Friday, September 23, 2016

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold - (Quick) Book Review

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
                                           Publication date: September 20                                                                                                   My rating: 2 stars

It's so rare for me to review a book I rated so low.
Usually, I don't even finish books bellow 3 stars. And if I don't finish them, I don't feel it fair to rate them.
But this book... this book is different. 

So, accordingly, this review isn't going to be what I usually do. Which is tell you about the book in a non-spoilery way and then plunge right into my thoughts and feelings.
Nope, this time I'm going to give you a quick non-spoilers review.
Well... it's just what came our of me after reading Kids of Appetite. Who am I to argue? All I can do is share it with you.

Good book. Great concept. I loved both Vic and Mad and all the other characters. They were the kind of characters I want as my friends in real life because they're living proof that no matter how hard life gets... you don't give up. 

The beginning was just so captivating, interestingly strange and wonderful. Now you're probably wondering: "ah... did she accidentally rate this book 2 stars? Maybe she meant 4?"

Well, yes and no.

Thing is, I was so sure this was a 4 stars book for me. I loved the beginning and I was sure I would love the rest of it too. And while I did enjoy the rest of the book as well, it was harder for me to read. Why? too many descriptions of memories, places, characters and sometimes even overall weirdness that didn't make much sense, to be honest. I felt like there were so many American inside jokes and references to places and food and other stuff in the U.S, that an international like me could never understand. I didn't even visit the U.S, let alone lived there. For me, those jokes and references were completely alien. Honestly? Sometimes it felt like I was reading this book in a language I didn't understand but knew exists. 

The good news: for those of you who live\lived\are familiar with the U.S culture and don't mind many descriptions of philosophical ponderings, this book should be just for you (given that you enjoy a good - if strange - contemporary romance). Because despite my rating (which, if we're being technical here, is 2.5 stars), this book is a great deal of wonderful. It's unique, it's interesting and it has great characters (one of which has a rare physical disability). 

Wow, I don't think I ever talked so positively about a book I rated so low. This book is so not conventional that in a weird way it makes sense. Huh.

"I'm Vic," I said. That's good. Keep that going. "People call me Vic, I mean." Okay, that's enough. "Which is to say, my name is Victor." You're done. "But, um. No one calls me Victor, really." Abort! Abort! "Yeah, just Vic is good." 

P.S: I'm getting back, you guys! I shall explain everything in my 'I'm getting back!' post. Just wanted to let you know (:  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Call by Peadar O' Guilin - Book Review

The Call by Peadar O' Guilin
Publication date: August 30, 2016
My rating: 4 stars

If I had to describe The Call in a few words, I would say this book is somewhat of a cross between the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning and Nevernight by Jay Kristoff.
It has that same fast-paced and addictive feeling as Fever (and the gruesome faeries. Don't forget the gruesome faeries) and the darkness of Nevernight (if you read Nevernight - or even heard of Nevernight - you know what I mean).

Darn, if I didn't love this book. 
It was all the way in for me from the very first line, and I couldn't let it go until the very last one.

But just like I did with Nevernight, I have to warn you this book is dark. And I do mean dark-dark. At times, I found it to be even more twisted than Nevernight (but that's a matter of opinion now). Despite the fact this book follows a very YA protagonist (she's only 14), this world Peadar O' Guilin has created is not a world where children can be allowed to be children anymore. 

This book is brutal. Don't expect otherwise. Fully expect to see teenagers - kids, really - die gruesome deaths from their own POV.

And yet... as dark as this book was, it was also beautiful and hopeful and strong. It delivered strong feelings, strong message and a strong protagonist. Everything about this book was memorable. 

What is The Call actually about? 

Imagine an Ireland that was sealed away from the rest of the world. Now imagine faeries announcing their existence. And then... children start disappearing, one by one. They're snatched into the faery land and must survive the faeries brutal game of hunt before whatever remains of them... dead, alive, or something in between, goes back to the real world. 

No one ever knows where or when they'll be called. It can be anywhere, anytime, anyplace. All between the ages of 12-17. The only thing certain is that you will be called before you'll live to see another birthday. 

In that kind of world, brutal and deprived of all innocence, Nessa - our protagonist - is "doomed" before she even had a chance to fight. Because Nessa's legs aren't working quite right. She can walk, but being ravaged by polio as a child, and without the proper medicine to help her, Nessa's legs are crippled.
How can she run from the faeries... when she can't even outrun her classmates? 

But Nessa is an oh-so-strong protagonist and she refuses to give up. Despite what everyone thinks, despite the obvious facts that she has no chance to survive on feary land, Nessa keeps fighting. 

*Full review (with spoilers)*

I love Nessa. She is the kind of protagonist I would immediately put under my 'my top kick*ss protagonists' list. She's just so mentally strong. And there is nothing I love more than a character like Nessa. 

But, yes, why shouldn't she live? She deserves it more than Conor and a whole lot of others.

I loved Megan too. It broke my heart when she died.
I was *so sure* she was going to make it. I was *so sure* she, at least, was going to survive.
After reading death after death of one kid after the other, seeing the horrors those kids had to go through in the Grey Land, when even those of "survived" didn't survive much at all... it gets to you. You desperately hope to see at least one win. And since we didn't much get it with Anto, I wanted it with Megan. At the very least I wanted her to come back alive.
And when she didn't... I broke right along Nessa. 

'Do you like farms?' she whispers.
'Farms? Why... I don't know. I've--'
'Sat yes.'
'Yes. Um. I... love farms?'
'Good. And Donegal?'
'It's, uh, the best place in the world?'

I loved that we got a little bit of romance in the mix. I liked the relationship between Nessa & Anto.
I can't say that I fangirled all over it or that they're my favorite couple, simply because I didn't much connect with Anto. 

I was so happy that he survived (I was rooting for him like crazy in those intense moments at the Grey Land!), and that he and Nessa got to have their HFN (happy for now) ending. Seriously, it was so sweet.
It's simply the fact that I didn't much connect with Anto (to Nessa I connected plenty), or that I felt much of a real connection between him and Nessa (other than "we're going to die someday pretty soon so we better live as much as we can right now"), that I couldn't fully be invested in their relationship. 

I was so thrilled when I heard there was going to be a second book!
I'm not sure if it's going to be a doulogy, a trilogy or a series but this story, despite its rather happy ending, is definitely not over. And I can't wait to get more!

What I'm hoping for in the next book: 

  • Some Anto & Nessa connection time, for sure.
  • Nessa & Aofie bonding and becoming friends - I can actually see this happening; Both of them lost a person that was more to them than just a friend (for Aofie, it was a lover. For Nessa, it was practically a sister). If Aofie survives her calling (she better! I think there has been enough killings of Nessa's friends, don't you think. Peadar?), I wish for them to become closer friends.
And that's pretty much it considering we really don't have many people left alive to root for. 

Now excuse me while I go check when the next book is coming out...

She has suffered enough horror to realize how fragile happiness is, how eager the universe is to take it away. 
-- The Deserter, Peadar O' Guilin 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Light & Dark - Story of my life

Well, hello there everyone.
I sincerely hope you haven't forgotten me, because I sure did forget myself lately. 

You may - or may not - have noticed my on&off appearance on the blog and twitter this past month. And then my abrupt disappearance and this mysterious tweet.

I thought, you know, I should probably shed some light on the situation.
Because as much as we're a book community - always will be - we're also human beings with real human problems, that unfortunately don't involve any chosen one shenanigans, dragon fighting and prince charming swooping in at just the right moment. 

For me, books are even more real than reality itself.
I love books, I breath books, I live books. Books are everything to me. And I wish they could have been enough. I wish I could read and write and blog and talk to you guys all day long and have an amazing life full of adventures and happiness.
But real life doesn't care about that. Real life is brutal and hard and it surges in. You can delay it, but you can't escape it. You can run, but for how long? You can hide, but where?

There are happy, fluffy, beautiful parts in life.
And then there are the dark, harsh, bitter, sad, angry and unclear parts in life.
Thing about the dark parts is: they feel like they'll last forever. Logically you know they can't, but they feel like it, and that's all that matters to your brain. You feel like it will last for all of eternity and you'll never-ever be happy again. 

Right now, I'm in that bad part in my life.    

I'm an 18 (and a half) young woman (girl, really) who literally just graduated high-school and now needs to get into the world.
Easy enough, right?
No. Not really.
It isn't easy for anyone.
And it sure isn't easy when you add anxiety and depression into it.
And parents who don't understand you and can't really help you.
And the expectations the outside world has of you in the 21st century - be independent, get out, do this, do that, have a job, go study, be an adult, be mature, don't be like that. 

The outside world is scary.
The outside world is plain terrifying.
And nothing - and I do mean nothing - you learn in school or read in books or watch in movies can ever prepare you to it.
And it might be my depression and anxiety talking but sometimes I feel like it's all too much and that I will never be able to do it.
Other times, I wonder: does everyone feels this way? Is it my anxiety? Does it really make me that different? Is there... something wrong with me?  

I think a lot these days about a certain poem we learned at school, called The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as jut as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I wanted to tell you this, to write you this, because we're readers but we're also people, and I find it important to talk, sometimes, about things other than books. About things that get into books more and more of late - anxiety, depression, mental health issues (there are quite a lot of these), LGBT.

I know many bloggers, readers, authors and people in general suffer from mental health issues. And I wanted to share this with all of you - those who know what I'm talking about and especially those of you who don't.

We're a community, and a community means being there for each other - both in the good and the bad.
It's easy being there for each other when all is good.
It's much harder when all is bad.
But it's also the bad moments when we find ourselves and others most. 

That being said, I freaking hate this state of mine.
Being anxious and depressed sucks like hell.
It's the most horrible, terrifying, dark and hopeless feelings I ever felt.

This is, by far, the darkest post I've ever written.
I didn't mean to pour everything out like that, but once I started writing... I couldn't stop myself. It all just came out.
And maybe it's for the best.
Because just thinking this horrible, dark feeling is something someone else experiences right now somewhere in the world is enough for me to want to put this post out there.

Life is a combination of light and dark.
And for me to share the light, I, sometimes, need to share the dark too.

Life is like a Colleen Hoover book.
Thing is, you can't just skip chapters as you will. Everyone is the main character of their own story, and that means they have to live through every minute of it. No skipping, no reading the ending first.

This is life.
And this is my story.
Well, the dark part of it, that is.

One of the things I love about books is being able to define and condense certain portions of a character's life into chapters. It's intriguing, because you can't do this with real life. You can't just end a chapter, then skip the things you don't want to live through, only to open it up to a chapter that better suits your mood. Life can't be divided into chapters... only minutes. The events of your life are all crammed together one minute right after the other without any leaps or blank pages or chapter breaks because not matter what happens life just keeps going and moving forward and words keep flowing and truths keep spewing whether you like it or not and life never lets you pause and just catch your freaking breath. I need one of those chapter breaks. I just want to catch my breath, but I have no idea how.  
-- Hopeless, Colleen Hoover. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Most anticipated books of September 2016

September is here! 
And with it, many-many anticipated new releases I'm dying to share with you!

I have here 7 books I can't wait to discuss all about with you, so here we go: 

The Secret City by C.J. Daughetry & Carina Rozenfeld
Coming out: September 1, 2016

This is the second book in The Alchemist Chronicles. 
I read the first book (The Secret Fire) last year and very much enjoyed it. 
Which to this day I find strange because there's absolutely nothing whatsoever unique about that book. And yet... I found myself compelled from the very first page to the last. There was something about it that was very easy to get into.  
So I don't question it and I shall continue to the next book. 

For some more of my thoughts about the first book, you can check it out here

The Reader by Traci Chee
Coming out: September 13, 2016

This book got my attention from sheer hype alone.
Of course, the concept sounds very interesting, but it was the hype that really made me excited about picking this book up.
And I can't wait to do just that, because the things I heard about The Reader... I want to read this book and see for myself (!). 

For those of you who have yet to hear about this book (which is doubtful, because everyone in the book community is talking about it), The Reader takes place in a world where books don't exist anymore and people have long forgotten how to read (terrifying, isn't it? Sounds like a horror story).
It follows a various cast of characters, but mainly our protagonist Sefia, who is in search for her missing aunt. With the help of a book her parents left for her and a boy named Archer, she sets on an adventure.

Overdrive by Dawn Ius
Coming out: September 13, 2016.

Overdrive is a book that, other than its synopsis, I know absolutely nothing about. 
But, sometimes, reading a book from its synopsis alone, can lead you into a great book. 
And the concept of the book does sound super interesting to me. 

Basically speaking, Overdrive is a YA contemporary thriller following a car thief named Jules who find herself having to trust 3 complete armature car thieves strangers in heisting away seven of the rarest muscle cars in the world. All for the chance of giving herself, and her orphaned little sister, a better life. 

Sounds really interesting, doesn't it?
Definitely not something I usually read, but after my grand experience with Jennifer Lynn Barnes books, I'm all for a good YA thriller. 

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Coming out: September 20, 2016

Until not long ago, I was super-duper excited about this book.
"Danielle Paige is writing another fairy tale retelling? Hell yes!" 
But then... then I started hearing some pretty negative stuff from people who got an early copy of Stealing Snow. And not just one person, but quite a few bloggers. Stuff like: "there is insta-love in this book" (me: "NO! Anything but insta love - my sworn enemy!), and other not very complementary things. 

It's not to say that there aren't some very positive reviews from bloggers I know, but then there was also the average rating on goodreads that nearly gave me a shock: 3.11.
Now, despite the fact that the book isn't officially out yet, 3.11 definitely does not bode well. 

I'm going to read this (of course I'm going to read this. I love the Dorothy Must Die series), but with caution.
Not that caution will help me much.
I really want to love this book. 

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Juessica Cluess
Coming out: September 20, 2016

Another debut author, and another book I heard nothing but great things about. 
2016 & 2017 are going to be fantastic years for debut authors, the way I see it! 

So. This book, huh?
I'm very-much excited about this book!  
The synopsis sounds great, the cover is beautiful (not that I judge a book by its cover, you know) and I heard nothing but amazing things about it!
Honestly, what more do I need? 

I am Henrietta Howel.
The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years. 
The prophesied one. 
Or am I? 

A story about the chosen one who isn't actually the chosen one?
Yes, I'm reading this. 

Also, I love her name. 

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Coming out: September 20, 2016

So September 20 seems to be our lucky number of the month.
Three books in one day - *happy dance!* 

I actually have prior knowledge about Kendare Blake, which is why I'm so interested in Three Dark Crowns.
I read Anna Dressed in Blood by the author, and really enjoyed it.
So when I saw she's writing another book, and once I read the synopsis... I was sold. 

I heard rather mixed things about Three Dark Crowns so far, but I'm not all that worried. 
I'm just so excited for September 20!
The only question is: which book should I read first? 

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
Coming out: September 27, 2016

I read one book by this author before (Cruel Beauty), but despite the fact that I quite enjoyed it, it's not the reason I'm so excited about Bright Smoke, Cold Fire. 

Just read the synopsis and tell me you're not immensely intrigued by this book!
It's a Romeo & Juliette retelling but like nothing you've ever heard before, and with one hell of a twist.
This book sounds so good

The reviews are mixed, but I'm still excited to give this a try! 

And that's it for my most anticipated books of the month!
Tell me, are you excited about any of them, or maybe others I didn't mention?
I don't know about every single book that comes out this month, so feel free to tell me yours, or link me up to your most anticipated books of the month post.
Let's discuss all about them, shall we?
And let's have a fantastic reading month! 
Until then... ;)

Were they all just stories whose endings had already been written, the dates of their deaths pinned to the page with periods?  
-- The Reader, Traci Chee.