^ i spelled it like that because frankly if i wrote goooooooooooooood it would look like go for a...more**STARRED REVIEW**
^ i spelled it like that because frankly if i wrote goooooooooooooood it would look like go for a really long time and that's mentally confusing. not sure if gawd is better.
anyways! wow. amanda effing sun is trying to murder me. i have no effing idea how i survived the wait for RAIN (hint: i didn't. i had to get an ARC or else i would've died. thank you first reads thank youuuuuuu!!!) but RAIN makes the wait for the third book f****** IMPOSSIBLE. GOD(S). THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK. I CANNOT ACCURATELY DESCRIBE MY FEELINGS.
I love this book so much i wanna eat it and let it settle in my stomach and then do some weird book dance or something idk i just gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
^that was really weird. but anyways. onto what i liked about the book: (SPOILERS FOR INK BELOW, BUT NOT FOR RAIN)
-I had thought the ending of INK was a bit anticlimactic, but oooohhhh boy am i glad she stayed. -TOMO TOMO TOMO TOMO TOMOHIRO COME HERE YOU -^ i swear i'm not that shallow. Tomo undergoes a lot of growth in this novel and we get to see him depending on Katie and realizing that he isn't alone. And that is just a phenomenal shift. -Katie has to figure out her priorities and must struggle through lies and facades to protect herself and those she love, and that means she gets in some pretty deep trouble with some people you reeeallly don't wanna mess with. -What Tomo says to Shiori about the thing. When you get there. Ahhhh yes. I was just like OH TOMO YOU GO TOMO YOU TELL HER. YES TOMO -We find out some INSANE history and hypotheses in this book and it is FABULOUS. I cannot overstate how happy I am about Japanese (and accurately described.... *cough* "City of a thousand dolls" and my billion hatred seeds for it) culture and mythology being so thoroughly described in a YA book where the market is saturated by white gurlz. Nothing wrong with Caucasians, just.... DIVERSITY MAN. Now we just need someone to do that for the Chinese... like I know there are some out there but most of them take place in the US... hmm... I should get on that.
Annnnd I could go on and on. But the thing is, I loved how I could smell the cherry blossoms and hear the furin and see the ink flow and feel the earth rumble and live with the characters as they despair and evolve and realize that they aren't alone.
I love it. I love it all. And now someone PLEASE for gods' sakes give me the third book as soon as Amanda Sun is done writing it and stuff.(less)
so i am sort of fascinated/obsessed with the world in this book. I find myself constantly seeing warnings of it in our society everywhere: corporate-o...moreso i am sort of fascinated/obsessed with the world in this book. I find myself constantly seeing warnings of it in our society everywhere: corporate-owned future (cough cough Amazon), segregation between the rich and poor (cough cough recent Supreme Court ruling), racial prejudice (cough cough life), etc. And while this book truly was engrossing, I thought that some of the character development was too rugged and rushed, and one minute this guy is a total jerk that you wanna kill, and the next he is supposed to be this super sympathetic bad-guy-turned-hero character who you're supposed to love but can't because, wth, how did he change so quickly? I also had problems with some of the out-of-the-blue plot lines which, while they made sense, seemed placed more there for the establishment of another plot line rather than to progress the story. Otherwise, though, I loved the story and how absolutely gritting it was. It was like a modern Brave New World, especially with the whole "Sydney Carton" naming system that you also see in BNW for Lenina and Marx.
Verdict: me likey. me fascinatedy. me thumbs-uppy.(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)
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:Andrea is seriously awesome. First I read A Tale Dark and Grimm (recommended by her) and it's amazing and I read this (recommended by...moreQuick Reaction:Andrea is seriously awesome. First I read A Tale Dark and Grimm (recommended by her) and it's amazing and I read this (recommended by her) and it's fan-flippin'-tastic. I remember when she first told me about this book, how I walked around school for the whole day talking in Yoda. (Hey Ray, if you're seeing this, that's where Jedi came from! Haha)
Um anyway. So yeah, I'm still stuck in Tommy's head so I can't really write in my usually more-thoughtful ways...
But read this book! Get it for kids! For older kids! For non-kids!
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)
Original posted here on my blog. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links are not available.)
What is it with madness?
Why is it that everyone is so burdened and broken that the only perfection that exists is a product of our own imagination? Splintered is pure madness, insane and twisted and sinister and completely seductive. You see those vines caging Alyssa's hair? Those same vines trap you, too.
Splintered is so heartbreaking it makes you want to weep an ocean of your own. Everyone is flawed and impossibly real and emotionally tumultuous. And that's the way it is: tumultuous. But Splintered is just what it is: the rock that splinters your exterior. It's not the type of book that crawls into your heart, per say, but more like the type of story that robs your breath and frightens you when you realize that its craziness is paralleled inside you.
A. G. Howard brings out the darkness in you and sprinkles it with doses of light--just enough to keep you afloat, but not enough to obscure the fear of drowning under.
The magic of Splintered, is, cliché or not, everywhere. The writing is beautiful and haunting. The words create such a flamboyant atmosphere, and the world-building is so thoroughly fleshed out that even the most illogical sequences somehow make sense. It's as if Ms. Howard smashed the world into pieces and rearranged it upside-down and backwards and all wrong all over the place, like a puzzle that fits in a darker, creepier way.
Splintered, at its heart, is a turmoil unsettled. Madness or tranquility? Self or community? Eccentric or accepted? But it's all those questions amplified to a degree that is unimaginable but by the mind of Ms. Howard and her ambient words.
There are retellings, and then there are retellings that twist everything around. Splintered is the epitome of the latter: what you thought was Alice in Wonderland is the original puzzle, and Splintered completely rips it apart. But that doesn't mean it doesn't pay homage to the classic--in fact, it is not so much that Splintered isn't Alice as that Alice cannot be Splintered. They are like twin souls wedged into one body. There are similarities, but there are differences that cannot be ignored.
Wonderland, it seems, is nothing that it seems. This journey is harrowing and completely phenomenal.
Hold on tight--the rabbit hole is as twisted and deadly as ever; even a potion can't keep you immune from Splintered's alluring charms. (less)
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
There is a sky, bloody and pungent with fever. It is so red it drips so black it smothers. It rips savagely but softly, like the teeth of an animal biting a strip of meat. Imagine this. Then imagine a girl armored in leather-like fierceness and a griffin shrilling and clawing with the fervor of anger and loss, punched in deeper than a blow and scars longer than a lifetime.
In Stormdancer there is desperation edging anger and loss, and there is something very, very fierce, the face of defiance and cracking facades. That is this epic and this epic is phenomenal in every color and word.
I think what so cleanly separates movies from books is that movies generate more action and therefore often more epic than books do. Books can be epic, like Eon and Eona by Alison Goodman, but they are not images clamoring your vision. But see, I was wrong. Stormdancer is not so much of a book or a movie rather that it is a keen and enthralling combination of both, an epic that digs into your bones and words that shiver through your skin. It's very, very beautiful, in a savage, feral sort of way. The imagery is vivid and the world is so real you can feel the branches snapping at you and the thunder smacking your ears. I knew this was going to be epic, because Jay Kristoff has a knack for it, but what I did not expect was a tale woven of blood and family that is so, so, so good it is beyond capable human processing.
There is a caveat I need to say: in the beginning 80 pages or so of this book, I couldn't quite bear it. It was, honestly, slow-paced. The language was smooth like the silk of royalty, but I thought, maybe there is too much description in this. Please speed up soon. I am telling you this because hold on--hold on tight because you might want to shut the book or take a rest but do not--wait until you get to the thundertiger, the arashitora, and then close it because by then you will only be capable of doing so after you have read the entire book in a breath. It is a captivating story, but also an investment: the beginning constructs the world, not hurriedly and quickly, but brick by brick, so that it is more languid than usual but the most poignant profit of all.
In reality there seems to be a bridge between our imagination and the unknown beyond it, and we cannot cross that bridge. But Jay Kristoff scours for the water and succeeds, and he builds his own boat, a glorious, magnificent thing and on it he journeys past the horizon of our imagination and brings back with him the treasures of an adventure swelling with impossibility and luminosity.(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** Today was the last day of the fantastic Mrs.Nelson's Bookstore's Warehouse Sale, and I bought 11 books with simpl...more **STARRED REVIEW**
**Quick Reaction** Today was the last day of the fantastic Mrs.Nelson's Bookstore's Warehouse Sale, and I bought 11 books with simply $50, a great deal if there ever was one. This was one of those books, recommended to me by the wonderful Andrea (general manager at Mrs. Nelson's, who is made of awesome), and it is absolutely fabulous.
What a fantastic, chilling, evocative piece of literature. It's a story that's unique and familiar, like a tray of biscuits inside the chamber of a train--oddly charming and comforting, though certainly strange.
I literally, literally read this in one sitting, and I have a feeling that this is a tale I would not forget for years to come, if ever.
In other words: oh how you must read it.
**Actual, full review to POSSIBLY come** (Meanwhile, check out my blog for other reviews of similar style, if you'd like!)(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.
**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: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
It's always terribly depressing when you ha...moreActual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
It's always terribly depressing when you have to write a negative review for a book you have been so viciously anticipating, but candidly, in the case of Kill Me Softly, what started out as an intriguing and deliciously creepy dark tale quickly sunk below the level of no-return.
The focal point of my irritation for Kill Me Softly is its main character; when readers say a character can make or break a story, it's true. Mirabelle is blessed with kindness and intelligence--neither of which she turns out to possess. She started out interesting, and she was even acting like how I would've acted in her situation, which made me instantly like her. But though the beginning and end of the novel were strong peaks in a typical genre, the middle was as frustrating as trying to split cement with chopsticks. (Bad example, I know. But hopefully you know what I mean.) She was constantly furious and acted extremely selfish, and was again and again endowed in insta-lust. No, not love, though she repeated the ILY enough times to make me headdesk just twice as much, but she was truly blind to the fact that it was lust she was trapped in. I mean, if you're buying a sexy nightgown the day after you meet a hot guy you don't even know, and then when some... really bad stuff happen, and you discover terrible secrets, you run back to him anyway and scream "I LOVE YOU!", do you call that love? Intelligence? Or perhaps lust and the incredibly narcissistic need to claim someone, even someone infuriatingly evil and insane, as her own?
Speaking of which, here's the other thing that contributed to the trickle-turned-waterfall of my unprecedented distaste: a ferocious passion for possessions that are so obviously dangerous, fatal, and frankly, completely unnecessary. For example: There's a pair of brothers in this book. When Mira falls in "love" with one of them, and then she sees the other one, she literally thinks that he's hers. Which begs the question: is the gift of loyalty truly misplaced in such a conundrum soul as Mira's? And another thing: "kindness." There's an incredibly chivalrous guy in the book, and Mira is a complete... to put it mildly, jerk, to him. And when she insults him in a way that makes me want to punch her, she feels sorry... for herself, because now whatever chivalrous act the boy was going to do for Mira, she's afraid he won't do it anymore. Ah, see, now I'm sick of talking about Mira the Beewitch, so I'll quickly address the last major problem I had with this novel before I go on to explain the one and only redeeming point that let me finish the book. This book glorifies death. Not a few pages go by does it not mention the beauty of death, and here's a direct quote:
"She'd never looked more beautiful, more perfect, than she did when she was dead" -The very first page.
The problem with this is quite simple and moral: the glorification of death is often indirectly influencing the minds of unaware youth--that no, don't worry about death, it will make you beautiful and perfect. Such aggravatingly insinuating thinking just leads me onto one road: the road of not-wistful despise.
Yet through it all, there was one reason that I continued, and it's not my friend's vow that the ending will be worth all the suffering. In truth, I literally stopped and DNFed this book while I was 3/4 of the way through. But my friend urged me and I read on, and I discovered how I held on for so long when the book frustrated and angered me distressingly: the way the story is told. It's a dark fairy tale that rings as true and frightening as the ancient, authentic versions of Cinderella, where the sisters cut off their toes and heels to fit in the shoe, and Sleeping Beauty, who... well, don't read on if you're easily disturbed, but she was raped by the prince.
Yeah. I know. Glorious.
But that's what's truly innovating and solely successful about this book: that it's unapologetically messed up. And so, it's a book I definitely will not recommend for everyone, because not only is the main character a complete pain to force through, but the story is creepy and deadly and gory and brutal.
Yet that's what many seem to appreciate about this book, putting me in the minority. Who knows? You might like it where I failed to see its brilliance, and saw instead its disturbing and potential influence.(less)
Ending was a bit rushed, but I really don't care. My heart feels like it's going to explode, this story is over--but just as...moreBeautiful. Just beautiful.
Ending was a bit rushed, but I really don't care. My heart feels like it's going to explode, this story is over--but just as how an author always keep their characters TUCKed into a corner of their brain after a series finishes, a reader, too, CHRISTsens the memories.
Okay I'll stop with the puns.
But wow, I'm also so very satisfied with the ending. And Web is just <3.
This isn't the type of conclusion that makes me shudder in horror or weep with inconclusiveness. This makes me so happy and so sad at once, happy because I am so content with it all, with Clara receiving the life she worked so hard to receive, and sad because this whole thing is so completely over that my eyes burn even as I think about it.
(Also, random note: I went to Stanford for a debate tournament, and that was the first time I went to Stanford. That was in February, so reading this after that experience was really just fantastic, because I could picture all the places and almost feel the Oval, the grass, the fountain--all of that all around me again.)
It wasn't perfect or anything, but I liked it a lot! :D
Quick Reaction: I. Freaking. Love. This. Book.
Where Leigh Fallon's Inkpop novel h...moreIt wasn't perfect or anything, but I liked it a lot! :D
Quick Reaction: I. Freaking. Love. This. Book.
Where Leigh Fallon's Inkpop novel had definite and transparent flaws, Sweet Evil is smooth and brilliant and beautiful, and Anna is such a sweet gal! Oh, and please don't get me started on Kaidan. Seriously. *flails/fan-girls* But seriously, I'm floored by the way Wendy handled the taboo subjects addressed in this book. She made ordinary extraordinary. Everything out of nothing. Just... amazing.
Quick reaction: This book is so funny it will make you laugh until you start to cry. Then you'll actually cry--because this story is so raw, so comple...moreQuick reaction: This book is so funny it will make you laugh until you start to cry. Then you'll actually cry--because this story is so raw, so complete, so fantastically satisfying that you'll marvel at how, yes, such brilliance finally, finally got published!
I. am. in. love. with. this. book. Head-over-heels sort of love.
If you love Divergent by Veronica Roth (which should be everyone of you out there reading this), you will be completely blown away by this book. Pre-order it! Now!
Actual, full review: Original will be posted on my blog on 6/14/2012. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Insignia is insane. It is beautifully simplistic and complicatedly evocative. Crushingly despairing and hilariously witty. Intelligently phrased and bluntly honest.
I am completely, head-over-heels in love with it.
This book was not what I expected at all--in fact, I didn't expect anything. And the power this books holds is incredible: it is so subtle that you will not feel the choking grip the story and its characters have you until some thing called reality shocks you out of your numbing shell. The story isn't even just completely frightening in its very realistic interpretation of our future, but that it's also so funny. I laughed out loud so many times that it wasn't even embarrassing anymore since everyone was used to it (though I did get a few weird looks still...).
Kincaid has delivered a tale that rocked books off of my favorites shelf like a hurricane. In other words? This book is dominating my love right now. And I can't even pinpoint what it is I loved about the book so much. Everything. It's just so not fair to pick one amazing aspect and laud it, you know? That would be like staring at the rainbow and calling one particle the best of them all. Inefficiently vague and insufficiently degrading.
I can't say much about this book: too much and I will spill out a heap of feelings no one cares for, and too little so I would be incapable of expressing my love fully. I never say this, but if you loved Divergent, you will love Insignia so hard it'll hurt like plunging into the most dazzling lake from a hundred-feet cliff.
Take my advice and snatch this book. It's the most amazing blend of humor and anguish, authenticity and dystopia, evasiveness and blunting that I have ever read. And you know I wouldn't ever lie to you about something like that.(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. ;) )
**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW** Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
You know what I think?
I think...more**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW** Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
You know what I think?
I think Audrey was right. She shouldn't have waited.
I can't even start this review right if I don't talk about the amazingness that is James. Holy rock stars, did you know that food > music? Okay, fine, food = music. But still. Man. That boy is something. Now I realize that I just sounded like your grandma with her "back in the dayz" talk, but hey, I'm just being honest here, k? Now where can we find a James in real life is the question...
Anyways! Audrey. Gosh, I love Audrey. She's quirky and so hilarious that you'll find yourself crying "THAT'S A KNEE-SLAPPER!" more than once. She's going to rock your socks off (so many puns...) if you haven't read this yet. I want her to be my best friend. (JK. I love my best friend. But come on, Audrey is just too awesome to not have as an IRL friend.) She reacts like an actual female teenage human being to situations that does not bestow upon the average actual female teenage human being. Quite a phenomenon, this one.
Now, moving on. The plot of this book was amazing. Contemporaries and I usually clash because they are too loose all over the edges, but this one was focused, straightforward, and had a beginning, middle, and end that I could see the arc of, but could not have predicted everything about. Not saying, of course, that contemporaries aren't cool--if you haven't noticed, my last star review was for a contemporary. I just wanted to point out that contemp skeptics can rest their hearts easy with this one, because Robin Benway knows what she's doing.
Also, the music: my gosh the music. It's everywhere, and it's frexing beautiful. I want to hug this book and drink it and somehow just, oh, I don't know, I just love this book so much. I'm sorry, that sounded really creepy, but I can't help it. These reviews are me spilling my feelings, so tada, there's a pot of TMI for you to waddle your way through.
Overall, there is nothing overall to say because Audrey, Wait! is utterly too mind-blowing to actually allow the mind the manifestation of an accurate description. The only advice I can give you is: go read it, then report back to me after you've indulged in this pure gleeful, Anna and the French Kiss-fun novel that ultimately answers sophisticated answers with simple eccentricities.(less)
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)
**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)
I love high-fantasy, I love strong heroines, and I love a story that makes me swoon.
But what I really love is a story that makes me think.
Graceling is original and thought-provoking, and truly, can anyone deny that Kristin Cashore has the grace for writing?
Thank you to my friend Soph for forcing telling me to read Graceling. Katsa is this incredibly tough heroine with a heart, and her character grows so much throughout the story, I ached for her. She lived her whole life believing herself to be a killing machine. She thrived despite everyone's fearful, judgmental opinions about her. But in her heart she's just a girl who wants to be appreciated and recognized, and that vulnerability in her broke my heart a little.
I loved Po. I can't help, though, but compare Po to Peeta. Peeta complements Katniss like Po complements Katsa, but this book hypocritically can't really be compared to The Hunger Games, because even though they both involve cruel, inhumane tyrants, heart-breaking decisions, and aching romance, the message these books approach are met from different angles. Graceling is a tale of love and fighting and making the right choices, and Katsa can break. That's what I loved so much about this book. The protagonist can break, but even as she does she stands strong and fights because she cares so much about everyone else that slowly warmed their way into her heart (even if it isn't many people). And in her resilience we find hope, and in hope we find triumph.
This is an action-packed book laced with romance and tortuous dilemmas. This is a book that will stay with you long after you've finished it. This is the book about a girl who turns from the puppet to the puppeteer. (less)
**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW** Original is here on my blog (or it will be, come January 24th of dear ole new 2013). Note: due to copy-and-p...more**STARRED REVIEW**
**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW** Original is here on my blog (or it will be, come January 24th of dear ole new 2013). Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links will be lost. Oh well.
"Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy,
but here's my number, so call me maybe?"
I thought so. Now, before you go all Avatar State on me, let me just say that I brought that Call Me Maybe back for a legitimately good reason. It's this book's freaking theme song.
So I read Will Grayson X 2 (as will I later refer to is as, due to my absurd laziness. Actually, I'm going to call it WGx2. Ooo it looks so pretty as a mathematical equation). Anyways: the point is, I didn't just meet this book, but this is still crazy, because I really want to give the Wills my number, so they can call me maybe-
OKAY FINE I'll stop now with the song.
But you guys, this book. I'm sorry, I was joking all this time because I just don't know what to say. It's so... unflinchingly loud. Not loud like a scream, but loud like war pipes. Bagpipes that are warm and familiar that screech something thunderous inside your heart and burst into little staccatos of halted heartbeats. That's what this book is. Completely unaware of personal bubbles and slashing them apart with knives made of jokes.
This book is... a lot like me. Man, how dare I, compare myself to this masterpiece. But you know, it's very hilariously stoic in its exterior and so colorfully confused on the inside. I like that. And I'd like to think that it resonates with me, and with everyone else, too, because no one with a thread of a fine mind can pass up the recognition that despite the fact that one of the Wills was gay, despite the fact that this situation seems unlikely (I didn't think so. I had the exact same name as someone in my school. And our personalities are so similar it's eerie), there is something in it so real and fierce it's like a blizzard whipping against your face. You want to ignore it, but you can't, and the more you try to back away, the quicker it streams. WGx2 made me want to tumble into an abyss and just curl up into myself for a while, because it was so brilliant and so bright and the world was so shabby and savage and inside the book there was something more than words, there was an entire universe dappling the sky like invisible threads of personalities waiting to plummet upon us in pillars of stars.
The book is majestic in its own grotesquely grandiose way, and I think that's what I loved the most about it.(less)