Book Review: The Merciless (The Merciless #1)

First off, I just want to apologize, as it has been a whole 3 months since posting on this blog! That is way longer than I wanted to go, but sometimes I just don’t know where my time goes. A lot does go to my homework, for sure. Also, I am going to try something new with my book reviews. With each review, I am going to make a playlist of songs on Spotify that I will link at the end of each review. I’ve been wanting a way to talk more about music and I think this will help do that. The music will also add to the overall mood of the book. Anyway, on to the review!


18667769Title: The Merciless

Author: Danielle Vega

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Summary: “Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream. Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended the popular girls on her first day at school, she admired their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed. Now Sofia’s new friends are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn. But their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation.”

My Thoughts:

The Merciless was intriguing from the beginning. The book stayed that way (for the most part) until the last page. This led to a fast read because there was hardly ever a dull moment. It may have taken me a long time to finish, (again because of school), but I sped through the pages when I did pick it up.

One aspect of the book I was disappointed by were the characters. As other reviews have noted, The Merciless is not a very new plot in terms of the characters. This was not always pointed out in a negative way either, as MTV said, “Mean Girls with an occult twist.” However, I felt the lack of depth the characters made the book less exciting, as the characters didn’t feel original. The basic plot is the same: there’s a new girl at school who makes friends with the most popular clique. Obviously, the plot was a lot darker than Mean Girls, but the base of the story was one I definitely recognized. In addition to this, the relationships between the characters fell a little flat, so I didn’t care as much about them as I could have. Stronger relationships between the characters would have helped later on in the story.

Something Vega did a good job of was making this book really gross. I mean this in the best way possible. The Merciless is a horror series, so the fact I cringed a lot and couldn’t read it too close to bed for the fear of not being able to sleep is a compliment. It was pretty graphic throughout the book. For example:

“Riley presses the knife into Brooklyn’s exposed thigh and pulls the blade toward her knee. She moves the knife so slowly that I hear the skin rip seconds before a thin red line of blood appears on Brooklyn’s leg.”

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to YA readers with strong stomachs.


Playlist:

For this playlist, I picked songs that have a creepy atmosphere to them, including some that are actually about scary things. For example, “Eating Simon” by Hands Off Gretel is about basically what the title states. It talks about a girl who fell in love with a boy named Simon so much so that she wanted him to be a part of her forever…so she ate him. (Lauren Tate, the lead singer’s description, not mine. That is not an interpretation, it’s actually what the song is about). With some (hopefully most) of the songs, I will link a live performance. The link to the whole Spotify playlist will be at the bottom of the post.

  1. Morphine – Michael Jackson
  2. Eating Simon – Hands Off Gretel
  3. Voodoo – Adam Lambert
  4. Mad Hatter – Melanie Martinez
  5. Threatened – Michael Jackson
  6. Control – Halsey

You can listen to the playlist here.


Thanks for reading! ❤

So 2016…

2016 was not a good year for many, many people. I could name many reasons that 2016 was a hard year, but that doesn’t seem very helpful. There are enough people pointing out the bad parts, so I thought I’d make a post about the good parts of this year. Here are some things that went well for me this year:

  1. I fell in love with some great bands: Foo Fighters, Hole, Nirvana and Hands Off Gretel.
  2. I went to two great concerts with my friends! I saw Troye Sivan in February and Melanie Martinez in March, here are some videos from them:
    1. Melanie Martinez
    2. Troye Sivan
      1. (Creds. to my friends!)
  3. I met my friend Taryn for the first time in person (and we didn’t take a picture for some dumb reason ughhhh).
  4. I finished my sophomore year of high school.
  5. I survived my first quarter of IB classes as a junior.
  6. Bruno Mars released a great new album, and I made plans to go see him when he comes to Minnesota! On August 5, 2017!
  7. I made this blog.
  8. I made new friends and got closer some other friends.
  9. I wrote more (still not as much as I wanted to though).
  10. I had fun with my hair by cutting it really short and then months later dying it (twice):

    What was good for you in 2016? I hope you have a great 2017!

Slow to Post

This post might be a little unnecessary, as I find I don’t post much anyway, even when I’m not in school. Either way, my posts have slowed down and will probably be close to non-existent for a while, primarily because of school. I’m not very skilled at time management when it comes to school and blogging (and reading), so this blog will have to take a back seat. I am going to be posting when I can, but that may not be very much. For example, I planned on posting recaps for every episode of Once Upon A Time this season, but I haven’t gotten a single one up. Anyway, I hope you all understand, and I hope you have a good week!

Birthday Music Haul

So just like last time, this haul is pretty late. My birthday was August 19, and now it’s three weeks later…oh well.


Anyway, I got some really good music for my birthday, so I thought I would share them with you.

My friend Lauren got me this one, so thank you!! (If you’re reading this).

live_through_thisTitle: Live Through This

Artist: Hole

Rating: ★★★★★

Favorite Song: All of them! I do really love all of these songs, but I’ll try to pick a few faves: VioletI Think I Would DieRock Star and Miss World.

 

 

For the next album, I have a bit of a funny story. Since my parents also know how much I love Live Through This, they went to The Electric Fetus and got it for me on vinyl. Since I already got a copy a few days earlier, I exchanged it for another great album.

foo_fighters_in_your_honorTitle: In Your Honor

Artist: Foo Fighters

Rating: ★★★★1/2

Favorite Songs: Since it’s split in half, with the first half being loud, and the second half being much softer, I’m choosing a couple from each side, because I can’t chose just a couple overall. Fast side: In Your Honor, The Last Song, Free Me and Best Of You. Acoustic side: What If I Do?, Another Round, Friend of a Friend and Cold Day In The Sun. I really like Cold Day In The Sun, because Taylor Hawkins does the vocals, rather than Dave Grohl, and I love hearing his voice as well.


Comment Below: Have you bought any good music lately?

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite First Sentences

Top 5 Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. To join or learn more about T5W, go to the Goodreads group here. This week, we’re talking about our favorite first sentences of books. There are so many good starts to books I couldn’t mention here, but here are some great ones!


1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J. K. Rowling

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

2. The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, Book One) by Rick Riordan 

“Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a rotten day.”

3. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

“The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath.”

4. Binge by Tyler Oakley 

“Go ahead, binge. I’m not saying go out and snort a bunch of cocaine or do anything that’s going to seriously put you or the people around you in danger, obviously.” (Okay that was two, but it’s really good, and I wanted to put it in. I’m sorry. Kill me. *Is way to sarcastically dramatic for no reason*)

5. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

“So she tells me, the words dribbling out with the cranberry muffin crumbs, commas dunked in her coffee.”


Comment Below: What is a great first line from a book you know?

Book Review: Save Me, Kurt Cobain

22055480Title: Save Me, Kurt Cobain

Author: Jenny Manzer

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Summary: Nico Cavan has been adrift since her mother vanished when she was four—maternal abandonment isn’t exactly something you can just get over. Staying invisible at school is how she copes—that and listening to alt music and summoning spirits on the Ouija board with her best friend and co-conspirator in sarcasm, Obe. But when a chance discovery opens a window onto her mom’s wild past, it sparks an idea in her brain that takes hold and won’t let go.

On a ferry departing Seattle, Nico encounters a slight blond guy with piercing blue eyes wearing a hooded jacket. Something in her heart tells her that this feeling she has might actually be the truth, so she follows him to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest. When she is stranded there by a winter storm, fear and darkness collide, and the only one who can save Nico might just be herself.”

My Thoughts:

I was pulled in from the very page. Nico, the narrator, starts talking about the day her mother disappeared, which is sad of course. However, it makes me want to know more about her mother and the story behind her disappearance. The pacing is good after the beginning, too. Nothing felt too fast or too slow, and kept me interested throughout the book. Because of the pacing and the intriguing storyline, Save Me, Kurt Cobain was a fun and fast read.

One of the things I really liked about this book are the chapter titles, because they are Nirvana song titles. They helped give an idea of what the chapter would be about in a creative way. Additionally, I liked how there were some musical puns/references throughout the book. It helped tie the book together, and was just cool to read. For example:

I hate myself and I want to die, I thought, trying it on for size. I’m not even sure the words held any meaning. I wondered if that was how Kurt Cobain felt singing the band’s big hits over and over.”

(I Hate Myself  and I Want To Die is a Nirvana song).

The characters in Save Me, Kurt Cobain are nowhere near boring. Every character has an interesting story and quirks, which made them fun to read about. Not only are the characters interesting and intriguing, but they are also easy to relate to.

I haven’t made this disclaimer yet, so I guess I’ll make it now: although I would recommend this book to most people, if you dislike 90’s alternative rock music, I would definitely not recommend this book. (But if you don’t…why?! Not even Smells Like Teen Spirit? Not even Miss World?) Here’s why: (even though it’s pretty self explanatory), that’s exactly what the book is about. That being said, if you like Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, or any other 90’s alternative rock band, you will find yourself right at home here. Other than reminding me why I love Nirvana so much (too much. I think it’s actually bad for my health), this book reminded me that I really need to go listen to Mudhoney, Bikini Kill, Sonic Youth, etc. since I haven’t gotten around to that yet…

As many books do, this book hit me right in the feels. This book hit me in a different part of my feels though. It hit my Nirvana feels over and over again. (And passed them back and forth…)

tumblr_lxtczqhpzs1r98rqco1_500
Me when making that Drain You pun

(“Chew my meat for you/pass it back and forth in a passionate kiss/from my mouth to yours” are lyrics from Drain You, a song off of Nevermind. Also, the Foo Fighters have a great song called Back and Forth I would also recommend).

Anyway…the descriptions of Kurt and the band as a whole are so good and accurate. It reminded me of how great they really were and made me a little sad, too, because of what I just said. For example:

“When Kurt Cobain played his guitar, he looked weightless, like a blonde marionette. I can still picture the black-and-white concert photos of him. Rising up, slamming down the chords, then smashing stuff.”

Not only the way he performed, but also who he was as a person. For example:

“Cobain had shunned mainstream popularity on one hand while rabidly pursuing rock stardom with the other, berating his managers for inadequate promotion, and dumping Seattle’s Sub Pop for a bigger label. Cobain was, it seemed, the most ambitious twentysomething slacker you could ever meet.”

Overall, Save Me, Kurt Cobain was a good book that tells a unique story about loss, friendship and really good music.


Comment Below: Have you read a good book related to music you would recommend?

Book Review: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book One)

ec3cf145-472c-43dc-b0fa-40291f45843b

Title: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book One)

Author: Rick Riordan

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Summary: “Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .”

My thoughts: 

The book starts off with Magnus talking about how he died, which is always an interesting start to a story. By starting the book off like this, I was pulled into the story, because not many books start with death. Additionally, the beginning was funny and sarcastic, which is an element I always welcome in books. After the initial introduction, The Sword of Summer continued to move along at a fast and compelling pace. It doesn’t take long for the action to start, which keeps the book going and kept me interested.

As I mentioned a little bit before, one of the best parts of this book, and Rick Riordan’s books in general is the sarcasm. He writes witty and clever characters so well, and I really love it. The humor often lightens the situation or just makes the situation even funnier than it already was. For example, here is an example of Magnus being sarcastic:

“That way if we fall,’ Sam said, ‘We’ll fall together.’
‘Sold,’ I said, trying to tamp down my anxiety. ‘I love dying with friends.'”

But not only is there a lot of good humor in the text, even the chapter titles are super funny! The first chapter is called “Good Morning! You’re Going to Die,” and the 50th is titled “No Spoilers. Thor Is Way Behind on His Shows.” I just thought they were all so creative and fun to read.

Although the book was very funny, I think there was still a good balance of seriousness, given that some hard things do happen to the characters, and it would be unfair to make everything a joke.

Like all of the Riordan books I’ve read, the characters in The Sword of Summer were interesting and interacted in ways that added to the book. (For example, from the quote above, you can tell the characters are funny together). All of the characters feel different and like real people. Magnus and everyone he interacts with feel like I could meet them on the street (if they were all actually humans, not things that exist in fantasy). And not only were the new characters great, but there were a few old ones too! Annabeth Chase from both Percy Jackson and the Olympians as well as The Heroes of Olympus is in the book. I won’t tell you where, so you’ll have to read to find out! (Or spoil yourself elsewhere on the internet). And Jason Grace from The Heroes of Olympus is mentioned during the book. I liked both of these characters (I loved Annabeth), in the other series, so I liked them popping up in this Riordan book as well.

Something else I really appreciated about The Sword of Summer was the diversity. Magnus is homeless, and showing a poor person doesn’t always happen in novels, unless it’s the point of the story. There is also a deaf person and a Muslim woman in the story, which adds to the diversity. Representation is so important, because it helps everyone feel included in literature and writing. Additionally, it helps young readers (and readers in general) relate to the story easier.

My last point is quite short, but being a Nirvana fan, I felt the need to include it: the Kurt Cobain references in this book make me very happy.

If you liked Riordan’s other books, I think you will also like this one. And even if you haven’t read any of his other books, I think you’ll like this. (But do yourself a favor and go read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and then The Heroes of Olympus series).


Comment Below: Have you read The Sword of Summer? If so, what did you think of it?

Oregon Book Haul

For the header I made for this post, I was just going to find a stack of books, but I think this girl looks like me, so I thought it was cute. Just thought I’d point it out because I really like this header 🙂


I visited my family in Oregon recently, and I went to two different book stores while I was there. Here are the books I got:

Smith Family Bookstore – Eugene, Oregon

s-l225

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan and John Rocco

Powell’s – Portland, Oregon

 

The Merciless by Danielle Vega

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer

Kill The Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

Moonwalk by Michael Jackson


Comment Below: What books have you bought recently?

Father’s Day Music Haul

I have no idea why it took me so long to get this posted, and it was from so long ago it might not even be worth posting, but I still wanted to share the two records I got.


The day before Father’s Day, I went to Barely Brothers to find some records for my dad to give him. (We got The Great Escape soundtrack and Roast Fish Collie Weed and Corn Bread by Lee Perry). While we were there, I got some things for myself.

foo_fighters_-_there_is_nothing_left_to_loseTitle: There Is Nothing Left To Lose

Artist: Foo Fighters

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Favorite Song: I have too many! I originally wrote down half of the album, but I narrowed it down to these three: Stacked ActorsBreakout and M.I.A.

 

 

jacksons-2300-jackson-streetTitle: 2300 Jackson Street

Artist: The Jacksons

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Favorite Song: I have few, but I think Nothing (That Compares 2 U) has to be one of my favorites. (Not to be confused with Nothing Compares 2 U by Prince. I love that song too, though).

 


Comment Below: What music have you bought lately?