A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This book is essentially about a girl named Feyre, who is out hunting one day in order to provide for her family, when she kills a wolf. As punishment, she must go to Prythian (the land of the fey), where she will live out the remainder of her days or die. However, something much darker and more sinister is afoot, plaguing Prythian and threatening the human world. Will she be able to figure it out in time?

I really liked this book, though I do have to warn you: my summary does not include the romance aspect, mostly because it’s hard to put it in without spoiling anything (I think). This book is very much Cupid and Psyche meets Beauty and the Beast, and it is very well done. A fast read with easily enjoyable characters–even the villain (though I would have hated her as a person (and do), I willingly and openly admit she is a great villain and a well written character).

My favorite part of the book is, as always, the characters. They’re fantastically well written, well rounded, and generally awesome characters. Feyre herself is a badass, remeniscent of Katniss but much more in touch with her emotions, and much more human–made even more obvious by her fey counterparts. You really do get to watch her develope, become more in touch with herself, and because of that (but also because of who she is in general) it is very easy to relate to her as a person (though not so much the situation. That’s a bit hard to relate to, considering it involves the fey and mystical creatures and such). There’s also Lucien (who was possibly my favorite character just because of his sass alone, but also because he’s sweet in a non showy way, which I liked), Tamlin (he’s amazing, and I liked him almost off the bat, and while he’s not like Lucien, he’s still up there with my favorites), ad Rhysand (whose characterization I loved in the weirdest way, because he’s incredibly selfish and sometimes (most of the time) cruel, but who is one of those people who protects their own, and like Lucien, you don’t see his soft side (though in Rhys’s case, you almost never see his soft side), all of whom I loved. There were other more minor characters who were awesome, like the sisters (I’m not spoiling anything, but needless to say I loved almost all the characters). And then there was the big bad herself, but I’m not spoiling anything. Like I said, she’s a despicable person, and I’d hate her I’m real life, but an excellent character.

I also loved the world that Maas created. It’s wonderfully detailed, and I found myself longing to actually go to the Spring Court and the village at the beginning, though there were definitely places I’m glad don’t exisr. It was incredibly easy to lose myself within the pages.

The one thing I will say, though, is that at some point the book lags. It picks back up fairly quickly, so don’t give up on it, but there’s a period where nothing happens, and then suddenly (BAM!) everything happens. But during that slow period, don’t put it down. Just keep reading. It gets really good.

I recommend this book for people older than 13. There is drinking (fairy wine, but still), and mention of sex, though none of it is exclusive, and they’re very short scenes. There is fair amount of violence, and at points it gets pretty disturbing. I will also say that while I loved this book, I would classify it as a teen novel. It is definitely geared toward teenagers, though I know some people like those kinds of books even when they’re older (no shame. I totally understand that, some of them are pretty awesome), and if you’re one of those people and looking for something to read, definitely pick up this book.

Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja

For those of you who don’t know–though with the newest Avengers movie coming out and with the last one being such a big hit, this may not be news to you, but–Hawkeye is the Avenger with the bow and arrows. This is his graphic novel, and I have to say that it was absolutely amazing.

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Just an example of what the style looks like. Cool, right?

For starters, the art is so cool. It’s a simplistic style, and it looks absolutely amazing. The color schemes are specific to show different people and sometimes different moods, though for the most part, our main character, Clint, and his friend, Katy, are all in purple, which is Hawkeye’s color. It makes it really interesting to read, since you can tell who is who and it is fairly clear which people are enemies based on the color they’re portrayed with. What’s also really cool are the lighting and coloring, which change enough to show lapses in time. For example, early on in the book we see shifts in time, so on the left page we have moments of before an event, and on the right page is the after. But it’s so skillfully done that you can actually understand which is when, and won’t get confused. The other really cool thing about the art is the use of panels, like how they used panels to show a slowing of time, or what the person is doing step by step.


This image is accompanied with a letter by letter text of what Kate (at the bottom) is saying to show a slowing of time as Hawkeye draws back the arrow.

This image is accompanied with a letter by letter text of what Kate (at the bottom) is saying to show a slowing of time as Clint draws back the arrow.

Hawkeye also has the best sense of humor, which is fairly accurately portrayed in the movies, though here he obviously gets a lot more of a spotlight. His narrative is so blunt and matter of fact, but contains this humorous attitude towards everything he does. The book even opens on a joke, which continues through the rest of the series:

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By the way, all of these images are coming from Google Images.

It’s very…I want to say dry humor, but I honestly don’t know how to classify it. It’s not a ha-ha kind of humor, like the kind where you’re rolling around because you’re laughing so hard that your sides have stitches and there are tears running down your face. It’s more of a light-hearted kind of humor that keeps heavy material–because there is most definitely heavy material, despite everything this may be one of the saddest comics I’ve ever read–from being too heavy. Here’s another example: Clint doesn’t speak multiple languages, so in order to show that someone is speaking another language–rather than do the thing they normally do in comics and show the language but no translation (so it’ll be the printed language showing, but we know the characters don’t know what’s being said because they’re either not responding to it or it’s not translated)–they have panels like this:

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Personally, I enjoyed that. I liked that the humor opened up and honesty and a bluntness that I hadn’t seen in other comics and graphic novels. Like with the language thing, there’s a huge difference between someone openly admitting they have no idea what the other person is saying, and having the language written out before you but no actual indication other than what you infer.

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Lucky’s POV

The other characters–aside from Clint, I mean–are also amazing, but I think that my favorites are Kate and Lucky. Kate is so snarky and amazing and is so well written into the story. The dialogue she has with Clint is absolutely hilarious, and you really can’t help but love her. Lucky is Clint’s dog, and he’s really just a background character up until–I’m pretty sure it’s the second book but I’m not entirely sure–he gets his own little chapter, and we get to see everything from his point of view–which was so cool.

I will warn you: you should know that, like other superhero comics, there is a lot of violence, so if that’s something you don’t like to see as a visual or that you don’t like to read about, you probably shouldn’t be reading superhero comics. That being said, this one is a lot more tame than others. I’m also pretty sure there’s some bad language, but I can’t really remember since it didn’t stand out to me as much as other aspects of the novel did.

I will also say that it is absolutely amazing, and you should definitely read it. Especially if you’re trying to get into comics and you’re looking for something interesting to read, but even if you’re not just starting out, you should still read it.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

When I first heard about this book, it was because a few friends of mine were reading it for school, and I asked them what they were reading. I mean, the title is Slaughterhouse Five. It sounded interesting. When I asked them what it was about, they told me: it’s about some dude named Billy who goes to war, survives a bombing, and gets abducted by aliens.

I’m telling you now: after finishing this book, I can gladly tell you that this book is about some dude named Billy who goes to war, survives a bombing, and gets abducted by aliens. Though there’s a little more to it than that.

This book is actually an antiwar novel based off of Kurt Vonnegut’s life. The first line of the novel is: “All this happened, more or less.” Which is an actual truth. Vonnegut really was a POW, and he really did survive the bombing of Dresden by hiding out in a meat locker. So it’s an antiwar novel based off his experience during the bombing, and it’s also a book about time travel and aliens.

One thing I really liked about this book was the narrative style Vonnegut uses. One of the main things that the book talks about (besides the horrors of war, which I’ll get to in a minute) is how death is a natural cycle that we all go through, and how we shouldn’t necessarily mourn death, because at some point in time, that person is still alive. The idea comes from the aliens who abduct Billy, called the Tralfamadorians, who believe that time is not linear, like we Earthlings believe. So it would be more accurate to say that a person has died, will die, and will always die, the same way you might say someone has lived, will live, and will always live. The reason I mention this is because Vonnegut’s style of writing is, in and of itself, a repetition of this idea. He’s so matter of fact with everything that happens, and with his repeated phrases of “So it goes,” that it’s almost like he’s simply recording history–which, in a sense, he is, even when someone dies. Even when scenes get brutal and horrible, he still maintains this matter of fact attitude to the whole thing, which in turn just made it so much more real than if he had bled emotion into the words.

The other thing I really liked was how well the novel worked as an antiwar novel. Vonnegut’s scenes are horrific, just absolutely harrowing, and work so well in showing the horrors of war. I cannot even begin to explain how gross some of them were (and yet he kept the same tone, the same matter of fact tone, almost like he was saying, “Yeah, this is war.”), and gross might even be too nice of a word here.

(Vonnegut also has the darkest sense of humor. Despite all the awful moments and the gore, I found myself laughing at the jokes thrown in here and there.)

This book actually reminded me a lot of Tim O’brien’s The Things They Carried, which is also an amazing antiwar novel. Especially the beginning, which reminded me of O’brien talking about how to tell a good war story, and obviously the horrors of war were equally horrifying between books.

I definitely recommend reading this. It’s amazing, wonderfully written, and has amazing characters, though I didn’t really talk about them much, mostly because they didn’t stand out to me as much as other things. If you like antiwar novels, or read The Things They Carried and are looking for another book that is similar to it and just as good, you should most definitely read this.

I’d say this book should not be read by anyone overly immature or under the age of 13. Just to be on the safe side. It is very horrific (as I’ve said), and has depictions of sex and descriptions of violence (not just the action within the book, but also in the dialogue), as well as discussions of topics that you may not understand when you’re younger. The aliens part, though. I’m pretty sure that that part is okay.

I also have to warn you: this book skips around a lot, since “Billy has become unstuck in time,” and therefore may be a little hard to read. I had very little trouble with this, but some other people who I’ve talked to has had issues following along. If you do have issues following along, my advice would be to just slow down a little more, take the time to figure out where Billy is at that moment. Eventually you’ll get the hang of it, just stick it out through the confusion. It is, after all, an amazing book.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

This book is about, well, an invisible man. Pretty self explanatory.

I’ll have to say, I didn’t really like this book.

It was a good book, don’t get me wrong. Pretty good sci-fi novel, but still. I didn’t really like it. And that mostly has to do with the fact that I didn’t like any (and I mean any) of the characters. None. Partly because I couldn’t relate to them (at all), but also because I just couldn’t like them. I didn’t hate any of them. I just didn’t care. I was very “meh” about all of them.

The plot was cool, though, and the idea behind it was also enjoyable. I liked the sentiment behind it, and I’d almost say that it’s worth the annoying characters just for the book itself.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This book is pretty famous, so I probably don’t need to do a summary, but I’m gonna give you one anyway: This book is basically about this guy, Raskolnikov, who tries to get away with murder. But of course, it’s much more complicated than that, since this is an old Russian novel, and old Russian novels are always more complicated than that.

I actually really liked this book. I read it for school, and despite the fact that every time I sat down to read it I was extremely frustrated with how slow going it went (it’s a very dense book, and took a bit of time to read ten pages, let alone fifty a night), but the content itself was very enjoyable. And I think that that mostly has to do with the fact that I was reading it for school. If I had just picked it up for funnsies, I would have put it down after the first few pages, and even if I had gone through the entire book, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it half as much as when I had to analyze it for school. Half the fun of the book is learning its background, finding its secrets, and trying to discover all the things Dostoyevsky hid within the pages. Without that, the book isn’t as great. It just isn’t.

There is so much that can be said about this book, and I can’t list all of it here. But one of the things I really enjoyed were the characters. Not only were they extremely well written, they were all very well rounded, and we could see different parts of them at different times of the novel. The best characters were Raskolnikov, Razumikhin, Dunya, and Sonya, of course, but the supporting characters were pretty good too, though you don’t exactly find yourself liking them–because they are far from good people. They just happen to be good characters. But every character is realistic. Our main character, Raskolnikov, is extremely schismatic (his name actually comes from the Russian root that means “schism” so…), and is very far from perfect. Which I personally enjoyed. It made all his struggles seem more real, and it made it easier to appreciate him.

The other thing I love is that despite the fact that we already know what the crime is (it happens within the first 70 pages, and then there’s almost 400 pages left of the book for the punishment. Ridiculous, I know), the novel is still a mystery, but instead of finding the killer, we’re finding the motive. Which I thought was pretty cool. But I’m not going to go into that too much. I have a lot of thoughts on it, but I really don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave it at that.

When we first started reading this for class, my teacher told us that it was one of the books that you have to read at least once in your lifetime, and that a lot of professors will tell you that it’s one of the most important books in human history, or something along those lines. And I agree: you should read it at least once in your lifetime. Preferably in a classroom setting, since it will (hopefully) keep you reading it, and it will also get you analyzing it, which is a good majority of what makes this novel so great. But if you don’t read it in a classroom setting, do some of your own online research, or talk about it with someone. It’s one of those books that you just want to discuss with a book club or a friend (who’s also reading it, preferably). But definitely read it. It’s really dense, but its greatness outweighs its denseness.

Just an upcoming writing contest…

Despite the fact that this is not a book, I thought I’d let you all know about it.

Easy Street is having a contest called The Great American Sentence. You can check it out at this link.

Basically you submit up to 5 of your original sentences (as in sentences written by you) by midnight EST on February 28. If they like your sentences and decide to publish them, you can $5 a word, and if you post a link like I just did, you can get $10 a word. Cool right?

A couple poets that I love:

I love poetry. And recently, I talked with a friend about a specific amazing poet by the name of Shel Silverstein, and they said they had never read anything by him. And I have to say, growing up reading Shel, burrowing my nose in the pages and getting lost in the words of Shel, laughing and crying because of Shel, I was really astonished. I hadn’t realized that some people never read his poetry.

And then I realized there are a lot of poets that people have never read.

So if you’re looking for poets, and amazing, beautiful poems, here are a few that I personally love:

The Most Famous Ones:

Walt Whitman

E.E. Cummings

Emily Dickinson

Shel Silverstein

Robert Frost


Lord Byron

The ones you’ve probably not heard about but are still amazing:

Clementine Von Radics

Tyler Knott Gregson

“Dulce et Decorum est” by Wilfred Owen

“Iris” by Vivian St. John

“Tiara” by Mark Doty

“Yes” by Muriel Rukeyser

“The Waking” by Theodore Roethke

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

“In Michael Robins’s Class Minus One” by Bob Hicok

“Confrontations with the Devil in the Form of Love” by Judy Grahn

(I listed the poems specifically here because I’ve yet to read anything else by the author, and so cannot say that I love the poet and not just the poem).

A lot of these are really sad. But they’re all really good. So if you’re looking for a poet, or a few poems, these are my personal favorites.

But even if you don’t I hope that you read Shel Silverstein, at least once in your lifetime. Because if you haven’t, you’re missing out on something wonderful.