April 4, 2017

Quick Reviews! Never Fade, Three Dark Crowns, American Gods, and Caraval

Hello everyone! I'm so sorry that I've been MIA lately. I started Softball in March and it's been kind of hectic trying to deal with that and these scholarships but we can talk about that later in my quarterly wrap up post. Right now I want to talk about the books I read during this time because, yes, I still read books. What did you think of these books? I'm curious to know. Anyway, let's get to these quick reviews.


Never Fade by Alexandra B: I absolutely loved the book of this series. The Darkest Minds was actually one of the books that I finished pretty quickly. But this book took me so long to finish and I know it's because of how slow the plot was. The first book was pretty slow, too, and a lot of people had problems with it because of that. However, I fell in love with the characters and following them around helped move the story along for me. It was the same for this book. They have to be the best part of the entire book. They are all different in so many ways but their banter and the way that they have each others backs is so realistic. They sounded like teenagers to me and they interacted with each other in so many ways that felt like it would be done by a young adult. Their connection is was made this book sparkle for me. The diversity in this book passed my requirement of at least two diverse side characters. In this book, they are now three (although Zu wasn't in this book). Chubs is an African American and another character (I really forgot her name even though she was definitely the best) that could honestly be any person of color with brown skin. There isn't LGBTQ+ representation in here (at least I don't think there is) and I didn't see any characters with a disability. However, I'm still going to give this book a .5 of a star, not because of the lack of representation with the last two things I mentioned. It's only because I feel as though there should have been a little depth to those characters. Don't get me wrong, I loved them but honestly, they could have been any race. Overall I rated this book three stars.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: Overall I rated this book three stars because of the slow pacing of this book. In the summary of this book, we are told that it's going to be a competition between the sisters but just like Throne of Glass, it wasn't like that. This book focused on the relationships with the characters and some of the magic. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing but the plot should have moved faster. I also don't really know if this book would be considered diverse. The author is a person of color but I couldn't really tell if her characters were people of color since they were really only described as having dark hair and dark eyes. I assumed they were the same race and ethnicity of the author, however, as I read so I gave this book half a star for diversity. What really made me want to pick up the second book in this series was the ending. Everything picked up quickly, maybe even a little too quickly and the ending was great. I think the second book promises to be everything that this book wasn't.


American Gods by Neil Gaiman: I hated this book and it's most likely because it was an adult book. It was too slow for me and the main character  was void of any emotion. That made it hard to connect to him in anyway. The pacing of this book was obnoxiously slow, too. I didn't even finish the book because of how slow it was and my friend said that it didn't pick up until the last hundred pages. I think it's also Neil Gaiman's writing style that I don't like. It's very strange to see random things pop up and then never see how they connect to anything with the plot. I think the point of them is to show us the world or maybe foreshadow some things. Either way, I didn't like it and it's part of the reason why I rated this book one star.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber: Oh this book, this book, this book. I have so many mixed feelings on it that I can't really pinpoint where my thoughts are leading me to rate this. In the beginning, I was hooked because I loved the magical world that Caraval created and I loved Julian. However, after a while it didn't seem like the book was focusing on the main plot, which was finding her sister, Donatella. This book mainly focused on Scarlett and her feelings for Julian in this magical world of Caraval, which was fine but not the story I signed up for. While we're on the subject of the romance, I have to say that I liked it. I loved Julian as a character and I loved his attitude in the beginning of the book. However, he sort of changed to this stereotypical "I'll do anything for the girl I love" at the end of the book so some of the things he said made me like him less. There is diversity in this book, however, I'm not giving this book any stars for it and here's why. Literally the only person of color that is important is Julian. Everyone else is just some minor character that appear when the main character needs something. Overall, I rated this book three stars and it was really only because of the setting of this book, Julian and the ending that made me really want to read the second book.

March 5, 2017

Writing Update: February

Hello everyone! Glad to be back with you today with a writing update for February, So I didn't reach my goal of 10,000 words but I'm happy to say that I wrote 3,000 words in my new work in progress. I don't think that I'm going to be able to reach my goal of 20,000 for this quarter but I'm happy that I'm at least writing a little.

For my WIP, I'm still trying to figure out what the actual plot is going to be for it. I have an idea about the world and the characters but the plot is lacking. There are some books that don't have plots or if they do, they are barely there. I'm a plot driven person so my books have to have a plot. I started to create a plot board with like the bare minimum of what needed to occur in the story and I'm planning on just adding scenes as I see fit. Hopefully this will help the story flow from my mind but we'll see.

I'm also trying to figure out what type of writer I am. I'm thinking that I'm a pantser since my last WIP was completely right out of my head. But I realized that I did sort of have a faint idea of what needed to happen to move the story forward. I feel like I won't definitively know until I finish my current WIP.

Picture from Forever Black Fusion
But what is my current WIP? I don't want to spoil too much about it but just know the there's a African princess who isn't the stereotypical lost princess. This is also not in basically the same era as every other fantasy book either. And the last thing I will tell you about this WIP is that it's not actually a novel but actually a novella about a side character from a series I want to write. I'm so excited about it! The only thing is that there's going to be sex in it and it won't be like the fade out thing the young adult fiction does all the time. I think this would probably make it  a New Adult fantasy and I'm hardly an adult. Like, I just turned 18 and I don't know what sex is like at all. But this story is dying to come out of me so I'm going to write it anyway.

For my goals in March, I'm going to try to write another 3,000 words in the WIP. Hopefully then I can have an idea of what the story will be about and what should happen to make it interesting. I hope that I can achieve this but softball just started and it's going to take up a lot of my time. I might write a couple of short stories based from pictures and writing prompts just to further improve my writing but we'll see.

What were your goals for February? Did you achieve them? What are your goals for March and what is your current WIP about? I'd love to know! Thanks for reading!

February 22, 2017

Book Review: The Reader

Summary: Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story. Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who’s taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book. Though reading is unheard of in Sefia’s world, she slowly learns, unearthing the book’s closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin’s disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and an enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book had been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning.

Review: Unfortunately, my thoughts on this book are kind of fuzzy because I finished this book around two weeks ago. However, I will do my best to remember what I thought of this book.

For the plot, I'm going to give it half of a star. A lot of the events that happened occurred at a snail pace and this sort of made the story drag for me. For example, in the beginning  there is a lot of backstory about what happened to her parents and her searching for Nin. I almost put the book down because of that. Plus the events that did occur weren't nearly as exciting as they should have been, especially the ending. I was kind of disappointed with the ending. I think the reason that I didn't like it, though, is because of the fact that this book is written where there are a lot of different perspectives and you really don't know how they connect. Trying to figure out how everything connected could have been really interesting but sadly, the main events in this story's plot wasn't what made me want to keep reading this book.

I think this book deserves three quarters of a star for the characters in this book. This book would have gotten a full star for this part if it wasn't for the main character. Sefia is one of those main characters that was really average when compared to other characters from other books. I didn't think that she was horrible, if anything, she was a person that I just watched go through her life, not someone I I was rooting for. However, the reason that I think characters should receive three quarters of a star is because of Captain Reed and Archer. I loved them a lot and honestly, their stories and looking into their lives is what made me continue this story. Captain Reed is a guy that has adventures and cares for his crew. Archer doesn't speak for most of the book but his actions with Sefia were very sweet (I also imagined Archer as Arabian for some reason but I like him like this). These characters seemed more fleshed out to me than Sefia and that's why I loved them.

This book definitely receives a full star for diversity in this one. A lot of the characters are described as having bronze skin which honestly could be a lot of different people and that's great! The main character is  Japanese, or at least I assume she is because of the cover. However, while I did give this a full star, I can say that I didn't see any LGBTQ+ characters in this book. Seeing as though, I'm not from the LBGBTQ+ community and I don't know everyone on that spectrum, I could have missed some very obvious signs planted in the book. There was a character with a disability, though. He didn't come up until the middle of the book and even then, he was kind of a minor character that may have bigger role in the future books.

I think I'm starting to realize that I really like pirates. First it was Heidi Heilig's, The Girl From Everywhere and now this book. My favorite parts of this book was on board the ship and I think that's why I liked this book. Other people have commented on the reading aspect of this book and how it didn't make any sense. However, I was able to look past it because of the pirate aspect of this book. So I will give the setting of this book half of a star since   majority of the book didn't take place on the ship.

On the basis of my enjoyment, I give this .75 of a star. This book kept me reading even though I have been in a reading slump. Of course it was because of Archer, Captain Reed,  the other pirates in this book and some of the events in the plot. There was also the fact that this book had cool artwork throughout the book to make it seem like it was the actual book everyone was trying to find. There was also words on the bottom of some of the pages to create a full message that I won't spoil for you. But I actually enjoyed reading this book, despite some of its flaws.

After all of that, my rating comes down to 3.5 stars. I recommend this to fans of The Girl From Everywhere because of the pirate aspects and there is a sense of adventure in both of those books. Thanks for reading!

February 15, 2017

Sorry!

Hey everyone! This is just a quick apology for me being absent lately. I've been trying to apply to a lot of scholarships and softball is getting reading to start. I'm still hoping to post soon and I'm still reading books but as of right now, I can't post every Tuesday like I originally wanted. However, my goal is to do at least two posts a month. One should be coming soon for a book I read 1.5 weeks ago so be on the lookout for that. Anyway, sorry again and see you later.

January 31, 2017

Review Policy

As of today, this is how I rate and review books. I feel as though there are three things that every book needs in order to be good and that's plot, setting and characters. Each of these categories, they have the potential to receive a full star. If the category doesn't deliver like I feel like it should have, they can receive, one quarter of a star or half of a star. However, that's only three potential stars. One of the other two stars comes from my overall enjoyment of the entire book. The other star is for diversity. Yes, this means that if a book is not diverse, it won't be able to receive a five star rating from me.

But how do I define diversity? To me, a book is diverse as long as the main character is from a marginalized group and/or three of the side main characters are from marginalized groups.

If you would like me to review a book for you, please email me at wilsonkiara1998@gmail.com. Please note that I will only review young adult fiction. My favorite genres are fantasy, science fiction, thrillers and sometimes contemporary.

January 30, 2017

Writing Update: January 2017

Hello! Today's post will tell you guys about how I'm doing on my writing goals for the quarter. I think that at the end of each month I will do this so that way I can reflect back on what I accomplished and what I didn't accomplish. So here we go.

I started off okay in January. I wrote 1500 words, which isn't a lot compared to a lot of authors but I'll take it! However, the project I was working on is kind of boring me and I think it's because I've been working on it for four years. So I have decided to move on to my next project.

I really want to tell you guys what I planned so far in my story but I don't want to give anything away. Just know that I'm really excited to write this one and maybe later, I'll give some information about the characters and all of that other stuff.

While we're talking about planning, though, let me tell you that it's so hard to plan a novel. I'm going to be honest, I never plotted before and I wrote three novellas and a novel. The novel was the last project I was working on and I was working on an outline for it after I wrote it. I felt like it was helping me organize the story better as I went through it a second time. However, with this story, I feel like I need to plan it out. I'm planning on writing two novellas that occur before the first book starts so that I can get an idea of how I want one of the side characters to be. However, I don't think pantsing will work for this novel. It's very complicated in my head so I feel like it's going to be complicated in the story and while that's not a bad thing, I think that this would be a confusing kind of complicated. If anyone has any suggestions on how they organize their thoughts, I'd definitely be glad to hear them.

Other than that, I didn't really do anything in the month of January in terms of writing. However, I hope that changes in February! I'm making it my goal to write 10,000 words in this new project so that I can be on track towards one of my quarterly goals.

Comment below how you're writing is going. Maybe we can give each other encouragement or something. Anyway, thanks for reading today's post and talk to y'all later!

January 28, 2017

Book Review: Everything, Everything

Hello everyone! Today's post is another book review and this one was actually hard for me to rate. In the end, though, I rated it 3/5 stars and my review will tell you why.

Summary: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Review: I finished this book a couple of weeks ago but I was having trouble trying to figure out how I felt about this book which is why this review is so late. I have decided that I did like this book but I didn't love it like everyone else did.

The characters in this book were amazing. The main character, Maddy, sometimes got on my nerves but it was only because of her inexperience to the world aggravated me. However, her inexperience was very authentic to how she lived her life so I couldn't be mad at that. Olly was also a good character. He had quirks that seemed real to me and I loved how he was so confident that sometimes it made him sound full of himself. Those parts when they were messaging on the computers made me smile because of his responses. Because I liked the characters and their interactions, this category gets a full star.

The diversity in the characters was amazing. Maddy is Japanese and Black, her mom is Japanese and I think her nurse, Carla, is Hispanic. Olly and I think everyone else is white but there is one guy that says he's gay but he only appears for a page. There is also representation of mental illness but there is a problem with that. I can't say anymore than that without spoiling stuff but just know that it's not good representation. Because of the bad representation of this, I only gave half a star for the diversity instead of the full star.

The plot in this story was more character driven and it really surprised me when I still enjoyed the story. The gist of the plot is a boy moves next door and this girl falls in love with him. But the characters make this such a cute read that it's not as cliche as it sounds. I basically got all of the feels I had for Jenny Han's To All the Boy's I've Loved Before because you just can't help but to read what the main characters are going to do next. I think that the plot of this story deserves a full star.

Majority of this book takes place in her house so there's not much to say when it comes to the setting of this book. In the beginning you are told that everything is white in her room and then she describes the other places in her house but that's about it. But even without Maddy going anywhere, the author does make the world around Maddy authentic. For example, the air vents to circulate the air for her breathing and the vacuum thing (I forgot what it's called) that people have to go through to come in contact with her. Both of those add a nice touch to making the setting in this book feel realistic. Because the setting in this book is authentic, I decided to give this book a full star for it.

In the very beginning, I didn't like the romance because of the insta-love. She literally looked at him through the window and next thing you know, she's in love with him. I understand that she wants to experience things and all of that other crap but no one experiences love at first sight unless they are in love with what they see and not the person. Another thing I didn't like is the love interest and it's only because of my own bias. Olly is great and I do love him. However, he's another white boy who loves a woman of color. I know I'm not the only person tired of the white boy always being the love interest or vice versa. Just once, I want to see a book with any person of color who doesn't fall for a white love interest. Why can't a Latin person love a Black person? Why can't Black people love each other? I don't know why this bothers me but it does. A lot. Mostly because of the insta-love in this story, I'm docking half a star.

So after all of that, my rating comes down to 3/5 stars. It's still a good book for people to read and if anyone hasn't read it yet, they definitely should because the writing is good. The story just wasn't one for my faves. However, I'm still going to go to the movies to watch this film that comes out in May! Mostly because I love Amandla Stenberg but also because I like going to the movies. If you have read this book, comment below what you thought of it! Thanks for reading!