I have one word to describe this book: intense. Everything about this book, from the characters to how they relate to each other to the emotions, is i...moreI have one word to describe this book: intense. Everything about this book, from the characters to how they relate to each other to the emotions, is intense. I finished reading this a couple of days ago and I still can't stop thinking about it. Book hangover alert! This is such a beautiful book about love, friendship and family. The characters went through so much that you can't help but empathize and feel for them.
Taylor was abandoned in a 7-eleven store by her mom when she was 11. One of her boarding school's house mothers, Hannah, picked her up and watched out for her ever since. When Hannah suddenly disappears without an explanation, Taylor realizes that her past is somewhat tied to Hannah's and she has to uncover mysteries to learn more about herself.
I admit that I was lost and confused by the first few chapters of the book. Taylor narrates but interspersed in her story are pages from Hannah's manuscript about the incredible friendship of five kids who used to live in that area. Hannah's story occured more than twenty years ago so basically you're following two story arcs as you read. I think this is also the first time that I've read a novel set in Australia so some of the terms used and the school structure were a bit confusing for me. Just keep reading and by the time you get to the middle, I'm sure you won't be able to stop. Each revelation will make you want to know more. I love the characters in this book - Taylor, Jonah, Raffy, Chaz and also the kids in the manuscript: Narnie, Webb, Tate, Jude and Fitz. They're all a part of this amazing story. And the sizzling connection between Taylor and Jonah has fed my YA romance hunger.
I highly recommend this to fellow YA fans or even those who aren't into YA. I wonder if Melina Marchetta's other books are just as good? I'd love to read them if they are but I haven't seen them around.(less)
I have mentioned Daughter of the Forest several times here on my blog because I've heard so many good things about it. Book blogger and Goodreads friends have told me that this novel is one of their favorites and because it's a retelling of the fairy tale The Six Swans, makes it more than interesting for me. This was my Want Books? pick just last week and luckily, Fully Booked had one copy left. Sure it was in their Cebu branch and they had to send it by courier to Manila but what the heck, at least I got a copy. :)
Wow, just wow. I was blown away by this book. I mean I had high expectations because of what everyone said but I was still pleasantly surprised at how lovely it was. A word of caution - this was not an easy book to read. I know that I mostly read YA novels so I just wanted to get this out there. It was hard to read because of everything that Sorcha had to go through. The writing is so vivid and imaginative that your heart will break whenever there's pain and suffering for the main character, which happens several times over. But this book is well worth the trouble. There were times when I had to stop reading because I felt so sad for Sorcha when she deserved to be happy. The only other Marillier that I've read was Wildwood Dancing and though I enjoyed reading that, I wasn't impressed. After reading Daughter of the Forest, I can now join the ranks of Marillier fans out there.
I enjoy reading fairy tale retellings because it's always interesting to see where the author will take the story using the fairy tale as the backbone. This one was no different. Using the gist of The Six Swans fairy tale, Ms. Marillier made the story come alive with a wonderful blend of historical fiction and Celtic mythology. Sorcha is the seventh child of Lord Colum, a seventh son himself and Lord of Sevenwaters. As the only girl, Sorcha is well-protected and beloved by her brothers. I loved how distinct each brother's personality is and how close-knit they are in spite of their differences. They were all tied together by their bond as siblings. Daughter of the Forest is a wonderful story about love - love for your family, love for the land where you came from and true love, which is elusive and comes only once in a person's life. That speech towards the end of the book is a winner. I'd love to post it here but I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read the book. For those who've read it, does "You are bone of my bone, and breath of my breath." ring a bell?
I just got copies of Son of Shadows and Child of the Prophecy from Fully Booked yesterday. Son of Shadows occurs a generation after Daughter of the Forest and I've been assured by Angie and Holly that it's just as good as the first one in the series. I'm excited to read it!
Before I write anything else, I just want to ask what's up with the cover? I'm going to go ahead and assume that that's Rachel...moreOriginally posted here.
Before I write anything else, I just want to ask what's up with the cover? I'm going to go ahead and assume that that's Rachel but what is she holding in her hands, a feather and a glowing ball of some sort? It's not part of the story at all. I'm glad I've heard so many good things about this book because otherwise, I wouldn't have picked it up based on the strength of its cover alone.
I loved the worldbuilding in this book. The setting is a fictional country called Samaria, where angels co-exist with humans and they pray to the god, Jovah for all kinds of intervention - weather, health and general well-being. All angels are born gifted with incredible musical ability and they pray by singing. Every twenty years, an Archangel is chosen to govern the whole country and every year, the Archangel leads the people in singing a mass, the Gloria, in praise of the god. His angelica (or her angelico if the Archangel is female), the god's chosen wife (or husband) must sing by the Archangel's side. If they don't, the god will strike down lightning from the heavens and destroy the world. Isn't that interesting? There's a lot of theology thrown in this book but it's not preachy and it isn't too much that you'll be overloaded with information. I think it's just enough to show the religion in that world and the strength of the characters' beliefs.
I also loved the characters in this book. Both Rachel and Gabriel are solid characters. Rachel is strong-willed and very very stubborn and even though she knows it's a great honor, she's reluctant to become the angelica. Gabriel is arrogant and self-assured but he loves the land and the people and only want what's the best for them. The story is told from alternating third-person points of view of these two so we get to see how things develop from both sides. I love that even though they're meant for each other by the god's mandate, they still have to work for it. It's definitely not love at first sight and they keep rubbing each other the wrong way. Love-hate relationships for the win!♥
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to reading the other books in the Samaria series even if they're about different characters.(less)
Based on the summary above, you'd think that this is just a contemporary YA novel with a love story. While the romance is a hug...moreOriginally posted here.
Based on the summary above, you'd think that this is just a contemporary YA novel with a love story. While the romance is a huge aspect of the novel, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart contains much more. This is a story about a teenage girl finding herself. She believes she's in love with a bad boy when in fact, she's more in love with the idea of falling in love. I could totally relate to Ruby even though she's known as The Quiet Girl and I've never been the shy type. In fact, I'm the opposite because I'm outgoing and really talkative. But Ruby's experiences in this book are universal. I also enjoyed reading about the secondary characters. Ruby's relationship with her librarian mother is pretty interesting and I like her closeness to her offbeat brother. The Casserole Queens, the book club for old people that Ruby's mother handles, also has a fascinating set of members. Each geriatric person has a unique personality and they're all so quirky. From time to time, they also spout out some sort of wisdom, probably the kind that comes with old age. The road trip orchestrated by the Casserole Queens is one of the highlights of the book. Old people rock!
There are so many good lines in this book, I wanted to pause every time I found one so I could mark it. Good thing Goodreads has a feature where you can add your favorite quotes in a book. Here's one of my favorites:
"A man's identity is complete through action, a woman's, when she has a man. Through him. We fall off our high heels into the narrow crevasse of what it means to be female. Let me tell you. You fall in love and you think you're finding yourself. But too often you're looking inside him for you, and that's a fact. There's only one place you can find yourself." She patted her chest.
This quote goes out to all my single girl friends out there! I know I keep saying this about well-written YA books that I discover nowadays but I really wish I could have read this when I was a teenager. It's a beautiful book that tackles a topic that probably every teenager has experienced - how you try to change yourself because of other people. I know I went through that phase. This doesn't mean that the book doesn't have its share of humor because it does. Ruby is pretty funny and I found myself chuckling in certain scenes of the book. Plus like I mentioned earlier, the book has a great set of characters. I even liked the guy who owns the whale van even though he had such a small role in the book! I highly recommend this one and I hope more people get to read it. This is the first Deb Caletti book that I've read but if her other books are as good as this, then I'm excited to read the rest of them.(less)
The novel is set in the 80s in Gardendale, New Zealand, where Laura Chant lives with her mother, Kate, and her three-year-old b...moreOriginally posted here.
The novel is set in the 80s in Gardendale, New Zealand, where Laura Chant lives with her mother, Kate, and her three-year-old brother, Jacko. The story starts with Laura getting a premonition, a warning of sorts that something terrible will happen. She tells her mother who shrugs it off as irrelevant. Laura is forced to ignore it and she goes to school. At the end of her school day, she picks up Jacko at the babysitter's and they pass by an antique store on their way home. They go inside and meet Carmody Braque and Laura senses something wrong with this person. Carmody Braque looks particularly happy to see Jacko and proceeds to make his mark on Jacko's hand by stamping an image of his face on it. Jacko then becomes increasingly ill and only Laura knows that Jacko is being possessed by Carmody Braque. Laura feels that she has no choice but to go to Sorensen "Sorry" Carlisle, the seemingly harmless seventh-form prefect at her school, for help because she knows that he's really a witch.
I'm so glad I decided to read this even if I had to order the book from abroad because it's totally worth it. I now have another book to add to my list of favorites. Even though it was written before I was born, I could still relate to this book and to Laura, as she undergoes changes that she's still coming to understand. It's not enough that Laura has to worry about adolescence, she also has to deal with the supernatural aspects of her life because of what happened to her brother. I love how Margaret Mahy handles Laura's coming of age story. The prose in this one is just lovely, I haven't read anything like it. The descriptions are very real and believable.
The subtitle of this book is A Supernatural Romance so give me a moment to dwell on Sorry and Laura. Sorry is not your typical male protagonist. Yes, he's self-assured but his confidence really masks his fears. Because of bad experiences in the past, Sorry has chosen to be aloof and to curb his feelings. Laura even tells him that he doesn't have a heart (Didn't Sophie tell Howl something similar? I'm not entirely sure). But oh he is such a great character. He reads romance novels and is confused when his dealings with Laura don't go according to those books. I think Sorry and Laura are good for each other. They both go through changes because of the other person and that says something about their relationship.
If it's not yet obvious, I highly recommend this to other fantasy fans. It's an oldie but goodie. Let me close this review with a tweet from Sarah. I tweeted her to let her know that I was reading The Changeover based on her recommendation. This was her tweet after that:
@sarahreesbrenna If I ever write a romance like Gen/Attolia Howl/Sophie & Sorry/Laura I'll die happy even if my last words=Lots of alligators in this hatbox
I hope you do write something like that, Sarah! I will be delighted to read it.
I always say that in order for me to like a book, I have to be able to relate to it somehow. No worries on that department when...moreOriginally posted here.
I always say that in order for me to like a book, I have to be able to relate to it somehow. No worries on that department when it comes to this one because I could TOTALLY relate to Ellie. Twenty-something Filipina working in a corporate job but really doesn't know what her career path is? That could be me! Ellie's thing is traveling and making plans for hypothetical trips abroad. While I do love to travel, I don't get to do it that often so I guess it would be better to say that my thing is reading and blogging about books. I've never experienced an office romance like Ellie did but the breaking up with a boyfriend-who-was-a-friend-before-you-became-a-couple? Been there, done that. Ellie also has several circles of friends, from her high school barkada to her office mates and I'm like that as well. Each set of friends has a different personality and I like to think that each group brings out a different side of me. Ellie is really believable as a character - she's a representation of me, my friends and every young Pinay out there looking for her own fairy tale.
I keep my reviews spoiler-free so I don't want to mention any names but I want a guy like the male protagonist! Seriously.♥ I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ellie and her attempts to get her life back in order after the breakup. Fairy Tale Fail is a light and fun contemporary romance that gives a glimpse of middle class life in the Philippines. If only the paperback was as cheap as the e-book edition, I'd buy lots of copies and give them as Christmas gifts to my girlfriends. Unfortunately, the paperback is more expensive at P350. The good news is the e-book is available both in Smashwords and Amazon so for all international readers out there, you could order this anytime you want. If you want a peek at what our lives are usually like (and by us I mean young professionals in the Philippines), then go and read this book! At $0.99, it's cheaper than your average Starbucks coffee. It's really short too, more like a novella than a novel. I'm interested to see how readers outside the Philippines will react to this one. One minor quibble though, I wish Mina included footnotes to define some of the Filipino words used in the book like kuya, barkada and bulalo so that foreigners will be able to understand them. That said, I'd like to thank Mina for coming up with a well-written Filipino chick lit novel. :) I look forward to reading her other book, My Imaginary Ex and I hope she comes up with a thicker novel next time.(less)
I was thinking of how best to describe the experience of reading an Eva Ibbotson book and I came up with this: it feels like re...moreOriginally posted here.
I was thinking of how best to describe the experience of reading an Eva Ibbotson book and I came up with this: it feels like reading an old favorite even if you're reading the book for the first time. Does that make sense? I guess it's because the writing is so lovely that you know you can never go wrong with reading one of her books. The premise of A Company of Swans is similar to The Reluctant Heiress - an older self-made millionaire as the male protagonist and a heroine who's not particularly beautiful but is so vibrant that she glows from within and their story is set in a historical setting full of quirky secondary characters. Another similarity that I noticed in her writing is that her characters usually love one form of art. In A Company of Swans, it's ballet and in The Reluctant Heiress, it's music and theater and in A Countess Below Stairs, it's all of these.
I really enjoyed reading A Company of Swans. You can't help but feel sorry for Harriet and the life that she's led because of her father and her aunt. You'll root for her from start to finish. As with all of Eva Ibbotson's other villains, Harriet's father and aunt aren't evil exactly. They don't mean to treat her badly, it's just that they believe strongly in certain things and can't be swayed to accept that Harriet deserves to make her own life choices. I was glad for Harriet when she went away with the tour group to perform ballet in the Amazon. The South American is so lush and beautiful, it makes you want to go that jungle and see for yourself what it looks like. I love how the point of view changes to show us flashbacks of Rom as he was growing up and what he thinks when he sees and meets Harriet for the first time. It made me feel like I was getting to know both main characters from the inside out. The rest of the story unfolds in the same way.
If you've never read an Eva Ibbotson book, I suggest that you remedy that situation right away. (less)
Kate's adventures continue in this latest installment in the wonderful series created by husband and wife tandem Ilona Andrews....moreOriginally posted here.
Kate's adventures continue in this latest installment in the wonderful series created by husband and wife tandem Ilona Andrews. I already mentioned that Magic Strikes clinched the deal to make this series my favorite in the urban fantasy genre. Because of this, I had high expectations when I started to read Magic Bleeds. No worries though because it went beyond what I expected. It's pretty hard to go into details about the book without giving away spoilers. I can just say that Kate was her usual snarky and kick*ss self. She had to make some pretty though choices in this one. With her background (and we learn so much more about her family history), she comes with a lot of baggage and she can't make decisions based on just what she wants. I love where the authors decided to take the story, it really was time for Kate to make these big decisions. I'm also glad that there's a LOT of Curran in this one. ♥
Instead of giving away the story, I'd rather talk about how wonderful this book was. I had to catch up on lost sleep because of Magic Strikes so I decided to bring Magic Bleeds along on our company outing to the beach. I then proceeded to read during every available moment: under the sun while everyone else was swimming and on a shaded balcony overlooking the beach after lunch while everyone else was taking a nap. I wanted to read as much of the book as fast as I can yet at the same time, I wanted to savor every scene. As with the rest of the Kate Daniels books, there were several scenes in this book that made me smile and chuckle quietly to myself. There were scenes that me sigh and think "Aww how sweet!" and there were scenes that made me fear for Kate and her friends' safety. Magic Bleeds had everything - jampacked action, solid worldbuilding supported by the setting's history, lots of humor and a love-hate relationship between two fantastic individuals. Isn't this enough to convince you to read this series? :)
So all of you book blogger friends who said that this one is just as good as the first one, I definitely agree. This book occur...moreOriginally posted here.
So all of you book blogger friends who said that this one is just as good as the first one, I definitely agree. This book occurs one generation after Daughter of the Forest and focuses on Sorcha and Red's youngest daughter, Liadan. Liadan is very much her mother's daughter but at the same time, she has qualities that make her uniquely herself. Like Sorcha, Liadan is a gifted healer and she loves Sevenwaters with all of her heart. She'd be content to stay in Sevenwaters for the rest of her life, even if it means she won't get married and have a family of her own. Similar to her Uncle Finbar, she has the gift of Sight: there are times when she could she the past and possible events in the future.
Again, this story wasn't easy to read. Liadan goes through a lot and she fights for her happiness and the safety of her loved ones every step of the way. This book is set in the same highly imaginative and wonderful world that Juliet Marillier created. There's more Celtic mythology in this than the first book but so deftly written that it almost seems like historical fiction instead of fantasy. Lush and lyrical, Juliet Marillier's writing will grab you and will not let go even after you finish reading. Stories are an important aspect of the lives in Sevenwaters and I love the little stories told in this novel. Liadan's Uncle Conor said that one story resonates in different ways to every listener and I think the same goes with novels. We can all read the same novel but what we take from that story can be vastly different.
Anyway, I loved Son of the Shadows as expected. Both Liadan and Bran are wonderful characters. In order to be together, they had to fight even harder than Sorcha and Red. Liadan is strong and I love how she fought for what she wanted even if it went against the wishes of the Fair Folk. She made her own path and this may have consequences but I have a feeling she'll be able to bear the burden. I have a favorite line in this book and I just have to post it here because it's not that very spoilery anyway:
I wish - I wish I could dry these tears, I wish I could make this better for you. But I don't know how.
*sigh* If you've read the book, you'd understand why this is such a lovable line. If you haven't read it, I suggest that you give it a try. I think it can be read on its own but Daughter of the Forest is just as good so why not read it as well? :) I'm planning to read Child of the Prophecy next and I hope to see glimpses of Liadan and Bran in that one. Also, I just noticed that all of the Sevenwaters books involve females. Awesome!(less)
So I've pretty much declared my love for the Kate Daniels seriesmultiple times. It's the kind of love that makes me curious about the rest of husband-and-wife writing team Ilona Andrews' books. I’ve had a copy of On the Edge for a while but I don’t know why I put off reading it. Maybe I thought I needed some time away from awesomeness? In any case, it was raining hard this past weekend so the weather was perfect for curling up indoors with a good book and I decided to read this one.
I don’t know why I’m still amazed at the incredible worldbuilding prowess of Ilona and Gordon but I am. I knew that this book is set in a different world but I had no idea that I’d love it just as much as the Kate Daniels world. In this book, there are three worlds: the Weird, the Edge and the Broken. The Broken is pretty much the regular world that we live in, where there’s no magic. The Weird is where magic is in full force while the Edge exists between the two. The people who live on the Edge don’t have much because they lack the best of both worlds. They have magic but not powerful enough as the people in the Weird. They can stay in the Broken for a while but never for long because they feel the strain of not having magic.
Rose lives on the Edge with her two adorable younger brothers and her grandmother. It’s easy to like Rose because she’s a tough girl, doing her best to make ends meet and to provide for her brothers. She’s also pretty funny with her constant eye-rolling and “Why me?” lines. I like her brothers as well – Georgie, the ten-year-old necromancer and Jack, the eight-year-old shape shifter (lynx). They know that Rose has a hard time keeping an eye on them but they can’t help but get into trouble because of the nature of their magical abilities. Enter Declan, Earl Camarine, who declares that he wants Rose for himself and is willing to go through three challenges in order to get her. But there’s more to this arrogant aristocrat that meets the eye and Rose gets to know him better as they work side by side to combat an evil that has suddenly made an appearance in the Edge.
I guess it’s not surprising when I say that I loved this one. It was pretty easy to get sucked into the world, there are awesome, kick*ss characters in it and a lot of humor. Another aspect about the story that I liked is that Rose and Declan’s story wraps up pretty nicely in this one package and the next book in the series Bayou Moon has different main characters. This is a different approach from the Kate Daniels series, where the story is stretched to (at least) seven books. I recommend this to fans of Ilona Andrews or other urban fantasy fans out there. Although a lot of people say that this one is more paranormal romance than urban fantasy. Regardless of the genre, it’s still a highly enjoyable read. I can’t wait for the sequel and to read about William, Declan’s shape shifter partner in special ops. (less)
I already mentioned that I just got a copy of A Conspiracy of Kingsand since it's my most anticipated book in 2010, I dropped the book that I was curr...moreI already mentioned that I just got a copy of A Conspiracy of Kingsand since it's my most anticipated book in 2010, I dropped the book that I was currently reading and dove right in. I'm done reading it but I still have a book hangover and I think I need to read it again. Just wanted to post my initial thoughts, spoiler-free of course.
Here's a brief summary from Megan Whalen Turner's website: Sophos is the very reluctant heir to the King of Sounis. He would prefer to read poetry, study philosophy, or count the ridges on grasshopper wings. But, what he wants doesn't matter . . . until the day all his responsibilities are taken away and he has a chance to decide his fate for himself.
I've said this before and I'll say it again - Megan Whalen Turner (MWT) is awesome! She really is. I don't think I can ever be disappointed in a book that she's written. This one was no exception. This is the kind of book that you just inhale the first time you read it and you know that no matter how many times you read it again, it'll never get old. A Conspiracy of Kings is all about Sophos, last seen as the Magus' apprentice in The Thief. I did miss Gen's (otherwise known as Eugenides, the main protagonist in the first three books) presence in the book but he's still there in the sidelines. As with MWT's other books, this one is all about political intrigue, internal struggle, plot twists and turns, character development, subtle romance, revelations and everything else that we've come to expect and love in her books. If you're already a fan of the series, by the end of the book, you'll love Sophos as much as you love Gen. If you aren't a fan and haven't read the series, what are you waiting for?(less)
It's official. The Kate Daniels series is now my favorite urban fantasy series. Magic Strikes sealed the deal. I LOVED this boo...moreOriginally posted here.
It's official. The Kate Daniels series is now my favorite urban fantasy series. Magic Strikes sealed the deal. I LOVED this book! Want proof? I was out the whole day yesterday so I didn't get to read. I got home late at night and I only wanted to read a couple of chapters before sleeping. I ended up finishing the whole book, I just couldn't put it down. I'm functioning on two hours of sleep right now and I can't say I regret reading last night (or early this morning if you want to be technical about it). I still can't stop thinking about the book. This is such a great book! There were a lot of scenes that I had to re-read over and over again because they had me laughing out loud. I also love the character development, how Kate changed from being an isolated person to having a few people close to her heart. It's amazing how much Kate is willing to sacrifice for these people. She has her reasons for trying to keep everyone at arm's length but when she starts to care, she's fully committed. She's such an awesome character.
Just like the first two books, the worldbuilding in this one is brilliant. I love how the story can delve into different mythologies with Magic Strikes concentrating on Hindu folklore. There's also a touch of Roman influence embodied in the Midnight Games, where gladiators form teams and fight to the death. It's a bloodthirsty practice and the characters' fighting skills are put to the test.
On one hand, I'm happy that I found out about this series when four books have already been released because I get to read the books one right after the other. On the other hand, I feel like I want to let the story of Magic Strikes settle first before I dive into Magic Bleeds. But since I already have a copy of Magic Bleeds, I'm going to read it as soon as I can. All of the reviews that I've seen are positive so I have high hopes for that one. I hope it's just as good, if not better than, Magic Strikes. Do you guys know when the next book will come out? :)
I know I always try to have spoiler-free reviews so minor spoiler warning here. If you haven't read any of the books, please don't read this paragraph. Kate and Curran! ♥ The scenes between the two of them in this book... AHHHH. They are simply wonderful. I love both of them. I really want things to work out for them and I'm scared that something bad will happen and it'll be a long journey before they can ever be together. You know the feeling when you're invested in certain characters, you feel like you know them as real people? That's how I feel about these two. I will be devastated if either one of them gets hurt.(less)
This book deserves all the hype that it's been getting in the blogosphere. I love how there are so many awesome debut novels th...moreOriginally posted here.
This book deserves all the hype that it's been getting in the blogosphere. I love how there are so many awesome debut novels this year! I hope 2011 has a lineup that's just as good. It was so easy to relate to Anna and how she's bummed that she has to spend her senior year in Paris. Yes, Paris is amazing but who wants to transfer for the last year of high school? It's the last chance that you get to spend with your high school buddies. I love how believable everything was in this novel. How Anna was shy and reserved at the start because she doesn't even know how to speak French. It's so funny how she lived in fear of ordering the wrong kind of food so all she ate during her first week were fruits and bread. I loved seeing Paris through Anna's eyes. Totally jealous of all the good food that she was able to try out - the sandwiches, the pastries, crepes and even the coffee! Ahhh, I'm suddenly craving for macarons from Bizu. Sigh, I would dearly love to go to Paris in the future.
The romance is just as realistic as the rest of the story. Stephanie Perkins did a great job of portraying how complicated relationships are, especially during your teenage years. The tension, the drama, the uncertainty of it all! Imagine having to spend everyday with the guy you're infatuated with, who's gorgeous, smart and funny. There are times when he gives hints that he may like you as more than a friend but you're never sure because he doesn't have any plans of breaking up with his long-time girlfriend. I admire Anna for being able to maintain a friendship with St. Clair in spite of their growing attraction. And not just any friendship at that, they even become the best of friends eventually. Anna and St. Clair's friendship developed because they're really comfortable with each other even if they have moments of awkwardness. Also, St. Clair isn't portrayed as a perfect guy. He's short, he doesn't know how to drive and he's scared of heights (which is actually endearing). Both Anna and St. Clair make mistakes along the way but you still end up rooting for them.
It was so much fun reading Anna and the French Kiss and I highly recommend the experience to anyone who enjoys YA contemporary romance, specifically fans of Simone Elkeles and Jennifer Echols. It's bound to make you smile and yes, swoon at times.♥ I can see people falling in love with this one. Can't wait to read Stephanie Perkins' other books. She has two companion novels to this one and the first will be released fall of 2011. (less)
First things first, look at that cover. Isn't it gorgeous? I love how it captures the essence of the book - a girl in a field l...moreOriginally posted here.
First things first, look at that cover. Isn't it gorgeous? I love how it captures the essence of the book - a girl in a field looking up at a pegasus soaring through the sky. Even though they're far apart, you can see that there's an invisible thread connecting the girl and the pegasus. The good news is that the inside is just as beautiful as the cover. I'm sure several blogger friends will agree when I say that there's nothing like reading a Robin McKinley novel. She had me at "Because she was a princess she had a pegasus." which was the first line of the book. I don't think I've ever read a book about pegasi before and they're fascinating creatures. I loved how intricate the worldbuilding was - it included a detailed history of the pegasi and how they started an alliance with the humans who came to their land. Ever since then, each human with royal blood has been bound to a pegasus to strengthen the alliance. It hasn't been successful though because of the language barrier. If I could, I'd want to visit that world because I'd love to have my own pegasus. I'm a fan of fantasy novels with court settings when they're done well and this world had that. There was complexity in the intrigue of court politics but it never became overwhelming. The writing is everything that I find delightful in a McKinley novel - lyrical, lovely and has an overall fairy tale feel to it.
"The story I tell over and over and over and over is Beauty and the Beast. It all comes from there. There are variations on the theme – and it’s inside out or upside down sometimes – but the communication gap between one living being and another is pretty much the ground line. And usually the gap-bridger is love."
Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale but I never recognized that recurring theme in all of Robin's books. It's much more evident in Pegasus because of Sylvi and Ebon's platonic relationship (although I kept thinking of Sarah Rees Brennan's insinuations that they have something more while I was reading). It's a good thing that I knew going in that this was just the first half of the story and that the book ends on a major cliffhanger so I wasn't put off when I reached that part. Of course, I WANT to read the rest of the story right now but I'm willing to wait until 2012 because it hasn't been written yet. I feel like the whole book is mostly about buildup - the relationship of the pegasi and the humans, the history of the kingdom, its present situation and the rising problems. It will all lead to something and I have a feeling that much more will happen in the second half of the story. As such, I think Pegasus can be described as a quiet sort of novel and that kind of thing might not be for everyone. In terms of pacing and writing style, Pegasus reminded me of Chalice but it also has echoes of The Blue Sword in it in the sense that two races/species are brought together (aside from that, there's a sword that made me think of Gonturan and a legendary ancestor similar to Aerin). If you're the type who doesn't like cliffhanger endings then I recommend that you wait for the second half but if you're a huge McKinley fan like me, then I know you'd still read this even knowing that's it's just the first half of the story. If you've never read a McKinley before (and why not?!), I suggest that you start with either Beauty or The Blue Sword.(less)
I've been craving for some YA romance lately, you know the type of book with just the right amount of kilig factor (how does kilig translate to Englis...moreI've been craving for some YA romance lately, you know the type of book with just the right amount of kilig factor (how does kilig translate to English? Swoon factor?) and I got it with this book. I was really excited when I found it in Fully Booked because I've seen a lot of good reviews about it. I didn't even mind that at P440 for a paperback, it was a little more expensive than what I usually buy. Plus I got it on sale for 20% off.
This is the kind of book that you finish in one sitting, the kind of book that you'll stay up late at night reading because you want to know how it ends. Unputdownable so to speak. It's a classic story of bad girl meets good boy but with much more complicated characters. Meg is the only blue-haired girl in their small town and she can't wait to finish high school and go off to college, even if it's only in Birmingham, 20 minutes away. John is a high school graduate, who went to police academy and stayed in town to be a cop. They both have their own reasons for being who they are and doing the things that they do. It was just so much fun watching them unravel and discover each other's inner workings.
The story is told from Meg's point of view and some of the things that she says are so hilarious. She keeps saying "I am full of fear" whenever she's scared. And I really like this line that she said about her and John: "I guess we both understood that our relationship was built entirely on witty repartee, and neither of us thought we could be witty on four hours of shut-eye." Meg really is a great girl and even though she's done a lot of wild things, you couldn't help but understand why she was doing those when you find out her reasons. And Johnafter! Oooooh hunky Johnafter. I think it's safe to say that I've added another one to my list of literary crushes. It's so not true that nice guys finish last.
Isn't it obvious that I love this book? I recommend it for all YA fans out there!(less)
What a lovely surprise Garden Spells turned out to be. I've had my copy for several months now and I only felt the urge to pick...moreOriginally posted here.
What a lovely surprise Garden Spells turned out to be. I've had my copy for several months now and I only felt the urge to pick it up this weekend, when I felt like I could use a bit of magic in my reading. It looks like I'm going to become a fan of magic realism because I like that it's mostly contemporary fiction with just enough magic sprinkled in to make things more intriguing. The Waverley women have always had a hint of magic in their blood. In Claire Waverley, this comes out in her cooking. She has the power to influence how other people feel by using flowers and plants from the Waverley garden. The apple tree in the garden is famous because when a person takes a bite from one of its apples, they see the biggest point of their life (good or bad). Claire embraced her Waverley roots early on but her younger sister Sydney feels the opposite. Sydney left town as a teenager, just like their mother did, but she's realized that Bascom, North Carolina is still home. Out of the blue, she comes back home with her young daughter in tow. Claire welcomes them even though she's afraid of change and that they'll eventually leave her again.
This book was a delight to read. It's the sort of book that will probably become a comfort read in the future. It's also a perfect gift for female relatives in friends because it's light and there's a bit of everything in it - some romance, a little magic, small-town gossip and family issues. It will also make you hungry because there are a lot of references to food due to the nature of Claire's work (she's a caterer) and her Waverley magic. I like how both Claire and Sydney developed as characters throughout the book. Claire's a shy, reserved person who's afraid to let people in because she has abandonment issues. Slowly but surely, she learns to open herself up to the people who matter the most. While her sister Sydney starts putting down roots and learns that being a Waverley isn't as bad as she remembered. The minor characters in the book are also well-developed and I like how they flesh out the story. Even the Waverley garden (the apple tree in particular) has a mind of its own. I highly recommend this book and if Sarah Addison Allen's other books are just as good as this one, then I'd be more than happy to read them.(less)
I don't usually go for books set during war time. More so for this one because it's about the Vietnam war, a time in history wh...moreOriginally posted here.
I don't usually go for books set during war time. More so for this one because it's about the Vietnam war, a time in history which I know nothing about. However, if a book comes highly recommended by someone I trust, I can't help but give it a try. Plus, Angie sent a copy already so the least I could do was read the book, right? :) The Road Home has two sections: the first part deals with Rebecca working as a nurse in Vietnam and the second part is about her coming back home to the States. I thought The Road Home was a standalone novel but looking at Ellen Emerson White's website, it looks like she wrote a series called The Echo Company which focuses on a certain soldier's experiences in Vietnam and Rebecca comes into the picture in the latter books. This is probably why when I was reading The Road Home, I felt like I came into the middle of the series.
As the story starts, Rebecca is working in an American hospital in Vietnam. She's a Radcliffe-educated nurse straight out of college and she signed up mainly because of issues with her family. It sort of felt like things already happened to Rebecca and the book is dealing with the aftereffects of those events but I didn't really mind. Rebecca's helicopter was shot down in the jungle and she was MIA for a couple of days until she meets a squad of American soldiers and one of them, Michael, becomes a close friend. Based on hints throughout the novel, Rebecca used to be a cheerful and lively girl and everything changed when she was lost in the jungle. Mostly she runs on autopilot as she tries to save lives when she doesn't even understand the point of it all. During her remaining time in Vietnam, we see her struggle to connect with other people: the Chief Nurse Major Doyle, Michael and even her mother and father through letters.
The Road Home is more than just Rebecca's story of coming back from Vietnam. It's about coming to terms with everything that she encountered while she was there and trying to understand how she's going to go on living when so many people died. Rebecca lost touch with herself when she went off to join the Army and this novel is about her finding herself again. The characters are believable and real - from their experiences during the war to how lost they were after they came back. It's an understatement that it's difficult to overcome the horrors of war. Your heart will break several times over while you're reading this one but I think it's worth reading. The last few chapters are my favorite part of the novel, when Rebecca decides to go on a road trip. Plus the ending? *sigh* It's perfect for the story. So again, I thank Angie for encouraging me to read a book that I normally wouldn't have picked up. I never thought I'd find comfort in a novel about war. I'm baffled that the book is out of print because it deserves to be read by more people. (less)
William was a pretty interesting secondary character back in On the Edge so I think it's great that he got to have his own story...moreOriginall posted here.
William was a pretty interesting secondary character back in On the Edge so I think it's great that he got to have his own story. At 447 pages, this one is a lot meatier that its predecessor. The first one focused more on the romance while this one is a little darker and a bit grittier. The worldbuilding is just as creative and I like how we're presented with a different area of the Edge - the Mire. Clans fight in feuds to determine supremacy in a grim and swampy land where they have to eke out their living. Here's an excerpt early on:
"That had to be the craziest thing he'd heard. At some point they must've looked around and said, "Hey, what do we have a shitload of?" "Mud! It's cold and wet. I know, let's burn it!" "Well, it ain't good for nothing else." What the hell? He supposed if fish could have legs, then mud could burn. Spider or no Spider, if their cats started flying, he would be out of here like a rocket."
As you can see, there's plenty of wit and humor in the book. I love how William and Cerise banter and how they enjoy teasing each other. William spent most of his life as a soldier. Because of his nature as a changeling, he was trained from his early years to become a lethal fighting machine. As a result, he has to constantly keep himself in check. Also, he's been lonely most of his life because he doesn't have a family. Lo and behold, he meets Cerise and becomes tied up in her family's business. The Mars are a pretty crazy bunch of people. As evidenced by the cover, Cerise is an excellent swordswoman. She fuses her magic with her sword so she has a unique fighting ability. She's also smart and funny, definitely my kind of female protagonist! I had a lot of fun reading this book and even though it was pretty thick, the pages just flew by. As expected, there's nonstop action and adventure for the two main characters. The story is layered with intrigue as William pursues his quest against the creepy spymaster of a rival nation. Spider is a pretty scary villain not just because he's evil but because he believes he's doing the best that he could to serve his country.
Another awesome urban fantasy novel from Ilona Andrews - espionage set in an interesting swampy landscape with broken but lovable main characters and distinct secondary characters in the form of the Mars - highly recommended to all fans of the genre. According to the authors' blog, the next Edge book will be about Kaldar. I'm really looking forward to that because I loved Kaldar's character in Bayou Moon. Most of you know I'm a fan of reprobates and thieves. :) (less)
I’ve re-read this book several times and certain scenes can still make me laugh. What I really like about Julie James’ books is...moreOriginally posted here.
I’ve re-read this book several times and certain scenes can still make me laugh. What I really like about Julie James’ books is that we get glimpses inside the heads of the heroes and not just the heroines. So even if Jack is the strong, silent type, we still know how Cameron wreaks havoc on his concentration. I really enjoyed seeing both of them get on each other’s nerves while trying to work together on the case. The secondary characters in this one were a riot! I loved both Colin, Cameron’s gay best friend, and Wilkins, Jack’s partner. Because of the nature of Jack’s work, there’s more suspense and action in this one compared to the other two. Another great thing about this book? The cover shows a scene in the book. We all know how rarely this happens.(less)