Gianna wakes up on a cloud, and she's confused. What was she doing there? Then she meets Skylar, a soldier on another cloud, who tells her that the paGianna wakes up on a cloud, and she's confused. What was she doing there? Then she meets Skylar, a soldier on another cloud, who tells her that the paper planes that were landing on their clouds were thoughts and messages of people who remember. It turns out they were in some kind of limbo, and the paper planes were their way back home.
I wasn't really sure what to make of Paper Planes Back Home when I first read its synopsis, because it didn't seem like the usual romance novel for me. But then again, it wasn't really just a simple romance novel. Tara Frejas' debut had love in almost all of its forms - romance, family, and friendship, and this is what makes this book the kind I think people will read regardless of the genre they usually try.
There's something heartwarming with how Tara wrote this book, and you can see that there's already a lot of heart in it. I loved the four main characters - Gianna, Skylar, Aaron, and Anna. They had very distinct voices, and they all had different goals and motivations in the story that tied up nicely when you get to the end. In a way, you can kind of see what's going to happen after all the situations were laid out, but even if it was predictable in that way, you won't really mind because you just want to have a good ending for all these people. They deserve it, after all that they've gone through.
And the world-building in this was on point, too. No one really knows what limbo, or after life is about, but reading this book would make you want to believe that what Tara wrote was real. It was easy to see that the world was lovingly created by the author, and I admit that I always liked it when the book was back on those clouds. There was also an element of fear there, but more of fear for the characters and what could happen to them there.
This book left me with a smile on my face, and some tears, too. It's not sad, although the premise seems like it. But trust me, warm, fuzzy feelings and happy tears will be around when you reach the end of this. :) And if you happen to be in the same shoes as Aaron in this book, Paper Planes Back Homewill give you hope that will make you send more thoughts and prayers, hoping that these will be strong enough to bring the person you love home.
I heard of Champions by Karren Renz Sena from a fellow book blogger who was tweeting about the book when she was reading it. I notedAlso posted here.
I heard of Champions by Karren Renz Sena from a fellow book blogger who was tweeting about the book when she was reading it. I noted it, seeing as it was published by Shepherd's Voice Publications, a local Catholic publishing house that I used to write for, and it was fiction - something new from them. It took me until after Christmas to get myself a copy, and I decided to read it while I was in the jeepney on the way home, and then I couldn't stop.
Champions is a story of seven men and women who were put together in a team to help retrieve the Sword of Sargatanas, a powerful weapon that is locked up in Cielterra, the stronghold of Cielos, the city closest to Heaven. This sword, when used on the day that the planets aligned, has the capacity to tear open the boundaries between dimensions, and when used on Gate Pandora, will unleash demons and monsters from Hell. These seven men and women - called Champions - are the only hope for this to be stopped, and to retrieve the Sword. One of these Champions is a Human called Gabriel, kidnapped from his life in Earth and brought to a battle that he didn't ask for, but even so, he felt that he somehow belonged. Perhaps this was the link to his past that he has been looking for all along?
Champions was fun. This is your good old fantasy novel with Christian references that is so well-written that I think anyone who just likes fantasy and action will just really sink their teeth into this. Though there were times when it felt like there were too many switches in the POVs as I was placed in the heads of almost all the characters, it was still quite fun, and I think the author did that to lay the foundation for the series. It gave me a bit of insight in every character, but I hope the next books in the series will focus on say, one or two instead of all of them so I'll be able to understand what makes these characters tick. If I were to pick a favorite, I really like the human Gabriel, followed by Solenn who seemed all fire at first but had a big heart inside of her. I would also love to learn more about Matteo, as I always felt affectionate to any group's tech guy. Oh, and I loved the judges - Samson, Gideon, and Deborah. Their banter was so fun. :D
As I said, the world building here was good, and I really liked the idea of how Eden was set to be the most protected place, and how Cielos being the city closest to Heaven, is the one in charge of its protection. This book makes the Bible seem more alive, and I love how the names used here were from the Bible - Samson, Gideon, Deborah, Memorare, Ark of the Covenant, Passover, etc etc. The names don't feel out of place, and even the things that they do - rallying aka worship, prayer and meditation - felt like they just fit right into the story, and not a bit preachy.
I wanted more at the end, especially after the revelations about some characters. I am really glad this is a series, so the next question is: when will the next book be out? Please let it be soon! ...more
I heard about this from my book club friends around two years ago, but it was already out of print so I knew my only chances of reading this was borroI heard about this from my book club friends around two years ago, but it was already out of print so I knew my only chances of reading this was borrowing it from someone. Of course, that plan never materialized because it wasn't such a high priority book for me. Come Komikon 2014, I saw some friends carrying copies of the new editions of The Mythology Class during the book discussions so I made a mental note to get it afterwards. So I did (and was pleasantly surprised that Arnold Arre was there and he drew me when I asked him to sign my copy :D), and told myself I'd read it perhaps during the long December vacation.
But I couldn't wait, so I read it today.
Halfway through reading, I didn't want it to end.
A few hours later, I was done, and now I understand why my friends were raving about this. The Mythology Class is so, so good. I loved all the characters and their quirkiness. I love the idea of a group of kids called on a quest that brings them into the world of Philippine myth and folklore. I loved everything about this, and I felt good chills and part sadness when I reached the end because I really didn't want this to end.
It's so, so, good. :)
Don't forget the stories I've told you. Can you do that for Lolo? For who knows, maybe someday you might find yourself in one of them....more
I don't read a lot of high fantasy novels because I'm more of a contemporary romance kind of person. And because of that, it takes me a while to reallI don't read a lot of high fantasy novels because I'm more of a contemporary romance kind of person. And because of that, it takes me a while to really get into a world, especially one that required maps and had different names of people with powers and such. I noticed that a lot of high fantasy novels often had a lot of characters, too -- with odd names to boot -- so sometimes I feel like I need to get into a different kind of mindset before I take on a high fantasy novel.
Hah, I feel like I sounded like such a wuss there, especially since two of my closest friends in the book club are fans of high fantasy novels. So when they moderated the high fantasy discussion for our book club in 2013, I can't not be too whiny about it. Especially since the book was about 800+ long. But I've finished Les Misérables this year, and while it's not a high fantasy novel, it had a lot of characters. This shouldn't be that hard, right? *cracks knuckles*
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay is a standalone high fantasy novel set in a place called Peninsula of the Palm. Two people rule eight of the nine provinces in the Palm -- Brandin of Ygrath and Alberico of Barbadior. Sometime in the past, Brandin's younger son is slain in Tigana, and in his grief and anger, he flattened Tigana and cursed everyone to forget that it ever existed, except for those who came from Tigana itself. Some years later, some survivors banded together in hopes of destroying Brandin to get Tigana back, and also to overthrow the other tyrant in the Palm. What follows is a long story of magic, psychological warfare, political intrigue, hidden identities and a story layered with so many complexities that it's hard to pick just what side you want to win at the end.
First off: Tigana was an easy to read book. Far from, say, Tolkien's LotR, Tigana had such an accessible language that it wasn't so hard to get reading. It helped that our moderators provided a guide to their naming conventions and who owns what province because it helped adjusting to the novel a lot easier and listing the characters in the head easier, too. And speaking of characters, I really liked Devin from the start -- he seemed like a very interesting character, and I knew, even if I have essentially no idea what was going to happen in the novel (I didn't read the back cover blurb before I started reading) that he was in for an interesting ride. I liked how he changed from a simple musician to something else, and how he had learned to accept the discovery of his roots and defend it. The other band of people surrounding Devin were so fun to read, too -- they played off each other's characters perfectly, and I liked how they all formed a tight-knit group that were there for each other throughout the story.
But I'm making it sound like it's all light and fluffy. Truth is, it wasn't. Tigana is a book filled with so many twists and turns for the characters to get to a certain goal. The interesting part of this is we don't see just one particular point of view, but several. In Tigana, we also sort of get into the mind of Brandin and Alberico, and the things that surround them. We see their motivations, and how they changed from being this person to another, to the point that it was really kind of hard to choose which side to pick at the end. This gives another layer of depth to the novel, and somehow make it a little more realistic as far as how it parallels real life. Nothing is ever black and white, and even people we have pegged to be a certain kind of person. In a way, I wished there was some sort of happy ending for everyone...but then, you can't always get what you want.
In the end, Tigana brings about a pretty satisfying ending...and then GGK suddenly brings another thing into the mix, and then it's over. This is the first time in the longest time that I wished there was a sequel to a novel, and a high fantasy one at that, that I would totally read. I mean, that ending! How can I not want to know what happens next?
Overall, Tigana was a really great read. I think there were just some parts that seemed unnecessarily long, but like what I said in Les Mis, those parts make up for the novel's background and gives it a richer texture, and I think that's what makes chunkster novels different from the usual 300-400-page books. While I still think that I'm a contemporary girl at heart, I wouldn't mind reading more high fantasy + chunkster novels if they're as good as Tigana.
I wish I could say I'm a huge, huge Gaiman fan like my other friends are, but really, the only Gaiman book I've read in my life is Stardust. I read itI wish I could say I'm a huge, huge Gaiman fan like my other friends are, but really, the only Gaiman book I've read in my life is Stardust. I read it twice and loved it, and I always associate good memories with that book. I meant to read more Gaiman, but the only other book I have at home is The Graveyard Book, which has been in two of our book club's polls but kept on losing to other books so I had no reason to pick it up anytime soon. I knew he was one of those really awesome authors (plus he has the most awesome New Year's messages), and I know I had to read more of his works but it just doesn't really come up in the priority list. So when my friends started raving about The Ocean at the End of the Lane,I was only mildly curious.
Until I saw the book, touched it and realized how pretty the physical copy was. Needless to say, after a few moments of touching the cover, I went ahead and bought the book. Yes, I am easily swayed like that.
The Ocean at the End of the Laneis a short book, about an unnamed narrator who visits his childhood home and goes to the end of the road, where he remembers his childhood friend, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. It started with a man who lived with them who committed suicide, and then all sorts of weird things happened after that, trapping him in a bizarre world that has enchanted his family. It's too much for a little boy to deal with on his own, except that he wasn't really alone because his new friend Lettie promised to protect him at all costs.
The Ocean at the End of the Laneheld me captive from the first page. It had a lovely sort of storytelling that was comforting and creepy at the same time -- you know it's not real, but there's that fear of the things that our hero is getting himself into. I liked how honest and quiet the narration is, how the hero as a boy tried to make sense of things and be brave, even if things are getting creepier and creepier. You can feel all the doubt and worry and fear in him, and I wanted so much for him to prevail, for him to find a way out of things and save his family. It felt a little bit like a fairy tale, with how everything was set up, but also not so much, because there were really some frightening instances. Not scary in the sense of ghosts, or how horror movies were scary, but more of I'm so scared for you type of terror.
I think my favorite part of the entire story is the hero's friendship with Lettie. It's easy to nitpick on the Hempstocks and their abilities, but I won't because other reviewers have done that already. I'd like to focus more on how Gaiman wrote the friendship -- it was my most favorite part of the book. I liked how Lettie stood by him and protected him up to the end. It made the ending a lot more bittersweet, and full of heart. Yes, heart. That's the right word to use -- especially with what I one of the Hempstocks said to the hero near the end of the book:
I think you're doing better than you were the last time we saw you. You're growing a new heart, for a start.
Suffice to say that after reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane,I will start working on reading more Gaiman. If all his books has the same kind of lovely storytelling, then I certainly don't want to miss out. :)
So at the end Queen of the Clueless by Mina V. Esguerra, I was pretty much sad for Hannah, and I was wondering what will happen next. I won't explain why I was sad, but if you've read a lot of trilogies like I do, second books usually end on a sad/cliffhanger note, so it was kind of expected. I was very, very glad to hear that Mina planned to release Hannah's third and last book, Icon of the Indecisive, early, because I need to know what will happen next!
Slight spoilers for the first two books starts here! The story opens on Valentine's Day, the day when Hannah as the Interim Goddess of Love, will become most busy. Hannah is a little bit tired of handling other people's love problems, and she wants to focus on her own this time around. But since Quin is supposed to fall in love with an extraordinary human girl, Hannah figures may it's time to give Robbie the Cute Human a chance. But Quin's acting just a little strange lately. Not to mention there's Vida, who still hasn't explained what she did to Hannah, and Diego, who asks strange things of Hannah. How will Hannah ever focus on her own life now? Spoiler warning ends here.
Let's just say this book had me...er, squeeing more than half the time. Hee. There were many, many things I wanted to ask at the end of the second book, but I'm very glad to report that this third book delivers. Questions were answered here, and loose ends were tied up nicely, with a lot more explanations to what the gods and goddesses can do. I liked that Hannah can do more goddess-y stuff here, and that we get to see her grow more here with her own decisions in life. I like that there's more Robbie the Cute Human here (because he is a cute human :D), and there's just a lot more swoon here.
As far as the ending goes...I got the ending I wanted. But it's not just that, and I liked the message about how these characters will get to that ending. I won't say anything more, but if we've talked about these books lately, then you'll know why I was very happy with how this ended. Veryhappy. <3
Okay, I was partially squeeing there, did you notice? I actually got to read the book waaay earlier than the release because Mina asked me to be a part of the Interim Goddess of Love audio commentary (with Chachic, Chris and Meann) that you can download here. Not only do you get to hear us talk, but you also get to hear some juicy trivia about the series. But listen to it after you're done with the series, because you don't really want to be spoiled. :)
If you want something cute, light with so many #feels, or if you just want an easy introduction to Filipino fiction with a bit of Filipino folklore, make sure you pick up the Interim Goddess of Love series. And lucky you who won't have to wait long to see how Hannah's story ends. :)...more
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrellby Susanna Clarke is one of those books that passed by my radar, and I briefly coOriginal post from One More Page
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrellby Susanna Clarke is one of those books that passed by my radar, and I briefly considered reading it because I knew some people liked it...until I saw its length. Then I walked away, thinking that this is probably one of those books that I will not read anytime soon, and I would be quite content not to read it within my lifetime since it's too thick, and I'm not exactly a huge fantasy reader anyway.
But you know what's the most effective way for me to read a book that I never thought I'd be reading ever? Peer pressure. Or, give it to me as a gift. That is exactly what my friend Aaron did last Christmas, and I always make it a point to read the books gifted to me. The good thing is, he also gave a copy of this book to other friends in the book club, so we formed a little reading group for this last April to get us through this chunkster together.
It's not that I was really intimidated by it. After all, I finished the tome that is Les Misérables.Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is like, 700 pages less than Victor Hugo's book. This should be easy.
It's the 19th century, and magic has been long dead in England. Or so people thought, until an English gentleman named Gilbert Norrell showed everyone that magic is not dead. He becomes the only magician in England for a moment, helping the English government win in the Napoleonic wars, and maybe raising a certain dead woman on the side, too. Then another magician comes - young Jonathan Strange, who becomes Mr. Norrell's apprentice. But the two of them are as different as night and day: while Norrell relies on books and follows magic to the letter, Strange likes to play with it, try new things and maybe even find a way to summon the Raven King just to learn more about magic. Clashing personalities, fairies, prophecies, war and a ton of footnotes follow these two magicians,
I finished reading this book in 34 days, 4 days late than the supposed reading schedule. I figure I would have finished this earlier if my April wasn't so busy, because Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrellis quite engaging. The old English language wasn't so hard to understand, and we get treated to interesting characters and situations from the start. I honestly had no idea what the book was about when I started reading it except that it was about these two people on the title, and for a moment I thought Strange was Mr. Norrell's biographer. Heh. The book isn't just about magic, though, or just the two gentlemen. If it was, then it would've been far shorter, yes? This is part historical (or alternate history, rather), so I found myself in a lot of war scenes in the book that were far more interesting than the ones I read in Les Misérables. Case in point: I slogged through the Waterloo part of Les Mis but breezed through the one here, because of Jonathan Strange. It is true: magic makes things more interesting. ;)
Another thing that I can't not mention about this book is the footnotes, and the sheer amount of them. I don't mind footnotes -- in fact, I find them quite fun when I encounter them in books. Granted, they were distracting, especially when they span pages and pages in the book, just like how it was in this book. Theyr'e not really important, but as some of my buddies said, it provided a richer reading experience of Strange and Norrell's story.
I enjoyed reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, I really did. Perhaps my only gripe in this book is how it really dragged at some point. It wasn't exactly boring -- not as boring as say, that chapter on Parisian slang in Les Mis, or the part about the sewer -- but man did they drag. The second volume was interesting, but it took a really long time before some things really started happening. I suppose, like Les Mis, it adds more texture to the story, but it can get pretty tiresome after some time. Let's get moving, please.
I have to hand it to the author, though, because when things started happening, they really started happening. Then I find that I can hardly put it down. While I wouldn't exactly describe the last part unputdownable, the action made me want to just keep reading because I need to know how it ends. I liked how the ending wrapped up a lot of the loose ends in the first parts, but not without leaving a few more to leave the readers longing a little. Getting to the end was slightly bittersweet because I spent a lot of time in their world, and also just because of that ending.
So while there were some dragging parts, Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrellwas quite enjoyable, even for someone who was peer pressured to read it. ;) It's a happy kind of peer pressure, though! And yeah, add me to the list of people who's excited to see its BBC adaptation. I'm quite excited to see how they'd show the magic on the screen...and that man with thistle-down hair. :)...more
You know how I said that I probably would not drop by Komikon if the Trese 5 release wasn't announced? I take it back --Original post at One More Page
You know how I said that I probably would not drop by Komikon if the Trese 5 release wasn't announced? I take it back -- I realize that I would have probably gone there anyway, just to support Paolo's newest release, Mythspace. It's not that I did not know about his newest project. I heard of it, but I was too busy in the past weeks before Komikon to check the Mythspace Monday posts he had up on his blog leading to the release. In a way that is a blessing in disguise, because now that I've read the sampler they released last Komikon, I'm catching up on the posts which I hope will tide me over until Mythspace fully launches.
What is Mythspace, anyway? Pao talks about it in detail in this post, but if you want the quick, one-line summary: Mythspace is what happens when Philippine folklore meets science fiction, specifically aliens. This new series plays on the idea that the creatures we know from folk tales and movies not simply monsters from our grandparents' stories, but you know, creatures from outer space. Sounds crazy, yes?
But you know what? It actually works.
Mythspace #0is the preview issue for the science fiction anthology. Here we can read a bit of two stories from the anthology, as well as preview of the art from the different illustrators: Koi Carreon, Borg Sinaban, Jules Gregorio, Mico Dimagiba, Cristina Rose Chua, Paul Quiroga. I'm not a good judge of art, but I liked that each story seemed to have its own personality because of the artist. I also liked reading the previews for the two longest stories there, with Liftoff having that mystery-in-space type of story with a somewhat angst-ridden hero, and Unfurling of Wings reminding me so much of the chimaera world in Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. There's also a bit of information on the aliens we will meet in the issues. My favorites are the Kapre and the Manananggal - somehow, these versions are less scary than what I heard from stories growing up.
Overall, I loved this preview. The booklet is short, so everything ends before you feel like you really know things, but it's a good thing because I am totally looking forward to the release of the first installment of the anthology in 2013. Now I'm pretty sure that the world will not (and cannot!) end on December 2012 -- after all, we still need to have the rest of the Mythspace anthology in our grubby little hands. :) ...more
It's the summer before Clara and Angela goes to Stanford, and they spend it in Italy. What a summer vacation, right? BOriginal post from One More Page
It's the summer before Clara and Angela goes to Stanford, and they spend it in Italy. What a summer vacation, right? But Clara was desperate to get away from everything that has happened to her and her family just recently, and Angela just wanted to discover more of their angel stuff...or so Clara thought.
I thought I didn't have to read Radiantbefore I get to read Boundless, but I'm glad I had some sense to get this because I wouldn't have understood the final book in the Unearthly series if I didn't. Radiant alternates from Angela to Clara, and for the first time since Unearthly, we get to see Angela's side in things. Is she evil? Is there something about her that will harm Clara and make us hate her? This novella sort of answers that, and we see Angela's side -- the little of it anyway. It makes you wonder if this book will mean something in the end, if the events here would lead to something.
So is Angela evil? I will leave it up to you to find out. Radiantis enjoyable, but it left me a bit wary of Angela and the repercussions of her actions here. I think one can still understand the next book without really reading this, but if you're a fan of the series, you'll want to read this one, anyway. :)...more
So the news of the fifth installmentof the graphic novel Trese by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo totally took me by suOriginal post at One More Page
So the news of the fifth installmentof the graphic novel Trese by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo totally took me by surprise. I wasn't supposed to pass by the Komikon on the last weekend of October because I thought I didn't have anything to go there for. And then I saw the Facebook update from the publisher and that made me adjust my weekend plans, stat.
When weird things happen in the city, the police call Alexandra Trese. However, there seemed to be someone else who's answering these calls before Trese can get to them. Someone who's faster, and who's slowly gaining popularity because of his public antics. Trese gets to the bottom of it quick, and finds that there's more to the surface with this being who's doing her job for her.
I'm making the summary vague on purpose because it's good not to be spoiled with this issue. This is a common storyline, really, where someone else tries to take the job of our hero/heroine and can often do it better than them, which makes our star a less credible hero. But more often than not, this replacement hero/heroine has bad intentions, which our hero/heroine will uncover in the end. Trese #5 followed that pattern and then veered away from it, making it more interesting than it already is.
Midnight Tribunalfollows the same format that Mass Murdersdid, with four interconnected stories instead of independent cases. I loved how old characters showed up again, like the nuno (who is now asking for Kitkat instead of Chocnut) and Maliksi, the young tikbalang bachelor who will definitely play a big part in the later issues. I love, love, love the Kambal, with their funny quips and awesome, awesome lines. They're definitely funnier now than they were before, but they were also just as kick-ass as their boss.
I loved how there was more development in Trese's story arc here, and important characters were introduced in this installment that I am definitely looking forward to reading about in the next! This is definitely one of my favorites in the series, and I am one very, very happy fan. :) I cannot wait to know what happens next!...more
I read the first book in the Curse Workers series more than a year ago, so it took me a while to get into Red Glove. I had to resist the urge to browsI read the first book in the Curse Workers series more than a year ago, so it took me a while to get into Red Glove. I had to resist the urge to browse through the first book because I was under time pressure to read this, and also because I want to see if I would be smart enough to figure out all the cons since the Curse Worker novels are essentially con novels. :P
I'm not going to talk about the story in this review to avoid the spoilers for the first book (and it's more fun to see it unfold on your own). Red Glove was darker compared to White Cat. It feels less YA than the first book, with all the killing and mystery murder, and death. Cassel was less of an unreliable narrator here, because his memory was back, but there's still a lot of confusion with what exactly was happening. Even so, it was fun to read, and I easily got into Cassel and the Curse Worker world despite having read the first novel years back. I enjoyed Cassel and his interaction with his friends, and the FBI agents, and his family - and I felt really sympathetic with him for all the mess that he gets himself into. I mean, really. But Cassel had good friends, anyway, and a good family, too, despite all their crooked ways.
The cons here felt more elaborate and as I said, darker, but later we get reminded that Cassel was still a kid, and there's still a chance for him to be not like the bad guys who desperately try to recruit him. Red Glove is a mafia x urban fantasy x murder mystery x con novel all rolled into one, and if you're a fan of any of these (or if you just want to read something out of your comfort zone) then you will definitely enjoy this. (But read White Cat first. :D)
But of course, since this novel is the second book in a trilogy, the ending left me wanting for more. I really enjoyed Red Glove (despite the time I had to speed-read it! Hihi), and I'm really looking forward to reading Black Heart. :) ...more
The first time I heard about The Raven Boys, I wasn't really that curious. I read some of Maggie Stiefvater's boo* Also posted at I Like It Dog-Eared
The first time I heard about The Raven Boys, I wasn't really that curious. I read some of Maggie Stiefvater's books, but I wasn't a super duper fan unlike others. I received the book as a gift, but I let it sit in my TBR for a long time, and every time I see it (just like when I see other books on my TBR, actually), I tell myself that I will read it, one day. One day. That day finally came when I realized that I've been reading too much on Hannah the Kindle and I wanted to feel pages in my fingers, so I picked a book randomly from my TBR pile. I picked The Raven Boys, scanned through the first chapter and decided to read it.
Blue Sargeant belongs to a family of psychics, but she's not one. She couldn't see or hear or predict anything, but she comes along with them because she could amplify their powers. Every year, on St. Mark's Eve, Blue goes with her mother in the church yard where they watch and get the names of all the soon-to-be-dead as they walk along the corpse road. That night, instead of Blue's mother, her aunt Neeve comes in her stead, and for the first time ever, Blue sees someone, and this soon-to-be-dead boy speaks to her. The thing is, Blue has always been told that she would kill her true love with a kiss, so seeing this boy and speaking to him made her even more determined to stay far away from him. But her path crosses with this boy, Gansey, warm and alive and also an Aglionby boy, one of the rich ones from the private school nearby. Even if she vowed to stay away, she finds herself drawn to him, and to his three friends Adam, Ronan, and Noah, in their quest to find a magical line and a supposedly long-dead Welsh king.
People told me that the book starts out slow, and I need to be patient, so I thought it was going to be a slow read. Lo and behold, I was finished after two days. It was that good, my friends. (Or, I just really needed a breather from all the "heavier" books I've been reading.)
One thing I really loved about Maggie Stiefvater's books is the writing, in all her beautifully descriptive, mood-setting prose. That is still present in The Raven Boys,but instead of it setting the scene like in The Scorpio Races, most of the words were used to describe the characters, the real stars of the book. I loved how each character came alive soon after they were introduced in the book. Their voices were clear and unique, and you knew exactly who she was referring to and who was speaking in the entire text. I loved how there were more points of view here, and I read how one character saw another -- even if most of the POVs switch from Blue to Gansey to Adam. I didn't exactly feel like I was one of them when I read this; it was more like I was given a chance to see and observe them privately, hovering around the corners and seeing how they interact with one another.
And I loved it. I loved all the characters, from Blue to her family and to the boys and their own complicated lives. I remember not being able to choose between Gansey and Adam, and hardly paying attention to the other two boys but later they grew on me, and I loved them fiercely as Blue did (although she wouldn't really admit that yet). I liked their friendship - how the boys all look out for each other and are solidly on each other's side especially when others threatened one of them. I think everyone's made this comparison already, but the boys really reminded me of the boys in the movie The Covenant, and my friend Kai and I even tried to match each of the Raven Boys to the Witches of Ipswich. :D
I was surprised at how fast I read The Raven Boys, but I wasn't really surprised with how much I liked it. I think halfway through the book, I was already convinced that I would like it, anyway. And I was so, so glad that I had its sequel, The Dream Thieves, on my TBR when I was done reading. Gimme more, please. :)...more
I received a copy of Brightest during our 7th Face to Face discussion for our book club, where Jho, from Isshin Dream PuOriginal post at One More Page
I received a copy of Brightest during our 7th Face to Face discussion for our book club, where Jho, from Isshin Dream Publishing, gave away copies. I was curious, and I have a soft spot for local, self-published books, so I got one and read it immediately the next day after the event (when I've caught up on sleep, that is). :) Brightestis the story of a firefly catcher who got lost trying to find his way home. As he went through the forest, he runs into a broken firefly who was also lost -- lost long ago, and has given up on finding himself again.
I liked it. The illustrations were gorgeous, as well as the printing -- it was such a pretty book that I almost didn't want it to end. It felt like a good bed time story, something that parents would read to kids who don't feel like sleeping, or at least, to read to kids who have trouble sleeping in fear of nightmares. I guess the older reader in me just started questioning some things, like why exactly was the firefly broken? I didn't quite get that, but maybe that's me over thinking it.
Overall, though, Brightest was a lovely book, and it's one that I would probably give to my brother and sister-in-law once they have kids. :) ...more
I wouldn't have heard of this short story if it wasn't for my Goodreads friends who started reviewing it on their profilOriginal post at One More Page
I wouldn't have heard of this short story if it wasn't for my Goodreads friends who started reviewing it on their profiles.The Paper Menagerie is a short story about a boy whose mom was a mail-order bride from China who can barely speak English and can make magical paper origami. The boy had a collection of moving paper animals from his mother as a kid, and it was their odd but sweet means of communication. However, as the boy grew up, he had to deal with his friends who don't understand their family set-up and eventually, he started drifting apart from his mother.
This short story reminded me of all those stories that I used to read as a kid, the ones that make me feel guilty and inspired at the same time -- guilty because I know that I can be like the kid who push away her parents because I am starting to have my own life, but also inspired because it makes me not want to have the same fate as the kids in the story. The fantasy elements in The Paper Menagerie were indeed gentle, and at first I wasn't sure if I read it right. It made me wonder for a moment if origami paper animals were really supposed to move and I've been doing the things I used to do wrong.
This is short and sweet, and it would take little time to read it. It left me with a feeling that...well, I don't want to end up being like the boy in the end. It's not the kind of regret that anyone wants to have, for sure. You can read The Paper Menagerie here, or listen to the story here....more