Chaos Walking Trilogy Review

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Head’s up everyone! This review contains a lot of spoilers for the “Chaos Walking” trilogy! So if you want to avoid that, click off this page now!

The last time I read a series, it was adult fantasy and was also one of my all time favorite series, the “Shades Of Magic” trilogy by V.E. Schwab. I can’t even tell you what the last YA series I read was. It was probably “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” or something. I have read so many YA apocalypse/distopia that I hated, that I’m not even sure what made me pick up Patrick Ness’s “The Knife Of Never Letting Go” in the first place. I am however very thankful that I did.

When I read the synopsis, I was feeling pretty “meh” about this one. The first book follows “almost a man,” Todd Hewitt as he escapes his hometown on New Earth, a planet that humanity escaped to once the o.g. earth’s end was inevitable, where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts and there are no women. He runs into a girl along his way named Viola Davis who crashed in a scout spaceship from a new group of settlers from the old planet earth. They end up running together, and adventure ensues as the two escape a crazy preacher, and an army. This plot develops into what becomes a civil war in the second book, and a global war in the third. I thought it seemed like a lot, but having read Ness’s “A Monster Calls,” I was hopeful.

Out of all three I think the second book was my favorite. The addition of Viola’s perspective made for an intriguing dynamic and a break from Todd’s hick dialect. I also really enjoyed the first one. The third one I could give or take, it was still well developed and entertaining but I also thing this series would have been just as powerful as a duology. In “A Monster Calls,” I was amazed by Ness’s use of metaphor, which is also found in the “Chaos Walking” trilogy. I also was impressed by Ness’s powerful character development, practicality, and themes. The development of Todd and Viola throughout the series is a big one because they are right at that young teen age where they essentially go from being children to being adults. Todd and Viola’s growth from everything they know being wrong, is enthralling and also very accurate to real life despite being on a more severe scale. I also appreciated the attention to the fact that people should not be comfortable with killing other people! I feel like a lot of times in the dystopian genre particularly. (*cough*, “The Hunger Games,” *cough*) people are murdering people and then just not having any emotions about it at all. I don’t care if they had to do it to survive, or whatever, they should still feel some residual guilt or mental turmoil over it, ESPECIALLY when they’re not doing it of their own free will. If they don’t feel torn up after that, then they’re just a straight up sociopath (*cough*, Katniss, *cough*, Everdeen, *cough*.) But I digress.

In “Chaos Walking” almost all the characters are constantly questioning where they stand morally and I appreciate that greatly. I also appreciated the awareness Todd had of his own masculinity and the fact that he had to keep it in check. For once toxic masculinity did not ruin the party because for once a straight male character was raised by two gay men and not a total piece of shit. (I mean toxic masculinity ruined the party for every other character in the book, but still.) This brings me to another thing that I really liked about this book. I went through the first two books thinking “wow, I can’t believe that he’s never going to mention that Todd’s guardians Ben and Cillian are totally gay for each other and that’s why they were able to save Todd from the toxic masculinity of this town.” Then in the third book, HE DID. And it wasn’t a big deal. It was never a secret from anyone because they can all see each other’s thoughts, they just never mentioned it because no one in this whole society thought it was a problem, and I think that is an amazing choice on Patrick Ness’s part. The whole book is so solely focused on the divide between men and woman and our two main characters are so starkly different in their thoughts on gender from the rest of the world that it’s impossible to miss the point that is being made.

A lot of other issues with gender are brought up with the pretty much genderless race of aliens. It is made clear from very early on that they are much more united than the humans, thinking as one entity instead of individuals. Thankfully it is also seen that lack of individualism in a society can cause problems of it’s own, when half of the race is left behind in slavery. Ness really covers all his bases. Overall, this trilogy is the greatest depiction of very real societal flaws that I have ever seen in a YA book. Which is crazy, because you would think books catered to youth would want to provide some kind of thought on their world. I think a lot do, and that it just ends up buried under a pile of flaming love triangles.

In the end I gave them all 4 out of 5 stars because they did of course all still have YA aspects to them. That flaw is completely based on personal preference, and I think if I had read it back when I was 12 or 13 it would have been put on the favorites shelf. The only plot aspect I really didn’t like was the whole power of love thing Todd and Viola had. It was fine in the more adult relationships, like Ben and Cillian. Todd and Viola’s relationship however, especially in the first two books, seemed very juvenile, so I had to suspend some disbelief there. I also was left with some questions at the end of it all, like: “What about Todd’s dad?” or “What happened to the Mayor’s wife?” or “Can I have a whole spin off series about what happened to that human/alien couple from the short story at the end of book two?” Other than that I thought this series was amazing. For anyone who read the book that wants to know, my favorite character was absolutely Davey Prentiss who is being played by FUCKING NICK JONAS in the upcoming film so I cannot wait to see my sweet baby boy come to life.

I hope you all enjoyed this, kind of all over the place, review. This month is going to be pretty heavy on reviews of movies and books, so if you like these kinds of posts make sure to sign up for email notifications! Now get off the internet and go read this trilogy!

March tbr

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Some books for March

It’s March people! Which means it’s time for a new tbr. I used January and February as warm up months just to get used to reading again, so I set some smaller goals for myself. Well not this month. I am going back to my elementary school days and although I have set my reading goal for the year at fifty books I am hopeful that I will reach one hundred. I did some math and that means I have to read nine books a month as well as working at my two jobs. So without further ado, here are the nine books I’m reading in March.

Deadman Wonderland Volume Two – Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou: This was set to be on March’s tbr but I ended up reading it between my wrap up post and this tbr. Whoops! Oh well, it puts me a little ahead for the month at least.

We Are Okay – Nina Lacour: Introducing another member of the “Ave just bought it for the cover club.” This his been on my shelf for ages. It’s a really small book and I have no idea what it’s about. I’ve only just started it and it seems like it revolves around this girl trying to cope with grief or trauma from something. It’s YA contemporary so my expectations aren’t that high. I’m just hoping it’s a little better than my last, “purchased because it was pretty;” Sad Girls.

The Ask And The Answer – Patrick Ness: I’m wrapping this series up this month so I have the second and third book on my tbr. I’m really excited to finish these

Monsters Of Men – Patrick Ness: See above

Circe – Madeline Miller: Yay! This is March’s Book Club Book! If you don’t know already, my friend Grace and I have started up an internet book club via Instagram. This is our first read ever! I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, and I used to be really into Greek mythology so I’m sure I’ll like this. If you are interested in joining our book club please get in touch with me on Instagram @avejam_

On A Sunbeam – Tillie Walden: I saw this while browsing at the bookstore awhile back and knew immediately that I needed this book. It’s a THICC graphic novel and I am so excited about it.

Tweak – Nic Sheff: Did you know that the film “Beautiful Boy” starring my favorite boy Timothee Chalamet is actually based on two memoirs? I sure didn’t but I’m glad I found this book at Barnes and Noble because now I do and I plan to read them both before watching the movie. Normally I wouldn’t care that much about reading the book before the movie if it was a memoir but this one is about drug addiction, which I love to read books about, so I figured I’d like it.

Beautiful Boy – David Sheff: Hey! It’s the second memoir! I think I’ll probably like this one less, because it seems less edgy. I think for these I’ll read both at the same time.

Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman: Timothee Chalamet more like Timothee chalaMARCH am I right!? Sorry that was bad. I decided to theme my reading because why the fuck not! I haven’t seen Call Me By Your Name yet either and I know it’s a pretty quick read so I decided to make it my ninth read. I’m always down for some good gay romance, lets be real. And Army Hammer in those athletic shorts. Yummy.

February Wrap Up

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Hello! and welcome to my February reading wrap-up! This month contained some highs and some very low lows as far as reading is concerned. Here are my final ratings and thoughts on the books I read this month.

The Knife Of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness: This was really good! I love Patrick Ness’s writing and his use of metaphor. I remember reading “A Monster Calls,” as a teenager and just being blown away at the use of literary devices. The themes revolving around toxic masculinity, and loss of innocence are so well portrayed and refreshing to see in a YA post apocalyptic book. This book is very fast paced which I know some people really like, but I would have liked just a teeny bit more character development. Hopefully the second and third book deliver. If I was just judging it with other YA it would for sure be a 5/5. This is beyond amazing for its genre. I can’t wait to read the second one!

⭐⭐⭐⭐✩

Soppy – Philippa Rice: I just awwwwed the entire time I read this. It is truly precious. I will definitely keep it on my shelf for the rest of my life. 5/5 stars of course.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 Love Poems – Pablo Neruda: You know, I might just be rating this one out of bitterness. I have never felt passion like that present in this book so I found it mostly annoying. I would like to reread this while I’m in love and see if I think differently. I mean he’s the Nobel Laureate so I really feel wrong for not loving this. Also I know nothing about Spanish but I think the translation was a bit crap?? Any who my favorite poem was “Forget Me.” I would like to read some of his poetry that’s not about love because I have heard really great things. I gave it 3/5 stars.

⭐⭐⭐✩✩

 I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – Michelle McNamara: To see my full review click here! Loved this one. 5/5 stars and a new favorite.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Snotgirl: California Screaming – Bryan Lee O’mally and Leslie Hung: I truly love the characters and the art style so much I almost want to give it 5 stars but the story line really loses me at points. I still can’t wait for the next one.

⭐⭐⭐⭐✩

 Sad Girls – Lang Leav: Oh man my first low review of the year. SPOILER ALERT on this one because I have a lot to say. I get it okay. The book is supposed to be this huge paradox that makes you question our standard set of morals and whether there are exceptions. But the execution was just. So. Bad. This book is dripping with pretension and had me rolling my eyes once per page. It’s horribly paced and read more like an episode of Pretty Little Liars, than a work of literary fiction. I love the cover of this book and I really wanted to like it, but poets are poets for a reason and Lang Leav should have never dipped her toe into novel writing. Poetry itself is pretentious which is why pretentious people make such good poets. I physically punched the book at least once. The only part I liked was the ending and that’s just because I love when shitty characters just become shittier people instead of better people. Audrey’s fall from Grace would have been a lot more poignant if she had ever been a good person to begin with but she wasn’t, so the meaning gets lost under incredibly poor character development. This was harsh I know, but I gotta call em how I see em.  

⭐⭐✩✩✩

We are now sitting at 11 books for the year with 9 on board for next month, a chunk of which have also been made into movies. Next month also includes the return of book club! If you have any interest in joining please get in contact with me on Instagram @avejam_ . What did you read this month?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65373656-avery-jamSupport me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/averyjamcom

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark Review

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If you remember my tbr from earlier this month, you’ll remember how excited I was to read Michelle McNamara’s book, “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. Well I have read it and I am back now to review it for you. Let’s get started.

Okay, so before I even opened this book, I already had a huge emotional attachment to it. I had listened to multiple podcasts about the book, and I had also been following the fairly recent capture of “The Golden State Killer,” who was arrested shortly after the publication of “IBGITD” (that’s what I’m going to call it from here on out.) So like I said I had very high hopes. I usually go into my books knowing hardly anything but I went into this one with lots of prior knowledge about the crimes and also the author.

The book is split into three different sections. Part 1: information about the GSK (Golden State Killer), Part 2: Michelle’s experience working on the case, and Part 3: Information from Michelle’s research assistant who helped finish the book after McNamara’s death, an afterword from her husband, and a letter from Michelle to the GSK. This arrangement works well and despite having so many different pieces, flows with surprising ease. I love the fact that they decided not to try to recreate McNamara’s writing style to finish the book because it truly couldn’t have been done. McNamara writes with an emotion and style that is rarely found in true crime. It’s the perfect amount of detail without reading like a report. Her descriptions of California are incredible and she has just the right amount of bluntness in the sections that describe the actual killings. Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes did an incredible job piecing together her research and the parts of the book they had into a complete book of Michelle’s work.

I would not recommend this book if you are at all squeamish about murder. The GSK was a real horror show, and definitely not for the faint of heart. Any gory bits are written with tact and respect but if you are just beginning to delve into true crime, I wouldn’t start with this. It has a novel quality but is packed to the brim with information. The addition of maps, pictures, and a list of the detectives and criminologists that are present throughout the book, make the whole thing a real experience. This book took me the longest to read out of my books this month, and that was mostly because I felt I needed to absorb everything. I annotate all my books but if anyone tries to borrow this one, they might have a hard time reading the book under all my hand scribbled thoughts. I think that’s a sign that a book is good. If it takes up your whole brain.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I gave this book five out of five stars. It has been added to my list of all time favorites. I only had one grievance about the book and that is that it’s not really THE book. The whole time I read, I couldn’t stop asking myself if this was the book Michelle McNamara wanted me to read. I think it is definitely close. It was put together by people that knew her very well, but there was still so many things that she wanted to put in and unfortunately didn’t get to because of her untimely death. I wish she would have been alive to see how well it did, and see him get caught right after her book came out. I admit I teared up at the end when reading the afterword written by her late husband. In it he says she was “quietly, effortlessly, original,” and I think that shows in her writing and in her commitment to finding the GSK.

The GSK was a true monster. As Michelle states in one of my favorite lines, “the act…was arousal alchemized to hate, a vicious punishment meted out by one judge: his corroded brain.” In summary this is a book about a monster written by a hero. She helped so many victims through her work, and helped to solve one of the biggest unsolved cases in America. Although her time with us was short, she achieved more than a lot of people in this world ever will. I think this book is a treasure. It could have been lost to time, forever sitting on a dusty hard drive. I considered reading this a privilege and it is a book I will not soon forget.

If you want to see what I thought of the rest of the books I read this month, make sure to check back on Monday for my February wrap-up post!

January Wrap-Up

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Hello! and welcome to my January reading wrap-up! I am proud to say that I finished all of the books on my January tbr. Thanks insomnia! Here are my final ratings and thoughts on the books I read this month.

  1. Killing and Dying – Adrian Tomine: I already spoke about this one in the tbr because I had already read it and I stick with that initial review. I loved the drawings, loved the story line, my only complaint was that it was so short. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

⭐⭐⭐⭐✩

   2. Saga Volume 1 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: I figured I was going to like this one and I definitely did. I read it in one night, so it’s definitely a quick read. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is great. The world however is built very quickly so if you like a slow burn this is not it. It is very much a “jump in and figure out the logistics later” kind of book. Once again 4 out of 5 stars.

     ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩

3. Fresh Complaint – Jeffrey Eugenides: To read my review of Fresh Complaint click here! My first 5 out of 5 stars this year.

        ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

4. Deadman Wonderland – Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou: I knew I would like this. In fact I loved it. Everyone always wants to bitch at me about how manga isn’t really reading, well you can shove it because this book is great and it never won’t be. I bought the second one so you have that to look forward to. 5 out of 5 stars.

           ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

5. Not In Kansas Anymore – Christine Wicker: This book was good. It made some really thought provoking points about religion and spirituality and I especially liked the anecdotes throughout. However there were so many subject wound into one that it all felt a little convoluted. I would have rather read a shorter book on one subject than this compilation of way too many. If the book would have just been about Wicca or Hoodoo I would have loved it, but I could do without the faeries and furries. Plus the whole thing reads kind of like a 1950’s crime novel. It’s very reporter/detectiveish? (If that makes any sense.) Whatever it’s called it’s distracting and definitely took some getting used to. I gave this one my lowest rating of the year so far, 3 out of 5 stars.

          ⭐⭐⭐✩✩

That’s 5 books done for the year! No ratings under three yet so things are looking good. I’m very excited for next month’s books, so check back friday for a new tbr! What did you read this month?

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January 2019 TBR

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Hello! and welcome back to averyjam.com – your favorite, poorly updated website. I’m back today with a tbr for January. I really want to try to read more books that aren’t for school this year, so without further ado, here are the books I plan to read in January!

  1. Killing and Dying – Adrian Tomine: So I have actually already finished this one. I’m starting the year off with some graphic novels and short story collections just so I can gain some momentum before picking up the giant books on my reading list. Graphic novels are some of my favorite books to read and I picked this one up on a whim at the book store a while back (if a book has any shade of light pink on the cover I’m probably going to buy it). It has some heart squeezing, bittersweet story lines, and really nice illustrations. I’m a little sad it took me so little time to get through it.kandd
  2. Saga Volume 1 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: Like I said, I love graphic novels and this one has been recommended to me by quite a few trusted sources. The art is gorgeous and I think the story line will be too. It has quite a few installments, so if I like it then it will keep me occupied all year.saga
  3. Fresh Complaint – Jeffrey Eugenides: Eugenides is one of my all time favorite authors, (the author of one of the books that changed my life; Middlesex) so I was thrilled when he released this short story collection back in 2017. I’ve been wanting to get around to it since I bought it. I plan to do a full review of this book once I’ve read it, so stay tuned.freshcomplaint
  4. Not In Kansas Anymore – Christine Wicker: My mom gave this book to me last Christmas, so I figured it was time I get around to reading it. It’s a nonfiction book about witches and the like so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one.nika
  5. Deadman Wonderland – Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou: This is one of my all time favorite animes and I’ve owned the first book in the series for a little over a year now. Once again this should be a quick read to kick off the year.deadmanThis tbr is significantly shorter than ones I’ve done in the past, but I’m coming out of a reading slump and I wanted to set a goal that was attainable. I’ll let you know what I get through and what I did or didn’t like at the end of the month!

Books I’ve Read In 2018

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If you remember last year on the blog, I was accomplishing a lot in terms of reading. I put a tbr up every month and I posted reviews at least once a month. I read 30 books in 6 months last year so I set a high goal for myself back in January. Unfortunately, along with 2018 came my return to college and I was so busy with schoolwork that whenever I did have time to read, I was spending it napping or watching Netflix. However, 2018 was not completely fruitless in terms of reading, so here are the books that I have read this year so far.

  1. Beowulf//translated by Seamus Heany: The first 2 books on this list were ones that I ended up reading for my intro to literature course during 2nd semester. For a long time they were the only two books I had read. Despite the fact that it was for school, I actually really liked Beowulf. If you care at all about the origins of literature, I think this book is really important. This translation in specific is also amazing and really made me think about language as a whole.
  2. Othello//by William Shakespeare: Once again this one was for class. I read this play in a single afternoon, and I think it has taken the spot for my favorite Shakespeare play. I think Othello is completely underrated. I love that it’s set in Italy, I love the characters, and I love the plot. A classic that definitely deserves to be a classic. image2 (9)
  3. Crush//by Richard Siken: I don’t have a picture for this one because I borrowed it from my friend. I read it to write a review on for my advanced poetry class, and it was a very easy assignment because this book is beautiful. I don’t want to say too much about it because I have a post about my favorite poetry books in the works.
  4. The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls//Joan Jacobs Brumberg: Okay, I lied, I guess the first 5 on this list were technically for school. This one was for Women’s Studies and OH MY GOD is it important. If you are a woman or care at all about the way women are perceived you need to read this book. I learned so many things I didn’t know from this book. Give it to your daughter, give it to your mom, your aunt, your dog, I don’t care, everyone needs to read this book.   image4 (3)
  5. Love’s Last Number//Christopher Howell: This was another book for my advanced poetry course. Usually when I read poetry books, I pick ones that are by people like me, and also usually women so this was very different for me. I didn’t love it but the language was nice and I keep a favorite line from it in my notes on my phone. “Rocking with you through the twilight suicides of moths against the bulb”
  6. Snotgirl Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care//Bryan Lee O’Malley : When I started getting back into my personal reading, I started with graphic novels. Graphic novels are some of my favorite books and this has made the “top 10” list . It’s by the same author who wrote Scott Pilgrim, which is cool and it’s just adorable, hilarious, and a little dark. I cannot wait until Vol. 2 comes out.image5 (4)
  7. Paper Girls Vol. 4//by Brian K. Vaughan: The fourth installment of one of my most loved graphic novel stories. I don’t have a ton to say about this except that it is entertaining and absolutely lovely. I would definitely like to do a series review of these in the future.
  8. The Four Agreements//Miguel Ruiz: I have an aversion to self help books but this one is an exception. It’s more of a book about spirituality and overall it made me feel a lot better about where I am in my life. It reminded me of how important letting things go is.                                                                                                                                image3 (4)
  9. A Conjuring Of Light//V.E. Schwab: I’m not going say anything about this one because there is a trilogy review coming VERY SOON for the “Shades Of Magic,” Trilogy. This is one of my all time favorite series’ though, and the finale didn’t disappoint.image6 (4)

I’ve been reading quite a bit more lately so if I keep this momentum, I will hopefully be posting a December TBR. Let me know in the comments what books you’ve read this year!

image1 (10)

Everything, Everything

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If you read my May TBR, then you know that this month I was reading Nicola Yoon’s “Everything, Everything,” which was released as a film as well, on May 19th.

“Everything, Everything,” is a story about a girl named Madeline who is born with an immunodeficiency disorder and has never left her house. When new neighbors move in next store, Maddy begins talking online with their son Olly. Talking online with him makes her question her illness and ultimately become a bolder person, and the plot develops from there.

image4 (9)

The beautiful book cover.

I finished this book in 2 days and I thought it was lovely. I don’t usually spring for YA novels, but I really liked the cover of this one and I only liked it more when I started reading it. The writing is captivating and the addition of illustrations makes it unique. Starting off, it seemed similar to “The Fault In Our Stars,” but the twist in the end (which I won’t disclose here because, spoilers) separates it from that group. Overall when I finished reading, I was pleased with the ending and the book.

2 nights ago, I saw the movie and enjoyed it just as much. It starred Amandala Stenberg who I have been following on Instagram for quite some time and she was absolutely beautiful. The soundtrack fit the book perfectly and overall the movie remained true to the events in the novel. It didn’t concentrate too much on the romance and concentrated more on Madeline working through her disease and growing as a person, which was refreshing. All in all it was feel good and enjoyable.

everything everything

At the end of both I give “Everything, Everything” a combined 4 out of 5 stars. If you are looking for a light, refreshing summer read, then I would recommend you pick up this book.

May TBR

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Here are the books I plan to read in MAY:

Sorry in advance for the low picture quality but I only had the time to take them at night. image1 (11)

  1. The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood: My mom has been telling me to read this book for years and since the new Hulu series adaptation of it just came out, I feel like it’s about time to read it.image3 (9).JPG
  2. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins: Another recommendation from my mom. She’s a smart lady, so when she tells me to read something I read it.image2 (10)
  3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon: I decided to add some YA this month because all the books I read last month were pretty heavy. Plus the movie comes out May 19, so I’m sticking with this months trend of reading before watching.image4 (9)
  4. A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab: Last pick of the month is this months book club pick. It’s part of a trilogy that I have heard only good things about. I have been trying for a while to find some good adult fantasy because it was one of my favorite genres when I was younger. Image result for A darker shade of magic