Books: November Wrap-Up & Reviews

I had an amazing reading month in November. I didn’t have a set TBR list for November. I got a lot of books from the library and simply tried my best to read them all. And I read  A LOT of books. Mostly due to the fact that I was sick for the majority of the month, even taking a couple of days off work, that allowed me to read more. (Although reading while being sick really sucks, let me tell ya.)

I split my list of read books into sections. The reviews will be at the bottom. This is going to be one hell of a post.

Books:

  1. Alex Gino “George”
  2. Kelley York “Made of Stars”
  3. Melissa Landers “Invaded”
  4. Alex London “Proxy”
  5. Alex London “Guardian”
  6. I.W. Gregorio “None of the Above”
  7. Nicola Yoon “Everything, Everything”
  8. Rainbow Rowell “Fangirl”

E-books:

  1. R.G. Alexander “Curious”
  2. Bonnie Dee “The Tutor”
  3. Laura Harner “Continental Divide (Separate Ways, #1)”
  4. E.M. Lindsey “Time and Tide”

Graphic novels:

  1. East of West, Vol. 1: The Promise by Jonathan Hickman
  2. East of West, Vol. 2: We Are All One by Jonathan Hickman
  3. East of West, Vol. 3: There Is No Us by Jonathan Hickman
  4. Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
  5. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
  6. Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy (Lumberjanes, #1-4) by Noelle Stevenson
  7. Blue is the Warmest Colour by Julie Maroh
  8. The less than epic adventures of TJ and Amal vol. 1 Poor boys and pilgrims by E.K. Weaver
  9. Emily Carroll “Through the Woods”

Books re-read:

  1. Marie Sexton “Promises”
  2. Marie Sexton “Strawberries for Dessert”
  3. Sue Brown “Nothing Ever Happens”

So, if my math skills do not deceive me, in the month of November I read 24 books. Holy moly! That’s definitely way more than I expected! Granted, a huge part of those were short ebooks and graphic novels, but still! I don’t think I will ever be able to beat that.

Okay, onto reviews then. All of these are posted on my GoodReads page, so I am only going to post reviews of books and graphic novels and will skip ebooks and books I’ve read before.

Reviews:

“George” by Alex Gino

Personal rating: 4 stars

I read this book in one go. It has less than 200 pages with huge font and it a middle grade novel.

I liked it. I think it is great that the author touches upon a topic of gender identity in a middle grade novel. Reading it, I couldn’t help by sympathize with George. I think that her voice was very prominent and well defined.

I am happy that such books exist nowadays.

“Made of Stars” by Kelley York

Personal rating: 5 stars

You know there are some books that you finish reading and then next day you still keep thinking about it? For me it was “Made of Stars”. (Where has this book been before?? Why haven’t I read it sooner??)

This is a contemporary/suspense YA novel, that tells the story of three friends (a boy and his half sister and their friend, whom they see once a year during summer). One summer they all meet again, and things change. And their feelings change too.

Hunter and Ashlin start noticing the lies Chance is telling them and things he is NOT telling them. They start questioning things he says and does.

And then a murder happens.

It is not exactly a murder mystery, but the book has a very strong suspense undercurrent. I don’t want to say anything or I might spoil the ending, but let’s just say that I spent the last 20% of the book dreading what was about to happen while knowing that it would probably happen. Basically, I was just sitting here and yelling “NO!” a lot.

I couldn’t put it down.

The ending was like a sucker punch. Have you read Allegiant by Veronica Roth? Remember THAT? Well, THAT thing in Allegiant gave me the same feeling as this book. Remember, how at some point in Allegiant (just by the way the POV is switched) you could totally tell that THIS was going to happen? Same thing here.

I spent some time trying to think of what might happen next, if there is hope, if there is any way that it could not have ended in so much heartbreak.

But no, there was no other way.

I both heartbroken and in awe with what the author did to my poor heart. It was painful and amazing.

I want more. I am definitely putting Kelley York on my list of favourite authors.

“Invaded” by Melissa Landers

Personal rating: 3.75 stars

(SOME MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!)

I read Alienated in September and was quite excited to get ahold of Invaded quite easily (I landed a copy from the library and it was a new copy which is a rarity at times).

I can’t say I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Alienated. For one thing, I really liked Cara’s blog, which was barely there in Invaded, as well as her sense of humour (overall the novel felt more serious in tone than Alienated). The romance between her and Aelyx still ran true but Melissa used pretty much the same trick as in Alienated: creating a rift between them, only to bring them back together followed by a dramatic event. It felt rather boring to read the same plot twist in the second novel.

I did like the intrigue that was happening in both worlds, as well as depiction of L’eihr and its traditions, but I felt as if the first part of the book dragged a bit.

There was one character whom I really liked and who died, which really annoyed me, because it could have been avoided (seeing as other major characters are always saved by deus ex machina). This death affected another character, who has already been through a lot. I feel as if this was done for the sake of drama and it felt a bit cheap to me.

I feel like there might be a third novel. Invaded does not end with an obvious cliffhanger than Alienated had, but still there are some things that were left unresolved. The problem is that I am not sure how Melissa can create the third novel without making it even more boring. Will I be reading it? Perhaps, but it won’t be high on my list.

“Proxy” and “Guardian” by Alex London

Proxy

Personal rating: 3.75

I couldn’t wait to pick up this book. I heard great things about it. I can’t say that I was disappointed but I wish my expectations hadn’t been set so high. It is a great dystopian YA novel, with a unique world, but at times it felt as if it lacked depth, and some of the characters’ actions didn’t make much sense. There was a lot of talk about feelings and decisions, but I think that the author described things instead of *showing* them.

I did like the characters and I love the fact that this book had a main gay character, who was essentially “the chosen one”.

Some events in this book didn’t make much sense, but the ending had a good twist. And it made me a bit sad too. You will know why. (I would have preferred a different punch line at the end, as it felt a bit weak, but over all it was ok.)

Guardian

Personal rating: 4 stars

I think that this book is stronger than “Proxy”. It is better written and it has more plot twists. I did enjoy both the relationships (a budding romance) between the characters and the main intrigue. I also liked how it was shown how “the chosen one”, ex-proxy, was dealing with his fame.

The resolution of the moral peril in which the characters found themselves felt a bit too “deus ex machina”, but I did like the ending. One might say, it is too open, or even a cliffhanger, but I enjoyed it.

Can’t say this book is going to be high on my “re-read list” but it was enjoyable. I would love to read more dystopian YA with main queer characters.

“None of the Above” by I.W. Gregorio

Personal rating: 3.75 stars

I enjoyed the book because it is rather different from all other YA which is readily available on the market. It is the first book with an intersex character that I have ever read. I liked the book. I didn’t love it though. I feel that it was more educational than anything else, as the plot was rather predictable (discovering herself, friends turning enemies, bullying at school, therapy) and some twists made me feel rather sad.

I liked Kristin. I liked that she is an athlete, she is a runner. I liked how her struggle to come to terms with her diagnosis was described. What I didn’t like was how predictable everything else was (her boyfriend, her friends’ reaction, etc).

I still recommend this book. It has to be read at least for the educational purposes. I feel that it was a bit overhyped for me in terms of the plot though.

“Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon

personal rating: 4.5 stars

This book deserves all the love and hype surrounding it! It is a very cute story about a girl who is allergic to everything. One day, a new family moves into a nearby house and she befriends their son.

I liked everything about this book. The way it is written. The fact that it is interrupted by illustrations and notes written by Madeline. The fact that this book has some similarities to “The Fault In Our Stars” but only it is way better and lighter and happier. (And also, HAWAII!)

The characters are unique and have very distinctive voices. I loved both Madeline and Olly. I loved the setting of the book. I loved all the descriptions.

I also loved the twist and the way the story resolved itself, even though I did suspect something like this would happen. (It also quite unexpectedly resonated with my own experience, which was a bit surprising.)

Can’t say more but this book gave me rather happy, warm and fuzzy feeling. Even though it mostly about illness. Nicola Yoon has achieved something that John Green failed to do for me.

Read it. You will love it.

“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell

Personal rating: 5 stars

I thought this book was overhyped on booktube. I thought I wouldn’t like it. I thought it was something like “shopaholic” novels.

I was so wrong!

This book is fantastic. It is well written, it has amazing characters and a very sweet romance. I loved Cath. She is very relatable. Levi is a sweetheart (I was rooting for him the whole book!). Wren is something. Reagan is something else altogether.

And Cath’s father, Art, is adorable. (I have a soft spot for him. Because I don’t know how you can NOT. It is probably the first time ever I feel so strongly about a secondary character.)

I don’t even know how to express how much I loved this book (which can be confirmed by the fact that I ordered my own copy online while being only 50 pages into the library copy). It is everything my life is and is not, but potentially can be. This book made me feel less embarrassed about being “a fangirl”. It also gave me a strong urge to write.

This book was so good, and so well written, that I want to read it again.

Also I need “Carry On” like RIGHT NOW.


All of other reviews you can read on my GoodReads page, as I don’t want to make this post longer than necessary. I do want to point out that Nimona, Lumberjanes, Adventures of TJ and Amal, and Through the Woods are my favourite graphic novels of the month, while Blue is the Warmest Colour is the least favourite.

Let me know what you think!

 

Books: August-October Book Haul

Okay, so I admit, I have a book buying problem. At least now, I am mostly buying from bargain book shops, like BookOutlet, which means that I am spending a tiny bit less.

I got Andrew Smith’s “Wringler” and “100 Sideways Miles” and David Levithan’s “Another Day” from BookOutlet. When I went to Word On The Street book festival, I saw “Stand Off” being sold and I just had to get it. It was 20% off but still rather expensive as it is a hardback.

I already owned a copy of Scott Lynch’s “Lies of Locke Lamora” (book 1) as a pocket paperback, but when I saw this edition, which is bigger and nicer for only $5 at Indigo, I couldn’t resist myself.

After watching “The Danish Girl” movie at TIFF, I got really excited when I found out that it is based not only on a true story, but there is a book by David Ebershoff. I went to Indigo hoping to find a movie tie-in edition, but there was none. So I got myself this Penguin books edition. (As I am typing this in December, the movie tie-in edition did come out, which annoys me as I would have preferred to own a copy with with Eddie Redmayne on it.)

I love Katherine Kurtz books. She is a high fantasy writer and most of her books came out in 80-90s. I read Deryni series when I was a teen and they still remain my favourite high fantasy series ever. I am rather sad that only the first trilogy was ever re-published. I own almost all of her books (since some of them are out of print and I basically have to hunt for missing copies in bargain/used books), all of them mass paperback/pocket editions. But when I saw this hardcover copy for less than $5 at the BMV, I just had to get it. It is in a very good condition too! (I plan to do a bargain books/high fantasy books haul some time later.)

Right before my trip, I decided, on a whim, to buy more books. So I got “Me, Earl, and the dying girl” (even though I promised myself that I am not reading any more books like “The Fault in Our Stars”) and “Will Grayson Will Grayson”, which I tried to read once before but never finished (it was an audiobook in fact, I believe).

When I came back, I got my pre-order from Amazon with Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette “The Apprentice to Elves” and Welcome To Night Vale, both of which I was really excited to get.

I haven’t started reading any of these books yet, except for WTNV novel, which I had to put on hold, as I got too many library books that I need to go through first.

Books: October wrap-up

I started writing down my November reading post and suddenly  realized that I forgot to post the list of books I read in October. Oops! My excuse is that I was away for 3 weeks in October and when I got back it was almost November.

While I put together a small number of books that I planned to bring with me on vacation, besides my Kindle, but for better or worse I forgot to pack them! (I think it was actually for the better as I had a huge suitcase as it was.)

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(This was supposed to be my October TBR, but alas!)

I didn’t read much in October and I am surprised I read as much as I did. I did catch up with some ARCs, so that was good. All of the reviews are available on my GoodReads page – https://www.goodreads.com/fox-rain.

Here is the list:

  1. Picture (Im)perfect by  Frankel, J.S. (novella, romance, 3/5 stars)
  2. Spanish Bay by  Hirschi, Hans M.  (m/m romance, 2/5 stars)
  3. Deadly Messengers by Susan May (mystery, 4/5 stars)
  4. Stranger in the Wizard’s Tower by McNish, Deric (fantasy, m/m, 3.75/5 stars)

I have a feeling that I might have read more, but I am not sure right now. Out of all ARCs “Deadly Messengers” is definitely the best one.

My first ever video!

Back in August I decided to try my hand at video editing. Obviously, I know nothing about it, and I used iMovie for the first time in my life, but I created something! And today I finally finished it and posted to YouTube (insert an image of me running around in panic).

This is my TBR/reading progress video for August. Naturally, I posted my August wrap-up back in September, but I thought I might still share this video. Do not judge me harshly – I am very new to this 😉

And yes it is a stop motion video! Because I wanted to create one in a long time.

My adventures in a Hugendubel store // German editions // Books

I love Hugendubel stores. No idea why. Maybe because I love book stores in general. I lovingly call Hugendubel  stores “bubble gum stores” (because of my inability to pronounce the name correctly XD). Every time I visit my friend in Munich, I go to one of those stores and browse for some time (hours). I have the most fun finding the books that I know and seeing the titles in German and the covers and how they compare to North American editions.

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I love this cover! I like the original English cover too but this one is rather similar and it has “Fox craft” as a title, which a title of the series. The title is translated as “the fox magic”. The English title is “The Taken”.

I really want this book! Because of the foxes naturally XD

Here are two more middle grade books. I know nothing about these but I couldn’t pass titles that mention musketeers, could I? 😉

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A huge section with Cassandra Clair books. I haven’t read those yet but I was excited to see different covers AND they kept English titles, which I found really curious.

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More foxes!!

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Andrew Smith’s novel “100 sideways miles” has almost the same cover as North American edition (only the horse is black) and the title is similar.

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Okay, e. lockhart’s “We Are Liars” turned into “Until We Lie”, which is very close. And “Eleanor & Park” is exactly the same title and cover.

But look at “Everything Everything” by Nicola Yoon! That’s quite a change! It says “You Near Me” and below “And between us the whole world”. A two word title turned into a two SENTENCES title. Very confused.

I felt a bit like a dork running around, taking pictures of books and blabbing about everything to my friend (she is a saint).

I did buy two books! Here we go.

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I wanted to get something to read in German, as my knowledge has detiriorated quite a bit over the years. A friend on twitter suggested I buy this kids book “Emil und die Detektive” by Erich Kastner. And then I saw a quite decently sized paperback for only 4.99 euros! (Which is about 7CAD.) Percy Jackson book one “The Lightning Thief”. I have never read any of Rick Riordan’s books and perhaps it is time to start.

My TBR list is insanely long, so I honestly don’t know when I will get to reading those books, but I am being hopeful 🙂

September Wrap-up & Reviews

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I am horribly behind on my bookish blog posts, but I had very busy two months.

Here is my TBR list for September. I am really proud of myself – I managed to read quite a few books (almost all of my TBR list) even though I was watching movies at TIFF almost every day.

I loved most of the books I read in September. I planned to write review for every single one of them, but I think I will just post them all in this blog post. All of my reviews can be found on my GoodReads page too.

  • Sharon Cameron “Rook”
  • Nina LaCour “Everything Leads To You”
  • Melissa Landers “Alienated”
  • Libba Bray “Beauty Queens”
  • Courtney C. Stevens “Faking Normal”
  • Becky Albertalli “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda”
  • Patrick Ness “More Than This”
  • Jay Cantor, James Romberger “Aaron and Ahmed” (graphic novel)

REVIEWS:

“Rook” by Sharon Cameron

Personal rating: 4.5 stars

I started reading “Rook” in August for Perustopia Book Club and it took me by surprise, as I enjoyed it way more than I expected. It is a perfect blend of dystopian fantasy and adventure narratives (spies and intrigue). The romance in it was well written and not too obnoxious and I must say I really liked the main character, Sophia. She is smart and adventurous and I loved it. She also has a pet fox called St. Vincent!

The world is well built and quite unique.

Some moments were a bit predictable but I thoroughly enjoyed it and the ending was just perfect. I really would love to read more books like that. I am both relieved and upset that this is a stand alone novel. One one hand, I would love to read more stories about this world, but on the other hand – it is perfect as it is.

“Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli

Personal rating: 5 stars

Ok, but where has this book been before??? It is perfect and I would have been thrilled to have it in my life as a teen!

The plot revolves over the email conversation between Simon and Blue, his incognito friend whom he befriended via Tumblr and developed a strong connection to. (Sound familiar, eh?) They don’t know each others identities but they go to the same school. Simon is being blackmailed by another classmate who wants to date a girl, who is Simon’s friend. In spite of serious topics of coming out, discovering oneself, first love, social media, privacy (something which becomes more and more important in modern age) it is a very lighthearted novel, which gave me a warm feeling when I finished reading it.

The plot reminded me of a book by German writer Daniel Glattauer called “Gegen Nordwind”. It has a similar plot twist, in which a man and a woman start emailing each other by a pure accident and fall in love. The whole novel is constructed of emails and it is an adult fiction.

“Simon” is a sweet YA book, which is a very easy read – I read it like in less than two days – and would definitely appeal to many teens (and adults). The ending was just perfect, and even though I sort of guessed Blue’s identity before Simon, I thought that their first meeting was perfectly executed.

Definitely worth reading.

“Beauty Queens” by Libba Bray

Personal rating: 3.5 stars

(I was about to give it even less stars, to be honest.)

My first reaction after reading the first two pages was “what the hell is going on there?!”. I was very confused, the book seemed to be a joke. I couldn’t understand why so many booktubers were raving about it.

I took a breath and went back to reading it.

Listening to reviews of this book I didn’t expect it to be what it is, a humorous, even satirical YA novel. Nobody said, oh by the way, it won’t make any sense because it is not supposed to make any sense. Every was just raving about how cool it is, and how great it is about diversity and representation. Well, yes, it is all that. But the genre and the plot irritated me.

I am not a fan of funny books. I mean, there is serious fiction and there is humorous fantasy, but even that is not my thing unless we are talking about the likes of Terry Pratchett, and there are those cute girly novels about shopaholics and cute girly problems that have cute covers with lots of pink on it. I shudder at the thought of reading one even as I type it.

Thank goodness, “Beauty Queens” is not a funny and cute  book, even though it is about beauty queens/pageant contestants. Once I wrapped my head over what this book was NOT, I realized that it had lots of witty referrals to pop culture and stereotypes.  Those were funny.

But for the most part it was rather tedious to read – I barely paid attention to what was happening. I didn’t like the plot which for all its twist reminded me of a gender bender “Lord of the flies” novel mixed with a generic Family Guy episode. I kept reading the book because I had nothing better to do while queueing to see some movies and I liked the diversity of the characters and I wanted to know who would survive at the end (spoiler alert: not all deaths turned out to be real deaths, but rather cartoonish ones).

Lots of people seem to like Libba Bray books. Perhaps, I picked the wrong book to get introduced to her writing. I understand that this book has its own merit, but it is just not my thing.

p.s. This book will stay in my memory as I spent hours in rain, shielding myself with an umbrella and freezing, queueing to see movies. It was the only entertainment that saved me from hours of utter boredom.

“Everything Leads To You” by Nina LaCour

Personal rating: 4 stars

It is a lovely book. It was a rather easy to read, although at times it was not as engaging as I hoped it would be. A very sweet story which fit perfectly into the atmosphere of the film festival that I was attending while reading it. I loved all the bits about the film production.

It is that type of the book that you would want to read on a deck with a cup of coffee on a lazy Sunday morning. Well written and very sweet. Wish there were more books like this.

Can’t give it 5 stars just because it was not as fast paced as I would have preferred it to be.

p.s. I love the cover but I still don’t understand who is portrayed on it? Because Emi is not white and Ava is a redhead, and the girl on the cover is white and blond. Even though the cover is very dreamy and I like the typography, I am still a bit confused.

“Alienated” by Melissa Landers

Personal rating: 4.5 stars

I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did! In a way, it is a cliched YA romance story, but on the other hand it has an interesting plot idea and it is a sci-fi novel. It has some elements that usually make me roll my eyes, but in this book it sort of works. Perhaps, because Melissa’s tone of narration is rather light and there is no unnecessary drama (for the sake of drama).

An alien exchange student arrives to live with Cara, and everyone seems to be quite taken with the guy, but she is not. Until she gets to know him better and falls in love with him. Only that her new friend didn’t want to be on Earth in the first place and is trying to sabotage the whole operation, and while trying to do so discovers something shocking.

The book has a couple of cheesy moments (sometimes Cara’s parents act like teenagers themselves), but otherwise it has a solid plot and an interesting premise. I am quite looking forward to reading the sequel, Invaded, this month. It was a fun read!

“More Than This” by Patrick Ness 

Personal rating: 5 stars

(I would give it 10 if I could!)

This is the second book by Patrick Ness that I read and absolutely loved! It has everything that I love in it: a bizarre plot, angst, heartbreak, hope, and coming of age.

Seth drowns and dies. But only then he wakes up, naked, by an empty house that looks just like the one from his childhood in UK, in a city that has no people in it. The whole book is intercepted by his memories of his life before up to the moment of his death.

I must say that some of the moments in the book (the ones that led to his death) made me tear up a bit.

It is a wonderful novel. It is creepy at times and heartwarming at others. It has a bizarre, Matrix kinda style twists. I couldn’t put it down. I want this book. I want to own this book.

I also want to know what happened after. Because that ending, Mr. Ness, was cruel!

There is nothing else I can say about this book except for – read it now!

“Faking Normal” by Courtney C. Stevens

Personal rating: 4 stars

It is a very well written book on a very difficult topic – abuse, its consequences and perceptions related to it, as well as mental health.  The book addresses several very important points, and I think the author did a great job writing about it in two clear teenaged voices affected by abuse.

I can’t say I loved the book, as I can’t love anything related to the topic of abuse (and other horrors), but it was very well written and I really enjoyed reading it. And if it ever has a sequel (although the story is completed), I will read it gladly.

The main twist of the otherwise uneventful narrative was who of the guys mentioned in the books is the culprit. Let me tell you: I didn’t see it coming. But the way it was resolved at the end and the way the main character, Alexi, was dealing with the consequences of the event that had changed her life was written very well.

It is not an easy and fun book to read, but it is something that I would love more people to read because of its message.

Well done, Courtney. I hope to read more books by you in the future.

“Aaron and Ahmed” (graphic novel) by Jay Cantor, James Romberger 

Personal rating: 3 stars.

I posted my review on GoodReads before I wrote this post. Can’t say I enjoyed this novel. I can’t even say why I gave it 3 stars at all.

[EDIT]: I forgot that I read one more book in September! It was an ARC for “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” book by Martina McAtee. I read it on Kindle and it completely slipped my mind. You can read the review on GoodReads. I must say, the cover is so gorgeous!

I read total of 8 books and 1 graphic novel in September. A good reading month!

September TBR // September 7, 2015

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Under a spell of temporary insanity, I decided that these are going to be all the books I will read in September. Considering the fact that September 10-20 will be devoted to TIFF (and my schedule there is pretty intense), this TBR pile is overly ambitious. Or outright crazy.

Nevertheless, I am excited. I have heard great things about these books, and I am super pumped about some of these (I’d say probably about the books on the right). I understand that there is a very high chance I won’t have time to read even half of these, but I will try my best. Almost all of them were picked from the library, so I will just go in the order of which books are due sooner. (Worst scenario, I will just read the rest of the books in October.)

I have already started reading Margaret Atwood’s collection of short stories, as you know. I am reading one story at a time, whenever I fancy it, so this book will be featured in my TBR piles until I am done with it.

I am 70% done with Rook and I love it. I thought I’d finish it in August, but August was a pretty busy month for me.

So here’s the list:

  • Sharon Cameron “Rook” [still reading – almost done]
  • Margaret Atwood “Moral Disorder And Other Stories” [I started it but I am still reading]
  • Kelley York “Made of Stars”
  • Stephanie Kuehn “Charm & Strange”
  • Nina LaCour “Everything Leads To You”
  • Melissa Landers “Alienated”
  • Libba Bray “Beauty Queens”
  • Courtney C. Stevens “Faking Normal”
  • Becky Albertalli “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda”
  • Patrick Ness “More Than This”

Eight books to read if you don’t count Rook and Atwood. That’s crazy! But I am super excited.

If you are going to see movies at TIFF this year and see someone reading one of those books in the line, that will probably be me. ;D

 

August Wrap-Up // September 4, 2015

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So, here is the list of books I read in August:

  • Andy Weir “The Martian” (my review)
  • Charles Bukowski “Absence of The Hero: Uncollected Stories and Essays Vol.2 1946-1992” [I didn’t really like it as much as I expected]
  • Margaret Atwood “Moral Disorder And Other Stories” [I started it but I am still reading]
  • John Green “The Fault in Our Stars” (my review)
  • Vera Brosgol “Anya’s Ghost” (my review)
  • Andrew Smith “Grasshopper Jungle” (my review)
  • Patrick Ness “A Monster Calls” (my review)
  • Sharon Cameron “Rook” [still reading – almost done]
  • Justin MacCormack “Twilight of the Faerie – Book 1: Spring” [the ebook I was sent to review – my review is on GoodReads]

Compare it to my planned TBR list.

I didn’t read “Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater as I really want to marathon the whole series, but I still haven’t bought book 3. I also started but haven’t finished Margaret Attwood’s collection of short stories. But I did read one eBook which was not on the list and I almost finished “Rook”, so it was a really good reading month! Almost all of the books I’ve read were fantastic!

But if I have to choose, The Martian, A Monster Calls and Grashopper Jungle are my favourite reads of the month.

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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There was so much frenzy surrounding this book and the movie, that I finally decided to pick up. I had my reservations about it, as the topic of cancer is very sensitive for me personally, and I was very wary. I worried that the book would be cheesy, or would gloss over some aspects of the disease, or that it would be just too difficult to read.

Somehow (and I still don’t know how) I managed to avoid any spoilers regarding the ending. That is why what happened at the end, that death, came as a total surprise to me. (Yes, I must have been living under the rock, because I didn’t see that one coming.)

I am not going to go into many details, as pretty much everyone knows what this book is about. Let me tell you about the things that I liked about this book.

When you face something as scary and huge as a terminal illness, after the shock wears off, you sort of accept it and it becomes part of your life. You become, for the better word, desensitized. You joke about it, you joke about death, about dying. Perhaps, it is a way for our brains to cope with it. This part of the book, from the perspective of all characters, was written beautifully. I know that some may think that it was too “teenager-ly”, too playful or exaggerated at times, but it is not. This is how it is. This is how teenagers would be dealing with it (with laughter and hookups and egging somebody’s car). Or anyone else for that matter.

Descriptions of medical procedures, hospitals, emotional strain and exhaustion of both the main character and her parents – they were described to the point. When you see someone you love dying from cancer and you know you can’t do anything to help them, and everything which is done, medically, just prolongs the torture – yes, at some point you just think: God, I just want this to be over with.

A trip to Amsterdam was an unexpected treat, as I love that city.

Being disappointed in someone whom you used to admire tugged at my heart strings no less than the rest of the novel.

The book has several great passages that I saw quoted before, so kudos to John Green for not only breaking the hearts of teenagers but also creating memes.

I liked the book. I didn’t love it, because I can’t imagine ever loving a book about cancer. It was well written, although I admit that at some points I kept thinking that it was a bit too commercial novel. Nothing about this book could do wrong for readers, and it by all means just HAD to be made into a movie. I am not saying there is anything wrong in writing such a book (or recognizing the gap in the market for this sort of a story), but I admit that at certain tear jerking times I was almost rolling my eyes, as those moments were way too predictable for me.

I was a bit indecisive regarding the rating, as it is a good book, and I strongly recommend it for teens (not because of the love drama, but because the matters of life and death are important), but I just can’t give it the top rating.

Rating: 4/5 stars.