Monday, May 14, 2018

Characters Most Likely to [Fill in the Blank]

A while ago, Cait did the "#MostLikelyTo Character Book Tag" over on her blog and it looked super fun, so I stole it (mwahaha . . .). Some of these are going to be so hard to do, but I think I can find a fit for every prompt. *cracks knuckles*

Characters most likely to . . .

. . . be overprotective

I'm gonna go with Wolf from The Lunar Chronicles. Anyone who's read the books knows that if Scarlet were to so much as sneeze, Wolf would leap into action with tissues, cough drops, blankets, and an intense glare directed at the person who dared to get her sick. He's a great big teddy bear (or mama bear).

. . . be good with kids

Peeta from The Hunger Games! He'd spend all day playing with them and telling elaborate stories and baking all kinds of delicious treats. He's a character who consistently comes to mind as being this soft and precious cinnamon roll who can do no harm.

 . . . pick flowers for you

Probably Luna from Harry Potter. She strikes me as the kind of person who'd frolic through a meadow and make daisy chains for all of her friends, humming a song by the Weird Sisters as she goes.

. . . lend you their clothes

Abby from the Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda/Leah on the Offbeat! She'd definitely let me raid her closet sometime. Or she'd be the one to lend me a jacket to wrap around my waist if I sat in something weird. Abby's the kind of superhero friend every person needs.

. . .talk with you for hours

Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. We could talk about anything and everything for an entire afternoon. He'd be perfectly content to just hang out in silence and read or go on and on about philosophical questions.

. . . take time looking at your eyes

Hmm, Levi from Fangirl, maybe? This one was a little trickier. But I feel like Levi would fit this pretty well. He's a pretty observant, stay-in-the-moment kind of person.

. . . say you're beautiful

Monty from The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, because he is a shameless flirt. He'd compliment inanimate objects if it wouldn't make people look at him weirdly. I swear, Monty's like an overly energetic puppy - he chases anything that moves.

. . . take over the world

AIDAN from the Illuminae Files. A psychotic computer with way too much time and power on its hands? Yeah, AIDAN could totally take over the world if it (he?) wanted to. Would not be surprised in the slightest.

. . . survive the zombie apocalypse

Honestly, most of the characters I read about are thrown into apocalyptic situations anyway, so it made it really difficult to choose one person who would be the most likely to survive. I'll choose Diana from Wonder Woman: Warbringer, because she is a for real superhero with excellent combat training, so she's got pretty good odds.

. . . break a world record

Jesper from Six of Crows, because he's a stubborn show-off who would try his hardest to break world record simply to win a bet and prove somebody wrong. The stunt would probably be dangerous and ridiculous, too, and definitely flashy.

. . . stay with their OTP after the book is over

*laughs nervously because several OTPs are dead*

Sooooo . . . let's just throw out Cress/Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles, because I ship them so hard, they'd survive in a rowboat across the Atlantic. They're just too darn adorable, protective, and committed to each other.

. . . leave their OTP after the book is over

Clary/Jace from The Mortal Instruments. I was always a little "meh" about their relationship, and they've had their fair share of rocky moments, so I don't see it working out too well in the future. They might last a while, but they're not solid enough to really survive.

. . . be a drama queen

Hi there, may I introduce you to Maya from Far From the Tree, aka resident fast-talking drama queen? This girl is made of fire and snark, so yeah, I'd say she fits the drama queen bill.

. . . always be happy

*laughs nervously again because several characters are tragically unhappy*

I plead the fifth. Everyone's a mess. xD 

. . . get into a fight

Nimona from Nimona. She's a little unhinged, full of spunk, and ready to kick some ass.

. . . go to war to save you

Alanna from The Song of the Lioness series. It may be a little on the nose, seeing as she's training to be a knight, but if she really cared about you, she'd totally fight off entire armies for you.

. . . laugh at a bad time

Poor, awkward Eliza from Eliza and Her Monsters. She's got a lot of social anxiety when it comes to in-person talking, so nervous laughter at the exact wrong moment wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility with her.

. . . travel the world
Is it cheating if I say Anna from Anna and the French Kiss since she's already been to France? She did enjoy exploring Paris while she was at school, so I wouldn't be surprised if she caught the traveling bug and wanted to see more of the world later on in her life.

. . . dress to kill
Addy from One of Us Is Lying, which may be a little obvious considering the back of the book describes her as "the beauty" and "the picture-perfect homecoming princess." It still fits, though.

. . . become super rich

Probably Dimple from When Dimple Met Rishi as she's a budding web developer and could rake in the cash with some awesome program she designs.

. . . get arrested
Solara from Starflight. She's already an outlaw and spends pretty much the entire book running from danger only to find more of it, so yeah, it's a wonder she hasn't been arrested already.

. . . share their food with you

This one was easy. Molly from The Upside of Unrequited! She makes so many delicious desserts and Pinterest-y food and she's more than happy to share it with her friends. What I wouldn't give for some of her cookie dough right now . . .

Tag, you're it! "Steal" these questions for your own blog and/or answer some of them in the comments!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Final Draft (book review)

Expected publication: June 12th, 2018
Pages: 272

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he's suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.


I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

One of the first things I did when I turned 18 was sign up for NetGalley. A website that gives you books for free so long as you review them? Yeah, I was sold. And my first request was approved! It was great.

Anyways, I really did love the first half of the book, but after finishing it and the more I've let it sit with me, my conclusion is . . . meh? It was all right. I can't say I hated anything, but I didn't have strong feelings about much of anything, one way or the other.

Let's talk about some of the things I did like:

-There was a heavy focus on writing. I'm a sucker for books about writers, because, obviously, I can relate to them! Every writerly character is different, but on some level, I can always see myself in them. This makes it way easier for me to empathize with them and get sucked into the story. I was drawn in right away by the creative writing aspect and loved how much writing was key to the plot. The story also demonstrated the importance for different kinds of mentors, including the cheerleader mentor who boosts your self-esteem and allows you to be confident about your writing, and the harsh critic who helps you to break free from your comfort zone and improve your writing, even if it's difficult.

-The book talked a lot about being a part of a fandom. Laila and her friends are obsessed with a sci-fi show called "The Rest" (which seemed to be similar to "The 100," but maybe that was just me) and even though they all recognize it's not the most perfect show in the world, it's still important to them and they love it unabashedly. It's part of how they bond and, 12 seasons later, they're still invested in the story. Again, this is something I could relate to. It really made fandom culture a positive thing.

-There was so much diversity! Laila is plus-size, pansexual, and half-Ecuadorian/half-French Canadian. Her best friend is a lesbian, and her entire friend group is racially diverse. It was really refreshing to see a school setting be realistically diverse, since, for some reason, that doesn't happen a lot.

-There was a twist in the middle that actually made me gasp out loud a little. I am notoriously horrible when it comes to predicting plot twists, so it may have just been me, but I totally did not see it coming.

-The descriptions were unique. When it came to describing the setting or characters' movements, I didn't feel bored, like I sometimes do when I encounter those sorts of things. I'm a skimmer, so if something doesn't hold my attention and isn't necessary, I'll breeze right past it. With this book, though, I actually wanted to soak up the couple sentences here and there that explained what the characters were doing in a fresh and interesting way.

And now for some of the things I didn't like:

-There were gigantic blocks of text that were out of place. Out of nowhere, Laila would go from doing something interesting to reminiscing about a random topic for two solid pages. Some of these thoughts were important and others were not. But either way, they could have been placed somewhere way better. It threw off the pacing, big time

-I didn't buy the romance. I wanted to, I really did, but again, it seemed to come out of nowhere. If there were hints early on about Laila's attraction to this person, I didn't catch it until way later. It should've worked, but both characters suddenly became way out of character when they were together. It was also supposed to affect the plot and the reader's emotions in a pretty big way toward the end, but I found myself not caring about it in the slightest.

-The book took a dark turn. The entire second half of the book didn't seem to fit with the rest of the story. I wouldn't have minded it, overall, if it had been carried out better. But it seemed like Laila completely changed as a person and the plot sort of drifted into nothingness.

-Laila's risk-taking played into unfortunate tropes. I hate, hate, hate when introverted characters are pushed to get some "life experience" and "take risks." Introverts can be perfectly happy at home with a book! It doesn't mean they're sad and lonely. In this case, I could kind of understand where some of the characters were coming from when they told Laila she needed to get out and live a little. There are times when it's good to get out of your comfort zone, and for the sake of her writing, Laila did need to have some new experiences. However. Why, why, why must every "new" and "exciting" experience involve getting drunk or having run-ins with the cops? If there is one trope I hate, it's that one. Life experience does not equal breaking the law and living a rebellious teenage life. There were about a bazillion other things Laila could have done to branch out in her life, but no, she had to get a fake ID and go to a bar.

-Something about Laila's relationship with her previous writing teacher didn't strike me as genuine. Maybe it was because we didn't get a good look at what their relationship was like before he had his accident and had to leave the school, but I didn't feel like they were as close as the story tried to portray. The e-mails, specifically, seemed off. The characters' voices didn't translate well in their online interactions.

-The ending was dissatisfying. Without spoiling anything, I didn't feel like anything completely tied up. It wasn't ambiguous, it was just . . . unfinished. It seemed like the author was trying to send a message, but I couldn't pick up on what that message was. It either went right over my head or the way the message was portrayed wasn't super clear. The ending was part of why I had a hard time rating the book at first, because I didn't know how to feel about it. I didn't feel anything, and that's definitely not how a book should leave you.

I rate it:

Final Draft was okay, but it's not a story that's going to stay with me. I'll probably forget most of it in a month or two. There was a lot I enjoyed, and it was a pretty short read, so it didn't consume a lot of my time, but I didn't have strong feelings about it. Not my particular cup of tea, but it may appeal much more to someone else.

Have you read Final Draft? What did you think? What are your favorite books about writers? Leave a comment!