Le 25e Salon du Livre de Toronto | Blogmas Day 2

(Let’s pretend it is still December 2 and my French doesn’t suck. 😅😅)

Aujourd’hui je suis allĂ© a le 25e salon du livre de Toronto. C’est arrivĂ© dans la bibliothĂšque de rĂ©fĂ©rence. Je Ă©tudie françaises c’est pourquoi notre professor a invitĂ©e nous lĂ -bas. Nous avons regarde une prĂ©sentation du livres pour enfants. Quelques livres est sur la famille et enfants. Quelques livres est sur adventure et science-fiction pour adolescents.

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Book review: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) by Marissa Meyer (audiobook)

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“Fairest” is the book which is complementary to The Lunar Chronicles and should be read between “Cress”, book three, and “Winter”, the last book in the series. Initially, I even wanted to skip it, but since it was about Levana, the Queen of Luna, I figured, I might learn something new about her and Winter, who I already liked.

 

After ploughing through the six and a half hours of this audiobook, all of my thoughts can be summoned as “why on earth did Marissa Meyer write this book?”.

 

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Book review: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer (audiobook)

 

After finishing Cinder and Scarlet in a quick succession, I was impatient to start Cress. The beginning of Cress was everything I wanted and expected – it was dramatic, fast paced and worked perfectly well.

 

Then came the slump. I listened to about one third of the audiobook and started to lose interest in what was happening. Mainly, it had to do with a very long and predictable journey through desert – everything that happened there, including the following kidnapping, I was able to foresee a mile away, which left me feeling ‘meh’ and reluctant to continue. I found myself turning to this audiobook less and less, and eventually had to have a little break.

 

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Book Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer (audiobook)

 

A year ago when several lucky booktubers were hauling an advanced reader’s copy of
“Heartless”, a new stand alone novel by Marissa Meyer, I was feeling rather jealous. The ARC looked stunning and the final version was beautiful too. I had not read a single book by the author, but I was extremely interested in reading “Heartless”.

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Book Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (audiobook)

 

Have you ever discovered a hidden gem in a place you never expected to find one? I got this feeling when I started listening to “Magonia” audiobook. This book was on my radar some time ago, about a year or so. I even purchased it on Kindle when it was on sale. I never read it though and quickly forgot about it. Recently, I have been on a huge audiobook buying spree. I am an avid Audible user, but I also get books from the library and I had more than one person repeatedly tell me that I should use OverDrive to get audiobooks. I decided to give the OverDrive app a try (since the interface wasn’t inspiring confidence and I am too addicted to Audible anyway) and “Magonia” was the book that I downloaded as it was readily available.

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Book review: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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This review is long overdue. I admit, I have been putting off writing it as I had, and still have, very conflicted feelings about this book. Every booktuber I watched seemed to be madly in love with it. Its GoodReads ratio at the time of writing this post is 4.29 which a lot and much higher than some of my favourite books.

I will have to divide my review into part: what I liked and what I didn’t. Naturally, it is my opinion, and if you liked the book – good for you.

When I saw this book hauled by several booktubers after BAE, I got really excited as it seemed to be a very interestingly put together book. I was under impression that it is a stand alone novel, so imagine my surprise when I learned that it is book one in The Illiminae Files series. (It was not mentioned by any of the reviewers and I found it out from the summary on the inside of the jacket.)

I am not going to summarize the book for you but I am just going to say that this book turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for me.

No real spoilers ahead, unless you would prefer to know nothing about the book.

What I liked:

  • the format and the way the narrative is constructed which is the main and the best thing about this book – I have read books that incorporate lists, letters, emails, texts, etc in the narrative, but this is the first time this is a book constructed as a dossier/files and there is no traditional narration.
  • the cover (which is really part of the above point) and the dust jacket are the work of art.
  • an epic space ships battle which reminded me of Star Trek and Star Wars and I haven’t read any books like that in awhile.
  • the twist at the end made it worth pulling through the remaining 100 pages or so which were so boring.

What I disliked:

  • the plot is very simple; it can essentially be summarized in a paragraph and if it weren’t for the unique narrative that stretched the book to 599 pages (and that’s enormous for YA), the book would have been at least twice shorter.
  • there is little to no backstory to the relationship between Kady and Ezra, as the book starts with their break up, so it was really difficult for me to sympathize with their relationship. I basically felt nothing. Their “love you”s didn’t feel real.
  • once again due to the format of the book I felt that we were not given an opportunity to properly get to know the characters, and although it is not uncommon to learn things about characters through other characters’ perspective, I felt that we were not given enough to develop real attachment to them.
  • there is a lot of swearing in the book, that I have no problem with, but it is all blacked out or crossed out and it seriously was hurting my eyes and getting on my nerves. I do not enjoy excessive swearing, but I would have been okay with it, because all that crossing out was making my eyes cross.
  • deadly virus and bio weapons are cool plot devices, but I hate – and I mean that with a capital H – anything that has to do with zombies. I tend to avoid movies, tv shows, and books that have zombies in it, and finding out that in Illuminae this virus turns people into zombies became an unpleasant surprise for me. (I know, it is my personal preference, and I know a lot of people who love zombies, but I just can’t handle the topic! The thought of being overcome with a virus that turns you into a killing machine that is not possible to reason with disgusts me. I am interested in themes of people using their humanity in other ways.) I am quite glad that it was a book and I didn’t have to watch it on screen.
  • I felt that the narrative was a bit disjointed which made it hard for me to lose myself in the book. I tried. I honestly did. But I kept being distracted by the form.
  • I felt that the unique form of the book was taking my attention from the plot, and at times it felt as if I am reading a graphic novel.
  • The ending had a great twist, but what led to it, and some decisions and actions of the characters, as well as some plot turns felt a bit flat to me, a bit undeveloped (but once again it is hard to expect depth and development in the book that barely has any text in it).

As you can see, I have more things that I didn’t like about this book (which is basically most of the plot) than what I liked (which is the format of the book). If I could give a separate rating, I’d rate plot as 3 stars and the format as 5 stars. I still don’t know what to do with the overall rating as I enjoyed the book but it disappointed me in several ways (I am quite glad I got it from the library and didn’t buy it). I am conflicted as to what I should put for it on GoodReads, as 3 stars is not fair and 4 stars is way too high (I think GoodReads should have half stars – it is so hard to rate books there!).

This book would definitely appeal to reads who haven’t read good classic sci-fi novels and are new to the genre. It would also appeal to those who have never read a book that incorporates other media (photos, lists, emails, etc). It definitely deserves a read at least for the novelty’s sake.

But if you are like me, who both prefers fleshed out narrative and hates zombies, pick up something else.

Will I be reading more books in the series? Maybe, when they become available at my library. They won’t be high on my reading list though.

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

Book review: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

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Personal rating: 5 stars

Nothing could have prepared me for this book. In spite of a promising title, it turned out to be more real and less happy than I expected it would. There are a lot of coming of age (and coming out) stories out there right now in YA, but this one has a gritty and realistic feel to it that kept me nailed to the ground all the time. Poverty, drugs, violence, mental health, suicide, death – all of that is not sugar coated but that left out in the open as it is, forcing you to deal not only with the mounting affection that you feel towards the characters but also the gnawing worry that this story may not have a happy ending.

In the internet talk of nowadays, the books gave me THE FEELS.

And I am okay with that. I am okay with recurring “no homo” catch phrase (which usually makes my eyes bleed); with the violence and pain; with futuristic “magic pill” that will make you forget who you are and the reasons WHY you needed to forget in the first place; with the fact that my heart started to disintegrate piece by piece from the page one – to the point that by the end of the book I was ready to sign up for a Leteo procedure myself.

This book is not what it seems at first glance. It is deeper, more touching, more serious, more personal. Don’t let those smiley faces fool you. You will crying by the end of it, whether you want it or not.

Well done, Adam! I can’t wait to read more books by you.

p.s. I got this book from the library, because I wanted to read a hard copy, even though I got an ebook copy on Kindle when it was on sale some time ago.

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.

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.