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

how to start over (or: new year’s resolutions and some thoughts)

  1. Delete everything.

Wait no, don’t do that. You can’t start over and work with something if you have nothing to start with. Hmmmm… How about:

  1. Delete almost everything.

Okay yeah, that works. But is it specific enough? Probably not. Let’s try this one more time, shall we?

  1. Decide what you don’t like.
  2. Change that, so it seems like you deleted it but you actually didn’t.

Perfect. But is that really all? Yeah, I think I’m good.

*1 week and two posts pass before Abby realizes she forgot to mention her changes and introduce them properly*

Oh right. Don’t forget to actually to tell people what you’ve done with your blog. Way to just post a bunch of shit and confuse people. Very nice going *facepalm*.

Well hullo everyone. So in case you haven’t noticed, I did some things. Well, actually rather a lot of things. For one, I changed my domain. Yeah, that happened… hehe. For those of you who liked my old domain, really sorry but it had to happen. If you absolutely must know why, read this and you’ll understand. I really love what it is now, especially since I am the cookie queen when it comes to baking. I really feel like this new domain expresses what I’m trying to make my blog content more of, plus more bookish posts (which isn’t really included in the title, whoops). I’m also kinda not done with the changes, so hold tight. The next portion of this post will be a listing of things I’m resolving to do, related to blogging, in 2017 (oh, and how I’ll be going about doing those things):

  • Write more book, food, music, and lifestyle posts. Or, write more actual content.
    • For book posts, I’ll be participating in the 2017 popsugar reading challenge, which I did a few years ago with one of my friends but just for fun. This time I’ll be writing a review post for each book in order to check them off my list.
    • For food posts, I don’t have a challenge in particular but I’d like to be posting a recipe at least once every two weeks, if not once a week since that’s basically how often I bake.
    • For music posts, I’ll mostly just be writing a playlist for each month based on the music I’ve been listening to that month, and then posting it here.
    • For lifestyle, I’ll pretty much just be trying to write monthly favorites posts and talk more about different things I’ve been trying each month, besides my usual random updates and life chats.
  • Blog updating, essentially I’ll just be beautifying my actual site a little differently and fixing my about page since it’s pretty much just blank at the moment.
  • Update my social media and different usernames and such so that everything is cohesive and easy to find for people to contact me outside of my blog.
  • Accustom everyone to spelling my name “Abby” now instead of “Abi”, which might take a little bit because it’s been close to a year of me calling myself that and now I have to change it.

And because I really suck at personal resolutions, that’s all folks. I know this is kind of a shitpost way to finish off the year, but ah well. I hope you all have a happy new year, and may 2017 be our year.

xxx Abby

Blogger Secret Santa- Joce! 

First, to thank the lovely Teenella for coming up with this idea!

Second, to say hello to Joce / Isobel Moon… hey girly! I’m your secret Santa this year!

I know we’ve never actually interacted and I only just followed you because of the secret Santa arrangement, but trust me, I’ve done quite a bit of reading of your blog over the past few weeks. And I may have sorta fell in love with your style of post… Every book you’ve reviewed so far that I’d read as well, I thought your opinions on were amazingly well thought out and well written, and I admire your ability to make every post the same way. No matter what you’re writing about, be it a blogger interview, book review, or discussion post on whatever seems to cross your mind, it’s always incredible, both content and editing wise. You always come up with cool ideas for posts, and I love that you keep up with your post series on a regular basis- something I always struggle to do (whoops hehe). Over the past few weeks you’ve been working to become non-anonymous, which I think is wonderfully brave of you and wish you the best of luck throughout your next few steps. I know it’s scary to put yourself out there and not be able to hide behind another identity and name, but I think it’s really worth it if you feel brave enough to do so. I also think it’s awesome that you’re working to write your own novel, something I’ve attempted (and borderline failed every time), so I know it can be rough going. But keep at it! I know it’ll be worth it in the end to have the knowledge you’ve written something incredible. You’ve certainly inspired me to start working on my own again… And by the way, I started reading yours in the middle of writing this post and ended up reading everything you have published before I got back to this. It’s really good so far, I can’t wait to see how it develops, so pretty please write more! I love the concept too, every time I thought to myself “one more chapter and you can stop”, I ended up reading more, which obviously means you have the makings of an awesome novel so far. Also, good luck with your 2017 goals! I’m not quite organized enough to have a goals page like that myself, but it’s such a good idea I may copy it if I can think of some good ones. I hope you finish everything you want to and read all the books on your TBR. Those are scarily endless, and I know school takes up so much time that it’ll be rough going but I’m positive you’ll make progress. Here’s hoping 2017 is much better than 2016 and that you’re able to have an amazing year. Good luck! And finally, have a virtual hug. I wish I could give you a real one, but since this is over the internet, this’ll have to do 🙂 Oh, and here’s to new friends, hopefully we can talk more over the next year! Wishing you luck, a wonderful new year, and Merry Christmas.

xxx Abby

Blogger Holiday Party

Hey everyone! So today I have to present to you all an idea of (if I do say for myself) genius proportions. I know most people probably have more free time now since it’s the winter break, so i thought it’d be fun to have a holiday “party” of sorts over Skype! Similar to teen bloggers chat which is every Saturday on Twitter, but on Skype so everyone can talk in real time and there won’t be questions or a theme other than the holidays. I’ll be administrating, so anyone who wants to join should add me on Skype, info I’ll put below. If you’re not comfortable doing video chat, that’s perfectly fine. I will personally be on video along with I’m sure a few other people but if you’re worried about anonymity then just turn your video off and join the party over voice call. I’m also planning it for between Christmas and New Year’s so more people will be available since most festivities are paused around that time. Also to accommodate for bloggers being all around the world, make sure to check your time zones since I’m only including London, American Mountain Time (my zone) and Melbourne time in the info. The limit for Skype group calls is 25 people, which I don’t really think is an issue. Here’s the complete info for everyone who wants to join so you can make plans around it or check and see if you can join:

  • December 29th, 2 pm MST (my time), 9 pm GMT (London) / December 30th, 8 am AEDT (Melbourne). And obviously convert times as you will.
  • Make sure to add me on Skype @thepunkbutterfly and message me to let me know who you are ahead of time if it’s not obvious from your username.
  • Also, be sure to settle down in a comfy spot with some snacks, hot cocoa, headphones, and a good wifi connection. It’ll be about an hour long of just chatting about the holidays and whatever else comes up!

Also, if this is successful and a lot of people enjoy it, or I have a bunch of people who want to join but can’t, I think it’d be fun to host one or two a month to give as many opportunities as possible to communicate with other bloggers. I know that personally my friendships with other bloggers were strengthened after Skyping with them, so I think it’d be a great way to hang out and meet more people!

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and I’ll see some of you at the party!

xxx Abby

ch ch ch changes (and some thoughts on being happy)

i’ve been listening to a lot of david bowie lately, okay? anyways, no long intro today, i just want to talk about some things i’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

the first is my name. as you probably know seeing as i’ve mentioned it multiple times, my real name is abby. i spell it the way i do on here because i’ve never liked my birth name. it’s an insecurity i’ve dealt with for a long time now, starting mainly in eighth grade when i rode the bus with a group of guys i thought i could be friends with. one day on that bus, one of them informed me that “abby” sounded like a little kid’s name. “oh yeah, or like, a stripper name hahaha”. there was a lot of crying that day once i got off the bus, but they’ll probably never realize that from that point forward i despised my name. i’ve always hated my last name too, it’s four syllables, norwegian (just google norwegian last names and you probably won’t see mine, but you’ll understand what i mean), and seemingly unpronounceable. never mind the fact that it’s said the same way it’s spelled, every school year is a struggle. anyways, over the past few years i’ve tried multiple different variations of my name- abigail, abi, etc. but i don’t see myself as these people anymore. i don’t want to hide behind this sort-of pseudonym anymore, i don’t like it. i don’t want to be unhappy with my name anymore, explaining to teachers every year why my name isn’t spelled the way it is on their roll sheet or why i write ‘abigail’ on my assignments. it’s only the beginning of december, but i want my new year’s resolution to be “be joyful”. and i don’t think i can be truly joyful in christ and in myself if i’m not really me. which leads me to the next few things i think i’ll be changing.

when i started this blog, close to a year ago, i was a very different person. i wasn’t happy with myself, i was depressed, i was trying to be someone i wasn’t, and i had a lot of insecurities i was trying to cover up and convince myself didn’t matter. i don’t want to be the punk butterfly anymore because it doesn’t express the person i am trying to become, it expresses the person i was trying to hide behind last year. it’s time for some changes.

over christmas break, a lot is going to happen. i’m planning on changing my site address, i have a few ideas as to what it will be to but for now it’ll stay the same. i think i’m going to start using capital letters, and going by abby. posts will be the same / similar, and probably (hopefully) scheduled. everything will be different except my content, don’t worry there. if anything, i’m planning to improve my content and hopefully add a little more variety to them- music, style, book reviews, etc. everything i wanted to write when i first started this blog. it’s like a fresh start, but i won’t be restarting- just rearranging.

this is really important to me. i don’t think i can begin to explain how much, this is just something i have to do to move on with my life and attempt to become a better version of myself. a new year, a new blog, a new me. it sounds incredibly cheesy but this is how i have to do it. i’m changing many things in my life, trying to become more organized, write and wear and listen to and do things that make me happy. read my bible more, i want to start water color painting again (betcha didn’t know i used to paint), limit my time doing random crap on the internet. there’s a lot of things i want to do, and if i don’t start now then when?

the bottom line, things are going to change over the next few weeks, but as far as i’m concerned, it’s for the best. over the past year, i’ve changed a lot, and i want this blog to reflect both the changes i’ve undergone and the changes i can open myself up to. as far as i’m aware of, if you’re following me now, you’ll still be following me when i change domains. thanks to all of you who have followed me, who’ve interacted with me, who’ve shaped me as i’ve grown and changed and continued writing here. you’re all fantastic, and i have an incredible amount of love for each and every one of you. i wish i could hug all of you individually for supporting me as i write, and i hope you’ll continue to do so as i make these changes and do my best to grow out of my insecurities and into joy. much love.

xxx abby

stay in school, kids: sick days

*this post may or may not be inspired by true events happening right now in my life*

hey friends! so for the past three days i’ve been sick in bed slowly wasting away. i’ve been attempting to write other posts and such things but i thought now was a good time to introduce another post to my “stay in school, kids” series. aka the series in which i give advice on how to figure life out at the same time as i myself am figuring life out. yaaaaayyy. today i’m doing a slightly different format though, the do’s and don’t’s of how to make the most of sick days, as i’ve learned over the past three days of my sickness. fun times, amirite? let’s go.

do: finir tes devoirs 

for those of you who don’t speak french, finish your homework. being sick, especially not that extremely, is not an excuse for you to not do your homework, especially not if it was already assigned before you were gone. my school has a two day policy, which is basically where if you were gone the day an assignment was due then you have two days after you get back to finish it. i usually like to check online where my teachers post assignments as well, my school uses moodle, and just make sure i know what i’ve missed and what’s coming up when i get back.

don’t: strain your brain

obviously, because headaches are a thing and if you’re thinking too much it takes a lot of energy and does more harm than help. also, if you’re running a fever, wait until that’s not a thing anymore before doing anything because a fever will not help you in any way.

do: keep everything you need close by

on my nightstand / bedroom floor near my bed at the moment: a bottle of advil, my giant water bottle, mentholatum, a bowl of soup, savex, all my homework and school stuff, laptop, laptop charger, phone, phone charger, tissues, oyster crackers, hairbrush, headphones, half eaten pomegranate… keep these things nearby and you’ll be very happy with yourself.

don’t: expect your parents to do everything for you

this may have been fine when you were in elementary school and could hardly leave your bed and your mom would bring you soup and read you books and let you stay in bed all the time, but that probably won’t fly now. now she might be fine making you soup or picking up some tylenol at the store, but your parents aren’t going to come running every time you decide you need a glass of water.

do: stay hydrated 

drink all of the water. all of it i say! trust me again, your body will thank you for this. water is the best thing in the world for you while you’re sick, and the less you drink the sicker you’ll get.

do: vitamin c

trust me on this one: your body really likes vitamin c. pomegranates, oranges, orange juice, other varieties of vitamin c… consume all of it. trust me, you’ll thank me on this one. and your parents probably tell you this all the time, and that’s because it’s fecking important guys. also- iron supplements, and other vitamins. these are incredibly important because your body is more focused on fixing itself than sustaining itself. that’s not the best way to explain it but my mom tells me this all the time so whatever.

don’t: consume too much sugar / dairy

chocolate is bad for sick people, okay? if you have a stomach ache, drink some ginger ale or seven up or whatever you usually do to solve that, but don’t be chugging soda and eating chocolate bars or any other sort of junk food. that’s no bueno for your immune system, let your body fight the sickness in peace! and dairy, trust me on this one, dairy is not a good plan because it’ll mess with your sinuses and you won’t be too pleased with yourself.

do: take all of the showers 

the steam will open your sinuses, and trust me, you’ll feel so much better. i know that personally when i’m sick i just feel gross, so when i’m sick i literally shower every morning and night so that i can breathe better and just feel clean.

don’t: stay in bed all day 

 it’s really best to move around, try not to let your body parts cramp up, and get some blood flow going. if you just lay in bed all day you’re not going to be very happy with yourself. so get up, make a smoothie, make some toast, let your dog out, walk up and down the stairs, and you’ll feel a lot better.

do: stay in contact with your friends 

they’ll tell you what you’ve missed in class, send you notes, keep you company via snapchat while you’re alone at home… they’ll also probably tell you how crap you look and visit you / bring you your books and such if they really love you.

don’t: feel bad about missing school or missing out 

you’re sick, dude. don’t feel bad that you’ve missed a day or two. your body needs some time to relax and heal, and if that means you’re missing out on some sort of drama or conversation in class then so be it. it’s just another day, and your friends will probably fill you in on anything incredibly important that has happened.

i know this was a bit of a different post but i’m actually really pleased with the way it turned out and i really like this series in general so expect more of these! also i posted my 100 follower q&a but it literally has 2 views soooooo…??? idk go check it out, i posted it a few days ago. so yay! i’ll probably have maybe 1-2 more posts before christmas so i won’t say merry christmas now, but i will see you all soon.

xxx abi