Thursday, April 6, 2017

Review: The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life

The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Source: ALA Midwinter 2017
Date Read: 3/14/17 to 3/26/17
464 pages


The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Disclaimer: I think that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was a much better book.

To follow up, this was good. But just not as good, ok? I mean for one, there is no dog named Legs. And really, there is no dog in general. But I guess that’s beside the point.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life follows Sal, who although isn’t Mexican by blood, still sees himself as Mexican American since his adopted father raised him to be one. Though it doesn’t help that he is conflicted at times due to this. But this isn’t all. Him and his best friend, Sam, both go through a ton of tough times, from uncontrollable actions resulting in punches to deaths in the family.

Because life is hard.

There’s no huge climax, but rather just the ups and downs of life. And I think there’s essentially why many aren’t as impressed with this as they were with Ari and Dante. And I guess I can say the same. Because even though this was a so beautifully written, it lacked in plot. However, I can say that Sal’s father is the nicest, sweetest man ever. And of course there’s Mima, who is 10 times as sweet.

Also, this is such a quick read, which I appreciated. There’s an art to writing short, concise yet eloquent dialogue, and Benjamin Alire Sáenz has mastered that.

I would definitely recommend this, but just be warned that this probably won’t live up to his first novel. Just lower your expectations a bit, but only a bit.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Review: At The Edge Of The Universe

At The Edge Of The Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 7th, 2017
Source: Bought
Date Read: 3/14/17 to 3/16/17
485 pages


Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since the second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town—and then Tommy vanished.

More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone except Ozzie.

Ozzie doesn’t know how to navigate life without Tommy and soon suspects that something else is going on—that the universe is shrinking.

When Ozzie is paired up with the reclusive and secretive Calvin for a physics project, it’s hard for him to deny the feelings that develop between them, even if he still loves Tommy.

But Ozzie knows there isn’t much time left to find Tommy—that once the door closes, it can’t be opened again. And he’s determined to keep it open as long as possible.
Ever since reading We Are the Ants, I have been on the lookout for more of Shaun Hutchinson’s books. And this new one did not disappoint. It’s an interesting twist on the genre, because as with the previous book, this wasn’t fully science fiction. But at the same time, it wasn’t fully contemporary either. It’s as if it were science realism, instead of magical realism.

Tommy and Ozzie were inseparable, until one day, no one remembers Tommy. No one except for Ozzie, who is dismayed that no one remembers his best friend and boyfriend. As much as he tries to get his friends, family, anyone to remember him, no one believes him. And furthermore, he finds out that the universe is shrinking. Every day, it gets smaller and smaller, but of course, no one remembers it being that big in the first place.

Yet even with all of this weirdness, Ozzie finds solace in Calvin. Even if he feels guilty for betraying Tommy.

As I mentioned, At the Edge of the Universe is no less weird than Shaun Hutchinson’s previous book. And that’s a good thing. I thought the relationships, the characters, and the plot were all very well done. I was honestly afraid that the ending wouldn’t satisfy me. And that worry forced me to finish the book in about two days, and fortunately, the ending worked for me.

And I don't want to spoil anything, but ahhhh it was really well done. Maybe another reader would have wanted something more tangible, but in my heart I truly believed it all turned out the way it did.

Although this lived up to, and even surpassed We Are the Ants, this wasn’t a top 2017 book for me. It missed that spark for me, and that’s needed for me as contemporaries can be a hit or miss for me. It was also really hard for me to put my thoughts together for this review, as I don’t necessarily have any strong opinions about this.

BUT STILL A GREAT BOOK, YOU KNOW.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #105


Top Ten Fandoms I'm In!

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that my favorite show, Bob's Burgers, has been removed from Netflix. Or at least seasons 3 to 5 have been removed. And that was pretty much my #1 fandom. And that's partly the reason why I didn't just dedicate this post to Bob's Burgers. BECAUSE I'M SO SAD OKAY? SO SAD.

A post shared by Valerie (@innocentsmiley) on

Like look. I have my Belcher babies. And two t-shirts. I just love this show so much.

Onto my other favorite fandoms, I guess.

There's Mass Effect, which is one of my favorite, favorite, video game series (it used to be Assassin's Creed, but they messed up big time I think). It has some of my favorite character interactions, and the new game, Mass Effect Andromeda, is amazing. I'm so glad I preordered it.

Also Bioware makes great games, like Dragon Age. The characters are all amazing, and so is the story.

I feel like I'm in all the video game fandoms. Like Ace Attorney, and Pokemon, AND FALLOUT 4. And Bioshock. And there's just too many, too many.

When it comes to anime, I am a huge fan of Cardcaptor Sakura, as it was one of the first anime I watched. In French. It was great. I also watched Sailor Moon in Chinese, but I never really got into it too much. My fave is Sailor Venus however.

There's also a bunch of anime I love, like Natsume Yuujinchou, and One Punch Man. And a ton more that's on my anime list, which I don't feel like looking at right now.

Oh, don't forget everything by Disney. I really love Disney. I mean I go to WDW all the time thanks to my annual pass (thanks dad)

Uhhh let's see, TV shows. Oh I absolutely LOVED Stranger Things! And Sense8! And I'm currently in the middle of The OA, which is pretty good. Though I only watched one episode. So I lied, I'm not really in the middle middle. And I can't forget Jessica Jones. I need new seasons of all of these asap.

I'm not going to talk about books because I love all the books.

I'm in the Kung Fu Panda fandom but I'm not sure if there is actually a fandom for that. But I have literally watched that movie more than 20 times at this point. I don't know why I am freaking obsessed with it. I just am.


Is that it? Probably not. Also I basically listed everything that came to mind, and this wasn't organized in any way at all.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Month of Self-Discovery (In The Wild)

Hey guys!

I know I haven't really updated much, and no, it's not because I have quit blogging. Rather, and you'll be surprised when I say this, I've been on this journey of self-discovery.

What do I mean by this? Well, first off, I am taking this whole month off to live in the forest. And I'm not bringing much either. I've isolated myself from everyone, and the only things with me are this phone, and Anna and the French Kiss. 

"Val", you might ask, "why Anna and the French Kiss? You hate that book!" And you're right, dedicated reader, I don't like that book. But bringing it with me on my journey will remind me of how I want to live me life. Not like that book. (But I like Paris so I mean I do like that part).

Do you want to see where I'll be living? 


This is my hut for the next month. I actually staked it out last year, but it is officially MINE.

I know I said I would be in isolation, but I do have one friend with me. We're pretty close, and sometimes we discuss books together.


As you can see, super close.

So yeah. I have big plans for the next month, and since I'll have my phone, I'll be able to update via Twitter! So you'll be able to follow me as I'm going through my journey of self-discovery. And who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to take one too! At the very least, you'll learn that it's April Fool's day :D