A word about the cover: So pretty, so delicate, I love it! I think it fits in beautifully with the content of the book.
Thoughts about the book:
I'm glad to say that most of the books I've read this year have turned out to be really good. Of course, I suppose one of the main reasons for this is that I've started abandoning books which don't rub me the right way (not saying that's a great thing, it's just what's happening), which means that if I end up finishing a book, it's probably good.
And this one obviously was. By now, you've probably heard of the million awards it's been getting nominated for and winning.
When you read All the Bright Places, you understand that it comes from a personal place. There's such a sensitivity with which the harsh reality of mental illness and abuse and grief has been handled (not to mention the author note at the end of the book). It's very well-written.
Things I liked:
The dual PoV. I love to see how authors handle more than one narrator's voice and it's such a treat when someone gets it right. The writing. Like I keep saying, so much sensitivity. It's like cracked glass, delicate and sharp. Mental illness. So glad someone decided to talk about it. It needs to be talked about, more. Especially in books where that isn't the sole focus. Love. How the only kind of love to talk about isn't the kind that's forever. There are all kinds of love. All kinds and every kind is true and real in its own right. Indiana. Violet and Finch have to explore the 'wonders' of Indiana as part of their class project. So in a way, this read like a love letter to Indiana, because you only read about people exploring the big cities with their fancy lights, not states like Indiana, which I thought was very very cool. The emphasis on the word 'lovely'. 'Lovely' is one of my favourite words, and when Finch says, 'Lovely is a lovely word and should be used more often', he took away the new-fictional-bff trophy. The quirky light touch of this book. It's very rare to find books that deal with such serious issues dazzle like the sun. Really. The atmosphere of this book was so...hopeful.
This was a lovely book that left me in pieces. And such an important read, too. People need to be sensitized to how the good and the bad happen together, that neither is exclusive of the other, that mental illness exists and that age has nothing to do with it, that we have to look out for it instead of turning away from those afflicted by it. There needs to be more books like this. Good fiction works this way - commercial appeal, important book.
You know what the best piece of news about this book is? It's being made into a movie with Elle Fanning as Violet. They haven't found a Finch yet, but I'm waiting to be surprised.
That blurb and I was sold. It makes you think Creepy Delicious Fairy-Tale instantly. So obviously I had to get my hands on it. I didn't even care abouThat blurb and I was sold. It makes you think Creepy Delicious Fairy-Tale instantly. So obviously I had to get my hands on it. I didn't even care about the cover, even though I think it goes perfectly with the blurb etc, but, what I mean is, even if this book had pictures of potatoes on the cover, I'd still have read it, because THE BLURB IS PERFECT.
But, you see, that is also kind of the problem.
The blurb is so good that I obviously trooped in with expectations and the first chapter was even better, so the expectations heightened. And, well. Thing is, even though this was my first Holly Black book, it showed me that she is a really good writer. The language is gorgeous and she builds up the world perfectly. And her narrative style sets the scene appropriately for a book titled The Darkest Part of the Forest and just when you're all set for the creepiness to crawl up your skin, it, uhm, stops being creepy.
Oh, book, what have you done to me? I don't quite know what to think of you.
I liked it, okay? It had siblings, it had magic, it had a beautiful horned boy and things that go bump in the..forest. The writing is good and it's a fairytale. What more can you ask for? But, I don't know, the siblings didn't quite have that siblingy thing, the magic wasn't something I felt part of and the horned boy was less fascinating awake than he was asleep. By the middle of the book I was more huh than wow. Which is kind of sad, because I reallyreallyreally wanted to love it. I wanted to wax eloquent about it and write love letters to the characters and fantasize about Fairfold. I wanted this book to be the book that would make me fall in love with urban fantasy once again. Maybe I had too much expectations. By the end of it I was, hmm, okay, nice.
I think The Darkest Part of the Forest had the potential to be a lot more than it is - go down in YA history as a landmark urban fantasy of sorts or something. I don't know. It sure laid the most fascinating foundation. It has movie potential, though. It would work really well on screen, I think.
I will read more of Holly Black, though. I shall keep The Coldest Girl in Coldest as the next book of hers on my to-read list. Meanwhile, I would recommend The Darkest Part of the Forest, just not as something that will offer anything new....more
OH. MY. GOD. I need to learn how to breathe again.
I read this in two sittings. On my way to work, and back. There was an 8 hour interval in between, bOH. MY. GOD. I need to learn how to breathe again.
I read this in two sittings. On my way to work, and back. There was an 8 hour interval in between, because, you know, work - which almost killed me because HOLY CHRIST THIS BOOK. I love Courtney Summers. She is fucking fabulous. The things that Some Girls Are did to me, oh gosh, I can't even gush enough. And Cracked Up To Be. My brother and I still debate over which we think is better. (We still haven't come to a conclusion) And then This. All The Rage. ALL THE RAGE. This book is everything that Cracked Up To Be and Some Girls Are built up to. It's like both those books actually were leading up to this. The running themes of sexual-assault, rape-culture, victim-blaming, slut-slamming - everything culminates in here and wow.
I have to say, I don't think the blurb does the book much justice. It appears too straightforward, when really, the devil's in the details. Courtney Summers is such a brilliant writer. Her minimalist style is like poetry. She doesn't tell, she casts shadows and in the shadows of what isn't told, you get the chills.
I don't know how to sound cohesive about this. It's such an explosion of a book. And it talks of all the things that surround us all the fucking time but which we conveniently choose to ignore., because, hushmychildspeaknoevil.
In many ways, All The Rage reminded me of Fury by Australian author Shirley Mar, which is one of the best books I've read. I felt the same surge of anger and helplessness as I had felt when I'd read Fury some 4 years back. The rage. Yes, the rage is the unspoken kind, the one that bubbles just beneath the surface for months and years till it spills over. It's such an universal rage against the way girls are treated in this world, at every fucking step, that lewd whisper in your ear as you go shopping or that silent eye-undressing that happens everysingleday - I thought I would burst because there finally was a book that gave language to that. (Living in a country that doesn't recognize marital rape as a criminal offense and takes pains to victim-slam before arresting rapists, such rage is an everyday story.)
So I would like to thank Courtney Summers for writing this book, for putting it out there, for making people think about the very things they quickly sweep under the carpet after a furtive glance around, for the rage.
I wish every teenage girl could be given this book. Every one of them. Before they are silenced....more
It was this crazy, crazy ride through the lives of psychotic teenagers with very, very dark secrets that are so disturbing, theThis book? MIND. BLOWN.
It was this crazy, crazy ride through the lives of psychotic teenagers with very, very dark secrets that are so disturbing, they'll leave you breathless. Keep an inhaler handy.
So, what we get from the book description is that Archer's a sort of teenage Dexter who is killing people (actually killing the people who've hurt his friend Vivian), thinking it's the right thing to do. It's twisted. It's creepy. And it heightens your curiosity quotient. Because any thinking person will want to know 'why' Archer is so crazy twisted. And what is his deal with Vivian, that he would go this far for her. And what on earth had happened to Vivian. What? Why? How? Hushed quickly raises numerous questions, and while you flip through the pages at phenomenal speed, it spinballs into a black hole of anticipation that might just give you a mini heart attack. And then, it'll hit you back with answers. Answers that will make you squirm and bite your lips till they bleed.
Hushed made me go through a range of emotions. Dark emotions, mostly, but dark has its range - rage, jealousy, despair. There's a lot going on there.
And oh man, Kelley York writes killer characters (no, the pun wasn't intended). She turns convention on its head and gives you brainsick teens in parasitic relationships, trapped in the role-plays they have created for themselves. Goes without saying, they are not your usual guys-and-girls-next-door. No.
Archer - Going into the book I had no idea what to think about Archer. Except for the fact that I'd be scared around him. Come on, the guy kills! (even if he's doing it for the benefit of his friend). And the book opens with a rather graphic-of-sorts scene of Archer murdering someone. But, you know, as with skillful storytelling, this man-killing-antisocial grows into somebody who deserves your sympathy. Archer is amazingly written. There's no black-and-whiteness about him. Archer walks in smoky grey haze, wanting so desperately to be loved by Vivian and doing all the wrong things to make things right that he sometimes makes your heart bleed a little.
Vivian - WHERE DID THIS GIRL COME FROM? I don't remember having detested any contemporary character (besides the mother in Tabitha Suzuma's Forbidden) as much as I detested her. She's so manipulative, so unstable, so emotionally abusive and misguided, most of the time I wanted to slap her left, right and centre. But as with Archer, I could tell where she was coming from. I never liked her, but I didn't hate her as much as I started out doing. And that's where Kelley York scores. Because Vivian wasn't meant to be a character to be liked (at least I don't think so) but not understanding where her motivations and insecurities arose from would have totally defeated the purpose of her presence. It's no surprise, perhaps, that she felt like the most REAL among the three main characters. She breathed right out of the pages.
Evan - Good heavens, I LOVED this guy! And his family. And the things he did. And the things he said. He is the reason his pair-up with Archer has moved into my list of Favourite Contemporary Couples (right next to Tessa and Adam from Before I Die and Lennie and Joe from The Sky Is Everywhere and Anna and St. Clair from Anna And The French Kiss). I loved how their relationship progressed. Not love at first sight, but gradually, unwinding layers and layers of each other, sometimes accidentally, sometimes with that intent. And, OH DEAR LORD, there is a Shower Scene which is probably the hottest thing I've read in ages. (Read, I tell you, READ!)
What. Can. I. Say. I've never finished another book on netgalley as quickly as I did this (I hate reading on the computer). Characters that creep you out but make you remember them, taut writing that keeps you flipping and flipping pages, Hushed is a stellar YA Contemporary Thriller. READ.
Be warned: this ain't your bedtime fare. It'll keep you up ALL night. I speak from experience. ...more
Dare you call this chicklit. And as much as I adore chicklit, this is not the tale of a single girl, lost in the city, romping about toTaken from HERE
Dare you call this chicklit. And as much as I adore chicklit, this is not the tale of a single girl, lost in the city, romping about to find HER MAN. String Bridge goes beyond that. This is after the girl has found her man, her family and is pushed over as she is made to face the hard realities of life. You could call this the after-the-fairy-tale part of life.
Familial love, marital drudgery, long suppressed dreams - Jessica Bell brings it all in and questions it all. What really is more important?
The writing is awe-inspiring. It's easy to see that she's a poet. Don't get me wrong. There's no floweriness. Bell's writing hits hard and yet there's an underlying musical cadence to it.
I was so surprised with this book. I'm a YA book whore. So much so that other genres often get neglected. But reading this reminded me how much I love a good women's fiction. And this wasn't just good. It was effing brilliant.
Bell picks at the nuances of life. The little things magnified. She isn't afraid to mention things that often go unmentioned. Like, sometimes getting irritated with the demands of the daughter you love so much that you'd wish she'd shut up. Or feeling jealous when you see her smiling with her father. Or wanting to throw utensils at your husband like a stark raving lunatic even though he's not really the villain you think of him to be. Or make him out to be. Emotions run high here, so high they spiral into cracks in the main character, Melody's life and her relationships with the people around her.
The author deftly paints relationships like she is really exhibiting the pages out of the tormented mind of a woman trying to find an identity for herself beyond being a mother and a wife. Melody's relationships with each and every character that appears in the book is explored in such depth, it is as real as it gets. The strains with her mother. The annoyance with her husband, Alex. The love for Tessa. The need for music. The fluttering feelings for a certain 'button boy'. Bipolarity, anxiety, depression. It's raw but dealt with a sensitivity, much like the one used to deal with the oddity of love.
And if you think you have it all figured out, think again. Because String Bridge veers off the path of predictability and throws you off your seat in such a way it makes you gasp for breath.
String Bridge is evocative of music that comes from a sad place then rises above the din and makes you appreciate the beauty of the world we live in and the time we have here.
“I am confident, I am capable, and I will not wait to be rescued by a woodsman or a hunter.”
When you look at it, it really is a classic gFull review
“I am confident, I am capable, and I will not wait to be rescued by a woodsman or a hunter.”
When you look at it, it really is a classic good vs evil story - dirty bad guys vs swashbuckling heroines. But what also sets Sisters Red apart is Jackson Pearce's willingness to create heroines that break the stereotypical mold. Scarlett is scarred and has only one eye. Which is possibly an anomaly in YA fiction scattered with shy-heroines-not-aware-of-their-extraordinary-beauty-till-a-boy-tells-them. But it's an anomaly that's required. Because it tests how much readers can accept a main character who is physically repulsive. And Rosie? Yeah, pretty girl she is and one tough chica, too. That quote up there? That's hers.
I absolutely ADORED this book. It suited my mood perfectly. Kickass, fun, and like I said, magical. I have read Jackson Pearce's As You Wish, and while I liked it, I didn't particularly love it. But with Sister Red, you can put a stamp across me as a Jackson Pearce Fan. I'm sold. I cannot wait to read her other Fairy Tale Retellings. She has what it takes to write one with punch....more
I was on the cheering squad for this book even before I'd read it, when only the title, the cover and the summary had been released. I felt a3.5 stars
I was on the cheering squad for this book even before I'd read it, when only the title, the cover and the summary had been released. I felt a kinship with it. Because - Dorian Gray! That's the first thing that crossed my mind. And I'm so fascinated with anything and everything to do with/related to Dorian Gray, I HAD to read this. And this clearly had the Dorian Gray concept going for it. Suffice to say, Oscar Wilde (that man I LOVE!) is right on top of the author, Leanna Renne Hieber's acknowledgment list. I have a thing for the Gothic. So naturally, Gothic romance appeals to me greatly. See that summary above? Perfect Gothic romance fodder for me. Magic Most Foul. That's the tagline for this new series. What's not to love? Magic (um, ghosts, too) is the thing I love above all fantastical or paranormal elements. It has my heart. So this book had it, too. Dude, cover love! I have to say, right from the beginning, I've thought this book has a very clever concept. And Leanna Renne Hieber works on that well. The book starts off as very, very intriguing. It's in epistolary format, and while the majority of it is written as part of Natalie's diary entries, there are a few excerpts from the New York City Police Record Case Files and letters exchanged between the characters.
A mysterious - and delicious - new portrait of a handsome young Lord moves into town (actually, into the Art Association on Twenty Third street, New York) and catches the fascination of many, including Natalie, thus triggering off a series of unexpected happenings involving magic most foul.
I like Natalie. A trauma at a young age took away her speech, rendering her mute. She is gutsy (remember this is the 19th century we are talking about, so gutsy now is different from gutsy then, but gutsy nevertheless), thoughtful and a heroine to commend.
And Lord Denbury? (I prefer calling him that than by his first name) He is delicious. For some reason, I kept picturing him as Ben Barnes. I'm guessing its the Dorian Gray effect.
Except for the fact, you know, Denbury lives in a portrait. I wasn't really crushing on him (as much as I was on my fantasy Barnes) but I think the author does a good job to putting across to the reader why Natalie was so taken by him. Fact is Denbury is delicious in his own way.
Darker Still is well-written and the author does a good job of capturing the 19th century suitably. And the added magic bit to it does wonders.
However, while the book got off to an exciting start, it was, well, kinda bland in the middle. Not to say there weren't things going on. There were. Secrets were being discovered and all that jazz, but for some reason, it left me feeling a little underwhelmed. I'm thinking that while the diary format is an interesting addition, the book could have done with being written in the present tense. It could have added an immediacy to the action. Thing is, the middle made me stall. It almost made me give up reading (although I blame that on the fact that this was on netgalley and I HATE e-reading).
Fortunately, I didn't. Because hells yeah, the last quarter's a romping ride of excitement. I really liked how Darker Still ended. It didn't leave me with a cliffhanger but it left me with the possibility of a lot more exciting and magical stuff to come.
Although it has its ups and downs, Darker Still is intriguing with a magical mystery at its core that will keep you on its pages. I'd say you give this book a chance.
I'm already looking forward to the next installment :)...more