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)
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
The whole time I was reading this I couldn't help but remember this one friend of mine who, as Norah so perfectly describes Nick, is no way 100% strai...moreThe whole time I was reading this I couldn't help but remember this one friend of mine who, as Norah so perfectly describes Nick, is no way 100% straight. Which just added to the charm of Nick, might I say, because he really was a nice guy, and that's hard to find.
Norah was awesome, for the record. She reminded me a lot of me, personality-wise, and it's kind of awesome to go on this crazy ride with her.
The only thing I have to say that's negative is that the two voices sounded so similar that often I couldn't distinguish between who was talking, even though this was a co-authorship thing. Which wasn't really what I was expecting, but eventually I got used to it.
+1 for the music.
No, + 1000000000 for the music.
So yeah. This was fantastic. I recently got uveitis so I can't really see anything, so the short length of this book was a relieving compromise. I shall report back to the book world when my eyes finally get better. Hopefully.
-Also I'm slightly afraid of hotel ICE rooms now.-(less)
Quick Reaction: I had a few issues with this book (some character development stuff, some plot stuff), but overall I very much enjoyed it. Though I fe...moreQuick Reaction: I had a few issues with this book (some character development stuff, some plot stuff), but overall I very much enjoyed it. Though I felt as if it lacked a bit of sustenance (nothing really Ba-BAM happened in this book except for at the very end, and I think it could've used some more showing instead of all the telling Anna does), I still really liked the characters. Also, Kope!!! He's such a great guy. I hope he finds his happiness. *sighs* Gotta stop getting so attached to characters! T.T
Also, Kaidan and Anna have PLEEEEENTY of steamy scenes. Not that I minded. Those two are so sweet they give me cavities.
I didn't love it the way I loved the first book, but this is definitely still a series I highly, HIGHLY recommend. ^.^
"Eleanor..." "Stop. Don't say my name like that. It only makes it worse." "Makes what worse?" "Everything," she said. He was quiet. She sat up and wiped he...more"Eleanor..." "Stop. Don't say my name like that. It only makes it worse." "Makes what worse?" "Everything," she said. He was quiet. She sat up and wiped her nose on her sleeve. "Do you have a nickname?" he asked. That was one of his tricks, whenever she was put off or irritated--changing the subject in the sweetest way possible.
I think I live for this book. (Read the book. You'll get it. What I just did. But also, why I did what I just did.)
You know, there are plenty of faults with Eleanor & Park. In the beginning there was a lot of switching back-and-forth between current events and reflections of past circumstances, but it was all written in a way that I couldn't tell where one began and where the other ended. It was a bit confusing, and once I got the POVs (Point of View) switched up because Eleanor and Park, in spite and perhaps because the book was written in third-person, sounded so similar. Not their personalities, of course. Just the narration.
But that only happened once, and honestly, I don't freaking care.
You know, it's weird. I used to think that the St. Martin's editors and I had really drastically different tastes, because all of the past books I've read with St. Martin didn't exactly top my favorites list. But you know what, that was stupid of me to judge an entire imprint by twenty or so books. And what better way to prove myself so so stupidly wrong than with Eleanor & Park?
I had insanely high expectations for this book. As in I couldn't touch a book for three weeks while waiting for E&R to arrive on my doorstep because I wanted it in my heart so badly, I'd already carved out a little nook for the characters, and I didn't want other protagonists stamping their ways into my heart, into that little home for Eleanor and Park, before they could. I'd heard raving reviews from friend after friend, so I knew this had to be at least as good as Anna and the French Kiss, because otherwise those weeks of coveting these two characters I hadn't even met would've been another shameless stupidity of mine.
But god is this book beautiful. Like I love it so much I want to soak it up and eat it and drink it and roll myself in it. I know, I sound like a pig. But there's this... magnetism about Eleanor & Park, a story so real and alive that there is no way I could possibly refuse their love or their sincerity.
This novel isn't just a flourishing, exotic punk love story, though. The book would've been that much duller without Eleanor's rad stubborness, or her family's fight and collapse, or Park's defiance, or his family's acceptance, or the comics, or the music, the music. There's something kicking and punching in the heart of every character, and if you listen close enough, you'd hear the heartbeats of Park's dad, or of Ben, of Maisie, even Tina and Steve, the bullies. There is so much to be discovered between the pages of Rainbow Rowell's masterpiece that it would take years for a cartographer to chronicle Eleanor and Park's love and their beautiful, terrible--absolutely irresistible explosion.
You have to let yourself go with this book. You have to let it get to you in places you don't even dare peek within yourself. That's the only way to feel the softness of Eleanor's hands, the wild green eyes of Park, the chemistry that lights something on fire even if they simply looked at the other. The strings that thrum beneath the book's skull and the sappy love songs that pound at nodes of perfection, here and there.
I am so, so glad and privileged to have read this book. So, so glad.(less)
Quick Reaction: This book is far from perfect. Some of the dialogue felt misplaced. Some things were portrayed more stereotypically...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick Reaction: This book is far from perfect. Some of the dialogue felt misplaced. Some things were portrayed more stereotypically than realistically. And oftentimes the voice was excessively passive.
And I. Don't. Freaking. Care.
You know, the funny thing is that I read Shannon's YA book LET THE SKY FALL last year as an ARC, around the time Keeper came out. It feels right that I've finished Keeper in the month LtSF released. But man do I understand the crazy praises people sang for this.
Sophie- Oh Sophie. Poor darling. T.T She reminded me so much of my favorite Disney character: Dumbo, of course. Not because Sophie's dumb, but because she's always stuck out (and in a different way than the cliché--though not unrealistic--portrayal). There's this one scene in Dumbo--and I don't know if you remember this, and it's been such a long time since I saw the movie on an airplane flight to China that I might even be remembering the movie name wrong--but anyways, Dumbo finally finds his mother and she's in this jail-like containment, so she can only push her trunk out between the window bars and there Dumbo cuddled while she swayed him gently back and forth, and it was night and Dumbo finally found his mother and you sob because it's heartbreaking and because Dumbo's bliss in finding that home is so freaking terrible because it makes you feel all the feels.
That scene, I think, is a metaphorical theme for this book. Sophie is lost and has to find her home, but there is so many things--the window bars, per se--that rob her of that child life and it's beautiful to see her undergo this transformation, to see her become so strong and fierce and brave but at the same time everything she's had to go through is horrific and yeah, I cried.
So I wish that a little more time was spent on detailing Sophie's feelings a bit more during certain... I'm not going to say spoilers, but certain very very very traumatic events. Not because I enjoy pain, mind you. My head was ringing from all the mental screaming I was doing to just somehow help this beautiful and so impossibly trapped girl. But I feel like that part was skimmed over a bit too quickly. Though obviously Sophie wasn't conscious enough to remember a lot of it, and I would've been too heartbroken to write anymore on the subject if I were Shannon Messenger. Thus this is really not a complaint, but my own illogical opinion.
Alrighty, so this is not really a quick reaction anymore. I think I'll just use this as my actual review. After I tidy it up a bit, of course. But that's for later.
Right now I want to talk about Keefe and Dex and Fitz and Biana and Marella and all those other characters. Shannon Messenger is- stunning. The characters can often be attributed as stereotypical, but their actions eventually deepen them into someone else, someone whose lives I can imagine, whose personality is alive and well. And the worldbuilding is fantastic, too. Though things may often seem a bit idealistic, it is but a facade, and it makes sense. It honestly is too much to ask for an author to convince the reader of every minute detail regarding their world, but Shannon was well on her way there. She suspended my disbelief, and I could clearly sense and understand the motivation behind each setting or character.
Overall, I loved this book. It certainly has its flaws, but the sometimes stereotypically-attributed characters are more than made up for by the unique and fantastic premise and the absolutely illuminating (heh... puns... you'll see) feelings I suffered/triumphed because of this wonderful, wonderful novel. I truly cannot wait for EXILE.
(P.S. If you like my reviews, please check out my blog!, if you don't mind. Thanks!)(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)
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.)
Truly magnificent. I've been meaning to finish it since I first started it some time last year, but I couldn't find my copy until I stumbled...more 4.5 Stars
Truly magnificent. I've been meaning to finish it since I first started it some time last year, but I couldn't find my copy until I stumbled across it today and finished the book. It reminds me of Gilda Joyce, which was one of my favorite series back when I was a kid. I just adore this book. Lawrence is so sweet, and Victoria is awesome in that feisty girl-power type of way. I look forward to anything else that Ms. Legrand writes!(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)
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)
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)
Quick Reaction: holy wow. I can't type much right now 'cause I'm out of town and on my phone, but this was awesome. I can think of reasons why some of...more Quick Reaction: holy wow. I can't type much right now 'cause I'm out of town and on my phone, but this was awesome. I can think of reasons why some of the peeps I know might be turned off by this (Audra's intensity, for example) but I strongly suggest you hang on tightly and storm through! (Pun intended. Also, I realize that this is incredibly morbid, but it just occurred to me that this book has hurricanes and sand and we just had Hurricane Sandy. Hmm, leads to some windy apocalyptic theories. Oh man, I hope no one thinks I'm making light of Sandy. I just thought the irony- ah, I'll just shut up now.)
Actual, full review: Original will be posted on my blog on February 5th, 2013. You Goodreads peeps get an early look. Yay! :D
If your state doesn't have In-N-Out, that seriously sucks.
Something interesting: While I was reading this, I was on "vacation" in Palm Springs. Which was awesome, because I drove past many of the places in the book while I was "vacationing". And during that time, there was a scene in the book that involved **EXTREMELY MINOR SPOILER AHEAD** an Animal-style Cheeseburger at In-N-Out. **EXTREMELY MINOR SPOILER OVER** I always knew In-N-Out had a "secret menu", but I didn't realize it was called Animal Style. So last weekend, while I was out at a Debate Tournament and happened to stop by an In-N-Out, I bought an animal-style cheeseburger.
Oh my gosh. Sorry to all the vegans out there, it's just, OMG HOW CAN SOMETHING TASTE SO GOOD. But anyways, back to the point: Let the Sky Fall is somewhat like that amaaaazing cheeseburger, in that it is delicious and awesome and also wields a secret, unique power of its own: something really original.
Let me just start with the characters: Vane was such a boy. Seriously. I used to think that, oh, boys surely don't think *that* much about, you know, mind-in-the-gutter stuff
, but once I got to high school... wow. How much more ignorant could I have been? The thing is, Vane's behavior is sort of like that. He's a bit immature, a bit foolish, so very much a boy, and sometimes I was frustrated with him. He had such a big responsibility to uphold and he kept messing around. But thank goodness for Audra. Audra is like the polar opposite of Vane (which, by the way, made differentiating the characters in this mutliple-POV book so much easier). She's stern and fierce and very very serious. I think some people would find her to be a bit too intense at times, but I think 1) if you factor in her situation, it's understandable how she came to be such a tightly-coiled person, and 2) Vane seriously needed someone like Audra to snap him back into where he needs to be.
The characters' juxtaposition flared them both to life, and the intricate subplots (especially of Vane's "love life") adds doses of authenticity to their personalities as well.
Let the Sky Fall also won me over with its originality. I haven't ever read a book about windwalkers, and maybe that just means that I have narrow taste, but it is true that this LtSF utilizes some seriously awesome mythology. The world is a easy one to understand, and an easier one to immerse into.
If you've never tried it before, you'll probably be hesitant to grab a taste, and you might not immediately like it (both the cheeseburger and the book). But once you halt the early questions and just go along for the ride, you might find that, sometimes, those extra calories are worth it, and that soon, you just can't help but admit that you're a fan. (PUN INTENDED. ^_^)
**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 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)
Original will be posted here on my blog on January 15th, 2013.
Man I love Rae Carson.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns was the first A...more**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW**
Original will be posted here on my blog on January 15th, 2013.
Man I love Rae Carson.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns was the first ARC I've ever received, and I can't say how amazing it was to meet Rae Carson during ALA. What would be really cool is if I received an ARC for the third book, The Bitter Kingdom. Probably not happening, but that'd make this whole thing come full circle. Also, oh yeah, I kind of NEED the third book to survive. No, seriously. You think I'm joking, but I really am not. This series does this to me:
That's my beloved Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Also know as the best TV series ever. (*waits for Whovians and Browncoats to go all Avatar State on me in the comments*)
So yes. I feel a lot of angst. Largely due to Rae and The Crown of Embers.
Now, note: I read this book last year. I just figured it's time to review it since, yanno, I haven't actually been reviewing any books I read this year except for Seraphina so far. (That's because I'm scheduling all the January posts on January 1st, LOL.) Gotta keep up the tradition.
Alright, so, this book was amazing. Oh, did I say that already? Because it deserves the compliment twice. No, heck, thrice. The Crown of Embers was impossibly better than The Girl of Fire and Thorns. The love interest makes me want to go run into a wall due to insane amounts of swoooooon-factorization, and also the fact that this series has some of the most exotic and immersive settings doesn't halt my need to jump into the story one bit. In fact, if it weren't for the heart-attack-granting assassination attempts, or the incredibly tensile court intrigue, or the insanely brilliant plot twists, or the mindblowing characterization, I might actually consider myself worthy enough to trek through deserts and paradises with Elisa and her gang.
Also, I am not worthy enough here to be writing a review, because I have largely forgotten the details in this book. I only remember the overarching amazingness and also most of the scenes. And since I'm pretty much useless to you now, let me just sum this whole ifherioagijrnajigjaergkaegkgijoajh-ness up with one big ole GIF to show Rae some love:
It says "Let me love you", for those of you with an internet slower than a slug.
Oh, last thing. I was totally going to give this a starred review, but then that ending made me so distraught that I can't handle it just yet. So yeah. Sorry, Rae, but also, I love you, Rae. Even if you made me feel like-
Tony Stark says "I literally almost just died". It's Tony Stark. I feel like I should quote this after one of my exams.
Finally finished this book. I have no complaints for it. The writing is gorgeous and even though I usually hate heroines like Mary, she made me love h...moreFinally finished this book. I have no complaints for it. The writing is gorgeous and even though I usually hate heroines like Mary, she made me love her, because we dreamers gotta stick together, yanno? But I really do think there should've been an epilogue or something because I have NO IDEA what happened to (view spoiler)[Jed, Cass, Harry, Jacob, and Argos (hide spoiler)] AND the whole thing with (view spoiler)[Travis dying (hide spoiler)] was so heartbreaking.
Overall, though, I really, really loved this book. I think it's one of my first zombie books--if not the first, I know!--and it definitely won't be my last with the likes of Carrie Ryan around.
**full review to come... maybe...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Quick reaction: Freaking awesome, was this. Anyone who knows me knows I practically never get into Historicals. But as The Fray (and...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick reaction: Freaking awesome, was this. Anyone who knows me knows I practically never get into Historicals. But as The Fray (and some Bieber kid) says, Never say Never! SSaD was absolutely amazing. Eleanor is who I'd be if I were white and lived in 1876 Philadelphia. She's freaking kick-butt and so brave and strong. She's smart and she realizes that society's darn freaking expectations can go to the underworld. And that made me realize something, too:
I actually like Historicals. I just don't like the oh-dear-society-will-think-so-badly-of-this type of Historicals. Which is almost every Historical I've read. (Think The Luxe. Yeah... I'm still cringing over that societal puppet show.) I mean, those stories aren't bad. They're usually realistic. But I like my heroines with some grit and--god-forbid--emotions other than lust/love/fake concern/wealth. (So what if wealth isn't an emotion? It might as well be, seeing as people are quite obsessed with it, and oftentimes justifiably so.)
Yeah, this is just me rambling a bunch of nonsense again, isn't it? I apologize--it's midnight over here and I just wrote a pretty scary chapter in my WIP so I'm not exactly in the best state of mind.
But anyway, my point is this: whether or not you like historicals, whether or not you like zombies, as long as you can handle a little bit of gore, THIS AWESOMENESS IS FOR YOU.
**Actual, full review to come** (Meanwhile, why not check out my blog?)(less)
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
A startlingly lovely, delicately...moreActual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
A startlingly lovely, delicately beautiful story of love and heartbreak--and the strength to survive both--Over You is perfect for those who don't date, are in relationships, or just got out of one.
Max Scott is a heroine that makes real life shine. Her very ambition transforms reality into something fantastic and wonderful. Even as fantasy teases us with glimpses of worlds magical and evocative, Max's story provokes the same sense of excitement and dedication in what is a typically mundane setting: real life.
Over You is a refreshingly easy story to get into. The heroine is intelligent and unwavering and the situations she deal with are relatable to literally everybody. She's witty and knows exactly what she's doing--a much-welcomed trait after tens to hundreds of damsels-in-distress heroines. The other characters, Zach, Phoebe, and Ben are all unique in their own ways and are such palpable people, it's stunning. I would be reading this book and suddenly it's as if my friends have snuck into its pages and are cosplaying as someone else.
Despite Over You's obvious awesomeness, there was indeed one problem that I had: the POVs. The story would constantly switch from one person's Point of View to the next, and it was often confusing and disorienting to be so suddenly thrust into another life. The writing is smooth and a joy to glide through, but there are at times clunky phrasings that make you pause and re-read the sentence over and over again until you can finally surmise what was trying to be conveyed.
Overall, though, Over You is a supremely fun and exceedingly awesome story. It channels heartbreak and follows the trajectory of emotions in an exhilarating and accurate fashion. It's quirky and perfect for fans of Anna and the French Kiss. And it's just the book, of course, to accompany you as you learn to say the words: "I'm over you."(less)
So lately I've been squashed by the debate tournaments that had me dragging through the night doing random research, but now that it...more**Quick Reaction**
So lately I've been squashed by the debate tournaments that had me dragging through the night doing random research, but now that it's over I find myself with way too much free time, which, of course, means that I can finally go back to reading more! Yay!
Here's the thing. I stayed up past 3AM to finish reading this book and it's so subtly vivid, so quietly morbid that it actually managed to scare me more than Anna Dressed in Blood did (though I did read ADiB in the daylight...). I think this book is pretty much awesome, like its cover. It's not just a haunting story. It's freaking chilling. And Wesley is the guy you'll root for if you are a fan of Augustus Waters.
In any case, this book harbors some major twists. Most I saw coming but one I didn't at all, which of course is always pleasantly surprising.
**more intelligently phrased full reaction/review coming closer to release date** (Meanwhile, why not check out my blog?)(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** 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 have literally one minute to type this, so: this book was so good I can't even-
I used to think that Cricket Bell w...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick reaction: I have literally one minute to type this, so: this book was so good I can't even-
I used to think that Cricket Bell was exactly the type of boy and love I want in my life. Not anymore. Sean beats him. Gosh he and Eva are so amazing: Eva's passionately a dreamer and rebelliously strong, sort of like me, while Sean is quietly ferocious and intellectually witty. They are freaking perfect together.
You see reviews all over the place and they usually start with some tagline among the lines of "The Lost Girl was a disturbingly beautiful, unconditionally sorrowful, and fascinating story weaved (pun intended) with threads of the strongest characters and most tragic flaws."
Then the review continues, discussing voice, character, plot, pacing, what worked and what didn't work for the reviewer, etc. I do this all the time. We bloggers do this because it's the way a review is written, right? You review by letting the readers know what to expect and when to hang on; who they can anticipate they'll love and just how many tissues they need to prepare beforehand.
For the first time in my over-a-year blogging experience, I am at a loss for words.
I'm staring at this seemingly pointless page of review and I just don't even know anymore. I can't describe it. There's no way to transcribe the immensely emotional and staggeringly heart-breaking idea and soul behind The Lost Girl. I can't talk about the boy, the girl, the story--I can't even think about it without succumbing to the verge of crying.
This book... Well, let me put it this way:
You know how there are all these different types of instruments, how they're all so different and powerful and how, when they all clash together, the noises and sounds merge into this tinkling, spine-chilling sound? Imagine those instruments as essential parts of a book. The piano is the plot, the characters the violin. The flute is the emotional depth and the drums the pacing. These all sound beautiful on their own, but often the drums and the flutes clamor or the piano and violin are out of sync and the end product, though delightful, feels often... insubstantial. As if there's something missing and it's incomplete even though all the needed plot elements are there.
The Lost Girl is the song that meshes everything together and emerges with a masterpiece--one deserving waterfalls of tears and thousands of standing ovations. It's the arrow that snags you right in the heart. It's the poison you swallow with love. It's the air you breathe when you're desperate and a raging mess.
It's just... so hard to review this wide, haunting vision. I feel like I'll just rant on and on and I won't ever say anything remotely meaningful because The Lost Girl is indescribable. It's the feeling of a million contradictions flying at you and, in the end, it somehow makes sense. It makes sense out of the nonsense and it makes music out of the imperfect.
By no means is anything perfect, but The Lost Girl wins a medal for being one of the closest books to ever achieve it.
Maybe you'll hate it, maybe you'll love it. But no matter what, there's one thing I can guarantee:
You will feel. This book will yank out all of your emotions and smear them side by side so that when you finally finish it, you will feel.
And that's an entire masterpiece in itself. (less)
**Quick Reaction** 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)
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!
Actual review: Original is here on my blog. I read this book with my brother and it's quite awesome. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and link...moreActual review: Original is here on my blog. I read this book with my brother and it's quite awesome. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I'm a scaredy cat.
It's an universal fact, really. I get scared outta my wits for the simplest things. But over the years, I've come to discern that there are two types of scary:
1) The OH I AM GOING TO SCARE YOU ALRIGHT type: This one's so common, its ratio to Type 2 is like 99:1. It's the horror movie you're psyched to see and then scared to death of. It's the jokes your friends whisper and then you have nightmares about. (Really, why would you have friends who do that, anyway?) It's the scary thing that scares you in a memorable way, alright...
A terrifying, never-again-am-I-going-back-to-this type of scary.
That is not Scary School.
2) The OH, THAT WAS SCARY BUT SO FUN! AGAIN! type: This is the entertaining type of scary that kids love on Halloween. It's scary but you expect it, and it's got a plate of humor as a side dish and fun as your drink. It's scary but it's the type of scary that makes you laugh and not make you have a heart attack rivaling a tornado.
That is Scary School.
My brother (AKA The Kid) and I read this book together. He's exactly in the age range that the story is aimed for, so I figured it'd be a good idea. I remember the first day we started reading it:
Me: Hey, kiddo, we're gonna read 'til page 70 today, 'k? The Kid: Page SEVENTY? Can't we reach that tomorrow? Me: *raises eyebrows* The Kid: *groans* FIIIIIINEEEE.
~30 minutes later~
Me: Hey, Kid, we're on page 100. You wanna stop? The Kid: SHHH! I'M TRYING TO READ HERE! Me: *secretly smiles*
As you can tell, Scary School is a clear success with characters echoing the loves of kids and a plot that's both challenging and hilariously awkward. It's strange, grotesque, and so very in character. It's like Edgar Allen Poe for kids, minus the blood and deaths--just kidding. There's plenty of deaths in this book.
Which... brings up an interesting point.
Now, this wasn't an issue for me or my brother, and you know those Goosebumps stories (totally Scary Type 1!) utilize this like I eat rice, but there are a lot of deaths in this book. Not violent, gory, brutal deaths like in The Hunger Games but deaths that are "common." At Scary School, death is not a distant ponder: it's an inevitability. Derek addresses the deaths as if they are no big deal (I mean, Nurse Hairymoles can bring you back from the dead--literally--so what's there to worry about?), but some parents may see this as an indirect way to emphasize the nonchalance of death. Or teach kids about how you should let a teacher turn your world into an autocracy. (Just kidding, Russia!) (...maybe...) I encourage parents to let their children enjoy this mock-up of a perfectly balanced novel between hilarity and genuine characterizations.
Basically, if you didn't get the memo: Scary School is perfect for scaredy cats, non-scaredy cats, and all of the cats in between.(less)
Quick Reaction: Thank you to Mrs. Lyn for letting us read this book. It's fantastic. Truly. If you're looking for a clever, witty, h...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick Reaction: Thank you to Mrs. Lyn for letting us read this book. It's fantastic. Truly. If you're looking for a clever, witty, hilarious, insightful, resourceful, and engaging adventure on the high (and low) seas, Chuck Dugan is AWOL, with its detailed and beautifully-crafted maps is one journey ye don't wanna miss, matey.
Where Leigh Fallon's Inkpop novel had definite and transparent flaws, Sweet Evil is smooth and brilliant...moreQuick 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.