Starfish Review


Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Starfish

Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Bio: Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

My Thoughts: If you were to ask me what piqued my interest about Starfish, my answer would be both the social anxiety representation and the Japanese representation. I have never read a book that had a Japanese character, so better late than never to get a jump start on this type of specific diverse read! If you know me well, you know I love reading books with a mental health theme, so it is no surprise that the social anxiety rep in this book caught my eye. Kudos to the author, Akemi Dawn Bowman, because she created and wrote both themes very well! (Well, the social anxiety at least- I can’t personally speak for the Japanese rep, but to the best of my knowledge she wrote it well.) It is always reassuring when you just know that the author has the understanding and knowledge of what she is writing about; it was evident throughout the book that the author knows first handedly or has done her research about what it is like to be biracial or suffer from social anxiety. Thank you, Akemi!
I felt a lot of STRONG emotions toward three of the main characters: Kiko, her mom, and Jamie.
Kiko’s mom… aka, the worst mom I have ever encountered in a YA book. There is not one single good quality about her: she is a narcissistic, narrow minded, and unfeeling character. Some of the things she did to Kiko and her brothers rose my blood pressure while getting my blood boiling. When you feel such strong emotions toward a character, you know the author is doing his/her job successfully. Few characters have angered me like she did, which I believe was the purpose of the character,
Kiko is just a beautiful little soul who I just wanna hug and reassure her how worthy and lovable she is. Her dedication towards her art left me inspired for the creative work I do (writing, blogging, drawing, etc.) Meaning, I wanna be as talented and cool as Kiko. I relate on a personal level to the social anxiety she experiences, so this left me feeling empathetic toward her struggles with her mental illness. The fact that she finds her happy ending in the epilogue of the book will leave me satisfied for the rest of my life… that may sound dramatic, but oh my god it is so true.
Jamie…oh, my heart. It has been a while since I had a book character crush, because lately the male characters in my book just have been annoying and incorrigible. However, if I had to pick a boy for my friend Kiko to love, it would be Jamie. He is gentle, dorky, goofy, handsome, and compassionate. He was always helpful and understanding of her anxiety. I appreciated how the author depicted Jamie as a perfect guy for Kiko to date, but gave Kiko the awareness that she can not solely rely on Jamie to make her happy.  I want a real-life Jamie, please.

The plot itself was fairly fast-paced and kept me eagerly flipping each page, which is not a commonality in my reading. I grew connected with the characters and storyline enough that I never wanted to put the book down. The author had several plot twists that kept me reading past my bedtime. (Again- not a commonality in my reading!) The last few chapters in the book left me on the edge of my seat because so much stuff happened!
This will be one of those books I will recommend to each and every reader out there, especially if they are interested in books centering around mental illness because this book depicts mental illness with a more positive outcome. Kiko works towards overcoming social anxiety and fully understands that the capability to “conquer” her fears is within herself. Even though Jamie is absolutely wonderful and helps Kiko, Kiko is aware that it is still within herself to successfully overcome the hurdles she faces. I personally believe this is something each and every person should understand.
The author does a beautiful job with the story telling and character building in this novel and I look forward to reading more of her work! If you are looking for a riveting, fast-paced, and diverse read, this is the book for you.



Brandi Attempts BTAT 2017

Hello all and welcome to my BRANDI ATTEMPTS BTAT 2017 post! If you don’t know what BTAT is, it stands for booktube-a-thon! It goes from July 24 to the 30th, and basically you use the time to read all the books you can! This was created by Ariel Bissett, who is an awesome booktuber and basically the coolest person ever for creating this!

This will be my first read-a-thon EVER, so I am not putting high expectations on myself. I also get my wisdom teeth taken out Wednesday, so I am highly sure that will put a damper on my reading! (Hello, sleep!) Nevertheless! I wanted to take part in all the fun!

There are seven reading challenges and here are my picks for them!

1.  Read a book with a person on the cover

I bought this book recently at Half Price Books because I heard nothing but amazing things about the story! So, naturally, I was eager to pick this to read for the read-a-thon.

2.  Read a hyped book

…and, the whole reason I bought this book was because of it’s mega-hype, so it conveniently fits two challenges!

3. Finish a book in one day

I am not that confident in myself of finishing a normal size young adult novel in one day, especially considering my wisdom teeth surgery and work the days before. So, a good pick for this challenge was of course a manga– Sailor Moon!

4. Read about a character that is very different from you

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: a book centered around a sixteen-year-old boy, Simon, who is gay. Basically, Simon is a boy, I am not. Simon is gay, I am not.  Two simple differences between us, but different enough to count for this challenge!

5. Finish a book completely outdoors

Since You’ve Been Gone is written by Morgan Matson, who writes the most perfect summer books. This was a perfect fit for this challenge! But if you know me at all, you know I am not a huge outdoors person, so this will probably be a difficult challenge for me… oops.

6. Read a book you got because of the cover

Believe it or not, I actually do not often buy books because of the covers- I really solely on Goodreads ratings. A super added bonus about me buying When Dimple Met Rishi was the absolutely stunning cover! So, here it is for yet another challenge because I guess I am kind of a cheater.

7.  Read seven books.

Seven books in seven days: can I do it? Probably not, but that’s okay! To make my final book count up to seven books, I added three graphic novels to the mix! Giant Days 3 and 4, my favorite graphic novel series and Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 2 because Jessica is the coolest superhero!


If you have read these books, leave in the comments- what do you think? Are you doing BTAT17 too? Link me to your BTAT TBR!


Recently Read May/June 2016

A Court of Thorns and Roses 16096824

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Published: May 5, 2015

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Even before picking up this book, I knew I would love it. I have loved Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series, I heard fellow book lovers’ opinions on this book, so I knew in my heart and soul that A Court of Thorn and Roses would be a book I would end up highly enjoying.

Though I knew I would love it, it still surprised me just how much I loved it.

I do love the fantasy genre, but it takes a lot for a fantasy book to really grasp and hold my attention. Sarah J Maas did just that with this book!

The world fascinated me, as well as Feyre’s lifestyle; the environment surrounding the Fae, specifically the different “courts”, was incredibly intriguing. (Yes I immediately took a quiz to see which court I would belong in, that’s besides the point. It is Day Court,  by the way.)

Obviously, the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin was borderline abusive at first, considering he kidnapped her and forced her to live with her; but in my opinion, the love itself was not abusive because Tamlin did genuinely care and adore Feyre. I’m not favoring Feyre and Tamlin in the long run, but I did appreciate the relationship Sarah build in this  novel.

This book kept me on my toes during late hours while devouring each and every page.

I wanted to wait a bit to read A Court of Mist and Fury (The sequel to A Court of Thorn and Roses), but as I am writing this I have the intense craving to just run to my reading room, grab the beauty that is ACOMAF, snuggle up and just read it all night.

Hm, I might.

Details to follow.


Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Published: October 20th, 2015

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

In addition to A Court of Thorns and Roses, Illuminae is also a book I picked up mainly for the hype.

I wish the first half would have been more fast paced, but I may just be saying that because I typically prefer fast paced books. Towards the second half of the book though, I FLEW through it. I love the unique way it was written, including how the book showed different perspectives of different characters. The plot itself was unique and nothing like I have ever read before, which always makes me happy. (The fact that it was unique and science fiction-y made me very happy.)

KADY GRANT. I could talk about her all night! I loved her and I am fairly certain she is turning out to be one of my favorite female characters of all time. (Up there with Celaena Sardothien.) She was just so badass, courageous, and selfless; the way she put her life on the line to help those on board the opposite ship is what really “wowed” me over with her. What a lady.

I am highly looking forward to reading Gemina when it comes out, because I am aching to find out what happens with the rest of the story!

An Ember in the Ashes 27774758

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Published: February 9th, 2016

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

This is a book that had been sitting on my shelf for over a year, and after reading quite a few contemporary books, I decided I was in the mood for something fantasy. So, I decided that was the right time to pick up An Ember in the Ashes!

This book was freaky. I think it was a combination of Sabaa’s writing and the Commandment, but I actually had a few nightmares of me being enslaved. (THANK YOU, SABAA!)

I did enjoy the world Sabaa built, though it did feel similiar to other fantasy books I have read. I really treasured Sabaa’s writing, though; she was able to describe each scene and paint each character with such talent that I envy.

Though I thought the overall plot was similiar to other fantasy books, specific details were very different and that is one of the things that kept me excitedly turning each page.

An Ember in the Ashes is a very dark, creepy, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, scared-to-turn-your-lights-off book that I will recommend to all you fantasy readers!



Author: Lucy Keating

Published: April 12, 2016

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. It turns out, though, that Real Max is nothing like Dream Max, and getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

When their dreams start to bleed dangerously into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

Okay, first off, I was really looking forward to the release of this book and getting to read it. Unfortunately, it did not fit my taste or expectations.

This is nothing I ever really wish for, but I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it was longer and included more details, scenes, character descriptions, etc. There really weren’t too many subplots, besides Alice’s relationship with her mother (which I also would have liked to see touched on more), and I think a few more subplots would have added to the story.

I TOTALLY LOVED the plot idea; Alice randomly meeting the actual boy from her dreams as well as the “dreamology” science. It was a great idea, but I feel as if I would have enjoyed the book more if the idea was put into play a tad differently.

Ok, more positivity regarding this book: I really, really, loved Oliver. I was actually totally rooting for Alice to end up with Oliver because he is hilarious, friendly, and I Imagined him as a huge teddy bear. (I have a tendency to lean towards the trouble-making characters in books, oops)

I know several people enjoyed Dreamology, most enjoyed it more than me, and I respect that and admire Lucy Keating’s great ability to attract and entertain numerous readers. I did have high hopes for the book for myself, but the book did not meet up to those expectations.



The Unexpected Everything  17838528

Author: Morgan Matson 

Published: May 3rd, 2016

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?

What immediately drew me to this book was my instant connection with Andie. I relate to her because I myself like to have things planned- I want to surprises or anything unexpected to hit me out of the blue.

But, unexpected things do happen in life and Andie learns this throughout the book- which is such a fabulous story told by the lovely Morgan Matson.

Morgan describes the characters so well, making each character incredibly lovable in their own way. I am forever wishing I had the group of friends Morgan does. You get a good sense and understanding of Andie and her dad’s relationship, and you really feel the bond that begins to form between them throughout the book. AND OBVIOUSLY, there is Clark, who is the perfect nerdy boyfriend that every dorky girl wants. *sigh*

The Unexpected Everything is my favorite read so far this year- there was just something so relatable about Andie herself and her relationship with others that you can just really connect you. I can not wait to read more of Morgan Matson’s books!
What was your favorite book you read recently? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!


Recently Read!

A Thousand Pieces of You 

Author: Claudia Gray

Published: November 4, 2014

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

Summary from Goodreads

I read this one in a matter of two days while I was on vacation. The sort of “science fiction-esque” that this book exhibited seemed to confuse me at times; though obviously dimension travel is not real, the numerous theories from Marguerite’s parents did not always come together as they should have.

Her love triangle was kinda so-so (I don’t know about you, but I need love triangles to have a unique characteristic to keep me enthralled on the romance.) However, the way this subplot line “concluded” (does it continue in the sequel?? I WILL FIND OUT!) had me all:

omg shocked joey tribbiani friends tv friends

Anyway, I really enjoyed the book and, overall, it was a really fast paced delightful read. A few odds and ends that could have made it a 5/5 for me, but none the less!, I still recommend this lovely read.

Alex + Ada

Author: Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

Collecting: #1-5

Published: July 16, 2o14

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

From JONATHAN LUNA (GIRLS, THE SWORD, ULTRA, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot.

Summary from Goodreads

This graphic novel had been chilling on my shelf for… an embarrassing amount of months. For some reason, I just never realy felt inclined to pick it up and give it shot (But for some reason I felt inclined to buy it?!) Until one day, I was packing for vacation. I was looking forward to six days of freedom; so, naturally, I picked a plethora of books to rad. Alex + Ada was one of the many picked.

Finally, vacation came along and I only had a few books left on me to read. For some reason- an act of the book gods?- I picked Alex +Ada up.

And oh my god, guys.

This is turning out to be my favorite graphic novel…. EVER.

fangirling tv happy glee reactions

I loved the characters and completely appreciate the way Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn were able to perfectly paint and capture this world Alex lives in. Sometimes, when I read a science fiction or even a fantasy book, I find myself struggling to understand the utopian, dystopian, etc. Because of the amazing writing with this book, I found this futuristic world super simple to understand. Personally, I tend to feel turned off towards a fantasy/sci-fi book if the world it takes place in is seemingly complicated.

I have been D Y I N G to pick up Volume , but unfortunately I am broke and my local comic book store hasn’t had this in stock. But SOON, I will find you, volume 2, and I will devour you from page to page. (Then I’ll be craving volume 3 and so the cycle will begin again *sigh*)

Spider-Gwen, Vol.0: Most Wanted?

Author: Jason Latour

Artist: Robbi Rodriguez

Collecting: #1-5

Published: November 17, 2015

Rating: ❤ ❤  ❤

The breakout hit of the biggest Spider-Event of the century is taking the comics world by storm with her own series! Gwen Stacy is Spider-Woman, but you knew that already. What you DON’T know is what friends and foes are waiting for her in the aftermath of Spider-Verse!

Summary from Goodreads

To be honest, this graphic novel was kind of a let down. I had looked forward to buying this and finally reading this because I absolutely adore the whole Spider-Verse world. But, this was a struggle for me to finish, and I am doubtful I will pick up a next in the Spider-Gwen series.

I suspect that a possible reason I did not fully enjoy this book is due to the fact I did not read the Spider-Verse novels; with that in mind, I may just pick up Spider-Verse then reread this specific Spider-Gwen. We shall see where my reading takes me!

Jessica Jones: Alias Vol.1

Author:Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator: David Mack, Michael Gaydos and Bill Sienkiewicz 

Collecting: #1-9

Published: September 22, 2015

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Meet Jessica Jones. Once upon a time, she was a costumed super hero — but not a very good one. Her powers were unremarkable compared to the amazing abilities of the costumed icons that populate the Marvel Universe. In a city of Marvels, she never found her niche. The self-destructive would-be Avenger is now the owner and sole employee of Alias Investigations — a small, private-investigative firm specializing in superhuman cases. When she uncovers the potentially explosive secret of one hero’s true identity, Jessica’s life immediately becomes expendable. But her wit, charm and intelligence just may help her survive another day. Thrust into the midst of a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels, has Jessica burned too many bridges to turn to old friends for help?

Summary from Goodreads

Picture this. A young girl (*cough* me) walking through a book store, post having seen the Jessica Jones Netflix series (and loving it!) AHA!, she spies the graphic novel of her dreams- Jessica Jones: Alias.. but wait, it’s $25?!!! Oh, no, this young girl is too broke for that…

friends jennifer aniston frustrated rachel rachel green

Months later, this same young girl is in a new comic book shop where all graphic novels are %20 off. Because of this rad deal, she does it, guys. SHE BUYS JESSICA JONES: ALIAS VOLUME ONE. About damn time, right?

…anyway I’m gonna stop talking (typing?) in third person now. If I would have known that I would love this graphic novel as much as I do, I would have bought it the first time I saw it in the store. I finished it in one sitting!

I completely idolize Jessica Jones, her total badass personality, and her bizarre intelligence. There were some AWESOME, unexpected surprise guests in volume 1 (I won’t spoil who for you!) and the plot line was different enough from the TV show to keep me on my toes.


Am I Normal Yet?

Author: Holly Bourne

Published: August 1, 2015

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

Summary from Goodreads

If you follow me on twitter or instagram, you probably already know that I have recently bought Am I Normal Yet? and was SUPER EXCITED to read it.


So, yes, I finally read this book. Most people joke about them having OCD just because they like having their rooms clean; but with this book, Holly Bourne gives us an insight into what it’s really like to have OCD, and oh my gosh does she do an amazing job. As readers, we go through each twist and turn that takes place in Evie’s brain and, though Evie’s symptoms became really severe, there are thoughts where I am certain most of us could relate to.

Evie seems to think the best way for her to be “normal” among all her friends is to have a boyfriend- let’s face it, who hasn’t thought this way during middle school or high school? Hopefully, like me, you have all learned now that having a boyfriend does not automatically make your life better, normal, happier, etc. This idea here is what I personally think Holly is trying to drive home, and it’s an important lesson for girls and guys everywhere to learn.

Anyyywho. I am extremely ecstatic to read the sequel in this series to see where this storyline goes!

(Shoutout to my #ukyachat friends for not only suggesting this book to me but encouraging me to read it cause they knew I would love it AND THEY WERE RIGHT)


The Beginning of Everything

Author: Robyn Schneider

Published: August 27, 2013

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Summary from Goodreads

Before I picked up this book, I hadn’t heard anything about it. (still haven’t??) So, I went into this book completely unaware of what exactly I was getting into.

As you have probably noticed already, I gave this book a 3/5 which was pretty low for me. Here’s why..

I just did not understand what was so lovable about Cassidy? I mean, she was unique and different which was pretty cool but I did not understand Ezra’s obsession with her.

I also do not agree with Ezra’s idea that each person’s life is defined by a tragedy, and each person gets a tragedy. Mainly, my question for this is: What defines a “tragedy”? A guy breaking your heart? A near death experience? (Comment below if you have more ideas for this.)

Overall, I did enjoy the story line… and I loved the ending… (I feel like this is an unpopular opinion.) But, i wish Cassidy’s character would have been more appealing; there are so many more redeeming qualities she could have had.

Though I know the book was sort of based around Ezra’s tragedy, I felt like the book wrongfully gave away the idea that everyone has a tragedy as devastating as Ezra’s.

Ms. Marvel Vol. 4: Last Days

Author: G. Willow Wilson

Illustrator: Adrian Alphona

Collecting: #16-19

Published: December 1, 2015

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

From the moment Kamala put on her costume, she’s been challenged. But nothing has prepared her for this: the last days of the Marvel Universe. Lucky she’s got the help of Carol “Captain Marvel” Danvers! Between teaming up with her personal hero to rescue her brother and trying to keep her city from falling into an all-out frenzy, Kamala has barely had time to come to terms with the face that the world is literally collapsing around her. But the truth will catch up to her, and soon. When the world is about to end, do you still keep fighting? Kamala knows the answer. Let’s do this, Jersey City.

Let me preface by saying… I LOVE MS. MARVEL. Basically, she is just so stinkin’ cool and if you have not checked out any of her comics yet what are you waiting for?

Volume 4 had a lot of drama and suspense that kept me eagerly flipping each page. There’s not too much I can say about this volume without spoiling anything, so unfortunately I can not say much~ but it is my favorite volume of the whole series thus far, and I NEED JULY 5 SO I CAN READ VOLUME 5 BECAUSE CLIFF HANGERS UGH. (I’m a sophisticated book reviewer, I am aware.)

Giant Days, Vol. 2 

Author: John Allison

Illustrator: Whitey Cogar, Max Sarin, Lissa Treiman

Collecting: #5-8

Published: April 12, 2016

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of hand-wringing boys, “personal experimentation,” holiday balls, nu-chauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive.

Summary from Goodreads

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably already know that Giant Days is one of my favorite comic book series.

I anxiously awaited Giant Days Vol. 2 to hit stores April 12th- when that day finally occurred, I checked ALL the book stores in my area and no one had it in stock. So, I ended up having to order it online which therefore delayed my already lengthy wait to read this masterpiece.

If you don’t already know what Giant Days is all about, think of it like a sitcom of three close friends in college; they have trials and triumphs in their friendship, love life and studies.

Giant Days volume 1 and 2 were both a light and easy read, yet kept me entertained throughout. There were numerous dialogues I laughed out loud at, and I can find a relatable quality in each character. Coming from a college student, there are also numerous scenarios that are quite like my own, which had me all:

One of the reasons I love reading so much is because you realize you are not alone- in anything.


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Author: Jesse Andrews

Published: March 1, 2012

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

Summary from Goodreads


I binge read this book before I met the wonderful Jesse Andrews~ (aka my first book signing)

I grew up near Pittsburgh so it was pretty neat to be reading a book that took place not far from my hometown. I loved Greg’s isolation he set up for himself; though I had a core group of friends in high school, there were moments when I could relate to Greg not wanting to get close to anyone. He set up a metaphorical wall between himself and the others around him in order to keep himself protected- but then, of course, he is forced to befriend the “cancer girl”, Rachel.

In order for this book to have received a higher rating from me, I would have liked to have felt more for Greg and Rachel- especially Rachel. But, Jesse Andrews wrote this book without the intention of getting the readers emotionally involved (*cough cough, The Fault In Our Stars*)

There also was not much of a plot in this, which was also the point. It is hard for me to stay intrigued in a book when there is not much of a plot (except Catcher in the Rye).

What kept me pushing through the book was the hilarity instilled in the story. There were so many laugh out loud moments I had while reading this- mainly, Greg’s attitude, Earl’s perverted comments, and Jesse’s writing (Trust me, he is even funnier in person!)

I think it will still be a few months at least until I pick up Jesse’s newest release “The Haters”, but when I do I have no doubt it will keep me fully amused and humored.


Papers Girls, Vol. 1 

Author: Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrator: Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson

Collecting: #1-5

Published: April 5, 2016

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

Summary from Goodreads

Paper Girls- another one of my anticipated buys, and a little of a disappointment; it took me a few weeks to get through this, whereas graphic novels are usually a quick read for me.

I think a reason why I was kinda disappointed is because I was expecting more, but this novel was really only setting up the whole story line; I have faith that volume 2 will be more entertaining for me.

What I did LOVE was the awesome feminity portrayed. A group of 80’s preteen girls fighting evil?

I didn’t think it was all everyone cracked it up to be, but nonetheless I will be reading volume 2 in hopes the story line picks up!

Well, there it is folks- the books and graphic novels I have read the past few months.

Have you read any of these?
Do you agree or disagree with my opinions?
Feel free to comment below or find me on social media (Twitter + Insta @xobrandilarissa) to share with me your thoughts on my recently read~ I love chatting books!
What’s the best book you recently read?






I Was Here Review: 5/5

Contains some spoilers

i was here.jpg

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

Synopsis from Goodreads

I Was Here by Gayle Foreman: a story about friendship, love, loss- both from suicide and parental abandonment-and a young girl just learning about life… and mental illness. It illustrates the importance for society to increase their knowledge about mental illness, as well as the significance of NOT letting your mental illness be this secret that remains festered up inside you.

First off, let me just say I adore Gayle Forman and her writing. She has such a unique, modern, engaging voice and it always has the power to draw me into any book she writes- especially If I Stay and Where She went, which are two of my favorite books.

Second off, this book is so important because it depicts the terribly awful emotions that one experiences after a person they love commits suicide. We experience these emotions from Cody herself, Cody’s mom, and of course Meg’s family. We even learn that the whole town Cody and Meg grew up in was seriously affected by this tragedy- which is important to keep in mind.

Throughout the book, Cody is hell bent on finding that ONE thing that pushed Meg over the edge- what seemingly “forced” her to drink the industrial strength cleaner. Was  it stress from school? A boy just being a jerk? No- it was a mental illness that affected Meg since she was younger.

The sad thing is,  this book is not very “unique” in its story line, considering it is very often mental illness goes unnoticed in an individual. Gayle Forman actually based this book off a real life story from a young girl; so, it’s important to keep in mind this (main) plot line is unfortunately pretty realistic.

It also tells the story of Cody growing up without the best home life. Her mom worked crazy hours and was pretty “hands-off,” and she had an absentee dad. This book portrayed the feelings Cody had regarding this aspect very well.

Overall, I gave this book a 5/5. I really enjoyed it and found it very difficult to put down! This book has the capability of broadening a person’s mind about mental illness, which is important in society now a days. How can we become more knowledgeable, understanding, and accepting of mental illness if we aren’t willing to broaden our perspectives?

I recommend this book to anyone willing to get a deeper perspective about mental illness, as well as anyone just looking for a good YA contemporary read!

If you have read this book, feel free to leave a comment or find me on twitter (@xobrandilarissa) to share with me your thoughts!