Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram 



Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable debut introduces a brilliant new voice in contemporary YA.

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understand that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.
     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT

Publisher: Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House 

Expected Publication: August.28.2018

*Thank you First to Read for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Ahh I love this kid. Darius reminded me of Simon (from Simon vs.) . There’s something so damn endearing about them. 

Darius is a half-Persian, clinically-depressed teen that is continually bullied at school. Told from his point of view, the reader follows him and his family from their home in Portland, Oregon to Iran where he meets his dying grandfather for the first time. In Iran Darius learns to be a bit more comfortable with himself, thanks in huge part to his new best friend, Sohrab.

At first, Darius continues to struggle with fitting in. He doesn’t feel like a true Persian because he doesn’t speak fluent Farsi (unlike his 8 year old sister), his Babou (grandfather) doesn’t understand his mental illness, and he still has issues with his father. But with Sohrab, he doesn’t have to explain himself because he understands. Because being Bahá’í, he too knows quite well what it is like to not fit in. 

“Dr. Howell likes to say that depression is anger turned inward.

I had so much anger turned inward, I could have powered a warp core.

But without the proper magnetic field strength, it exploded outward instead.”

A beautiful story so subtle and wonderfully written. From the food (Qottab!!) to the landscapes to the cultural identity struggles. Iran came alive before my eyes. 

The book is billed as an LGBT novel but you have to read between the lines to even get close to the label. Honestly, I don’t think I would have picked up on it if it hadn’t been promoted as such. Darius becomes close with Sohrab, but there is no romance. At all. And Darius never discusses his sexuality. I think the closest we got was when his family in Iran kept asking why he didn’t have a girlfriend which flustered him. Other than that, I didn’t see it. 

My one little complaint about the book would be Darius’ dialogue. A lot of “um”. And I mean, A LOT. At least 85% of his sentences begin with “um”. I get that the author is trying to convey a part of the character’s personality, but it’s unrealistic. Nobody speaks that way. No matter how shy, anxious or whatever. No one. 

Anyway, I really did enjoy this book. I loved reading about Darius’ bougie tea taste haha. I’m not a tea drinker (except for my black tea lemonade from Starbucks lol) but this kid really knows his damn tea. He’s low-key funny. And his Star Trek and Lord of the Rings references were on point. Loved it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Advertisements

Warcross by Marie Lu

If Leopoldo Gout’s Genius series and Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One had a baby, it would be this book. 

Emika Chen is a bounty hunter and hacker, looking for a huge score to pay off all the debt she finds herself in. One day, she hacks her way into Warcross, a virtual reality game played by everyone, and accidentally exposes herself to the world. The game’s young creator, Hideo Tanaka, invites Emika to join the Warcross champiosnhip games as a wildcard pick and hires her to help him track down a hacker. 

I feel like I’ve read this book before. There were similar plot elements used from other books I’ve read that kept taking me out of this story. The twists, were not really twists. I was never shocked or taken by surprise because again, if you’ve read RPO or Genius: The Game, then you have an idea of what’s going to happen. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a completely different book, written by my beloved Marie Lu. 

With that being said, I did enjoy the story. Not as much as I perhaps thought I would. But still. You can’t deny Marie Lu’s talent. She really knows how to make a world her own and create characters that have depth.

I’m so excited for Wildcard! Can’t wait to see how this story concludes! 


2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Prompt: a cyberpunk book

Reading update: 39/50

Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Selina Kyle is doing everything she can to take care of her younger sister, Maggie, who has cystic fibrosis. With no parents in sight, it is Selina’s responsibility to make sure Maggie has access to all the tests, drugs and doctors available. But being 17 and living in the East End, Selina works in the underbelly of Gotham City for Carmine Falcone to make some quick cash. When she is recruited by Talia al Ghul, Selina’s path to becoming the infamous Catwoman unfolds. 

Review

I was originally planning to do a mini-review of this book for next Monday’s post. But, I have a lot of feelings about this read. So, here we are.

Okay, *takes a deep breath* this book and I got off on the wrong foot. The writing irked me from the get-go. The “that Latina girl” and “that Asian girl” got on my nerves. Because they weren’t main characters (not even supporting ones), and I felt the author only used them for diversity points. They appear for a hot second, and have maybe one speaking line between them. If that. 

Anyway, the story itself is actually okay. We see a lot of familiar characters from within the DC universe. A LOT. (I couldn’t pinpoint any new major character introductions). Selina works alongside and befriends Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. It was all very interesting. Especially as there seems to be a bit of a one-sided romance between the latter two. And of course there has to be a love interest for Selina. He comes in the form of Luke Fox and his brown skin, aka Batwing. (The number of times Maas refers to his skin color is way too much. And don’t get me started on how many times Selina’s white skin and blond hair are brought up. Seriously.).

I know this book will appeal to a ton of people. But honestly, it annoyed me. My expectations were a bit different, I guess. I’ve read Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Batman: Nightwalker, so was expecting a story of a similar strain. Which is completely unfair of me. I acknowledge that. Besides, this story was a bit familiar. Probably because I’ve watched every single episode of Arrow, and a similar plot device was used there. So… um yeah.

I didn’t go into everything that irked me in this review haha. Batwing’s portrayal, the stereotypes(!), the lack of plot in at least 75% of the book, the ending(!!) … the list goes on. I was very excited to read this book but boy was I disappointed. Was I entertained though? Yes, yes I was. 

Anyway, writing this is only upsetting me and making me seriously rethink my Goodreads rating. If I wanted to read about a special snowflake (because Catwoman has NO flaws: a gifted gymnast, a genius in school, an undefeated fighter…) I would have picked up Nancy Drew (which I always excuse as a product of its time). Ugh. Okay. I’m done. 

The Sunshine Blogger Award #2

 THANK YOU  Booklook for nominating me 😀 !!! And I’m sorry for taking so long in getting to it lol

RULES:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and ask them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your post/or on your blog

BOOKLOOK’S QUESTIONS FOR ME: 

1. Define yourself.

An overly ambitious and completely  introverted bookworm 😉

2. What is your greatest fear?

Failure!! Oh, and clowns. Stupid clowns. 

3. What are your strength and weaknesses?

Strength: Patience. Weakness: Pride. Definitely, pride. 

4. If, only for once, time travel is possible, what would you like to do?

​I’d go back in time and catch a Beatles concert! 😀

5. What keeps you going and positive in hard times?

A lot of things. Is it weird if I say therapy? Let’s see… the people I love, the books I read, everyday adventures, the endless possibilities before me…

6. Did you ever cry hardest? Why?

The day I was triggered, which opened the floodgates to all the horrid thoughts running through my overactive brain, leading to my being hospitalized weeks later. That relatively small period of my life was one big, depressing, sobfest. Fun times.

7. Tell your notions about hell and heaven.

Honestly, my views change all the time. Sometimes I do believe. But then the other 90% of the time I think it’s a creative way to keep people in check. Today? I’m on the latter side.

8. Who/what is closest to your heart?

Besides my books?? Um… my girls ❤

Throwback to the day my goddaughter and my princess first met

​​
9. What is your birth date?

January 31st. I share a birthday with Justin Timberlake haha. Destined to be an NSYNC fangirl from birth lmao



10. Why are you into blogging?

This community! It started out because of books. But seriously, it’s you my fellow bloggers that make me stick with it. Everyone here has been amazing and just plain welcoming. And I’ve gotten to know some wonderful people! Love ya’ll ❤



11. Which comment had the biggest impact on you?

“You inspire me” and “You’d make a wonderful mom”. 

NOMINEES:

BOOK PRINCESS REVIEWS

BRIANNA THE BOOKWORM

KRISTIN KRAVES BOOKS

SPRINKLES OF DREAMS

MORGANA’S BOOK BOX

MY QUESTIONS FOR YOU:
1. Would you rather travel back in time and alter history or go to the future and find out how and when you die and why?

2. What songs would the soundtrack of your life consist of? 

3. If you woke up tomorrow in somebody else’s body, who would you want to be and what would you do?

3. When was the last time you binge watched a show and what was it? 

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever gotten?

5. Have you met any celebrities before, and if so, who?

6. What books would you recommend to someone that says they hate reading?

7. Which fictional character would be the most boring to meet?

8. What is your favorite word?

9. If you had a boat, what bookish name would you give it? 

10. What would be the title of your autobiography?

11. What is the one question that you absolutely hate being asked?

Once again, thank you Booklook ❤ !



No pressure on anyone to participate! 



HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 🙂

Nancy Drew (#42): The Phantom of Pine Hill by Carolyn Keene

Written by: Harriet Adams (1965)

Nancy, Bess and George are planning to spend a week in Emerson with the boys. But their motel reservations fall through and the girls are left stranded. Ned, finds lodging for them at John Rorick’s mansion and informs Nancy about a phantom haunting the home.

So… *giggles nervously* the mystery is good. Not only does Nancy have to figure out who the phantom is but she has to find a missing centuries old treasure. The problem with the story is… everything else.

Rorick is a descendant of the early settlers in Emerson. But apparently the Native American tribe massacred most of the early settlers. Nobody is sure why. Well, until Nancy figures it out. Anyway, Emerson College is having a week of celebrations, and in one event, a river pageant, they present the history of the area. This is where things get problematic. Ned and some other students, dress up as Native Americans and “kidnap” Nancy. (That’s my boy Ned on the cover btw. Welp). They then proceed to “speak” like Native Americans (i.e. They sound like The Chief in Peter Pan). Which is of course, so damn disrespectful. I read through those parts quickly, but the cringe-factor was real.
 
Later on, when the mystery is winding down, Nancy decides it’s a good idea to dig in an old Native American campground. Sigh. My Anthro heart could not take this. The girls are picking up arrowheads, and ugh just messing up the area! Only when they dig up a skeleton do they think “hey, we should call the proper authorities“. When one of the local Emerson professors shows up, he tells them, “oh, I was going to conduct a dig here“. Well, you’re out of luck dude, because Nancy and friends have screwed the whole thing up. Ahhh!!
 
Okay. Okay. The mystery? Interesting. For a second there even Nancy believes the culprit may be a real ghost. It all actually comes together quite well and no one is kidnapped by bad guys. So, yay! But, like I said everything else is a big pile of yikes. By today’s standards, this book is a culturally insensitive trainwreck. 

V for Vendetta created by Alan Moore & David Lloyd


Codename V is on a mission to not only right a few wrongs but to set society (living in a totalitarian English government) on a path to freedom. 

Ahhhh this was amazing!! My mind is blown! Best comic book I’ve read. The story is still so pertinent. It’s a relatively quick read that still manages to present an insightful look at not only vengeance but oppression. 

…it is the duty of every man in this country to seize the initiative and make Great Britain great again.

Now, doesn’t that sound eerily familiar??
 
How about this one? 

“It was all the fascist groups, the right-wingers. They’d all got together with some of the big corporations that had survived. ‘Norsefire’ they called themselves… They soon got things under control. But then they started taking people away…all the black people and the pakistanis…white people too. All the radicals and the men who, you know, liked other men. The homosexuals.”

I have seen the film version a few times and really enjoyed it. It’s actually a pretty faithful adaptation. But obviously the comic is better! There is so much detail captured in the pages. 

“Noise is relative to the silence preceding it. The more absolute the hush, the more shocking the thunderclap. Our masters have not heard the people’s voice for generations, Evey… and it is much, much louder than they care to remember.”

It is ultimately a tale about resistance. So so good. Highly recommend!!

2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge.

Prompt: Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016 or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 

[Went with the 2015 prompt of a graphic novel because I actually don’t read that many. So glad I finally picked this one up!]

Challenge update: 38/50

Mini-Reviews: Anna Kendrick, Road Trips, Music, and Nicholas Sparks

More mini-reviews! Yay! This is what happens when you hunker down in your home to escape the heat outside. Honestly, I think all this reading is starting to burn me out haha. 

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

I listened to the audiobook version and I must say, listening to these celebrities narrate their essays and memoirs has been amazing so far. A bit of their personalities shine through. Anna Kendrick’s is no exception. 

I think Anna Kendrick has been the realest. She holds absolutely nothing back when talking about her life. And I could relate to her in a way I didn’t think would be possible. She’s an anxious oddball! Was I a huge fan of hers before? Eh, not really, sort of? I can watch the Pitch Perfect movies on repeat all day though haha. Now I think I’ll see her a little differently. She let her crazy out and I really enjoyed it.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy has been left home alone for a month. Her twin brother is at a “summer enrichment program” (aka rehab), her mother is setting up their new home in Connecticut, and her father? Well, her father died 3 months before in a car accident; Amy was the driver. Now Amy’s mother needs her to get the family car from California to Connecticut. Enter Roger, an old family friend. He has to get to the East Coast and is willing to do the drive with Amy. An amazing road trip ensues.

Roger and Amy go on the greatest cross-country road trip ever. Her mom had planned out the trip’s original route but Amy and Roger decide to take detours. Loved it. As they’re stuck spending hours together they get to know each other and help one another out. 

When you’re trying to read but your dog won’t let you lol

Throughout the book, there are pictures and receipts from the trip scattered around which I liked. Plus music playlists! It made Amy’s scrapbook seem real. And they come across so many people that help them on their personal journeys. Besides, they actually go to some pretty cool places!

I want to go on a road trip! Haven’t been on one in what seems like forever. Sigh. Morgan Matson is definitely one of my new favorite authors.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Frank is a vinyl record store owner in 1980’s England. One day a strange woman faints outside his shop. A tentative friendship springs up between him and Ilse. 

So vinyl records. Frank is an old soul, and refuses to sell tapes, cd’s and whatnot. He has a knack for finding people the music they need. Just by listening to your story, he knows what it is you should listen to. Now because he only sells vinyl, his store begins to suffer as people flock to pick up the new shiny tech. Actually, the whole street is suffering. Then Ilse appears and things are okay for Frank for a while. Then flash forward to 2009 and Frank has been dealt many blows. His shop is no more, his old shop neighbors have all either died or moved on, Ilse hasn’t been seen in so long.

Sigh. This book was an all-around downer. I picked it up thinking it would be like The Little Paris Bookshop but with music. In a way it was. Frank is very passionate about music and it’s all extremely interesting. Everything outside that is a bit of a bummer though. I dreaded picking this book up. It ends on a relatively happy note but getting there was a depressing read.

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks



Erin is in an abusive marriage. Her husband Kevin, a detective in Boston, is extremely controlling and beats Erin for absolutely zero reason. She manages to escape to Southport, a small beachside town. There, she is finally safe, living a life of her own, and falling for Alex, a widower with two young children. But Kevin is desperate to find her.

Okay. This is my first Nicholas Sparks book and it wasn’t that bad. I’ve seen the movie adaptation before so all of the plot twists weren’t surprising to me. 

I think my biggest problem is the writing style. It kept telling me all these things, but not really showing it. Plus, some things were completely unbelievable. And oh my goodness, if Erin’s beauty was discussed one more time I was going to scream. Seriously. Her good looks were always mentioned. I’m sure she has other attributes! Ugh. 

Anyway, it was an okay read. 

If you made it this far, you’re a trouper haha




Happy blogging everyone! 🙂

A Double Dose of Nancy Drew #5

The penultimate installment of A Double Dose of Nancy Drew! We’re getting closer and closer to #56!! Although, I do own other Nancy Drew books that go past the original set. We’ll see what I do haha. 

Now, on to Nancy’s adventures!

The Moonstone Castle Mystery (Nancy Drew #40) 

Written by: Harriet Adams (1963)


Nancy’s father, Carson Drew, is hired by a couple that recently returned from doing missionary work in Africa, to help locate their missing granddaughter. Mr. And Mrs. Bowen were kidnapped for 14 years while doing their missionary work and have only been recently released. Before embarking on their journey, they left 4 year old Joanie with her other grandmother, Mrs. Horton. But it seems that grandmother passed away shortly thereafter and the little girl has been missing ever since. Something unbeknownst to the Bowens until they return. It is Nancy’s job to try to find out what happened to the little girl. 

Phew! Okay now this was an interesting case. The missing little girl would now be about 18 years old. Trying to find her is difficult as it seems no one in the grandmother’s hometown knows she even existed. And because it’s been so long, they don’t really know what she would look like. 

Also, the grandmother that passed away left everything to Joanie. But someone impersonated her and stole the fortune. So Nancy also has to figure out who claimed an inheritance that wasn’t theirs to claim. 

Favorite quote:

“More than one person may come back to get the moonstone back. And if they’re husky men, we wouldn’t stand a chance.” George looked at her cousin disdainfully. “Why not? We’re not weaklings!”

Brava, George!

This is one of the books I remember reading as a kid. Couldn’t recall the details of the story but I did remember the cover. My friend let me borrow it and I really liked the castle so I did a drawing of it. (Which is thankfully no longer in existence because I am no artiste haha). 

I really enjoyed this mystery! Parts of it actually read like a thriller that would be published today. Or maybe a Law and Order episode? And reading about how Nancy happens upon a clue is always fun. Especially when there’s a castle involved!

The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes (Nancy Drew #41) 

Nancy has to search for her own inheritance in Scotland.

Written by: Harriet Adams (1964)

Okay, Okay, there’s more to it than that haha. Nancy’s maternal grandmother, who lives in Scotland, has a family heirloom that she wants to give to her. The problem is, it has gone missing. Conveniently, Nancy’s father has business to conduct in Scotland, so Nancy is able to search for clues to her missing heirloom. 

Now, that’s not the only mystery she has to solve. Before she leaves, Ned jokingly tells her about an article he read. The article states that herds of sheep are being stolen in Scotland and nobody seems to know how or why. This being Nancy though, she ends up solving this case and finding her heirloom all while getting in touch with her Scottish roots.

A funny thing about this story is that Nancy becomes famous. She always tries to keep a low-profile because she’s a detective. If everyone knows who she is, it makes it harder to find clues. Well, it turns out that Bess entered a photograph of Nancy into a photography contest. The prize is two tickets to anyplace in the world. She wins, and initially wants to give the second ticket to Nancy. But she insists she give it to George instead so all 3 friends can travel to Scotland together. Anyway, the photograph is published in an international magazine so everyone in Scotland pretty much recognizes her. 

I should also mention that there is a gruesome scene. The girls stumble a sheep massacre. Rather dark for a Nancy Drew book.

Final Thoughts

Two really great mysteries I liked for different reasons. One because of its mystery and the other because of the traveling. Nancy and her friends visit many tourist spots in Scotland. (Which is always fun). And we learn more about Nancy’s history. Her mom passed away from a sudden illness and she has Scottish ancestry. Very interesting to read about. 

Becoming Belle by Nuala O’Connor

This historical fiction novel was a complete and utter miss for me. I didn’t like the characters or the writing. The plot was interesting but it just didn’t do it for me. 

DESCRIPTION

A witty and inherently feminist novel about passion and marriage, based on a true story of an unstoppable woman ahead of her time in Victorian London.

In 1887, Isabel Bilton is the eldest of three daughters of a middle-class military family, growing up in a small garrison town. By 1891 she is the Countess of Clancarty, dubbed “the peasant countess” by the press, and a member of the Irish aristocracy. Becoming Belle is the story of the four years in between, of Belle’s rapid ascent and the people that tried to tear her down.

With only her talent, charm, and determination, Isabel moves to London alone at age nineteen, changes her name to Belle, and takes the city by storm, facing unthinkable hardships as she rises to fame. A true bohemian and the star of a dancing double act she performs with her sister, she reigns over The Empire Theatre and The Corinthian Club, where only select society entertains. It is there she falls passionately in love with William, Viscount Dunlo, a young aristocrat. For Belle, her marriage to William is a dream come true, but his ruthless father makes clear he’ll stop at nothing to keep her in her place.

Reimagined by a novelist at the height of her powers, Belle is an unforgettable woman. Set against an absorbing portrait of Victorian London, hers is a timeless rags-to-riches story a la Becky Sharp.    

– Goodreads 

Genre(s): Historical Fiction, British Literature

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House

Expected Publication: August.7.2018

*Thank you First to Read for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

WARNING: The rest of this post will be full of ranting and spoilers.

THE PLOT
Isabella “Belle” Bilton is a young woman who dreams of becoming a dancer. She leaves her family home and sets out for London where she quickly gets her dream job. She falls for a well-to-do “Baron” and ends up pregnant. She becomes quick friends with Wertheimer who takes her in. Once the baby is born, she returns to her dancing career. Next she meets William, a young, and rich Viscount who is madly in love with her. They marry. There’s a huge scandal when they go to court because he begins divorce proceedings against her. Everything works out and they live happily ever after.

THE WRITING
Sigh. The chapters are relatively short, making for a fast-paced story told in third person POV. The prose is way over the top. It’s weirdly flowery and inconsistent. The sex scenes are unnecessary and low-key gross. I’m cringing. 

Belle whimpered and leaped into his lap. They kissed and it was the most natural thing, to feel William’s tongue hot and swollen in her mouth. Tears slipped from her eyes and mingled with their spit; they laughed and cried.

Need I say more?

THE CHARACTERS



Belle Bilton

One of my problems with this book is the characterization of Belle. From the book’s description you get the idea that she was a woman ahead of her time. But she wasn’t. She was stupidly naïve and her idea of moving ahead seemed to be to snag a rich husband. Good for you. Doesn’t necessarily make her a woman “ahead of her time” though. More a victim of her time.

Which is how she ended up having a baby out of wedlock with a criminal. She is a selfish woman. The only decent thing she seems to have done was give her baby away to a loving family.

And that’s another thing. She doesn’t like her baby because she hates his father. But then she has the audacity to expect some form of love from her son?! The boy she rarely sees and shows no maternal feelings for. Paying for his upbringing does not make you a good parent. Then, 2 year old baby Isidor nearly drowns and all she does is watch as the river’s current takes him away. When she does eventually jump in, she decides she’ll never see him again. 

William

This guy was spineless! As the eldest son, he is set to inherit his family’s estate in Ireland. But when he marries Belle, his father threatens to disinherit him. Because he was underage (20) when he married, William has no money of his own. So to appease his father, he abandons Belle days after they get married and heads to Australia. 

He promises to return once he is 21 and has his fortunes secured. Except, he doesn’t come back! In fact, while in Australia he enacts divorce proceedings against Belle for adultery!

Wertheimer

I liked him. He was Belle’s gay best friend. But no one knows he is gay because it is Victorian England and well, bad things would happen to him if it ever were revealed. Belle knows though. In fact, he tells her when she reveals that she is pregnant. They become fast friends and Wertheimer houses Belle when she is pregnant and can no longer work. And he houses her again when William up and leaves.

THE AUTHOR’S NOTE
After the book ended on a relatively happy note, we have this section. Now this page upset me.Honestly, it’s what pushed me over the edge. The author, Nuala O’Connor, gives a little information on the real life people whose story inspired this novel. And oh boy, were some liberties taken!

So it turns out in real life Wertheimer wasn’t gay! So why make him gay in the novel? For representation? Okay… cool. But… I’m a cynic. Personally, I believe it was done to make Belle more sympathetic to the reader.

Finding out Wertheimer isn’t gay made me go back and question his relationship with Belle. Because I did feel sympathy for her during the trial! She’s accused of having an affair with her bff which is impossible because he’s gay and she can’t tell anyone. Then to find out he was straight. What?! I feel lied to and betrayed!! In the novel, when William is in Australia, she is lusting after her servant. Now I completely believe she did have an affair with Wertheimer. Bah!

FINAL THOUGHTS
I am annoyed. If I had a physical copy of this book I would fling it out the window and leave it there until the end of time.

I knew nothing about Belle Bilton when I read this book and I really don’t care to read up on her now. Which is really saying something because ya’ll know I love doing my own research.

The best part of the novel was the court trial. It was a good look at celebrity culture and how it was covered by the press then. In that respect, apparently nothing much has changed. Everyone loves a good scandal. Especially one involving a somewhat famous person. 

Rating: 2/5 stars

*All direct quotes used in this review are from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication*

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Halloween is exactly 3 months away! Meaning, a reprieve from this weather and the little ones will soon be throwing out costume ideas. Fun, fun, fun.

Now, this review will be short because I honestly don’t have much to say about it haha. 

On Halloween day a group of boys go on an adventure through time, learning about the history of the holiday. 

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Bronson Pinchot, and it was amazing. There were a few times where I was a little spooked by the story but I really enjoyed it. And learning about how other cultures celebrate the day was the icing on the cake. 

2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Prompt: a book about or set on Halloween [Originally planned to read Practical Magic for this prompt but I wasn’t in the mood. Maybe I’ll get to it later?]

Challenge update: 37/50