April 16, 2018

Harry Houdini has nothing on her | The Art of Escaping Review

The Art of Escaping
The Art of EscapingBy Erin Callahan
Publication on June 18, 2018
320 Pages
Young Adult, Contemporary

This book was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.

Seventeen-year-old Mattie is hiding her obsession with Harry Houdini and Dorothy Dietrich from everyone, including her best friend Stella. When Stella takes off to boarding school for the summer, all of Mattie’s anxieties bubble to the surface, leaving her feeling adrift. To distract herself, she seeks out Miyu, the reclusive daughter of a world-renowned escape artist whose life and career were snuffed out by a tragic plane crash.
With Miyu’s help, Mattie secretly transforms herself into a burgeoning escapologist and performance artist. Away from the curious eyes of her peers, she thrives in her new world of lock picking, straitjackets, and aquarium escapes. But when Will, a popular varsity athlete from her high school, discovers her act at an underground venue, she fears that her double life is about to be exposed. But instead of outing her, Will tells Mattie something he’s never told anyone before and the two of them find out that not all secrets can remain secret forever.
Told through the perspectives of the witty main characters, this funny and fresh debut explores the power of stage personas and secret spaces, and speaks to the uncanny ways in which friendships transform us.

April 10, 2018

Books I Loved but Will Never Revisit

Top Ten Tuesday is a list-based meme hosted by the amazing Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. If the meme sounds familiar, it was formerly hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

My "to-re-read" shelf on Goodreads is pretty much bare with a mere 12 books. Personally, I am not a huge fan of re-reading. In the end, the act of reading a story for a second or third time mostly seems like a waste of time to me when there are plenty of other books I need to read. If I had all of the time in the world, then I would gladly re-read to my heart's desire. Unfortunately, my reading time is limited and I like to dedicate that time to exploring new worlds.

Despite my stance against re-reading, there are only a handful of books that I would never consider re-reading.

April 8, 2018

How Love, Simon stole by heart (and hopefully changed cinema)

Love, Simon is a movie about choices. It's about choosing to be yourself over the image of yourself that society want you to be. Choosing to make mistakes, but also choosing to fix them. Choosing to come out into a hostile world but also choosing to be optimistic. Love, Simon gives the power of choice in a world that wants to shove everyone in the same societal norms. 

Love, Simon also gives the audience the choice to see a movie that will change their lives. 

There are a ton of movies with straight main characters. We don't need another one, but Hollywood has kept that standard in place because it believes that is what the audience wants. The cycle is perpetuated since Hollywood only gives us the same white-washed hetero films, tricking itself into thinking that is what the audience wants. However, the audience does not really choose unless there are other options. Picking between an apple and another apple is not a choice because you still end up with an apple regardless of your "choice". So, picking between one straight male-dominated movie and another straight male-dominated movie is not a choice for us either, just another resigned conclusion to see the same actors and storyline over and over again.

Love, Simon breaks this cycle by offering a fresh, diverse, and normal look into life as a gay teenager. While the necessity of this movie has been argued (mostly by those living under a rock without actual knowledge of the real world), Love, Simon is, more importantly, the movie that our generation WANTS.

March 27, 2018

How I Became a Rating Robber | Chasing the Nonexistent Golden Standard

I like to think of myself as a fair and honest person. I never cheat on tests. I never tell myself that I will only watch one episode of Netflix because I know it would end up being a lie. I always replace the roll of toilet paper instead of leaving an empty tube for the next unfortunate soul who enters the bathroom.

However, it has come to my attention that I may be the worst criminal of them all--a rating robber.

March 13, 2018

Books that Defied my Expectations (for Better and Worse)

Top Ten Tuesday is a list-based meme hosted by the amazing Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. If the meme sounds familiar, it was formerly hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Let's just throw the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" saying out of the window. Nobody listens to that advice. In fact, I would be more worried if you pick up a book without judging it at least a tiny bit. As a book blogger, my days of wandering through a library and randomly grabbing a book are long gone. I may not always judge a book by its appearance (unless it is shiny, then I am definitely going to love it), but I always make a judgement about the author, the synopsis, or even the genre. The question of whether or not I should be prejudging books is a matter for another time since today I am talking about books that defied my initial expectations and hopes.

To me, there are two kinds of surprises: presents and duds. Presents are the boxes that you find wrapped under the Christmas tree without knowing what it is. I don't know what is in them, but I am pleasantly surprised when I see the goodies inside (which, to be honest, is probably more books). On the other hand there are the dud surprises that catch you off guard with their awfulness. Maybe you pick up the newest book from your favorite author and hate it or maybe a book with a shiny cover was actually terrible (I still think this is impossible, but I am entertaining the idea for the sake of the comparison). 

Books don't always match up with our expectations, which can be both surprisingly good and surprisingly bad. Here is my list of books that destroyed my initial impressions.