"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)
The thing about these books is that you have to suspend disbelief. Some of the plot twists don't make that much sense, at least not when you link it t...moreThe thing about these books is that you have to suspend disbelief. Some of the plot twists don't make that much sense, at least not when you link it to other seemingly disconnected events, but that's Ally Carter for you: her writing and characters and world and just plot in general is so engaging that it doesn't matter whether or not one little thing doesn't fit in. Of course, there was something pretty major towards the end that made me cry in choir, but then a Maggie Stiefvater is pulled and... well, let's just say that I was a bit disappointed. It felt like my tears were cheated, you know? That's what the loss of a star is for. But of course, if what I thought had happened really did happened, I might've still taken that star off out of pure woe. So... it's a lose-lose situation? o.O
But that's not my point. My point is that when people see me reading these books, they look at the cover, tilt the head, and crinkle their foreheads because it doesn't seem like something I'd read. (Okay, so that wasn't really my point, but please bear with my tangent for a quick moment.) And so I seriously suggest you don't label this book as "girly" or "chicklit" or anything like that just because of it's cover. It's actually got real emotional value to it that makes you feel, cool plots that are actually just mindblowing, and characters that are completely real. (Although, I do feel like the large family that Kat has is a bit... too convenient. But I'm willing to let that go for now just because so far, it makes sense.)
Either way, my REAL point is that this book was fun, awesome, and emotional. Which isn't something you'd expect, I don't think, at least not the latter, but Kat and Hale go through some real personal issues here and it's beautiful to see their characters grow.
I absolutely cannot wait for (though also dread the Gallagher Girls finale) Ally's next book.(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)
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)
**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)
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?
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. ;) )
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Here's a confession: I hav...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Here's a confession: I have nightmares.
Not nightmares like "ghosts are following me down the stairs" nightmares. Not nightmares like "my crush humiliates me in front of everyone and then becomes the Biggest Jerk EVER."
Nightmares like, murder. Like, tearing flesh murder. Sights that make you want to gag and just shrivel up and hide forever. When people say there are no worse things than seeing your own death, they're wrong. Here's something worse: Seeing someone you love dying, torn apart, and you are just sitting there, helpless.
And here's why I'm bringing that particularly pleasant imagery to mind: This book is like my worst nightmare and best daydream combined. I have lost people, sure, but certainly not as horribly as many others have. I have tried to neglect the truth, too. But I'm not strong enough to fight against it completely and wholly. This book was like a weapon handed to me by Achilles, just for the power to finally spring back and eradicate every last doubt--every last sliver of crippling thought. But no one ever does anything for no reason at all.
This book's a weapon, alright. And it claims no loyalties.
I feel kind of dramatic. Upon finishing this book, I just lied there on my bed, staring at the ceiling. The book fell with a heavy thud onto my lap, and I just let it sit there. It was almost amusing, how much this book affected me. But actually, not really. It's like keeping something for so long, buried so deep inside of you that it takes millenniums to finally dig everything out again, and suddenly someone just charged into your brain and shook you upside-down until they finally dislodged that piece of memory. As they shake you, trying to free you, your thoughts start dissipating, turning vapid. You start thinking, hmm, and then it's just like yourself staring at yourself, but you know that you aren't quite who you were anymore. It's weird. It's strange.
It's spectacularly wrecking.
Here's a note about the illustrations: Whatever you do, get the print copy of this book. I have included links below the synopsis, so you can't use the excuse that you don't know where to find one. The illustrations are just hauntingly lovely. Its synergy with the breathtaking writing is like killing two birds with one stone. You know, I think it's just so interesting how I can be sniggering at myself the same time I'm trying to remain honest. If you're sniggering at my "melodrama," that's okay, I get it. But if you know me, you know I don't write reviews. I write my emotional response to a book, no matter how deeply cutting it is. So here it is:
I hope you read this while keeping in mind that even the greatest warriors fall. (less)
Quick reaction: Maggie Stiefvater has done it again. I was...afraid to start this book. I love dual narratives, but four POVs? Oh, but somehow Maggie...moreQuick reaction: Maggie Stiefvater has done it again. I was...afraid to start this book. I love dual narratives, but four POVs? Oh, but somehow Maggie handled it so well. I was only momentarily believing myself to be in another POV once, while most dual narratives leave me confused at least 3 times.
And this book was just... startling. It was cautiously beautiful and hauntingly mournful and everything I love about Maggie.
And I cried again, darn it! I don't usually cry during books, but Maggie ALWAYS makes me cry. I think that's a good thing. It means she hits me right where I'm the weakest each and every time. I didn't cry as much as I did in Shiver, mostly because I saw the ending coming (but not the details! The details were crazily plausible!), and that took away a bit of my reaction.
Dare I say that this is one of the best love stories I've ever read?
**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, 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: 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)
Here's the thing: I'm not writing a review for this. I can't. No words I can ever write can ever express the beauty of this book to anyone who hasn't read it. But because I am the debate captain of my school, because I want--need--to talk, argue about this, I'm going to stand up for consensual incest. So, if you're reading this for a review of Forbidden, you might want to stop reading now. If you cringe at the very mention of incest, stop reading. It's not a command--I just don't want you to be exposed to something you never wished to know of.
Here's a clarification: Consensual incest (the one I'm standing up for) is incest that is wanted by both sides. It's not a raped event, it's not a forced, blackmailing thing, it's a need acquired and realized and understood by both, so that there is no abuser or a victim, but rather two victims to a law that leaves me incredulous. I'm not encouraging incest or anything like that. I'm simply questioning its right to be a law.
1) You might think this: Incest is so gross! So wrong! But let me ask you: How wrong is wrong? How do you define wrong? Why is it that anyone who has been thrown together into this catastrophic situation of impossibility after their feelings, after their love cannot be denied after their need cannot be ignored after everything they've tried has failed, why must we punish, ridicule them for being produced by the same woman? Why must we immediately categorize it as wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong? I understand if this is your feelings about a rape, but that's not what I'm talking about here. I know it's strange, that I'm talking about this. Perhaps you are grossed out. But I am asking you right now how much this direct, immediate decision, prejudice affects our moral beliefs. These people who have no choice over how they feel no choice over how much they have tried to stop how they feel no choice over life no choice over anything not even their own parents HOW, WHY is it right to take them away and imprison them, block them away from life, strip them of their rights and punish them for something out of their control--their birth mother? These people--yes, I know it's sick, I know I know--but is it really so wrong that is has to be forbidden? Is it so wrong that we have to rip them from their lives and destroy them until they have no reason left to live? Is it so wrong that we have to peel off our moral beliefs, shed it like skin and breathe our prejudices into their beings? Make our disgust their only air to breathe? They know it's wrong. They know. They know and they try to stop it but if what they feel is so right if they both know what they're doing if they both tried to stop and--and it feels like true love, real love--why do we get to instantaneously thrust them apart and blame everything, lose it, believe it true--that they did something terrible so terrible--before we hear the truth?
2) You might think this: Well, it's against the law. There's a reason it's against the law. Birth defects? Those can happen in regular, non-blood relationships as well. So why is this SO terrible--and I'm talking about consensual incest here? Why is it that it has to be outlawed? Birth defects could be prevented by extending to sibling marriage the rule that five states already apply to cousin marriage: You can do it if you furnish proof of infertility or are presumptively too old to procreate. (This great article dwells on the subject matter as well)
3) You might say, finally, in exasperation: It's disgusting. So is obese people wearing booty shorts. So is littering, killing the Earth in plain sight. So is couples making out beyond appropriateness in an area where they are exposed to hundreds of young children. Yet those things are not illegal, so why should consensual incest be? Like the article I linked above says, if this is a law simply put because you think it's disgusting--that's not reason enough.
Understand I am not encouraging this. Understand that I'm not saying I don't get grossed out by it at times. But also, most importantly, understand that this is something that rivals our very core moral beliefs. This is something that puts us in the boat of hypocrisy because, if asked the question, "if two people truly love each other, no matter their situations, should they be allowed to be together?", you would probably answer yes. But incest won't cross your mind. It might fleet by, but you will assume the person who asked you the question didn't mean it. But is it really so different? Why is it that this consensual, understood, recognized incest is outlawed? Why? Is it so bad that we have to banish people, punish them for their lack of rights and choices?
I don't like to tackle taboo issues in the public often. But I wanted to talk about this, because beyond all else--beyond morality, law--we are damning two people who never had a choice, a say in the situation. This is not the freedom of speech, not the freedom of expression. This is no freedom, but a constant pressure forging onto them, wrapping around them in a vise until they are constrained and imprisoned and everything robbed away.
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.
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)
Quick reaction is not available due to an unfathomable amount of anger and awe and love, but mostly anger, that Juli is feeling.
Actual, full review:...moreQuick reaction is not available due to an unfathomable amount of anger and awe and love, but mostly anger, that Juli is feeling.
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
**Starred Review** (This must be a good month, 'cause that's FOUR starred reviews already. O.O)
Hallowed is like volcanic ash. It's not at all what it appears to be at first glance. It's this giant, restless, horribly beautiful substance raining down and destroying everything in its path, and it doesn't stop. It just keeps rolling and rolling until finally, you are slammed to the ground in a sudden of impact and, BOOM! you're crushed, you're just this endless ache.
There is something melancholy in the very voice of Cynthia Hand's writing that makes you want to whimper. This book deals with the emotional impacts Unearthly left everyone in, and if Unearthly was brilliant, Hallowed was suffocating in its overwhelming beauty and stupid, stupid destiny.
Destiny. This directs me to the unimaginably obvious split of TeamOreos. But Christian, even though I warmed towards him so much in this book, will never, ever replace Tucker. Tucker, oh god, Tucker Tucker Tucker Tucker. Cynthia, if you hear from me nothing else, I just want to know, why? WHY?
I'm this fury personified into someone who only feels sorrow. I feel like this giant wind whipping past everything, trying to hurt myself by isolation so I can at least claim some part of me back without having to claw and fight and plead for it. Because goodness only knows I stayed up until almost 5AM on a school night to finish this book, and then, when I am the most numb in my emotions, I started to cry, and cry and cry and cry and I was just so angry.
But I digress, and a rant does us no good. Still, I do hope you already have met the wonderful Clara and striking Tucker and he-who-makes-me-feel-ambivalent Christian. This trio has ripped me out of my reading slump and breathed life into me one whisper at a time, until suddenly, then, they tore it all out again. Everything about this book was amazing and terrible and fascinating and unbearable. I don't even know anymore. The angel lore was realistic (irony!) and subtle. The dialogue was truthful and still, snarky.
It's not the lovable characters, the heartwarming setting, and the passionate angelology, though, that sets this book apart. It's the emotional impact it had on me that truly makes it hallowed (bad pun?).
If you had a single feather, what would it feel like? Would it be soft and delightful, like a plush duck's? Or would it be heartbreakingly brittle and scarred, like someone who is lost, or has lost everything's?
Perhaps, for Hallowed, it is both. Or maybe, it's neither.(less)