and badass characters who prove their badassness! This could also go towards well-developed and three dimensional characters in general as well, because a good fantasy book needs fleshed out characters.

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Example: “And I Darken” by Kirsten White (I know technically this is historical fiction but let’s let it slide…)


Crazy Plot Twists!

Everyone loves a good plot twist, it keeps things interesting and sets the pacing of the book. I personally love when there’s revenge, betrayal, and even court intrigue (mind games!) in my YA fantasy because I feel it gives the characters a lot more drive. I can’t tell you how disappointed I get when there isn’t at least a LITTLE bit of a revenge or betrayal story in a fantasy book!

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Example: “The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutkoski


Mythological Creatures and/or Animal Companions

What can I say? I’m an animal lover and therefore it just makes sense that I love the inclusion of fantastic beasts and animal companions in my YA Fantasy! I feel it makes the world a lot more immersive when there are creatures from myth included because it just feeds the imagination more, fantasy IS all about escape from reality after all. Also talking animal companions, who doesn’t wish animals could talk?

Example: “Stormdancer” by Jay Kristoff


Magic

(Duh)

Now first of all I’m definitely not saying a YA fantasy book HAS to have magic to be incredible because it most certainly does not, I personally just love having it included. However, it has to be well done! I like when the magic system is really creative and unique and is NOT all powerful, because magic does have consequences after all. The example I’m using is “The Impostor Queen” because it embodies all of those perfectly, the magic system is unique and powerful but not all powerful it comes at great cost.

Example: “The Impostor Queen” by Sarah Fine


NO Romance!

(Or it at least has to be well done)

I get really sick and tired of YA fantasy books that get muddled down in tropes such as love triangles and insta-love or plots that centralize around the romance instead of vice versa. So for me, ideally, a YA Fantasy would have zero romance or at least one that isn’t riddled with tropes and doesn’t take over the entire plot.

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Examples: “The Forbidden Wish” by Jessica Khoury & “Half a King” by Joe Abercrombie


Even/Fast Pacing

Who hates slow pacing in books?

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Me! This is kind of just how I feel with every book in general but it definitely feels like a lot of YA fantasy books get really bogged down with world building and details sometimes that the pacing is super slow. So I like some fast paced YA fantasy!

Example: “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo


Attention Grabbing Beginning

This almost goes hand in hand with the pacing I mentioned above but how am I supposed to be interested in the world you’ve created if your story doesn’t grab my attention immediately? Let’s get thrown right into the nitty gritty (but also maybe have a little explanation too…no one likes being completely lost)!

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Example: “Kingdom of Ash and Briars” by Hannah West


Morally Gray Characters

You can’t really have wonderful plot twists unless you have some morally grey characters in the mix because they definitely spice things up! Who can you trust? No one! I love how thrilling it is being unable to guess a “gray character’s” intentions or actions it really adds the element of surprise and shock factor to your twists because they’re all the harder to see coming. I also like to be torn between characters like that because I’m weird and like pain apparently.

Example: “Half a King” by Joe Abercrombie

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Do you agree with any of my “ingredients”?

Are there any “ingredients” in making the perfect YA fantasy that you felt I missed?

What makes up the perfect YA fantasy book for you?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy