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Utopic Dystopian Pt 2

I’m back after reading Lois Lowry’s Gathering Blue, and I am once again wondering why I never read these books. They are so good. In this rendition, we are in a different universe from what The Giver took place in. You don’t even have to read the first one to understand this book. I’m hoping that it continues.

One of the things that was different from the giver is that this takes place in a more stereotypical dystopian environment. Everyone is struggling for food and their place in the group. We follow a girl named Kira who is discriminated against because of her disability status. My heart went out to this girl as someone else who struggles with my own disability struggles. Watching Kira go through all of the challenges facing her was very inspiring. I had hoped she would succeed in every single thing she went after.

Here’s to the next book being good.

Test for Your Life Pt 2

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau was an exciting continuation of The Testing trilogy. Instead of university entrance exams, there are program entrance exams. And of course, I’m using exams loosely. While there is a standardized test, there is more than passing classes to survive. There is the lovely ritual of messing with all the new kids. That thing that everyone just loves and in no way will go wrong.

This book does a fantastic job of flipping expectations. It was also interesting that you know more than our protagonist at many points during the book. It also fills in a hole that you were wondering about from the last book. The closure to the issue was well handled, and something that I have a feeling will come up again. Now, I need to prepare myself for the last book. Maybe this time, I will be ready for the twists and turns. (Probably not)

This is Romance? Pt 1

I’m a sucker for romance. That being said, I have some standards. Such standards include having some kind of conflict, whether an external force causing friction in the relationship or some internal conflict of not feeling good enough. That being said, The Notebook is the worst romance novel I have ever read.

For years, I was told that The Notebook was the most romantic movie ever made. In my thinking, the book should be better. It wasn’t. Now, I have adored other books by Nicholas Sparks, such as Safe Haven and The Lucky One. There was just literally nothing going on in this book. Our couple spent a day together, and we’re just supposed to believe in happily ever after? Yes, they grew old together, but their relationship, in essence, amounted to nothing. I honestly expected more from this novel. There is a sequel, and I don’t know what it will entail, but I’ll read it. See if this relationship gets any better.

Semester 2 Grad School Reflection

A second semester in the bag. I’m feeling pretty good about school, even with the pandemic and everything. Full disclosure, I do have my final grades in, just checked them, in fact, and saw that I got all A’s. For that reason, I might be a bit biased about my assessment of the last couple of months.


First, I absolutely hated the fact that there was no spring break. Totally understandable with a pandemic, but I just wanted days off. Yes, I’m a grad student, and I technically don’t have vacations unless I specifically get in planned. Still, I just wanted some time to not think about classes. I wasn’t going to go traveling anywhere because I’m a homebody. Still, I just needed the mental break because moving to where spring break usually is, I felt myself getting into a rut, and I couldn’t dig myself out of it. Mental health-wise, this semester, I struggled for a bit.


Secondly, I was able to throw away my notebooks from the past couple of years. I was incredibly proud of myself because I always had this thought in the back of my head of “What if I need this information?” I thought getting me to throw them away would be to transfer the information to the cloud. It was even on my 2021 goals list. Earlier in May, I actually said forget this. I just got tired of transferring the information and tossed the notebooks in the recycling bin. This might not seem like a big deal to some people, but it is to me.


Lastly, I wanted to mention that I was able to “go” to a conference. It was interesting with everything being online and having to talk with presenters with a chatbox. I did have to deal with one incident dealing with racial undertones. It was surprising, and I had no clue what to say at that moment. Heck, I have no clue what if it were to happen in front of me right this second. It was just so weird to have something happen directly to your face. As in, me being the only African American in the virtual call with my camera on… It still blows my mind months later.
Other than that, I have nothing to really report. This summer will be enjoyable. I have many experiments going on, and I’m hoping that a paper may come out of this. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Cold Reality

Books have a way of punching you in the face, leaving you bleeding, and coming back for more to kick you while you are down. This is how Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck made me feel so many things within a short timeframe. I was one of those people who was someone who wasn’t spoiled, but this was a remarkable story.

This was short and sweet and so beautifully written. I could visually see everything with how descriptive the setting was. I would consider this must-read, but do consider the period this story was written. There is some language that is no longer acceptable.

Breakfast Murder Club Pt 1

Some have nostalgia over their experiences in high school. I am not one of them. In fact, this book encapsulates everything I hated existing for those four years that I had second-hand dread reading from each character’s point of view. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus is one of the most exciting mystery stories I have read in a while.

The premise of this book is that a student is killed in detention one day, and there are four suspects. You, as the reader, aren’t too sure about what’s going on. You do know that everyone is lying. You follow all four suspects throughout the book that lying about something, but you’re never too sure of the extent of it. I do love this because not knowing what’s being lied about allows your mind to wander. To be fair, my thoughts wandered to some really dark places trying to figure out the lies. There is a second book, but I don’t know how it will stack up, especially since the setting is exactly the same. In my opinion, so far, the author is going to have to come up with a couple more lies different from those found in this book.

Along that Yellow Brick Road Pt 3

After reading the third book in the series, Dorothy has a last name for herself. We should congratulate her. In this book, Dorothy is on an adventure to another magical place: Australia. I’m kidding, sort of. She traverses this new world with a chicken who doesn’t believe a single thing Dorothy says. I mean, I agree entirely with the talking chicken when she says there is no such thing as talking animals. It’s just ridiculous.

Anyway, in this book, we do get to see the new land of Ev. I think Baum had a thing about naming countries with only two letters. The magic is slightly different from Oz’s, but interesting nonetheless as we go on another adventure to find Dorothy a way home as we are joined with the return of other fun characters. I personally felt there were way more characters in the book than necessary, but that was the purpose of the quest, in a way. It was weird picturing all these characters interacting, especially toward the end. Overall I thought it was a good book. Just don’t see why the book was titled as it was.

Up in the Clouds Pt 2

After reading the book after The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, I’m back where the question everyone was asking gets answered: What happened to that one girl? Through the entirety of the first book, you’re not even sure of her name, but you want to know. This book is her story.

This book is an even bigger whirlwind adventure than the first one. Even knowing the basic premise from the first book, this book will still wholly blow your mind as you go through the book. The first book will not thoroughly prepare you for what this book will teach with its different lessons to be introduced to our protagonist. You want to keep find out more about her. This book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. If you enjoyed the first, you’ll love this one as well.

Test for Your Life Pt 1

Apparently, I was on a dystopian kick because I am discussing another dystopian novel, but with characteristics that you are probably well versed with. A brunette teenage girl trying to find her way through society with some weird side romances that don’t make any sense and really don’t add anything to the story other than being really weird. I’m not talking about the Hunger Games, but it’s close enough.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau is very reminiscent of The Hunger Games, but there is a slight twist to everything. Instead of a competition where the young kill each other, they see who gets to go to university, a privilege allowed by a select few across the war-torn United States. To get to university, you must take part in The Testing. The only difference is that it’s not the typical standardized testing that we are used to.

I really enjoyed the flip of expectations that was introduced in the story. As soon as you think you know what’s going on, something happens to twist your thoughts on everything. What is really chill becomes explosive in an instant. I would definitely recommend this book, even though I do not know where the rest of the series goes. I guess I’ll find out soon.

Utopic Dystopian Pt 1

Insert a book a suspect that everyone and their guardians have already read, except for me. I have already been dragged through the dirt by my friends, so please, no more judging. I understand that it is terrible that it took me being in graduate school to actually getting around to reading this book. I just wasn’t interested until fairly recently. In some regards, I do regret not reading it earlier but better late than never. What book am I talking about, you may ask. Lois Lowry’s The Giver is the book I’m discussing, where not even a movie coming out interested me apparently.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the setup before completely turning it on its head. I was expecting a utopian world where everything is great, but that was quickly dismantled. Sure, everything was great, but at what cost. This book was discussed in a way that I’ve never really seen in a dystopian novel. It’s usually all about blood and gore and nothing else, which is something I typically dislike. Instead, every aspect had a world-building element to it that kept me engaged in the story.

Now, there are other books that I’m guessing you’ve not heard about or read. I only know because of how I keep track of the books I read. I plan to read those and then tell you if those other books are as good and if I get the same feeling from them. I’m actually excited to see where this goes since each book discusses a different societal aspect.

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