To Fill Up & Live BookClub | The Fault In Our Stars

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I've mentioned it a bagillion times, but it's finally here. The last Thursday of the month, a.k.a. the day I (and Kay!) review the book of the month. If you haven't seen my 76 plugs over the last month, click here for all the info (there will also be a page on my blog shortly). Also if you've reviewed this book, link your post in the comments below. And so, as I ramble a bit in this review, we're cutting this introduction short: Join the bookclub, please :)

Title: The Fault In Our Stars

Author: John Green

Publication: 2012

Main Plot:
For Hazel, her cancer diagnosis might as well have been her death sentence, but after a miracle treatment, she has much more time on her hands than she'd expected. Little did she know, that time would be filled with people and adventures she'd never forget. Little did she know it'd be infinite.

Favorite Quote(s):
"You're so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are."

"Come quickly, I am tasting the stars." (what Dom PĂ©rignon said after inventing champagne)

"What am I at war with? ... My cancer is me. The tumors are made of me. They're made of me as surely as my brain and my heart are made of me. It's a civil war [...], with a predetermined winner."

"So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay."

"Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth."

Basically, the last 4 pages of the damn novel!

My Rating: 5 or infinity.
How do I even write a review of this book? I'm searching for the words to describe what I'm feeling but nothing feels right beneath my fingertips. Instead, my hands have been hanging over the keyboard, not unlike Tyrannosaurus Rex hands, as I search for something to say. So instead of trying to write a review worthy of this novel, I'm just going to write, and hope like hell it's not a total fail and that most of you don't quit reading 1/4 of the way in.

It's been a little over 3 weeks since I finished this book, 2 weeks since I saw the movie, which gave me plenty of time to think about what I feel and plenty of time to forget the story in a way. Yet, still, after plowing through five Mortal Instruments books, I haven't forgotten it at all. Everything is still vivid in my mind, including the fact that the day after seeing the movie, I figured out how I feel about this novel. I hate it. I hate it because it was beautiful and it ended.

The novel opens perfectly. "Late in the winter of my seventeen year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death. Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying." From the first three sentences, I knew everything I needed to know about our narrator, Hazel Grace Lancaster, and I absolutely loved her. It was clear that despite the fact that having cancer sucked, she was going to narrate this story how she saw it: a inevitable, unchangeable state of being that she had accepted and was going to live with for as long as her lungs decided to carry her.

In the past, I commented that I was jealous of the writing of a few authors. But, holy shit, I wish I wrote like John Green. There is just something about the way his sentences are crafted; they aren't overwrought or over-thought or over- anything. They aren't under- anything, either. It's fluid, but simple and complex at the same time. Conversational yet descriptive and poetic all at once. I never had to reread a sentence or paragraph to understand it, unless of course I wanted to, which I frequently did. There is an ease to his writing that I cannot explain. I adore it the way that I adore Jane Austen's prose. I sound like the biggest Nerdfighter right now, and there are probably some people out there groaning over my John Green praise, but I can't help it. He's become an auto-buy author for me. In the words of Hazel Grace, I'd read his grocery list.

It has been criticized that Hazel and Augustus are "too mature for their age" based on the way they speak throughout the novel. I reread a few passages to see why I didn't sense this "too mature" thing while I was reading. I think it's because Hazel's narrating voice, the one in her head, isn't like that. She describes her lungs as "suck[ing] at being lungs" and tells them to "keep [their] shit together". Her support group blows and is "depressing as hell". And in the first chapter, she thinks Augustus is "dead sexy" (I'm inclined to agree). It was only in the dialogue that I noticed a maturity in their voices that seemed beyond their years, which didn't strike me as an error in character development as much as a smart teenager trying to sound even smarter. I'm not so far removed from high school that I don't remember using big words and trying to sound sophisticated. So for me, this adds to the "normalcy" of these characters.  

I didn't relate directly to this book. I'm cancer-free, which I now realize is something worth thinking about and thanking my stars for everyday instead of complaining about my everyday life. (Not that I wasn't thankful for everything in my life before but still...) Yet in some ways, I envy the characters in this book. Many reviewers consider this novel to be a sad one, and while, they're not wrong I can't label it that. Sure, there were sad moments. Admittedly, I cried for 1/3 of both the book and the movie, and when I say cry, I mean uncontrollable-tears-I-forgot-tissues-thank-goodness-I-wasn't-wearing-makeup sobbing. In fact, this novel broke my heart. But it also made me feel good. I laughed until my stomach muscles spazzed, until I cried from the laughter; I smiled so hard my cheeks hurt; and I longed for the relationships the characters had with each other - well, all but one (I'm looking at you, Van Houten!).

Overall, for me, the message of The Fault In Our Stars was this: It could be so much worse, and even so, it's not actually that bad at all; it's actually kind of beautiful.

Have you read the book? If so, talk to me in the comments below.


Oh & the book for July is: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. There will be an update on the Goodreads page and I'll probably mention it again at the beginning of the month, but there you have it! 

That Weekend I Binge-Watched Orange Is The New Black

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Why can I like never show up for class on Monday? It's as if I'm programmed against it. You guysss, I'm allergic to Mondays! Anyway, with all the talk of the second season of Orange Is The New Black, I got curious enough to press play on Netflix a few weeks ago. One season in the books and now I'm itching to binge watch the next one. The thought of waiting a year for a third season is the only thing staying my hand from that play button once more. It is so good! So in honor of my new found tv love, I present my weekend in OITNB gifs, because why not?

On Friday night, I sat down to read a few pages of the 5th Mortal Instruments book and got sucked into the Clary/Jace drama. Humans were dead to me for approximately three hours, both in the literary sense and quite literally. I was not to be bothered for anything less than a near-death experience. Shadowhunters owned my existence.

Then, I start laughing hysterically into my book at the snark that is Jace Wayland and I'd read the line to my boyfriend, expecting him to crack up with me, except he didn't.

My goal for the month was to write 20,000 words, which is 5K per week. On Friday night, I was only one thousand in, and could think of nothing to write. Like nothing. I was uninspired, and it was driving me crazy. Eventually, I thought "maybe I should kill off a character or two".

Then I thought better of it and stopped thinking I had to write something that changes people's worlds.

In fact, I stopped overthinking in general, put on some music and just wrote whatever came. I ended up with a total of 4,000 words for the week, and a desire to share it with anyone that would listen.

When I got back from my Saturday morning workout, which killed me, all I wanted to do was lay down in my bed and go to Jamba Juice at the same time. Clearly, impossible. For a few minutes before eventually walking my ass to Jamba, I just sat on my couch, feeling sorry for myself.

I was looking forward to getting my hair done on Saturday. And by looking forward, I mean counting down every sweaty workout because I hate the way my hair looks after working out. Getting my hair done by someone else always makes me feel like a new woman. Dry Bar had me walking down the street like:

There's a bar/lounge/restaurant by my apartment that looks like the kind of place where 20-somethings go for a drink after work, and the music blaring onto the street is always pretty current. I decided I needed to check it out. When I walked in Saturday night decked out in  4-inch heels and a cocktail dress, I was instantly disappointed. It was like I just walked into a dusty, dim-lit dive bar that serves questionable food from it's back room. I was not feeling it.

And then I made a bee line for Cafeteria and their amaze-balls mac & cheese. Because mac & cheese makes everything better. I skipped home good and drunk, and of course, well-fed.

I legit dreamed of salty, buttery popcorn on Saturday night and my craving lead me to the movie theater Sunday night. For some unknown reason, I thought it would be a good idea to go see Think Like A Man Too that night, which ended up being a colossal waste of $14. But then again, I'm not sure what any of us expects from a sequel to a movie that was originally based on a book, when there's no sequel book. So I sat through the movie, munching on my small popcorn and looking up completely lost when the whole theater laughed.

The fact that the final season of True Blood premiered Sunday night made me kind sad. The final Eric scene of last season had me looking like the surprise emoji and I needed to know if he died while sunbathing naked in those snowcapped mountains (insert raised eyebrows emoji). But did we even see Eric or hear about his fate in last night's episode? Nopeee. For now, I'm holding on to hope that he burrowed beneath the snow to safety.

Then I shaved with shampoo instead of conditioner and totally razor burned by legs. It itches and every time I scratch, it starts to burn :( All because I neglected to read the bottle before lathering up. Lesson learned.

Now I'm tempted to watch all of Season 2 in one sitting this weekend. Another weekend planted on the couch. Oy ve! How was your weekend?

Flocking Together.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

In case you missed it, I'm kinda big into quotes. Sometimes when I'm feeling totally out of it, I look up motivation sayings to get me back in the right state of mind. In fact, I decorate my planner with quotes that I know I'll probably need to see during that week. I've seen this quote floating around a lot and recently, it seems to fit every scenario I come across.

Not only is that photo a fierce photo, but the message is pretty badass too. You grow up hearing sayings from your grandma like "birds of a feather flock together" and you kinda write it off because she's just trying to stop you from seeing an R-rated movie and talking to boys with your best friend who's "too mature". It's silly and doesn't make sense because you know who you are and no one else is going to change that. Except you grow up and you realize that it's not as impossible as you thought. 

One of my friends in college was pretty much the opposite of me. She confronted everything when she should let things go, and confused being honest with her friends with hurting their feelings. That's not to say she didn't have positive qualities as well, but I mean, you never adopt another person's good qualities, now do you? Eventually, I found myself adopting some of her behaviors and habits, always having something to say, using some of her terminology, becoming unnecessarily distrustful of guys I wasn't even really dating yet. I couldn't pin point exactly how it began but I knew I didn't like it. It just wasn't me. And that's when I realized how easy it is to become your surroundings, to adopt habits and traits almost subconsciously. It felt like I lost myself and I couldn't remember for the life of me where I'd placed it, or me rather. 

It's so important to "surround yourself with those on the same mission as you". Not only because they'll push you towards your shared goals, lift you up when it's difficult to stand, and stand by you when it gets real. Because by surrounding yourself with like-minded people, you're all but guaranteeing that you will pick up some useful, if not great, traits along the way, ones that add to the person you want to be. And that's kind of the point of the journey after all.

Just a few quick thoughts for the day. What do you think?

Annual Father's Day Hang Up

Monday, June 16, 2014

My dad doesn't do Father's Day. He also doesn't do pictures. Consequently, one of those "Happy Father's Day to the best dad ever" captioned photos did not materialize on my IG yesterday. See, my dad doesn't believe in special days to appreciate special people, because the time for appreciation is everyday. In fact, when I spoke to him yesterday and mentioned the 'special day', he responded "yo B, bye" and hung up, to which I responded with hysterical laughter. Our annual Father's Day hang up. Maybe it's not that funny for outsiders, but to me, it's all a part of his charm and the only response that feels right. I was 18 when I realized that this response was not only the only kind I'd ever get but also the only kind I ever wanted.

My parents drove me up to college on a really sticky afternoon in August. I remember how sticky it was because I cursed myself for wearing shorts on leather seats (thunder thigh probs). I don't remember much else about the 4 hour trip up there except it was long, sticky and I got nervous every time I heard glass shuffling around in the boxes in the back. Oh, and the fact that my father wore cowboy boots, a hat and chewed on a straw the whole way there because as he put it "I'm drivin' up this here road cuz my daughta here's on her way to call-edge" in his terrible Southern accent. To dear old dad, middle of nowhere Pennsylvania = the south. As we unpacked the car in front of my dorm, I watched all the parents, fixing their kids things - making beds, stuffing drawers, asking if they had enough shampoo or underwear - and all of them hugging and tugging on their teenagers like they might never see them again.

Because if not a pic of me and my dad, why not a picture of the most famous daddy/daughter duo (or trio)? :)
After my parents and I finished unloading and stacking all of my boxes on my side of the room, I stood expectantly waiting for something. Bed making, clothes folding, showering of kisses and 'I'll miss you's'. My father pulled the straw out of his mouth, said "Well, that's it, little lady. I love ya!" in his accent, pulled in me in quickly for tight hug and a kiss on the temple, and was out the door. I only had time for a confused mumble of "I love you too" before he was gone. I remember unpacking my things with tears in my eyes, trying not to cry in front of strangers.

My mom called me that night when they finally got back to New York and she let me in on a little secret. "You know your father cried on the way home." I hadn't said anything but she knew I needed to hear it, knew I needed to know so it would make sense. He was going to miss me, his only little girl, and in some ways it broke his heart to leave me there. But he also didn't want to make the moment an upsetting one. He wanted to give me my independence and prove to me that he trusted I could go it alone - whether that was unpacking a box or living on my own for months at a time. He didn't say it, but I knew it because I knew him. I silently cried myself to that night. Not only because I was gonna miss him, but because he was such an amazing dad, unique reactions and all, unlike any other and I was lucky to have him.

I love that man with everything in me, for everything in me I owe to him. Everyday.

Sunshine-y Day [Even Though It's Raining].

Friday, June 13, 2014

Because I'm the luckiest girl ever, I got nominated for a Sunshine Award from two of the greatest girls around: Kay & Deb. So, of course, I had to oblige. Mini intro, now down the rabbit hole.


1) My favorite punctuation is the semicolon; I love the semicolon :)
2) I re-read parts of books or articles just to admire the way the author strings her words together. I love words.
3) Pants? Hate them.
4) I have like -0.6 patience, which means my future children are going to drive me crazy.
5) I love climbing into a made bed, but hate making my bed.
6) My favorite color is gold. Unless gold is considered a metallic and not a color. Then gold is my favorite metallic.
7) Like every other girl on the planet, I'm obsessed with peonies.
8) I'm an only child.
9) My body rejects pork 97% of the time. So I've never tasted bologna or pork chops, and pork bacon tastes like soap.
10) I talk. A lot. And I think too much.
11) I swear I'm taller than I actually am. I'll tell my guy friends I'm as tall as them and they look down at me like "umm, no, ma'am." Womp.


1) How long have you been blogging?
Almost a year :)

2) What is your favorite part about blogging?
Seriously, it's the people. Like the fact that I could just shout out those two girls up there and feel totally normal even though I've never been in their physical presence. I love that. An extremely close second is just writing again, because I'm sure most of us bloggers are writers as well.

3) Do you like where you live? If no, where would you like to live?
You don't wanna get me started on this one ;) Summarily, I live in New York City and I belong to New York City. I'm starting to open my mind up and appreciate other places simply because I know I'm an NYC snob, but truly, there's no other place I'd rather be. I can't imagine I'd hate living in London or Paris though. Ha!

4) What's your favorite TV show - of all time?
Sex And The City. Hands down. No matter what shows I become addicted to, I always come back to these ladies.

5) Dogs or cats? Why?
Dogs, even though I'm allergic to pretty much everything that sheds.

6) What is your favorite season?
Indian Summer. I'm not sure if this is a local term or not (or if it's even a proper "season"), but it's that weather during late September/October when it's unusually and pleasantly warm. It's perfect.

7) Are you an early bird or night owl?
Night owl, but I really don't like it actually. So I'm more of a night owl, who's envious of the early bird out getting that worm :\

8) What do you think is the best and worst thing about being a woman?
Best: Femininity. I love being pretty and dainty and lovely. I love that being feminine encompasses both delicacy and strength.
Worst: Misconceptions about femininity. Femininity doesn't make me weak or less than or a damsel in distress. I've ranted about all of this already, right over here.

9) If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
The uber-talented, Jared Leto, actor and lead singer of Thirty Seconds To Mars. We'd have an amazing conversation about the depth of his lyrics and the outstanding roles he plays. Then, he'd perform my favorite TSTM songs, and I'd soak in his silky, entrancing voice second by second. And I'd spend the whole time staring at him of course, because he's flippin' gawwwgeous.

10) If you were given the opportunity to go back in time and change one thing in your life, would you?
Of course. Who wouldn't?

11) Coke or Pepsi?

So here's the part where I nominate 11 other bloggers because of the sunshine they bring into my life. I'm just gonna follow suit and list some of favorite bloggers (who can of course answer the questions/list random facts if they chose to!) because I seriously can't choose. So check them out!

Kate & Adam @ The Florkens

Have a great weekend, lovebugs!

I Miss Flintstone Vitamins.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I finally built my world! Eee! After struggling with the storyline for weeks, things began to just fall together this weekend and now I have a novel outline full of plot twists and characters doing things *Insert fist pump emoji here*

Ok so vitamins, yes we're talking vitamins. I know it sounds really boring, but if you're anything like me, you've wondered what supplements you should be taking. And because I've been trying to get fit and healthy for a little while now, I've been thinking quite a bit about what I put in my body as well as what I get out of it. 

*Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY a healthcare professional or nutritionist. 

There are nearly 50 different little pills to take that would make your body stronger/healthier/better, but here are the few that seem to be essential and worth considering according to what my research turned up.  

Vitamin A/Betacarotene - It boosts your immune system and supports skin aging, vision, and heart function. Basically, it's essential to life. However good it may be, be careful to only take the recommended dosage. Too much of a good thing can, in fact, be bad. 
Vitamin B - B vitamins are all about muscle tone, brain development and healthy cells. Folic acid, a substance most resources cite as essential for women, is a B vitamin. 
Vitamin C - Vitamin C is commonly known to defend against the common cold, which may or may not be true. However, C is responsible for boosting the immune system as well as being great for skin and wounds. 
Vitamin D - Not quite a miracle but doctors believe vitamin D can greatly reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes. At the very least, it's happy-making. 
Vitamin E - Available in many forms, this antioxidant is good for blood circulation, and as an oil, it's excellent for moisture. 
Omega-3s - Specifically Fish Oil and DHA. Omega-3s provide benefits associated with a multitude of diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and thinking disorders. Fish oil is also known to help with "feminine" pains such as those related to cramps, breast pain or pregnancy complications.   
Calcium - Remember mom forcing you to drink your milk for strong bones when you were young? Well, the plight for healthy bones is not yet over. Seems we begin to lose bone density in our 20's! 
Iron - As women, we loose a substantial amount of iron every month during our periods, so it's essential to replenish it.

Other not-so-essential, but still pretty awesome vitamins:
Biotin - Commonly known as "the beauty vitamin", Biotin is for healthy hair, skin and nails. It's a B vitamin so it's included in B-Complex vitamins, but it's worth considering as a supplement on it's own.
Wheatgrass - If my cravings dictated my diet, which let's be real sometimes it does, I'd eat pizza, ice cream and other non-vegetable foods all the time. Wheatgrass is an excellent source of greens for those of us who like to skip our veggies sometimes. 

Most sources agree that vitamin D, calcium and iron should be supplemented as it's difficult to get the daily intake via diet alone. Many of the other vitamins can be consumed as part of a good diet, and so it is important to assess your own eating habits, and determine which substances are lacking. This is the predominate reason I choose to bypass multivitamins in favor of individual supplements, which allows me to customize my intake.   
Sources: 1234; 56

Do you take vitamins daily? What are your essentials? 

Confess Sesh!

Friday, June 6, 2014

So my dear Kay posted a bunch of confessions on her blog the other day, which made me feel a little left out. So, here we are, jumping on the bandwagon, being one of the cool peoples. Confession Friday.


When I have a bright idea or get really excited about something, usually something I have to write down, it's like I need complete silence or I'll forget it. So I run around muting televisions and music playlists and force everyone to be quiet until I can memorialize said thought. I'm weird.

Major construction is happening at my gym right now and so all treadmills are out of order for 2 weeks. I feel like this should make me sad, but secretly, I'm so freaking happy. No running for me!

I haven't actually applied to a job in over two weeks. Honestly, I'm just disenchanted with the whole thing. I worked my metaphorical ass of in law school for what again?

Speaking of metaphors, I'm so excited to see the 'metaphor scene' in TFIOS. While reading The Fault In Our Stars, I must have re-read that scene like 5 times. (Oh & if you missed my earlier post, join the book club - we're reading it this month!) Can't wait to see the film on Saturday! I hope it's amazing.

Just confirmed by Goodreads, I've read 5 books since May 7th. To book lovers/bloggers that may be nothing; to average working citizen that may be impressive. Average working citizen, I'm talking to you, you make me feel good about my recent conquests. (Unless you say I don't have a life. Then I rebuke you.)

The above confession would be the reason I've been neglecting my blog this week. Oopsie!

I had a mini-hissy fit last night because the water pressure in my shower is too low, I don't know how to fix it, and my facial scrub was stinging my eyes. I'm surprised my neighbors didn't complain about the slur of obscenities and screaming coming from my apartment. But I fixed it today!

I cuss like a sailor. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but the incident above makes it worth mentioning again.

I'm excited about the Spurs win last night. I like D.Wade but I really don't like LeBron, ergo not a Miami fan. And Manu! Hand down, man down (as my boyfriend says)!

 I've decided to re-watch the entire Gossip Girl series. I don't care if it's a teeny bopper show about spoiled little rich kids. It's my jam and I miss it. #CHAIR4LIFE

Have a wonderful weekend, lovelies!

A Girl Who Reads: Scarlet

I've mentioned it here, and here, and kinda over here, but it's finally time to give you the low-down on the unnamed, unofficial book club, which now has a name and is sort of official. Hello, Fill Up & Live BookClub! Created by Kay and I, the title is taken from a quote I love, "she reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live". Because isn't that how books just make you feel? If so (or if you want them to), you should join us! I love reading and more than that, I love talking about what I'm reading. In my reviews, I'm limited to what I say because I don't want to spoil anything for others. This book club gives me the opportunity to chat with you all about my favorite parts, characters and quotes of a novel in detail. We plan to navigate multiple genres, reading novels that open us up to something new or just remind us of the things we love.

For the first month, June, we are reading and discussing The Fault In Our Stars. As said before I'm sure everyone has already read it, but I thought it fitting for the month since the movie gets released in June - today actually! So whether you're reading it for the first time, re-reading for the premiere, or just wanna fangirl over Augustus Waters (YES!), join us. Non-spoiler-y book reviews will be posted on the final Thursday of the month, while the spoiler-y stuff will happen over on the Goodreads page. Once we get a button made (see? told ya we're semi-official), I'll have a "book club page" on this blog with all this information including any books for future months, but for now, head over to our Goodreads page to join the book club! Can't wait to see what you all think about the novel/movie!

Before we jump into this review, let me say: (1) despite the plethora of book reviews appearing here, this is not going to turn into a book review blog, at I'm pretty sure it won't, and (2) if you haven't read Cinder you may want to stop reading here (I try not to spoil things but there may be minor ones as this is a sequel of sorts). Okay, so Scarlet.

Title: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles Book #2)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publication: 2013

Main Plot: Equipped with new major information as well as some new gear, Cinder struggles to figure out what to do with it all, but first, she's gotta get out. Half way across the world, Scarlet's grandmother's been missing for two weeks, and after local French police give up the search, Scarlet resigns to look herself. The small farm where she lives with her grandmother and a mysterious street fighter, Wolf, may hold the key to multiple secrets, including where her grandmother has gone and why she left her ID chip behind.

Favorite Quote(s):
"If you were a gentleman, you would offer to buy me one as well."
"If you were a lady, you would have waited for me to make the offer."

"I don't see that her being cyborg is relevant. Next question?"

"You'll be fine... You'll be fine, because you're strong, like me."

"It would be easy to abuse a person when they never recognized it as abuse."

My Rating: 4.7 - 5 stars.

I won't reiterate the entire premises of The Lunar Chronicles except to say that all of the books are fairytale retellings. If you're interested in more information about the series, check out my review of Cinder. You know, how the best book in most series in the 1st one and many sequels are kind of a let down? Not this one. In my opinion, Scarlet was better than Cinder. But only by the smallest of percentages, and only because I happen to like the character of Scarlet better than Cinder. Cinder is a wonderful character who starts off pretty shy and lacks confidence, but eventually develops into quite the kick-ass protagonist. But Scarlet, she's badass from the start. With flaming red curly hair as fiery as her personality, Scarlet is a strong, secure character from the start. She rocks a red hoodie throughout most of the novel and carries a gun in her waistband. She knows exactly what she wants and what she has to do, and it's refreshing to see a female protagonist that's so sure of herself. Not that Cinder isn't strong but she kind of needs others to remind her how powerful she can be, whereas Scarlet already knows it. As they said back in the day, she's "one tough cookie."

This has nothing to do with Scarlet, but I just love this quote from AHS Asylum so much.
Note: Marissa Meyer is not a character-abandoner (yup, made it up!). No character left behind. And I love her and her novel for it. She weaves everything together with expert precision. At the end of Cinder, many issues are left unresolved. Furthermore, a huge bomb, perhaps a predictable bomb but a bomb nonetheless, is dropped into the story within the last few pages of the book. So it would've been frustrating had Meyer only focused on Scarlet's story. Instead, Meyer switches from Cinder's storyline to Scarlet's storyline half-way across the world and doesn't miss a beat. Usually when authors switch point-of-views, I end up favoring one or the other and suffering through half of the chapters. But strangely, when a Cinder chapter would wind down, I'd be frustrated for a moment because I want to continue following that journey. After turning the page to a Scarlet chapter, it took only a second to fall right back into step, remembering how eager I am for her story as well. In a word, it was delightful.

Although both protagonists stories are intertwined in many ways, Scarlet definitely gets her own arc. In fact, I think it could stand alone in many ways. Scarlet's journey is for the search for her grandmother. The town police don't take her missing too seriously because she had a reputation of being quite eccentric. By about the second chapter, we see what Scarlet does to people who think ill of her grandma and we know from that moment on what her MO is. The character develop happens quickly and in my opinion it drives the novel forward. When she meets Wolf, a street fighter, she is initially hesitant to trust him until she realizes he may be the only one who can help. Her story is an adventure, a trip from a small town in France to Paris where she hopes to discover the truth to more than just her grandmother's whereabouts. Although the pacing is excellent, quite a few of the twists are predictable. Granted, it's a fairy-tale retelling and it has to remind us in a few ways of the famous Little Red Riding Hood. We need a red hood(ie). Check. A big, bad Wolf? Check. A missing grandmother? Check. Unfortunately, there were other things that were predictable yet not fairy-tale predictable, if that makes any sense. Although they didn't hinder the story drastically, it was those moments that produced a bit of a groan from me and knocked off a few tenths of a star.  

Meyer has sent a precedent. With two books left in this quartet (the third book, Cress, was released this year), I'm expecting it to get better and better.

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