Ketosis & Me

Hi book dragons!

I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions about my new diet change, so I thought I would make a gargantuan post all about my new low carb, specifically ketogenic, diet and I thought I’d lay it all out here to keep it neat. This is going to be a very long post, so buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gents. 

First of all, I am in no way, shape, or form a doctor. Nor do I play one on TV. This is all information from my own personal research as well as what my doctor has told me and my own personal experiences. I’m fully aware I will still most likely get hate and people telling me that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I never said that I did, nor is this a health blog. So get over yourselves. You will be made fun of and blocked.

If you’re looking for a specific part of this post, you can hit control+F to search for a word or phrase. Nifty, right? Some of my favorite keto recipies will come last. 

I’ll post my before and after pictures here when I get around to finding them on my phone and taking “after” pictures. I weighed in the day before I started this diet at 167.4 pounds on June 19th (HOLY CRAP I DID NOT REALIZE IT HAS BEEN THAT LONG) and I weighed in this morning at 149.5. 

Now, let’s talk about the word diet. The word diet means the things you eat. It is NOT a negative term. It is NOT a term to describe unhealthy behaviors. It is just a word to describe what somebody eats on a daily basis. Gotta break that stigma before we go any further. 

Next vocab word before we get into the thick of it is ketosis. The ketogenic diet is all about getting your body into and keeping it in a state of ketosis. Ketosis, according to dictionary.com, is “a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues, with is typically pathological in conditions such as diabetes, or may be the consequences of a diet that is very low in carbohydrates.” In human words, ketosis is a state your body goes into when it does not have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy and it resorts to burning stored fat for its energy resulting in a build up of ketones, AKA acids, in your body. Hence the name, ketosis.

Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering, Victoria, you aren’t very large, you’re healthy and go to the gym, why did you try this diet? At least, I’m hoping you guys were thinking that. I am a walking medical bill. I have had extreme eczema my entire life and it has only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I now get it on my eyelids, scalp, lips, and inside of my mouth as well as armpits bikini line, arms, legs, and chest. Sound like fun? Throw in stress and poor diet related acne and you’ve got yourself an incurable concoction. For those that don’t know, the cure for one is keeping skin dry and the cure for the other is keeping your skin super moisturized. See my dilemma? I also almost hit 170 pounds. This might not seem like a lot, but I’m only 5’5″ so that’s an unhealthy overweight size for me. I normally hang out between 150 and 160, but had never gotten that big before. I also found myself exhausted all the time, even after a full 8 hours of sleep. No matter what I did, I could not shrug off the sluggish feelings I had. I knew that I needed a serious change. Now, I’m not one who used to eat too horribly, but over 80 percent of the foods I consumed were processed. Yes, I ate fruits and meats, but the majority of what I ate was cereal, rice, bread, oats, wheat, etc. 

I’ve done countless hours of research online and finally stumbled across the Ketogenic diet. “Cure for IBS, eczema, acne, and sluggishness!” “Energy abound!” “Lose pesky belly fat fast!” Sound too good to be true? Well, the fast part is, but the rest of it sounded wonderful! The catch? Little to no carbs. WHAT?! I couldn’t live without my carbs! No rice? No snacking on a full loaf of bread? No cereal? What was I supposed to eat?! I can’t cook! SOS! 

Then, I got lost in testimonials of chronic eczema and IBS sufferers. Hundreds of people who had zero issues with eczema after switching to this diet. IBS gone in a week or two after switching to this diet. Pounds falling off. The only stories I found where it didn’t work was because people never stuck to it or they didn’t decrease their carb intake low enough to reach ketosis. 

So I asked myself, “What have I got to lose?” And dove in.

Week 1: suck, suck, and more suck. I’m constantly hungry. I hurt. My bowels are so confused. I’m SO THIRSTY. I have nothing to eat. I have body aches. I’m sweating. I pee every hour on the hour. My head is pounding. I’m not seeing immediate results. In fact, I feel worse than when I started! Every site said this would happen, but I wasn’t insanely unhealthy before I started. I should have been fine. The worst part of week one was the fact that the first 3 days, I had no idea what to eat, so I settled on whatever I had in my house. Which wasn’t much. Part of the reason I got so sick was because for those first 3 days, I was only eating about 400 calories a day. Mainly because I had no idea what I was doing. Research is key with this diet. Just because somebody had a certain carb level does not mean that the same level would get you into ketosis. 

Week 2: okay, body aches, cold sweats, and headaches are mostly gone. I can do this. I’m feeling better, I haven’t cheated. Mouth is still insanely dry and I still drink and pee like I get paid for it.  TMI TIME. I also severely pissed off my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I was at first not going at all and it was almost impossible to go when I actually tried. Then, and for the next few weeks, it was constant diarrhea. Completely liquid. This, of course, horrified me so I went to my doctor. She told me that as long as there was no blood and I was adequately hydrating that it should go away within a week or two. Hydration is key with this diet, especially if you’re getting diarrhea. Dehydration is a very scary thing; we don’t need anyone being hospitalized here.

After this point, my body started to regulate and things became easier to deal with. I still am having issues with my IBS, but it’s because I cheated a few times. Another key thing to this diet is NOT cheating. Cheating even one day will get you out of ketosis and it can take days or even weeks, depending on your body, to get back into it. Not only will you come out of ketosis, you will go through the “carb-flu” again. This means withdrawals, body aches, cold sweats, no energy, headaches. All over one day of eating horribly. Once you’ve been low carb for a while, you won’t have cravings for them anymore. I’ve been on this diet for a little over a month and I’ve already lost the cravings for those types of food. Eating out is still difficult, but I don’t have a want to cheat anymore. Plus, I have some amazing food that I CAN eat and they make me feel amazing. 

A good way to prevent cheating is to sit down with yourself and honestly find out why you’re doing this diet. If it’s a temporary change where you’re only eating low carb for a month or two and then going back to exactly what you were eating before, you will gain all of the weight back and more. I know that I’ll be low carb, probably not THIS low, but much lower than I was before, for years. Especially since it’s clearing up my skin, which is the main reason I tried this diet. I’ll eventually move to carbs like yogurt, brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc. I’ll introduce them back into my diet very slowly and over a very long period of time. Introducing carbs back into your diet too quickly can make you gain weight. Your body, after being in ketosis for so long, is used to burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. Introducing them too quickly will confuse the heck out of your body and do nothing but bad things to it. 

Okay, time for pros and cons. We’ll do cons first. This diet isn’t all good, even if it’s mostly good.

Cons: the main con is being an annoying patron when going out to eat. It is very not easy to find food that is extremely low carb. Almost everything these days has corn starch in it, or breaking, or potatoes as a side, etc. I normally eat before hand, not a full meal, but enough to make me not super hungry. That way, if I get a meal and have to skip some of the sides or if it’s just a salad, it still fills me up and I’m not feeling left out and hungry after the meal. Another con is the fact that I now have to take a multivitamin. Which I guess isn’t REALLY a con. You should be taking multivitamins anyway if you don’t have an adequate diet. I also was not drinking quite enough, even though it felt like I was drinking all the time. Last week, or the week before, I got two severe cramps in my calves. They woke me up and I thought that was the way I was going to die. They were horrific. My doctor told me that it was a mix of not drinking enough and being mildly dehydrated and the fact that I’m not taking multivitamins. I couldn’t eat bananas to get the potassium to help with the cramps, because bananas have tons of carbs in them (plot twist, so do grapes, so be wary). Another con for me is snacking. I’m very used to quick and easy, AKA no cooking required unless it’s pasta, so getting used to actually cooking and preparing meals is still annoying. I’ll get used to it eventually. I hope. 

Pros: I’ll keep this part brief, most of my pros have already been discussed. Rapid fire: I’ve lost weight, my acne and eczema is clearing up, I’m less hungry, I have so much more energy, I sleep better, I’m not exhausted throughout the day, I eat less because I’m not constantly hungry, I no longer feel sluggish and slow and lethargic, I no longer feel and look bloated, I’m happier, I stress less often. I could go on! Even with the few cons, I definitely am SO glad that I have this new diet and am looking forward to keeping this up to see if it stays this awesome. I’m also excited to finally be learning how to cook and how to meal plan. I love being prepared and I love planning things out, so this will turn into something great. 

Let’s talk gym for a few minutes. Working out right when you start will be very difficult because you’ll feel like garbage and have zero energy. I got back into the gym at the 2.5 week mark and I was so surprised at how tired I was afterward. It took me only a few days of working out to get back into the swing of things and to get my body used to working out while using a different type of energy source. I do also use protein shakes after my workouts to help get that spent energy back, but I use a low carb one. Mine has 4g of carbs per scoop (I only ever use one scoop anyway). They do make NO carb protein, but I like caramel flavored protein. I use it with plain, non-sweetened almond milk and it’s delicious. Sweetened almond milk is NOT low carb, so make sure you get the low carb milk. Or you can have some chicken or bacon when you get out of the gym! Protein is very important with this diet, but again, in moderation. Too much protein will get out you of ketosis which IS NOT what we want here.

Recipie time! These are a few of my favorite recipies that I’ve found on Pinterest. Another secret: Pinterest has pretty much every single low carb and specifically ketogenic diet recipies that are very easy to follow and they’re all free!

Loaded Cauliflower (like a loaded potato) (serves 6 people, great for freezing)

1 pound cauliflower

4 oz sour cream

1 cup cheese

Bacon

Chives (optional)

Butter

Garlic poweder

Salt and pepper

The cauliflower is obviously the most important part, you can top it with whatever low carb things you want!

Steam your cauliflower (for fluffy consistency), let sit uncovered for a few minutes. Add cauliflower to food processor and process until fluffy, then add toppings and serve!
Low Carb Taco Shells

They’re made of cheese, so they are completely keto friendly!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or a silicone mat if you have one), use about 3oz of cheese per shell (recommended with cheddar), bake at 350F for about 6 minutes or until the cheese melts and the edges start to brown, create a drying rack (I use two cups and a spatula with a thick handle to keep room inside the shell for taco yummy-ness), MAKE SURE you let the cheese cool for a minute or two once you take it out of the oven before putting it on the rack so you don’t ruin it, once it’s cool, they’re done!
Low Carb Pancakes

60g (1/2 cup + 1tbsp) of almond flour (not all almond flour is created equally, make sure you check the labels)

1/2 cup of cream cheese (full fat)

4 eggs

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Butter

Put all of the ingredients in a blender (I use my nutri bullet) and cook like regular pancakes. Make sure to keep them relatively small or they risk breaking apart when you cook them.
Slow Cooker Low Carb Taco Soup

2 lbs ground pork, beef, or sausage

2, 8oz packages of cream cheese

2, 10 oz cans of Rotel (tomatoes and such)

2 tbsp taco seasonings (or more if you prefer)

4 cups of chicken broth

Cilantro for taste

Shredded cheese for garnish if you want

Brown the meat until fully cooked, put the cream cheese, Rotel, and seasoning into the crock pot, drain grease from meat and put it into the crock pot and stir, pour in chicken broth, cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours, garnish and serve!
Honorable snacking mentions: cucumber salad, tuna salad, deviled egg salad, Caesar salad with chicken or shrimp, mixed nuts, pumpkin seeds, berries, pepperoni and string cheese, diet Snapple

NOTE: not all of these recipies are very healthy, if you want to lose weight while on this diet, maybe the tons of cheese and cream cheese isn’t the best option for you. But if losing weight is just a side effect that you’ll gladly welcome on this diet, these are some of my favorite recipies!

I think that’s everything! If you have any questions, you can shoot me an email or contact me in any of my social medias listed on here. 

Thanks for reading and as always, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time!

Horror fans: ENTER HERE

Come one, come all, to my personal list of favorite R.L. Stine books! What?! You’ve never read any of his books?! Boy, are you missing out. R.L. Stine is the epitome of horror.

Don’t think any of his books would interest you? Here are my top 14 favorite R.L. Stine books. With 98 days left until Halloween, why wait to start the spooky?

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The Beast From the East
Twelve-year-old Ginger and her two younger twin brothers Pat and Nat and their parents go on a camping trip one weekend. While exploring, the Ginger and her brothers find themselves face to face with giant beasts who want to play a dangerous game. The rules are simple, you win, you get to leave, but the losers get eaten. Will Ginger, Pat, and Nat survive the deadliest game they will ever play?
Stine, R.L. (1996) The Beast From the East. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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The Cuckoo Clock of Doom
Michael lives his daily life constantly being tormented by his annoying little sister who, according to their parents, can do no wrong. Tara the Terrible, as Michael calls her, is constantly getting him in trouble and making his life miserable. At least until their dad brings home the giant, old, grandfather clock that neither he or his little sister are allowed to touch. Under any circumstance. Michael ends up messing with the clock and finds himself different. In the past different. He finds out the hard way that somebody put a dangerous spell on the clock, and Tara is the least of Michael’s troubles now.
Stine, R.L. (1995) The Cuckoo Clock of Doom. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Don’t Stay Up Late
Lisa’s life was forever changed when her and her family were in a fatal car accident. Lisa was the only survivor and was plagued by severe brain trauma which led to hallucinations and night terrors. Lisa’s therapist gave her the idea to try and take her mind off of the accident by babysitting. Harry, the boy she is babysitting, comes with very strict instructions: do not let him stay up late. After the first few nights, strange and horrifying things begin happening to Lisa. Are they results of the brain trauma, or is something more sinister happening?
Stine, R.L. (2015) Don’t Stay Up Late. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Ghost Next Door
Hannah has always been the social type. She is always hanging out with her siblings, or with her friends at school. But when the new boy moves in next door, she finds very interesting things about him. He claims to go to the same school as her, but she does not recognize him at all, he keeps disappearing, and Hannah is pretty sure that his house was completely empty when she went to sleep last night. Could Hannah be befriending a ghost next door?
Stine, R.L. (1993) The Ghost Next Door. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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It Came From Beneath the Sink
Daniel and his sister Kat just moved into a great new house. The place is enormous, the yard is huge, they have amazing balconies on their bedrooms, and the house comes with it’s own free pet. This pet, however, is not something either of the kids were hoping for. It’s green, it’s pulsing, it feeds off of pain, it’s beneath their kitchen sink. Do Kat and Daniel have what it takes to stop these accidents from happening? Or will the thing from beneath the sink consume all hope in their little town?
Stine, R.L. (1995) It Came From Beneath the Sink. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Monster Blood
Evan is an adventurous kid who is always up for a challenge, but staying with his great-aunt Kathryn is more of a challenge than he’s used to. She is deaf and never learned to read or use sign language, so Evan is basically on his own while he’s with her. He stumbles upon an old store one day while adventuring in town where he purchases a bucket of monster blood. All is fun and games until Evan’s dog, Trigger, eats some of this monster blood and grows four times his regular size, Evan knows something is very wrong.
Stine, R.L. (1992) Monster Blood. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Night of the Living Dummy
When twins Lindy and Kris Powell discover a ventriloquist dummy in a dumpster behind their neighbor’s house, they name him Slappy. But when Lindy had more success with Slappy than Kris, Kris became rather jealous. Kris gets a dummy of her own, but Slappy doesn’t like that at all. Soon, the two dummies begin fighting and pitting the two sisters against each other. Is this just another case of sibling rivalry, or is Slappy to blame?
Stine, R.L. (1993) Night of the Living Dummy. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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One Day at Horrorland
An amusement park with no lines, no crowds, and free admission sounds too good to be true! This is a daily occurrence at Horrorland. The Morris family, after getting extremely lost on their way to Zoo Gardens, stumbles upon Horrorland. Determined to keep this family trip a success, they decide to give Horrorland a try. What’s the worst that could happen? Soon they are thrust into a world with horrifying rides and attractions that seem a little too real. They’re just rides, right?
Stine, R.L. (1994) One Day at Horrorland. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Party Games
Rachel Martin has a serious crush on Brendan Fear. Everyone has warned her about the Fear family and their dreaded estate on Fear Island, but when Rachel is invited to Brendan’s birthday party on said island, she cannot say no. Brendan has a lot of fun planned for his party and a lot of party games, but when the games turn deadly and begin killing off the party goers one by one, this party becomes much less fun. Trapped on the island, Rachel now has only one goal at this party: survival.
Stine, R.L. (2014) Party Games. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Say Cheese and Die
Greg is a lover of old items. So, when he finds an old camera that still works, he is elated. The pictures he takes, however, are not as joyous. He takes a picture of his father’s brand new car and when the photo develops, the car is totalled. A few days later, his father crashes the car. He very quickly realizes that this camera is evil. Coincidence? Or something more sinister?
Stine, R.L. (1992) Say Cheese and Die. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight
When Jodi and her brother Mark make their way to their yearly month-long visit to their grandparent’s house, they are a bit troubled. Their grandparents seem more run down than usual, the cornfield has hardly any corn compared to last year, and most disturbingly, the one ratty looking scarecrow has been replaced with twelve newly made scarecrows. After finding out that the scarecrows were made based off of instructions from a creepy book, Jodi and Mark don’t trust any of them. But now they feel like they are being watched.
Stine, R.L. (1994) The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Stay Out of the Basement
Dr. Brewer is the definition of a “crazy scientist,” but when Margaret and Casey Brewer find exactly what he is creating down there, they more than believe it. What starts off as harmless experimentation turns into nightmare fuel. What’s even more horrifying is the experiments do not always stay in the basement. Dr. Brewer begins to take on the characteristics of his experiments and that’s when the girls get very concerned. Can they stop their crazy scientist father before it’s too late for him or them?
Stine, R.L. (1992) Stay Out of the Basement. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Welcome to Dead House
The Benson family has been left an amazing home by their recently deceased uncle that they don’t remember much about. When they move in, they realize that the house is spacious, grand, and probably haunted. At least, that’s what Amanda and Josh Benson think. Their parents tell them that it’s just their imaginations and they will get used to the spooky old house they just moved into, but the siblings are not convinced. Not only is this house a dead house, but the street has no seemingly alive people, and neither does this entire down.
Stine, R.L. (1992) Welcome to Dead House. New York, NY: Scholastic.

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Werewolf Skin
Photography freak. Photography aunt and uncle. Sounds like a perfect getaway, right? Alex just has two rules when he stays with his aunt and uncle: do not go into or near the creepy neighbor’s house and stay out of the forest at night. Seems simple enough until Alex meets a girl named Hannah who isn’t afraid of the forest or of the creepy neighbor’s house. They come across enormous paw prints outside of the house and in the woods, but are told the creepy neighbors just have big dogs. Is that the real story, or is there more going on in Wolf Creek?
Stine, R.L. (1997) Werewolf Skin. New York, NY: Scholastic.

I can guarantee that you’ll find something that you love on this list, especially if you’re as big of a horror fan as I am! The count down to spooky season has begun, so get ready for more horror related posts.

And as always, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time!

Me. 

What is happening to me?

Butterflies? Sweaty palms? Racing heart? Mind spinning?

Everyone is telling me it’s a crush. Something fleeting, but wonderful. Something to be cherished.

My mind is telling me it’s fleeting.  Semi-permanent and fake. A mist of confusion.

What if he’s not the one? What if he’s wrong in some way? What if he’s perfect?

It’s been years for me. I avoid things like this so neither of us get hurt.  It always ends in pain.

But what if this time is different? What if it’s bliss? Pure ecstacy? A rush like no other?

I guess we’ll both find out.  I’m falling; hard.  
Please catch me. 
Hi book dragons!

I’m having some serious feelings lately. Stress about school and work and about my looks and new diet and then also some pretty dang good feelings about a certain somebody.  It probably won’t turn into anything; oh, but what if it does.  

As always, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time!

Raven Appreciation Post

Hi book dragons!

So, I’m fully aware that I haven’t posted a book review in a while and I’m only slightly sorry about that.  Summer classes are kicking my ass and I’m working more than ever, teaching people how to do my job, going to conventions, and not going to the gym.  This post is a dump for the few photos I have of my Raven cosplay I raved (teehee) about last week.  I am so proud of this costume and I can’t wait to make it even better for Massive in Massachusetts in a week and a half.  These pictures were taken by my friend Marcos and you should definitely go check him out.  He is Everyone’s Hero Cosplay on pretty much all of his social media sites.  Thanks again so much if you’re reading this!

Without further ado, here are the photos from that mini shoot and as always, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time.

Relatable Cosplay

Hi book dragons!

Sorry about not posting last week! Crazy things have been happening here, but I’m back! I’m currently working on a cosplay I’m going to finally debut my Raven (Teen Titans the show, not the comics Raven) cosplay and I am way too excited for her.  I like doing cosplays where I either look like the person or I can relate to them or hopefully both!

I think Raven is one of the cosplays that I’m most excited about, which is a big deal because I’m always super excited about the people that I cosplay.  I never cosplay people just for the sake of cosplay and I’ve wanted to cosplay Raven since I started cosplaying over two years ago. 

I’m also a little nervous about her.  I’ve never made boot covers before and I also need to make her belt and the jewels on the backs of her gloves.  I’m also going to get fabric for her cape in case the one I ordered is wrong in some way.  And if I make the cape I can use the extra fabric to make the boot covers. 

Anyway, logistics aside, Raven is super broody, she’s sarcastic and has dry humor, she’s a complete book dragon, and she’s super sentimental and loves her friends, but it super bad about telling them.  Basically, she’s me.  I always loved how she was secluded even with the whole group of friends and off reading somewhere while still enjoying the company of the people she loves.  I’ve been at afterparties being around people but reading books on my phone.  I’m not sorry.  I also really love how her powers are based on control.  She has a lot of demons – literal and mental demons – that she has to understand or she can’t control her powers.  As somebody who struggles with mental illness, it’s refreshing to see a hero who also struggles with mental health.  

I’ll post pictures of her once she’s done if you guys want! Thanks for reading!

And remember, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman 9.5/10

Hi book dragons!

Sorry for the day late post, I have a ton of stuff going on at the moment, but I am thrilled to be able to share this novel with you all.  If you are struggling to find that next great summer read, seriously look no further.  This was one of the best books I have read in a very long time and I highly recommend it.

 I could not say any more wonderful things about this novel if I wanted to or if I tried to. I was completely enthralled in the story of the main characters as well as the side characters. I obviously did not like all of the characters, but all of them were dynamic. The character development in the two main characters was incredible. With Citra, the change was much more subtle. Her story wasn’t as extreme as Rowan’s in my opinion. Rowan’s change was horrifying, yet enthralling. He didn’t change completely, but it was just enough that not only scared me as the reader, but also scared him. I also loved the concept. I never really though about reapers in that way and it really gave me a new appreciation for being able to die and feel pain. I wouldn’t want to live in a world of immortals and a world without pain. Everything in this world has consequences and I appreciate the fact that nothing can just go around and do whatever they want without paying for it in one way or another. This book opened my eyes to the world that I would not want to be part of.

 I greatly enjoyed Neal Shusterman’s writing style this time. I was a little off put by it last time, but I think that had greatly to do with the plot of the last novel by him. I had no issues keeping story lines straight and I had no issues keeping character’s straight. I normally have issues with multiple characters and getting them mixed up or forgetting completely who they are, but the plot did not jump around without explaining the cause of the jump first and that helped immensely with keeping everything in chronological order. The plot twists throughout the entire book kept me on my toes. I had no idea what was going to happen next and I loved it. I also loved how the boy and the girl did not end up together at the end of the book. That was something I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised that that was not the case here.  

And as always, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time.

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez 8/10

Hi book dragons!

So thanks to finals week, I was only able to read one book this week.  I am, however, most of the way through the first book this week already haha

TLDR: I had a lot of very strong emotions while reading this book.  It was very well written, but the story itself made me sick.  I cannot handle racism very well so reading about it makes me angry.  I do highly reccomend it though!

 I have very strong feelings about this book. It took me a little while to really become invested in the characters, but I ended up really liking Wash, Naomi, Beto, and Cari. I obviously had very strong feelings of resentment towards Henry and also toward Estella for letting Henry treat her poorly in front of Naomi and for ultimately causing her death. I understand that during this time period, it was normal for a woman to do everything for her husband, but I have never agreed with it and it makes me sick to read about it. I enjoyed this book, but by the end, I was very upset and physically pained. Reading about and witnessing racism and sexism makes me ill because of how much I despise it and how much I wish I could stop it. That obviously means that it was very well written and I know it was meant to create resentment and to teach a story. It was still difficult to read, though. 

 I think this book would be a great teaching tool for high school history classes. It’s always one thing to read about a time period in a textbook, but they are always very dry and boring. This brings history to life and it shows first hand the type of abuse that some people lived through as well as the backgrounds of the people who did the abusing. I think this would be better in an actual classroom setting as opposed to a public library setting. I do not think it would be appropriate for middle school students to read. It has some very adult concepts such as rape and the very graphic dismembered children and that might be a little much for a younger audience to handle. I do think it will invoke strong feelings in high schoolers as it did with me. 

And as always, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time!