The Way You Make Me Feel Rant Review // A Cute Book With A Cruel Unlikable Main Character

35704397From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? 

With Maurene Goo’s signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

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Listen. Nobody is more disappointed than me. I saw the adorably cute cover, with a Asian model on it looking fabulous!!, I heard great things about it, I saw that there was food involved (always a plus), and I was super excited. But alas, I really, really, really didn’t like this book.

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The premise of this book is absolutely adorable! It’s about two girls, mortal enemies really, who end up spending the summer working together in a Korean-Brazilian food truck. There are strong themes of family, since Clara’s parents aren’t together and have a weird relationship, friendships, and even a super cute sign spinning Chinese boy! There is so much descriptions of mouth watering food, Koran and Brazilian inspired since Clara’s dad is ethnically Korean but grew up in Brazil and now lives in the US (in LA no less!), and food is always a perk.

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Unfortunately, the characters do not make me equally happy as the premise. Namely: Clara. I hated her with a burning passion. Clara is entitled, whiny, selfish, egocentric, and cruel. As I started reading this book, I started realizing that I really hated her, and that made it basically impossible for me to like this book. I noticed a lot of reviews have said that they love Clara because she’s funny and sarcastic. Unfortunately, I didn’t think her jokes were funny at all, but rather downright cruel. Here are a few lovely examples:

–The book opens with her making a complete joke out of prom, becoming prom queen, pouring fake blood on herself, and basically setting the gym on fire. She thinks this is hilarious, but I mean…just because you think prom is stupid doesn’t mean you have to ruin it for anyone else! I would be seriously freaked out if I saw someone covered in blood, fake or otherwise, and people spend hundreds of dollars on prom only to have it ruined by this.

–Clara is “mortal enemies” with Rose, a very studious academically inclined student, because she’s…studious and academically inclined? She relentlessly mocks her for things such as studying biology during the summer, taking notes, asking questions when she’s being taught about her work. Honestly, I’m a total nerd myself and related to Rose most of anyone in this book, and I’ve been mocked like that, so I basically personally hated Clara. She also mocks Rose for watching what she eats because she’s a dancer and needs to stay healthy, says lovely things like “ask Rose. She’s unbiased, like Fox News,” apparently organized a flash mob at Rose’s dance show, and orders her around at work even though they’re equals with the same job.

She’s incredibly insensitive to other people, and even other religions! At one point, she starts cooking a vegetarian meal in a pan that was cross contaminated with pork. When Rose tells her that she shouldn’t because some people can’t eat that for religious reasons, Clara says: “What they don’t know won’t hurt them. They’ll just have to wonder why their food is suddenly more delicious. Hint: pork.” I think this should speak for itself on how horrible she is. She also further bullies Rose for being, in her eyes, uptight about the meat/vegetarian pan.

She’s constantly being mean to random people. At one point, her friend accidentally knocks over a woman’s hat, and the woman snaps at him. This prompts Clara to make fun of her and throw leaves into her hat because she “deserves it.” Maybe the woman wasn’t the nicest, but there’s no reason to stoop to her level! Besides, you never know what she’s going through: maybe she’s having a really terrible day and was rude this once even though she’s typically a great person; does she still deserve to be bullied then?

Anyways, those are just a small selection of the many reasons that I hate Clara. Now, keep in mind that this book is sort of about a flawed, unlikable character becoming a better person over the summer, as she and Clara go from enemies to friends. The thing is, she improves a little, but she’s still very unlikable by the end, so there’s certainly not enough growth to make me like her. And worst of all is that she never apologizes. She never apologizes to Clara for bullying her, never apologizes about being terribly insensitive to other religions. She becomes better, but never seems to accept and take blame for being terrible before. And I really didn’t want this monster to get a happy ending.

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As I said, I really liked Rose. I related to her a lot, and I liked watching her and Clara’s relationship develop over the summer, or at least I liked seeing her get a friend (even if I wasn’t so happy it was Clara the terrible). I think the relationship between these two girls was definitely the best part of the book. 

The love interest, Hamlet, was basically a cardboard cutout. I really can’t say what any good traits of his are besides being able to make good coffee and spin a cardboard sign well. He was really flat, and for a book called The Way You Make Me Feel there was shockingly little romance. Honestly, this book would definitely have been better if the romance was between Clara and Rose instead of Hamlet, or if there was no romance at all, and it was solely about the friendship between the girls.

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At least, the one redeeming point for this book was the diversity! Clara and her parents are Korean, and they grew up in Brazil, Hamlet is Chinese, and Rose is black. There were some wonderful Asian moments and culture things thrown in there that I could definitely relate to and I really loved seeing in a book!

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★☆☆☆☆

Top Ten Tuesday // Rainy Day Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! This week’s prompt is Rainy Day Reads. This is kinda coming late for me, since where I live in sunny Southern California, it rained pretty much nonstop through February and part of March, but now we’re getting nothing but normal sun every day! Is it summer yet? Nonetheless, I realize in the rest of the world that actually experiences seasons there are lots of rainy days so here’s some books I love snuggling up to read on rainy days! I particularly love reading longer fantasy books while the weather is stormy outside and I can feel safe inside and get lost in a huge adventure!

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1. Six of Crows 

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2. The Lunar Chronicles

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3. A Court of Thorns and Roses

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4. The Cruel Prince

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5. Harry Potter

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6. Caraval

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7. Daughter of Smoke and Bone

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8. The Gilded Wolves

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9. Girls of Paper and Fire

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10. Daughter of the Pirate King

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Let’s Chat

Do you prefer to read heavy fantasy or light contemporary on rainy days, or something else altogether? Any favorites on this list? I’d love to chat in the comments down below 🙂

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The Crimes Of Grindelwald Rant Review || As A Harry Potter Fan… This Sucks

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So I just finished watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald last night and to say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. I know I’m way behind everyone else with this because I didn’t see it in theaters and just watched it on DVD, but now I’m glad that I did that because seeing this on the big screen would be a huge waste of money.

Here’s the thing. This movie had so much potential. It could have been so, so good. The Harry Potter books are masterpieces, with the incredible immersive world created, with all the minute details that come together to form an rich detailed story. This movie was, well, not.

This is a book blog, but since the world of Harry Potter was originally books, I decided to write a ranty review here describing just what I think went wrong.

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SPOILERS GALORE!

~You Have Been Warned~

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The Pacing

The pacing in this movie was all over the place. Like others have said, this movie felt much more like a giant filler, an two hour way too long set up for the remaining movies. For the entire first 2/3 of the movie, I feel like nothing really happened. The movie was just setting up different characters, introducing us to them, and then jumping to other characters, and other characters. Nothing really happened until the last half hour or so. In fact, since I was watching this on DVD, I could see exactly how much time had passed and how much time was remaining as I watched it, and I honestly just kept thinking when is this going to end? Or, when is something even going to happen?

The thing is, an individual movie or book should be able to stand on its own and hold up by its own merits. Each of the Harry Potter books had an arc of their own, with Harry and his friends facing conflicts and growing as characters and tensions gradually escalating until the climactic endings that felt very appropriate to the book and had been built toward for the whole book. At the same time, they gradually contributed to the overarching conflict of the rise of Voldemort and the impending wizarding war. With Crimes of Grindelwald, the movie does not feel like it builds to a conflict. For most of the movie, I had no idea what was supposed to be happening. It felt like the entire conflict was let’s get everyone to Paris to set up the next movie. 

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The Characters

This movie had: Way. Too. Many. Characters. I consider myself to be a very hardcore Potterhead who knows the lore, yet I still had no idea who people were. For example, there was:

  • That French lady with Grindelwald; who was she?
  • That guy who locked Tina up after the circus; who was he?
  • I feel like Newt’s brother kept showing up with some ministry people, but I really don’t know who they were, or how many of them there were, or anything.
  • One of Grindelwald’s henchmen I think who he was talking to near when Credence blew up the roof? I also saw him in an elevator with the French lady?

The thing is, JK Rowling is used to writing books. In books, I think you can definitely introduce more characters, since we can get more exposition and backstory on them without awkward expositional dialogue. But here, these characters just kept showing up randomly and after a while I stopped trying to understand who they were.

Another issue with having so many characters goes back to the pacing. There were just so many story arcs that the movie kept switching between that I feel like we were always getting re-orientated with other people and spending time setting up these plots so that none of them could get fully developed. And with that; the character development was awful! There were so many things that felt completely out of character from the first movie, or even within this one. I feel like some of them could be plausible, but they would need to be developed further. For example…

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Quennie

Queenie deserved better. Her story line was one of the things I didn’t just dislike, but absolutely hated about this movie! It made no sense! In the first one, she was so sweet and fun, but in this one she’s actually crazy! The fact that she enchanted Jacob felt actually rapey, not to mention downright evil? I mean, the only other character from the Wizarding World we know enchanted their spouse was Voldemort’s mother, and that definitely wasn’t just brushed off and moved on from.

The fact that she would follow Grindelwald actually makes no sense. Grindelwald talks about how wizards are superior to muggles, and she wants to marry a muggle so she goes over to this side? It just doesn’t make any sense. And the fact that we got like three scenes from her in the entire movie as well made it so much worse. There was no time where we saw her gradually changing her mind; it was like, in the first movie she’s sweet and here she’s bad. The end.

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The Romance

This movie put Way Too Much (with a capital W, T, and M) emphasis on romance. I guess…romance sells? There was so much drama between Jacob and Queenie, and there was Newt being all lovesick puppy over Tina, and literally not wanting to go to Paris to help Dumbledore find Creedence before Grindelwald used him, but then he decided to go because Tina might be there? There was literally so much happening in this movie with its crazy convoluted plot and insane number of characters that just devoting so much time to romance honestly annoyed the crap out of me. It’s not a romance movie; it’s about (or supposed to be about) the crimes of Grindelwald.

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The Little Details And Inconsistencies

There were so many little inconsistencies from the other books and movies, and small annoying details that didn’t fit the story. For example:

  • McGonogall is teaching at Hogwarts eight years before she is supposed to be born. This can be verified in Order of the Phoenix when she tells Umbridge she had been teaching at Hogwarts for 39 years. There was literally no reason to drop her name, as she played no important role in the plot, other than fanservice.
  • What are the wizards wearing? They are wearing suits and muggle clothes. In Goblet of Fire, wizards are shown to be wearing ridiculous combinations of clothes since they don’t know how to dress like muggles, and one wizard wears a woman’s nightgown. But here, Dumbledore is wearing a full on muggle suit while teaching?
  • Dumbledore is teaching defense against the dark arts instead of transfiguration! Just because they wanted a scene with Dumbledore and the bogart? We also learn in Half Blood Prince that Professor Merrythought teaches DADA (Tom Riddle wants his job) and has done so for 50 years, which would put her as teacher.
  • Why is it in the first Fantastic Beasts, we are introduced to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MCUSA), but here it’s referred to as American Ministry of Magic? Literally why?
  • Why are people apparating on Hogwarts grounds? Haven’t they read Hogwarts, A History? You can’t apparate on Hogwarts; Hermione would be ashamed.
  • Why did wizards apparate in puffs of black smoke at Grindelwald’s rally at the end? In the rest of this movie and all the movies, apparation is shown to be a squiggly thing in the spot, not a vertical puff of black smoke.
  • Why is Credence even alive? He was shown to explode and die in the end of the first movie, and now he’s alive and we’re just supposed to roll with it? Nobody, not one single character, asks the question of why is he still alive?
  • Why does Jacob have his memories back? The only bad memories is the most BS explanation ever. If that’s the case, then I’m sure tons and tons of people in New York still have memories. Not to mention it cheapens the entire emotional ending of the last movie with Jacob getting his memories wiped.
  • Why does Dumbledore see Grindelwald in the Mirror of Erised, and making the blood pact too? In Deathly Hallows, it’s heavily implied that Dumbledore would see his mother and sister. Furthermore, the Mirror shows your hearts desire, so…Dumbledore’s most desperate desire is to make another blood pact? If it’s just the past/memories we need to see, that’s what we have the Pensive for.
  • Creedence = A Dumbledore?????? This literally makes no sense with canon. It cheapens the emotional ending of Deathly Hallows when Dumbledore lays it all down, stripped bare in front of Harry for all his flaws and regrets and tells him everything. Furthermore, it doesn’t even make sense with the time frame considering how much younger Creedence is, Dumbledore’s parents would be dead/in Azkaban when Creedence would need to be born?

Some of these things are all relatively small and don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, and wouldn’t make or break a movie, but considering there are so many, they really all start to add up and make it feel like there was just no effort that went into this movie.

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Anyways, in summary this movie sucks. I’m glad I saved money and didn’t see this one in theaters, and I’m probably not going to see the next one in theaters…and I don’t even know if I’ll see the next one at all! I love Harry Potter. I really do. But even more than that, I really really with she would stop adding more garbage and ruining the series.

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Let’s Chat

Have you seen The Crimes of Grindelwald? Do you like it? I’d love to chat in the comments below.

pinkname

 

My Favorite Siblings In YA Books || Happy National Siblings Day!

Hey loves! Did you know that today, Wednesday April 10th, is National Sibling Day in America? I’m a sibling and I love hanging out with my older brother! I also love reading about families and siblings in books, so I decided to compile a list of my favorite siblings in YA books for National Siblings Day!

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The Song Sisters From To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

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These three are absolute sibling goals! Song girls for life ❤ I love their individual interactions with each other, from Kitty being sassy and awesome, to Margot giving Lara Jean advice, and of course I just love Lara Jean!

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Scarlet and Tella from Caraval

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I love reading about Scarlet and Tella! It was especially amazing how Caraval was told from Scarlet’s POV, and Legendary was from Tella’s, so we got to see both of the amazing girls! It’s so clear how much they care about each other no matter what other crazy things are going on in their lives.

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Cath and Wren from Fangirl

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 These two girls, identical twins, definitely branch out from each other when they get to college! But at the end they ultimately care so much about each other and always come back to each other (and love Simon Snow together!) and how could I not love them?

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Severin and Tristan from The Gilded Wolves

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These two aren’t technically siblings or related to each other, but they’ve grown up together and look after each other and that makes them the truest brothers there could be. I loved watching Severin care for Tristan no matter how crazy their life could get! (also, my heart is still broken from the ending…)

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The Weasleys from Harry Potter

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I mean, the Weasleys are the best family and wouldn’t anyone want to be a Weasley sibling! From Fred and George being the ultimate pranksters together in crime, to Ron playing Quidditch with Ginny, to Bill and Charlie looking after their family, all these siblings are incredible!

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Jude and Noah from I’ll Give You The Sun

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If I had to name one sibling book, it would definitely have to be this one! Told from the alternating perspectives of Jude and Noah, two artists who used to be so close and have a rift between them, it’s such a beautiful story, and shows how ultimately siblings are forever.

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Serina and Nomi from Grace and Fury

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These two girls always knew they would be with each other forever, until they’re suddenly ripped apart from each other, Serina taking the fall for Nomi to protect her. And no matter how far apart they are, protecting each other is always their number one priority.

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Katniss and Prim from The Hunger Games

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From the first chapter when Katniss volunteers to almost certain death to protect her little sister, this pair won me over. Katniss would do anything for Prim, and Prim is so helpful and caring about Katniss too.

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Let’s Chat

Do you have any siblings? Who are some of your favorite siblings from books? I’d love to chat in the comments below ❤

pinkname

Girls of Paper and Fire Review || An Intense Stunning Asian Fantasy

34433755Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

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“I don’t want an easy life. I want a meaningful one.”

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Wow. What a book this was. It was dark, it was twisted, and it definitely did not sugar coat. And by the end of it I’m left completely reeling and also dying for the next book!

This is definitely one of the darkest books I’ve ever read, to the point where it really didn’t feel so much like YA and more like NA? I would say it’s upper YA definitely–I’m seventeen and I probably would have DNFd this book if I read it just two years ago since it would be too intense for me. It’s the only book I’ve ever read that has an actual trigger warning printed in front (violence and sexual abuse), and I think that’s really good, since there are some disturbing scenes of sexual violence/assault/abuse and even a rape scene that are hard to read.

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I was in complete awe of the worldbuilding. This is an incredible ownvoices Asian fantasy world, where humans and demons are divided into castes, and paper girls are taken against their wills, or at least against the prorogation Lei’s will, to be concubines to the cruel demon king. I loved seeing more and more of the world unfold from the way the caste system divides society to the warrior clans and everything else!

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For the most part, I really like Lei. She is defiant and adamant in getting out of the role she never wanted, and although she was a bit more passive at the beginning, more trying to stay alive than really change anything about the terrible world, I loved seeing her grow more fierce and passionate as the book progressed! I thought she had incredible character growth thrown into a terrible situation and seizing it!

Of course, like everyone else, I loved the romance. It seems from the synopsis a bit like it might become another of the many many Beauty and the Beast type books where the girls falls in love with the cruel captor man, but that’s not the case here! This is a book about two girls who never wanted to be the king’s concubines, and who fall in love with each other in a world that wants to make that impossible. It was pretty slow burn in the beginning, and then the way the two girls were there for each other and supporting each other through the terrible things that happened was so incredible. I love these two girls so much!

I loved the rest of the girls as well, particularly seeing the dynamics they had with each other, and learning more and more about them, learning that nobody is as one dimensional as they seem. All of the girls were complicated, as is to be expected when thrust into such a horrible situation. There were a few moments when I was getting annoyed because it seemed like girl on girl hate just because, but as we learned more about the characters and their motives, I thought the positive and negative relationships the girls had with each other on the surface really fit the story.

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The ending was really intense and insane, and definitely didn’t go about the way I thought it would. I was on the edge of my (metaphorical because I read in bed) seat for the whole ending part of the book! I didn’t like it that much, as it felt a bit weird and unrealistic to me, which is the reason I’m not giving this book 5 stars. Overall, this was a really incredible book though and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the sequel!

★★★★☆