Thursday, 21 April 2016

Weird Girl and What's His Name by Meagan Brothers

Description from Goodreads

In the tiny podunk town of Hawthorne, North Carolina, high school geeks Lula and Rory share everything—a love for sci-fi, resentment toward the parents that abandoned them, and Friday night binge-watching of old X-Files episodes. But when Lula discovers that Rory has been secretly sleeping with his creepy middle-aged boss—she disappears on a journey to find her long-lost actress mother in New York. When she returns, nothing is the same, and she is forced to make amends or risk repeating the mistakes of the generation that caused the two friends so much pain. Meagan Brother’s piercing prose speaks to those who have ever felt unwanted and alone, and who struggle to find their place in a world that seems to reject them. 

(Personally, I don't think the synopsis entails very well what the book is really about, but I don't want to write my own either because I'm afraid I will spoil some of the events which might be best to experience first-hand.)

I have to say right away that I have very mixed feelings about Weird Girl and What's His Name. While I really enjoyed the occasional philosophical thoughts and all the science fiction references, there was just something about the novel that I couldn't really come in terms with. Maybe it was because the book is divided into two different sections: Rory's point of view, and Lula's point of view. While Rory was an okay character me, I liked Lula better, even though at times I didn't really care for either one of them.

While I liked Rory okay, I wasn't really able to identify with him as well as I was able to with Lula. Even though personality-wise I'm a lot more like Rory than Lula, the problems Lula was facing were a lot more relatable: am I the only one who feels alone in the world? Is there someone out there for me who will accept me as I am, unconditionally? Where is my place in the world? Are romantic and platonic forms of love equal? Even though Rory did think about these as well, somehow the way Lula dealt with these problems made me more aware of them. The big themes reflected upon in the novel are what probably all of us ponder on at some point in our lives, but these are thoughts that I've myself personally thought about recently, as I'm currently in a transition into the next stage in my life. Lula's experiences made so much sense to me, and that was probably why liked Lula so much.

I have to admit though, that the writing wasn't exactly my favourite part in the beginning. At times it felt a bit awkward with so many punctuation marks, strange time jumps, and the confusing story telling from time to time. However, the more the plot progressed, the more fluent the writing became. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I associated the best part of the book with Lula, so I became to like the writing as the events were more to my liking. Towards the end, Brothers is able to insert some of the most wonderful thoughts in the book, despite the weak start. There was this moment in which Lula talks about the importance of The X-Files in relation to her relationship with Rory. How the TV show becomes a medium for their emotions and thoughts that allow them to discuss about matters which just cannot be expressed with everyday words. When I read that passage, I felt immediate connection with her as I totally understood what she meant. I'm that kind of person too! I also use novels and TV shows to bond with people. 

The references of The X-Files and Lord of the Ring were always well-placed and funny, and I found myself sniggering or nodding to them. The fact that Rory and Lula were such a fanboy and fangirl, was definitely one my favourite parts of the book. I tend to be a bit of fangirl myself, and I loved how their fondness for science fiction wasn't played down. The things that we love do define us as persons, at least to some extent. I'm not as dedicated fan of The X-Files as the characters were, but I have my own shows that I stand by forever: Supernatural, The Walking Dead,  Fringe, Hannibal, Game of Thrones, so I 101% understand the reruns, the blogs, the discussions, the makeovers. Our 'obsessions' can become the salt of  our lives when we become so emotionally invested in them. 

I found writing the review for Weird Girl and What's His Name very difficult. While the book was a good read, and I enjoyed it more and more as it progressed, but I was a bit disappointed as it wasn't as original as I first imagined it would be. The philosophical nature of the book took me by a surprise (in a good way) and I wished had been more of that. Those precious gem moments in which the author becomes reflective of the important things in our lives were the golden core of the whole novel. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #35: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Waiting on Wednesday is about sharing a book every week you cannot wait to be published. 

This week, I'm waiting on

Strange the Dramer
Strange the Dreamer #1
by Laini Taylor


Description from Goodreads

Strange the Dreamer is the story of: 

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Genre: Young adult, Fantasy

Pages: 528

Expected Publication: September 27, 2016

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

I wish I could read this book already now, the blurb sounds fantastic! I really hope this is a bit darker story by Laini, I think she really could pull it off and the perfect ingredients are there already. How can I bookworm resist a book about a librarian who is the main character, and when there is a loaded promise of awesomeness and drama?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #33: Must-Read Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday this week is about 

  Top Ten Fantasy Books/Series to Read for YA Lovers 
(In no particular order)

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Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson // Uprooted by Naomi Novik // Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas // The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski // A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab // The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey // Cinder by Marissa Meyer // Graceling by Kristin Cashore // The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima // Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch as a special mentioning. 

127455Not exactly targeted for YA audience, but a brilliant, mesmerising story that can very well entertain younger audiences as well.

Though the start is a bit slow, the world build-up is simply one of its kind, the characters are multidimensional and will stay with you for a long time to come, and the plot is incredibly smart and entertaining as well as heart-breaking. 

I simply couldn't write a post about fantasy books and not mention this beauty.

I gave all these books either 4 or 5 stars out of 5, so I think it goes without saying that these are some of my favourite fantasy books that I've ever read. And look at all those pretty covers. Don't they just want to make you grab them and devour them this instance? 

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Sunday Post #30 - Weekly review

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead." 
 What I read this week 

❄ A Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton 

❄ The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1) by Heidi Heilig

✿ Reviews ✿

❄ Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon 
 Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas 
❄ One by Sarah Crossan

✿ Memes ✿

❄ Top Ten Tuesday: Social Media
❄ Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas 
❄ Stacking the Shelves 

✿ What else I've been up to this week ✿

1. Writing. I'm a very easily excited person, but unfortunately, that excitement often passes a way quickly. The good thing is though that my excitement can be rekindled quickly again, but I do need a concrete thing to motivate me and a small push from someone to the direct direction. This week I got these both down, and now I'm writing daily again (I am talking about writing). I have this forever-project (a.k.a. a novel) that I've been working on, and now I'm getting some really cool ideas to play with! 

2. NetGalley & Edelweiss. I've been really lazy reading and reviewing ARCs that I've gotten, so this week I've pushed myself to read and write reviews, and I'm pretty happy with myself with the result - 2.5 books read and 4 reviews.

3. Food market. A touring food market came to my town this week and I went there with some friends. I hate those places when you have a limited amount of money and there are literally 30 different stall selling the most delicious looking and smelling things ranging from Greek, French, German, Italian, to Belgian. Drool. (I got some Pad Thai and then a Belgian waffle with nutella and bananas for dessert)

✿ Have a lovely Sunday! ✿

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Stacking the Shelves #26

It's Saturday and so it's time for Stacking the Shelves!
Here is my haul from this week:

❄ NetGalley 

Passenger  (Passenger #1)
by Alexandra Bracken 

Description from Goodreads

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1)
by Ryan Graudin 

Description from Goodreads

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

I haven't been on NetGalley for ages, and when I logged yesterday, guess what I saw. I was auto-approved for these novels! Passenger has been on my TBR since last year (so I'm very excited about it), but Wolf by Wolf is a bit more unfamiliar to me but if you look at the reviews, phew, it's going to be one of a ride!