book courtship tag

Hey, all! Sorry for the lack of posts as of late; I’ve been on vacation for the last few days (and I will be for the next few as well), so I haven’t unfortunately had enough time to sit down and hash out a book review. I told myself I’d prep some before I left so I could just post while I was gone – but naturally, I didn’t. Alas: I did have a few book memes left in my draft folder and decided to do a few quick updates and post them!

Today, I’m posting The Book Courtship Tag, which I saw on someone else’s blog and thought was so cute! It compares books I’ve read and want to read to different “stages” in a traditional modern-day relationship. Apparently the original creator of this meme is unknown, but let me know if you know where this blog post originated – and most importantly, enjoy! ūüôā

20 Questions_Row One

Phase 1 – Initial Attraction: A book I bought because of the cover
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin //¬†I honestly didn’t¬†buy¬†this book, but I found a pile of books someone had left at work up for grabs and picked this one out because of the gorgeous cover… so that counts, right?? However, it helped that the promises on the inside flap also enticed me as well.¬†The Immortalists¬†follow four young adults throughout several decades of their lives following a visit to a psychic who told them a brief explanation of how those next decades would play out. Because they believe they know their fates, they live their lives with a certain new-found sense of confidence… and tragedies and hilarity alike ensue (or at least that’s what the reviews promise). I’m excited to hopefully pick it up soon.

Phase 2 –¬† First Impressions: A book I got because of its summary
The Golden House¬†by Salman Rushdie //¬†Rushdie is a simply gorgeous writer, and his covers match his writing style perfectly.¬†The Golden House¬†follows the lives of a migrant family who move to the United States by less than legal methods, and find immediate success by the same revenues. It’s told mostly by the POV of their confidante and neighbor, and is overall a commentary on the soul of the “American success story” at its most macabre and ridiculous. Despite the extravagance of the material, and the tangles of the characters’ lives within the story, my friend who recommended it to me belied that the simple cover does really reflect the simple message of Rushdie’s story.

Phase 3 – Sweet Talk: A book with great writing
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho // This is absolutely, without a doubt, one of my favorite books of all time. I had to read it back when I was about fourteen years old for one of my high school courses, and I fell in love with it instantly. I try to re-read it every other year, because I feel like I can find different pieces every time that speak to me in a different way as I evolve through this craziness we call adulthood.

20 Questions_Row Two

Phase 4 – First Date: The first book of a series that made me want to pick up the rest of the series
Red Rising (Red Rising #1)¬†by Pierce Brown //¬†I’ve said it once, twice, a million times, and I’ll say it again –¬†Red Rising¬†is one of the best series out there. From page one, Brown had pulled me into his high sci-fi world of Mars colonizations, and kept me there until there was no material left for me to read. I literally drove almost an hour to go pick up one of the books, actually – and I recommend it incessantly to anyone who will listen. Full review of the first book

Phase 5 – Late Night Phone Calls: A book that kept me up all night
Horrost√∂r¬†by Grady Hendrix //¬†¬†I just finished this book last week, and I still can’t pass an Ikea without getting a shiver down my spine. The book follows a woman named Amy (my name as well, by the way – so that adds to the creep factor) and her co-workers at a pseudo-Ikea as they stay overnight at their store to figure out why the store looks vandalized when they all arrive in the morning. It turns out that the store is actually built on the grounds of an old¬†penitentiary – and that the native ghosts are getting a little restless. I still have¬†a lot¬†of unanswered questions about this book, and it is honestly so low-key creepy that it ended up sticking with me a little too long. I hope Hendrix writes a sequel or some sort of continuation, because that ending was just not enough for me.¬†Review coming soon.

Phase 6 – Always On My Mind: A book that I could not stop thinking about
In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French //¬†In the first installment of French’s riveting¬†Dublin Murder Squad¬†series, we meet Detective Rob Ryan – a man trying to forget about his own mysterious past by solving the mysteries of others’. Although the plot centers around the murder of a young girl in a small Irish town, it’s the murder of Ryan’s childhood friend when they disappeared in the woods together in the same small Irish town that really steals the reader’s curiosity, and keeps it well after the book ends. Full review posted¬†here.

20 Questions_Row Three

Phase 7 – Getting Physical: A book that I love the way it feels
Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel // The cover of this book is kind of that rubber-like matte feel, but is still very thin Рwhich I enjoy, immensely. The diamond shape is also cut out of the front cover to reveal the pattern underneath, which extends into a larger image when you open up the book Рwhich I also enjoy, immensely.

Phase 8 – Meeting the Parents: A book that I would recommend to my family and friends
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henr√≠quez //¬†This is one of those books that is a perfectly simple depiction of a very complex issue in our country – and therefore, one that I recommend to everyone, and¬†especially¬†those who don’t quite seem to understand the issue. It follows the tale of a family who moves her illegally because their mentally disabled daughter cannot get the education she deserves in her country. It talks about the depression they have leaving their home behind, the difficulty they have in adjusting to a new country, and the obstacles and prejudice they face both as immigrants and with their daughter being “disabled”. It made me cry both with its beauty and sadness, but it is such an important story – and one of many like it. Full review¬†here.

Phase 9 – Thinking About the Future: A book or series that I know I will re-read many times in the future
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling // Because, of course.

What do you all think about my choices? Any you disagree with? Anything you recommend I pick up next/not at all? Let me know down in the comments! ūüôā


The Disney Princess Book Tag

disney princess book tag.jpg
Hey, y’all! Sorry I’ve been so sparse with the posts these last few months. I graduated college (eek), and am currently preparing for my NCLEX, or my exam to become a Registered Nurse. Still, I intend on trying to post at least 4 times a week in the next few months, even if I can’t read/post reviews that quickly – so memes and book tags it is! I’ve wanted to do this tag – the Disney Princess Book Tag – for a while, and it was created by¬†Of Stacks and Cups. So here we go!!
My Disney Princess Facts:
1. My favorite Disney princess when I was growing up was Cinderella, but I think now it¬†really depends on the day and what your definition of “Disney princess” is. (*ahem* Star Wars and Marvel fandoms or nah? – because then the answer is¬†obviously Rey or Claire Temple a la¬†The Defenders TV series)
2. My favorite Disney princess movie of the below movies listed is probably Mulan, although I feel like The Princess and the Frog is vastly underappreciated.

3. Tbh my favorite characters from all of the Disney princess movies aren’t even the princesses. I’m all about the sassy sidekick animals. My favorites include Meeko from¬†Pocahontas, Maximus and Pascal from¬†Tangled, and Mushu and Cri-Kee from¬†Mulan.

Snow White
1. Snow White: Name your favorite classic
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This was one of the first “adult” books I ever read. It’s not really adult, but I read it when I was like eight and it’s¬†a little dark for eight-year-olds, so I think I convinced myself it was more intense than it actually was. The story follows a girl named Mary who, after being born to rich British immigrants in India in the early 1900s, suddenly finds herself orphaned and being shipped off to unknown relatives back in England. When she arrives, she finds a beautiful manor housing a lively crew of servants, her mysterious and distanced uncle, her disabled cousin, and a garden full of secrets that once used to be her now-deceased aunt’s favorite place. Mary, who is rather unhappy when she arrives, eventually finds her way into this secret garden, which helps not only her heal but also helps her heal all those around her. It’s still one of my favorite tales and it has an unusually happy ending considering the darkness of the rest of the story, so it’s a lot like¬†Snow White¬†in that manner, too.

2. Cinderella: Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime
Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake
This is one of the books I’ve been seeing popping up on every book review blog that has any YA review on it, and I’ve seen a lot of hype around it. The series follows a set of triplet princesses who, early in their childhood and like all of their ancestors before them, are separated and raised in different villages to hone their specific powers that they will one day use to kill their two other sisters for the throne. I grabbed it at my local library when I saw it on their new book shelf, and although it took me a while to get into it as it was really hard to connect to the three main characters, I ended up being¬†so involved and attached at the end, especially to Arsione. I finished it before realizing its sequel doesn’t come out until September, and never have I been so disappointed.
3. Aurora: Name your favorite classic romance
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
So I know this book isn’t 100% a romance book, but that’s kind of what I like about it. It’s all about different types of love in the midst of revolutionary France. There’s the love for family, love for friends, love for brothers in arms, love for romance, and love for country – and all of them are depicted perfectly. It’s a beautiful tale of the relationship between the resiliency of humanity and hope. Although most of the book follows a different character, Marius and Cosette’s love story is beautiful and shows how sometimes love is just meant to be, and how it will persist above all else – even¬†distance, even a war, and even death.
4. Ariel: Name a book about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
This is my favorite book I read last year, and definitely within my top 10 favorites of all time. It follows the story of a Mexican family that has legally migrated to America following an accident that has caused their daughter to develop a mental deficit. Despite the fact that they are leaving behind a good home, all of their family, and everything they’ve ever known, they trade the comfort of Mexico to get a better education for their daughter in the United States as there are no special education programs available in Mexico for her. They end up sacrificing more than they ever imagined, and it is simply just such a beautiful story of what parents will do for their children and for their family.
5. Belle: Name a book with a smart and independent female character
Percy Jackson / The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
So, I had a bit of a hard time finding one book I wanted to choose, but this series is¬†full¬†of incredible heroines and role models for young girls. There’s demigoddesses such as Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena; Hazel Levesque and Bianca de Angelo, daughters of Hades; Thalia Grace, daughter of Zeus; and more. There are also other female characters such as the oracle Rachel Dare that show how badass girls can be, and I honestly think that the girls are the ones who really carry the main characters on their backs throughout the stories.
6. Jasmine: Name a book that challenged social conventions of the world
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
This was one of the first worldly books I ever read, after spending 11 years in a private predominately white Catholic school where what I read was pretty censored. It opened my eyes to whole new cultures and religions, and its story of friendship and the strength of humanity even among such cultural and social differences, always inspired me. It shows how two boys, despite their positions in completely different Afghani castes, still manage to create a friendship that survives throughout the tumult of the country falling apart around them. It is one of the first books I recommend whenever someone asks me what they should read next.
7. Pocahontas: Name a book whose ending was a rollercoaster of emotions
The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3) by Erika Johansen
While I see that a lot of people also doing this tag chose books that made you feel sad and happy and sad and happy again at the ending, I chose this one for a different reason. Throughout the entire series, I was so into this book and the story that Johansen created and told. But within the last fifty pages or so, she destroyed pretty much everything that had made me fall in love with the series, making me feel empty and completely unsatisfied by the end. The rollercoaster of emotions had little if anything to do with the plot; it more so had to do with me expecting one ending, getting another, and feeling totally unfinished when I did so. P.S. I love Pocahontas and am in no way implying that the movie is like the book in how it is unsatisfying; quite the opposite, actually.
8. Mulan: Name a book with a kick-ass female character
Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin
Honestly, this was the first book/series that popped into my mind when I read this prompt, and for good reason. There’s more than one kick-ass female character in this series: you’ve got Daenerys, the Stark women, Brienne, Cersei (even though I hate her), Melisandre (hate her, too), Ygritte, Meera, Yara, Margaery… the list goes on and on and ON. What’s made even better by their kick-assery is that they usually pull some shit over on the guys in the story, and I just¬†know that one of these fierce women is going to end up on the throne at the end of the series. All of them are unique characters onto their own, and I love them (even the ones I hate) for very different reasons. Martin has created a slew of incredible characters, but I really think his women are the best of them all.
9. Tiana: Name a book featuring a hard-working, self-made character
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Trying to mix it up with a little bit of non-fiction here, you see? Of course the first thing I thought when I saw “self-made” was my man, Alexander Hamilton. Am I someone who has fed into the craze following Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical of the same name? Admittedly, yes. But Hamilton deserves that appreciation, especially now, hundreds of years later as his legacy continues on. He did so much for our country without ever being president (despite his wishes), and he did it all despite having a less than auspicious beginning. Born in the West Indies as a bastard and soon enough orphan, he had to fight for every piece of knowledge he gained and every skill he developed. Was he also extremely lucky to fall into the positions he did? Yes, of course; but he also worked immensely hard to maintain those positions and his legacy.

10. Rapunzel: Name a book featuring an artist
Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind by Anne Charnock
Okay, so I’m not even 100% sure how I stumbled upon this book, but it is¬†brilliant. The plot of this book surrounds an artist who is hired by a businessman to replicate one of Paolo Uccello’s legendary pieces, and who uproots his daughter to escape from their own past of family secrets to China. While trying to get in the mindset of Uccello and look at his artwork, they uncover that some of the pieces may not have been created by Uccello, but by his daughter, Antonia. Not only is the story an incredible statement on the relationships of families and father/daughters specifically, especially as it spans across time, but also a statement on gender and how women, especially in history, are/were marginalized¬†and forgotten despite their equal amount of talent. Plus – look at how¬†beautiful this cover is!!

11. Merida: Mother-daughter relationship

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
I read this book in the sixth grade after my mom tried to get us to join a mother/daughter book club through my local Girl Scouts that she quickly lost the ability to keep up with because she’s a spazz.¬†Anyway. At this point in my life, I was incredibly sheltered; very few of my friends didn’t have both parents at home with them, and I didn’t have a lot of non-white people in my community.¬†The Secret Life of Bees opened my eyes to the world beyond what was my narrow version of it; it follows a girl who, after losing her mother, is basically all but adopted by a black woman and who has to flee with her after insulting racists in the south in the 60s. They escape to South Carolina and a beekeeping farm where other women of color work and help raise the main girl, and help her resolve her feelings about her mother’s death. I remember being a lot more grateful for my mother after reading this book, as well as a lot more culturally aware.

anna and elsa

12. Anna & Elsa: Good relationship between siblings
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To be honest, I struggled a lot with trying to pick a book for this one, and for some reason this one kept popping back into my head. I think it’s because Jem and Scout’s relationship is so¬†real:¬†they fight, but also protect one another from external threats; they share an exasperation but appreciation for their father; and Jem, the eldest, gets annoyed when his little sister follows in his footsteps. Although the book is definitely not about their sibling relationship, I think that it adds a very important factor and subplot to the book that it couldn’t do without. I still haven’t read¬†Go Set¬†a Watchman though, but I can’t wait to see if there is any more elaboration on their relationship in that novel.
And that’s it for this book post! If y’all have any other book posts/tags/memes that you think I’d enjoy doing, make sure to leave the links the comments below or tag me in them!


the book of unknown americans.jpg

Written by: Cristina Henriquez
Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Summary:¬†After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave M√©xico and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel’s recovery–the piece of the American Dream on which they’ve pinned all their hopes–will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.¬†At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panam√† fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she’s sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.

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