Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!



★★

The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise"Francis Wootton's first memory is of Kurt Cobain's death, and there have been other hardships closer to home since then. At fifteen years old he already knows all about loss and rejection - and to top it all off he has a permanently broke big brother, a grandma with selective memory (and very selective social graces) and a mum who's at best an acquired taste. Would-be poet, possible intellectual and definitely wasted in Tyne and Wear, Francis has grown used to figuring life out on his own.Lower Fifth is supposed to be his time, the start of an endless horizon towards whatever-comes-next. But when he is diagnosed with leukaemia that wide-open future suddenly narrows, and a whole new world of worry presents itself.There's the horror of being held back a year at school, the threat of imminent baldness, having to locate his best shirt in case a visiting princess or pop star fancies him for a photo-op . . . But he hadn't reckoned on meeting Amber - fierce, tough, one-of-a-kind Amber - and finding a reason to tackle it all - the good, the bad and everything in between - head on.In Bloom is a bright, funny, painful and refreshing novel about wanting the very best from life, even when life shows you how very bad it can be. It is a novel about how to live."~

I picked this up at the library for three reasons.

1. It was in YA
2. It was new
3. The cover is gorgeous

Mostly it was number 3. This is honestly one of the prettiest covers I have ever seen for a Young Adult book. In my opinion, it can be considered a very "feminine" cover. Thus, it came to a surprise to me that it was written by a male and the narrator was a male.

I had no prior knowledge of this book before going into it.  When I saw it on the shelf, it looked vaguely familiar, but I had no clue what it was about or anything.  It is possible that I completely missed the point, but I really did not like it much.

When I first started reading I worried it would be another teen book romanticizing illness. I feel like this definitely succeeded in not doing that, which is a win. The characters' illness is just a thing, often forgotten about.  However, it did feel like Crow was trying pretty hard to be "the next TFIOS".  I get that often authors don't realize this, it's even possible that this novel has been in the works longer, it just gets frustrating to read this type constantly (although it's my fault for continuing to pick these books up).

All in all, I hated the narrator. He was full of himself and incredibly rude to his family. He would go on for paragraphs about how in love Amber was with him...when she never says at any point that she even is in love with him? He is an asshole to his mother. At one point, she is dealing with a situation that is inconvenient for her and become irate because of it. This situation should cause Francis distress too, but the only thing he is worried about is whether or not his mother will still be making him lunch.

When I read books like this, I wonder if readers are supposed to hate the narrator.  I mean he is 15 and thinks he knows everything, he has gone through his share of trauma, but it doesn't seem as if he cares.  It is also possible that his circumstances have led him to be this arrogant, which adds to his character in a way.  However, I feel this would only be a possibility if he was different in the "before", "after", and the rest of the book.  Definitely quite the example of an unreliable narrator.

I was hoping the entire novel that maybe with the climax there would be some character progression, but there really was none. In the "after" Francis talked far less about himself, which was a nice break and did show some growth, but it was so short and there really weren't any other differences, it was hard to tell if it was actually just growth or a mistake.

Overall, I really didn't like this book, but would definitely buy it based on the cover alone. (I'm not even kidding the cover is the only thing keeping it from being one star.)


Monday, May 11, 2015

Feminism

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!

Brief History


It is likely that women have been fighting for equal rights for as long as we have been on Earth.  In the United States, women have been fighting for the right to be citizens since around 1820. (History.com Staff During this period, feminists were mainly fighting for the ability to own property, work, and vote. ("History of Feminism Theory & Feminist Thought.")  They were fighting for nearly one hundred years before white women were granted voting rights.  Women of color had to wait longer, for this same right to be granted.  The voting rights bill was passed in 1965 and the Voting Rights Act was signed into law the same year.  These gave African-Americans the right to vote and got rid of the literacy tests that were keeping them from being able to register. (History.com Staff)  During this period, feminists were mainly fighting for the ability to own property, work, and vote.

Source

From about 1960 to 1990, the feminist movement was mostly focused on ending social discrimination against women and increasing their opportunities economically. ("History of Feminism Theory & Feminist Thought.")  In 1987, one of the largest feminist movements was created.  Founded by Peg Yorkin, Eleanor Smeal, Katherine Spillar, Toni Carabillo, and Judith Meuli, the Feminist Majority Foundation is a foundation that worked and continues to work to increase equality for females. ("History of the Feminist Majority Foundation: 1989.")  This is incredibly important because it was one of the first and continues to be one of the largest feminist movements ever founded.

Issues Today


Now, the feminist movement is focused on gaining reproductive rights for women, as well as equal rights for LGBTQIA people.  Overall, the movement is currently focused on completely eradicating both sexism and racism. ("History of Feminism Theory & Feminist Thought.")  While the movement is called "Feminism", it is not about women being better than everyone else.  Feminism has and always will be about gaining equal rights for everyone.  


Inequality in the Workforce

Both immigrants and women had to fight just for the right to join the workforce.  Gaining the right to work and get paid for doing so was not the end of their fight.  Women and minorities continue to fight for equality in the workforce.

The wage gap is real, and it is a real issue.  In 2013, on average, women were paid 78% of what men were paid. (AAUW.)  Why is that?  If women are doing the exact same job as men, why are they not paid the same?  Does currency have a higher value if it is earned by women?  This wage gap is experienced by people in practically every job available.  Not only that, it is also worse for women of color (Hispanic women's salaries are about 54% of that of a white man's) and the wage gap increases with age. (AAUW.)


The Fight for Reproductive Rights

Sometimes it seems like politicians are always trying to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.  One large example of this is the debate regarding abortions.  Many people argue that abortions go against their religion, so no one should be able to get one.  This makes about as much sense as someone on a diet telling another person not to eat unhealthy food.

Pro-Choice versus Pro-Life is a very large feminist issue because it involves politicians making rules about someone else's body.  If someone really supports the feminist theory/ movement they are going to be Pro-Choice.  This does not mean that they support abortions or would ever get an abortion themselves, but they feel that women should have the opportunity to decide if an abortion is right for them.


LGBTQPIA Involvement

The feminism movement supports equality for everyone of all sexualities.  Unfortunately, it seems people who do not identify as heterosexual are left out of this movement.  There are still thirteen states in which it is not legal for two people of the same sex to get married and this is a feminist issue. ("Freedom to Marry.")


Global Issues


Often, people (women specifically) say they do not need feminism because they have never been segregated against.  While they themselves might not have faced segregation, there are many people within their community who do, and millions all over the world who do need feminism.

Saudi Arabia

Generally speaking, the Middle East is pretty bad regarding gender inequality.  Out of the many countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is the worst. (AbuKhalil, As’ad.)  It is pretty well known that in Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to do many things.  They cannot even drive cars.

Africa

Africa is a very large continent with many countries and more cultures than one could count.  Overall, gender inequality is almost always present and takes many different forms.  In Africa, rape is incredibly common and women (and children) are often forced into (often unsafe) labor with very little pay.


United States

In the United States, someone is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds. ("Statistics.")  Unfortunately, this is on the low end for many countries and often times rape is the punchline to a joke here in America.  Women and minorities do face a wage gap in the United States as well, as stated before.  On top of that, there are still many states where LGBT* people do not have the same rights.  Despite all of this, the United States is a country that is one of the best as far as gender equality.
Source

The majority of women in the United States do not face as harsh segregation as women in other countries, however, that does not mean sexism does not exist in the United States.  Many women do not think they need feminism because their struggles are not as severe.  While they may feel they do not need feminism, it is still incredibly important to support it for the women who do.  Feminism is not about blaming men for all problems women face.

These are just a few countries/ continents that experience gender inequality.  The need for feminism is global and always has been.  Although one person might not experience the same sexism as another, it is still incredibly important for everyone to fight for it.




AAUW. "The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2015)." AAUW: Empowering Women Since 1881. AAUW, 2015. Web. 04 May 2015.

AbuKhalil, As’ad. "Women in the Middle East." Foreign Policy In Focus. Foreign Policy In Focus, 11 Oct. 2005. Web. 05 May 2015.

"Freedom to Marry." Freedom to Marry. Freedom to Marry, 4 Mar. 2015. Web. 05 May 2015.

History.com Staff. "The Fight for Women’s Suffrage." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 04 May 2015.

History.com Staff. "Voting Rights Act." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 04 May 2015.

"History of Feminism Theory & Feminist Thought." Intellectual Take Out. Intellectual Take Out, n.d. Web. 04 May 2015.

"History of the Feminist Majority Foundation: 1989." The Feminist Majority Foundation: 1989. Feminist Majority Foundation, n.d. Web. 04 May 2015.

"Statistics." RAINN. National Sexual Assault Hotline, n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Giveaway

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!
I can't believe it's April already!  This year has gone by so fast.  Today we have a little giveaway for you.

We found all this stuff on the ground at the park, and as a thank you, we thought we'd share!

Just comment below and let us know what you did in March!

The prizes: 


1 (one) Marc Jacobs by Marc Jacobs for Marc Jacobs Cyan Winter 2015 Glove


A vintage piece of cement, an acorn, a pre-slobbered tennis ball

-Cassi & Katie

Friday, February 13, 2015

Travel: Chicago

Recently I was in Chicago to audition for a summer dance intensive. Despite living rather close to Chicago, I tend to avoid it due to the hassle of driving and parking. Not to mention the high cost of parking for a short trip.

I'm used to Milwaukee, so the difference in architecture is always interesting.  Since the Chicago fire wiped out most of the city's buildings, all the architecture is relatively new compared to Milwaukee.


Driving in Chicago wasn't as bad as anticipated, luckily it wasn't rush hour.  As a new driver, the first thing I noticed was needing to drive more aggressively if you ever want to get anywhere and you have to be extremely alert.  Pedestrians and bikers just randomly wind up in the street and sometimes the stoplights are barely visible, hidden within the supports for the El.

The roads in Chicago are definitely very different from Milwaukee as well.  Along with hidden streetlights, roads in Chicago often become one-way streets so you can’t always turn where you want to and often have to jog a few blocks over.


I'm absolutely in love with big cities, and Chicago is no exception.  Every time I go, I'm still mesmerized by what seems like endless buildings.  It felt like I was spending more time looking up than in front of me.

You can see just from the skyscrapers that Chicago buildings are a lot newer.  They look so much more modern overall, especially with many buildings that look like they’re all windows.  Milwaukee buildings are almost all concrete, so while the designs are very intricate, they’re not as stupefying from a distance.


I just adore the marquee lights and the overall iconic look of the signs.  We have plenty where I live, but they’re not well-kept and thus are falling apart.  They’re one of the most aged-looking parts of Chicago.



This trip, I finally made it to Millennium Park.  I've wanted to see the Bean for what feels like forever.  It looked so perfect it was almost as if it was photoshopped in front of a Chicago skyline.  Underneath, it’s barely like a mirror.  Looking up at yourself it seems like you’re miles away and all sound echoes which makes it extremely difficult to hold a conversation when everyone else is trying to as well.

The bean really just screams modern.  Constructed between 2004 and 2006 it’s something that would have never been built before the Chicago fire due to its complex design.



While at Millennium Park, we I got to see these interesting statues.  They were all only heads- no bodies- and there wasn’t any information on them that I could find.  The lack of information made them that much more ominous and interesting.

These also are extremely modern in their nature as well as style of art.  They’re definitely not something that would’ve been created pre-fire.

And of course you can't miss the river at night.  If there were just one thing you could see/ do in Chicago I would suggest this.  It was magical with the lights reflecting and the beautiful buildings in the background.

-Cassi


Monday, February 9, 2015

Mani Monday: Gradient Heart

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!
Valentine's Day is this weekend already!  2015 is going by unbelievably quickly already, but it's great.

I actually haven't painted my nails much recently (not at all in 2015) I thought it was time for a Valentine's mani.  Of course you guys get to learn how to do it too!



This is actually super easy, as long as you can do a gradient!


Start with a white base.  My favorite is Sinful Colors Snow Me White.  Two coats is usually needed.


Next, you'll cut a heart shape out of tape.  Stick the tape on your hand a few times to keep it from being too sticky, then place it on the nail, making sure the heart is where you want it and that there aren't any air holes.


Then, go ahead and do your gradient over that.  I did a three color gradient using a light pink, medium pink, and a red, but anything you like will do.

Add a top coat and you're done!


-Cassi

Thursday, February 5, 2015

DIY: You're a Sweetart Valentines!

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!
      I decided to do a follow up on our last post about Homemade valentines day cards. In the last post I told you which project I would be doing. Just in case you didn't read the last post this tutorial will be on how to make sweetart Valentine's Day cards. The cards will say you're a sweetart. 


      You will need to buy supplies from somewhere like Target or Walmart. I brought my supplies from Target, and it only cost around three dollars with tax. The first thing you'll need is a bag of sweet tarts candy. They come in many varieties of pack sizes, so you will need to choose the one that will best fit the amount you will need for your project. You also need a sharpie, tape, and the option of other Valentines. You may also want to get something to transport them in  if your bringing them to school or work.

       The first thing you should do is open the bag and dump them into a pile. If you do this then after you complete one, you can put it in a separate pile and it is easier to keep track of which ones are done. After you do this you're going to want to get all of your other supplies out. Once you do this you are ready to begin the process of making your homemade valentines.




        Now, take your bag of Sweet tarts and right above the word sweetheart, write you are a, and then it will be right above sweetart. It will read out you are a sweet tart. Next, you're going to want to take and cut a piece of tape. If you have another valentine you're going to want to tape it to your Valentine that you just made. If you don't have another valentine just write who it's from and you have the option of writing who it is to as well.

DIY Tutorial, how to, fun, candy

       You're almost done. All you have to do is continue this until all of your valentines are done. Then, put your completed valentines in a bag and wait until Valentine's Day to see the bright smiling faces reading your homemade valentines. Happy Valentine's Day!

-Katie

Friday, January 30, 2015

Cassi's Birthday Wishlist

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!
I'm turning 16 on Wednesday, which still seems so surreal to me.  I honestly don't feel 16, sometimes with dance my body feels about 96, but that's unrelated.  So yeah... Weird.

There really isn't anything I need this year.  Usually I'm low on something like socks or maybe I have no long sleeve shirts.  But, nothing this year.


I could always use more leotards, especially dancing 6 days a week.  I'm not interested in doing laundry THAT often.  I really like this one with mesh!

I've been reading SO MUCH lately.  I'm at the library often, so I can always borrow books.  However, I love having my own so much more.  It's nice to take notes in books and then I can loan them to people too.  I would really like all the Lunar Chronicles in hardcover (even though I've already read them & Fairest which is so good (review to come on that one)).  I've also been very interested in contemporary lately, so both of Huntley Fitzpatrick's titles would be great too.  Most of my Amazon wishlist is full of books I want.

The last thing I would like is a new laptop.  Mine is only about 4 years old, but it runs horribly.  The fan is constantly running really hard (not that it's doing much, most days it seems like it would fry an egg) and very very loudly.  It's also getting slower and slower which is incredibly frustrating for school work as well as blogging.  I honestly have no clue what kind of laptop I want, but I'm really not interested in spending $1,300 on one right now so we'll see I suppose.

So that's really it.  You can never lose with socks, though.

-Cassi

Thursday, January 29, 2015

DIY Thursday: Cute Valentines

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!

Valentine's Day is almost here. If you go to the stores they want like $5 for 20 cards. I know I'm exaggerating a bit but wouldn't you rather just making your own for more like three dollars? I know I would. That's what I'm doing this year- here's a few ideas on how you can do it too.




For the first idea, all you need is sweetheart candy class pack, a sharpie, and some creativity. This is the idea I chose for my Valentines. All you do is write "You're a" in sharpie above the word sweetheart and walla!: you're done. It's probably the easiest idea out of all of them and it only takes about five minutes to complete 32 of them.

For the second idea all you need is heart shaped marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, a sharpie, and cute bags to put them in. On the bag put "You melt my heart". This idea takes a little bit longer but is very cute for young ages. I thought about doing this one but did not want to worry about allergies in my class.  This idea is also a little bit more expensive around $10 or maybe even a little more.

For the last idea all you need is Starburst, bags to put them in, and a sharpie. All you need to do is put the Starbursts in the bags and then right on the bags "Hope your Valentine's Day is bursting with happiness". This is probably in the middle of the two money-wise.

I hope you didn't enjoyed these Valentines ideas- I know I did. They are all pretty easy for young children to help make, are cute ideas that don't cost too much money, and mean even more because you made them from the heart. I hope you'd like one of these ideas and one of them can save you money this Valentine's Day. Thanks a lot for reading this, and I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!


                                      ❤️Katie

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Recent Reads

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!

With a goal of reading 75 books this year, I've got a lot of reading to do!  Luckily it's one of my favorite pass-times.

I started to get into Morgan Matson's books with Since You've Been Gone.  I'd seen it A LOT on Tumblr, but up until recently I'd really avoided YA Romance as best as I could.  I'm so glad I've begun reading it, though.  Let's go chronologically through her books though, yes?


Amy and Roger's Epic DetourAmy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've always really fancied the idea of a cross-country road trip with friends, and I think that's probably why I loved this book so much. Amy Curry's father has recently died. Her mom is living on the East Coast, and she is still in California finishing up school! Now that school is over, her mom wants her to bring the car to the East Coast. One problem: she hasn't driven since her father died.

Enter Roger. He and Amy were friends when they were younger, but they haven't talked in well over a decade. He's going to the East Coast anyway, so he'll just drive Amy and the car over. Driving across the country with a practical stranger. . . nothing awkward about that.

Along the way Amy and Roger steer pretty far off Amy's mom's planned route and learn a lot about each other.

Sounds like a completely cliche YA romance novel featuring a road trip. Which, in a way it kind of is. But, I felt there was so much more depth to it than that. The plot had a good pace, always advancing and never too slow. I felt Matson's writing was excellent as well. Amy sounded like a teenager. Recently, most of the novel's I've read with a teenage narrator sound 12, instead of 17. This wasn't the case at all.

I absolutely loved this and would definitely appreciate a short novella about Amy and Roger after the book.


Second Chance SummerSecond Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was another rather cliche YA Romance.

The story itself wasn't amazing honestly. Definite tear-jerker, but that was anticipated. Her writing style is definitely amazing though, so that and the Amy & Roger cameo is why I've given it 4 stars.


Since You've Been GoneSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was incredibly predictable. However, it was just a fun read.

One day Sloane just disappears. Emily and Sloane are practically attached at the hip so she is incredibly worried when she still hasn't heard from Sloane. Then a letter shows up with a list of things to do. Emily would have never thought to do most of these and is convinced she just might not. But, without Sloane Emily starts to get lonely and thinks doing all of the things on the list will bring her back.

I enjoyed it overall, and I think it's nice to have some predictable, just fun reads in between books that make you really think.


I received this next book from a Tumblr giveaway, along with Love Letters to the Dead and I'll Give You the Sun.

We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Best book I've read so far this year. (Not that I've many to compare it to yet.)

After reading reviews and such I expected a plot twist (I mean it's called We Were Liars). But I just kind of accepted the first one, no big deal. Then there was the second one that changed everything. Yeah. Excellent.

I feel like all of these characters had quite a lot of depth. Probably the best written characters I've experienced in a while. Though all the liars are around 17, they talk like they're about 12 which makes a lot more sense later on.

I really really really liked this style of writing.  The random prose was excellent, as well as the small fairy tale re-tellings.

If you get the opportunity to do so, I would absolutely suggest reading this book.  So, so good.


Would you ever be interested in participating in a "book club" of sorts?  The books would generally be non-fiction, female empowering.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Health Benefits of Green Tea

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!
Rather recently, (not that recently in the grand scheme of our life) we discovered our love of tea.  I think we both kind of avoided it since we weren't huge coffee fans.


We even made this strange YouTube video with the process of making tea when we first started liking it. . . almost 2 years ago.



Not only is tea great it also has some major health benefits (and energy benefits if you go for caffeinated tea).  Of course, there are lots of different kinds of tea, which means they have their own features.  We're going to start with green.






Cheerios can step aside!  Studies show green tea is able to lower cholesterol and prevent many heart related issues.  Just don't load it up with too much sugar!

Ever find yourself walking into a room just to forget why?  Well green tea can help.  A Swiss study showed that people who drank green tea had greater activity in the working-memory area of their brain.

Though there is no evidence yet that green tea kills cancer cells, it is known to help healthy cells in all different stages.

After a long day working, it's nice to unwind.  But, coffee just gets you wound up and then you can't sleep! Drinking tea helps you relax, because of a natural chemical called theanine.  However, make sure you are just heating your water to the temperature you want it- no need to get it boiling.  Boiling the water for brewing tea will get rid of theanine's effect.

In the winter, it seems like everyone is sick.  Sure you can spray Lysol on everything, BUT THERE'S A BETTER WAY I SWEAR.  Catechins, found in green tea have been known to have a major positive effect on your immune system.  Of course adding lemon gets you some extra vitamin C for that immune system as well.  That way you can stay healthy all through flu season!

It's a known fact that literally no one likes getting breakouts.  No one.  The antibacterial properties of green tea are known to fight off acne and the anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling and redness.

Green tea, am I right?

-Cassi

Sources: x x

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

On Interviewing Our Great Grandmother

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!
We remember always having to do those annoying projects for school where you have to interview your family, but the questions were never any good.  So, we decided to interview our great grandmother, but this time ask our own questions.

C & K: What is your full name?

Jacqueline Marie Farella-err wrong answer- Gibson

C & K: What is your earliest memory?

Oh lord!  Climbing up the stairs of my grandmother's house.  This was in Chicago

C & K: What is your favorite memory with Cassandra and Kaitlyn?

When Kaitlyn was a baby.  She was really cute.  And she pinched Cassese.  He was 1 and she was 2.  Wait no.  She was 1 and he was 2.  Sitting side by side and she pinched him and he screamed!

And Cassandra. I remember that there was 2 babies.  Angie was born first.  Cassandra looked like a baby doll and Angie was the momma doll.  They were the cutest babies!  I never had an ugly baby.

C & K: Tell us about your ancestors.

Which one do you want to know about?  Your great great grandfather Don Pape Cassese?  Great-great-great?  He was very tall.  Good looking  That's who CJ is named after.  It was always a last name, never a first.  Such a beautiful name.

C & K: What did you enjoy most about having the bakery?

Oh that it closed!  There was a lot of beautiful memories because the kids were all there. [What was your least favorite memory?] I wish I could've been home more with my daughter who couldn't be there with her allergy.

C & K: If you could visit anywhere, where would it be?  Why?

I would rather be just where I'm at because my children are all here.

C & K: If you could share only one piece of advice with girls our age what would it be?

Oh no drugs.  Definitely.  Sex, that's okay.  Well, not for them.  Don't ever be afraid of sex.  Sex is not the worst thing.  Drugs are the worst thing.  Once you get to 18 and start drinking, [The drinking age is 21. . .] Oh yeah, 21.  Well, you don't want to over drink.


We had so much fun interviewing our grandmother with our own questions.  We're just happy to be able to learn so much from her.

-Cassi and Katie

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Recent Reads

New here?  Follow us on Bloglovin'!


Love Letters to the Dead

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I feel a bit torn about this book, but I really really did like it overall.

This book is comprised of letters, written by Laurel, a high school freshman, writes to her different idols. All of whom are dead.

I read Love Letters to the Dead back in December.  I found the writing similar to Ketchup Clouds.  However, I think this novel did a much better job of actually using the letters and working them into the story as well.  It was evident that writing these letters really did help Laurel.

On the subject of her sister’s death, I was honestly expecting a larger reveal.  (Another similarity to Ketchup Clouds)  Laurel blames herself for her sister’s death, when there really wasn’t anyway she could’ve prevented it.  I think this is huge, because in real life, people go through the same thing.  I’m sure so many families who had a loved one die in 9/11, or anything really, always think it was their fault, “If I only I hadn’t let them go into work that day.”  It’s still not their fault, but they feel like they had some way to prevent it, but there was no way of knowing what outcome that would lead to.

I also feel the delicacy at which the lesbian relationship is handled is incredibly important.  It isn’t made out to be a big deal- Laurel doesn’t really think anything of it.  I feel like most authors just put queer characters in their book as a punch line or for the sake of diversity, often without even flat out saying they’re not straight.  This didn’t feel like either.  There weren’t just hints of their sexuality; it was all there, laid out in plain sight.  Often times, it also seems like books with queer characters spend the whole time trying to learn to accept themselves.  Although, it is important to discuss the problems that sometimes arise when a teen comes out, in terms of being accepted, this wasn’t the only thing discussed about their relationship.  There was a lot of focus on the fact that the girls needed to love and accept themselves before they could come out in the open as together and I think that was extremely important, however there was more depth to their relationship than that.

At times, I feel like Laurel talked and acted a lot younger than she really is.  However, I feel at the same time that is how a teenager who lost an older sibling would act.  This is especially true, since her mother walked out and she can’t talk to her bible crazy aunt about stuff.  While it can be a bit annoying at times, I feel this was an accurate portrayal.

I really did like this book and I’m glad I was able to read it at my age.  I will definitely be suggesting it to most of my friends.



The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Lexicon of Life Hacks for the Modern Lady Geek

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*Goodreads sent me this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

It starts off talking about different kinds of fandoms (ie. Potterheads, SuperWhoLock) and their shows/movies/books. This section obviously didn’t cover them all, but it covered most of the main ones. I felt this section was fairly accurate on the ones I knew about.

Maggs then goes through relevant lingo and I was surprised at how much I already knew. I felt the definitions were accurate as well as helpful. However, I did feel they were a bit random. I'm not sure all of them are relevant (I've never heard them) and there were some not covered people might not know.

She went into great detail on conventions. Maggs talked about a variety of cons and the fans that would want to go. There was also a lot on what to expect out of a convention- not getting to see EVERYONE, not getting a lot of sleep, etc. I think her section on what to bring was the most helpful, but that's just me. I’ve never been to a con, but the information seemed useful and I would definitely use her advice if I planned on going to one. Later, the book went over cosplay and such.

The last chapter is about feminism. It’s pretty short, but I do feel it’s an important chapter and that it does a good job of talking about feminism and its importance. I didn't expect it at all, but I'm very glad it was included. I don't think it is out of place at all especially since it is the FanGIRL's Guide to the Galaxy. Especially in a male dominated community there are a lot of problems that arise for women and I think this addresses them well.

Overall, I thought this book was really cute, and I'm already loaning it to friends.


We Were Liars

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Best book I've read so far this year. (Not that I've many to compare it to yet.

After reading reviews and such I expected a plot twist (I mean it's called We Were Liars). But I just kind of accepted the first one, no big deal. Then there was the second one that changed everything. Yeah. Excellent.

I feel like all of these characters had quite a lot of depth. Probably the best written characters I've experienced in a while. Though all the liars are around 17, they talk like they're about 12 which makes a lot more sense later on.

There really isn't much else to say other than that I absolutely loved it.


Cassandra's Books Read in 2015

Anna and the French Kiss
The Dress Shop of Dreams
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Second Chance Summer
Skinny


Cassandra's favorite books »