2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “The Sun is Also a Star”, by Nicola Yoon

Published in 2016 by Corgi | 2.5 stars

Summary:

This is set over the course of 24 hours, and follows Natasha and Daniel. Natasha’s family are illegal immigrants and are about to be deported to Jamaica that very same evening, so Natasha is trying one last time to convince the authorities to let her family stay. Daniel, on the other hand, is Korean-American and has a Yale interview that he doesn’t really want to go to. Over the course of the day, these two characters’ lives intertwine.

Review:

I started this immediately after finishing Everything, Everything, hoping that I would like it just as much. Everyone had been saying that they liked The Sun is Also a Star even more than Everything, Everything, so I really thought I was going to love this.

That did not end up happening. Daniel was so annoying and borderline creepy – it’s as if he was set on becoming Natasha’s boyfriend already from the start, and then spent the day ogling her body. Not cool. He barely even corrected his family when they assumed that they were a couple. Then he rescheduled his Yale interview for this girl he just met. I get that he didn’t want to go to Yale, but they literally met only a few hours earlier. I’m not sure I would be that into someone I just met, and I don’t find Daniel’s behaviour romantic at all.

I did like the ending, though, and I also liked how we got some insights into other characters’ lives, even if I thought the other characters’ chapters were going to take up a much larger portion of the book than they did. These two were my favourite parts of the book, however, which actually says quite a lot about my experience with it.

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Everything, Everything”, by Nicola Yoon

Published in 2015 by Corgi | Four feathers

Summary:

This book is about Madeline, who is allergic to the world and cannot leave the house. She’s fairly content with her lonely life, until she gets to know the new neighbour who moves in next door.

Review:

I liked this book so much! My sister and I buddy-read it while we were on vacation, and it was a perfect beach read. I even liked the romance in it – it felt like the type of book where the romance would be super-insta-lovey, but this time I was actually okay with it.

However, I did predict that everything wasn’t perhaps 100% right with Maddy’s situation. Also, it was a little bit weird that nobody noticed that some weird shit was going on with Maddy’s situation.

Nevertheless, I flew through this and actually really did like it. I’m so excited to watch the movie now! 🙂

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Lola and the Boy Next Door”, by Stephanie Perkins

Published in 2014 by Usborne Publishing | Originally published in 2011 | Anna and the French Kiss #2 | 3 feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion… she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the more sparkly, more wild – the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.

That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. Could the boy from Lola’s past be the love of her future?

Review:

This was such a cute love story. It’s one of those books that are perfect to read on the beach, so I’m very glad that I brought it with me on vacation!

I did find it somewhat info-dumpy, though. It was too much tell and too little show in some places. Also, it’s so typical that Cricket – the love interest – was the nice guy, while his twin sister was the mean one. This led to Lola and Calliope essentially fighting over a boy, and their relationship did not evolve from that for the entire duration of the novel. I found that super annoying.

Another aspect that annoyed me a bit with this novel was that Lola and Cricket stopped being friends for a really weird reason – Calliope didn’t invite Lola to their birthday party, and then the Bells moved away soon afterwards. If Lola had just talked to Cricket about it, she would have known that it wasn’t Cricket’s fault, and then things wouldn’t have been so awkward between them. Characters in books should just talk to each other more, and their lives would be so much easier.

However, this was a great beach read, so I ended up finding it okay, but not more than that.

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Flame in the Mist”, by Renée Ahdieh

Published in 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton | Flame in the Mist #1 | 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

Review:

To begin with, I thought that the idea of this book was awesome. I’ve seen some comparisons to Mulan floating around, but this book is nothing like Mulan apart from the fact that the main character dresses up as a boy, and that’s the part I liked the most about Flame in the Mist. Mariko took it into her own hands to find the people who were trying to kill her, which I liked.

However, there were a few things that definitely pulled the rating down. Firstly, the language was slightly annoying at times. Some parts, and even entire chapters, would consist entirely of very short sentences, which grated on my nerves quite a lot. I can see the point in trying to make it seem more like a legend or separate from the main story, but it was almost difficult to read after a while.

Also, the romance came from out of nowhere. I wouldn’t have minded the romance if it had had more build-up, but as it was, it didn’t. It would have been great if we had gotten something more beforehand.

The last thing that disappointed me doesn’t actually have to do with the book per se, but I didn’t realise until perhaps two thirds of the way into the book that it’s the first part of a series. I was convinced that it was a standalone novel. When I realised that it wasn’t and that I wouldn’t find out the end of the story in this particular novel, I was just so disappointed. I’m not interested enough in the story to actually pick up another book in the series, so finding out that Flame in the Mist isn’t a standalone drew the rating down quite a lot. As I said, it doesn’t have to do with the book as such, but still.

This turned into quite a long review ^.^’ . Hope y’all enjoyed it 🙂 .

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Heartless”, by Marissa Meyer

Published in 2016 by Feiwel and Friends | 3.5 feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Review:

I liked Heartless a lot better than I thought I would. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite classics, and I was wondering whether it would actually live up to the whimsy. And though it did lack some of that whimsy, there were other aspects I think it did really well. It was a nice idea with a background story to the Queen of Hearts, and I liked most of the characters (especially Hatta). I also loved that Cath’s biggest hobby was baking, and that her dream was to open a bakery. There were also instances where Cath’s feeling of being trapped was almost tangible, and I felt with her in those moments.

However, the insta-love is real -.-‘ . It felt very weird that Cath ended up turning her back to Mary Ann when they had been best friends for their entire lives, only to become this crazy, blood-thirsty, “off with their heads”–queen because of Jest who she only just met. That’s what made me pull down the rating. I did give it 4 stars on Goodreads, but in reality, it is closer to a 3.5.

2017 · August · To Read

5 Books I’m Taking with Me on Vacation

Tomorrow, my sister and I are going to Corsica on vacation, so obviously I’m taking some books with me! As I’m still reading Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh, it’s a given among the books I’m bringing with me, so I’m not including it on this list. Instead, here are 5 other books I’m brining on vacation:

  • Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this, and I’m really in the mood to read it at the moment. I love the idea of a book that incorporates fandom as an integral part of the plot, so I’m looking forward to reading this!

  • Everything, Everything, and The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon

I got these for my birthday this year, and again, I’ve heard good things! I’m hoping both of these will be as good as they say.

  • Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins

I read Anna and the French Kiss two years ago, and it was such a cute, summery read. These seem to be along the same lines, so fingers crossed I’ll like them!

That’s everything for this post – I’m bringing six books for this vacation, and we’ll be away for seven nights, so I’m hoping I’ve brought enough to read ^.^’. Haha, reader problems deluxe😂.

2017 · August · Currently Reading

Currently Reading | August 2017

This month I’m only in the middle of one book, which feels really weird. I finally finished the audiobook of The Wise Man’s Fear, which was 42 hours long and ended up dragging a lot. So now I’m not listening to an audiobook, but I’m thinking about downloading The Lord of the Rings – I tried reading the first book several years ago and found it really dull, but I want to give them another shot and am thinking that it might be easier to listen to it instead.

Anyway, the book I’m currently reading is Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh. I’ve literally just started this so I don’t have very much to say at the moment, but I like the idea – it follows the daughter of a samurai who is about to marry the prince, but her convoy is attacked and she goes off to seek revenge on the people who want to kill her. It’s already been a bit bloody, so we’ll see what I end up thinking about it, but so far so good!

That was actually everything I had for today. This was a very short post, but I have a longer one going up later this week, so look forward to that 🙂 .

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “The Wise Man’s Fear”, by Patrick Rothfuss

Published in 2011 by Gollancz | The Kingkille Chronicle, day 2 | Audiobook read by Rupert Degas | 3 feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view — a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King’s Road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived…until Kvothe.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

Review:

This book was such a disappointment. I loved the first book, but The Wise Man’s Fear fell considerably short. Rothfuss spends way too much time describing relatively few large events, which grows tedious in the long run. A third, or even half, of the details and side quests could have been cut out and the book would have benefited from it. It wasn’t interesting enough to read/listen to every tiny little detail.

Rothfuss also puts a lot of trust in the reader, which to some extent is great, because I don’t like when books are over-explanatory or underestimates the reader’s capability to understand the story. Here, however, it goes too far in the other direction. It’s almost directed towards a reader in Kvothe’s world, and consequently assumes that you already know a lot about the world when it would actually have been helpful with a little more explanation. This is especially true when it comes to the legend of Kvothe – it would have been great to know about the legend before going into the backstory. The story thus comes across as inconsistent – it presents too much detail in most parts and too little detail in other parts. Both things make it difficult to see the significance all the events will have for the larger scheme of things.

In the “present-day” chapters, there’s a lot of talk about a war going on, but we don’t get very much detail about it. Also, at the end of this book, Kvothe is still around 16 in the backflashes, which is strange. It feels as if too much has happened to him for him to be that young.

What I did like about The Wise Man’s Fear is Kvothe as a character, because he’s clever and he knows it, but he still does some stupid shit. I also like Bast, because he’s so unpredictable. And I like the “present-day” parts better than the backflashes because that’s where you at least get glimpses of the present Kvothe and some background info about the world.

2016 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “The Unexpected Everything”, by Morgan Matson

Published in 2016 by Simon and Schuster Children’s | Three feathers

*This review contains spoilers*

Summary from Goodreads:

Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

Review:

I had super high expectations for this one, because I listened to Since You’ve Been Gone on audiobook not that long ago, and I really liked it. So naturally, I thought that I might like this just as much.

However, and I almost feel a little bad about saying this, I found Andie slightly annoying. It started when she had that argument with her father when he grounded her. It was so unfair of him to leave her alone for five years and then suddenly reappear out of nowhere and expect her to accept him back into her life as a father. I get that Andie was upset about that – I really do, I would have been too. It’s just that, to me, she came off as a bit arrogant about the entire situation, as if she could just mutter sorry and have it over with. And that’s what annoyed me. She did forget to send that text, so it’s not as if she was faultless. Also, she was so good at overworking things – like when she broke up with Clark because it “would turn into shit anyway”. Hell yes it will, if that’s your mindset. That also meant that she made some other really stupid decisions, like lying to Toby and Palmer because it would solve itself when they all went off to college. Everyone could see that that wouldn’t happen.
I think that my problem with Andie is that she was a bit double to me – at times she hit a bit too close to home, while I couldn’t relate to her at all at other times.

On the other hand, it felt realistic that the friends actually broke up. It’s horrible that they did, but in most YA literature everything just goes back to normal at the end, as if nothing had happened. Here, it didn’t, which felt refreshing.

I don’t have much more to say. I didn’t like it as much as Since You’ve Been Gone, but I will probably reread Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour (since it’s been so long since I read it that I can’t really remember what I thought about it) and check out Second Chance Summer to see what I think about that.