Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A Nielsen [Discussion]

Hey, y'all! So, I just finished the Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen, and since I marathoned the trilogy, I decided to do a single post devoted to discussing the trilogy.

For each book, I'll be doing a spoiler-free discussion, followed by the rating that I gave the book (A note though: these discussions WILL spoil the previous books in the series. To discuss book two, I have to talk about book 1, etc. So, if you haven't read book 1, don't read past the spoiler free discussion for book 1. I hope that made sense...). I'll then go into a spoilery discussion. Each of these discussions was written within 24 hours of finishing the book, and before moving on to the next one.

The False Prince

The False Prince centers around Sage, an orphan boy who is very clever, snarky, and a skilled thief. Sage is collected by Conner, a nobleman with a cunning plan. He needs an impersonator of the king's long lost son, and has recruited four orphan boys to compete for the role. But Sage will soon find out that things are much more complex than he originally thought. He must succeed... his life depends on it.

While I really enjoyed this book, I did have a couple problems with it. The biggest one was the twist. It didn't surprise me. I think there were some people who were surprised by it, but I just wasn't. When I heard that there was a twist, I thought "Oh I bet it's _______" and unfortunately, I was right. I was hoping the entire time that I was incorrect and that the book would surprise me, but it just didn't. And although it didn't hurt my overall reading experience, I was disappointed in it's predictability. That's not to say, however, that the book completely lacking surprises. There were definitely several smaller things which surprised me within the book.

The brightest spot for me was the main character, Sage. Sage is everything I love in a character. If I were to sort him in a Hogwarts house, he'd be a Slytherin. He's snarky, sarcastic, defiant, and proud, but he can back it up with his wit and cleverness. He can take care of himself and he's his own person and hates being ordered around. He's just super cool. 

I really appreciated the cleverness of the world building, The lessons are used both to teach the boys information that the prince should know, and to give us information about the world that the boys are living in. I also really enjoyed the plot. The book is about 350 pages, and there was never a dull moment. Sure, the entire book wasn't super fast-paced and crazy, but I was never bored and I never felt like the book dragged at all. And the last quarter of the book was just really epic, exciting, and fast-paced. 

Overall, I thought that this was a really great book. I ended up giving it 8.5 stars out of 10. (Which is 4/5 on Goodreads)

So there's really not much else to talk about except the plot twist itself. Honestly, when I heard that there was this major plot twist, I immediately thought "I bet the main character is actually the lost prince, pretending to be an orphan for whatever reason." and the entire book, I kept hoping that there would be some other twist and that I would be wrong for once (not trying to brag, this just happens an annoying number of times) but alas, I wasn't wrong. 

What did surprise me, however, was when Latimer was killed. That was the first really exciting thing that happened in the book, and it definitely did a great job of reeling me in. I also really enjoyed the little secrets that Sage keeps, such as the "gold" rock and actually being the one to steal the sword.

I think the last fourth of the book was definitely my favorite. Tobias attacks Sage, the boys have to hide in the tunnels, and then of course all the stuff that goes down once Sage actually gets to the castle. 

Since I'm writing this before continuing on to book 2, here are some things I hope to see going into the next book:
- As much as I like the name Jaron, I really hope that we get to continue to call him Sage. I don't think it's going to happen, but I'm going to continue to hope. I guess I'll find out soon enough.
- I really, really hope that a love triangle doesn't develop between the betrothed princess, Sage/Jaron, and Imogen. We just really don't need that. Imogen's the best. End of story.

The Runaway King

Book 2 opens with a bang as an assassination attempt stirs up trouble. War is coming, and the pressure is building. Jaron soon realizes that to save his kingdom, he might have to desert it. 

This book... there were points where I couldn't even deal with this book. It was so good. Like, I went into this series expecting to be blown away by book one because of all of the rave reviews, but The Runaway King is the clear star of this show (so far-- The Shadow Throne might impress me even more, who knows?!). The Runaway King was so fast-paced and action packed, and actually surprised me a lot more than The False Prince did! While there wasn't one big twist, there were so many twists and turns that kept me guessing the entire way through, and I was incredibly impressed. 

Also, I would just like to emphasize how much I love Jaron. Like, I'm willing to say right now that he is my favorite main character that I've ever read. Granted, main characters are almost never my favorite characters in their books/series, but Jaron is far and away my favorite character in this series. He's just too freakin' awesome. He's snarky and sarcastic and UGH he's great.

I enjoy The False Prince and The Runaway King for very different reasons, because even though they both have the same mood/feel/vibe, they are very different books. The False Prince is slower, but mysterious and intriguing, and I really enjoy when books are like that. However, The Runaway King is pure adventure. It's fast-paced and exciting, with thievery and pirates galore. I think that if I had actually been surprised by the twist in book 1, I might have rated it higher, because slow, intriguing, mysterious books with world-building are my fave. But since I wasn't surprised, I wasn't as impressed, and ended up enjoying The Runaway King more.

Overall, I really loved this book. This was super exciting and I enjoyed almost every second of it. I gave it 9.5 stars out of 10. (Which is 5/5 on Goodreads)

There were several times that I almost had to laugh out loud at this book. Jaron would get himself into a situation that seemed impossible to get out of and I would be like "Well how exactly do you expect to get yourself this terrible situation this time, Jaron? You're chained up in a cell perched over a cliff, and your leg is broken. I think you're officially stuck." And then what happens? Oh, he just casually climbs out the window and scales the cliff with his one good leg and then challenges the pirate king to a duel and wins. I mean, go you, Jaron. For real, he's just too dang epic!

I have to say, this book surprised me a lot more than The False Prince, even though I had expected the opposite. I did not see the Gregor thing coming. I got really annoyed with him and was sick of him trying to get someone to reign instead of Jaron, but I didn't think that he had betrayed the King by helping Conner. I was also really surprised that Jaron convinced Roden to come over to his side. I thought that there was absolutely no chance of it, but clearly he realized that he was being stupid.

Also, I am really annoyed at the love triangle thing, but I get why it is happening. Because clearly Imogen is the right girl for Jaron (RIGHT?! They have to end up together. PLZ, Jennifer Nielsen, let them end up together) but he has to be friendly with the Princess that he is betrothed to (who isn't terrible in the slightest, but Imogen.). And I'm not sure how this is going to turn out, because Nielsen clearly wants us to like Imogen and root for her to end up with Jaron, but it seems pretty unlikely and impossible at this point. The only redeeming thing about this love triangle is that it doesn't play an extremely prominent role. Yes, Jaron is constantly worried about Imogen, but that's just it... he's worried about Imogen. They're friends, and he's concerned about her and barely thinks about the princess. It isn't even until the end that romantic feelings are brought up, and even then, it's between Imogen and Jaron, but not Jaron and the Princess. Jaron and the Princess agree that they're friends

I know I'm being pushy here, but I'd rather just see a story where Imogen and Jaron really care about each other, but struggle to be together because of the war, the troubles they're going through, and they come from different classes. That would be so much better than a love triangle, even if they didn't end up together in the end. (and for the record, my ideal scenarios go: end up with Imogen = doesn't end up with anyone > ending up with the Princess. AKA, I like both of the first scenarios equally and am not a fan of the last one.)

The Shadow Throne

The Shadow Throne opens just as war is about to break out in Carthya. King Vargan has kidnapped Imogen, and Jaron embarks upon the journey to save everything that is most important to him. 

I thought that the conclusion to this trilogy was overall beautiful and emotional. There were several moments where I found tears falling from my eyes at moments of both despair and of joy. The Shadow Throne was an emotional roller coaster for me, going from wanting to throw the book, to wanting to hug it, to being down-right confused about what Jaron was doing. 

As wonderful as this conclusion was, however, it was not without its faults. Or rather, singular fault. As I said in the spoilery discussion of The Runaway King, there were several moments throughout this trilogy where I sat and thought, "Well how exactly do you expect to get yourself this terrible situation this time, Jaron?" and then he managed to come up with this crazy scheme that ended up working. And for the first two books, I really loved this, and I loved seeing him succeed in them because it was always so epic when he did. However, in this one it wasn't really like that some of the time. 

There were a couple times when I had to kind of suspend my disbelief. Some things were a little too coincidental for them to be perfectly planned out, and sometimes I just couldn't bring myself to believe that he had come up with that plan for the scenario he was in. It wasn't an overwhelming sense of "this is stupid," but rather a slight "meh, not sure if that's really that logical," and it didn't detract from my overall opinion about the book.

The Shadow Throne was also slightly less surprising than The Runaway King. There were a couple twists that were unsurprising, but there were also several things that I didn't see coming. 

Overall, I thought that this was an epic conclusion to the trilogy and ended up giving it 9 stars out of 10. 

So, as I was saying with the "suspending my disbelief" part of my discussion, I thought that there were a few plans that were a bit too coincidental. And I wanted one of Jaron's plans to epically fail at least once. But somehow, he managed to succeed constantly, and that bothered me. It was a little too neat and tidy. Everything wrapped up very nicely, but a little too nicely. 

Also, I wasn't surprised in the least bit when we found out Imogen was still alive. Honestly, I was waiting for it. I was acutely aware that there was still a chance she was actually dead, but unless the main character actually like sees the corpse/feels the pulse/ there's a funeral or something, I don't believe that they're actually dead. Like there was a book that I read last year (no spoilers!) where character #1 claimed that she killed character #2 and I was completely convinced that character #2 was going to pop up later in the book and not actually be dead. He/She didn't, so he/she is probably dead. However, I still think that there is a possibility that he/she is not dead. We shall see. Anyway, back to the point. I expected Imogen to pop up again, because it just wouldn't be a happy enough ending for Jaron if she was actually dead. Plus, this is a middle grade series that isn't very dark, so it would have felt very out of character for this book to suddenly get really dark and have one of the main characters die.  

So, that's all I have for my discussion about The Ascendance Trilogy! I hope that if you've made it this far in the post, you've actually read the trilogy (please don't read spoilers before you read the books!!!), so let me know down in the comments what you thought about the trilogy! Did you enjoy it as much as I did?

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Favorite Youtubers- Spring 2015!

Hey, y'all! So, I recently realized that it was actually time for another update to my favorite YouTubers. What?! How has time gone by so quickly? I'm already halfway through my junior year of college. What even?! Anyway, it actually took me a really long time to figure out this list, because I made several changes to the formatting of the list.

First, I cut this list down to 15. There are a lot of YouTubers that I enjoy, but I wanted to focus on the ones that I really, really love. Also, the format of this list will be basically the same as the format I used in the very first favorite YouTubers post. However, like the last post, I will note how many times they have appeared on the list, as well as where they appeared last time!

If you'd like to check out my previous favorite YouTubers posts, I have a list of them here with links to each individual post.

#15- Shane Dawson
4th time on the list! (Previously #15)

As I've said many times, I've been watching Shane pretty much since the beginning of his first channel. I subscribed when he had like 15,000 subs and not a ton of videos, and I've been watching ever since. I don't watch his videos on an extremely regular basis, but he's still one of my faves.

#14- SoundlyAwake/StillSoundlyAwake
(AKA Nick Foti)
4th time on the list! (Previously #12)

Nick Foti... I just love him. His sense of humor is just the best. I don't even know how to accurately describe it... he just has some really funny ways of saying things and is wonderfully sarcastic. I used to watch his daily vlogs every day, but lately I've just been enjoying watching his main channel videos with the occasional daily vlog.

#13- JesseTheReader
2nd time on the list! (Previously #9)

As I've said in the past, although Jesse is one of my favorite BookTubers, it's not because of his taste in books. We like some of the same books, but the real reason that his videos are so enjoyable is because of his hilarious personality. He's just so excitable and hyper, and watching his videos is always lots of fun.

#12- PeruseProject
2nd time on the list! (Previously #10)

Regan is on this list for the opposite reason of Jesse-- we have a very similar taste in books. There are some areas where we don't totally line up, like lately she's been reading some books that aren't interesting to me at all, but her favorite genre is fantasy, and she enjoys reading both YA fantasy and adult fantasy, and I love both of those. Also, as I've mentioned in the past, Regan and I actually went to high school together. She was a year behind me, and we weren't friends, but we did have a lot of mutual friends because we both were pretty active in the arts-- I was in orchestra, and she did theater.

#11- Ermahgerd Berks
1st time on the list! (Previously an honorable mention)

We've come to the first newcomer on the list! And since they aren't as well-known, I'll talk about them a little more in-depth. Ermahgerd Berks is primarily Jamie's channel, but her fiance, Jeff, is on a lot of her videos and she likes to refer to the channel as theirs rather than just hers. As is probably obvious from the title, they're booktubers. And they have very different taste in books. Jamie likes a really wide variety of books, but she tends to read contemporaries and YA fantasy, while Jeff's favorite genre is adult fantasy/sci-fi and he doesn't really read or enjoy many books outside of that genre. I really love both of them, and I especially enjoy the dynamic between them because they're constantly bickering and it's hilarious. And I especially enjoy when Jeff is on a video because I also enjoy adult fantasy, and his fantasy recommendations are always on-point. His recommendations have never steered me wrong.

#10- Buzzfeed
(all channels)
1st time on the list!

I absolutely love watching Buzzfeed's videos, especially the Try Guys videos, which is why I chose a picture featuring the four try guys. My favorite Buzzfeed videos are the ones where the staff are there either acting or trying things (as opposed to the lists, like "7 ways to be more healthy"). However, whenever I see a Buzzfeed video in my sub box, chances are that it interests me and that I will click on it pretty quickly.

#9- EvanEdinger
2nd time on the list! (Previously #11)

I honestly don't know how anyone could not love Evan and his bad puns. They're so terrible but so wonderful at the same time. We have pretty much the same sense of humor, and he's just so adorably awkward. And I love how often he laughs at his own terrible jokes. It's just such an endearing quality. He's just hilarious, and I also follow him on Snapchat and that is just as wonderful as his YouTube channel.

#8- MattG124
4th time on the list! (Previously #4)

Matt has fallen a few slots on this list, which is really unfortunate, but there's a really simple explanation... I MISS DARE MATTG. The last time that I made this list, Dare MattG had about 5/6 episodes left... and then it was gone. I didn't know that he was stopping at Dare MattG 100 until he made #100. I thought that he was going to continue on. Apparently not. I really enjoyed watching Game or Shame on Dare MattG, and I enjoyed the first version of Game or Shame, where he and Jay watched videos and guessed the outcome. However, I only somewhat like this newest version where he and Jay compete by playing Playstation games. I don't hate it, I just like both of the older versions better, and it makes me not watch him quite as much as I used to.

#7- Jacksfilms
4th time on the list! (Previously #7)

Over the last couple months, I hadn't been watching Jack a ton except for his Your Grammar Sucks series. However, a few weeks ago, I started watching him regularly again. I especially like his new series called YIAY (Yesterday I Asked You). I'm not sure how much I'm going to be watching him once he finishes Your Grammar Sucks, but when I watched YGS #99, I started tearing up bigtime. PLEASE DON'T END IT, JACK!!! 

#6- Katytastic
2nd time on the list! (Previously #8)

Kat is probably my favorite booktuber, hence her being the booktuber who is ranked highest on this list. I think that overall, she just produces the most enjoyable content. I really like her book lists that she does (like her book bucket list for 2015, or her most anticipated 2015 releases). Except when Kat posts videos with spoilery discussions about books I want to read, I watch every single video she posts as soon as I see it in my sub box. 

#5- PBSIdeaChannel
1st time on the list! (Previously an honorable mention)

Another channel that's on this list for the first time! PBS Idea Channel is a lot like VSauce in the fact that each video has a topic, which the host then discusses to a level that many people would consider "over-analysis." Except that PBS Idea Channel is a lot cooler. The host, Mike Rugnetta, is my spirit animal. He's hilarious, sarcastic, geeky, and a bit of a hipster, but in a really wonderful way. He does most of the writing for the videos, and the topics are always really interesting. And the end of each video is dedicated to comments posted on the last video, discussing things that Mike might have left out. I've seen almost all of the videos on this channel, and there are a lot of them. I've also actually been watching Mike since the summer, but I'd hit an Idea Channel lull around the time that I posted my last list, and he missed out on making it to the official list. 

#4- The Fine Bros
4th time on the list! (Previously #3)

And we have now gotten up to the returning, long-standing favorites. These guys have fallen just slightly because I used to watch every video they posted, but some of their series aren't my favorite anymore. I used to watch all of their react videos, but lately I've been skipping Kids React. I also tend to skip their advice series, as well as some of the gaming reacts (depending on the game). But that's still a fairly small fraction of their content, so they still belong all the way up here.

#3- Good Mythical Morning
4th time on the list! (Previously #6)

These two have made their way back into the top 3 again (before being at #6, they were at #3). And this is definitely where they belong. I used to watch every single day, regardless of how interesting the topic sounded, and then I got into a Rhett and Link slump and kinda just stopped watching for a little while. But I started watching regularly once again, and even though I don't watch every single day, I do watch the majority of their videos.

#2- Smosh
(all affiliated channels)
4th time on the list! (Previously #5 [Smosh Games] and 13 [main channel])

I made the executive decision that I would combine Smosh's channels into one single slot for this list. The channel that I watch the most is definitely Smosh Games. There are several series on there (specifically Game Bang!) that I look forward to every week and watch regularly. I also watch Smosh 2nd Channel a lot- specifically Smosh is Bored and Lunchtime with Smosh... which has disappeared lately. Did I miss something? Where did Lunchtime with Smosh go? It's supposed to be every other week, but there hasn't been one for a month. I will admit, however, that I haven't watched a main channel video since Food Battle. I just prefer to watch them being themselves rather than watching their sketches. Whenever I watch their sketches, it's always an older one.

#1: Tie! (Sorrynotsorry)
Superfruit and Dan & Phil!

I tried, y'all. I tried so hard to choose. But I simply couldn't. This is the result of Superfruit's video quality being a little lower lately and the fact that Dan and Phil Games videos are possibly my most anticipated videos of any channel ever.

3rd time on the list! (Previously #1)

What can I say? I just absolutely love these two. Like I said, I haven't been loving their videos quite as much lately, but they do tend to go through little lulls where their videos aren't quite as awesome, and that's probably all that this is. Either way, regardless of how much I enjoy the video they put out each week, I always enjoy the experience of watching it, because I absolutely love the two of them. I love them so much ughhh. #scomiche #fcute

Dan and Phil
4th time on the list! (Previously #2 [Dan] & 18 [Phil])

This is another one where I decided to combine channels together. Because, let's be honest, Dan and Phil are a package deal. As I've said many times in the past, Dan is my spirit animal (yes, I also said that about Mike Rugnetta, but Dan is my spirit animal more than Mike). If I split Dan and Phil up and ranked them separately, Dan would still find himself right here, and Phil would find himself somewhere just outside of the top 10. So basically, I love Phil, but my love for Dan is what got them to this spot, as well as my love for their friendship. However, the biggest reason that I put them together is because they have a joint gaming channel (which they started days after I made my last list- I was furious!) and it's amazing. I love everything that they post on there. Especially their video playing Portal 2. 

So, there you go! That's my bi-annual list of my current favorite YouTubers! Who are your favorite YouTubers? Do we share any favorites? Let me know down in the comments!

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Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How I Rate Books!

Edit [4-25-16]: This version of my rating system is outdated. My current rating system can be found HERE.

Hey, y'all! So, today I thought I would discuss how I rate books. Over the past week, I've been re-thinking the way that I rate books, and actually went through my ratings and re-defined what each rating means to me. I used to have a lot of in-between ratings, such as 9.25 or something like that, but I have restricted my ratings to whole numbers and .5 numbers. However, I will continue to use a 10 point scale, because I feel like it gives a more accurate portrayal of my feelings.

Since the majority of people operate on a 5 point scale, I'll give the 5 point scale equivalent beside my 10 point rating, as well as the rating I would give it on Goodreads. This Goodreads equivalent is especially important because there are only 5 options on Goodreads, but 20 options on my 10 point scale. So there will be several ratings on Goodreads that will fall under the same rating, thus making my 10 point specifications all the more important.

For most of the ratings, I have sections titled "key words" and "epitome books." The key words are just how they sound-- the key words that I think define books with this rating. This helps me figure out the subtle differences between books. Epitome books are also fairly self explanatory- these are the books that I feel are the epitome of how I should feel about a book receiving that rating. Both of these two sections are works in progress. As I think of words and books that better define these ratings, I will add them in. For many ratings (especially lower ratings), I don't have epitome books or key words, because I just simply haven't come across any that I feel epitomize that rating. The "epitome books" might not be extremely helpful for y'all to understand my ratings (since you probably have different opinions on these books), but they do really help me to choose a rating. This comparison is not really about the books themselves, but about my emotions and opinions on the books.

10/10 = 5/5

Key Words: whoa. perfect. mind blown. obsessed.

This book is not just really great, but also has that special umph that makes me want to hug it (this emotion is really key. This might be weird to some people, but if I really love a book, I tend to just sit there and hug it when I finish it, because it was just so beautiful). Not only do I fall in love with this book, but it could be considered an obsession and it definitely sticks with me. This book is a total stand-out.

Epitome Books: 
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Although there were many other books that could fit there, these seem like a more accurate representation of a 10 because I was so drawn in that I couldn't put the book down because I was so obsessed.

9.5/10 = 5/5

Key Words: amazing. almost perfect. 

This book was almost perfect, but missing a little extra umph that would push it to a 10. When I give a 9.5, I often wonder why my gut is telling me that it's not a full 10/10, and this is usually because it lacks that indefinable X factor that will push it over the edge (this is typically key). This book is really great and really impressive, but lacks the obsession, and probably doesn't stick with me quite as much.

Epitome Books: 
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

These are the epitome for me because they all missed out on a full 10 star rating solely because of that X factor. There was some little umph that was missing, and that is definitely the key to this rating.

9/10 = 4.5/5
(4 on Goodreads)

Key Words: really great. love.

This book is a really wonderful book, but there were maybe one or two things that weren't perfect. There are some slight flaws, but I still feel like this book deserves an "A." One of the most important things that defines this is that I can still say that I honestly love the book.  Another key difference between a 9 and an 8.5 is that to get higher than an 8.5, something has to really impress me. Maybe a really great plot twist or really outstanding world building, but something has to make me say "OK, that was really great."

Epitome Books: 
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
 Black Water by DJ MacHale

I feel like these epitomize a 9 because they're both in some of my favorite series and they're among my favorite books in their respective series. I love both of them, but there were one or two complaints I had about each one, keeping them from receiving higher ratings.

8.5/5 = 4/5

Key Words: great. 

This book probably won't become an all-time favorite, but I did really enjoy it. This book is pretty solid, but has some issues or aspects that keep me from considering it an "A" quality book. Often, this is missing the umph/x factor that would otherwise draw me in and make me give it a slightly higher rating. I can't quite say that I loved this book.

Epitome Books: 
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

All of these are great, and are in some of my favorite series. They aren't my absolute favorite books in the series, but they are really great. However, they all lack that little umph that would have gotten them higher ratings.

8/10 = 4/5

Key Words: really good.

I feel that this definitely deserves a "B"/ full 4 stars. 8 is typically the cut-off for books that I really enjoy. Anything lower than this leaves the "really good" realm and goes into "good," "like," and "nice."

Epitome Books: 
Carrie by Stephen King
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

All of these books are really good. Each one varies as to why they received this rating, but I feel like they all fit here. They are all worthy of receiving 4 stars, but not quite good enough to get a slightly higher rating.

7.5/10 = 3.5/5
(3 on Goodreads)

Key Words: above average. good.

This book is better than just "nice," but not quite good enough to get to a full four stars. There were enough issues/ drawbacks that I just couldn't call it "really" good.

Epitome Books: 
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

These books are better than just nice or average, but I don't think that they deserve a fill 4 star rating.

7/10 = 3.5/5
(3 on Goodreads)

Key Words: alright. nice. like. basic.

This book was nice and I liked it, but it just wasn't anything special. I feel like 7/10 is the universal "nice-but-not-impressive" rating for anything, whether it be a book, movie, CD, etc.

Epitome Books: 
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Giver by Lois Lowry

These books are all just nice. I like them, but I wasn't impressed. They're like a girl who's basic-- likable but they blend into their surroundings and aren't unique or special.

6.5/10 = 3/5

Key Words: N/A (yet)

With this book, I'm somewhere between thinking that I just wasn't impressed and thinking that it wasn't really my thing.

Epitome Books: 
Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

With this book, I went back and forth trying to figure out if I just wasn't impressed and thinking it wasn't my thing, so it perfectly describes my feelings on books with this rating.

6/10 = 3/5

Key Words: N/A (yet)

OK, but definitely not my thing. I would definitely recommend it to people with a different taste than me. I had some definite issues with it, but I can definitely see why other people like it. (And yes, I recognize that I said definite way too many times)

Epitome Books: 
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Both of these books were disappointments to me, but they weren't bad, and I could definitely see why someone else would like them. The problems I had with them were things that other people might not find problematic.

5.5/10 = 2.5/5
(3 on Goodreads)

Key Words: N/A (yet)

Books with ratings 5.5-4.5 are mostly equivalent, but with 5.5, the positives just slightly out-weigh the negatives.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

5/10 = 2.5/5
(3 on Goodreads)

Key Words: meh. ambivalent.

With this book, it's very likely that I have conflicting emotions. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly wasn't great. I'm not sure who I would recommend this book to, because I don't have strong emotions either way with this.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

4.5/10 = 2.5/5
(3 on Goodreads)

Key Words: N/A (yet)

Like I said before, this book is mostly equivalent to 5 and 5.5, but the negatives just slightly out-weigh the positives. 

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

4/10 = 2/5

Key Words: problematic.

This book has more problems than good aspects. I might recommend it to someone, but definitely not to someone with the same tastes as me. If I were to recommend it to someone, I would tell them to approach it with caution if they really do want to read it, because I think that this book is technically very problematic.

Epitome Books: 
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Big Four by Agatha Christie

These books are here because I had technical problems with them that really bothered me. 

3.5/10 = 1.5/5
(2 on Goodreads)

Key Words: dislike.

I didn't like this book, and cannot recommend it to anyone in good conscience. This book had less problems than would be present in a 3 star book, but only marginally.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

3/10 = 1.5/5
(2 on Goodreads)

Key Words:  really dislike.

I really disliked this book, and I would never recommend this book to anyone. However, there is either on redeemable quality or the quality across the board is better than that of a book receiving 1/5. However, this book definitely still cannot be defined as good. I had several problems that were impossible to overlook.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

2.5/10 = 1/5

Key Words: N/A (yet) 

This book falls under "hate" for me. There may be one quality that wasn't completely terrible, but nothing more than that. Probably conflicted between wanting to give it 3 stars, but not thinking that it deserves 2/5.

Epitome Books: 
Looking For Alaska by John Green

This book is here because it is one of the few books that I can honestly say that I hate.

2/10 = 1/5

Key Words: hate. angry.

While most ratings below this are offensive and upsetting, this is defined more as an angry hatred. I had several fundamental problems and this book makes me angry and I had an extreme dislike for it.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

1.5/10 = .5/5
(1 on Goodreads)

Key Words: upset. 

I would define this book as very, very bad. Maybe some aspects of the book weren't quite so terrible, but I still find it offensive. This makes me extremely upset. I can't imagine that anyone would like this book, and feel the same about all of the ratings below this as well.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

1/10 = .5/5
(1 on Goodreads)

Key Words: terrible. awful. very bad.

This book is almost as bad as a book receiving a .5. However, it has perhaps one redeeming factor, whether that's "not terrible" writing/plot/character/etc. However, nothing about it could be described as "good."

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

.5/10 = .5/5
(1 on Goodreads)

Key Words: vomit. offensive. gross.

This is the worst book I've ever read. The only reason I'm actually giving this a rating is to increase the number of 1 star ratings on it. I wonder how this book even got published. Everything about this book was horrible and wrong, form the plot, to the characters, just absolutely everything. Extremely offended. No redeeming factors.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

So there you go, those are my rating guidelines. I'll be doing a video discussing this in the near future, so if you're subscribed to my YouTube Channel, be on the lookout for that soon! If you're not subscribed, the link is below! 

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