Book Blogger Confessions Tag

Spring break is over and I’m trying really hard not to stress about the assignments I have due next week.

 

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I told myself taking a break from school work the past two days was good for my mental well-being, allowing my brain batteries time to recharge. Besides reading, writing is the most therapeutic form of release. I didn’t realize how badly I needed it until now.

Thankfully, I saw this book tag on Rebecca’s blog. It looked easy and fun. Plus, it got me to talk about something I don’t bring up often: books I didn’t like.

On to the tag!

 

Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

Fade Into You by Nikki Darling

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I found Fade Into You while browsing the new arrivals in the young adult section of my library. From the synopsis on the back cover, it sounded like a memoir of the author’s high school years in the mid-1990s as she struggled with drug addiction and adolescence. Nineteen pages in, I was like….

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            I think the author was trying to write the book through the eyes of a teenager that was high all the time. But still…one minute, the narrator was having a spat with her mother, the next she was talking about dead hamsters. I couldn’t take it.

 

Which book is your guilty pleasure?

The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong

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These books are urban fantasy, the keeper of a lot of problematic tropes, i.e. borderline abusive relationships. I say I love this series and it holds a special place in my heart as inspiration for my writing. That is still true. Even at sixteen, I knew there were some problems that could not be overlooked. It didn’t change my love for the books, though. Only now, remembering how much I actually hated Elena Michaels and Clayton Danvers’s relationship, I’m starting to have second thoughts.

Clay changed Elena into a werewolf without her consent. He was extremely possessive, to a point where he almost killed a teenaged boy (who happened to be the son of a childhood friend) for having a crush on Elena. Elena herself could be nasty and petty. And she could be abusive towards Clay as well. It was overall an extremely toxic relationship.

I think that’s why I haven’t gotten around to rereading The Women of the Otherworld series and considering unhauling them. Elena and Clay’s relationship is not the only problem within this series, either. If it was just that, I would have done it already. Yet, if it came down to it, I don’t know if I could go through with getting rid of the series. Like I said, a guilty pleasure.

 

Which book do you love to hate?

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

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I didn’t like these books when I read them in high school and I still don’t. Even now, when I think about them, I’m filled with annoyance. I hated Mia. I didn’t like Michael. I despised Lily. Overall, when I’m in a bad mood, I take my anger out on this series (which is funny because I don’t own the books anymore).

 

Which book would you throw into the sea?

Woman of God by James Patterson

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The fact that I enjoyed so many of Patterson’s other books only makes me madder. While I love the idea of a female pope, the whole book was executed poorly. No plot, no character development, and more than a little insta-love. Reading Woman of God was not a pleasant experience. So much so, I don’t know if or when I will pick up another of Patterson’s books.

 

Which book have you read the most?

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

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I probably reread The Summoning, the first book in The Darkest Powers trilogy, at least three or four times. I reread it each time I got the next book in the series. And I’m pretty sure I read the series straight through once I had all the books. I loved the series, but I was also an unemployed fifteen-year-old that had to rely on her birthday and Christmas for gift cards as well as not having access to a well-stocked library. So, I did a lot of rereading back then.

 

Which book would you hate to receive as a gift?

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

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I wanted so, so much to love this book. I tried to, even though I had to sincerely push myself to read it. The writing made me cringe and the romance felt forced. If I got this as a gift, I honestly don’t know what I would do with it. I’d likely smile, say thank you, and take it. Then put it somewhere on my shelves I wouldn’t have to see it too much. Depending on whoever it was that gave it to me, I might keep it forever or wait a while and then get rid of it.

 

Which book could you not live without?

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace…or just books in general.

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For the sake of the tag, I picked The Princess Saves Herself in This One, which is true. It was my favorite book of last year and now one of my all-time favorite books. I read it at a time where I was caught between grief and a hard place, wanting to get my life started again but fully aware my family still needed me. Then, I read The Princess Saves Herself in This One. I was rejuvenated.

But, if I’m being honest, all the books I have read got me through a lot over the years, as much as people have.

 

Which book made you angriest?

Whitefern by V.C. Andrews

Screenshot_2019-03-10 Whitefern (Audrina, #2)

I nearly screamed from excitement when I saw we were getting a sequel to V.C. Andrews’s one stand-alone novel, My Sweet Audrina. I almost bought it, but it was $20. Thank God I didn’t.

This “sequel”, or rather the ghostwriter, completely butchered what happened in the original novel. Instead of a spunky, curious heroine determined to find answers, Audrina became a passive participant, waiting for things to happen to her. Another character did a total 180 that made no sense. I could deal with mediocre writing, but if you are going to write a sequel to a book like My Sweet Audrina, you better get all your ducks in a row first.

 

Which book made you cry the most?

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

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I am not a book crier. I might get teary-eyed, but never a full on sob fest. A List of Cages is the exception. I distinctly remember tears streaming down my face as I got into the graphic depictions of child abuse. I wanted so badly to protect the boy but I couldn’t. It hurt my heart more knowing there were real kids out there living through this on a daily basis.

 

Which book cover do you hate the most?

The entire Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

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I don’t make a big deal about book covers. To me, it’s whatever. Even with the Vampire Academy series, I wouldn’t go as far as to say I hate them. More that they are so cheesy they don’t do anything for me.

 

What is a book you enjoyed but you hated the cover?

I tag:

Shanah

Joe

Grey

Crystal

Kristin

Sophie

Erica Mae

and everyone else!

 

 

 

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Get to Know Ya Tag!

I found the Get to Know Ya Tag on Kristin Kraves Books. I saw the opportunity to talk about some books I have not mentioned on my blog for a while now, or maybe some I’ve never mentioned before. Plus, it’s a super fun tag getting to know people.

I don’t know who created it, but if you do know, give them a shout out.

 

Favorite book of all time

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I honestly have no idea how to answer this question. It’s like asking me to choose my favorite child, or more appropriately, since I am childless, my favorite friend. That, and I firmly believe that nobody can have just one favorite book. How is that even possible?

So, I’m going to choose five of my all-time favorite books, which are:

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

 

Favorite book five years ago

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At first, I was going to say maybe The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong or Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. For the heck of it, I checked on Goodreads for my reading stats in 2013. That was the year I picked up Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect was the first novel in a young adult mystery/thriller series following Tandoori “Tandy” Angel, the daughter of two extremely wealthy parents who are found dead in their bedroom. The only suspects are Tandy, her twin brother Harry, and her younger brother Hugo, as well as their older brother Matthew. There were a lot of twists and turns as Tandy tries to figure out who killed her parents, even if it means she did it, but the plot twist shook me to my core. I was obsessed with Confessions of a Murder Suspect, as well as its sequel, The Private School Murders, which I also read in 2013.

 

Favorite Duology/Trilogy/Series

Not surprisingly, I have an answer for all three of these.

Duology: It’s a tie between The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh and the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken. Both of these made me feel everything plus they were fun, exciting reads with characters I adored.

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Trilogy: Easily the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I found very little fault in these books when I read them. However, since I have not read Lord of Shadows yet and Queen of Air and Darkness is not out until December, I’m wondering if maybe The Dark Artifices will soon take its place as my favorite trilogy. And there are a few other contenders on my TBR that could prove worthy competition.

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Series: Does it count if your favorite series are incomplete? The two series (again, I’m indecisive) that I am certain are my favorites are the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco and the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I just loved everything about these books.

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Last book you read

At the time I am writing this, the last book I read was A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell, a cheesy thriller about two mothers you think are best friends but they both have deep, dark secrets they use to manipulate each other. Unfortunately, it was not that entertaining.

 

Last book of poetry you read

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The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace, which I read and bought as soon as it came out. While I did enjoy it, sadly, I did not love it as much as her debut collection.

 

What book most influenced your life?

Honestly…I can’t say it was just one book, because a lot of books have influenced me in different ways throughout the years. To name a few:

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume is the book that awoke my passion for storytelling and inspired my first “novel” when I was eight years old.

At fifteen, The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong made me realize my strongest writing niche was in the fantasy and paranormal genres.

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace and The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur came to me earlier this year, making me feel empowered when I wasn’t really feeling like it.

 

 

 

 

 

Book that made you ugly cry

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Definitely A List of Cages by Robin Roe made me ugly cry. It takes a lot to make me cry in books in general. With this book, it was a full on sob fest.

 

Book that made you laugh

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All the Rick Riordan books I’ve read so far. That includes the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series plus the first two books in the Heroes of Olympus series, The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune.

 

Character you’d like to be for a day.

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No brainer: Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I get to practice magic and go to Hogwarts, plus share a brain with one of the most badass women in literature.

 

Book so good you dreamt about it

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Hmmm…. I don’t remember my dreams. I remember my nightmares though. One book that was really good but also one I should not have read before bed was The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich. There was a scene with a mirror…and I have one in my bedroom, right across from my bed, so it took me a while to go back to sleep after.

 

Book you DNF’D

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After You by Jojo Moyes, which I tried to read over a year ago. I got about 35 pages in before I had to put it down. I think it bothered me that Me Before You got a sequel when it was perfectly fine as a stand-alone, in my opinion. However, I’ve heard decent things about the third book, Still Me, when Louisa goes to New York City, so I might pick up After You again, eventually.

 

What book are you most excited to read?

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

…To name a few.

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I tag….

Grey (once she’s back from her hiatus! I completely forgot. Sorry Grey!)

Crystal

Shanah

Joe

And anyone else that wants to do this tag!

Makeup Book Tag

Fun fact about me: I rarely wear makeup. The last time I wore a full face of makeup was my senior formal…two years ago. I’m not even going to count the lipstick I wore at my cousin’s wedding in September. Most of my money goes to books.

Still, I saw the Makeup Book Tag making its rounds on BookTube and I thought it would be fun. And it will take less time because I won’t talk about makeup products….

 

Primer: pick a book that left a lasting impression.

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Easily The Princess Saves Herself in This One, the most influential book I’ve read so far this year. It came to me during a time I really needed such a book.

 

Foundation: pick your favorite first book in a series.

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I know many of you carry a torch for A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, but the previous book, A Court of Thorns and Roses, holds a special place in my heart. I had so much fun reading it, more than I did Throne of Glass. Plus, A Court of Thorns and Roses was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, something I am simply trash for regardless whatever media format its in.

 

Concealer: pick a character you wish you could get rid of.

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That would have to be Lydia from The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. She was so snobby, self-centered, and plainly annoying. She had little empathy for even her own best friends. It wasn’t until tragedy happened that she finally realized what a brat she had been. Even after that, I still did not like her.

 

Powder: pick your favorite last book in a series.

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The second book in The Wrath & the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh, The Rose and the Dagger. While it might not have been as action-packed as the first book, it was still a satisfying conclusion, with lots of magic and political intrigue.

 

Eyebrows: a book you think everyone should read.

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A book I think everyone should read is We Believe You by Annie E. Clark, a nonfiction book written by survivors of rape and sexual assault. This book made me uncomfortable, sad, and, sometimes, very, very angry. It contained stories about the writers’ respective attacks (some in graphic detail), the criminal investigations that did not always end in justice, and the aftermath of the trauma in which the survivors rebuild their lives. We Believe You is both empowering and educational.

 

Eyeshadow: pick a book that has your favorite color on the cover.

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My favorite color is purple and the cover for Unearthly by Cynthia Hand is my favorite shade.

 

Eyeliner: pick a dark and mysterious book.

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert is the definition of dark and mysterious. I know it has not gotten the best reviews since it came out, but I enjoyed it very much. To me, The Hazel Wood embodies all the elements of a dark fairy tale: lyrical writing, a protagonist that is not always likable, and a terrifying fantastical atmosphere.

 

Mascara: pick a long book.

Either A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas or City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. Those were the two longest books I read last year.

 

Blush: pick a book that has a cringe-worthy romance.

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Every single romantic relationship of the main character in Woman of God by James Patterson  made me want to puke.

 

Highlighter: pick a book that brightened your day.

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia was a joy to read, despite the occasional dark moments. I’m still thinking about it, even after two months.

 

Lipstick: your favorite book kiss.

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Thankfully, I just read Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. Now that first kiss was something to write home about…well, unless you count the spoilers.

 

I tag anyone else who wants to do it!

The Most Boring, Disappointing, and Worst Books I Read in 2017

Controversial post ahead!

Compared to other years, 2017 is not one of the best, but it wasn’t completely terrible either. Sadly, I could still come up with ten books for this list.

Most of these books I actually rated as high as 3 stars. Those were ones I was disappointed by or were ultimately very boring compared to others. Some of the ones on this list I can dare say I hated.

But do not take it personally if a book you like is on here. In fact, I am glad there is someone who appreciated it more than I did.

The most boring, disappointing, and worst books I read in 2017 are:

 

Woman of God by James Patterson

womanofgod

If I had to pick a book I genuinely hated this year, it would have to be Woman of God by James Patterson. Unfortunately, he’s one of my favorite authors. But I’m getting his books out of the library from now on.

On the surface, the plot for this novel is cool: a woman’s journey to becoming the first female Pope. While I hope to see that happen in my lifetime, there were so many problems with Woman of God, it still makes me angry just thinking about it. The story was boring, if there even was one. The writing was so detached; I didn’t care about what happened to the main character, even during the really terrible things. There was little development within the protagonist to speak of. And the book was packed with so much insta-love it made me want to puke.

 

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

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Some many of my friends read The Outsiders when they were in school and loved it. I think if I had been forced to read this in school, I would have disliked it even more than I already do.

In case you are unaware, The Outsiders follows two gangs of teenagers, the Socs and the Greasers, in the 1950s that have a heated, violent rivalry. One night, somebody goes too far and a kid is murdered, and another must face the consequences.

The main reason I did not like The Outsiders was because of the writing style. It made me feel underwhelmed and was overall an unpleasant reading experience. To be fair, the author was probably trying to be true to the nature of the character she was writing from: a fourteen-year-old Greaser. Still, The Outsiders was not the book for me.

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the only book on this list I went in with low expectations. I waited until the hype for it had gone down and I checked it out of the library. By the time I had read the “eighth Harry Potter book,” I had seen so many reviews that were negative. Plus, I was apprehensive about this release to begin with.

The only aspect I can say I liked about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is Scorpios Malfoy. He was a great character and a good friend to Albus Potter. The rest of the book was not up to par. The playwriting format did not fit with the fantasy element. The writers were trying to make it look like they were not recycling old storylines but they failed. The time-traveling element was not good at all. And some of the original characters were done a terrible injustice in their development.

In short, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child confirmed my belief that The Boy Who Lived needs to retire.

 

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

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Lies She Told is an adult thriller I had heard mixed reviews about going into it. The story is a dual-point of view between a struggling author and the character she creates. On the surface, it appears exciting and interesting. Then, it got weird.

Don’t get me wrong. As a whole, Lies She Told was not a bad book. The first half was quite good. Cate Holahan is a talented writer. It was not her fault the publisher basically gave away her whole book on the front flap. If you read a lot of mysteries, you can predict the twist. That was a problem for me, as well as the main characters Liza and Beth. While I sympathized Beth, who was the fictional character, I had a hard time connecting with Liza, the author, even as I pitied her. By no means was she a victim of circumstances; she made her own terrible mistakes and received punishments I felt were fitting.

 

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

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Unlike Lies She Told, Emma in the Night was really built up in my head. Not a lot of books have children dealing with mentally ill parents as a subject matter. Cassie and Emma, the sisters of the story, as well as Dr. Abby Winter, the other lead character, all have grown up with narcissist mothers. However, at a certain point, the story started going downhill and I had no idea to how the characters came to the conclusions that they did. While I’m certain an unstable family such as the Martins exist in real life, there were some instances I found a little unbelievable. Then again, I do not have a psychology degree. Plus, the ending felt so rushed, it was like falling face-first to the ground.

On Goodreads, I gave this book a fairly good rating, but it ultimately did not live up to the hype I built up for it.

 

Final Girls by Riley Sager

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One of the books featured in Goodreads Best Books of the Year, I picked up Final Girls from the library to finally read what all the fuss was about. It was not a terrible book; I actually enjoyed it at times and Quincy seemed like a realistic character, given her circumstances.

Then, in the second half of the book, I just wanted to finish it because there were other books I wanted to read more. By that point, I only wanted to get Final Girls over with so I could have an honest opinion about it. When the big reveal finally happened, it made no sense to me whatsoever. It was like the author was simply going in for the shock factor rather than logic. But that is just my personal opinion.

 

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

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2017 was the year I got deeper into the young adult contemporary genre. I was excited to read Definitions of Indefinable Things because it was about a teenaged girl, Reggie, with clinical depression that becomes involved with a boy her age, named Snake, that also has depression.

Going off what I personally have seen in my own life with my friends who have depression and been in similar situations, I found Reggie and Snake’s relationship to be slightly unhealthy. While I appreciated Snake taking responsibility for the girl he got pregnant, I ultimately found him to be an arrogant and annoying drama queen. I really liked Reggie; I think she could have done better. Overall, Definitions of Indefinable Things was a decent book, filled with great educational talk about depression, but the relationship was a major flaw for me.

 

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

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The Women in the Castle was another book I had built up in my head. It is a World War II story set in Germany after the war following three widows of resisters that were executed following a failed assassination of Hitler. After the war, the widows reside in one of the women’s family’s ancestral castle with their children. All three women have secrets that come back to haunt them, even decades later.

Again, my disappointment in this book was my own fault. I had built The Women in the Castle up in my head as this beautiful World War II novel about women that kept the front at home. While the writing in this novel was beautiful, the story ultimately fell flat for me. Not a lot happened, and most of it not until the near end of the novel. My favorite characters were the children; their mothers dragged them through so much and they just rolled with it. As for the widows themselves—Marianne, Benita, and Ania—I can’t say I liked all of them very much.

 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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I don’t know what it was about the mystery novels I’ve read this year, but they have all become predictable. Or maybe I expect too much or I read too much of the same thing. Regardless of the reason, The Woman in Cabin 10 was another floppy mystery.

The novel is about a journalist offered the opportunity of a lifetime to work on a cruise. Her first night there, she hears what sounds like a woman being thrown overboard but all ten other passengers and the full staff is accounted for. While the book was fast-paced and I liked the protagonist, I was ultimately really bored with the book. Not a lot was going on and, again, the author disregarded realism. Who asks a stranger to borrow mascara?

 

Go Ask Alice by “Anonymous” also known as Beatrice Sparks

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Much like The Outsiders, Go Ask Alice was another acclaimed banned book I wanted to read but ultimately disappointed me. While I appreciated the author’s realistic approach to drug abuse and writing it in the true voice of a fifteen-year-old, the story was so boring. I also felt detached from the characters, even the narrator. By no means would I say it was an awful book, but I expected too much.

 

What was your least favorite book you read in 2017?

Books Under the Tree Tag

I saw this on Bookables YouTube channel. Immediately, I loved it and I had to make my own post.

I love books…I love Christmas…I love getting books on Christmas. That is all I need.

 

What book would you like to find under your tree this year?

I have already mentioned it several times: the remaining books in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. That is still true, but there are other books I want for Christmas. Such as, the next two books in the Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson, The Heart of Betrayal and The Beauty of Darkness. I have wanted to get into this series for so long. I own the first book, The Kiss of Deception. This is one of the series I plan on binge-reading in 2018.

 

The best book you’ve ever received for Christmas.

The first one I thought of is an illustrated edition of The Wizard of Oz. I’ve actually barely read it cover to cover, but I keep getting distracted by the beautiful artwork in this book.

 

What book gives you all the Christmas feels?

Naturally, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the most Christmas story of all. I have not read the book in years, but I watch at least one adaption of it—usually the Muppets version—every Christmas.

 

What book or books do you plan on reading this year to put you in the Christmas spirit?

A book that has put me in the Christmas spirit is one I am currently reading, The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. Ironically enough, it is a retelling of A Christmas Carol, following a spoiled seventeen-year-old that spends her afterlife working as the Ghost of Christmas Past to atone for her own mistakes during her life as a Scrooge. I’m starting to feel excited for Christmas again.

 

What book have you read this year that you would like to throw out with the Christmas tree after the holidays?

Thankfully, the books that I read this year I would have gladly thrown out with the Christmas tree were library books. I had to return them regardless. The first one that comes to mind is Woman of God by James Patterson. There were so many problems with this book. I get a little angry when I think about it.

 

What book would you like to place under a friend’s tree?

A List of Cages by Robin Roe, because it is a short book that packs a punch. I think some of my friends would enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Create a stack of books where the spines alternate between red and green. Share the titles.

redandgreen

Half-Bad by Sally Green

Half-Wild by Sally Green

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling (the original cover)

 

What is the best book you’ve ever gotten for Christmas?

 

 

The Grinch Book Tag

This is the first time in years I can say I am not in the Christmas spirit. It’s starting to snow where I live. The tree is up and it’s one of the prettiest my family has ever had. We’ve watched my favorite movies, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Muppets Christmas Carol, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. One of my friends already sent me a gift. Two days ago, five boxes from Amazon were delivered to my house that my dad says are all presents for me. And he gave me an early gift, as a thank-you for all I’ve done for him and the family these past few months.

I know I deserve it. I earned it. Then, something else happened later that day which turned me completely into a Grinch.

That’s why I think it is so fitting to do Thoughts on Tomes book tag The Grinch Book Tag. Because even Christmas has a dark side.

 

Half the lights on the tree are burnt out: name a book, series, or character that started out good but went downhill.

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A series that went downhill for me was Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I pushed myself to finish the series this year because I love the characters. Rose and Lissa have one of the best female friendships in young adult literature. The books were fun to read, albeit too long. It wasn’t horrible, but I think it could have been four books and end up a much better series.

 

Annoying great-aunt Sally that won’t leave you alone: name a book you didn’t enjoy but everyone else seems to love so it never goes away.

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I’m not entirely sure. I would say The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, but no one is really talking about it constantly. However, it might be nice to open Instagram and not see so much Feysand fan art….

 

Your pets keep knocking over the Christmas decorations: name a character that kept messing things up for everyone else and you can’t name a villain.

how the grinch stole christmas film GIF by The Good Films

My first thought was Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. There is something really dumb that she did in City of Lost Souls that made me question how much of her brain she really uses. Overall, she does a lot of things on impulse that borderline recklessness.

 

You hear your parents putting out the presents and learn Santa is not real: name a book you were spoiled for.

the grinch vintage GIF by The Good Films

I was spoiled for one of the short stories in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, but it was my own fault. It was the story that focused on Alec and Magnus, so if you read this anthology you know which one I’m referring to. Actually, to be truthful, knowing this spoiler is what got me to read the anthology, because I wanted to get to that story.

 

It’s freezing outside: name a main character you could not connect with.

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Definitely Brigid Fitzgerald from Woman of God by James Patterson. She was the least interesting heroine Patterson has ever written. There were some truly awful things that happened to her and I literally did not care. Plus, as shocking as this might be, I had a hard time connecting to Feyre from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. My best guess is because she was too much of a “special snowflake” for my taste.

 

Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is playing on repeat and giving you anti-romantic feelings: name a couple you couldn’t stand.

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Snake and Reggie from Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor. I liked her but could not stand him. She could do better.

 

That scratchy homemade sweater you got for Christmas years ago: show some books on your shelves you aren’t motivated to read but don’t have the heart to get rid of them.

The thing is, the books I’m not motivated to read right now I still do want to read. The books that are outside of my comfort zone, I usually save for when I am in a reading slump.

Kindred by Octavia Butler

The Merciless by Danielle Vega

Room by Emma Donoghue

 

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: name a character death you are still not over.

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Spoilers for the Saga graphic novels!

            The death of Marko and Alana’s unborn baby at the end of Saga, Vol. 7. That was not expected at all.

 

The malls are overly crowded with shoppers: name a book series that went on for too long.

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The House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristin Cast. It is a series from the early 2000s set in a vampire boarding school with Wicca-based magic. The books were fun and easy to read when I was in the middle of my college finals. But by the fifth or sixth book, I gave up. There were too many in the series (eleven in total). I just don’t have the time nor interest to devote myself to the rest of House of Night.

 

The Grinch: name a main character you hate (not a villain).

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The main character in Fracture by Megan Miranda. I really did not like her at all. Delaney? I think that was her name. Anyway, Fracture was disappointing because of her, which is why I have not picked up any of Megan Miranda’s other novels since then.

 

Thank you to Sam from Thoughts on Tomes for bringing back her original tag this year! Hopefully this Grinch feeling won’t affect anyone else this Christmas season.

The Christmas Song Book Tag

I was at a loss for Christmas ideas for my blog. To be truthful, I have not been in the Christmas spirit lately…but you all don’t need my drama to bring you down.

I saw this Christmas Song Book Tag floating around and immediately jumped on it. If there is anything I love, it is Christmas music.

 

“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”: Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

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Tamlin from the A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. While I do not approve of his actions in A Court of Mist and Fury, I can’t forget the sweetheart he was in the first book. Tamlin is broken and I’m not sure a lot of people see that.

 

“All I Want for Christmas is You”: Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas tree?

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Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, and Winter, the remaining books in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I already own Cinder, the first book in the series. I have wanted to get into this extremely popular series for a long time.

 

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”: Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.

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Because I am currently rereading the series, I will have to go with Harry Potter for this question. I’m on page 183 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and, at thirteen, Harry already has so much to deal with. And I know it will only get worse from here.

 

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”: Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list? Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?

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Looking at the books I’ve read so far this year, the top spot of the Nice List would go to Nicholas Carter from the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken, for his self-sacrificing actions in Wayfarer. As for the Naughty List, the top spot would belong to Snake from Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor, for getting a girl pregnant, for being arrogant, and for being a big baby.

 

“Frosty the Snowman”: Which book just melts your heart?

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Two books tied for melting my heart in 2017: Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist and The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. Love and First Sight is about a blind boy falling in love for the first time and learning to live as a sighted person after an experimental surgery. It is a sweet book but has more depth to it than one might think. The Upside of Unrequited is about a teenaged girl who finally has the imitative to find her first boyfriend after 26 crushes. This book was simply too cute for words.

 

“Feliz Navidad”: Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

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The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, which takes place in Barcelona, Spain in the 1920s and 1930s. Though it was a different time period, the author made the city appear beautiful and mysterious.

 

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Which holiday-themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?

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I make it a point to watch at least one version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol every year. That’s the story that always brings me the most Christmas joy.

 

“Sleigh Ride”: Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with (doesn’t have to be a love interest!)?

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I think this goes without saying but the Blackthorn from Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. They are such a close-knit, loving family, and they would know the holidays are about appreciating those you love.

 

“Baby, it’s Cold Outside”: Which book would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself against the cold?

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I hate the idea of burning books, so this question kind of makes me uncomfortable. But if it was between hypothermia and me I would likely burn Woman of God by James Patterson, one of my most hated books of 2017.

 

“Do you hear what I hear”: Which book do you think everyone should read?

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One book I don’t talk about a lot that I think everyone—especially young girls—should read is Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston. The book follows Hermione Winters, a high school cheerleader who is drugged and raped at cheerleading camp, and finds out she is pregnant as a result. But she refuses to be anyone’s cautionary tale.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear talks about abortion in an honest way and shows readers there is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. Hermione and her best friend Polly have the strongest female friendship I have ever seen in young adult contemporary literature. Plus, the rest of the cheerleading squad, the girls and boys, rally behind Hermione after she is raped. Hermione defies the labels, making it clear she is not a victim and shoots down rape culture. Most importantly, there is the positive support Hermione receives from her family, school, the local police, and her community that many rape victims sadly do not experience in real life.

 

“Father Christmas” by the Kinks: Which book was just mean, i.e. it made you ask the author ‘Why are you making me read this?’ Even though you couldn’t put it down?

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For this question, I’m going to say Go Ask Alice. It was a banned book I have wanted to read for a long time. Despite it being so boring, I could not stop reading.

 

I tag anyone that wants to do this tag!

November 2017 Wrap Up

When November started, I was content to embrace the reading slump and focus on my writing. For a while, I was writing a little bit, although not as much as I would have liked. Then, towards the middle of the month, I got the urge to read again, despite still in the throes of a slump. I wanted to buy books more than read them (which my bank account currently hates me for). I checked out library books, which helped.

In total, I read four books in November. All of them falling in or under the 3 star range. I don’t know if it was because of the books I chose to read or if it was because of the reading slump. Not that it should matter—I’m back to reading again, just in time for the end of the year.

In November, I read:

 

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

3 stars

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A YouTube video I watched on reading slumps recommended reading a book outside of your comfort zone to get out of a slump. That is initially why I picked up My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, a nonfiction work about how her experiences travelling and her nomadic childhood influenced her life. However, I was reluctant to read it after her comment that Millennial women only supported Bernie Sanders because “that was where the boys are.” That really got under my skin. Only I knew I could never part with this book because my favorite professors in the Women & Gender Studies program at my college gave this to me when I graduated and they signed it.

So, in the midst of a reading slump, I decided to give Gloria Steinem a chance. I have to say, it was an unexpectedly enjoyable read and educational. It helped me get out of my reading slump somewhat. But I am still picky about what nonfiction I read.

 

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan (library book)

3 stars

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Lies She Told is about Liza, an author struggling to meet a 30-day deadline for her next potential bestseller midst trying to conceive with her husband David, who is currently distracted by the disappearance of his best friend. In between Liza’s chapters, we also get excerpts from her novel, which follows Beth, a new mom that kills her husband’s mistress. Liza’s reality then blurs with her character’s story after her husband’s best friend’s body is found in the East River like Beth’s husband’s mistress.

I would have done a full review of Lies She Told but I had so many mixed feelings it was hard to put into coherent words. The writing was good, but the second half of the novel really started to drag. It was fast-paced, the kind of book you want during a reading slump, but the characters were one-dimensional. I wanted to like Liza or Beth, but I could only sympathize with them. My feelings towards Liza in particular were mixed; while some bad things happened to her, some of her own behavior was selfish and she had her own consequences that I felt were fitting. So, overall, Lies She Told was just meh for me.

 

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker (library book)

3.75 stars

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I wouldn’t go as far to say as to say Emma in the Night was a disappointment, but I was more excited for it than I was for Lies She Told. Unfortunately, it did not live up to the hype I had built up in my head.

It is about two sisters, Cass and Emma, that disappear and only Cass returns three years later. As she tells the story of what happened to her and Emma during the years they were gone, FBI psychologist Dr. Abby Winter starts to find holes in the story, focusing on Cass’s narcissist mother, Judy.

I wanted to give Emma in the Night 4 stars, only I ultimately had some problems with it. Cass was an unreliable narrator, but the reveal behind her story made no sense in the end. How Dr. Winter came to this revelation didn’t really make sense to me, either. Then again, I did not go to school for psychology like the author, Wendy Walker, supposedly did. I didn’t really care for any of the characters. The writing was good, though. Overall, Emma in the Night was a good book but I’m glad I got it out of the library instead of buying it.

 

Woman of God by James Patterson (library book)

1 star

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Very controversial! This is the first time I have ever given a James Patterson novel a 1-star review. While I love the idea of a female pope—and I hope I live to see the day—and support female clergy, there were too many problems with Woman of God for me to enjoy it.

The plot, if there was one, was so boring it made me question why I kept reading. The writing made me feel detached from everything, even the truly terrible things that happened. I honestly felt like I didn’t care. The main character, Brigid, had no development to speak of. And there was so much insta-love it made me want to puke.

Because of Woman of God, James Patterson is firmly a “library only” author from now on.

 

How was everyone else’s reading in November?

 

The Justice League Movie Book Tag

I am probably the only human being on this planet that has not seen Wonder Woman…. I have not had any interest in DC or Marvel movies since middle school. Only I’m really bad about seeing new movies in general. But this tag looked like fun!

I was not tagged by anybody. I saw this on Storeys of Stories blog and I wanted to do it. Angelica and Rosie The Book Cover Girls created the Justice League Movie Book Tag.

On to the tag!

 

Batman: Your favorite antihero.

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My go-to answer for this type of question is Lizbeth Salander from the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson. While she does some questionable things, her motives are always good. She hacks into people’s computers for their financial information, but the people she targets are men that have abused women or robbed innocents of their money. She gets revenge on the man that brutally raped her. Lizbeth does not believe in sexuality labels; she has relationships with both men and women. Those she is loyal to know they have a friend that will do anything for them…unless they are stupid enough to cross her.

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Aquaman: a book or character that turned out to be better than you expected.

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A World Without You by Beth Revis, which is about a teenaged boy named Bo suffering from a mental illness that makes him believe he can time travel. His girlfriend Sofia commits suicide, only he is convinced she is actually trapped somewhere in time. Beth Revis wrote the story in a way that blurred the lines between fantasy and reality. There were times I actually thought Bo could time travel, but everyone else was convinced he’s crazy. When I picked up A World Without You last year from the library, I expected a 4 star book. Instead, I got a 5 star read.

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Wonder Woman: most badass female character.

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I could say Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series or Celeana Sardothian or Manon Blackbeak from Throne of Glass series. Those women are awesome in their own ways. But for this question I am choosing the severely underrated Tandoori “Tandy” Angel from the Confessions series by James Patterson.

Tandy is a brilliant teenaged amateur detective with a logical, analytical mind. She uses her head to get herself out of trouble. She is fiercely independent; she does not need anyone else to complete her. She might come off as cold, but she is devoted to her family, especially her twin brother, Harry. Whenever people have hurt her, Tandy holds her head up high and rolls with it. She came face to face with a serial killer and didn’t flinch. And she’s sixteen.

 

Cyborg: favorite science fiction novel.

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I’m not a big science fiction reader, so I had to think hard about this. I picked the Saga graphic novel series by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughn. It is a space opera following a growing interracial family, where the parents are members of warring planets, and their adventures as they travel through the galaxy with several companions. The art is beautiful and makes the story all the more real.

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The Flash: a book you sped through.

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I can think of a few: City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson, An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir, My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller, and P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. All of them I enjoyed a lot, especially since they were such fast books to read.

 

Superman: saddest character death. (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

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First one I thought of was Rue from The Hunger Games. I read The Hunger Games the summer before my freshman year of college. When I was not corresponding with my new classmates or shopping for school things, I was reading this book. Then, Rue died. After that, I had to pick up the required summer reading book for my class because I could not deal with it. And a few days passed before I picked up The Hunger Games again.

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I tag anyone that wants to do the Justice League book tag!

Top 10 Leading Ladies from Books

My second post in honor of Women’s History Month is my list of top ten female heroines from books. I don’t have a “type” really of what I look for in a leading lady. These are characters that I personally identified with, or who have inspired me in some form, or I simply enjoyed them as a character. Some of the girls on this list are what made their book for me.

Here are my top ten (current) favorite heroines from books:

 

Lizbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Lizbeth Salander is the definition of an anti-heroine. She dresses like a punk Goth, has outrageous piercings and tattoos, hacks people’s computers for a living, and lacks social skills. But she always fights for the underdog and is a fierce advocate for women’s rights. She ignores sexuality labels and the few friends she has she is loyal to. A survivor of child abuse and rape, she never allows her past to blind her. She uses her skills to help others who can’t help themselves. Lizbeth does some things that would be considered wrong or illegal to others, but her motives are always good.

 

Audrey Rose Wadsworth from Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

A girl that rejects all expectation of a young lady in Victorian London society, feisty and smart Audrey Rose Wadsworth pursues forensic medicine, aiming to follow in her Uncle Jonathon’s footsteps to become a medical examiner. While other girls her age of her standing are searching for husbands, she is sticking her hands inside corpses. Audrey is independent, smart, feisty, and makes it clear to Thomas Cresswell she is his equal. Plus, she still loves pretty dresses and still enjoys other “girly” activities, even if she is not afraid of getting dirty.

 

Laia of Serra from the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir

Of all the girls on this list, Laia is one I identify with the most. In the beginning of An Ember in the Ashes, she does something dangerous but brave—going undercover as a slave to help rescue her brother—as well as some other awesome things, but doubts herself the whole time. Slowly, she gains more self-confidence and embraces who she is. Laia is quiet, but fierce in her own way.

 

Agnes Grey from Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Written by the youngest and, in my opinion, least popular of the Bronte sisters, Anne, Agnes Grey is a kindhearted, devout Christian governess that is repeatedly abused by the families she works for. She makes her way on her own, staying true to her moral code and providing social commentary on how poorly the upper classes treated the lower classes. There are times she comes close to breaking down, but Agnes always pulls herself back up again.

 

Manon Blackbeak from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

When Manon was first introduced in Heir of Fire, I was not sure how I felt about her. In Queen of Shadows, I liked her and enjoyed her storyline. In Empire of Storms, I loved her and now I want a whole spin-off series dedicated to her. She’s a flawed character and, unlike Celeana/Aelin, she is morally gray. Manon has had to make some of the more painful choices other characters avoid. But her intentions are always good, even if her actions are not always the most favorable.

 

Shahrzad from The Wrath & the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh

Strong, beautiful, independent, fierce, and kindhearted: Shazi is the whole package. She’s stubborn and she’s got a sharp tongue that has gotten her into trouble as much as out of it. Everyone in her life, she loves and she never hesitates to put herself in danger if it means saving someone she cares for. Shazi and Khalid are also in my top ten book OTPs, but they are another couple that are amazing both together and apart.

 

Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

A classic heroine on this list, Jane Eyre reminds me a lot of myself. She’s quiet; people don’t think too much of her. But she’s smart and stubborn. She sticks to her guns. Mr. Rochester loved her in his own way and he wanted to give her everything, only she was not going to be his side dish while his crazy wife withered away in the attic. Jane proved herself to be strong in her own silent way, determined to make it on her own during a time where women had virtually no rights.

 

Elizabeth Milton from Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman

An underrated heroine, Elizabeth Milton is the fictional daughter of literary legend and poet John Milton, as well as the protagonist of Anne Blankman’s novel, Traitor Angels. Like most of the others on this list, she knows how to handle herself in a sword fight and hides knives in her Puritan dresses. But Elizabeth’s greatest strength is her brain. She uses her head to solve problems. She’s also curious about everything and eager to learn. Not a whole lot of young adult heroines are like that.

 

Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Most people would say Lizzie Bennet is their favorite Jane Austen heroine. She’s a great character, but my loyalty is to Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. I identified most with her, because she is the older sister with too much responsibility on her shoulders and the sensible girl who denies herself the ability to feel or want something she thinks she can’t have. Overall, Elinor is a good friend to those around her, smart with a strong head on her shoulders, and a devoted sister.

 

Tandoori “Tandy” Angel from the Confessions series by James Patterson

Another severely underrated heroine, Tandy is a brilliant and sassy, but sometimes vulnerable, teenaged detective genius. While she had a rocky relationship with her wealthy parents, who basically used their five children as science experiments, she is fiercely devoted to her siblings, especially her twin brother Harry. Tandy is all about logic and exposing the truth, even if it hurts.