Book Review: Earth to Charlie

Title: Earth to Charlie

Author: Justin Olson

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

A high school outcast spends his life hoping to be abducted by aliens in this funny, quirky novel about finding your footing in a world that sometimes feels like Mars.

Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her. After all, she said the aliens would come back for him. Charlie will admit that he doesn’t have many reasons to stick around; he doesn’t get along well with his father, he’s constantly bullied at school and at work, and the only friend he has is his 600-pound neighbor Geoffrey, and Geoffrey’s three-legged dog, Tickles.

Then Charlie meets popular, easy-going Seth, who shows him what real friendship is all about. For once, he finds himself looking around at the life he’s built, rather than looking up. But sooner than he expected, Charlie has to make a decision: should he stay or should he go?

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I had high hopes for this book, and I am telling you now—it did not disappoint. From UFO’s, to friendship, to family, to awkward teens, to a cute dog, and to some self-realizations, I adored everything about this book.

This is a DRC I received from Edelweiss.

The writing

The writing style is wonderful! It’s light and easy, but it was also beautiful and melancholic, and at times, even poetic. For me, it has the same style as Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (which is one of my favorite books out there!). When I read it, I didn’t want to put it down (but I had to because of work *cries*), I just wanted to read and read.

I also loved how the narration of the story slipped between the present happenings to these sort of flashbacks in Charlie’s life. It’s like he’s zoning out, and I, the reader, zone out with him and I get to relive his memory. Kudos to the author, because that for me, was brilliant. (*slow caps*) In a way, this also connects to the title of the book. Because apart from the fact that Charlie wants to be taken away by aliens, he also keeps zoning out into his own little bubble of thoughts and emotions.

The characters

I loved the characters! The protagonist Charlie is really damn relatable, and I guess this is the reason why I had so much fun reading this story. His thoughts and emotions were just so pure and genuine, and awkward. I could really see that he was just this high school outcast, struggling with emotions and is trying to cope with his mother’s disappearance.

Seth was likeable, too, although I really wanted more of his personality, more of his story. (And I did get some of his story, but it was only revealed near the end of the book.) He was a genuine character who contributed greatly to Charlie’s life and view on certain things. I also loved the interactions between him and Charlie, because it shows just how much of a teenager they are. They’re awkward and shy, and their friendship is so pure. I loved that.

Geoffrey, though he was only a minor character, has a special place in my heart. He was Charlie’s 600-pound neighbor, and I loved getting to know his character and his whole story. And in the end, I was really happy that he had a wholesome character development.

Charlie’s dad, on the other hand, makes me have conflicted feelings. I wasn’t fond of him at first but as the story progresses, I see his character developing and changing. There’s something about him that still irks me, though. (But I won’t be telling you anything as I do not want to spoil you, book nerds! You just have to see for yourself. *winks*)

The plot

The plot was uncomplicated, and yet the story is so poignant and real. Maybe because it was about a teenager who yearns to disappear, maybe because it’s about trying to cope with something so terrible and sad. Or maybe because it was also about finding yourself, and recognizing your dreams and your wants, and embracing the life you have. Whatever it is, it definitely worked for me (I think I cried three times reading this book *sniffs*).

There were two things in the plot though, small details, that raised some questions for me. And I hoped that it would be answered before the story ends, but it wasn’t. (Yeah, I’m a little bummed about this). But despite that, I still loved this book, I loved how the story went, and who knows maybe I will get answers on the official release.

And wow, guys, I wish I could share quotes here, but seeing as this is just a DRC, I am not allowed to do that. *cries*

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I’m giving this book 4.5 stars out of 5. Congratulations in advance  to Justin Olson for this debut novel, and I can’t wait to finally have a physical copy on my hands!

Guys, Earth to Charlie comes out next year, April 16, 2019. So if this book is right up your alley, go add it to your Goodreads, pre-order it, anything! I hope you’ll love it just as much as I did.

 

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Book Review: This Lie Will Kill You

Title: This Lie Will Kill You

Author: Chelsea Pitcher

Genre/s: Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

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I first saw this book on Edelweiss so I requested for a digital reader’s copy, and I was approved! Although the story was really interesting—filled with lies, porcelain dolls, and fire—I found myself wanting more.

The writing

One thing that I loved about the author’s writing in this story is the magnificent use of metaphors. This is probably my favorite thing out of the whole book. The author has a way of using metaphors and making the imagery much more interesting and in a way, more significant to the current scene.

The perspective of the story also jumped from character to character, and from past to present and vice versa. This was good for me as I was able to see the events unfold and see the truth among all the lies.

There was a part in the writing though that seemed too sexual and graphic for me. Although, when I think about it, that part really gave me a clear perspective into that particular character’s personality.

The characters

The characters were likable enough for me, but there were times that they were predictable.

Ruby was fiery but I feel like she fell in love way to easily. Juniper was blinded by her feelings, Brett deserved better than to be manipulated and used because of his affections for a certain someone. Gavin only wants to fit in, and Parker is a true jerk who has the makings of an abusive, manipulative, and controlling boyfriend (Sorry guys, but I’m really not fond of Parker’s character *cries*). Also, Shane seems like some sort Edward Cullen’s reincarnation, I swear.

The plot

The plot was good, although I kept looking for something that will really chill my bones, something that will really blow my mind. Unfortunately, I found it a bit lacking.

There was mystery indeed—it made me wonder just what exactly happened one year ago, what these people are hiding, why was this party/contest happening and who made it possible, those kind of things. However, it didn’t blow my mind or give me chills. Most of my theories and guesses about the plot were right. There was only one plot twist though that really shocked me. I won’t go into details because I do not want to spoil you guys! Just know that this one was really crazy and I did not see it coming. (Kind of makes me think how I didn’t see it!) That’s something to watch out for!

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And there you go! 3.5 stars for this book! This book will be released a month from now, December 11, 2018!

If you want something different from the usual YA Contemporary or YA Fantasy in your TBR, you can give this book a shot!

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Book Review: Social Intercourse

Title: Social Intercourse

Author: Greg Howard

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+

My rating: 3.8/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

Beckett Gaines, a gay teen living in South Carolina, has his world turned upside-down by a jock in this laugh-out-loud novel that’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets The Parent Trap.

Beck:
The Golden Girls-loving, out-and-proud choir nerd growing up in the “ass-crack of the Bible belt.”

Jax:
The Golden Boy, star quarterback with a slick veneer facing uncomfortable truths about himself and his past.

When Beck’s emotionally fragile dad starts dating the recently single (and supposedly lesbian) mom of former bully, Jaxon Parker, Beck is not having it. Jax isn’t happy about the situation either, holding out hope that his moms will reunite and restore the only stable home he’s ever known. Putting aside past differences, the boys plot to derail the budding romance between their parents at their conservative hometown’s first-ever Rainbow Prom. Hearts will be broken, new romance will bloom, but nothing will go down the way Beck and Jax have planned.

In his hilarious and provocative debut, Greg Howard examines the challenges of growing up different in a small southern town through the lens of colorful and unforgettable characters who stay with you long after the last drop of sweet tea.

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I was really interested when I found out about this book since it’s been said that it is similar to a favorite of mine—Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. I literally scoured our local bookstore looking for the lone copy they had! Now I’ve finally read it, and although I have a lot of conflicted feelings about certain things, I still enjoyed reading this.

The writing

I really loved the writing style and the tone of this book. There were times that I was seriously laughing out loud. It was fun, hilarious, quirky, and it really gave me a solid representation of the character’s thoughts and emotions, and their personality as a whole. On the other hand, there were times that there were a couple of sexist comments or gestures towards women. And I found that bit of writing disturbing.

The characters

I liked the characters enough, but there were some things about them that I didn’t like.

Beckett, one of the main characters, is out and proud. I actually love that about him—he was open and honest about his sexuality no matter what. What I didn’t like about him is that he tends to have sexist comments towards women, especially towards Tracee. But those could just be fueled by his apparent disapproval of her relationship with his father. Beckett also seems to fail in grasping the idea of bisexuality, which is odd because as an out and proud gay, he should have been aware and he should have been more understanding of other sexual orientation. But Jax coming out and admitting that he is attracted to both genders sends Beckett into this biphobic state. The same thing goes for Jax. It’s like he couldn’t even think of his mom possibly being bisexual, when he’s bisexual himself. That’s really odd and concerning for me, and it has me confused.

I also noticed that a lot of characters in this book exhibits high school stereotypes. The jocks who tormented the odd students, the bitchy and, dare I say it, slutty cheerleaders. It was interesting and it helped move the story further, but at the same time, I wanted to see more than the usual cliche characters.

The plot

The plot was interesting enough. We have two boys who don’t run in the same social circles, try to bond and find a way to separate their parents who are dating, but they end up having feelings for each other in the end instead. Amidst all that, we also see them try to deal with the unnecessary hate that was being thrown to the LGBTQ+ community, and then we see people come together for their so-called Rainbow Prom, and I just really loved that.

I also love how the ending didn’t turn too sexual. Because throughout the whole story, we see Beckett try to engage in sexual activities (keyword: try), and there were also some sexual scenes regarding other characters, and so, I was actually expecting maybe a graphic scene at the end when he and Jax will finally get together. But the author managed to surprise me with that sweet and innocent (innocent enough) ending. And I really really liked that.

Quotes from the book

“You can’t control what those fools hear or think. All you can do is tell your truth. Just be honest with them. They’ll respect you for it. At least some of them will. Maybe more than you think.”

“Feelings are messy things…”

“And he should really smile more, because when he does, he lights up the freaking room.”

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Long time no post! Been busy lately with work and at home, and I haven’t had a lot of time to make reviews 😦 Plus my laptop has been malfunctioning as well, so I couldn’t use it properly. *cries*

Anyway, there goes one of my October reads! Have you read this book yet? Comment down below!

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Book Review: The Poet X

Title: The Poet X

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre/s: Young Adult, Poetry, Contemporary

My rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

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Although the cover is really beautiful, it was the synopsis that really lead me into buying this book. I was a literary writer in college so I wrote a lot of poems. Reading the the book’s synopsis, I was just so intrigued and excited to read a story that involves poetry.

The writing

Okay, imagine my surprise when I open the book for the first time, and see that the whole book is actually written and told in poem form! That was truly exciting to me! I want to know just how the author will tell the story in verses, how she will take it to different levels.

When I finally read the book, I was not disappointed. At all. There is beauty in poetry, I know that. But in this book, this is where I truly felt the power in poetry, as if I could almost feel it in my very hands. I felt like power is something tangible, and Acevedo’s writing and poems are the ones that are handing it to me. It felt amazing.

Every poem was laced with emotions—anger, love, confusion, determination, passion. There were also lines that made feel winded and breathless because of how beautiful the writing and the message is. The author is truly brilliant, her poems weaved a very beautiful story, and I was amazed from the first page until the very last.

The characters

The characters were also really good, especially the protagonist Xiomara. Her personality shone bright in this book; she was passionate, she was loving, she was fierce and protective. I loved reading the story through her perspective.

I liked the other characters as well, and I have to give kudos to the author again because she was able to project great characterization through the different poems. Even though Xiomara is the protagonist and the story is told through her perspective, the other characters were not definitely not neglected. They had their own moments in different poems and I really loved that.

The plot

The plot was also amazing! I love how this book did not just focus on one thing, it had other subplots with other themes that truly added more impact on the story. There was something about family, about friends, about religion and Xiomara’s own faith. There were also feminist themes, issues about love, and problems within the society.

I guess the only thing I did not like about the plot was how the subplot regarding Twin did not have a definite ending. I wanted to know more about what will happen to him and his own battle, but there weren’t any more details at the end of the book. I craved for more  of his story. Apart from that, everything else is great!

Quotes from the book

“I only know that learning to believe in the power of my own words has been the most freeing experience of my life. It has brought me the most light. And isn’t that what a poem is? A lantern glowing in the dark.”

“My brother was birthed a soft whistle: quiet, barely stirring the air, a gentle sound. But I was born all the hurricane he needed to lift—and drop—those that hurt him to the ground.”

“i think of all the things we could be if we were not told our bodies were not made for them.”

“The world is almost peaceful when you stop trying to understand it.”

“Maybe, the only thing that has to make sense
about being somebody’s friend
is that you help them be their best self
on any given day. That you give them a home
when they don’t want to be in their own.”

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There goes my last, and favorite, read of September! Truly amazing. I can’t wait to read more of Elizabeth Acevedo’s works now!

How about you guys? have you read this yet? What were your thoughts? Comment them down!

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Book Review: Coraline

Title: Coraline

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre/s: Children, Young Adult, Horror, Fantasy,

My rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring….

In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it’s different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

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Years ago, I watched the movie Coraline not really knowing what it was about. I found it disturbing, eerie, and really really good! I simply loved it. Then I learned that it was actually based on a novel, and so it became a goal for me to read it. And now I did!

The writing

The writing style was simple and innocent, yet eerie and haunting. It almost reminded me of Leigh Bardugo’s writing style (especially in The Language of Thorns). I loved the writing style of this book because it showed me the honest perspective of an extraordinary young girl’s mind. Her thoughts and actions hold so much innocence and sadness and bravery.

Aside from being eerie and haunting, there were also times when the writing style was philosophical and very poetic which added more impact for me as a reader. It was short, but it managed to give me intellectual depth and emotional impact in between its pages. I just really, really loved it!

The characters

I loved the characters. They were really interesting and so, so mysterious. I loved Coraline and her innocence and bravery, but I think my favorite character in this book would have to be the cat (hahaha!). I loved the cat in the movie, and I loved him here in this book as well. He was philosophical and mysterious, and his tandem with Coraline is one of my favorite things in this book (plus I really adore cats hahaha!).

I also really loved the Other Mother. She was disturbing, and manipulative, and evil, and those buttons for eyes really mess me up! Despite her being the villain in this story, I really loved her—she was really interesting, and she really knew how to persuade victims (and she really gives me the creeps).

The plot

The plot was also so, so good. I mean just the idea of entering another world that is so similar, yet so different than yours is already interesting enough. (And if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I really, really like the idea of alternate universes). And then you add the disturbing aspects like the Other Mother and Father, and the fact that they have buttons for eyes, and that the Other Mother steals children and their souls. It was really interesting and disturbing, and just filled with horror and mystery. I loved it.

Book vs. movie thoughts

Alright, so, now that I have finally read this masterpiece I can finally compare and contrast the book and the movie.

The movie is different from the book. There were some aspects in the movie that did not appear in the book at all. It surprised me, but it made me realize a few things. The changes that were incorporated into the movie really made it more interesting on its own. The movie took the story into a whole new different level, and I really loved that because it was both disturbing and brilliant.

For me, both the movie and the book are really good in their own way.

Quotes from the book

“The names are the first things to go, after the breath has gone, and the beating of the heart. We keep our memories longer than our names”

“I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted, just like that, and it didn’t mean anything? What then?”

“…when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.”

“Flee, while there’s still air in your lungs and blood in your veins and warmth in your heart. Flee while you still have your heart and your soul.”

“Now, you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.”

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5 stars for Coraline! Which also happens to be my very first book of Neil Gaiman. Now I want to re-watch the movie. Hmm. How about you book nerds, have you watched the movie, have you read the book? Tell me in the comments below!

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Book Review: Five Feet Apart

Title: Five Feet Apart

Authors: Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

My rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

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I got approved of a DRC (Digital Review Copy) of this book from Edelweiss! With a gorgeous cover and an intriguing concept and theme, this book immediately caught my attention the first time I saw it.

The writing

I really like the writing style of this book. Though the story mainly revolves around the fragility of life and the difficult situation of having a terminal illness, the writing style was light, easy, moderately-paced, and so, so relatable! It was relatable in a way that it shows several aspects of how a modern teenager lives—the use of smartphones, making apps, the use of social media, and the likes.

I also liked the tones of the different narrations. The point of views in this story alternate between the two main characters, Stella and Will. I loved that within these two perspectives, I was able to get a view of their situations and their emotions. With Stella, it was hopeful, and hurting, and guilty. And with Will, it was cynical and reckless. But as the story progresses, the tone turns hopeful and trusting. I loved that.

I also love that this book is very educational. I am familiar with Stella and Will’s illness (cystic fibrosis), though I cannot say that I am fully equipped with knowledge about it. As I read the book, I realized that the authors did not neglect to inform readers about this kind of illness. It made me feel like the authors did a lot of research about this illness, and I am really thankful for it.

The characters

I really liked the characters in this story as well, despite the fact that it was a little cliche for me. The main characters’ personalities are a trope I always see among girl-and-boy pairings—a reckless boy who does not do what he’s been told to do, and a good girl who does everything right. However as I read on, I realized that these characters go beyond these cliche characteristics (and I am really thankful for that!). Will is an artist who craves to see and experience the world, and Stella is a programmer/developer who just misses her family and how they were. These little things made me like them and their chemistry in the story.

I also liked the minor characters. I felt Julie and Barb’s love for Stella, Stella’s parents and their struggles. Stella’s friends, Will’s friends, and Poe, although they only had little parts in the book, they completed Stella and Will’s worlds.

The plot

The plot was also good, but it was a struggle. I struggled because I did not know what will happen to these two main characters, and what will be the end game for them. I did not know if it will be a melancholic ending, or a hopeful one, and that really frustrated me (in a good way haha!). The plot also showed me that there is a fine line between want and need, and the main characters realized that, too.

There were some subplots that have been opened near the ending of the book, and I wished the authors took the time to delve into that much further. These subplots were interesting and I really wanted to know more about them. Also, there is one plot twist that did not sit well with me, and it’s both frustrating and saddening at the same time.

All in all, the plot was good and I can’t wait to buy a physical copy of this!

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Four stars! I loved this one, and I really can’t wait for its release on November 20th this year! Also, this book is soon to be a major motion picture starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson in March 2019 and WOW WOW WOW. I am beyond excited!

So, there goes my second read this September, and my very first DRC/eARC from Edelweiss! I have another approved DRC lined up on my TBR and I can’t wait to read it and share it to you!

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Book Review: Essence

Title: Essence

Author: Hayley Gabrielle

Series: The Essence Chronicles #1

Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

My rating: 3.5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

When Abbey Shader is summoned to Ethra, a land where human qualities roam free in flesh known as Essences, her life and the universe as she knows it splits open before her.

With the expansive secrets of humanity at her fingertips, Abbey’s strength of will and heart are put to a test no amount of time or meticulous study could have prepared her for.

Left to decide between the comfort of the familiar and the potential enlightenment of the strange, Abbey is thrust into a journey that demands more of her at every turn. She must learn to trust what she sees, and trust what she can’t.

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The author gave me a free ebook in exchange for an honest review! The synopsis was intriguing, and the story was just enough to keep me on my toes.

The writing

The writing style was okay for me. There were some parts that did not entice me enough, but there were also scenes and lines that made me think about humanity and the world, and I really liked that.

The characters

The characters were really interesting, especially the Essences. The author truly captured their personalities and showed their “Essences” well. I also liked the fact that the Essence of Good was a man, and the Essence of Evil was a woman. In a way, it defies the norm/trope that women are the innocent ones, and men are the malicious ones. It was a nice change in the story. I would love to know how the author is going to continue that arc, and that story.

I liked the protagonist enough. Although, there was little that made me feel for her or connect with her. When I read, I try to relate myself to the narrator of the story but with Abbey Shader, I feel like I didn’t get much feel of her personality. I saw her emotions, that was for sure, but her personality was a miss for me.

Zac, the other protagonist, was okay for me as well. There’s a lot of story in his past, but I feel like it wasn’t explored enough. Maybe the author will revisit that in the future installments of the series, and give it more significance, who knows?

The plot

The plot was interesting enough, although I found it a bit lacking. It was intriguing and fascinating, but I needed more. I needed something that will truly get me hooked and leave me craving for more.

It was simple, and that’s good, there is nothing wrong about that. But it didn’t captivate me enough like I thought it would. Maybe they will be more action and plot in the second book once we dive in deeper to their world.

The world-building

The world-building was also good. I liked the concept of the erodosphere and how the Essences move and exist and function in these different worlds and in different people. I would really love to know more about them and their system. And I’d also love to meet other Essences!

Quotes from the book

“Laughter is a form of agreement,” says Zac, lifting his oar from the water and resting it on his knees. “The cruelest and most passive kind.”

“Age equates to experience,” he says. “Experience is knowledge. Knowledge is intelligence. Something you’d do well to uphold, dear heart.”

“Okay,” I say, a rush of boldness overcoming me. “Experience is knowledge, yeah, but intelligence isn’t a result of knowledge. Intelligence is how you act upon what you know.”

“…sleep isn’t intended to drag you toward your fears. More, to draw you away from them.”

“It takes faith to believe there’s no purpose to things, just as it takes faith to believe there is.”

“You mustn’t fear what you don’t know, Abbey. There will always be things you won’t understand, things beyond your comprehension, and even mine. But the process of discovery can be very exciting if you let it be.”

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Now let’s appreciate that wonderful cover! Check out Hayley Gabrielle’s Instagram (@hayleygabriellewriter) for more updates!

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This is my first September read y’all! How about you guys? What are you reading right now? Have you read this book yet? Comment down below!

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Book Review: The Language of Thorns

Title: The Language of Thorns

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Series: Grishaverse

Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Mythology, Short Stories

My rating: 5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

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The Language of Thorns proved to me just how brilliant Leigh Bardugo is. It was dark yet beautiful, and atmospheric altogether.

The writing

I said it once, and I’ll gladly say it again: Leigh Bardugo’s writing is AMAZING. AMAZING. I fell in love with her writing when I first read Shadow and Bone. I fell in love with it more when I read Six of Crows. And I fell in love with it again last night when I finished reading all the six stories included in this book.

It was dark and raw and beautiful and haunting, all at the same time. Leigh Bardugo managed to take some of the well-known fairy tales and folklore in the world, put her own twist and story, and made them her own.

I also loved how the stories reflected human nature—the human psyche—showing the readers just how imperfect we are. That even our own family has evilness inside, that sometimes the people who we believed are monsters are the innocent ones, that even our closest friend can betray us, and so on and so forth.

Beautiful and enchanting.

The characters

The characters of the six different stories were also very interesting. And I loved it because at first glance, you think you know the story and how it goes, and what the character will do. But in this book, it was impossible to tell for me. These characters were enchanting and also very dark and realistic in a way, because they do symbolize humanity at its worst and its best.

I definitely loved Ulla’s character in When Water Sang Fire. There was so much mystery and pain that surrounds her. And Bardugo’s writing style just made her story even more haunting.

The plot

I loved the plot in each of these short stories, seriously. These were inspired by folklore and fairy tale but Bardugo definitely managed to put her own twist and made them her own.

The plot twists were brilliant. In The Too-Clever Fox, I literally let out a loud gasp when I got the the climax. The same thing happened when I was reading The Witch of Duva. Bardugo’s weaving of the plot twists is legit genius!

The world-building

Of course, the world is Grishaverse so I already love it. But still, Leigh Bardugo captured the different settings in these different stories and laid it down for the readers so perfectly. Whether it be on a ghost town, at the bottom of the ocean, or the menacing, dark woods. Every world in every story was atmospheric, and it just pulls you right in.

Quotes from the book

“The trap is loneliness, and none of us escapes it. Not even me.”

“This goes to show you that sometimes the unseen is not to be feared and that those meant to love us most are not always the ones who do.”

“They pray that their children will be brave and clever and strong, that they will tell the true stories instead of the easy ones. They pray for sons with red eyes and daughters with horns.”

“This is the problem with making a thing forbidden. It does nothing but build an ache in the heart.”

“Wanting is why people get up in the morning. It gives them something to dream of at night.”

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Also, I just want to say that this book is beautiful! BEAUTIFUL. Not only the stories, but I am saying the whole book is beautiful inside and out! Just look at the naked hardcover right here. Also the illustrations inside look AMAZING. Kudos to the illustrator, Sara Kipin!

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Hey guys! So have you read this book yet? Did you love it as much as I did?! And if you haven’t read this yet—oh goodness, what are you waiting for?!

See you on the next book review!

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Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone

Title: Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Series: Book 1 of Legacy of Orisha

Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia, Adventure

My rating: 5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

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Children of Blood and Bone is consuming, enthralling, intense, and heartbreaking all at once.

The writing

Wow. That’s what I can say about the writing style of the author. Tomi Adeyemi weaves a story full of pain, hope, despair and magic. Every chapter and every page makes me crave for more. At the same time, it also made me afraid of what’s to come.

From the very first chapter until the end, it was intense and action-packed. Her writing style really managed to keep me at the edge of my seat! And honestly, if I didn’t have any work, I would have devoured this book in just a couple days as I really enjoyed it!

I also love how the author did not abuse the use of detailed description and metaphors. The narration was just enough to make me visualize the different locations, feel the character’s emotions, and go along the situations. And the metaphorical expressions throughout the book was just enough to make it poetic and poignant.

The characters

I loved the characters as well! The multiple first person point of views allowed me to peer into the characters’ personalities—their emotions and thoughts—as the story went on.

I felt Zélie’s pain, her drive, her hope, and despair. Reading the story through her perspective filled me with a lot of emotions. With every chapter I read in her perspective, it’s almost as if her emotions become a tangible thing that affects me to the core. She might have been sidetracked by something in the middle of the story, but at the end she found her purpose once again.

I felt Amari’s hopelessness and guilt, and her willpower to correct all the wrongs her father made. I loved that despite what she went through under the care of her father’s hands, she was not tainted by the same hate and evilness that surrounds him, or the doubts and naivety that surrounds her brother. She is truly a pure soul in this book. (and I hope it stays that way for the rest of the series omg).

I felt Inan’s doubts, hate, and fear. His character was the most frustrating out of them, for me.  I understood his fear of himself and the hatred in the early parts of the book, but even when the truth about his father’s evil deeds was already glaring at him, he stills wants to erase magic in Orïsha. He remains a good soldier eager to please his father, and that was really infuriating for me.

The plot

The plot of this book was amazing and really intense from start to finish. Just when I thought one problem was solved, another one comes and then plot twists sprout from one chapter to another, it was heart-stopping!

The plot kind of reminded me of Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (aka one of my favorite books out there and an underrated series!) as well. Especially at the middle an near the end part, when Zélie is conflicted and having second thoughts about returning the power for all maji in Orïsha.

The attraction between Zélie and Inan was something I did not like to be honest. It felt rushed and confusing. (Also, I am not overly fond with the insta-love trope, so you can see why this irks me.)

The plot has also left me with some interesting questions. I hope I get the answer to them in the sequel. I’m really excited to continue this story!

The world-building

The world-building is probably my favorite thing in this book! It was amazing! The world-building of this story just reminded why Fantasy is my favorite genre of all. It was consuming and intriguing, and truly beautiful.

I loved the parts where they would talk about the mythology and the magic embedded in Orïsha, and after I finished the book, I honestly want to know more about it! I was actually expecting some sort of glossary at the end of the book, because their world was really intricate and beautiful. I want to find out more about those ten maji clans; their gods, their powers, everything. And because of it, I immediately took the the official quiz and found out that I am a Connector! Adeyemi is truly a genius for creating this incredible world.

(I do hope we get a glossary in the future haha!)

Quotes from the book

“I won’t let your ignorance silence my pain.”

“When your opponent has no honor, you must fight in different ways, smarter ways.”

“Your people, your guards – they’re nothing more than killers, rapists, and thieves. The only difference between them and criminals is the uniforms they wear.”

“As long as we don’t have magic, they will never treat us with respect. They need to know we can hit them back. If they burn our homes, we burn theirs, too.”

“As it fades, I see the truth – in plain sight, yet hidden all along. We are all children of blood and bone. All instruments of vengeance and virtue. This truth holds me close, rocking me like a child in a mother’s arms. It binds me in its love as death swallows me in its grasp.”

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(The naked cover looks really beautiful, come admire it with me!)

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This book has been one of my most anticipated reads this 2018 and I am really blown away! 5 stars!

How about you, have you read this already? Comment down below!

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Book Review: Carry On

Title: Carry On

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Series: Book 1 of Simon Snow

Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy, Supernatural, LGBTQ+

My rating: 4 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.

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While I was reading the book, I suddenly realized how it’s sort of a mashup between Harry Potter and Twilight, and yet it’s still a different book altogether.

The writing

The writing was good enough for me. It was light and humorous, the kind that made me laugh at certain points of the story. But although I found it good, there were some parts of the writing that I didn’t like. I found the author’s use of parentheses excessive. I mean, I know they were the thoughts of the characters, but it was too much for me.

I also didn’t like how there were certain parts of the story that seemed like they weren’t important enough, and I really feel like they should have been!

The storytelling is also somehow fragmented. There were perspectives from the past, there were perspectives from the present. And then there were also perspectives from characters that seemed out of place, and that can be confusing.

The characters

I really liked the characters of this book, particularly the two main characters which is Simon and Baz. I loved the chemistry between them!

In Simon, I saw an insecure boy, not ready for all the responsibilities and expectations carelessly thrown at him when he was only a child. And in Baz, I saw a loyal and ruthless boy, conflicted by his feelings, and afraid of the destiny that awaits them.

I liked Penelope and her loyalty to Simon. She was fierce and intelligent and I wish she finished her studies at Watford! I didn’t like Agatha on the other hand. She really seemed unconcerned about Simon and I kept wondering how the hell did they end up together when there doesn’t seem to be any chemistry at all. Also, I have a feeling in my gut that she would like to be a Normal more than someone who has magic.

The Mage, I am conflicted about his character. I have so many questions about him and I didn’t get any answer at the end of the story. For example, what was his real agenda? Did he truly care about Simon or no? How can he do that to him? I’m disappointed that his character left so many unsolved questions for me.

The plot

The plot was also interesting! It’s one of the factors that kept me on turning the pages and looking for more. Unfortunately, I did not find more at the end of the book! Again there were so many unsolved mysteries that concerns the plot. I felt like there were subplots that weren’t fully explained and solved (I’m not going to specify them since I don’t want to spoil you all haha!) I am honestly hoping I find some answers in the sequel!

The world-building

I loved the world-building in this story. Somehow, it reminded me of Harry Potter because of the magic and the setting, but it has its own flair as well.

I found the World of Mages really intriguing. I loved how their spells rely on the language that they speak; that some spells were common phrases people say daily (and that is an indication that the spell will be effective).

I also found it interesting, how they treat their magic. Like how it can “run out” when  family members keep marrying Normals for generations. And how feeling their magic run out when they’re in a dead spot causes them to  severe reactions. For me it shows just how dependent they are in their magic.

Quotes from the book

“You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can’t carry on at all.”

“You were the centre of my universe and everything else spun around you.”

“And sometimes holes want to get bigger, but Baz was wrong—sometimes they just want to be filled.”

“How long does it take for a star to collapse? How many trillions of years?”

“You were the sun, and I was crashing into you.”

A bookish candle inspired by Watford and a copy of Carry On at the background.

Photo above: My copy of Carry On plus a bookish candle inspired by Watford!

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So, this would have been 3.5 stars for me but I loved Simon and Baz and all the feels I experienced while I was reading this, so 4 stars! I do hope the sequel will be better though.

So have you read this yet? What did you think of it? Come tell me down below!

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