I've been curious about Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard ever since it first came out and I saw positive reviews popping up all ovOriginally posted here.
I've been curious about Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard ever since it first came out and I saw positive reviews popping up all over the blogosphere. I have no idea why I put off reading it though. I was able to borrow a copy from my good friend Celina and I decided to read it right after my Hong Kong trip because I still had a vacation hangover. I figured I'd enjoy reading a YA book that focuses on traveling while I was in that kind of mood - I was right.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Wanderlove. At the start of the novel, I was a bit annoyed at Bria because she's never gone out of the country and she makes an impulsive decision to join a tour group, without even researching the details of the trip. I mean, how hard can it be to Google the destinations? But that was a passing thing because I quickly learned to like her as the story progressed. She has her own reasons for trying to move forward without looking back at the past. I'm all for budget flights and cheap accommodations when traveling but I don't think I have what it takes to be a backpacker. So it was a lot of fun for me to read Bria's adventures with backpacking experts Starling and Rowan. There are certain aspects of Latin America that reminded me of the Philippines - third world countries, beautiful beaches and diving sites - so I feel like that's another thing that added to my enjoyment of the story. Here's a nice little passage that highlights this (Rowan is the one speaking):
"What everyone forgets - even me - is the people who actually live here. In places like Central America, I mean. Southeast Asia. India. Africa. Millions, even billions, of people, who live out their whole lives in these places - the places so many people like us fear. Think about it: they ride chicken buses to work every day. Their clothes are always damp. Their whole lives, they never escape the dust and the heat. But they deal with all these discomforts. They have to.
So why can't travelers? If we've got the means to get here, we owe it to the country we're visiting not to treat it like an amusement park, sanitized for our comfort. It's insulting to the people who live here. People just trying to have the best lives they can, with the hands they've been dealt."
My clothes aren't always damp but yes, it's pretty humid over here. I wonder if there are backpackers all over the Philippines? I always see a lot of foreigners whenever I go to popular tourist destinations here but I have no idea if some of them are backpackers. Anyway, back to the story, Bria is an artist and there are several sketches (drawn by the author herself, I believe) included all throughout the story. Sample artwork from Kirsten Hubbard's Goodreads review:
I'm a big fan of slow burn romance and Wanderlove definitely has that. Even though the book spans only a couple of weeks, I still felt like the romance took time to form. The characters really got to know each other before deciding that they want to pursue a relationship. I just wish the ending was a bit longer so I could have read more scenes between them. Even if I don't think the male lead is my type of guy, how can you not swoon a little bit for someone who is an avid reader? Always squeezing in reading time in hammocks instead of partying like crazy with the rest of the secondary characters. If you're a fan of that kind of romance or contemporary YA novels about traveling, then Wanderlove is the book for you. I'd love to read more novels like this so feel free to recommend similar titles.
Reader and Raelynx by Sharon Shinn is the fourth book in the Twelve Houses series. My friend Celina of The Bookkeeper was niceOriginally posted here.
Reader and Raelynx by Sharon Shinn is the fourth book in the Twelve Houses series. My friend Celina of The Bookkeeper was nice enough to let me borrow her copy of this book. As always, thanks! Reading order: Mystic and Rider, The Thirteenth House, Dark Moon Defender, Reader and Raelynx, Fortune and Fate. Should the books be read in order? Yes. Also, don't read any of the synopses of the latter books if you haven't read the earlier ones. They contain spoilery bits. Seriously, what is up with the summaries for these books? They all have spoilers. Reader and Raelynx is about the mystic Cammon, the last of the six companions featured in the series. In this world, mystics are people who have magical abilities. Cammon's skill lies in being able to read people - while he can't exactly read minds, he can still get a sense of what people are feeling and what their intentions are. He can spot violence miles away because that emotion stands out. He can also sense the other companions in the series - Senneth, Tayse, Kirra, Donnal and Justin - wherever they end up in the country. Cammon's talents are pretty useful when it comes to spotting danger. At the start of the novel, he's assigned to protect the princess and help her in selecting the right husband. Princess Amalie needs to marry and preferably produce an heir to the throne so the succession would become less of a problem for the kingdom. So Cammon's job is pretty important. I found it easy to like Cammon as a character because he's nice, friendly and has good intentions. He doesn't care about material wealth and is actually pretty clueless about social classes. He judges people based on how he feels about them and not on how influential they are to the realm.
Out of all the books that I've read in the Twelve Houses series, Reader and Raelynx is the one that I like the most. I feel like the rest of the books are all about the build up and the climax occurs in this book. Right from the start of the series, war has been brewing in the land and the six companions are doing everything that they can to support the king and keep the peace. There's not much that I can say without giving away details or spoilers about the plot so let me leave it at this: Big Events happen during Reader and Raelynx and a lot of secrets are revealed. I didn't find any of the revelations surprising but I still enjoyed reading about them. As expected, all the other companions are present in this novel and that's one thing that I like about this series - all of the books focus on one set of characters and the story arc ties them all together. I appreciate knowing more about the characters from the other books and I liked seeing them in this one. The last novel in the series is more a companion novel because it doesn't focus on the initial six companions and is set a couple of years after this one so no need to hurry to read it. Like I said in my reviews of the other books, I recommend this series to fans of epic fantasy. Overall, I still like the Samaria series more than the Twelve Houses novels but at this point, Sharon Shinn is pretty much an auto-buy (or auto-read) author for me.
I couldn't find a copy of the book cover with a higher resolution but I did see the artwork used for it on Tumblr:
I'm not a big fan of zombies in fiction so I wasn't initially curious about it but then I started seeing positive reviews fromOriginally posted here.
I'm not a big fan of zombies in fiction so I wasn't initially curious about it but then I started seeing positive reviews from several of the blogs that I follow. I decided to give it a try when I was able to borrow a copy from fellow Filipino book blogger Jason of Taking a Break. Thanks Jason!
A zombie love story? Pretty unusual, right? I normally think of zombies as gross but I wasn't even worried about the ick factor because like I said, I kept hearing good things about this novel. I'm glad I picked it up because I really enjoyed Isaac Marion's writing. I liked how introspective R is as a zombie. Even though he can't even remember his name and he has a hard time articulating what he wants to say, there are so many complicated thoughts running in his brain. I was also pleasantly surprised at the humor that I found in the first few chapters of the book and I'm a fan of R's friendship with fellow zombie, M. Considering how limited their speech is, R and M's conversations still manage to be entertaining. Although I haven't read that many zombie novels, I think it's a different approach to be inside a zombie's head and I feel like that's something that sets this book apart from other zombie books out there.
Zombies are not usually the heroes of the story - they're usually not capable of much thought and are meant to be killed off to move the story along. This book is differs from the usual zombie lore because it deals with the remaining humanity of zombies. Sure, they're dead and they physically differ from humans, but they still have feelings. In R's case, he's a zombie who doesn't want to be one. He feels the zombie hunger for human flesh and brains but he doesn't relish the feeling. And I think he welcomes the change in himself when he consumes a teenage guy's brain and develops a connection with the guy's girlfriend, Julie. He suddenly feels the need to protect Julie instead of eat her and that's how a very unusual friendship starts. Readers get both points of view - from the zombies trapped in their existence to the humans struggling to survive in a world populated by creatures bent on devouring them. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that both parties aren't happy with the current situation and both Julie and R try to find a way to change things. I think I mostly enjoyed this novel because of R's character and how unexpectedly profound his thoughts were for a zombie. I recommend this one to fans of zombie novels or dystopian fiction. Or actually I think this is one zombie novel that can be recommended for non-zombie fans like me....more
I've been neglecting the Aussie YA Challenge the past few months because I still have the rest of the year to finish it and I oOriginally posted here.
I've been neglecting the Aussie YA Challenge the past few months because I still have the rest of the year to finish it and I only need two more books. But when my good friend Celina offered to let me borrow her copy of Pink by Lili Wilkinson, I decided to go ahead and read it. I've been hearing good things about this book. Also, that's one less book for me to buy. Thanks again, Celina, for lending your copy. :)
Pink is a delightful, contemporary Aussie read. It's all about how the main character, Ava, is confused about a lot of things in her life. She thinks her girlfriend Chloe is awesome and she feels lucky to be in a relationship but she also wants to explore and discover other things about herself. She's tired of always wearing black and trying not to care about school because that's what Chloe wants. So she transfers to Billy Hughes so she can wear pink, act all girly and maybe even date a guy. Ava just didn't realize that things aren't so simple. It's hard to form friendships when she's hiding so much about herself. She doesn't even know when she's just pretending and when she's being real. I think Pink's storyline is something that most teenagers will be able to relate to. I can remember being confused about so many things in my life back when I was that age so I could definitely understand where Ava is coming from. As Ava finds out for herself, it takes time for things to fall into place. You can't just magically be somebody else even when you transfer schools.
As with most novels set in high school, the characters are divided into the popular and unpopular groups - in this case, the actors vs. the stage crew. I've always liked theater settings in novels because there's so much that happens in preparation for a play or a musical (and also because I like watching theater productions in real life). The characters get to bond over rehearsals or while building sets. I've said this before and I'll say it again, Aussie YA rocks. Why can't Filipino YA be the same? :P Pink is funny and very easy to read. Ava is one smart girl but some of the things that she gets herself into are hilarious. I felt embarrassed for her several times. But I was always rooting for her, I wanted her to make sense of everything that was confusing in her life. Ava makes mistakes along the way but that's part of growing up. I think she did the best that she could and that's all that we can ever ask of anyone. I recommend this for fans of contemporary fiction and international readers should take advantage of the fact that this has been printed in the US so it's more accessible than other Aussie titles. I'm already looking forward to reading Lili Wilkinson's A Pocketful of Things. ...more
I believe some people classify Elsewhere as dystopian but I don't think it falls under that sub-genre. The premise of this noveOriginally posted here.
I believe some people classify Elsewhere as dystopian but I don't think it falls under that sub-genre. The premise of this novel is fresh and unique as it deals with what happens after a certain person's death. There have been a lot of YA novels dealing with death this year (like Before I Fall and The Sky is Everywhere) but Elsewhere is different because it focuses on the afterlife. Liz is almost sixteen when she dies and she feels cheated because she's still so young and her abrupt death was caused by a hit and run accident. It's ironic actually because even as the book follows Liz's life after death, I think the main message of the story is to live life to the fullest and to make the most of what we have.
"A life isn't measured in hours and minutes. It's the quality, not the length." Ain't that the truth. Liz isn't less of a person just because she died young. She also comes to her own as she stays longer in Elsewhere and I believe she did the best that she could with the opportunities that she was given with, which is the most that we can expect out of anyone. I really liked the concept and the idea of Elsewhere. Death is such a natural part of life and most of us have probably experienced the death of a loved one. I think that we comfort ourselves with the idea that after this life, people go to a better place where there's no need to worry about money, health and the usual mundane things that we have to think about in this world. That idea makes it easier for us to accept death and go on with the rest of our lives. While Elsewhere isn't exactly heavenly, it's a comforting kind of place. If you're up for an interesting story, then I suggest you read this one. I'm glad that I picked this up and thanks to Holly for recommending it. :) I should stop being surprised at how profound a simple YA novel can be....more
Grace is a dystopian novel with a unique premise. At only 200 pages, it packs quite a punch. It's amazing how so much can be coOriginally posted here.
Grace is a dystopian novel with a unique premise. At only 200 pages, it packs quite a punch. It's amazing how so much can be conveyed by a slim novel. Grace lives in a world filled with violence. She belongs to the People, the group determined to fight against the dictator Keran Berj. She has been trained to become a suicide bomber and she should consider it a great honor to die serving the People. But Grace doesn't want to die. In a world where everyone is told what their purpose in life is, she is considered a failure. Grace portrays a situation eerily similar to what is happening in some parts of the world today. It is a grim and a very emotional novel but ultimately, the message that it carries is one of hope as it is about a young girl's story of how she fights for her life and her freedom. The premise is unique and so different from the usual YA pickings.
Even though I recognize Elizabeth Scott's excellent writing in this one, it's not a book that I fell in love with. I think this has more to do with me rather than anything with the book - I don't think I'm cut out for dystopian novels. I feel like the premise is too bleak. If you're into that kind of thing or if you're a fan of dystopia, then I highly recommend this novel. It really is a compelling read and even I don't understand why I didn't love it. This is the first Elizabeth Scott that I've read and I look forward to reading more of her books even if they're from different genres....more
I liked the worldbuilding in this one - how curse workers can wield their magic with just the touch of a hand. Holly Black creaOriginally posted here.
I liked the worldbuilding in this one - how curse workers can wield their magic with just the touch of a hand. Holly Black created a dark urban fantasy setting and filled up the story with a lot of intrigue. Workers are usually members of the mob and everyone has to wear gloves to avoid getting cursed. Cassel is the only non-worker in his entire family but since he grew up surrounded by con artists, he finds it easy to dupe people. His mom even trained him to con people when he was younger. In his private school, he tries to blend in by staying below the radar and not doing anything to draw attention to himself. Even though he tries to be a regular guy, he can't help but take advantage of his rich classmates by running a betting ring. His cloak of anonymity comes off when Cassel starts having strange dreams accompanied by sleepwalking.
I enjoyed reading this one more than Holly Black's fairy books so I recommend this to those who gave up on that other series (I know I did, I didn't even read the third book). It's set in a different world but the writing is just as dark and gritty as her other books. I think one of the reasons why I liked this better is because it doesn't focus on a love story so it has less teenage angst. It focuses more on Cassel and his unusual relationship with his family. Cassel has always felt like an outsider in his family and as he gets more and more clues, he starts to suspect that they're keeping more from him than normal worker secrets. In a family where each member can manipulate you with the touch of a bare hand, trust is a pretty big issue. The story has a lot of twists and turns and as it progresses, the reader is kept guessing on what's the truth. While I didn't find White Cat amazing, I still recommend it to fans of urban fantasy. I have a feeling that other people will like this more than I did.
I love the gloves in this mock advertisement set in White Cat's world, which I got from here:
First off, let's talk about that cover. I've liked that cover ever since I first saw it around the blogosphere. A girl and a guOriginally posted here.
First off, let's talk about that cover. I've liked that cover ever since I first saw it around the blogosphere. A girl and a guy kissing in the rain, while leaning out the windows of vintage cars. The best thing about it is that it actually happens in the book! In Rules of Attraction, the male protagonist is Carlos, Alex's brother. Alex is the male protagonist in Perfect Chemistry. A few years have passed since the first book and we see glimpses of both Alex and Brittany in this one. Essentially, the premise of this one is similar to the first book's - bad boy meets good girl and they fall in love. I find it funny that in Perfect Chemistry, there was a reference to Grease and in this one, there's a reference in West Side Story. I don't mind that the plot isn't anything new because even though we know how it will end, it's how we get there that matters.
Both Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction are books that I would've loved to read as a teenager. Carlos acts tough but it's really just an act because he's always afraid that his loved ones will leave him. Like his brother Alex, Carlos was a member of a gang but it seems like he only joined just because that's the life that he was used to. I'm glad that Kiara's parents are kind enough to take Carlos in and give him a chance to finish high school. I like how Kiara is different from Brittany. Kiara's not popular and in fact, has only one good friend: her best bud Tuck. She also enjoys sports and fixing up her old car. So it's pretty obvious that Carlos and Kiara are opposites and we all know that opposites attract. Simone Elkeles throws in plenty of humor in this one and I found myself chuckling in some scenes. Rules of Attraction is very easy to read, it's the kind of book that you finish in one sitting. I recommend it for fans of YA contemporary romance. Can't wait to read the final book in the trilogy and find out what happens to the last Fuentes brother. Also, I'm on the lookout for another Simone Elkeles book - Leaving Paradise....more
At first I thought this one is an epic fantasy novel, probably because you don't see a lot of dragons in urban fantasy. A few pOriginally posted here.
At first I thought this one is an epic fantasy novel, probably because you don't see a lot of dragons in urban fantasy. A few pages in and I knew that it was going to be a YA paranormal romance. Same old Romeo and Juliet love story but with a draki and a hunter as its main characters. At one point, Will even said, "the hunter has fallen in love with his prey." For me, this sounds mighty similar to, "and the lion fell in love with the lamb." So if you go for those kinds of books, then this one is right up your alley. I'm not a huge fan of books like this because all of them tend to be similar.
Still, I liked the draconic lore intertwined in the story - how draki are descendants of ancient dragons and how they're able to shift from human form to draki form. There are a lot of different draki types with various special abilities - there are those who can stay under water, those who specialize in herbs and healing and so on and so forth. Jacinda is special because they haven't had a fire-breather draki for hundreds of years. Firelight is the first in a series and there's so much more than can be explored in this world in the next books. It was interesting to read Firelight and I didn't have a hard time finishing the book but I'm not sure if I'll pick up the next one in the series. The book focused more on the romance when I would've liked to know more about the history and lifestyle of the draki. I know it will find a lot of fans though because YA paranormal romance is a big thing right now....more
It's amazing how an invitation to afternoon tea can change everything and yet that is what happens when Penelope is dragged byOriginally posted here.
It's amazing how an invitation to afternoon tea can change everything and yet that is what happens when Penelope is dragged by Charlotte to tea at Aunt Clare's. Penelope lives in a crumbling, ancestral home called Milton Magna with her younger brother and mother. Penelope's mother, Talitha, is a sensational beauty who doesn't quite know what to do with the house and her children now that her husband is gone because of the war. Money is a constant problem in their everyday lives. Penelope and Charlotte's fateful meeting at a bus stop signals the start of a beautiful friendship as they are both young teenage girls who belong to the unique class of impoverished toffs. While these two girls have very different personalities - Penelope is reserved while Charlotte is vivacious and bursting with enthusiasm - they have a lot in common such as their undying love for the American singer Johnnie Ray, the pressure that they feel to look for a rich man to marry and wanting to buy lovely clothes that they can't afford. When Penelope is asked by Charlotte's cousin Harry to accompany him to a party to make his ex-girlfriend jealous, Penelope gets swept away to the sparkling and glamorous world of 1950s London.
I don't think I've ever read anything like The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets. I enjoyed reading about England in the 1950s and how young people are adjusting after the war. It's a world filled with Dior gowns from Selfridges, jazz music, cigarette smoke and champagne. I've always known that the Philippines is heavily influenced by American pop culture and I found it funny that apparently, London in the 1950s was the same. While Penelope, Charlotte and all other English girls are madly in love with Johnnie Ray, her brother Inigo is obsessed with Elvis Presley. Things that come from America are viewed as shiny, interesting and worthy of reverence (even Americans themselves). Isn't it delightful when you find something in common with a novel set halfway across the world in a time before your parents were even born? At its heart, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is an enchanting coming-of-age story spiced with complicated family relationships, newfound friendships, young love and even has a house (Milton Magna) that feels like it's a character in the book rather than a place. This is a captivating novel with well-developed, quirky characters that you can't help but like. Highly recommended for fans of novels set in England or for anyone who's looking for something different....more
Lakewalkers are soldiers who have a special kind of magic and are tasked to get rid of the evil beings called malices. Non-LakeOriginally posted here.
Lakewalkers are soldiers who have a special kind of magic and are tasked to get rid of the evil beings called malices. Non-Lakewalker people are usually called farmers even if they don't necessarily farm for a living. The two kinds of people don't mix because farmers don't understand the Lakewalker kind of life and the magic that they use. Dag is a Lakewalker patroller. Fawn is a young farmer girl who ran away from her family, hoping to find a better life in the city. These two are unexpectedly thrown together when they're forced to confront a malice. At its core, Beguilement is a love story set in a fantasy world. There's a lot of tension between the two of them as they try to fight their attraction. There are several reasons why they shouldn't be together, not the least of which is their age difference, but as they get to know each other more, they realize that they're fighting a losing battle. There's a lot of action in the first few chapters of the book and the latter ones are dedicated to the blossoming relationship between Dag and Fawn.
Can I just say that I was really excited when I found out that Dag had one hand missing and he's still more than capable of being an excellent patroller? I have this thing for one-handed characters with amazing fighting skills. I don't what to say why because it might give away spoilers but I'm sure several of you will understand why this is interesting for me. :) I also like Fawn and her vivacious and inquisitive nature. She's the perfect balance for an old, weary patroller who's given up hope of being happy in life.
I like the world created by Ms. Bujold in this one and while I am curious as to what happens next to both Dag and Fawn, I think I can wait until I've brought down my TBR to a more decent number. Still, I applaud Ms. Bujold for being an amazing writer in whatever genre she tackles - be it romantic fantasy or science fiction. I look forward to reading more of her work. Recommended for fans of fantasy with romantic elements. If you've read this and the other books in the series, please let me know what you think of them!...more
This one is different from the other two because it doesn't concentrate on the "Joy of the Envelope" letter exchange program beOriginally posted here.
This one is different from the other two because it doesn't concentrate on the "Joy of the Envelope" letter exchange program between the two schools, Ashbury and Brookefield. Instead, the story is told from Bindy's point of view through her diary entries, reports about her Friendship and Development (FAD) sessions and her random musings. Bindy is the type of character that you'd either really love or really hate. At the start of the book, she's pretty easy to dislike because she's so full of herself. However, I found her funny because she's such a character! If you don't take her seriously, I think you'll see that she's hilarious. She's puzzled most of the time because she doesn't understand other people. She lacks social skills so she doesn't have friends and she's totally focused on school work. The first part was pretty slow for me but things started to pick up in the second half of the book and by the time I reached the last few chapters, I knew I had to stick with it until the end - meaning I had to stay up until past 1am even though I wake up at 5am for work.
As with the other two Jaclyn Moriartys that I've read, this one is about friendship. I like how the three books deal with different kinds of friendship. In Feeling Sorry for Celia, it was all about best friends. In The Year of Secret Assignments, it was about the loyalty of a small group of three friends. In this one, it's about forming friendships with a whole group. Like I said, Bindy doesn't really have any friends and she thinks the FAD sessions are a waste of valuable time because she'd rather study. This book is all about Bindy and how she learns more about herself by reaching out to her fellow classmates. Another humorous installment in Jaclyn Moriarty's Ashbury series. What's good about this one is that it gives glimpses of the main characters in the first two books - Elizabeth from Feeling Sorry for Celia and Emily from The Year of Secret Assignments....more
Colin is obsessed with becoming a genius and doing something remarkable that will make him matter in the world. When the latestOriginally posted here.
Colin is obsessed with becoming a genius and doing something remarkable that will make him matter in the world. When the latest Katherine dumps him, his best (and only) friend, Hassan, decides that they should go on a road trip. They end up in Gutshot, Tennessee, where they meet an eclectic bunch of secondary characters. Once they've decided to settle there for a while, Colin starts to work on a formula that will predict every relationship based on the patterns of Dumpees (the ones being dumped) and Dumpers (the ones doing the dumping).
Colin is a total geek. So the novel is filled with a lot of graphs which try to prove his theorem:
Also some equations:
I wasn't able to take a picture but there are also a lot of footnotes about random facts that Colin finds interesting. I know it isn't obvious based on my blog but I love math and science. Seriously, I do. It's just that they don't love me back. If they did, I wouldn't have such a hard time understanding them. The nerd in me thoroughly enjoyed reading about Colin and his thought processes. I think this is a perfect book to give to geeky friends who are trying to interpret the intricacies of love in math form. Can you imagine the hilarity involved in this kind of endeavor? So it's no surprise that I laughed several times while reading this book. As if Colin isn't eccentric enough, his best friend Hassan is also quirky in a different way. Seriously, the dialogue between those two? Fugging humor personified (if you've read the book, you'll get the reference).
This is totally random but I really liked this line:
"Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back."
What's good about this book is that you don't have to be a nerd to enjoy it. You can ignore Colin and his calculations because I'm not even sure if they make mathematical sense. Aside from getting over being dumped, Colin also comes to terms with his Katherine fixation and his need to become remarkable. If there was such a thing as guy lit (the guy version of chick lit) then I think this book would fall under that classification. If John Green is this witty in all of his other novels, then I look forward to reading all of them....more
I don't think I've read a lot of YA historical fantasy so I was really looking forward to reading Everlasting. Also, look at thaOrginally posted here.
I don't think I've read a lot of YA historical fantasy so I was really looking forward to reading Everlasting. Also, look at that cover - I think it's lovely. I liked the premise of the story - a young female protagonist who grew up without a mother and is used to life on board a ship. I don't know if my expectations were too high but the story felt a little flat to me. I wasn't invested in any of the characters and I didn't feel like they had enough depth. Usually, I'm a fan of drawn out romances but it was obvious from the start that there was something between Camille and Oscar but it took so long for both of them to realize that. Even though this book deals with a quest, I felt like the events unfolded too slowly and I wasn't even surprised by anything that happened. Although that probably has more to do with the story not being able to completely suck me in.
I try to write reviews for all of the books that I read and I always feel bad when I have to write one for a book that I didn't end up liking. I don't want to lie about how I feel about certain books though. Like I always say, those who are interested in this book should still give it a try because you might have a different reading experience. You might end up liking Camille more than I did because I have to give her credit - she did the best that she could given the situation. Maybe I've just read too many compelling YA fantasy books and this one didn't really stand up to them. ...more
It's pretty obvious based on the books that I read that I love epic fantasy - I have a fondness for fairy tale-like stories andOriginally posted here.
It's pretty obvious based on the books that I read that I love epic fantasy - I have a fondness for fairy tale-like stories and historical fiction blended with fantasy. That said, Plain Kate is definitely my kind of story. Plain Kate unfortunately had the adjective plain attached to her name because it aptly describes her, there's nothing remarkable about this girl except for her skill at wood carving (although she does have mismatched eyes kind of like a Graceling). A few pages in and you know it's going to be a heartbreaking story. Plain Kate's father passes away and she's left with nothing. Usually, I'm a fan of warrior women in fantasy but I like Plain Kate even if she isn't like that - what she lacks in physical strength, she more than makes up for in strength of character. She hasn't had an easy life but she gets by. Until a pale-faced man with true power comes into town, looking to get Plain Kate's shadow away from her.
Plain Kate isn't your usual fantasy or YA story - it doesn't have romance in it, for instance. It's a coming-of-age story of a girl struggling to make it in the world who ends up getting tangled in something bigger. It's a story full of sadness but it does have its light moments. There are people who help Plain Kate in their own small ways. Also, in exchange for her shadow, the male witch Linay gives her cat, Taggle, the power to speak. Taggle is probably my favorite character in the book, he has the best lines. What I really liked about the novel is that there's no black and white in it and instead has different shades of gray. The townspeople aren't necessarily evil, they're just afraid and scared people tend to do stupid things. The villain, Linay, isn't very easy to hate because as the story progresses, you learn his reasons for doing the things that he does. Plain Kate is a debut novel full of lyrical writing and I highly recommend it to fantasy fans out there. I can see people falling in love with this one.
I think this is the second book in Jaclyn Moriarty's series and I was worried that I'll be lost because I haven't read the firsOriginally posted here.
I think this is the second book in Jaclyn Moriarty's series and I was worried that I'll be lost because I haven't read the first one but it seems like they're all just loosely connected and you can start with any of her books. The Year of Secret Assignments is written in a variety of formats, it's like a scrapbook of sorts. The story unfolds through notebook and diary entries and the exchanged letters of three Ashbury students and three Brookefield students. At first, it was a bit confusing because you have to deal with so many points of view but I didn't mind because there were a lot of hilarious moments even early on. Plus, I love writing and receiving letters. When we were in high school, my friends and I exchanged letters all the time. I don't even know why we did that because we could have just talked in person. I still have most of those letters in shoe boxes stored in one of my cabinets.
This book was a lot of fun to read! The characters were so quirky, each crazy in his or her own way and I loved them. In Mr. Botherit's intention to resurrect "The Joy of the Envelope," these characters' personalities shine forth through their letters. I must say that Cassie is my favorite character in this one because although she's not as exuberant as Emily or Lydia, her personality is just as distinct. She's funny in her own subtle way. There's a bit of romance it this book but overall, I think it's refreshing to read a YA book that's more about friendship than anything else - the kind of friendship that starts in primary school and would probably last for a lifetime and those unexpected ones that bloom through letter-writing, secret assignments, tutorials about how to date girls and whatnot. Cass, Em and Lyd are so very different from each other but they are steadfast and loyal when it comes to helping out one another.
If you're interested in something light and funny with a dash of insanity thrown in for good measure, then I recommend this book. I was laughing out loud in several sections of this book and I can't wait to read Jaclyn Moriarty's other books. I'm especially curious about Bindy because of her incredible typing skills. She has only one scene in the book but I think that's one of my favorites.
Helen is a being of Light. Yes, that means that she's a ghost and for several decades, she has existed in this world by cleavinOriginally posted here.
Helen is a being of Light. Yes, that means that she's a ghost and for several decades, she has existed in this world by cleaving to different hosts. She stays near her hosts because otherwise, she'll be pulled back to the depths of what she believes is her personal hell. No one sees her or hears her and she's gotten used to that fact. Until a boy in her host's class looks at her directly. Turns out James is also of Light and he's started occupying a high school boy's body when the boy's spirit vacated it. Naturally, both Helen and James are curious about each other because they've never met anyone else like them. Thus begins an unusual romance.
This is a beautiful, beautiful book. A couple of chapters in and I knew I was going to love the writing. Here's a sample of one of Helen and James' early conversations. They're in the library, discussing Billy's homework which James needs to revise. Billy is the high school boy who James has possessed.
He wrote and whispered the words aloud as he did. "I am in the library. It smells like old stuff."
"It smells familiar," I suggested. "It smells like words." Because his left side was to me, I couldn't easily take his hand to write.
"Books are boring," James said as he wrote.
"They line the walls like a thousand leather doorways to be opened into worlds unknown," I offered.
He thought about this and then wrote with a smile, "I hate books."
"A sea of dreams trapped in a span of pressed pages," I said.
Lovely, isn't it? You can see Helen's love for the written word reflected with those few lines. It is because of this love that she has cleaved to literary minded hosts. The story is narrated from Helen's point of view and because she comes from a different time, her words lend a certain old world feel to the entire book. It's always a pleasure to read a book with a main character who loves to read. Similar to how James found Billy, Helen discovers Jenny, a teenage girl empty of spirit. As Helen and James get to know each other better, Helen struggles to live Jenny's life and comes to understand what has caused Jenny's spirit to fly away. It was amusing to watch both Helen and James cope with modern life - the slang used by teenagers, food that they never got to taste when they were alive like pizza and root beer, the posture and gestures common to present day situations. Aside from that, they also try to understand why they've been unable to move on from this world and why .
I wonder why this book isn't more well-known? It is a delightful book with a unique premise and relatable characters. I haven't read anything like it. I'm also continually amazed at how YA novels touch on serious topics such as loneliness and redemption without the heavy feeling that usually comes with reading things like these. In spite of the unusual aspects of the book like having a ghost as its main character, A Certain Slant of Light is a love story at its core. I hope more people get to read this one. Has anyone read Laura Whitcomb's other book - Fetch? I'm curious of that book is just as good as this one. ...more
After reading The Year of Secret Assignments, I knew that all of Jaclyn Moriarty's other novels would be just as funny and I waOriginally posted here.
After reading The Year of Secret Assignments, I knew that all of Jaclyn Moriarty's other novels would be just as funny and I wasn't disappointed with Feeling Sorry for Celia. This book is written entirely through letters. Epistolary novels are such fun! More so if the characters lead such unusual lives. Actually, both Elizabeth and Christina are trying to live normal lives as Aussie teenagers. Their best friends, Celia and Maddie, are the outrageously wild ones. Both of them keep running away from home without leaving word of where they'll go. Also, Elizabeth's parents are pretty zany too. Her mother talks to her mostly in notes left on the fridge. Her dad, who left them when she was a baby, suddenly appears and wants to make it up to her by taking her out to dinner in fancy restaurants and making her smell and drink wine (which she doesn't like).
I was happy for both Elizabeth and Christina when they were assigned to exchange letters because they understand each other so well. Like The Year of Secret Assignments, this book focuses on friendship and the romance aspect of the novel takes a backseat. The book deals with Elizabeth and Christina's teenage trials and tribulations and how they can both relate to each other even though they only communicate through letters. It was amazing to watch a friendship bloom based on letter-writing because in this day and age, it isn't that common anymore. And to think that they were only writing letters because it's a requirement for English class.
I wish I had a high school teacher who wanted to resurrect the "Joy of the Envelope" because I think I would've loved to have a pen friend. Although when I was in high school, email was still a pretty new thing so people still wrote a lot of letters. Recommended for fans of epistolary novels and anyone up for a funny YA contemporary read. It's no surprise that several book bloggers have been talking about Jaclyn Moriarty lately....more
The first line of the book is, "The history of the world begins in ice, and it will end in ice." Such an appropriate start becaOriginally posted here.
The first line of the book is, "The history of the world begins in ice, and it will end in ice." Such an appropriate start because the world where Catherine Hassi Barahal, Cat for short, lives in is surrounded by ice. Even the magic-wielders in this world are cold mages. In this alternate world, magic and science have an uneasy relationship and Europa is on the brink of a revolution. The author managed to add magical elements and modify historical events in the 1800s for this novel. While not exactly the best of students, Cat enjoys learning and loves to read books, especially her late father's journals. She's a student at the academy with her best friend and cousin, Bee. Even though their impoverished family cannot provide them with everything that the want, Cat is satisfied. Until a cold mage suddenly shows up at their household, changing everything that she knows. Cat is forced to leave her beloved family behind and soon after, to flee for her life.
While I found the book slow in some parts because of the history of the world and all the explaining involved in that, I still enjoyed reading the entire thing. Now I'm thinking that I probably should have read this one when the other two books in the series are already out because I can't wait to find out what happens next. I really enjoyed reading this book not just because of the interesting worldbuilding but also because of the character development. Cat is smart, practical and adapts to her situation if not with ease, then with determination. I also liked the supporting characters, most especially Rory because he seems like so much fun. Sorry I can't give any more details than that, I don't want to give away spoilers. There's a hint of romance but it isn't as fully fleshed out as I would've liked. The story will probably continue in the next books. It is Cat and Bee's relationship that's given importance in this novel, they're more like sisters because of how their fiercely loyal to each other. Having had a taste of what Kate Elliott is capable of, I now have the urge to track down the rest of her books. This is also the first (sort of) steampunk novel that I've read and I'm more curious about the subgenre. ...more