Dumplin’

DumplinGoodreads Synopsis:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Hello bookish friends! Long time, no see. I finally have some time to catch up on my ever-needed blogging, so first up is Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. If you’ve seen my Goodreads account, you know that I gave this beauty 4 stars.

I loved this book because it is me. I know some of you have been following me for a while now, and you know from my review of 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson (see here), that I have struggled with my weight and body issues for a while now. Reading Dumplin’ made me feel those same things.

I know you’re thinking it. No, I have never competed in a Beauty Pageant because: a.) Stage fright, b.) I don’t have any talents I can perform – reading silently onstage isn’t really a talent, c.) The idea of walking around on stage showing of outfits and answering interview questions, just doesn’t sound fun to me – then again.

Willowdean is me. I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and dislike how I looked, my weight, the way my hair didn’t curl normally, etc. Even now on my current weightloss journey, it is still difficult for me to accept things sometimes. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and a hormone imbalance in February 2016, that I came to accept that losing weight was always going to be difficult for me. Any time I lose weight, I gain it back quickly. This year I’ve given up soda and fast food (very difficult for me, but going strong!), I’ve lost around 7 pounds and have been able to keep it off.

Willowdean’s story reminds me of how I wish stories like this were around when I was in middle school and high school. I think if I had an inspiring story like this, I would have had better self esteem in those years, and probably would have stood up for myself in certain situations that are still in the back of my mind.

Dumplin’ is a story for anyone who has ever felt fat, insecure, anxious, and all around not good enough. We are good enough. We are all beautiful. Other people’s opinion’s don’t determine your worth, so don’t even waste your time thinking about them.

This book is positive, funny, enlightening, and deals with realistic everyday issues besides body image, such as complex/dysfunctional families and friends in unlikely places. In the words of Willowdean, “I think maybe it’s the things we don’t want to talk about that are the things people most want to hear.”

Apparently, this is just book 1 in a series of some sort. I haven’t heard anything on a sequel, but I will definitely be checking it out when it comes out!

Next on the #BloggingCatchUp is What Light by Jay Asher.

Happy reading bookworms.

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Four: A Divergent Collection

18126198Goodreads Synopsis:

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

To begin, I am not one to read novellas, but it came in my box set, so of course I decided to read it. Plus, it was recommended by my sorority little sister!

Anywho, this book made me so happy. I love being able to learn more about Tobias. We see him transform from Tobias the “Stiff” and son of Marcus, to Four, the Divergent and future leader of the rebellion. And in all honesty, seeing this transition for Four, makes me love him so much more. I would love to see these played out in some deleted scenes of sort or a short TV movie.

HOWEVER, I am glad I read it AFTER I finished the Divergent Series, because Four/Tobias’s mysterious demeanor was not hindered by reading his backstory first. Four is meant to be mysterious, and I feel reading this book first would have ruined the series for me.

I can’t really put into words how these four short stories made me  feel. If you’ve read the entire Divergent Series, I would definitely check this out.

Here’s Theo James for your viewing pleasures:

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts 1 & 2

29056083Goodreads Synopsis

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I was really excited to get this book – like really excited. I mean what Harry Potter fan wouldn’t be excited to read a new Harry Potter story for the first time in NINE YEARS. You may be thinking, “But Shelby didn’t you just read The Hogwarts Library?” Why yes I did. But here’s the thing. Those three short books didn’t have anything to do with Harry Potter, those were just the text he read while attending Hogwarts. Cursed Child was my chance to read a Harry Potter book for the first time in nine years.

I wanted to love the book so bad. I truly did, but there were parts (I am praying Queen Rowling did not write) that I simply could not wrap my head around. At the end of the review I will post my spoiling rants about these parts, and you can rant along with me. Until then, let’s focus on the good things.

Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed reading the screenplay format. I love stories with a lot of dialogue and characters who like to talk a lot. This was a quick easy read. I think it was easier to read than other plays simply because as a Potterhead, I have already been transported into the Wizarding World, and I had no problem imagining the settings and storyline. Granted, I would love to see the play in person, but that is definitely not in the books for me any time soon #BrokeCollegeStudent

The “good” parts, I cried at. We see all these tumblr posts about what if this and what if that, that it was truly magical to see that some of our deepest wishes had come true in this play. Our memories of the Golden Trio were livened by these good parts, and I loved seeing how they turned out as parents. I also loved seeing the connections between the children and how friendships did or didn’t form.

And while I didn’t like specific events in the books, I loved the “new” characters. I want a whole series dedicated to the next generation of Potters, Weasleys, and Malfoys. But we all know I want a Marauders series as well. A girl can dream.

PLEASE STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT RANTING SPOILERS

Enjoy some funny gifs before continuing to the rant

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Now onto my rant.

  1. Trolley Witch: Um, you cannot turn the beloved trolley witch into a psycho, mystical being with weapons as hands and her sole purpose is to ensure students remain on the train at all times… Deep in my heart I know that Queen Rowling did not write this tidbit.
  2. Adult Harry: We had SEVEN BOOKS show us that he respected Professor McGonagall 110%, but this book throws that out the window when he acts like a frickin’ jerk to her. Shame on you adult Harry – McGonagall is queen. Also, I found it ridiculous that Harry literally told his own child that he wished he wasn’t his dad. Excuse my French, but WHAT THE ACTUAL F*@K. He spent how much of the original series wishing to know his parents and he’s just going to flat out say he wishes he wasn’t Albus’s dad. Screw you Harry. You’re parents would be ashamed of this behavior.
  3. Voldemort & Bellatrix’s Secret Love Affair Resulting in Secret Love Child: This came completely out of left field and is another WTF moment. What is this fanfiction??? How can you even okay that sort of storyline, Queen Rowling? Why??? Also, I did not need that image to EVER be made. No thank you. Never again.
  4. Luna/Neville: Excuse me, but wee spend an entire series growing attached to these characters. Where are they and why aren’t they merely mentioned? It’s okay to mention, but not be present, but to entirely ignore that the heart of Dumbledore’s Army isn’t mentioned is purely wrong.
  5. Hermione and Ron Never Getting Together, and Hermione Becoming an Evil Shrew/DADA teacher: Hermione’s worth is not determined by a boy, thank you very much. I have a really hard time believing that Hermione would become evil after not ending up with Ron. Even if they didn’t end up together, I imagined they would always be friends seeing as they went through some pretty tough stuff together. I also find it highly unlikely that Hermione would never become Minister of Magic simply because she didn’t end up with Ron. There is no way feminist Queen Rowling wrote this part.
  6. After the book came out, everyone shipping Albus and Scorpious: Why can’t people just be friends? Why does everyone have to automatically assume that they secretly had the hots for each other and should be boyfriend and boyfriend? I’m not saying that there is anything against this, but why do we have to make every book about someone’s sexual orientation?

Rant Over

Ahhh, that was relaxing to finally vent to people who know what I’m talking about. This post comes just in time for the soon-to-be-released screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I look forward to seeing the movie at 10:05 p.m. on Friday November 18th (already purchased my tickets and the only time that would work with my busy schedule!) I look forward to sharing that wonderful review with you in the very near future.

The next review coming your way is Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth. Until next time bookworms.

 

Allegiant: Book vs. Movie

17383918Goodreads Synopsis:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Okay, so you all very well know that I always pick book over movie, but this is one of the very rare occasions where the movie was actually better than the book. Although there are definitely things I did not like in either book…

To start, the book is written in dual perspectives, flipping between Tris and Four. In the book, the group ventures outside the outer wall and discover what has been controlling this faction-filled city.

The book as a whole was weird. The ending came too quickly and I am still baffled at how the ending came to be. Don’t get me wrong, I admire their bravery, but I still am confused how the whole thing had come about. I felt like this book was just a bit disappointing.

Now as for the movie, I enjoyed it more than the book – weird, I know. This is how I feel typing those words:

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For me, the book was just too bizarre and literally came out of nowhere. Also, everything in the book happened way too fast – especially the ending. Whereas the movie, decided it wasn’t going to go with the book ending. Oh and by the way, instead of a happily ever after or the book ending, they decided to make it a cliffhanger so they can create a WHOLE OTHER MOVIE. Ascendant, coming to a TV SCREEN near you in June 2017. Yes. You read that right -TV SCREEN. Yay! Not…

The ending to this franchise in both the book and movie was kind of a let down. It also doesn’t make me inclined to watch Ascendant when it gets released, but knowing me, I must know how it ends, so I’ll probably end up watching it anyways. Which meas I’ll probably write a review of it too. Oh, well.

Next up is the the sought after Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I can’t wait to share my opinions with you all. Have a great week bookworms!

Life Update + Insurgent: Book vs. Movie

Hello bookworms! As you can tell I have been on a slight hiatus due to school – it is kicking my butt! On a happy note – my first session of grad school is over and I received a 4.0! So excited! I finally have a break, so I am catching up on all of my blogging from August (sadly only textbooks were read during September and October). Now time to catch up!

11735983Goodreads Synopsis:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

When I finished Divergent and started Insurgent I tweeted:

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I got addicted to the first two books fast because Insurgent picks up from the exact spot Divergent ended. I do have to say I enjoyed Divergent just a little bit more than Insurgent. Insurgent was full of twists, turns, and completely action packed. The story focuses on Tris and her search for answers to all questions about divergence. We also see her relationship with Four blossom during this difficult time – and it gives you all the feels! Like this:

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And this:

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However, there was another cliff hanger ending – and we all know how I feel about cliffhangers:

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Movie Insurgent had some changes, but didn’t sway from the book too much. I still choose the book over the movie! I love Miles Teller but I hate him in this series. I just want to punch his smug little face in every time his face was on the screen. Also, Theo James is beautiful with his deep, husky voice –> Theo James Speed Dating Questions

That’s all for now. Look for my next blog post on Allegiant! Keep reading bookworms. Have a great Veterans Day weekend!

 

 

 

Divergent: Book vs. Movie

8306857Goodreads Synopsis:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I’ve been trying to switch up my reading recently. I felt like I needed something new, but I didn’t know what exactly. I decided it was finally time to read the Divergent Series as it has been sitting on my bookshelf since March of last year. Plus, I felt like it was a very hyped up book, and I didn’t want to be disappointed if it didn’t live up to the hype like others I have read recently.

I was thoroughly surprised when I started reading. This dystopian novel was refreshing. Personally, I didn’t align myself with Tris, but I was extremely attracted to Four, or I prefer to call him, Tobias. He was everything you wanted from a book boyfriend, and the best part was that there was no ever-popular, messy love triangle!

Tobias’s character made me feel very…

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as well as…

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this…

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and finally…

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Even movie Tobias/Four was dreamy – Theo James was an excellent casting. If you don’t know who he is, feel free to observe below.

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I went into this book and series not really knowing what to expect. I hadn’t read any reviews. I hadn’t seen the movies. All I knew was that it was within the dystopian genre and everyone within the bookstagram community was in love with it.

I enjoyed following Tris from her home in Abnegation – a faction that believes selflessness is the way the world should be – to her new home in Dauntless – a faction that believes bravery is the most important thing in the world. She has spent her whole life being conditioned to think selflessly and be selfless. In Dauntless, she can think freely, ask freely, and become her own person. It just goes to show that a change in environment, can drastically change a person and their outlook on the world.

For those who are new to the blog, I am a firm believer in the idea that the book is always better. In the case of Divergent by Veronica Roth, I can say that the book was 10,000x better than the movie. Go figure.

The movie wasn’t bad. There were things added that weren’t in the book while some things in the book weren’t in the movie. I thought the casting was good [see Theo James casting above]. One thing I did not like was Kate Winslet. I am a huge Kate Winslet fan and I absolutely hated seeing her play the worst [as in evil and demented] character in the entire series. It broke my Kate-Winslet-loving heart.

To end my first post on this series, I thought it might be interesting to see which faction I belong in. Here are my results from the Official Divergent Aptitude Test found HERE .

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Next up on the Review To-Do List is Insurgent: Book vs. Movie. Until next time bookworms. Happy reading!

 

August 2016 Wrap Up

Hello lovelies! August has been jam-packed with fun and more reading than usual! Granted, I’m nowhere near my goal, but it’s okay. This month I traveled to New York with my boyfriend to go to our friend’s wedding in upstate New York and celebrate my 22nd birthday in New York City! We took a detour through Hyde Park on the way from upstate to NYC. There I found my dream home and dream school to teach at – they were beautiful! Only downside, no Target 😦 I have also started grad school at Brandman University for my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, as well as recentl turning in my application to become a substitute teacher. But it is really exciting to be taking the next step towards my career! I can’t wait to see where September takes me.

Books Read:

  1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
  2. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  3. Four by Veronica Roth
  4. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  5. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
  6. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

# Of pages for the month: 2,176

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 27/100

# Of books read since start of blog : 113