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Anna-Racquel Perez

@allofakind

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Hufflepuff. Amity. Daughter of Athena. Looking for an uneven sidewalk. Class 1A. A bookworm tried and true. Am currently writing a book of my own ;) Pfp is my current read

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I have been in love with Chris Colfers writing since Connor and Alex first fell into the Land of Stories, and I gotta say, he's done it again. The book is very much a transitional second book in the trilogy, which means it can be slow at first and the climax was at the very end, with the book ending with the disaster that must be dealt with in the last book, but u still think it was very necessary, as these types of books are. It was necessary to see Brystal start to doubt herself, even before the voices in her heard made it impossible to think any different. It was necessary to see the school of witchcraft, see what witches really were, not necessarily evil but just the other side of magic... and okay, maybe a little mean. But even more, it was necessary to understand who the Righteous Brothers were, their plot, and why they hated magic so much... Which unfortunately, like many hate groups, comes down to fear, power, and tradition. There's a lot that's put on the shoulders of Brystal, now the Fairy Godmother, things that any other 16 year old would buckle under the weight of. So this book was also necessary to allow her to buckle and remember that there are other people for her to lean on. As always, the world building and magic were as well thought out as they were silly (I mean, come on... A witch named Sprout who's speciality is growing plants? Who saw that coming), and the lore has me scratching my head, itching for the rest of this prequel series so I can re-read the originals and see if any of this backstory lore leaks into the stories of Brystals eventual grandchildren.

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A Tale of Witchcraft...

Books | Chris Colfer

I really loved this book, I want to start by saying that. Imagine if everything you've ever known of your parents' past was completely wrong. But you knew they loved you and that was the most truest thing ever. Could you still forgive them? There are so many things our parents do that are directly influenced by their pasts, things you may not agree with but you understand and respect because you knew they grew up in a different world and they want you to be safe in this one. But finding out that you never knew their true motivations, their true history, their true NAMES! That's honestly crazy and I think the way this book was written appreciates that. What I love about this book is that you get to see everyone's perspectives. Everything is explained and explained multiple times. Everyone is right and everyone is wrong. For example, the Thanksgiving that Benny walked out. Her parents should never have turned their backs on her so quickly, but she should have stayed those 5 extra minutes for them to turn back to her. Her brother should have reached out, but she should have come home. In real life, everyone has their reasons for everything, and this book is a lesson on what happens when you forget to think of everyone else's reasons. The ending was very satisfying. We got answers to questions not even the characters will ever know, but it was still so naturally written. The amount of characters and depth this story gets through in only a couple days in the present is astonishing. I genuinely loved reading this and having everything revealed about their mother at the same time as B and B, while they also had to deal with their present lives and the hurt that still was between them. And the moment of the black cake finally being eaten was truly remarkable.

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Black Cake

Books | Charmaine Wilkerson

This was genuinely a very VERY interesting book. The first page is a map detailing places where characters have fallen in love, but over 50 years worth of it. The second page is a letter, detailing that a true love story included not only the couple but the many many love stories that lead up to that couple's first meeting. And so the book began, explaining the love life of Fly's dad and mom, before during and after meeting each other, then a little about Fly and his first attempts at love. Then it switches to Stela, does the same thing. It is only the last chapter that these two main characters meet and fall in love with each other. But the thing is that this story is so incredibly real. Our parents greatly influence our perceptions of love, and every time we fall in love, we change just a little. If the whole story was just about Stela and Fly, it wouldn't have made as much sense. Their decisions at the end of the book, to find and love each other, only make sense after understanding every other part of their stories. But make no mistake, this is also a charged book in the most amazing way. It is a Black love story written by a Black author, but also the story of interracial marriages across generations, of feminism and how hard it is to acknowledge intrinsic sexism, of cheating and running away, of a love blooming at the beginning of COVID, of **** and weed and Christian guilt, of racism and empowerment but also the fear of not knowing when it is risky to act empowered. It tells all these things and more and I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to everyone to read.

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Monster in the Middle

Books | Tiphanie Yanique

Okay I don't even know where to start. This book is so jam PACKED with content, I don't want to give a single detail away so that everyone can experience it for themselves, so I'll keep my normally lengthy review short. Was this book amazing? Absolutely, it was somehow even better than the two that came before it. Was it a great end to the series? Well this is actually something my boyfriend and I argued back and forth about because it really depends on what you consider great. It was the kind of ending that I should've seen coming because of the way this author writes, but at the same time I personally would have wanted just one small detail changed. When you get to it you'll know. Was kind of rude for the author to do that. All in all, I honestly highly recommend this entire series. There are some parts that don't make sense but there is not a single detail that is left uncovered by the end, and not in some cliche way, but just by the general push of the plot. The writing is beyond magnificent, perfectly toeing the line between science fiction and reality, pulling you in with these picturesque descriptions of things that we've never seen before. It's amazing. I guess this review wasn't short haha.

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Death's End

Books | Cixin Liu

"Before it was Rama's story, it was mine" This is the first book of its type I have ever read, a retelling of a Hindi story, adding details and shedding some light on a tale that might have otherwise seemed controversial, calloused, and cruel. It is a story of feminism at a time where that thinking was not only wrong, but deemed dangerous by those who spoke directly to the gods. It is a story of choosing the greater good, time and time again, for the sake of the greater good and not for the sake of one's self. It is a story of kings and queens, of war and peace, of magic and power, of mothers and daughters and sons. And this is a thick and heavy story by the way. And an amazing one. When young Kaikeyi learned that she had the magic to enter the Binding Plane, she saw her future changing. And it changed in so many ways, because of her, not because of the magic she possessed, but because of the realization that a woman could hold power if she just worked hard enough to procure it. Time and time again, Kaikeyi must do what she thinks is right, even when it might cost her everything. And as someone who the gods never listen to, costing everything might truly leave her in ruins. The way this book was written forebodes the tragedy of the ending of Kaikeyis story, but we can't help but be pulled along with her, through app the ups and downs, hoping that maybe she might be able to do something to change her fate. I absolutely loved this book, and even though it was long, perhaps it wasn't long enough because now i want to know how the rest of the kingdoms of Kosala and Kekaya fare after Kaikeyi has finally done all she must do.

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Kaikeyi

Books | Vaishnavi Patel

This was... A very interesting book. For a book that advertises itself as a retelling of Peter Pan, there is actually very little magic in it. But I think thats the point. The main character is someone that makes you feel uncomfy from the very beginning, questioning her choices even as she tries to rationalize them to herself. Thankfully, the book is self aware, and she pays for her choices many times, but it's still very hard to read through. I really appreciate the slow reveals of plot points. There are some things that are never fully answered, like why Wendy was actually sad that first night and what the true story of Peter Pan was. The memories that come, random, vivid, really show the grief Holly is still living through every day, the grief she's never come out of. This book is tragic, don't get me wrong. The characters go through so much and the ending isn't necessarily happy. But I think it was the ending I personally wanted to see for Holly, and I'm glad she finally found that letting go isn't the same as forgetting. The only complaints I have is that I feel like so much more could have been said. I feel like the book was building to a point and crashed down so suddenly, it left too many questions to be answered. I also don't like when a huge part of the action doesn't happen to the main character because then why are we following her? But I also understand she needed to learn that she didn't have to always be the main character and sometimes it was okay to lean on others. Some things just felt anticlimactic, like... Most of the ending, and I just wish it felt more finished.

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Darling Girl

Books | Liz Michalski

I have read all of De La Cruz's Descendants prequels and thus was very familiar with her Disney writing. So when I saw that she had written a historical fiction retelling of my favorite 1800s couple, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, I knew I had to read it. I has been itching to know more about them, and this seemed like the perfect way to do so. After about 2 chapters, I was convinced the book was nothing more than a historical fanfiction (though a very well written one at that, so I was still going to read it). I was so sure that the Broadway Hamilton had divulged at least enough of their story that it would make its way here. When the book opened with the ball, I was surprised to see that Hamilton was being yelled at by the sisters instead of almost fought over. And that it wasn't 3 weeks later that they were stressing, but 2 years later until they saw each other again. Everything in the books felt so far-fetched, dramatic, and made up, but I was in it for the ride. However, after finishing the book, I decided to do some research. Though there was some liberties taken since their every movement was not recorded, the main parts that felt the more dramatic to me were the parts most likely to be true. I ended up enjoying this book very much, reading it in just 3 short days. It touches upon the beginnings of equality through race and gender that was beginning to permeate at that time, as well as outlined politics and 17th century military processes. Not to mention the stunning, star-crossed lovers and their amazingly charming, heartbreaking, and adoring story. I will definitely be reading the other two.

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Alex and Eliza

Books | Melissa de la Cruz

This book is an amazing continuation of the series. There are parts that are very slow and feel extremely unnecessary and also very... well strange. But afterwards, you realize that... its only a little more necessary than nothing. However, aside from that and especially the ending, the story has some amazing real science and theory. It's an alien book that isn't afraid to explore all sides of both cosmic society and humanity itself. Sets up great for the last book. The main character takes a very long time to realize hes the main character and becomes likable only for key parts of the book, but I think that shows his true humanity. Lots of this book is shrouded in mystery, as we the audience is kept in the dark as well as the rest of the world. It leads to amazing reveals. Highly recommend.

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The Dark Forest

Books | Cixin Liu

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