long way down // Jason Reynolds

published: 2017
pages: 306
ISBN: 978-0-553-52403-1
read: 3/19-21/2018
rating: good read
book: 8 of 12 (secretly aiming for 52 but happy with 30) of 2018

An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

MY THOUGHTS
short version: 
liked it. good/quick read. loved the interpretation.

"long" version: 
i came upon this book based on Meredith's recommendation. and i decided to give it a go because i was (still am) in a reading funk and so another verse style book was definitely something that i could do. 
commitment without full commitment. especially since its now week 12 and this is only book 8 (and I'm anal about counting audio books towards a 52 books read goal).

so i started reading it and then i ran into a book that I DO want to read so i was waiting for that one and not really feeling this one which is unfair because this is a fairly good book. 

AND THEN I MADE THE FATAL MISTAKE OF READING THE QUESTIONS THAT CONTAIN SPOILERS ON GOODREADS ....like i always do. 
and it wasn't so much a spoiler as it was the interpretation of the book from another readers point of view that when i started reading it again i was like "shit." 

but overall, its a good book and even if i did have that in my head and even if everyone is still pissed about the ending, this was an overall really good read. 
and i think the best part of it is the ending because it's up to you to realize what this book means to you. 
at least that's the way i see it. 

i know deep down, i didn't appreciate it for as good a book as it really is and that is honestly all my fault. but i do hope that whoever else reads this really loves it for what it is. 


thanks for reading! 
#lesreads on IG

Seattle! "road trip" pt 2 of 3

after our day in Oregon, we drove up to Seattle and IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!
all that greenery!  and the rain!!! the best!!!!

we got to our hotel, not exactly IN the downtown area but we stayed basically behind (or in front, idk) of  the space needleit was still pretty close, dropped our stuff and took like a 10 mins top lyft ride to the Public Market Center. 
from there we just walked around all over the place. 
we unfortunately got there around closing time so we didn't do much but we did see a few shops, got a few trinkets and headed out to the overlook area. 
from there on, we went to The Pike Brewing Company where i had the most delicious pear drink and we stayed for a bit (that place is HUGE!) while he made all sorts of friends and i walked around. 

from there on, we walked over to Ivar's and got some grub! 
(he saw a vice documentary on Seattle and that was one of the spots) 
they have an outside area where you can order to go or you can order inside. 
we ate inside and it was by the water and really nice. like a little too nice for the basic ass food we got but it was still pretty good. 
i wasn't really feeling it so i basically took all my food with me (that i think we ended up giving away to a homeless person.) from there we walked back to the market but we stopped by the Ferris wheel and took some pictures there. 
i LOVE that they have bikes EVERYWHERE up for you to grab (i think it costs like a dollar). they were literally everywhere and i loved that sooooooooooooo much!!!! 
we found some stairs to go back up and accidentally stumbled upon the gum wall! (when we were looking for it we couldn't find it. go figure) 

after that just hit up whatever bars we could find. we hit up  Elysian Bar and had a few drinks there. 
from there we moved on to some random bar that a friend of mine recommended and had more drinks there. 
apparently a lot of places close at midnight during the week so we were only there for a bit but the waitress told us about some pizza place called Roccos
we couldn't find it for some reason (tbh, we were probably just too drunk) and we couldn't really use our phones cause we were running low on battery and we needed to save it for the way home. 

we found some random girl walking around like she was on a mission and it turned out that she was going to the same place we were going to so she guided us there. 
the messed up part is that they didn't even let her in .______.
her ID did not have her signature on it so they wouldn't allow her in. we tried everything to get her in but her dude just ended up meeting her outside. 
the pizza was good, the spot was pretty dope and the drinks were harsh but we loved it and i would definitely go back there again. 

afterward, we walked back to our place but found a random bar that had some karaoke going on. 
you can't pay me enough to do karaoke and I'm not a fan but i was pretty buzzed so we crashed a group that was having a blast. 

after that, we just walked back to the room. 
i just want to add that i felt completely safe walking the streets at like 2 am. that's not something i can say out here in DTLA. 
but anyway.....that was Seattle. 
it was a blast and i LOVED it and i want to go back ASAP!
i want to go back and do the space needle and find the first Starbucks. yea, i know. how do you go and not do the most touristy things ever? ....if it helps, i went to target twice lol. 
driving to CANADA!!!!!
we came back to Seattle on Saturday and we were 'sposed to stay with some friends but by then we were kinda over it and just wanted to be in Oregon to be ready to fly back home the following day so we stopped by a brewery and accidentally found the troll but not before getting a bowl of PHO! yum!!!..before continuing the drive back to Oregon.

i love SOUP. 
any kind of soup. 
soup for life!
so when i found this spot on ig (known for there extra super duper ginormously large bowl that you share with like 500 people) i made it a point that we had to go! 
...the soup was okay. 
but them shrimp spring rolls! 
OMG!
id go back just for that!!!!

anyway...that's that for Seattle.
i know i had a blast in Oregon because of the Mt. Hood drive, but i want to say Seattle was my fave. 
but now that i think about it....we also had a fun time doing nothing in Canada after our main trip....(that's coming up. eventually.) 
this whole entire trip was a blast!


thanks for reading! 

The Serpent King // Jeff Zentner

published: 2016
pages: 369
ISBN: 978-0-553-52403-1
read: 2/19-21/2018
rating: it was okay. 
book: 7 of 12 (secretly aiming for 52 but happy with 30) of 2018

"and if you're going to live, you might as well do painful, brave and beautiful things." 
pg 327

Dillard Early, Jr., Travis Bohannon and Lydia Blankenship are three friends from different walks of life who have one thing in common: none of them seem to fit the mold in rural Tennessee's Forrestville High. Dill has always been branded as an outsider due to his family heritage as snake handlers and poison drinkers, an essential part of their Pentecostal faith. But after his father is sent to prison for sexual abuse of a young parishioner, Dill and his mother become real pariahs. His only two friends are Travis, a gentle giant who works at his family's lumberyard and is obsessed with a Game of Thrones-like fantasy series (much to his alcoholic father's chagrin); and Lydia, who runs a popular fashion blog that's part Tavi Gevinson and part Angela Chase, and is actively plotting her escape from Redneckville, Tennessee.
As the three friends begin their senior year, it becomes clear that they won't all be getting to start a promising new life after graduation. How they deal with their diverging paths could cause the end of their friendship. Until a shattering act of random violence forces Dill to wrestle with his dark legacy and find a way into the light of a future worth living.

MY THOUGHTS
insert exhausted emoji face in here. 

general rule: i don't read any books that include anything having to do with religion because i read to be happy (or whatever tf) and the last thing i need is a story about some 1 sided bullshit. 
that being said, the ONLY reason that i read this book was because the author (who i didn't even know was the author) posted this on ig and i thought to myself "hmm, i have to see what this whole prius deal is about!" and because i did very little looking into what this was about, i had no idea this involved religion.

so i got the book and i read it and of course....religion bullshit.
but i kept at it because, well honestly, i don't know why. 

this is the first book i read where i can honestly, 100% say, the story had no real plot. 
like nothing really happens the first 100 something pages. 
and even then, after being done weeks ago now, i still agree. 
this is about nothing. 
well, not nothing because there's something there but it was like 90% nothing. 

Travis, Dill, & Lydia are all friends mostly because (tiny spoiler) no one will take Travis seriously (they're afraid of him) after he accidentally fucked up that one bully. because no one will talk to Dill after his father was busted for child porn (while the top description is true, it also has to do with child pornography) and well, Lydia hates everyone and so she just ended up with them. 

Dill's mom is all about Jesus and basically hates Dill because he didn't take the fault for his father. had he claimed it was his porn, his father would have walked free. so he has no one except them two. 

travis' dad is a typical white trash, wife/kid beater and his mother wont do shit. 
and all the kid wants to do is care for his mom and read his friggin books! but noooo...his dad of course has to also be a total pig about his son's life choices. 

and of course, Lydia has the all supportive, give her everything she could ever want and more parents. 
and her blog. 
her fancy ass blog. 
(by the way, lately, I've been having a real life, real blog awakening...and I'm scared guys.) 
and i hated that she was such a bitch to her parents at points. 
i don't think she meant it maliciously all of the time but i felt like at some points i wanted to smack her dad for being so "lol, honey!" about it. 

i will say that since there really isn't a "plot" or whatever you want to call it, there isn't really an AHA moment where you're all "ah!, this is what its about!" but there some stuff in there that tugged at my heartstrings. 

for example: 

that thing Lydia did for Travis! 
i just about died. finally she uses her power for the benefit of someone else and it was the freaking sweetest thing ever and i was so freaking happy for Travis. 
i have to say, of the bunch, he was my favorite. 

the gift of Travis and then doing what he did, i low-key hate the author just a little bit. 
i know its just a story and maybe if that hadn't happened, Dill wouldn't have had his self discovery. but for the sake of one character _____________ to help another one become his true self, I'm sure something could have been worked out to ___________. (sorry i don't want to spoil here!) ...but i guess, i mean, fuck, i guess i can see why he did it. 
BUT STILL!

another thing that bugged me was that Lydia got rid of the prius. whytf didn't she give it to Dill. he was going to need a car. and she gets whatever tf she wants....its like, come on! (it's stupid i know...but still. if you're going to turn this around to be corny, be as corny as possible!) 

other than that....i mean, i still believe 100 % that nothing really happens. 
it's just s story with some sad shit in it that ends up, ending up. 
i would have been beyond okay never having read this. 
i mean, i didn't lose much because its a library book so it was free and i read it in 2 days so it wasnt thaaaaaat bad but it's definitely not something that ill be going out of my way to re-read.

if you've read this, what do you think? 
i'm honestly interested in others thoughts about this book because its 50/50 on goodreads and those that didn't like it also didn't care for it because it was mostly nothing but also because they did not finish it and those that loved it, well, i personally don't see why. 

anyway, I'll leave you with some faves. 

"i read somewhere that a lot of the stars we see don't exist anymore. They've already died and its taken millions of years for their light to reach earth." 
- Dill
"that wouldn't be a bad way to die. Giving off light for millions of years after you're gone" 
- Lydia pg 113

"I mean it, Dill. I really mean it. We need to take care of each other from now on. We need to be each other's family because ours is so messed up. we need to make better lives for ourselves. we gotta start doing stuff were afraid to do." 
- Travis pg 233

"i want you to be careful in this world. my heart is wrapped up in you." 
- Lydia's Dad pg 270

"I'm tired of many things, I'm tired of watching children perish. I'm tired of the world grinding up gentle people. ........I've made books my life because they let me escape this world of cruelty and savagery. .....Please take care of yourselves my young friends." 
- Mr. Burson pg 277


jump on over for spoilers. 

thanks for reading! 
#lesreads on IG

One Of Us Is Lying // Karen McManus

published: 2017
pages: 358
ISBN: 978-1-5247-1468-0
read: 2/9-13/2018
rating: gah! i LOVED it!
book: 6 of 12 (secretly aiming for 52 but happy with 30) of 2018

I don't know why it's so hard for people to admit that sometimes they're just assholes who screw up because they don't expect to get caught. 
-Nate pg 121

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. 
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
 
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? 
 
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

MY THOUGHTS
ahh! this book!
this one crept up on me on instagram. sometimes you gotta love that place because i don't think i would have picked this up otherwise. and i honestly think it was the cover because i didn't really research much about it. i just checked it out at the library and went with the flow. 

and wow. 

what a different take on something that we just recently went through. 
(you might know what I'm talking about but i don't want to mention it on here because of spoilers.) 

this book had me emotionally tied up because here are these 4 kids who are being accused of a crime that they didn't commit (or did they?) and while the reason that each student had for being blamed was stupid AF, it was still pretty well tied up. enough to make me want to continue reading this. i mean, it made for a good story but the reasoning behind it is so DUMB! ugh! i wish i could say why here but it's a huge spoiler. 

i will say this though, I'm glad, BEYOND glad, that: 
a) i am no longer a teen 
b) i am not in high school and 
c) NO type of social media existed while i was in high school. i think i was at the end of high school, maybe even already out, when MySpace blew up. 

a lot of the reviews on goodreads state that they saw it coming before you landed at the conclusion and while it is true, it was still a good ride to take because like i always say "just because you know the end, it doesn't mean you know the journey" and this book is a good example of that. 
pretty interesting twist to put on a subject that we are all too unfortunately familiar with. 
and in my opinion, before you find out why or who, the author does a good job keeping you hooked. 

i still can't get over the reason for blaming each student listed above but also the reason that each student was personally chosen after they had already done what they did.

and yes, its a typical high school read. meaning, there's the typical high school stuff: parties, hookups, cheating...all that, with the exception of some things. like there's your usual listed above but then there's other stuff that I'm like "is that even a real thing that can happen!?" i don't ever remember high school being that tough! but then again, anything is possible. 

also, i feel like i should mention this but i mean, it's a pretty standard description of the characters. 
like YOU KNOW what the nerd is going to do. 
you know what the pretty girl is going to do. 
you know what the rebel is going to do (albeit, his was the stupidest reason.) 
and while you think you might know what the jock is going to do, he "does" but his real secret isn't really that shocking. to me it's a pretty standard "thing" to do to a character now. i would have been more shocked if his secret was that he was banging his 15th cousin thrice removed because he didn't know they were related because he was adopted as a kid and he didn't find out til he was in high school but he didn't want anyone to know because he hated that he had been lied to all his life. *les comes up for air*

overall it was a good read for me and i definitely would love to buy this book to have in my personal library so i will be keeping an eye out for a copy.

jump on over for spoilers.

thanks for reading! 
#lesreads on IG
(you know, now that i am re-reading the spoilers before i post, it was so obvious who did it. i mean, obvs you dont know then but there were just so many things. either way, still good rea!) 

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