I am one of the few who got their shipment (accidentally) early.
I finished this book at 3:48AM on 12/24/11.
It is every bit as amazing as John Green i...moreI am one of the few who got their shipment (accidentally) early.
I finished this book at 3:48AM on 12/24/11.
It is every bit as amazing as John Green is, but... NO SPOILERS UNTIL 1/10/12 (which is when I'll post my review). :)
All I will say is this: Do not be afraid.
P.S. Augustus stops a car from hitting Hazel. Oh wait, that's TWILIGHT, never mind!
Actual, full review: FINALLY I can post this! Woot! The original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I am one of those few who accidentally received this book early. 12/23/2011, to be exact.
Being the curious person I am, I read it. I finished this book at 3:48AM on Christmas Eve.
I did not cry.
I should have cried.
And so I wondered why I didn't cry, when such tragedy could ever invade into my mind. I wondered, and then I realized... it was because of a premonition.
I knew how the book was going to end. I did not invest in the characters, because I knew how the book was going to end, and so I did not cry, not because I didn't care, but because I didn't allow myself to care enough.
I didn't cry, because I was afraid.
You should know this, so that you understand what point of view I am constructing this review from. In fact, if you were expecting a complete fangirling session, you probably should not continue.
Here's the thing: I. Love. John. Green. He creates the most amazing, multi-dimensional characters that shatter the boundaries of a simple paper page. He is this incredibly intelligent man who writes incredibly intelligent things that makes you really think and wonder. And he has the ability to break hearts and mend them back together, in the most crooked way possible, so every time you remember, you only remember your crooked heart and crooked love. (Looking for Alaska reference, yeah?)
I knew all of that, so I was too afraid to let myself try and face the truth. I hid away from it and acknowledged it and then completely ignored it. So I didn't cry, even though I probably should've, and I wonder what that says about me.
My point is this: Do not be afraid when charging into this book. It is a story of finding love in the nooks and shadows of places long neglected, of discovering that happiness really does exist, and knowing that life must recede into oblivion one way or another. You cannot be afraid when reading this book, because otherwise it will ruin your reading experience--and no matter how many times you re-read it, it will not ever suffice again.
John Green is one of those authors who bring out everything in me and forces me to fight. He will not let you be lazy and ignorant. He will shed blinding light on anything and everything, and you must listen. Not because he is supremely powerful or that you are hideously weak, but because it is through these crucibles of sudden eureka and realization that you can really change your viewpoint on the world, and what it truly means to be one of the species that will not survive forever.
Fight. Believe. Do not be afraid. Fear is not a fault--but it is a level of necessity that you cannot bypass once you are imprisoned in it.
There are faults in everything; especially our hearts.(less)
**Thank you, THANK YOU, HarperTeen, for giving me this ARC. <3**
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog.(Note: due to copy-and-paste, form...more**Thank you, THANK YOU, HarperTeen, for giving me this ARC. <3**
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog.(Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost. Except for one of them that I manually linked.)
I devoured this book the way a starved man engulfs food.
Tiger Lily has this addictive quality to it, kind of like a drug. It's beautiful and sad and terrible and heartbreaking; it's merciless and benign and desperate and raw. It's feral: words that spill out in this incredibly gripping formation, hidden surprises waiting to spring and shock. I highly doubt I have the right words to describe just how amazing this book was, but I will try. That's all I can guarantee.
I'm a restless person. I always have to be doing something, and I often don't do the same thing twice. I'm kind of like Peter Pan. It's why I never read a book again right after I finish it, but immediately upon completing Tiger Lily, I had this irresistible urge to drown myself in Jodi's words again and again: I can't get enough of it. I was crippled by this book; I read in class, in the car, everywhere, and it is so predatory it almost made me cry in class. I don't even know how. Quite honestly, I have a strong suspicion that this is now my favorite book--of ever and ever and ever and ever.
The characters--mostly Peter--sliced through me with a canyon's depth.
This is the Peter Pan I swoon over so badly it's not even funny. This Peter is broken, but he's trying to mend himself and he doesn't want to be broken, so of course he'll lie--to himself, to others, but... mostly himself. That's what made me just stop: at one point, I just had to set the book down and bury my head somewhere. Probably in a heap of tissues. I fell in love with Peter the way Tiger Lily did, and the moment you get to see him past everything--his exterior, his defenseless self--it's like having someone very, very carefully cut your heart out. It hurts, obviously, but it's also defeating. I think that's what made me love this book so much; I guess I'm just a masochist for being such a sucker of bittersweet love stories. Peter Pan is a bewitching boy; I think this song describes my feelings about Peter much better than I can. Of course, now that I've spent so much time on Peter Pan, I've totally neglected Tiger Lily and Tinker Bell, our unexpected narrator who actually turned out to be vital to the plot. I'm sure you're all asleep now, so I'll sum up these two and everyone else in the book in a sentence: the characters in this book are all independent--they are wild, but so in very many different ways--yet at one point or another, the decision was dependence, or nothing at all. It's astounding the choices we all make, to see them reflected in these characters so real they were like people burning through the pages.
Keep living through Happily Ever Afters; we can just watch them eventually fade. But Tiger Lily does something else: we don't live through the Happily Ever After. We live through the true stories crackling against its wishful disguise.(less)
Quick Reaction: THIS BOOK WAS SO. FREXIN'. GOOD. I can't even- Goodness, this book, I- I mean, I- Well, I- The thing is, this- I CAN'T DO THIS. THIS IS TOO...moreQuick Reaction: THIS BOOK WAS SO. FREXIN'. GOOD. I can't even- Goodness, this book, I- I mean, I- Well, I- The thing is, this- I CAN'T DO THIS. THIS IS TOO HARD. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH I WANT TO HUG THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE RIGHT NOW. I CANNOT TALK COHERENTLY.
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, most formatting and links have been lost.)
Reading A Million Suns was like hugging the entire universe in its aggregated starry glory. Like soaring into the sky, the wind whipping past your entire body, the land billowing beneath you in ripples of satiny cloth. Like the sound of tinkling glass ricocheting forever in your ears, of sunlight feeding your eyes, of elixirs revitalizing your body.
How do you write the review for a book like that?
I am lost, but perhaps a game of would-you-rather would fit our purposes.
*** Would you rather read an 1) amazing second-book-in-a-trilogy or 2) a terribly hideous one?
If you chose 1... This book is exactly it. Beth Revis rips apart the genre boundaries and blows it up with her own masterpiece. The phrases and plot twists and characters and themes in this book work in complete synchronization, advancing not too quickly nor too slowly. The pace forces you to turn page after page. It is unstoppable, unbelievable, unprecedented. It is the sequel you dream of.
If you chose 2... I would hate to make comparisons nor name names, so you may want to check out my Goodreads account for the 1 or 2 star reviews.
Would you rather 1) fall in love with a completely realistic and stunning boy or 2) a user/jerk/creeper?
If you chose 1... I liked Elder in Across the Universe. I loved Elder in A Million Suns. He is intelligent, frustrated... he's real. Elder cares for Amy--he yearns for her. There is so much wanting and needing in this book, so much please and just let it go, it tore my heart apart. Elder has so much expected of him, but he's so young, and without Phydus, the responsibilities he must take on, the things he must do and rise above to accomplish struck my heart like a knife. I was going through something similar--dissent among leadership, chaos among expectation--at the time I was reading this book, and it was Elder who kept me hopeful and strong. It was Elder who saved me. It was he who made me love again.
If you chose 2... You probably thought I'd name Twilight, and you are right. Not because I dislike Stephenie Meyer. Simply because I refuse to name any names, but that book is probably what 99% of the population would think of when reading the word "creeper", so I felt that it was not something particularly bashing.
Would you rather 1) die a little bit and love with all of your heart or 2) love a little bit and die with all of your brain and being?
If you chose 1... Read this book. I cannot reiterate this enough. Correction: If you haven't yet, read this entire series. A Million Suns was even better than Across the Universe. This book makes you laugh. It makes you smile, want to cry, it makes you this little kid surrounded by field after field of endless enigma, and watching all the lies rain down around you, you, too, will race to find the truth.
You, too, will race for silence and the stars. And that is it, really. Silence and stars.
If you chose 2... I hope for both your sake and mine that you did not choose this option, but a little curiosity goes a long way, does it not? So if you did, my Goodreads account is as accesible as they come. I hope you find something satisfactory. ***
I thought time wore away love. Wore away patience, skill, understanding, hope, humbleness. But I was wrong.
Time is a tool, and Beth Revis is its master. For her, it did not wear away any of the above.
**Actual, full review** Original will be posted here on my blog on January 22nd, 2013. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and...more**STARRED REVIEW**
**Actual, full review** Original will be posted here on my blog on January 22nd, 2013. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Darn it, Marie. If I actually cussed, I would be throwing out a firecracker of expletives right now.
I read this book a while ago, so I don't remember every nook and cranny of it. But here is what I do remember: every time I think about it, I just want to weep and simultaneously punch a wall. I still freeze every time someone mentions it because I just. freaking. can't.
Gosh, Marie, why do you keep doing this to me?!?!? The writing was so concise yet impactful that it was actually more than beautiful: it was unforgettable. The plot was SO action-packed it was like watching a James Bond movie while experiencing Inception. It was so insanely fast-paced and heart-robbing that I couldn't even move until I finished the book. It's the ultimate definition of unputdownable. And also, I'd like to think, unforgivable, because it gave me such immense amounts of pain that I just- no no no no no I'm going to cry again no no no
ARGH. MARIE. Y U KEEP HAUNTING ME LIKE THIS.
You think I'm not being serious, but I really am. I just can't make any sort of "serious" sense right now because I'm so emotionally distraught. I feel very compromised. Like if I say one more word I'll topple back into the hole of GIVEMEBOOK3NOWNOWNOWNOWNOW-
Oh wait. I'm already so deep in this hole, I've forgotten about the world above.
Prodigy, though, in a word, is lost. So many sacrifices, so many fears, so many character developments, so many plot twists, so much genius that even a hundred Hershey's bars wouldn't stack up in comparison. This book was not a rollercoaster: it was a freaking cannonball. You don't even get the time to prepare with the proper goggles before Marie pushes you into the waters from a height beyond Shangri-la. Then the words wrap around you like air currents and slam you down into the water with a splash that hurt more than a hundred million bombs setting on fire.
Okay fine, so I'm exaggerating, but you know what? This book had me sobbing more than I did for my ma back as a wee lad, so if I'm gonna make some exaggerations, at least they're made out of honest sadness.
Rest assured: I plan very much on surviving this new year, lest I miss the conclusion to this tear-jerking, me-making-it-sound-extremely-melodramatic-when-it's-really-just-ugly-heart-breaking saga of unparalleled epicness. (less)
Actual, full review: Review will be posted on my blog at 12 AM PST February 7th, 2013, here. Note: due to copy-and-paste, f...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Actual, full review: Review will be posted on my blog at 12 AM PST February 7th, 2013, here. Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.
I've heard people say that the best books are the ones that make you homesick for somewhere you've never been.
I don't think I've ever felt so much yearning to be in Japan than I have while reading Ink.
Amanda Sun is my new hero. So often--too often--you read books in foreign settings that are under-researched, not fleshed out, extremely stereotypical, or just plain misleading. But it's clear from the details in the streets to the careful dialect all the way to the food, the culture, the education, the clothing, the style, that Amanda knows what she's talking about. It's amazing. I was listening to the furin wind chimes the other day, and it, among with a few other things I searched up on Google while reading the book, was exactly as Amanda described. Honestly, I don't think I've ever read a book set in modern Asia so well researched.
Not only that, but Amanda's prose is effortless to read. It's not overwhelmingly purple, and it's not disastrously bland. It has the same impact as Rick Riordan's: often humorous, often serious, and too commonly heart-stopping, with the masterful ease of a storytelling guru. I loved the plot and characters so much. Katie is an amazing heroine. In the beginning, there were a few problems with the book that I had, mainly surrounding Katie's almost unrealistic irrational responses to Tomohiro's actions, and the ending was a bit too anticlimatic for my taste. But I got to really see Katie as a real person, and this book reads like an epic soap opera that is just stunning and savory.
Of course, we can't forget Tomohiro. Ahhhh Tomo. TOMO. AHHHH!!!!! I'm sorry, excuse the flailing for a moment. But- OH MY GOSH. I love Tomo so much I can't stand it. He's a jerk, a giant jerk, and that's not cool, but he has extremely good reasons for it and he makes up for the jerkiness with bravery, selflessness, and a desire to change. The number one thing that makes unlikable love interests is their inability to recognize their flaws, and also their unwillingness to change for the better. But Tomo is the complete opposite. And it's just- HE IS SO ADORABLE. AHHHHH. I wish I have a quote to show you, but since I mailed the ARC off already I can't. :( But there's this one part where Katie and Tomo are together and Tomo was injured, and he was talking about how Katie wasn't helping his blood flow recover. A few pages later he's falling asleep, and he just looks at Katie and smiles and says, "the blood flow." It's so cute I think I'm going to die from the adorableness. ^.^
Basically, I loved Ink so much I could probably just blissfully tumble off a cliff just for the sequel now. Hopefully it won't resolve to that...
There are books that you like, books that you love, and then books that make you so happy you just want to drown in chocolate. Ink is that last one, plus a few cherry blossoms just for hints of poison and beauty. It's truly a remarkable book. You absolutely must should check it out. Preferably now.(less)
Quick Reaction: This book was so real that it plagued me like the bubonic. A drastic comparison? Not really.
Honestly, I've been through what Noelle's...moreQuick Reaction: This book was so real that it plagued me like the bubonic. A drastic comparison? Not really.
Honestly, I've been through what Noelle's been through. I still am, sometimes. But I'm more like Simon--I don't give a darn. I really don't care what others think of me. And that's what I love about this book--Noelle's character transformation is so believable and complete that I can't point out a single flaw in it.
This is the book to read if you hated high school. This is the book to read if you loved high school. This is the book to read, whether or not you're in high school.
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
The picture you see above is a rainbow-spewing fish. It's a blurry picture, as I took it with my webcam up close, and it's not colored. I assure you, though--it is indeed a rainbow-spewing fish.
"Um, Juli," you might be thinking, "What the heck does a freakin' fish have to do with Keep Holding On?" That's a great question. And so allow my quasi-philosophical explanation to fathom for a second or five.
Our lives are blurry. They pass by us faster than we realize and slower than we desire. Things don't work out right; they turn upside-down; colors degrade to black; brightness fades to a dimmer white; what was once a promise is now a dread. Through it all we're still fighting to find a better life, and even if that means sacrificing certain values, most of the time we are willing to do it.
So why, then, is bullying such a problem? And suicide?
I have been bullied. My friend has been bullied. In fact, this generation's (and I believe what I'm saying is accurate, considering I am in this generation) idea of "bullying" and such is so drastically different from our parents' that if an adult saw some of the jokes we share, they'd probably be appalled. But that's just how evolution works, isn't it? To slowly progress and then stop and then progress and then backtrack and go on and on in this never-ending pattern, always dependent on something else?
Keep Holding On is like a giant stop sign screaming, "WAIT!' STOP! DON'T YOU SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING? DON'T YOU SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING?" Susane's words leap off the page in an array of promise and hope, desperation and authenticity. She's encapsulated a common teenage life into one of the shortest--yet fullest--books I've ever read. And the entire transformation of Noelle's character is so believable and complete that I am in awe of Susane's obvious understanding of both the topic and her talent.
This book incarcerated me. I'm out at dinner, eating hot pot with my parents, waiting for the food to arrive and reading this and BAM it's like everything I try to forget just drowns me again. I was addicted and terrified of Susane's words. They crippled and crushed and dared me to hope. They were so real I could barely stand it. Of course, my situation is not even close to how badly Noelle gets treated, but I can relate to her, and I even pronounce it almost impossible to not relate. There are some feelings that are too hard to ignore--too rare to be immune to--and one of those is sympathy. Sympathy and a eagerness to understand. (Though again, some people's qualities and actions continually surprise me--though they shouldn't. I should probably be used to them by now.)
Funny. I'm more like Simon--I don't give a darn what you think about me--I just live life because I don't think there's a point in wasting it on not-being-awesome. But we all have times when we just sink until we can't breathe, and Keep Holding On is it. It's beautifully heartbreaking and tragically sweet, subtly raging and fabulously daring. I'm in love with it and Noelle and Julian, and this book gives me so much strength--so unbelievably much--I'm still rocketing around on a I-CAN-DO-ANYTHING! high.
Life's weird. Life's stupid and gorgeous and obnoxious and endowing. Keep Holding On will guide you through the storms and find the rainbow. Maybe you'll even see a fish on your way there. A rainbow-spewing one, at that. (less)
Excuse the cursing, but... I. FUCKING. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. I LOVE IT SO MUCH IT LITERALLY PAINS ME TO LET IT SLIP FROM MY FINGERS.
IT'S SO GOOD. SO SO GOOD. I CAN'T EVEN.
Definitely one of my top 3 all-time favorites, right up there with TIGER LILY.
I love this book more than words can say.
-nonono i don't want this to be over please no-
-the writing is so beautiful I want to wrap myself in it and let it sing me to sleep-
-small bone to pick: the cover is awesome except for the White Hands. I get the relevance, but :( it's so badly photoshopped in that it looks just strange. Ah well.-
Actual, full review: (Full, original review here. Note: Due to copy-and-paste, some formatting and links may have been lost.)
Sorrow's Knot is a woeful, poetic tale with a dew-dazzling quality to it, hypnotic in rhythm and unrelenting in emotions. Erin Bow's writing is beautifully quiet, with words stringed together like charms on a bracelet without ever stealing the story away from its original purpose: to give us some sense of hope, of peace and serenity, even when we know that not all is well.
I think what Sorrow's Knot does exceptionally well is its delicate balance of romanticizing sacrifice and spearing freedom. It raises such profound questions, and in a way that never makes you feel as if its suffocating you with its morality. How free is freedom, and how far are we allowed to go to protect freedom before we've gone too far? Is sacrifice a smudge of weakness or is it heroic and insurmountable?
Besides the phenomenally crafted themes and writing of the book, the worldbuilding is superb as well. The world is reminiscent of Native American culture, and some parts of it reminds me of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart (Evil Forest, etc.). But that's not to say the world is a parody; if it is based on any sort of Native American or African culture at all, it is safe to say that Sorrow's Knot is more of a corollary, a refining of such traditions rather than an imitation. And the world is rich and believable and immersive, and it's almost impossible to not forget yourself when you're wallowing in lakes with Otter or hiking through mazes of crooked branches.
The characters, finally, are commendable for their depth and realism. Though they live in a world so completely different from ours, there never was a doubt in my mind that they weren't fleshed out. Every character had its own identity and even the most seething, hateful ones had qualities that allowed us to glimpse their humanity. It is truly remarkable, how incredible each character is developed.
Read this book. There's nothing else I can say but ask you to read it. It is, quite simply, breathtaking.(less)
Quick reaction: I loved this book. It made me cry at my numbest time--in the early morning hours, when I should be asleep, but stayed awake to read th...moreQuick reaction: I loved this book. It made me cry at my numbest time--in the early morning hours, when I should be asleep, but stayed awake to read this. But I had one question. (this is a REALLY big spoiler, so don't click on the tag unless you want everything spoiled it for you! (And dont' worry, this part will be deleted when my final review goes up.) (view spoiler)[Did Jack overhear Meredith tell Nikki that anyone can forfeit themselves to the Tunnels, that it doesn't have to be the Forfeit? Because I don't think he did, as Nikki told him it was nothing later when he asked her, so then how did he know to sacrifice himself in the end? (hide spoiler)]
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
What do you call a book that made you cry at your numbest times? Everneath is a beautiful story about hope--and the absence of it; death--and the absence of it; love--and the absence of that as well.
This is a book about what was there and isn't anymore. About a past we can't help but regret and can't help but try to yank back, even though we know that won't happen, ever. There is something deeply emotional running rampant underneath the words of Everneath: not something you can see, nor hear, nor feel, but something you sense. It's so subtle--but the emotion is there: desperation, and what happens because of it.
The Everneath is a strikingly heartbreaking place. Brodi has a fantastic way of describing darkness as it sucks at everything around it, choking life and strangling emotions and crushing dreams. It is desperate, too. That's a theme threading through this book: desperation, desperation, endless desperation. But it is not a mindless, aggravating sort of desperation: it is a calm, accepted, forced sort of desperation that I dare you to ignore and wave away.
I could go on and on about how Nikki broke my heart. She has been so dry and cracked and burned that she could barely go on, but she's willing to try and fight, if only to set things right for once. I could talk about how Jack was achingly sweet and trying to find the old Nikki, only to search again and again to find someone new to fall in love with again. I could also talk about Cole and his irresistible compassion, about Brodi's expert weaving of mythology throughout the book. But I must clarify something deeply concerning--this book is not a love triangle. Nikki knows who she loves--she has made that choice so long again, it is a concrete thing that is an irrefutable truth, a stable constant as everything else in the world shakes and shudders and twists. Though she certainly must make a choice, the choice is not of love--it is of endings.
Either way, a part of her will end, and it's up to her to decide which part, or if she will just extinguish all at once.
Everneath is like a waterfall. It is pounding and deadly, and it is beautiful. It is destructive and ruthless, and endlessly breathtaking. It is brilliant.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
"Eleanor..." "Stop. Don't say my name like that. It only makes it worse." "Makes what worse?" "Everything," she said. He was quiet. She sat up and wiped he...more"Eleanor..." "Stop. Don't say my name like that. It only makes it worse." "Makes what worse?" "Everything," she said. He was quiet. She sat up and wiped her nose on her sleeve. "Do you have a nickname?" he asked. That was one of his tricks, whenever she was put off or irritated--changing the subject in the sweetest way possible.
I think I live for this book. (Read the book. You'll get it. What I just did. But also, why I did what I just did.)
You know, there are plenty of faults with Eleanor & Park. In the beginning there was a lot of switching back-and-forth between current events and reflections of past circumstances, but it was all written in a way that I couldn't tell where one began and where the other ended. It was a bit confusing, and once I got the POVs (Point of View) switched up because Eleanor and Park, in spite and perhaps because the book was written in third-person, sounded so similar. Not their personalities, of course. Just the narration.
But that only happened once, and honestly, I don't freaking care.
You know, it's weird. I used to think that the St. Martin's editors and I had really drastically different tastes, because all of the past books I've read with St. Martin didn't exactly top my favorites list. But you know what, that was stupid of me to judge an entire imprint by twenty or so books. And what better way to prove myself so so stupidly wrong than with Eleanor & Park?
I had insanely high expectations for this book. As in I couldn't touch a book for three weeks while waiting for E&R to arrive on my doorstep because I wanted it in my heart so badly, I'd already carved out a little nook for the characters, and I didn't want other protagonists stamping their ways into my heart, into that little home for Eleanor and Park, before they could. I'd heard raving reviews from friend after friend, so I knew this had to be at least as good as Anna and the French Kiss, because otherwise those weeks of coveting these two characters I hadn't even met would've been another shameless stupidity of mine.
But god is this book beautiful. Like I love it so much I want to soak it up and eat it and drink it and roll myself in it. I know, I sound like a pig. But there's this... magnetism about Eleanor & Park, a story so real and alive that there is no way I could possibly refuse their love or their sincerity.
This novel isn't just a flourishing, exotic punk love story, though. The book would've been that much duller without Eleanor's rad stubborness, or her family's fight and collapse, or Park's defiance, or his family's acceptance, or the comics, or the music, the music. There's something kicking and punching in the heart of every character, and if you listen close enough, you'd hear the heartbeats of Park's dad, or of Ben, of Maisie, even Tina and Steve, the bullies. There is so much to be discovered between the pages of Rainbow Rowell's masterpiece that it would take years for a cartographer to chronicle Eleanor and Park's love and their beautiful, terrible--absolutely irresistible explosion.
You have to let yourself go with this book. You have to let it get to you in places you don't even dare peek within yourself. That's the only way to feel the softness of Eleanor's hands, the wild green eyes of Park, the chemistry that lights something on fire even if they simply looked at the other. The strings that thrum beneath the book's skull and the sappy love songs that pound at nodes of perfection, here and there.
I am so, so glad and privileged to have read this book. So, so glad.(less)
Quick Reaction: I should make it clear that there are many different ways to judge a book, and I'm judging Dreamless in relativity to Greek myths. Som...moreQuick Reaction: I should make it clear that there are many different ways to judge a book, and I'm judging Dreamless in relativity to Greek myths. Some pet peeves we see abundantly in today's literature are common and incredibly vital to Greek plots, and I must say that in both that aspect and Angelini's soothing narrative, this book certainly deserves 5 stars.
I thought I would hate Orion, but he actually turned out okay. Though Helen annoyed me a bit at some parts, she never crossed the line that made me hate her like Kill Me Softly because at least she was sacrificing for others, instead of being a selfish b-witch.
Anywho, this book was just fantastic. It's gripping and quite addictive and, honestly, filled with tension that Greek fans are sure to fall head-over-heels in love with.
Actual, full review: This review has been scheduled to post on my blog on 5/15/2012. Here it is, specially early for Goodreads followers and friends! :D (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Josephine Angelini has the uncanny ability to tread uncharted waters and come back with loads of gold in her hands. In other words: what was an aggravating tale of insatiable love, a tale that spanned centuries with infamy and worship--the epic of Helen and Paris, has been transformed completely by Josephine Angelini into an addicting series gleaming with beauty.
It has been established, hopefully, that I am as big of a Greek mythology fanatic as they come, and I am not the first to say that this book is not for everyone. It's entertaining and fascinating, of course, but the true core of this novel lies within its ability to reincarnate lost characters into ones radiating with compassion and believability. For fellow geeks of Greek mythology, and others who yearn for a world fastened with gods and weaved with power, Dreamless captures and re-captures the fulfillment of that wish numerous times.
This book is obsessive and gorgeous. I just couldn't stop reading it; it was as if I myself was stuck within the lines smothered between words, trying to claw my way out of Helen and Lucas's mesmerizing world yet failing to do so without much care at all. It's Josie's prose, I think, that makes this book such a gripping one: she tells you everything you want to know, but the characters don't know it, and you're just sitting there waiting for them to just freakin' wake up already and see. But it's not the type of frustration that results from annoyance: it's a frustration comprised of your own desires as well as the characters; a concoction that truly glues the reader to the page, I believe.
Before I wrap up this review, let's talk about Orion. Ah, yes, Orion: the boy I hated from the moment I read the summary--how could I not, when Helen and Lucas's love was so fragile and so, therefore, also beautiful? But within pages of meeting him, I couldn't help but understand Helen's attraction to Orion as well, for Orion is a charismatic boy who tries so hard to help everyone else; he's altruistically brave, but he's not stupid, and he's understanding as well. So I must say that, even if you believe in Helen and Lucas's love ferociously and fiercely, please don't let it deter you from opening your eyes to try and understand. It's difficult, but I believe that there are roads you never would've seen once you let Josie carry you away in her words.
Greek mythology has constructed a vital and irreplaceable contribution to our very society and government, no matter where in the world you are; Josephine Angelini is a storyteller mastering the YA mythological world, and wherever we travel with her next, I know the ride will be as at ease and thrilling as one could dare to dream.
P.S. Check out my review of the first book in the trilogy, Starcrossed! (less)
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and SOME links have been lost.)
There are NO WORDS that can describe how I feel about this book. It's freaking badass and mind-boggling and brilliant and fast-paced and beautiful and devastating and so infinitely intelligent I can't even-
Forget it. I cannot write this review in a calm and neutralized way. I'm fan-girling way too hard. Is it possible that I have a girl crush on Janelle and absolutely love Ben Michaels? Oh yes. Is it possible that this might be the best sci-fi book I've ever read? Possibly. I'm teetering towards a yes, even though A Million Suns is glaring and threatening to cryogenically freeze me.
If the world rained brilliance, then Unraveling is a hurricane. It's unstoppable in its formidable exterior and gorgeously raging interior. It brings pleads and tears and SO MUCH BADASSERY I was freaking out with ohmigod this can't be happening it can't be THIS good, can it?! AHHH!!! the entire time.
I can't do this anymore. I can't. I don't even know how to express my thoughts without collapsing into the chasm of full-on exploding happiness. So here:
Oh, this is good so far. Nothing like, MIND-blowing or something, but I freakin' love Janelle's personality. And the writing's so smooth it's like gliding on silk.
FAEIORJIIOJARAKKKFAK I CAN'T EVEN I CAN'T EVEN I CAN'T EVEN- I cannot believe it. I knew this was coming, but the very idea is SO mind-blowing I am shocked to a thousand universes away. Elizabeth Norris, Queen of Doing Her Homework and Absolute Aweseomeness, I kneel to you. Please bestow upon me the honor of being your knight. I will ride out past the edges of the world to proclaim my loyalty to you. I have just one small favor to ask... convince Ben to marry me, please? Pleeeease?
That's it. This book was so good, reading it was like tumbling down a hill of rainbows: you'll crash and burn, and it's all so beautiful, who freakin' cares about the scars? I'm so spoiled by Janelle and Ben that I don't even want to touch another book in fear that suddenly Unraveling is going to pop and disappear. I feel like I should hang this book in a frame or something, so that I don't do something stupid, like drink hot chocolate and just stare at the words until the chocolate spills and I ruin a page and then I'm so outraged at myself I quit eating chocolate all together. Oh, man, would you look at that. This book has me so twisted in ecstacy, I cannot seem to fathom any sort of quasi-coherent thought.
It doesn't matter if you hate sci-fi or chocolate or books; Unraveling flares against boundaries of fears and smashes them apart. And if the world should truly crash soon, then there is one thing I must insist that you do: READ. THIS. BOOK.
P.S. Is my rambling not convincing enough? Then listen to this song: it conveys the book's ambiance perfectly. (Also, I totally want to see the movie. Not for Kristen Stewart, but for the special effects and Chris Hemsworth. ;) )
*edited to add: AND I FORGOT TO MENTION! This is a starred review*
It is the fourth day of November and so, today, I have finally found a book that (in my humble opinion) surpasses The Hunger Games.
Here's the thing: The Hunger Games was my ultimate favorite book.
And then a little something called The Scorpio Races came along and I drowned in it. I drowned in it and I loved it. Loved it more than my favorite book.
That's right. The Scorpio Races is now my favorite book of all time.
I can't tell you exactly what it is that made me fall in love with this story, because it's not just one thing, but so many things that together they started to blend and blend until the only coherent thought I had was that I am in love. This book is unlike anything you'll ever read--it was certainly the most original thing I have ever read. There is not just character development, but plot, twists, surprises, heartbreaks, hope. They are each a mountain and you journey with the characters to the top, where the skies swarm below you and the world lies beneath your feet and all you feel is this feeling of greatness that nothing else can fulfill.
In fact, it seems to me that the more I think about this book, the more this feeling of... this feeling I've only felt with my most favorite books of all time (The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, etc.) bubbles up. And the thing is that I finished this book four days ago, on November 1st (also happens to be a very significant day in the book!), I sat on it for four days and I still love it beyond words. In fact, to ask me why I love this story is like asking wings why they fly. Because they do. Because I do. Because there is just no other way around it.
I'm trying to keep this review short and succinct, so you can go ahead and get this book already. But I feel like it's important that you know I have not previously read any of Maggie's books. I've heard of the Shiver trilogy and they've been on my TBR list for a long time, but I'm so overwhelmed with paranormal (vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc.) nowadays that I just never really felt compelled to pick it up.
I will now. Right now. I need more Maggie.
If there is one book you can get, get this one. There's just nothing else I can say except this: the sunset is an explosion of colors, and this book is an explosion of beauty. Pure magical.
Phenomenal. And I never say this, truly, I never do, because I didn't believe in it. But I will say it now, because it is finally true:
Every single tear I could possibly have spilled out and I swear I fell asleep crying more and more. Looking for Alaska is an emotional ride that will shake everything you feel out of you and leave you no, not empty, but drained, and then you'd just want to cry more because everything that happened just couldn't possibly have happened and they did and you're just like, no, this is all a joke.
I loved this book and then I hated it. Not because of the writing or the characters, for in that aspect this book is a masterpiece.
It was, in fact, a major event that happens that divides the book into Before and After that had me wanting to rip the book to shreds, because I just couldn't stand it, you know?
I'm trying to talk about how amazing this book is. Hopefully that is conveyed. But the thing with Looking for Alaska is not how realistically John Green portrayed teens or how the book is simply fascinating, but rather that the messages in this book will leave you horrified, touched, amazed, destroyed.
I'm going to read other John Green books--truth to be told, I just can't not read them, because maybe there's a part of me that's hoping what happened didn't happen, that John will tell us all it was just a joke in another book.
But the other reason is that this book made me a reader again. I didn't scold or care about the writing technique, inflicting conflicts play-out, etc., which I now tend to do with books and analyze them. No. This book flipped the clock around like what The Hunger Games did to me, and that was enough. I want to be able to read without stressing over punctuation.
I don't know if this book should be starred. I want it to be, but it destroyed me, so on that account I can't. Maybe one day when I re-read it I will analyze it again, and give it a star. Or maybe it will destroy me again and again and again.
I don't know. But I do know that I am going to get out of this labyrinth of suffering one way or another, and only then can I love this crooked book with my crooked heart.(less)
Original will be posted on my blog on January 17th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lo...more**Actual, full review**
Original will be posted on my blog on January 17th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I liked Unravel Me. There isn't much in my memory about how exactly it impacted me, but I remember that I liked it.
But I don't remember that I loved it.
Tahereh's writing is quite gorgeous (but also very egregious and takes a lot of patience to read and get used to, and isn't exactly everyone's cup-of-tea), and her metaphors perfectly represent a mentally unstable girl who's been hated since her first touch. But sometimes writing isn't enough to masquerade the fact that just because the heroine hates her life doesn't give her the privilege of acting (or, rather, not-acting) stupidly while everyone else is putting their lives out on the front line.
I get it, I get it. Juliette is a mess. Thank goodness Kenji yelled at her to stop being a mopey TSTL protagonist right before I shut the book, though. Man, Kenji, I gotta give you props. You're awesome. We should be friends.
Anyways. So, let's talk about the romance really quick. Adam, it seemed, had little impact on me in this book. I prized his and Juliette's relationship, but soon he became to tumultuous and emotional for me to really connect with him. He was too... unruly. Not in a lucid sort of making-you-blush-ness, but moreso that he was... ah, yes. Unraveled. He and Juliette were both unraveled. Granted, I felt sympathy for them, but it's hard to feel much when your feelings are put next to the melodramatic proclamations of a mentally loose girl.
I feel like I'm a jerk for not sympathizing much with Juliette, but then again, people were furious over Tris in Insurgent (I had no problem with it, actually). I'm not angry at Juliette for being mentally crooked; I'm angry because it took her a long to realize that she had all the help and support she needed right by her side, all servile and patient and understanding until it was all too much to wait for.
Overall: I am now Team Warner, despite the fact that he disgusted/amused me in Shatter Me (which my starred review of is here, by the way). Juliette earned back my trust in the end. The writing still conforms me to Juliette's fear more claustrophobically and talentedly than many authors I've read. And the story is incredibly engaging, if unoriginal and predictable. Unravel Me fell a bit short of the phenomenon that is Shatter Me, but that's largely due to the fact that my feelings about the writing has slowly changed and faded over time. Yet, it's not a story to be missed, especially if you're in for some fantastic action scenes.
It's going to be a long wait until Book 3, but I'm starting the countdown now. (less)
Quick reaction: Kirsten Hubbard's books are so good they kill me.
Actual, full review: This review is scheduled to post on my blog on 2/29/12. It is h...moreQuick reaction: Kirsten Hubbard's books are so good they kill me.
Actual, full review: This review is scheduled to post on my blog on 2/29/12. It is here on Goodreads exclusively first. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
There are two types of flutters in your chest. The first type is when you read something sensual, something evocative and you know you should stop reading it, but you can't help it, so something quick bursts out among the fragments of seconds as you devour every single letter of every single word, savoring the strange inappropriateness of the scene. The second type is full on cardiac arrest. Where every part of you is shaking, fluttering so badly you don't even realize you're doing it until all of a second, you stop, and your heart just drops like a pebble; when you are a butterfly slowly flying away, wings straining against the pounding wind, and you can no longer ignore the fact that this--this feeling of complete fulfillment, complete satisfaction--has almost never happened before, and you are so desperate to feel it again you can't help but try and capture the wordless depiction into actual words.
Wanderlove is both, but especially the latter. I gave it everything, and it hurt me too much, made me ache, and at the end, I cried tears of relentless joy. I was so happy--I can't remember the last time a book made me this happy. I need something strong to grip on to, so that I can take a deep breath and tell myself to calm the heck down, because this review is so, so hard to write, and I'm so, so tired of running away and not looking back.
I was worried about this book at first. The whole synopsis of traveling and backpacking? Eh. Not really what I'm looking for. But... it's Kirsten Hubbard, a small part of me had whispered, and so, even as I dug through the first few chapters where we didn't know Bria very well, when she was still a stranger, I gave it a try.
I should have known that it would enchant me to the end of the world and shatter me all at once.
This book is about so much more than just traveling. It's about love, about trust, about running away and not running away. About staying still and not staying still. About watching the world spin around like a merry-go-round ride while you're standing in the middle, and as it sweeps you away into a land of endless confusion, you learn to eventually grab on to a horse and climb on, fighting your way through the hurdles of life. But, at it's heart, it's also a beautiful love story. There is no such concept as insta-love here. It is a fascinating and eternal and aching journey of learning that, yes, it's alright to fall back into someone else's arms, even after everything you've lost. It's okay to be afraid. It's okay to be angry. But you have to learn to discover the when, so that when the time comes, you won't miss it.
Sometimes, Wanderlove is magical. Sometimes, Wanderlove is heartbreaking. Kirsten Hubbard's books are so good they kill me.
But always, always, Wanderlove will find the piece of your heart that wandered away, and return it to you, so that finally, you are whole and new.(less)
Three things. 1) This is a review of both Eon AND Eona. 2) Original is here on my blog. 3) Due to copy-and-paste, SOM...more**Actual, full reaction/review**
Three things. 1) This is a review of both Eon AND Eona. 2) Original is here on my blog. 3) Due to copy-and-paste, SOME formatting and links MAY have been lost.
Too much is lost in our greed and ambition to be recovered.
Eon and Eona are different beasts coalescing in the same form, the same thoughts, the same ideals all slammed together until there’s just this giant wall of steel. These books are unbreakably vulnerable and cracked with dirt. They are not perfect; far from it. But they are entertaining and they make you think, and that’s all that really matters.
Eona is a frustrating character who I found incredibly aggravating in both books. But while she was just plainly—forgive me, but—stupid in Eon, in Eona she had every reason and pressure to make such choices. So, I hereby declare Alison Goodman the Queen of Conflict. Not because I have some sort of immense, evangelical power that creates an instant verdict of black and white, but because her characters suffer so much I cannot even fathom how she could possibly have the heart to write the stories. But then maybe that’s why I’m too soft for these things; the harder the journey, the sweeter the ending, as the saying goes.
I can’t help but think that while that’s true on the surface level, the sweetness is but a crumbling disguise beneath Eona’s words.
This series shudders with cruelty: there are harassments and there are threats; new lives lost and old lives gained; bursts of shallowness and too much selfishness; and disguise and lies and punches and wars and executions and death and it’s not even just a surface thing, not something that is happening but I cannot sense—the characters are so frustrating that they have etched their way into my skin, so that every time another bone snaps, I can only cringe.
Eon was entertaining; Eona was crushing. I’m not sure how I forced my way through Eon: it was certainly wonderful, but I hated the characters’ decisions so much I wanted to snap the book in half. But still I bought the Nook copy when I realized I left my paperback at home, and I was on a plane to Chicago. That must say something; I hate spending extra money I have no need to expend.
These books are obsessive and gripping, but as your grip slips they clench you again, harder each time until you are stuck in their prison but you do not realize it until the last word of Eona has breathed.
Eon and Eona are so convoluted and developed, I am in awe of Alison Goodman (despite my anger at previously mentioned predicaments). There are plots—numerous of them—and then subplots, then sub-subplots, then sub-sub-subplots, and so on and so on until the only one who can see light in this blinded rabbit hole is Alison herself. And what an epic she has written; I was completely emerged within the Empire of Celestial Dragons. The world swarmed with authenticity and was so real I sometimes was lost in the real world, wondering where I was. It is the details: every word, thought, action; they all pertain to the world, not a thread of modern Anglicized influence through it all, except a few curse words.
One last thing: High Fantasy is my favorite genre. Not because of its beauty and ability to transport the reader to worlds previously unfathomable, but because it is like a dream: too desirable to escape and much too burned to stay.
Quick reaction: I have literally one minute to type this, so: this book was so good I can't even-
I used to think that Cricket Bell w...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick reaction: I have literally one minute to type this, so: this book was so good I can't even-
I used to think that Cricket Bell was exactly the type of boy and love I want in my life. Not anymore. Sean beats him. Gosh he and Eva are so amazing: Eva's passionately a dreamer and rebelliously strong, sort of like me, while Sean is quietly ferocious and intellectually witty. They are freaking perfect together.
You see reviews all over the place and they usually start with some tagline among the lines of "The Lost Girl was a disturbingly beautiful, unconditionally sorrowful, and fascinating story weaved (pun intended) with threads of the strongest characters and most tragic flaws."
Then the review continues, discussing voice, character, plot, pacing, what worked and what didn't work for the reviewer, etc. I do this all the time. We bloggers do this because it's the way a review is written, right? You review by letting the readers know what to expect and when to hang on; who they can anticipate they'll love and just how many tissues they need to prepare beforehand.
For the first time in my over-a-year blogging experience, I am at a loss for words.
I'm staring at this seemingly pointless page of review and I just don't even know anymore. I can't describe it. There's no way to transcribe the immensely emotional and staggeringly heart-breaking idea and soul behind The Lost Girl. I can't talk about the boy, the girl, the story--I can't even think about it without succumbing to the verge of crying.
This book... Well, let me put it this way:
You know how there are all these different types of instruments, how they're all so different and powerful and how, when they all clash together, the noises and sounds merge into this tinkling, spine-chilling sound? Imagine those instruments as essential parts of a book. The piano is the plot, the characters the violin. The flute is the emotional depth and the drums the pacing. These all sound beautiful on their own, but often the drums and the flutes clamor or the piano and violin are out of sync and the end product, though delightful, feels often... insubstantial. As if there's something missing and it's incomplete even though all the needed plot elements are there.
The Lost Girl is the song that meshes everything together and emerges with a masterpiece--one deserving waterfalls of tears and thousands of standing ovations. It's the arrow that snags you right in the heart. It's the poison you swallow with love. It's the air you breathe when you're desperate and a raging mess.
It's just... so hard to review this wide, haunting vision. I feel like I'll just rant on and on and I won't ever say anything remotely meaningful because The Lost Girl is indescribable. It's the feeling of a million contradictions flying at you and, in the end, it somehow makes sense. It makes sense out of the nonsense and it makes music out of the imperfect.
By no means is anything perfect, but The Lost Girl wins a medal for being one of the closest books to ever achieve it.
Maybe you'll hate it, maybe you'll love it. But no matter what, there's one thing I can guarantee:
You will feel. This book will yank out all of your emotions and smear them side by side so that when you finally finish it, you will feel.
And that's an entire masterpiece in itself. (less)
Quick Reaction: So fantastic, so unexpected, and soooo many questions. To those who think this sounds way too much like Beautiful Creat...more starred review!
Quick Reaction: So fantastic, so unexpected, and soooo many questions. To those who think this sounds way too much like Beautiful Creatures: Perhaps so, but the humor in this book is unmatched and way too hilarious. Also, I have many, many questions for Sarah when I see her this Saturday.
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. I've met Sarah Rees Brennan a total two times, both times at the RT Teen Day event. The first time I met her was back in 2011 at the Los Angeles RT Convention. At the time, I didn't read a lot--I loved reading, I just wasn't obsessed with it--but I fell in love with Ally Carter's books and saw on her website that she was going to be at RT, so I went, with the sole intent of wowing Ally with my Supreme Coolness and Complete Un-awkwardness (hahahahaha I must've been way more ignorant than I thought I was), but of course, I ended up being both Supremely Uncool and Completely Awkward.
Which would have been really sad. EXCEPT SARAH REES BRENNAN WAS THERE.
And she made my day.
You know those people in your life who are just so full of this untamable energy that they seem to explode whenever they're by you? The type of people who make jokes that are so funny that you can't even breathe, and they're just smiling all crookedly at you 'cause they're just glad to have entertained but isn't really sure just how they so completely blew you away?
Well, Sarah is one of those people. In fact, if that type of person had a name, the name would be Sarah.
So you can imagine that I was absolutely freaking out when I got accepted for an e-galley (e-ARC, basically) of Unspoken. And there is one thing I will tell you:
SARAH REES BRENNAN IS LIKE TECHNOLOGY. She gets better and better and addictive-r and addictive-r.
Going into this book, I had the suspicion that most people did: this sounds awfully like Beautiful Creatures. I mean, even the main character's name is Kami! But oh, I couldn't have been more wrong.
Yes, Unspoken is gothic, it's got a mystery, it's got a Kami, it's got creepiness. But it's got the key component: originality. While its synopsis resounds crazily with Beautiful Creatures, it is its own novel, its own Sarah-esque humor, its own amazing characters, and its own story that is in no way a retelling of anything but the awesomeness of Sarah Rees Brennan.
The characters are just completely flail-worthy. Kami is so funny, I kind of exploded from laughter. (It's so nice that heaven has computers, isn't it?) I was reading this on the plane to Chicago for RT and I'm pretty sure my entire back got melted by the glares of trying-to-sleep businesspeople. But wow--if you've ever seen Sarah in person, you know she's extremely funny. Unspoken is like a sitcom where everything is humor magnified until you're bursting in this bubble of Ultimate Happiness.
But it's not just the characters. The romance, the creepiness, the mystery--they were all so thoroughly juxtaposed with the humor that, even though they are a sudden shift away from the wittiness that thrives in this book, they also lure the reader in even more with their full ambiance and complete chillingness.
Unspoken is the type of book that you crave for no matter how many bad/good/genre-specific books you've read. It's always a relief, it's always a suspense, and it's always, always, the type of awesome that is so completely awesome, if it was not unspoken, the universe may have had another Big Bang.
So good. SO GOOD. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...moreQuick reaction:
So good. SO GOOD. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.
also oh my god my name was in the acknowledgments holy crap thank you so much SJ i<3you
Original will be posted onto my blog on January 3rd, 2013, here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, the following review does not contain...more
Original will be posted onto my blog on January 3rd, 2013, here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, the following review does not contain the formatting and links the original review on my blog does.)
Everyone loved this book so much that I was both frightened and buoyed to pick this up. It seems that a lot of reviewers knew Rachel Hartman before they read the book, but I've never had any acquaintances made with Rachel (though seriously? I'd love to). So if you didn't buy anyone's review because you thought they were all biased--well, I'm telling you now that I had no qualms against liking this book.
Of course, I didn't need to worry about bias and whatnot--Seraphina was absolutely tinkling.
It's very elegant, I think. That's the word to describe it: elegant. But also very true, and very subtly honest, at that. So no, the word to describe Seraphina is eureka. It's an epiphany smashed into beautiful words plastered into inky lines trilling on the flimsy disguises of a thin page (not to mind you, though, that it is indeed a very long story, but definitely too short of a time to spend with the flamboyant characters).
Actually, I take that back. The characters aren't flamboyant (though hmm, some are, I suppose). What I'm trying to say is that they are incredibly multi-dimensional, and that I absolutely want to be Phina's best friend, but that I also love Kiggs so very much and I want him to manifest into real life and marry me or something. Wait, no, I can't have both, can I? Darn. But see? The thing with these characters is that they are so utterly impressionable that you can fester up their responses even if they aren't there--their personalities and actions are so completely unforgettable that I don't need an exact wording in an existing scene to tell me what they want or need.
The best part about this whole masterpiece, though, is the absolute fascination with beauty that seeps through the spine of this book. Not beauty as in one's own vain reflection, but beauty of music, of emotions, art, acceptance, friendship, etc. etc. etc. This book explores some of the closest subjects to my heart (such as philosophy) without making it inconsistent, unbelievable, bland, or mad. Rachel writes like a pro and her words and ideas flow so easily over the pages and the reader that it's almost impossible to realize that you're adapting to this amazing, aesthetic view of life until suddenly you cannot imagine existing without it.
Seraphina may be "just another epic fantasy about dragons", but I assure you, it's original and gorgeous in its own right, and contains a brilliance too bright to conjure without reading it, and too vast to rest in until I hold the sequel in my eager hands.(less)
Quick Reaction: holy wow. I can't type much right now 'cause I'm out of town and on my phone, but this was awesome. I can think of reasons why some of...more Quick Reaction: holy wow. I can't type much right now 'cause I'm out of town and on my phone, but this was awesome. I can think of reasons why some of the peeps I know might be turned off by this (Audra's intensity, for example) but I strongly suggest you hang on tightly and storm through! (Pun intended. Also, I realize that this is incredibly morbid, but it just occurred to me that this book has hurricanes and sand and we just had Hurricane Sandy. Hmm, leads to some windy apocalyptic theories. Oh man, I hope no one thinks I'm making light of Sandy. I just thought the irony- ah, I'll just shut up now.)
Actual, full review: Original will be posted on my blog on February 5th, 2013. You Goodreads peeps get an early look. Yay! :D
If your state doesn't have In-N-Out, that seriously sucks.
Something interesting: While I was reading this, I was on "vacation" in Palm Springs. Which was awesome, because I drove past many of the places in the book while I was "vacationing". And during that time, there was a scene in the book that involved **EXTREMELY MINOR SPOILER AHEAD** an Animal-style Cheeseburger at In-N-Out. **EXTREMELY MINOR SPOILER OVER** I always knew In-N-Out had a "secret menu", but I didn't realize it was called Animal Style. So last weekend, while I was out at a Debate Tournament and happened to stop by an In-N-Out, I bought an animal-style cheeseburger.
Oh my gosh. Sorry to all the vegans out there, it's just, OMG HOW CAN SOMETHING TASTE SO GOOD. But anyways, back to the point: Let the Sky Fall is somewhat like that amaaaazing cheeseburger, in that it is delicious and awesome and also wields a secret, unique power of its own: something really original.
Let me just start with the characters: Vane was such a boy. Seriously. I used to think that, oh, boys surely don't think *that* much about, you know, mind-in-the-gutter stuff
, but once I got to high school... wow. How much more ignorant could I have been? The thing is, Vane's behavior is sort of like that. He's a bit immature, a bit foolish, so very much a boy, and sometimes I was frustrated with him. He had such a big responsibility to uphold and he kept messing around. But thank goodness for Audra. Audra is like the polar opposite of Vane (which, by the way, made differentiating the characters in this mutliple-POV book so much easier). She's stern and fierce and very very serious. I think some people would find her to be a bit too intense at times, but I think 1) if you factor in her situation, it's understandable how she came to be such a tightly-coiled person, and 2) Vane seriously needed someone like Audra to snap him back into where he needs to be.
The characters' juxtaposition flared them both to life, and the intricate subplots (especially of Vane's "love life") adds doses of authenticity to their personalities as well.
Let the Sky Fall also won me over with its originality. I haven't ever read a book about windwalkers, and maybe that just means that I have narrow taste, but it is true that this LtSF utilizes some seriously awesome mythology. The world is a easy one to understand, and an easier one to immerse into.
If you've never tried it before, you'll probably be hesitant to grab a taste, and you might not immediately like it (both the cheeseburger and the book). But once you halt the early questions and just go along for the ride, you might find that, sometimes, those extra calories are worth it, and that soon, you just can't help but admit that you're a fan. (PUN INTENDED. ^_^)
Quick reaction: I don't care who you are, what you like, why you read, what you do, where you live, when you feel like reading, READ. THIS. BOOK. :)
Cl...moreQuick reaction: I don't care who you are, what you like, why you read, what you do, where you live, when you feel like reading, READ. THIS. BOOK. :)
Clearly, I love this book.
Actual review: (Original is here, and due to copy-and-paste, links and formatting have been lost.)
A nonstop, action-packed, quick-paced thriller, Legend charges as a single-book army that will claim victory over your heart in a matter of minutes.
Inevitably, Legend, being another Dystopian, has been compared to The Hunger Games. And truly, it deserves that comparison. For Legend is full of action, tantalizing romance, and beautifully simple prose. If nothing else, what sets this book apart from other Dystopians is its simpleness. It's not unpredictable, but it grips your attention. It doesn't overwhelm you with info-dumps and paragraphs of description--somehow Marie incorporates a world that shimmers to life in the most subtle ways. Its characters are flawed, raw, emotional, true, and though what they have experienced should have destroyed their ferocity, such traumatic happenings only make them stronger.
Legend blew my mind. I read an excerpt online and was hooked, but I didn't expect the wonderful emotional plot line running throughout the novel. Because when you have action, often the emotional parts and flawed attributes are ignored. But what truly creates tension isn't just action: it's thoughts within action. And even though this book is quite predictable, it makes you think, and I really, really appreciated that.
This is a must-read that can't be missed. When you have a book with depth, action, and romance... you can't go wrong.(less)
**Edited to add: Okay, I give in. This book is too good; I just have to rate it five stars, but I call dibs on Saf!!!! :D **
Actual, full review: Origi...more**Edited to add: Okay, I give in. This book is too good; I just have to rate it five stars, but I call dibs on Saf!!!! :D **
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Designed to deceive and fabricated to steal, Bitterblue is a more-bitter-than-sweet story bursting with emotions and hidden truths destined to kill.
For years I have known myself to be a hopeless romantic, a girl who can't possibly bear the contention of a character being forcibly pulled away from their love, but upon the immediate finishing of Bitterblue, I realized that it is not outside force that can deal the most damage to the heart. Sometimes, it's one's own desires that clash so disastrously that no compromise can be made, and either choice is the wrong yet right one.
It's like how I felt with Bitterblue, but not true as well: for Bitterblue was beautifully executed with shocks of outrageous truths wedged in between, so that sometimes, what I finally understand threatens to destroy me. There are mental and physical obstacles in Bitterblue, but I cannot say that either one is more prominent than the other. Yes, the mental state of Monsea is a mess threaded with unabashed determination, but sometimes mentality isn't so much a mental fight than physical: the reign of Leck still harms with a viciousness unmatched and a heart of the cruelest. What poor Bitterblue must face is an array of endless hurdles that only her nightly sneak-outs can compensate for, and yes, that is my one problem: Kristin Cashore, and what the romantic decisions she made did to me.
I fell in love with Saf (you'll know he's the love interest based on the summary and the very first time you meet him, so I don't suppose I'm particularly spoiling anything) from the moment I first saw/read him steal something. No, it's not that I'm extravagantly fond of thieves--it's simply his quiet ambition that burned its way through my heart--and Bitterblue's, too. Their love was beautiful and raw and full of impossible deceits and treachery, and they deserved a Happily Ever After so badly I begged for it, if only silently. Yet I do not believe that they received what they deserved, and it breaks my heart. I'm so pathetic that I conjured a whole new epilogue for years on end after the book's finale, so that I can force myself to believe what I don't dare--what my logic and brain already understands--to comprehend. I believe in second chances--in third and fourth chances--and I won't let the simple last page of this very-much-not-simple novel steal another thing from me, especially my heart. Still, don't misunderstand me: I loved this book; I just hated it, too, for what it did to me, and therefore I cannot decide whether or not my true feelings are even existent, when I feel so devastatingly conflicted.
It's a precaution I mention to others who read this, for it's not simply the boundaries of the pages that provide a subtly endangering threat to the very emotions of the reader: this book cradles truths fragile as glass, and swift as a bird. The keys on the cover convey all you need to know: be careful, for every key will be turned, and may the truth endow you in an enchantment and understanding that overshadows what great shocks may smother us all. (less)
*Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins for this ARC. Of course, this does not influence my opinion of the book in any way.*
An enchanting, mesmerizing book, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is just as Tamora Pierce said:
The story was beautiful, the setting was exotic. Elisa's quest to seek the power within herself is not only a breathtaking experience, but executed with a firm hand as well. I loved so many things about this book. To start off with, the cover is captivating. It depicts the almost magical feel of the story and I love how it doesn't show Elisa's features in detail. This allows the reader to really delve into the book and come up eventually with their own heroic version of Elisa. There was also the twists. I had mixed feelings about the twists, but most of them are personal. There were somethings that deeply surprised me, and I congratulate Rae Carson for taking up such a risk and succeed--that is, executed it wonderfully. I'm still a little heartbroken over the loss, but now I look forward for the sequel, even though the first installment isn't publicly released yet. Another thing I loved was the struggle of the characters, not just with others but also themselves. We see things the way Elisa sees them, we learn truths and conspiracies along with her, and even though I didn't develop a tangible connection with Elisa, I still felt her emotions and understood her journey and its purpose. The one thing I had a little bit of trouble with was the pacing. Don't get me wrong, the story moved straight into action, and there were no unnecessary scenes interrupting the flow. But sometimes a chapter felt stretched too long, or at least an experience was slightly overwhelming. Elisa is a strong, brave heroine, but during certain times I found an action that seemed a bit out of character, and perhaps it is because I miss a connection with her. Other times a scene was depicted in such detail, it felt overly extravagant. Nonetheless, this is still a wonderful, definitely must-read story. I've heard thoughts about how there is a religious element in the novel, and it's true. But I would like to state here, loud and clear, that the religion is essential to the story. It enhances the story to make it what it is. I am not the most religious person, and I assure you that even if you are not religious, you should give this book a try. I did, and I really, really enjoyed it.
Quick reaction: I said this on Twitter, so if you've already heard it, please bear with me.
This book was the most personal book I've ever read. It rem...moreQuick reaction: I said this on Twitter, so if you've already heard it, please bear with me.
This book was the most personal book I've ever read. It reminded me of these feelings: irrevocably broken. Tragically beautiful. Unexpectedly fascinating.
I am in love with this book so, so much. Definitely one of my favorites of all time. <3
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, most formatting and links have been lost. To see the complete, formatted review, please click on the original link.)
As I read this book, there was a particular stanza in Taylor Swift's If This Was A Movie that came to my mind...
Come back, come back, come back to me like
you would, before you said it's not that easy.
Before the fight, before I left you out.
This was the most personal book I have ever read. It was irrevocably broken. Tragically beautiful. Unexpectedly fascinating. Pleadingly hopeful. Heartbreakingly desperate.
I am shattered into fractures as I attempt to think about this book and write an extremely difficult review. It is nearly impossible to encapsulate my feelings. So perhaps I should start this out with a question.
If you had one day left to live, what would you do?
I know what I would do. I would go to Alaska, go on a cruise ship, and sail straight into the wind of the unknown. I would stand out on the deck, hands gripping the rails, watching the plethora of wildlife, of uninterrupted nature erupt with beauty in front of my eyes. I would stand there and feel myself soak in the life of everything. To feel.
But if I had to equate that journey, that aching experience into one concrete thing, I would call it Fracture.
Delaney is a miracle. A fluke, a mistake, a lie. She constantly shifts back and forth between doing what she needs to do and what she wants to do. She is this unstable bomb that shoved her way straight into my heart. She was broken, she was gone, she was still there, she was this massive question of the unknown and hopeful and terrifying. She was how I felt, but her situation was worse, and it was, then, from the first page that I met her and discovered her dilemma that I knew I would love this book, and I did. Oh, I did so much.
Originally, I did not want to read this book. I saw a myriad of similar premises during the time I discovered this, so I wasn't particularly that interested. But when I read Slide by Jill Hathaway, and Jill recommended this book... I just had to read it. And I am so, so incredibly glad, so incredibly thankful I did.
After reading this book, I wanted to scream. To shout. To laugh until I doubled over and started crying. To throw myself and drown in a lake of Megan Miranda's words. I was in love. This book was everything I needed right then, right now. I needed love. Hope. Strength. Resilience. The heroine who comes out scarred, but still alive, still standing, still strong. I needed that, and that was exactly what I got.
This review is getting long, and I'm sorry. Applause if you're still reading. But this book deserves so much, and yet so little in my own, vain, thoughts. Because I want to share it with everyone, but I also don't, because I want to keep it to myself and keep it as my own, just look at it and associate it with me and everything else would just fall away into oblivion.
One thing that impressed me tremendously was Megan's shockingly phenomenal ability to walk the tightrope between the supernatural and the scientific. She gives you a realistic explanation, but also hints at something more omnipotent. She talks of purposes and trades and lies and death and empty voids in truthful, bold ways that twisted my heart. I cried during this book, because I was so struck by the relativity of Delaney and me. It was like someone took a knife of my own making and stabbed me with it again and again and again until I was just this mess of bleeding emotion.
This book was, in one such inadequate word, amazing. I urge you to read it. I urge you to experience what I felt. I urge you to join me, for our hearts may be made of fractures pieced together, some of our decisions may be the absence of thought, but this book, it is empty in the void of imperfection.
Have you ever seen red, orange leaves spiral and collapse in the fall? See them land to their death in a graceful and resilient way?
Because beauty is not always looks, and beauty is not always brains. Beauty is the recognition in the difference of both, and the unique distinction of that such an inadequate concept does not truly exist in objectivity.
And this book is it. Beauty.
If you had one day left to live, what would you do?
Sorry 'bout that. You see, I have quite the fetish for Maria V. Snyder's books now. In fact, I'm dyin...moreQuick reaction: YEAH, KICK SOME BUTT BABAY!
Sorry 'bout that. You see, I have quite the fetish for Maria V. Snyder's books now. In fact, I'm dying to read the rest of this brilliant series. Problem: my darn homework. Ah, well, Jaime, kudos to you. This book was amazing.
DID I MENTION HOW AWESOMELY KICK-BUTTING AND ROMANTIC AND EPIC IT WAS?!?
Finally finished this book. I have no complaints for it. The writing is gorgeous and even though I usually hate heroines like Mary, she made me love h...moreFinally finished this book. I have no complaints for it. The writing is gorgeous and even though I usually hate heroines like Mary, she made me love her, because we dreamers gotta stick together, yanno? But I really do think there should've been an epilogue or something because I have NO IDEA what happened to (view spoiler)[Jed, Cass, Harry, Jacob, and Argos (hide spoiler)] AND the whole thing with (view spoiler)[Travis dying (hide spoiler)] was so heartbreaking.
Overall, though, I really, really loved this book. I think it's one of my first zombie books--if not the first, I know!--and it definitely won't be my last with the likes of Carrie Ryan around.
**full review to come... maybe...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I love Maggie Stiefvater so much, it's kind of scary. I've always been pretty intrigued by SHIVER, but because I'm extremely selective (and that's an...moreI love Maggie Stiefvater so much, it's kind of scary. I've always been pretty intrigued by SHIVER, but because I'm extremely selective (and that's an understatement) with paranormal reads, I just didn't feel compelled enough to pick it up.
But I read THE SCORPIO RACES, and it became my FAVORITE. BOOK. OF. ALL. TIME. (See my review of it here.) GAHHHHHHHH I love that book so much. Ah. Anyway, now I really don't care that this is about werewolves and what not. That's my policy: If you, as an author, can make me fall in love with your writing, not just a single book, I will read each and every book you write no matter what it is about.
Now I shall go read SHIVER.
QUICK reaction: GODGODGODGODGODGOD I... I can't even... I... So please, help me now, because this book was so amazing I feel like I'm floating, but really, I'm just crying. I... Oh, Maggie, how do you keep doing this to me?! My heart broke... (view spoiler)[but the last three pages... I bawled even more then, because I was so, so impossibly happy it was heartbreaking (hide spoiler)]. This review is going to be so hard to write. But I just have to say this: I read somewhere that the best romances are when you can't imagine the boy with anyone other than the girl.
It doesn't matter how sick of paranormal or books you are. Just... read this book. Now, excuse me while I go cry, marvel, cry, scream, cry, laugh, cry, and cry all over again.
Full, actual review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, most formatting and links have been lost.)
“'How long?' His smile was amazingly sweet. 'The longest.' 'Forever?' Sam's lips smiled, but above his grin, his yellow eyes turned sad, as if he knew it was a lie. 'Longer.'"
Once upon a time, there was a little girl, not as innocent as most other girls, but innocent still. Then the girl grew up, and one day, she fell in love with a book called The Scorpio Races. She vowed to read Shiver, because that was by the same author, and the girl knew it will whisk her away on journeys an universe away. She read Shiver, and it ripped her heart right out of her chest.
I read somewhere that the best romances are when you can't imagine the boy with anyone other than the girl. This is it. Sam and Grace... God, they made me bawl. Maggie's brilliant, beautiful prose poured heart and emotion straight out of the characters into me, deep into my heart, and all I felt while reading this book was just... this amazing sense of absoluteness, rightness, because I dare say that Sam and Grace are the best couple ever created in the literature world--I can't remember another couple that made me feel like this (except for Forbidden, but that's another story for another time). And it's this bittersweet fairytale that tore me in half.
I bawled, I laughed, I smiled, I shivered. I bawled again. I think this book is my favorite book ever now, though The Scorpio Races is still a close second.
My point is this: Read this book. It doesn't matter if you hate paranormal and whatnot, because GODDAMNDARNIT I am in love with everything about this book.
You know your heart? You know how fragile it is, a single drop of glass frozen, about to splash and shatter? Shiver is blood, pumping through you, into you, clogging your thoughts, just leaving your heart vulnerable. It's blood rushing into you and killing you and making you love at the same time. It's blood that keeps you alive and raw, desperate and flawed.
It will change you. Because this blood? It will fortify your being, your heart, your soul, and you'll know that no matter what, you have a definite goal, and that is to search for love like Sam and Grace's. Maybe just by reading about them, or finding a couple like them, or maybe being part of a relationship similar yourself. But the most important truth this book will teach you? It's that true love never dies. Love fades, love grows, love transforms into lust, love breaks, but true love never dies.