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Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings

New Exciting Blog Changes

ideas

Hello everyone! If this is one of your first times seeing my blog, welcome! But for those who follow my blog, I have some new exciting blog changes I want to briefly share with you.

After some much needed thinking, I’ve made the decision to change the name of my blog as a whole along with the domain name. The reason for these changes is that I was starting to feel like the name I originally had wasn’t going to cut it. It was an idea I came up with when I first started blogging that I thought was original and unique. I thought coming up with a name that combined books and video games would be cool, since that’s what the entirety of my blog was going to be focused on. I unfortunately regret having that name for my blog and have been for some time trying to rack my brain around a new name.

I decided on Rainy Day’s Books, Video Games and Other Writings because Rainy Day is a childhood nickname that was given to me at one of the day cares I went to when I was little. It’s a nickname that’s stuck with me ever since and I found it fitting because people associate reading with rainy days. I added books, video games and other writings along with it because I write book and video game reviews, but I also write about other topics too and will be continuing to do so. I think this name will suit my blog much better than Vook: Books + Video Games ever did.

I also made these changes because I wanted to make my blog name sound more professional looking. Now that I’m out of work for awhile, I’ll be updating my resume, searching for jobs in my field. I figured the name I originally had wouldn’t cut it for the job market so I decided to make this change not only to reflect me more personally but in order to sound more professional and hopefully to be taken more seriously.

However, the biggest reason for the blog name change is that I wanted to change my blog in some way. In almost three months, I’ll have been blogging here for two years. This is something I’m still finding hard to believe because I never imagined myself getting this far with my blog and loving it as much as I do. I love blogging and want to do everything I can to improve my blog in any way I see fit. I figured changing my name is one of many things I can do here to make this a better place for people to come and check out.

I hope as these months turn into years to continue improving my blog so that you all will continue enjoying my writing. This is one of the many ways I hope to do that so thank you for your continued support and I look forward to continue writing here with this new blog name and domain.

Forgiveness (Poem) 

When I think of forgiveness,

The saying, “forgive, but never forget”

Comes to mind.

 

But for me,

It’s easier said than done.

 

When people hurt you,

It’s hard to let go,

And begin anew.

 

But sometimes,

That’s all you need to do.

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

I know I generally don’t write about movies on my blog, but the original Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney films from my childhood. So I found it only fitting to write a review of this new adaptation that’s hit the big screen. 

Released in 2017, Beauty and the Beast is centered around a young eccentric girl named Belle and the habitants of an enchanted castle. When the Beast in the castle takes Belle’s father as his prisoner, Belle takes her father’s place to live out the rest of her days in the castle. At first she finds the Beast unruly but as time continues on, she begins to see the Beast for the human he really is. 

This adaptation of Beauty and the Beast is equal parts fantasy and musical, which is one of the things I love about this adaptation of the original fairy tale. The fantasy elements are especially brought to life with the spell the Enchantress put on the castle and it’s inhabitants. All of the characters who live in the castle have been transformed into different household objects that can be found in a castle while the Prince is changed into a hideous Beast due to his horrible treatment of a woman whose appearance was very deceiving. The rose also held a special significance to this because if the Beast didn’t learn to love and be loved in return by the time the last rose petal fell, he and the other inhabitants would be stuck the way they are forever. Of course, you already know this if you’ve seen the original film, but I really find it to be a good example of how fantasy comes to life in this story. 

Another element I’ve enjoyed from this adaptation is all of the musical numbers, both familiar and new. The songs that they included from the original made me feel nostalgic, like I was traveling back to my childhood. It was nice because it made the movie that much more enjoyable for me to watch. But I also appreciated that they included some new songs too. I felt like it was a good way to remind the audience that this isn’t the original animated movie, that this adaptation of Beauty and the Beast was unique in its own way. I also found these new songs made the overall story that much more enjoyable to me. 

What I enjoyed the most about this film is the back story they give you about Belle and what happened to her mother. As a part of the audience, your never told exactly what happened to her mother, but are shown throughout the movie what happened as if you are right there when the chain of events unfold. They also do this in the beginning of the film too when the Beast is still the Prince. They show him not accepting the Enchantress into his castle and you watch as he and the rest of the crew transform. But they also tell you a little bit about what happened to the Beast’s mother too to give you an understanding of his character. I love that they added this background information for the characters because this information was never given in the animated film. 

One of my favorite things about this movie is seeing the Beast and Belle fall in love. The reason I love their romance is the overall message the story tells about love and appearances. It’s the message not to judge by appearances, that looks aren’t the best to look for in a life partner and that you never know who you’ll fall in love with. This message is important because it’s the truth. You don’t know who you’ll end up falling in love with or what the person you’ll fall in love with will look like. So when looking for a partner, don’t look for appearances, see who they are as a person. 

The one small criticism I have for Beauty and the Beast is that there are some awkward pauses in the film, both in the dialogue and songs. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed them when watching but I did and they bothered me, for some reason. 

But other than that, I really enjoyed this movie so much. Seeing the Beast and Belle’s love story come to life on the big screen in real life filming was a nice breath of fresh air. I was not at all disappointed to see one of my favorite movies from my childhood brought to life and can’t wait to see it again soon. I really enjoyed every minute of it and was sad to see it all end. 

If We Were Having Coffee: End of 2017 Spring Semester, Let Summer Begin! 

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing alright wherever you are. Right now, I’m doing really well. The Spring Semester at my Alma Mater has almost ended for the students. They just have exams next week, then they are officially done. But for me, I’m done working there for the semester. Just finished working a cookout they were having today a couple hours ago, and that’s it for now. I won’t be there next week because I’m not on the schedule so I’m officially done for the semester. Hopefully it’ll be my last semester there if I’m able to get a job this summer. Will just have to wait and see if that happens for now. 

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you for these posts, I want to use more interesting coffee pictures. Pictures like the one I have above that have a lot of color and can catch your attention. I think these pictures would really make my blog stand out, and would look nice with my background. I won’t know exactly what that’ll look like until I’m looking, So you’ll just have to wait and see. 

I know this is a #weekendcoffeepost, but I felt like briefly bringing up the infamous Unicorn Frappuccino everyone seems to be talking about. I don’t know how it’s made, because I don’t work at a Starbucks (though I know how to make Starbucks drinks because at work in our café, we have Starbucks products), but I felt like talking about it. I don’t know if it’s any good because honestly it looks like a heart attack. I’m not saying it doesn’t look good (because it kind of does), but pink isn’t my color. It’s definitely an interesting looking drink and I’m actually curious about how they make it more than anything else along with what it tastes like. Though I’m not curious enough to spend my money on one if I’m ever given the chance to do so. 

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I have some bad news. It looks like I will have to buy myself a new laptop. Originally, I was going to get one, but decided to have it looked at to see if the part could be fixed so that I could save my money. But it looks like I’ll have to get a new one because the part I’ll need fixed will cost just as much as getting a new laptop. So that’s kind of a bummer. But at the same time, it’s kind of exciting too because it’ll be brand new and there are so many different ones out there I can check out. 

Speaking of which, I’m also thinking about changing my blog name this summer. I have an idea of what I might change it to, but I still haven’t decided yet if that’s what I’m going to do. I figure I should though because my blog name isn’t actually that good. Kind of silly, honestly, though at the time I really thought it was a good idea. Just thought I’d let you all know before I do, even though when I do I’m going to write a blog post about it so you know. And since I’m not working right now, I’ll definitely be writing more posts again. I know my 2 year blog anniversary will be coming up within the next couple months so I’ll be writing about that along with whatever other fresh ideas decide to pop into my head this summer. 

I think that’s really all I have to say now. Oh yeah, I’ve also been coloring more often too. I find it to be very comforting to do before bed and it’s just such an enjoyable hobby that I can’t help it. I’ve also started reading All the Rage and Mum and I are planning on going to see Hidden Figures tonight and the new Beauty & the Beast movie tomorrow. I’ll probably do a movie review of a tale as old as time too because it’s one of my favorite Disney movies from my childhood so I definitely want to talk about the new adaptation after I’ve seen it. 

Okay, now I’m done. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week and continue to have a good weekend. 

If We Were Having Coffee: It Feels Like I’m Playing Catch Up 

Hello everyone and Happy Easter! It feels like I’m playing catch up with these #weekendcoffeeshare posts because it’s been awhile since my last one. I would say this is accidental if it weren’t that I honestly just didn’t feel like doing one of these posts these last couple weeks. I don’t think making excuses for myself will change that truth for me so I figure I might as well be honest about it. But I’m back with this post and hopefully I’ll continue to do more of them in the months to come. But for now, I’ll try and see if I can catch you up to speed with what’s been going on in my life. 

If we were having coffee, the first thing I’d probably tell you is we’ve been watching friends of ours pets lately. We watched someone my Mom knows dog and cat a couple weekends ago and are now cat sitting for another friend. So far, we’ve gotten along with all of them and there haven’t been too many problems. I just recently spent the night with the two cats, one of which slept on top of me and was demanding my affections. 

Look at that sweet boy. How could you say no to that face? 

The other cat is more guarded around people, but he’s just as sweet. But it was nice spending the night with them so that they could have someone around to take care of them. It was also very quiet and peaceful in their house, which was also nice because it allowed me to finish one of my coloring pages and start on another. 

I really love the way this page turned out for me.

I really love coloring. It’s very peaceful, a nice way for me to relax and do something stress free. It also makes me feel like I’ve really accomplished something, even if it’s just filling another blank page to life. 

Speaking of which, if we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve been working on writing more in my journal. Right now, I’m trying to write in it once or twice a week, whenever the need calls for it. I think this is pretty realistic because I know there are going to be times I want to write, but not want to post on here. But right now, we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes. I know I’m currently optimistic about it because I really believe I can do it. I’ve also been working on a poem too, which is currently called “Forgiveness.” I’m not sure if I’m done with it yet, but once I am, I’ll be publishing it here for you all to read. 

I’ve also recently watched Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix, which was released March 31st and wrote a review about it. I’ve actually watched it twice since it’s release, because I enjoyed it so much I had to see it again. I even got my best friend to watch it and am letting her borrow my copy of the book now that she’s watched the show. I’ve also recently finished reading Wintergirls and am now planning on reading All the Rage, which I’m hoping will be a much better read. After finishing Thirteen Reasons Why, I’m now watching American Horror Story to see what it’s like. So far, it’s interesting, to say the least. But I haven’t made an overall opinion of it just yet. 

If we were having coffee, I’d briefly talk about work. I’d tell you it’s gotten somewhat better for me. Knowing I only have one week, then it’s summer makes me happy. It means I’ll be able to work on improving my resume and hopefully get a job in my field very soon. I’ll also have more free time to write and doing other things I love. So knowing after this week I’ll get a little bit of a break makes me feel good about what’s left of work. Also, the job I was interested in at work, someone else was interested in it and talked about it before I could so the position has already been filled. But I’m actually glad someone else is doing it because I would still be at this place. 

Other than that, nothing else has been going on. Tomorrow is Easter. I’ll be celebrating by going to Sunrise Service with a friend at 7, then later going to dinner at a friend’s house. I hope you all have a good Easter with your loved ones. 

Book Review: Wintergirls

Rating: 2 stars

“Dead girl walking”, the boys say in the halls.

“Tell us your secret”, the girls whisper, one toilet to another.

I am that girl.

I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.

I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

I didn’t like this story as much as I’d hoped. Lia’s story of battling anorexia is intense. But the writing and characters made it difficult to enjoy, and I’ll tell you why shortly. 

First, I’ll tell you what I do like about Wintergirls. It’s an interesting story about a girl named Lia. Dealing with issues of her own, Lia looses her best friend Cassie who she hasn’t talked to in a long time. As she’s dealing with this loss, Lia continues pushing herself to be skinner until she realizes she needs help. While this is going on, Lia gets regular visits from Cassie’s ghost who wants Lia to join her in the in-between. What I like about the story is seeing all of these different elements emerge together. While at times it doesn’t make sense, the way Laurie Halse Anderson brings it all together makes for an interesting read. 

I also like that Anderson doesn’t shy away from serious topics. In her novel Speak, which I absolutely love, she talks about rape but does it in a way where you feel like she’s really bringing awareness to the subject. So while this book is definitely not one of my favorites, I appreciate reading a story about a young girl and her struggle with anorexia. I think it’s a good way for people to become really aware of what it’s like to have an eating disorder. I especially like it because you can see it in Lia’s behavior. She’s always aware of the food she eats before she puts it in her mouth. You also see it in the way Lia’s family deals with her eating disorder. They are worried about her well-being throughout that they are keeping track of her weight, hoping to get her back to health again. 

What I also like about Wintergirls is the message Anderson is sending her readers. The whole time Lia is struggling with eating, there’s a message she is trying to tell us. The whole story is basically about how you can’t help someone unless they want help, which is a very powerful message. This is apparent with Lia because when her family weighs her, she deceives them by having the scale fixed to be a higher weight than what she truly is. She does this every time without any sign of remorse. Even when the one person she truly cares about finds her in terrible conditions, she doesn’t want help. It isn’t until the end of the book when she almost dies that Lia realizes she wants to live and gets the help she really needs. 

I also really like the cover. It looks intriguing, makes me want to read the book and find out what’s going to happen. But it’s also really pretty because it reminds me of the cold, which I don’t mind quite as much as heat. 

But there are so many things about this book I didn’t like. For one, the characters are pretty horrible. I feel like there’s no character development with any of them and I had a difficult time sympathizing with them. All of the characters were really flat to me because I couldn’t get any sense of personality from them. For example, Lia is supposedly shy, but Anderson never gives us an example of how she’s shy or anything. I also had a hard time sympathizing with Lia or her parents because of the way they treated each other. Lia’s biological parents are hardly around and when they are, there so focused on work or obsessed with getting Lia to eat. But Lia doesn’t treat them any better either, especially her mother, who seems like she wants to help. The only parental figure in the story I felt any sympathy for was Jennifer because she acted more responsible than even Lia’s father. She’s the one parent in the story I felt any sympathy for because you can tell she cares about Lia and wants to get her back to health. I also hated Lia because she just wasn’t at all likeable to me. I get she has an eating disorder so she’s going to act extremely selfish, but damn. She’s probably one of the most coldest and unfeeling characters I’ve read in a young adult book. I just felt nothing for her but pity and sad because if her character was more developed, I could’ve liked her. 

I also had a hard time enjoying Wintergirls because the writing is terrible. There was nothing that kept me reading this book other than hope it would get better. It was a read I made the decision to keep exploring, but there were many times I wanted to stop and not finish, it was that awful of a read for me. The most interesting thing about it to me was reading all of the crossed out words and seeing how Lia kept count of the amount of calories in the food she ate.  I also didn’t like the writing because it didn’t feel clear to me with certain moments what was going on. For example, I didn’t realize Cassie’s spirit was visiting Lia until she mentioned wanting to make sure Cassie’s body was being put into the ground. This story is so poorly written that I’m still surprised I finished reading this book. 

The plot of the book is just as bad to me too. One example is Elijah’s character being in the story. I felt like he didn’t add anything important to the plot or played any sort of purpose that made sense to me. He just happened to have a room in the same motel Cassie stayed in when she died and that’s it. He also calls Lia after Cassie’s death, but you never find out why. There also wasn’t any explanation for anything, like how Lia developed her eating disorder. You know she and Cassie made an oath to each other during the New Year, but there’s no explanation of how this started for either of them. My guess is that their friendship sparked these problems, which would make sense to me. There’s so much in the story that isn’t explained it made the story difficult to read. 

I know I’m in the minority when I say I dislike this book. I know a lot of people enjoyed reading this from what I saw on GoodReads, but I’m definitely not one of them. I appreciate it talks about anorexia because eating disorders are a topic that needs to be discussed. But there were so many things with the way it was written and the plot that I had a hard time enjoying it. To me, its just not a good read, as unpopular of an opinion that may be. 

TV Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

After reading Thirteen Reasons Why, I found out it was becoming a Netflix show and decided to watch it once it was released. While I normally don’t do television reviews of any kind, I figured I could make an exception for this, considering I enjoyed the book so much that I was interested to see how it would look on TV. 

I wasn’t at all disappointed. It was everything I expected and more. The story transformed on television much better than I anticipated, bringing to life serious topics young adults need to discuss, such as bullying, rape and suicide. This is one of the things I enjoy about the book, but enjoyed more when I saw my imaginings come to life.  The directors made sure not to shy away from any of the issues Hannah brought to light in her tapes, even if it meant that the show was graphic with its content. These are all issues that need to be openly talked about so I was very pleased to see the directors highlight them. It showed that they really cared about bringing awareness to really heavy subject matter and making the show represent the books as close as they could. 

Hearing Hannah’s voice narrating her story really sucked me into wanting to see how these events unfolded. When reading Thirteen Reasons Why, it’s much harder to imagine what Hannah’s voice sounds like. But now, I find I’m not disappointed by what I hear not only because the audio is authentic, but because the actress who played as Hannah did a really good job at portraying her character. She made her much more sympathetic as a character because you could clearly see she was struggling and needed help. You can see as she continues telling her story how disappointed she becomes when the people she trusts continue letting her down. You can see Hannah falling apart leading up to the point where she can’t take it anymore and ends her life. All of these things make Hannah such a sympathetic character that you can’t help but follow along to hear what she has to say. 

Since we are already on the topic of character, I’d like to add I actually like the way all of the characters and the story is portrayed on the Netflix series much better than the book. When reading the book, I felt like all of the characters were flat since the whole story centered on Clay spending all night listening to Hannah’s tapes. You didn’t meet most of them besides being introduced to them with regards to how Hannah talked about them. In the TV original, however, you get to see and meet the characters Hannah’s story focuses on. You get to see how they all interact with each other and how Hannah’s tapes effected their lives. You also actually get introduced to both Hannah and Clay’s parents, both of which play a crucial role in the overall story arch in the show. In the book, these characters didn’t have much of an appearance other than Hannah’s parents no longer being at their house since her death. In the show, they are investigating the school with regards to Hannah’s death, trying to find out why their daughter committed suicide. The same can be said with the characters mentioned on Hannah’s tapes. In the show, they are all in a panic when Clay is listening to the tapes because he’s reacting to what he hears Hannah say about them. They’re worried he’s not going to pass the tapes on or turn them in to the school. 

I love that the show went off script from the books for a couple reasons. For one, it makes the story more interesting and continues to show how one person’s actions results in many different consequences. It also makes you as the viewer more interested in seeing what’s going to happen next as Clay continues listening to the tapes and reacting to them. Seeing Hannah’s parents invested interest in getting justice for their daughter plays a role in this too because they along with the tapes become Hannah’s voice since she can no longer speak. This all shows how suicide impacts everyone’s life, which is a very strong message that I appreciate the directors taking the time to portray in the script for the show. 

For all of these reasons, I find myself enjoying Thirteen Reasons Why as a television show more than a book. I find the show does a good job of bringing the words from the text to life in a way that every viewer can relate to. It also has more of an emotional impact on me because of my own personal traumas, some of which can be seen in my “Truer Than Fiction” blog post  I also highly recommend those going through personal problems of their own to watch it so that you can know you are not alone and that you can always get help.

Book Review: Seven Minutes in Heaven (The Lying Game #6) 

Rating: 4 stars

Warning: This book review may contain spoilers that are pertinent to the overall plot of the story. Read review at your own discretion. 

My sister wants the truth.

But sometimes the truth hurts.
For months, my long-lost twin, Emma, has been living my life and trying to solve my murder. She’s unearthed dark secrets about my friends, my family, and my tangled past. But when it comes to finding my killer, she keeps running into dead ends.

Until my body shows up in Sabino Canyon. Suddenly everyone knows there are two girls who look like Sutton Mercer – and that one of them is dead. At first the police assume the body is Emma’s. But as questions and accusations start flying, it’s harder than ever for Emma to keep playing me. The truth is bound to come out eventually. And when it does, Emma will be suspect number one in my murder investigation. If she can’t find my killer before time runs out, she’ll end up behind bars… or worse.

This book is my favorite overall in The Lying Game series. I enjoyed it because Shepard really picked up the pace of the story. But she did it in a way that didn’t rush the plot forward and made it enticing enough for me to finish reading within a couple hours from when I started. It was to the point where I couldn’t put this book down until I learned who killed Sutton and why. 

Along with being well-written, it was a very emotional book too. As you follow Emma on her journey to discover her twin’s killer, you as the reader begin to feel like you’re a part of their lives. In many ways, the reader is very similar to Sutton because we are also on the sidelines watching all of this unfold and can’t do anything to help Emma find the killer. But we are just as much a part of her journey as Sutton. We experience everything Emma feels and find ourselves feeling emotionally involved in the story. So when all of the pieces finally come together, you are both happy and sad. Happy because Emma is finally getting answers, but sad because the one person she trusted so much since she came to Tucson turns out to be the person who hurt her the most. You experience her pain when the family she’s come to know and love kick her out because they think she’s responsible for Sutton’s death. You feel sympathetic to Emma because she’s had to work for everything she has and it still isn’t always enough. And these emotions make you want to continue reading to see if Emma gets the happy ending she deserves. 

It turns out the person who killed Sutton is the person I suspected from the beginning. This makes me sad because I was really hoping someone else was involved, not the one person she trusted the most and went to when things got really bad. But there are many reasons why I suspected this character. One of the reasons I suspected Ethan’s involvement was because of his reaction to when Emma told him that she wasn’t Sutton. He didn’t seem as surprised as I’d expect, considering all of the information she confided in him through the short period of time they knew each other. I felt like he just accepted her as she was too easily and by being that way with her, he was able to keep his eye on her to make sure she didn’t slip up. I also felt like he was one of the characters in the story who didn’t have a real solid alibi. In the series, Emma suspects everyone around her until she is able to get an alibi from them. Except she never gets one from Ethan, even when she suspected him when they first met. But she doesn’t question him because of the feelings she had for him. It’s because she trusted him that when she discovers Ethan has a file at the hospital in Cross My Heart, Hope to Die, she asks him about it because she thinks he’ll tell her the truth. This file is one of the things that made me suspect him because it shows there’s something wrong with him even though he’s acting rationally. I also suspected him because she conveniently received those notes from the killer when he wasn’t around. He also manipulated himself into her life very easily, which made me question his intentions when I started reading this series. Then, there’s where she wants to look for clues and every time she does, Ethan tells her what she’s doing is dangerous. You think it’s because he wants to protect Emma from harm. But it turns out that’s far from the truth once Sutton finally has a flashback of her last moments. 

I’m sad Ethan killed Sutton because he and Emma were really great together. As a couple, they seemed perfect. Both of them were outcasts with difficult lives, which was why Emma felt like he understood her. He seemed like a great guy who loved Emma very much and was the only person by her side when things really got rough in the series. He was the person she trusted the most to have her back, but turned out to be the person who did her the most harm. Then again, he was the one person she never suspected while she was searching for clues. But I also enjoyed finding out he was the killer because he played the part very well. Emma never doubted Ethan’s love for her because she cared about him so much that she wanted to protect him from being hurt. But it turned out she was the one who needed protection from him. Even though Ethan being the killer is considered a predictable move, I love it because it makes the series come together perfectly. 

The one thing with Seven Minutes in Heaven  I didn’t like was that it ended. I felt emotional after I finished reading this book because it was finally over for Emma. Her real family now knows who she is and she can finally be herself again. It was also really touching to see the tribute Sutton’s friends did for her at her funeral and I was happy to see Emma get the happy ending she deserved. I just enjoyed it so much that I didn’t want it to be over, especially considering the person who killed her sister. But it’s also nice that she’ll finally have a family of her own. 

As a whole, my rating for The Lying Game series is 3.5 stars. I loved the characters, the plot of the story and all of the suspense behind finding out who killed Sutton. I also enjoyed the supernatural element of Sutton being on the sidelines, experiencing flashbacks about the day of her murder because it added a completely different element to the story. But I felt like the set up of each of the books in the series became predictable. I really disliked that in each book, Emma suspected someone of killing her twin only to discover evidence contrary to her suspicions. Then the person she ends up believing to be her killer in the final book is completely innocent and she doesn’t find out until it’s almost too late for her to help herself. Having the books play out this way almost took out the fun of guessing Sutton’s killer, even though I already knew who the killer was and didn’t realize it. It made it that much easier to eliminate people who were just as capable of killing her, which allowed me to continue following my instincts on who I suspected. 

However, I really enjoyed reading this series and am completely glad I stuck with it. I definitely recommend reading it to those who like reading suspenseful stories and people who enjoy young adult literature as much as I do. I know I’ll definitely be reading it again in the future. 

Book Review: Cross My Heart, Hope to Die (The Lying Game #5)

Rating: 3 stars

It’s not easy being me.

But my twin sister has no choice.

When I died two months ago, my killer told my twin sister to become me – or else. Now Emma has it down to a T. She tosses her hair with the signature Sutton Mercer flip and can lead a Lying Game prank with the best of them. She’s even repairing my relationship with my adoptive family. The only thing she hasn’t done is solve my murder.

Then our birth mother, the woman who abandoned us, showed up in Tucson. Emma hasn’t seen Becky in twelve years, but Becky recognizes Emma immediately – as Emma. Is it mother’s intuition… or does Becky know I’m already gone?

Out of all of the books in the series so far, I’d have to say this one is my least favorite. Now, it’s not a bad read or anything. I just wasn’t able to immerse myself into it like I could the rest of the books in the series. But before I talk about why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the rest of the series, I’d like to mention what I did enjoy with Cross My Heart, Hope to Die.

One of the aspects of this series I continue to enjoy is how Shepard develops her characters. In this book in particular, Emma has become close to Sutton’s family. She’s repaired Sutton’s relationship with Laurel to the point where they aren’t arguing anymore. The Mercer family is finally acting like a normal happy family, somewhat. Yes, there are some secrets and lies being told. But they are doing a whole lot better than before. I think the family’s development is important in this book in particular because this book is heavily focused on their family, which is something I do like. When Becky comes to town, you know there’s going to be some trouble. You as the reader just don’t realize how much. 

Along with her character development with regards to Sutton’s family, her friendships also continue to grow and be tested. When Emma allows her twin’s rival to help with a prank, she befriends another person her sister wouldn’t have thought of giving a chance. You’re also introduced to a new girl to the school named Celeste whose character is pretty strange in some ways. She supposedly is very in tune spiritually and warns Emma several times throughout that she’s in serious danger. I really like her character because despite her odd personality, I honestly believe she cares about people even those she’s not friends with. I have a feeling Celeste is going to play a significant role in the final book, though I don’t yet know how that’s going to take shape. 

One of my favorite parts of this book is how it ends. Emma is having a really happy moment with her family when she receives some really bad news, the type of news nobody wants to get. Then the story ends with you wondering how Emma and her family are going to react and how this all plays into what’s going to happen next in the story. I love it because you’re reminded that Sutton’s killer is still out there watching Emma’s every move and that the killer is far from being done with her. 

What I don’t like with Cross My Heart, Hope to Die is that I feel like the plot is really slowing down. Out of all the books in this series, the pace in this book moved too slow for me. It was like Shepard put brakes on this book so that the story wouldn’t move too far along. I didn’t like it because it made me not want to finish this book, even though I really want to know how this all will end. 

But even though the pace was slow, it’s not my least favorite thing in this book. I absolutely hated how mental illness was portrayed through Becky in this book. It’s pretty obvious that she has mental health issues with the way Emma was raised by Becky before she abandoned her. But I feel like the way Becky’s illness is portrayed is really terrible. What made it so awful to me is that she’s never given the help she really needs. In the book, she escapes from the hospital only to find Emma so she can tell her she’s leaving Tucson. She apparently also finds Mr. Mercer to tell him the same thing, yet they are both completely okay with her leaving them despite that she really needs help. Yes, Emma does show more concern for her well-being, but it’s very obvious that neither of them are trying to get her any help. I get with Mr. Mercer that he doesn’t want his wife to know Becky is back, but to me it just seems like he doesn’t care about his daughter’s well-being. He knows she’s very sick, but does very little to really give her the help she needs. 

I also find the portrayal of mental health in this book to be awful because Emma does suspect her mother of killing Sutton at one point. This brings up the stigma that only really sick people with mental health issues are the only ones capable of killing someone, though there’s no way her mother was capable of the crime Emma was suspicious of her committing. And it also uses mental health as an excuse for why people do terrible things, which makes it even harder for people with mental health issues to actually want to get help. This is pretty apparent when Emma finds out Ethan has a file at the hospital and wonders why he kept it secret from her. While I appreciate Shepard writing about mental health, I don’t necessarily think she portrayed it properly. Or in a way where the reader could really sympathize with Becky and understand what she’s going through. 

But despite these problems with Cross My Heart, Hope to Die, I’m still planning on reading the last book in the series. Since the next book in this series is the last one, I’m planning on talking about the series as a whole and give you my thoughts on who I thought could’ve killed Sutton and why. I have a couple people I suspected and really can’t wait to share with you my thoughts on this series as a whole. 

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