january playlist

januaryhere are the songs i’ve been just a little too obsessed with this past month:

la vie boheme // the rent original broadway cast

harry dean // swmrs

closer // the chainsmokers ft halsey

suffragette city // david bowie

immigrants (we get the job done) // from the hamilton mixtape

london calling // the clash

i want to grow up // colleen green

starshine // stevie nicks

tennessee //  meg myers ft dr rosen rosen

fml // k. flay

can’t sleep // k. flay

i walk the line // halsey

carrying the banner // newsies original broadway cast

congratulations // dessa (from the hamilton mixtape)

in the heights // in the heights original broadway cast

and there you have it. short post for today but something i’ve been thinking to start doing once a month since i love music more than most things and love giving recommendations to people. also, here is the link to this month’s spotify playlist so that you can check them out all together: january playlist

xxx abby

the fall of butterflies review

The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes, ☆☆1/2

img_1202We Were Liars meets Looking for Alaska in a uniquely funny and heartbreaking teen novel about a passionate-yet-doomed friendship set against a backdrop of wealth and glamour.

Willa Parker, 646th and least-popular resident of What Cheer, Iowa, is headed east to start a new life. Did she choose this life? No, because that would be too easy—and nothing in Willa’s life is easy. It’s her famous genius mother’s idea to send her to ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive Pembroke Prep, and Willa has no intention of fitting in. But when she meets peculiar, glittering Remy Taft, the richest, most mysterious girl on campus, she starts to see a foothold in this foreign world—a place where she could maybe, possibly, sort of fit in. When Willa looks at Remy, she sees a girl who has everything. But for Remy, having everything comes at a price. And as she spirals out of control, Willa can feel Remy spinning right out of her grasp.

I just have 1 word: meh. Personally, I wasn’t incredibly impressed by this book, but it also didn’t completely suck and I would probably read it again if I had nothing else to read. I read it in one sitting (which I do with most books), and I used it to cross off “a book with one of the four seasons in the title” on my challenge list. I wasn’t entirely sure if it qualified if I’m being honest, because I had no clue if it meant the butterflies were falling out of the sky or it was the season (fall) defined by butterflies. But I really don’t think it matters that much either, so oh well. But if you don’t really care about quality of the book and just read for the storyline then you’ll probably enjoy it fine.

Realistic, relatable, and diverse characters- nope. I was not a fan of the way some of the characters were written, particularly Willa and Remy. I found Remy absolutely ridiculous and I thought her ending was exactly what she had coming to her, and I hated the way Willa treated her. Willa was also really annoying to me, and I only felt bad for her at one point during the book even though she was written for people to feel bad for her. I also absolutely hated Milo, I thought he was a horrible person and badly written character and I was not a fan of his plotline at all. I didn’t think anyone could relate to the characters since they were absolutely insufferable.

1/2 Theme and diversity- I gave it this 1/2 star because it did deal with different themes like suicide and drugs, but was highly lacking in diversity. I probably wouldn’t have given it this star at all, but I felt like it put drug use in a different light and gave it an interesting perspective even if I did question the realism of it. I do give the author some credit for diversity since it was supposed to take place in a richer setting at a prep school and that’s a very white environment and that was portrayed in the book.

☆ Realistic world, plot, and settings- this aspect wasn’t bad, the world in which Willa and Remy existed was what I would have thought a prep school / Ivy League type environment would have been like so I’m not mad at it.

☆ Interesting and realistic plot- I didn’t mind the plot, it wasn’t incredibly fascinating but it still fulfilled my criteria of giving a reason for everything that was happening. I felt like it was kind of disconnected at times between scenes and different plot points, but it told the story well (even if I didn’t like the story that much).

Well written and overall interesting- hehe this is the star that relies entirely on my opinion and blech I was not a fan of the writing. From the beginning it was like the author was trying to create a different take on first person narration, but it just didn’t work and was basically abandoned a few chapters in which made me frustrated because if you’re gonna take risks then see them through. I was not impressed. I did enjoy reading this book thought, when I wasn’t paying attention to the quality of it. However, I didn’t enjoy it enough to actually give it the star so sorry not sorry.

Things I liked:

  • Um?
  • The themes maybe
  • Willa’s narration during the drug scenes was clever I guess
  • That’s it

Things I didn’t like:

  • Every single character
  • Narration
  • Willa’s parents
  • The ghost??? Like wtf was that I’m seriously disappointed it made no sense
  • The sad attempt at symbols in the novel please stop
  • The lack of diversity, there wasn’t even one unimportant black or gay character I’m honestly so disappointed
  • The portrayal of the acting community in it, not okay
  • That they put butterflies on the cover of this sad excuse for a book, I’m honestly furious they used those beautiful creatures to represent the title
  • THE FUCKING ENDING

Okay I’m done. Go read it, it wasn’t horrible I just didn’t enjoy it. That’s it guys, I hope you enjoyed my very first attempt at book reviewing, let me know what you thought of both the review and the book! I’d love to discuss it in the comments if you have different opinions (or similar opinions, I’m not picky).

xxx Abby

my book rating system

Hey guys! As most of you may know, I’ve chosen to participate in a 52 week long book challenge this year. I already have my first week finished, although I have yet to write the review because i was having a difficult time figuring out a standard to base my review on. So, I thought I should write a post to evaluate and outline the different standards i’m planning to base all of my reviews on so that this resource is available to people to understand my process of evaluation. I tend to be really hard on books, especially when it comes to giving them high ratings, because I feel like there are a lot of aspects that need to be taken into account for me to give a 100% rating to them. After working through a lot of different ideas, I decided on a 5 star rating, each star representing a different aspect I’ll be judging in the book. For a book to get all 5 stars, it has to have a good representation of each aspect. This way the review isn’t entirely my opinion, and there are a few things that don’t depend on my personal view of the book for it to have a good rating. Of course each star / aspect is my own personal opinion on what’s important in a book, although i do think I’ve done a pretty good job of diversity in each star so that each one represents something different.

☆ Realistic, relatable, and diverse characters- this doesn’t necessarily mean characters I personally relate to, but they must be realistic and well-rounded, as well as well-written. If the author is writing from a perspective of a different age, gender, sexuality, etc, the character has to be realistically written. In general, characters also should not have any sort of anomalies in their development (i.e.: being introduced as having brown eyes, then later being described as having blue eyes).

☆ Theme and diversity- this is 2017, people, if an author doesn’t have characters of different sexualities, races, etc, then I honestly don’t think it deserves praise. My personal standards for this are that at least 1 in 5 characters (then 2 in 10, 4 in 20, etc) should be of either a different race or sexuality. Or both, I’m not picky. Also, the book should deal with themes and different struggles, and portray them accurately.

☆ Realistic world, setting, and language- this isn’t a difficult star for a book to earn, if an author is truly invested in their novel then they should be putting in the time to make all the points line up. All a book needs for me to give it this star is to be using language appropriate for the setting, have developed their world realistically, and have other aspects to it that all line up and work together to create the story.

☆ Interesting & realistic plot- the book should provide a reason for everything to be happening. This ties into the realistic setting as well, but there should be a backstory as to the how and why of the plot, as well as provide a motive for the characters. The structure of the book should also make sense and work well to make the reader understand what is happening.

☆  Well written and overall interesting- this is kind of where my own opinion comes into things. Whatever book I happen to be reviewing should be well written in the sense of having proper grammar and the use of good writing techniques, but also in having overall interesting scenes and a good mix of excitement and mellower emotion to it. I should want to keep reading the book. This is essentially the aspect in which the book should impress me overall otherwise I won’t give it this star.

That’s all for today, kids! Hopefully this is helpful to you in the future and a good resource to have around for the future in my different reviews. I’ll be back soon with another post, and until then have a great rest of the week.

xxx Abby