Poison Princess Review

When I first read the summary of this book I thought, eugh no, boring! I mean, I have read plenty of apocalypse books–The Fifth Wave, The Kill Order, Life as We Knew It, etc. Was I really up for yet another version of our world’s end? Ahem, YES. In this review, I am going to convince you to get this book and ulitmately love it. Hopefully.

Evangeline lived in the modern day world, happily surrounded by many friends and a sweet, albeit boringly basic, football player boyfriend. (Don’t leave- I promise this is NOT AT ALL like any other teenage book, though it may sound like one right now!) At the end of the school year, she started having apocalyptic visions of the world ending, oftentimes gruesome ones featuring a red witch tearing people to ribbons. Oh, fun. Evie made the mistake of showing her mother her sketches of the dreams and visions she had, and her mother, knowing that Evie came from a long line of crazy family members, immediately put Evie in the CLC to get rid of her fantasies. By the beginning of the next school year, Evie was dosed up on medicine and mostly free of visions and nightmares. However, they only seemed to grow worse as she struggled to remain sane in her happy life at highschool. Well, sort of happy. As it turns out, a new boy had joined her school named Jackson. He rode a motorcycle, was Cajun, seemed to have an unhealthy fixation on Evie (namely, her body), and was ultimately kick-butt. Oh boooooy. Goodbye boring football player boyfriend, helloooo hotness. Anyways, suddenly her insanity turned to reality when the Flash happened, completely burning up houses by random, turning anyone outside to ash, and killing all plant life. Suddenly Evie starts to realize that perhaps she is sane, and that her visions may not be her only powers. Seven months later, humanity is almost completely wiped out, and what little remains has lost their, well, humanity. Evie bands up with His Royal Hotness, or rather Jackson, when he finds her hiding at home. Together, they go on a journey to find her grandmother, one of the people that had been branded as a nut in their family line, who Evie believes can answer all of her questions about her visions and newly discovered powers, as well as details about the Flash.

I have only read the first book of this series and I am already obsessed. At the surface, it appears so boring and a generic apocalypse book. The thing is, you really need to give a book a chance before looking at it doubtfully. In the beginning, it starts out with a man named Arthur who we quickly discover is out to kidnap girls and experiment on them, with his latest victim being Evie. She came into his lair, quickly accepting food and hot chocolate for the exchange of telling her story. Through the entire book, it tells her story and occasionally comes to Arthur asking her questions about it and his thoughts of planning what to do to her. This creates a sense of climax and makes the reader wonder what will happen to her once she finishes telling the entire story. I really loved this because it made the story develop beautifully and was set up differently from other books, since the story was being told inside a story. The entire book leaves you in suspence because of wondering how Evie will escape from Arthur.

As well, the apocalypse is describes beautifully, or rather horrifically, with many different layers and creativity. For instance, it shows how the world can swiftly turn to chaos without order. Some people turned into Bagmen, slimey creatures that always were looking for water and sometimes killed and drank the blood of humans to quench their thirst. Others turned into slavers, taking people captive to suit their needs. Another group was the cannibals, who were desperate enough to eat their friends and passerby. The majority of humans left were men, so women were prized and sought after, leaving Evie in the greatest danger.

Though Evie was in great danger, she had Jackson to help protect her. Throughout the story, he grows as a character, at first seeming dirty and useless. However, the book begins to weave together his story until he becomes dangerous yet protective. There are so many amazing moments between Evie and Jack, even though there are bad moments when I wanted to kill him.

The book has so many layers, first the typical teenage drama story, then the apocalype, and then a war between immortal forces. Oh yes, you heard right. Now you’ll have to read the book to find out!

Tiger’s Curse Review

I both loved this book and became frustrated by it–the it being Kelsey. Tiger’s Curse is written in the point of view of a teenage girl who lives with foster parents after the death of both of her parents. At this point in her life, she is searching for a job, and finds one at a circus where she can help sell, clean, and…take care of a tiger named Ren. She forms a quick bond with Ren, spending days reading poetry to the tiger (I used to read to my cats so, honestly, this is not too strange). When a man named Mr. Kadam comes to purchase Ren, he enlists Kelsey to travel with them to India to care for the tiger’s needs. However, that turns out to not be her only job. She soon discovers that she is really there to help Ren and Mr. Kadam break a 300-year curse keeping Ren as a tiger and must travel across India to do it.

I feel like this was a very slow-paced book with little action. For instance, the small moments like eating and looking around India are explained far more than they need to. Sometimes it felt like an entire chapter was just her trying on clothes and eating. However, the imagery given was beautiful and really showed what India is like. For someone who just read a deep and action-packed book that requires a lot of thinking, this book would be perfect. It is almost like those moments when you watch YouTube videos or the television for hours just so you do not have to concentrate on anything after a long day. Yeah, it’s that kind of book. Interesting but relaxing.

Kelsey reminds me of a less annoying version of Mare from Glass Sword, where she just irritates me just enough to make me nearly close the book. She complains a lot and is insecure, but it makes sense in her situation. Her parents died when she was younger, which shows her difficulty to have a romantic relationship with Ren. She does not want to have her heart broken again, especially by the perfect guy, Mr. Prince Charming. Though at moments, I wanted to scream just kiss him already! As well, anyone that is not a fictional character would complain too if they had to go through jungles for days upon days while following a tiger. Really, the book is just realistic that way, and once I understood that, I grew to love Kelsey’s character. She is like a normal teenager and it is nice to relate to that.

There are two amazing guys in this book–Ren and Kishan. Ren is like the perfect gentleman and really loves Kelsey for who she is. Kishan is more rough, kind of like Rhysand in ACOMAF (though technically no one compares to Rhys) where he appears all tough until suddenly you see his sweet and sensitive type. I feel that by the end of the series, Kishan will be the one Kelsey chooses. He seems to have more character than Ren since he has two sides- brooding and sweet.

I think this would be an incredible book for people who like strong imagery, cute guys, and a slow-paced read. It starts out especially slow, but the action builds up as you go along and discover more and more about both the character’s personalities and the curse. As well, I would recommend it to anyone since it feels like so many different genres in one.

Rhysand or Tamlin?

Warning: contains spoilers

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas is a tale that was originally modeled after Beauty and the Beast in the first book. In this magical sequel, Feyre has returned to the Spring Court with her lover Tamlin. I had always loved Tamlin far more than Rhysand (I had believed Rhysand would always be the enemy in ACOTAR, but BOY was I wrong!) and was prepared for it to be about rebuilding the kingdom and all of that happy, fluffy calm. Just kidding. We all know Sarah J. Maas does not do “calm” and “fluffy”. She started off the book with an image of Feyre having nightmares from Under the Mountain. You would expect that Tamlin would comfort her, but rather, he pretended to be asleep. Feyre dismissed it as them keeping their pain to themselves. However, as the months wore on, she grew thin and sick from all of her nightly nightmares, and Tamlin did absolutely nothing. I started to see how self-centered and uncaring he was. In contrast, when Rhys (anyone else just love the way his name is shortened?) took Feyre away, he opened his own pain to her by revealing that he had spent years as “Amarantha’s whore” just to save his friends. See the difference? Tamlin did everything for himself (Rhys even noted that he only tried to have sex with Feyre Under the Mountain rather than help her run away) while Rhys destroyed everything he was just to save those he cared about. He would even go to war to protect Feyre from being taken back by Tamlin. As well, Rhys treated her as a partner, while Tamlin treated her as a pet. Rhys’s idea of protection was letting her fend for herself, which Tam’s was to hide her away from the world and let her waste away. Tamlin told her that he kept her at home to help his people, while Rhys’s idea of helping his people was throwing his entire being away.

There is always a villain and a good guy in books and movies. Tamlin always seemed like the good guy because Spring and blond hair is shown as new life and innocence. Rhysand’s Night and dark hair showed darkness. The first hints of Tamlin being the villain was when he would go into rages, turning rooms to shreds. He is like a scared little boy, unstable in his position and frightened of losing everything again. Rhysand is stronger, protecting rather than shredding. I believe that most of the reason he went after Feyre was the fear of losing to Rhysand again or losing someone else he loved, like his family, to Rhysand. He needed to protect his honor and not bow at Rhysand’s feet ever again.

In short, if Tamlin existed in today’s modern society, he would be most likely possessive or prone to one night stands. Rhys would be the traveling type and attentive to a girl’s needs. This basically shows that though Tamlin was well-loved in ACOTAR, he would never be able to last through the rest of the series. Rhys is meant to last for the rest of the series…unless… Tarquin? Just kidding, guys! He is too sweet for Sarah J. Maas’s writing!

 

A Beginner Bookstagrammer’s Guide + Tips & Tricks

Choosing a Name

I feel like this is one of the most important steps to having a successful Bookstagram. Basically, people will know you by this name and it needs to be something they remember. Here are some ways to come up with your name:

  1. Think about what type of reader you are (ex: slow, fast, have a ton of books, love to fangirl/boy). Combine an adjective describing your reading with something like “reader” “reads” “books” “pages” “literature” or “fiction”
    1. slothreading, hoardedfiction, speedyliterature, cheetahreads
  2. Take your name or a characteristic of you and combine it with a book-related word.
    1. Jessicaspages, maryfiction, emilybooks
  3. Use your fandom
    1. crookshankslibrary, celaenareading, lunarliterature

Just be creative! If you loved any of these names, I chose ones that are not taken at the moment. My own username is another example: infinite and TBR combined.

Choosing a Theme

Themes attract followers, mostly because they are the surface of your account.

  1. White themes are the main theme chosen. They are crisp and bright, and easily accomplished with a white table, blanket, sheets, or poster board.
  2. Wooden themes have a classy and vintage feel, giving your account a nice vibe. You can use your flooring, a table, or a piece of plywood.
  3. Nature themes include flowers, pine straw, water, or anything of the like. This is a good theme for people who enjoy the outdoors and a pretty, free look.
  4. Bookshelf themes are perfect for a homey feel and for people without many backgrounds to choose from. It shows off your shelf and can be very versatile if you change around the order of your books (such as rainbow bookshelves)
  5. Filters can make a feed look beautiful even without using the same background every time. I recommend going onto Pinterest and searching “instagram feed” for amazing filter instructions.

Taking Pictures

The key to pretty, appealing pictures is your camera, lighting, and the apps you use. If you have a phone, you have a camera. But sometimes the camera on your phone can make pictures fuzzy, so make sure to take pictures in a room where there is plenty of light to minimize the fuzziness. I use a D60 camera and it has never failed me! For the lighting part of your pictures, I recommend shooting in front of a window or use the flash on your camera (but beware the ugly glare that can appear on shiny books).

Posting

There is nothing worse than posting a picture of quali-tay and receiving very few likes! It may not be you or your picture’s fault. There are actually specific times that are the worst and best to post.

Worst: 11am-4pm EST

Best: 6pm-9pm EST

For the worst times, Bookstagram is almost completely dead. You have to remember that people aren’t on here all day…well, most of us, that is. They will be at work or even sleeping in other countries. I have found that the best times are around 6pm, when so many more people will see it.

Captions

These are like your own mini blog. If you’re on Bookstagram, chances are you like talking about books! Ask a question, or even talk about the book you are currently reading. Just…no spoilers. We will probably all gang up on you.

Hashtags

These. Are. SO. Important! People cannot find you otherwise. However, they can get pretty annoying if they are all in your caption for the world to see. Yes, you must hide that dirty little secret of using hashtags. Even though everyone does it.

Rather than put the hashtags in the caption of your photo, comment them as soon as you post. I usually save them in my Notes app. You can change around hashtags, but here are the ones I use:

#bookie #bookstagram #instaread #instabook  #booknerd #bookworm #book #books #bookaholic #readaholic #instaread #yalit #yaliterature #yareads #ilovebooks #bibliophile #booklover #bookcover #reader #reading #bookhoarder #bookaddict #readit #ireadya #fiction  #bookcommunity #igreads #instabooks #totalbooknerd #bookstagramfeature

Why the dashes, you ask? Whenever you post with those, there is a […] where the hashtag would be under the caption, just to further hide your little secret. Go ahead and try it.

The last hashtag is an example of a features account. If the owners of this account like your photo, they may feature it on their account (where they have several thousand followers) and help you bring more people to your account!

Hack: If you cannot add any more hashtags to the ones commented since it will not let any more be added, there is a way to get around that. After you post and comment your hashtags, go back into the caption of your photo and add more hashtags. It will not let you if you do it before you comment.

Bookstagram Terms

TBR: to be read

BOTM: book of the month, typically used by book clubs

S4S: this is used by all of Bookstagram, but means shoutout for shoutout. Large accounts often do these, and by participating in one, you have the chance to get a shoutout to increase the people on your account.

F4F: follow for follow. You can use this by commenting on other people’s pictures. However, this does not guarantee active followers and can annoy larger accounts.

Tagging

These are like challenges for taking pictures. Examples include #bookishheart and #greenbooks, where people tag others in the picture, basically telling them to participate in the hashtag. Now all you have to do is mention in your caption that they tagged you in this hashtag and post a picture similar to it! I also recommend starting a tag journal because tags add up fast!

I’m so happy you are thinking about joining the community or are already in it! Please comment any questions and your Bookstagram name.