War and Peace Rant

 

Every pseudo-intellectual is about to roll their eyes so hard at me, but I don’t care.

I posted recently about more positivity in the book community, and writing a rant about War and Peace seems a little counteractive to that idea, but this book really bothered me.

I read all kinds of books, including young adult novels because ONE they are the category in which I would like to one day be published in and TWO they are fun imaginative rides from start to finish. I bring this up because a lot of young women and men within the book community get older men just spewing dumb comments at them because apparently to them if you only read young adult novels, you’re dumb, and I am here to stand up for all young men and women who choose to read what they enjoy.

Classics are not all they’re cracked up to be. I don’t know how many old white dudes tell us to read more classics. I decided I needed to make up my own mind about classics. War and Peace is not the first classic novel I decided to read, nor will it be the last. It is, on the other hand, one of my least favorite books I have EVER FUCKING READ in my life.

I would describe it as Gossip Girl mixed with Russian history. Honestly, you people make fun of young adult novels but this entire book is about people loving this person after a day, but oh wait JUST FUCKING KIDDING they love that other person now…Oh, and by the way Napoleon is a fucking asshole…oh another drama about who loves who and who wants to die in a war. I know it seems like I am simplifying a very complex book, but this book isn’t actually complex at all. It’s massive and boring. It took me MONTHS to finish, and I will honestly never read it again. War and Peace could totally be given the Disney treatment because the instalove is REAL in this book.

At 1200 pages, I would say this thing could have been cut in half.

As historical fiction goes, it’s absolute shit. I recommend it to NO ONE.

If you want to read an epic Historical Fiction then I recommend The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett. If you’ve been contemplating reading War and Peace, then do so if you must but be warned this book did not age well, and it will make you roll your eyes right into the back of your head.

Don’t ever feel pressured to read classics like this because if you don’t then you’re not considered intelligent, because anyone who thinks this is a beacon of intelligence needs their head checked.

Peace and Love!

Dread Nation – Book Review

 

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

ISBN: 0062570609

Published: April 3,2018

Length: 455 pages


Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.


My Thoughts: I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this alternate history tale with zombies, but what I got was a punch to the face. First of all, it’s well written, and the characters are fleshed out really well. You could feel what they’re feeling and what more could you ask for in a story? Then you have the political commentary thrown in, and it’s just such a creative way of putting forth facts about American History within a fictional world. 

Jane is in this school to learn how to protect wealthy white people from the undead, but in the process, she learns a lot more than she bargained for. I liked the fact that the MC spoke her mind even in situations that could be dangerous to do so. Something that is still prominent today if we really think about it. The author herself gets a lot of crap for speaking her mind, and I think a bit of that comes through in Jane. 

There are some scenes that are a tough pill to swallow, but that feels like the point as well. 

There was a spark of romance, but it didn’t drown out the rest of the story. The action scenes are extremely well written, and I really enjoyed this alternate history story. I am not sure if this is a duology, trilogy, or a series, but I do know I am looking forward to the next book!

I gave this 4 out of 5 metal horns!

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Unpopular Opinions Trend

 

The Unpopular Opinions Tag and Trend has been around in the online book community for some time now. I took part in it at the beginning like everyone else, but now I am getting bored of it–not just bored, but irritated by it. I wanted to open a discussion to see if I am alone with this, or if other people are also tired of this trend.

Negativity

My main issue with the Unpopular Opinion thing is that it keeps spreading weird amounts of negativity. There are so many things I could write full blog posts on how I dislike something someone loves, but why? Why alienate people? This past week on twitter my feed has been bombarded with these so-called “unpopular opinions”. We get it, Becky, you don’t like that book everyone seems to love. WHO ACTUALLY GIVES A SHIT? It’s just getting old. If you get your rocks off by shitting all over stuff, then maybe it’s time to do some self-reflection.

Opinions are Like Assholes

Here’s the thing, can we maybe just share what we love and ignore what we don’t?

(I am not talking about politics here, if there’s one jackass that shouldn’t be ignored it’s Trump, because blink once and he’s fucking something else up)

I mean it’s okay to dislike something, but do you really need to waste the energy of constantly talking about it? Instead, share things you love!! If someone makes a negative comment about it, then mute them, block them, do whatever you have to do to keep your sanity. It’s the internet and people can easily make shitty comments, but you don’t have to waste your time replying. They’re not entitled to your time and energy.

Spread Positivity

I am on a little life quest to become more positive. So that is probably why this trend bothers me so much. I would love to see more positivity brewing in the book community because sometimes it feels we really lack that. I am signing off from this rambling now.

Spread positivity and love!! There’s enough hate in the world at the moment!

The Extinction Trials – Book Review

 

The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson

ISBN: 1474927343

Published: January 1, 2018, Usborne Publishing LTD

Length: 384 Pages


Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.
Welcome to the Extinction Trials.

In Stormchaser and Lincoln’s ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.

But in a land full of monsters – human and reptilian – they can’t afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other…


My Thoughts: I saw The Extinction Trials at the bookstore and saw the little fake sticker on it that said “The Hunger Games meets Jurrasic Park” and I instantly grabbed it. I didn’t even read the synopsis till I got home. I really had no idea what the book was about other than it had dinosaurs and some kind of trial like the hunger games. I was instantly sold. 

I was not disappointed. This was such a fun ride! I have been telling everyone to read it since. The writing is great and the story is wonderful. Stormchaser and Lincoln’s dynamic is fun to read, and while you know they’re catching some feelings for one another, that doesn’t end up taking over the plot like so many YA stories these days.

The dinosaur aspect is my favorite part because ever since I was younger and watched Jurassic Park, I wish we could one day see these animals up close (although that movie franchise shows just how horrible of an idea that would be). Wilson’s ability to bring these animals to life within this story is amazing. I felt like I was being watched at times.

The story itself was a bit predictable, but that didn’t take away from the entertainment factor of this book. I highly recommend it if you are a fan of The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park. The second book in the series called Exile will be released this Thursday and I am already itching to read it!

This book gets four out of five metal horns from me!!

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Ask Me No Questions, I Will Tell You No Lies.

 

Pace. Sit. Pace. Sit.

She does this for hours and then heads straight to bed.

She can’t get her mind to stay silent, and she can’t stop her heart from racing.

Her eyes close for about an hour, but she’s not sleeping.

She opens them back up and looks around the dark room. The shadows whispering everything she tries to ignore the entire day.

They tell her so many things. They make her mind spin, and when she gets up to start pacing around the house the room begins to spin along with her mind.

Dazed and feeling frustrated from not sleeping, she makes herself a cup of coffee.

Sits on the couch with the mug in her hand, steam rising along with her heart rate.

She stares off out the window watching the sun come up, and everyone goes about their day.

She just sits there. The coffee goes cold.

Her phone lights up because it’s always on silent. Some sounds make her clench her jaw.

“Hey! How are you?” the screen asks.

“I’m good!” she replies.

“I’m good!” she lies.

©2018 Joana F. Simoes

Depression is a Neighbor

This is a short story I wrote for a contest. I did not get chosen this year but I was last year so it’s okay. I did want to share this story with all of you. It means A LOT to me. So here it is:

Depression is a Neighbor

©2018 Joana F. Simoes

I don’t mean to take over people’s lives. It’s my job. I don’t have an excellent reputation, but I am also hugely ignored by many. Hence why I am still around. It’s a conundrum.

The people I affect give me a horrible name, but the ones who don’t believe just go on
pretending I am nothing but a figure of everyone’s imagination. “It’s all in your head,” they say to those who I visit.

That’s the truth. I do enter straight into their thoughts and slowly take over, but my job is very misunderstood.

Today is an especially interesting day; it’s some of my busiest days. The dark clouds are
blanketing the city like everyone in town let their toast burn this morning.
I have so many appointments today that I had to skip having breakfast, like most mornings.

I skip a lot of things throughout the day. In fact, I am not entirely sure I am wearing a clean shirt at this very moment. I always walk to my appointments. I find cars, buses, and trains too nerve-wracking for me. Who knows what can happen to those things?
I look over my shoulder and put up the hood of my black jacket. It’s not raining yet, but I like to stay within the comforts of my clothing. The world is an ugly place, and I am not here to make it any prettier.
8:00 am
I knock on the door of the first appointment. I visit Maggy every day; she lives on the next street over.
“Maggy? Are you there?” a barely audible grumble comes from within the apartment.
“Maggy you have to let me in.” I look at the time. I have another appointment in 20
minutes. I can hear footsteps from behind the door. She turns the lock, yet the door doesn’t open.

“Hello?” I ask.
“You’re not coming in! Not today Satan!” Maggy is in a mood today. She’s usually my easiest appointment. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, the door was unlocked when I arrived, but she just locked it.
“My name isn’t Satan, Maggy.”
“Close enough.”
“Maggy, you’re atheist. You don’t believe in Satan.” I remind her.
“Stop telling me what I believe in! You don’t know me at all.”
“I’ve been coming here every day for the past three years. I know you very well.” Silence
follows. “I know that you stay in bed until noon. You try to get up earlier only to head back to bed in the afternoon. You cry in the shower and cry in the corner when no one else is around. You pace your apartment when you should be sleeping at 2 am, and sometimes you forget to do normal things like eating or drinking water.”
“That’s your fault!!” she yells back at me. I shake my head. The ugly part of the job.
“You’re not wrong, but that’s the deal.”
“I never made a deal with you. I never asked for this.”
“No one does. It just is the way it is. I used to visit your mother every day.”
“Don’t. Do NOT talk about my mother.” A touchy subject with Maggy, but one that usually
gets her to open the door. I try to turn the knob. Still locked. I have 15 minutes now.
“Maggy, you need to open this door.”
“How about you just go to hell. Or do I not believe in that either?” she asks.
“ Well if we are going to be perfectly honest, you do not.”
“You’re a pain. Did you know that?” I do in fact know this. I am not like a broken bone, but I inflict some of the worst kind of pain known to humanity. I make people feel worthless, really less than worthless. Insert “it’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it” cliché here.

I start tapping my foot on the wet stone steps to an imaginary beat. This has never
happened before. Maggy has never fought me. My quota has been going down the past
couple of months. I get yelled at constantly to pick that quota back up. Sometimes I wonder
if the world would be better off without me in it.
“Why are you still at my door? Haven’t gotten the hint yet that I am not letting you in Mister know it all?”
She will eventually break down, they all let me back in. Maybe not today but ultimately I see their names on my appointment list once again, but Maggy, she’s a regular and If I lose her, I may very well lose my job.
I keep tapping my foot and staring at my watch. Suddenly the curtains on the windows to
the right of me fly open, and Maggy is tapping at the glass. She shows me a bottle of water and sticks out her tongue. Right there, laying there is a pill.
“Don’t you dare!!!” I yell at her.
She gulps down a bunch of water, and I know the pill is surfing straight down. Maggy smirks, and suddenly slams her two middle fingers against the window and the curtains once again fly closed.
“RUDE! That was a little unnecessary and a little hurtful to be quite honest.” I say.
“Here’s a tissue.” And she slips a tissue through her mail slot.
That’s the moment I move onto my next appointment. I make a note to pass back around
before heading back home.
My next appointments all go smoothly. They let me in, and they crumble into a pile of
melted thoughts and numbness. They get up, and then head back to bed or find solace at
the bottom of a bottle. At the end of the day I feel drained, but still, decide to head towards Maggy’s again.

I tell myself it’s because it’s just on the way home, but it’s because I’ve never had anyone put up so much of a fight. Not in years. As I walk through the streets hearing
pieces of conversations. I find myself entranced by human emotions. I usually numb most of them, but listening to them and wanting to know more is against our rules.
As I turn down Maggy’s street, I hear a beautiful laugh from the opposite side of the road.

I turn to look, and it’s coming from Maggy. Something inside my soul tears to shreds. I’ve
never seen such genuine happiness on her face.
I turn and walk the opposite way to avoid her seeing me. I keep walking with my hood up, and my eyes look straight ahead. The day has been miserable, and that is the essence of my job.

I stop at my door and think once again, would the world be better without me here?

American Panda – Book Review

 

American Panda by Gloria Chao

ISBN: 1481499106 

Published: February 6, 2018

Length: 311 Pages


An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?


My Thoughts: I Loved this book SO much! 

I always feel that I connect so much more to books where the characters are either immigrants themselves or their parents are immigrants. It’s a different life when you have to balance cultures. This book really shows those struggles.

Mei is doing what she feels she should do because of guilt. When you have parents that have been through so much and moved to the United States to give you a better chance at life, you do become overwhelmed with the feeling that you cannot fail. I connected with that.

For me the story was wonderful. Heartbreaking in some parts, and just made the characters seem real. I see many reviews from white Americans that say this is a stereotype, but it’s not. It happens with many immigrant families because typically immigrants have to work twice as hard sometimes three times as hard to get the same respect and privileges of white Americans.

People’s experiences aren’t tropes.

I think Gloria Chao wrote a real book, and finally, a YA novel that isn’t about a high school student. Mei is in University and struggling with what she should be doing with her life. I think Mei also had a great sense of humor and I just really enjoyed this contemporary read.

It reminds me of my own WIP, and it’s inspired me to finish proper edits and get my story out there as well.

I gave this book Five out Five Metal Horns!

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Also, If you really want to check this out but are currently on a budget, the Audiobook is available on Scribd. With the Link below you get Two free Months and can cancel at any time, and with your two free months, I get a free month as well! 

Click Here to Get 2 Free months of

In Defense of Audiobooks

 

Audiobooks. 

They have become increasingly more popular in the last couple of years, and for some reason, people keep making ridiculous comments that when listening to an audiobook you’re not a real reader.

One: I am tired of the gatekeeper bullshit in the book community. Every day there seems to be a new stupid rule that means you’re somehow not a real reader.

Two: Audiobooks still mean you’re reading a book, even if it’s not what we always see as reading. It’s in the name, audioBOOKS.

Our Brains Process it the Same Way

YUP! You’re reading that correctly.

Whether you listen to an audiobook or sit down and read a physical copy, your brain is soaking it up in the same way.

science

A psychologist by the name Daniel Willingham, who wrote a book about the science of reading says, “The mental processes involved–there is no real difference listening to a book and reading it.” 

There you have it. Stick it in your juice box, and suck it!

Now you can stop saying that listening to an audiobook isn’t really reading because it’s total nonsense.

Also, you’re completely stomping all over people who need audiobooks because they physically can’t hold a book or possibly even see the words. I’ve heard the argument of “Yea, but I am not talking about people that need it.”

In my very humble opinion, the option to say nothing at all is also available, and dismissing people who need audiobooks, and honestly dismissing people who like audiobooks is just idiotic. It has no impact on your life, so just let people do what they want to do.

I was never a huge audiobook listener, but lately, that’s changed.

Mainly because I joined Scribd and that’s been a wonderful experience. I gave myself the challenge of reading War and Peace this year and I have been going back and forth between the audiobook and the physical book.

Now that science has clearly debunked the bullshit that listening to an audiobook is somehow not considered reading.

Can we stop being pretentious dicks to one another?

Cool.

 

 

Using SCRIBD

 

I read A LOT. I don’t think this comes as a surprise, but also last year I really got into listening to Audiobooks. I first did the Audible thing, and that was good, but I wanted to try something new this year.

That’s when I came across Scribd.

I signed up and received one month free, and I am loving it!

The way it works is every month you will get billed $8.99. And now you can listen to an unlimited amount of audiobooks and read an unlimited amount of ebooks!! It’s basically like Netflix for BOOKS!!! 

They used to have a credit system where you received 3 ebook credits and 1 audiobook credit. Then there were the unlimited library choices that didn’t require any credits. Usually, many new releases though required credits. NOT ANYMORE!! IT’S ALL UNLIMITED!! They got rid of the credit system and I am so excited!

I’ve found that this is really working out better for me than Audible. At least here I can also grab some ebooks.

It’s also been helping on my journey to read War and Peace. I’ve been going back and forth between my physical copy and the audiobook on Scribd. Which is great! I typically like using audiobooks for dense classics or Non-Fiction, and there are A LOT of options for both on Scribd.

juja-han-210775

I highly recommend you check Scribd out! If you use my link you can get up to 2 months for free, and in the interest of full disclosure, if you sign up I get one free month! Right now as I am in the midst of launching my own business that would really help me, and I would be forever grateful! I also just think it’s a great service. Their library has grown quite a lot, and they get new stuff all the time! Check it out! You can cancel at any time!

Click Here to Get 2 Free months of

 

Batman: ​Nightwalker – Book Review

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Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

ISBN: 9780399549786

Published: January 2, 2018, from Penguin Random House 

Length: 252 Pages 

Thank you to Penguin Random House International for sending me this copy in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacts my opinion. 


Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.


My thoughts:  This was one of my most anticipated reads for 2018, and I jumped for joy when I was asked to join the Nightwalker Blog Tour. This book follows Bruce Wayne as a teenager, we get to see the beginnings of Batman. Bruce Wayne is just like any other teenager in the world, except for the fact that he’s filthy rich and gets away with pretty much anything if he wants to. That is until one night. One night is the catalyst for this entire story. 

Without going into too many details, Bruce gets community service, and he has to go to Arkham Asylum to complete his hours. This is where we meet Madeleine Wallace. She’s in a cell at Arkham, but why is she there? And why is it that she only seems to talk to Bruce? The plot is well thought out. This is merely my second Marie Lu book, and I do believe I am officially a fan. She gets the characters right. We get to know Dianne and Harvey his two best friends ( YES, it’s Harvey Dent). I found their friendship to be genuine and refreshing to see in a young adult novel.

Going in knowing that you’re reading a story about a beloved character like Batman can be nerve-wracking. I mean I honestly have no idea how Marie Lu didn’t dig a hole and hide in there when asked to write this novel, but I am glad she didn’t. She took this story to new heights. You get a glimpse into what could have been Batman’s teen years. Yes, I realize how many stories and shows are out there that touch this subject, but Marie Lu does it justice. You see just how vulnerable Bruce is, and just how much he can be like any other teen.

This was well written and entertaining. There is wonderfully written action, and so much raw emotion that pours from these pages. The pacing is terrific as well. I was expecting this book to be much bigger but at 252 pages, this is definitely on the smaller side, and still, the plot and characterization pack a punch. I love Batman, and I was nervous going into this, but I read it quickly and fell in love with it. Almost wish there would be another one.

This book is part of the DC Icons series. The next book will follow Catwoman. Looking forward to it!

I gave this five out of five Metalhorns! I highly recommend it!

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