Monthly Archives: Jan 2015

Falling into Place

Read from 25-26th January, 2015

Author: Amy Zhang

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5 Stars

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On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect?

Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

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Falling into Place is a hauntingly beautiful, heartbreaking novel and is the saddest book I have ever read – more so than Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Victoria Roth’s Allegiant combined.

I cried continuously throughout Falling into Place – I don’t think I ever quite stopped. I loved getting to know all the characters and my heart kept breaking for them. Over and over again.

All of the characters were great, but Liam and Ms. Greenberg stuck out in the best way.

I love Liam. Totally and completely. He vaguely reminded me of Liam from Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in that they were totally understanding, cute, forgiving and embraced the fact that they were misfits. They were both so pure and true to themselves and underrated.

Ms. Greenberg, although she only appeared briefly, was totally awesome and reminiscent of McGonagall. That speech? Wicked.

I went through several theories about who the narrator was, but it only became apparent about three quarters through, and only conformed at the end. When I got over the frustration of not knowing, it was kind of cool – after all, they had perspective and insight that no one else could.

Falling into Place outlines the stark realities that a lot of people face and challenges you not to judge or take people for granted; to not leave unsaid what ought to be said. It is the tale of a girl who attempts suicide, and pieces together her life and what drove her down that road. It mentions anorexia, bulimia, depression, drug abuse, sex and alcohol consumption. It is a story about mistakes, and lives interlocking with one another but never truly connecting.

There is more to life than cause and effect.

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Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1)

Read on 25th January, 2015

Author: Stephanie Perkins

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5 Stars

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Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her attention. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking of word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken—and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

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I love contemporaries, and Anna and the French Kiss is up there with the best of them.

Fluffy, cute, beautiful, real, brilliant and imaginative; Anna and the French Kiss is an absolutely adorable read that will have you hooked and leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

I love how Anna and Étienne didn’t just have chemistry, but friendship too. They are absolutely adorable together and I just following their relationship – all the little things he would give her, the way they laughed together and confided in each other, the days out and movies – brought tears to my eyes. They were each other’s rock. If I had a relationship, I’d want it to be like theirs (minus the complications with Ellie).

I love how Stephanie made every character important. The “side” characters made you love them (or hate them, it depends) and were brilliantly well developed. They were deep – each with their own story to tell. The beauty of it is that they weren’t just there, a prop the author needed in order for the protagonist to do something or get somewhere, but they were important – they could tell their stories and they did. Not one character was overlooked.

I just – it was perfect. The scenery; the character development; the giggly, mushy feeling in your chest as you followed the story, and which you were left with; the overall ease of reading.

Anna and the French Kiss isn’t just about romance, but family, friendships and life – dealing with it, enjoying it, finding people who will stick by you no matter what and making mistakes along the way. It is about endings and beginnings, possibilities, the future, relationships and practicalities and forgiveness. Anna and the French Kiss has lessons in it for us all.

Fangirl

Read on 23rd January, 2015

Author: Rainbow Rowell

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5 Stars

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A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

“Touching and utterly real.” —  Publisher’s Weekly

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Forget what I said about Champion. I did not know how badly I needed this book until I’d read it. But oh my goodness every fangirl needs to pick up this book and read. Now. This is not an option, it is a direct order. Go. Now. Or else you will regret it for the rest of your life!

Fangirl is a beautiful, brilliant, relateable, easy read. It is also completely believable and full of fluff – plus everything else.

Although Simon Snow and Harry Potter don’t have much in common, I pictured Cath’s world to be an AU where Simon Snow was Harry Potter – except, three quarters in, Levi made reference to Harry Potter. So, essentially, either Simon Snow is just that good, or this is an AU when Harry Potter simply didn’t really take off and/or Simon Snow just stole the spotlight. Either way, The Watford School of Magicks sounds pretty cool (not as good as Hogwarts, but close).

Fangirl read beautifully. Nothing was overdone, the characters, the plot, the sub-plots and story arcs, the relationships (not just the lead romance), Simon Snow, The Fandom, Levi, Baz and Simon… It was all breathtaking and perfect and real. Fangirl is just so real – I don’t believe that there’s ever been a book that I can relate to so strongly and for that I believe Fangirl has earned a permanent spot in my heart.

I’m really not doing a great job pitching this, so I’ll leave it to you with a heavy recommendation. Fangirl is real life plus fluff plus a fandom as strong as (if not stronger than) J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.

Edit:

OH MY GOODNESS!! RAINBOW ROWELL IS ACTUALLY GOING TO PUBLISH Carry On AS AN ACTUAL NOVEL – THIS. YEAR. *faints*

Champion (Legend #3)

Finished on 21st January, 2015

Author: Marie Lu

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5 6 Stars

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He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

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“Blows the socks off Hunger Games”
— Wyck Godfrey, Producer of The Twilight Saga

Damn right.

I’m sorry everybody, but the Legend trilogy is now officially my favorite series. Intelligent, action-packed, brilliant, realistic, thrilling and emotionally traumatizing, Marie Lu is a true genious. There is not a dull moment in this spectacular finale to an absolutely phenomenal series.

You will laugh, you will cry, you will scream at the world. But most of all, you will believe.

Beautiful. Brilliant. Breathtaking. Champion is amazing beyond your wildest dreams.

Go. Read. Now.

P. S: Anden is mine. (Day and June are my OTP)

The Bane Chronicles (Companion to The Mortal Instruments & The Infernal Devices)

Finished on 18th January, 2015

Authors: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan & Maureen Johnson

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4.75 Stars

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It is not easy being Magnus Bane. As a warlock, he’s often called upon to fix the problems of others. His life has been long, and his loves have been many. And Magnus has a way of making sure he’s in the right place at the right – or perhaps wrong – time. The French Revolution, Prohibition, the first great battle between Valentine and the New York Institute… Magnus was there, and usually in the middle of it. Magnus will never be able to tell all of his tales. No one would believe him. But these eleven stories shed a little light on his often inscrutable character. They are stories he probably wishes had never got out.

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Hilarious, touching, insightful, occasionally serious and riddled with foreshadow and insight, The Bane Chronicles are the brilliant tales of Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn and much loved character of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter world.

Not only does The Bane Chronicles tell the adventures of the elusive, glamorous and eccentric Magnus, but fans also find out what really happened in Peru, how the High Warlock found himself in the business of saving Rafael Santiago, some unmissable Malec scenes, the voicemail of Magnus Bane after the events of City of Lost Souls, plus the untold love story of Ragnor Fell and Rafael Santiago. What’s not to love?

Oh, and did I mention a sneak peek into The Last Hours, the upcoming series about the next generation of Shadowhunters after The Infernal Devices?

Full or intrigue, glitter, sparkles and more, The Bane Chronicles is an absolute must for fans of Cassandra Clare.

Four: A Divergent Collection

Read from 11-12th January, 2015

Author: Veronica Roth

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5 Stars

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Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

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It’s been a while since I read the Divergent trilogy and it felt good to get back into the Roth mindset – particularly considering how traumatizing the end of Allegiant was… Four answered a lot of unasked questions, and certainly helped my understanding of him as a character – which, I suppose, is the point. Not only that, but I obtained a deeper understanding and appreciation for Amar, Zeke, Shauna, Tori and even Max.

I wouldn’t say that Four is thrilling or spectacular, but rather the comfort of an old friend, a new perspective on someone you knew well – a friend of a friend, bringing new information to the table. Which, again, is what I believe was the intended affect.

I recommend Four to existing fans of the series, for I believe they’ll get the most out of it and it may help to ease their pain – or not. I suppose it depends how fresh it is… In any case, it will certainly aid in dispelling withdrawal symptoms for a short time.

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices: Manga #3)

Read on 11th January, 2015

Author: Cassandra Clare

Artist: Hyekyung Baek

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4.5 Stars

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The threat of Mortmain’s Infernal Devices looms as the Shadowhunters race to work out a way to counteract the mechanical monsters. Meanwhile, plans for Tessa’s marriage to Jem are underway, despite her fiancé’s failing health and the unresolved feelings between her and Will. When Tessa is captured, Will must leave his comrade behind to save the woman they both love… But with the final missing piece -Tessa herself – in Mortmain’s possession, can anything stop his plot for revenge?

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I loved it. Clockwork Princess, in whatever form, is a stunning piece of work that toys with your emotions no matter how many times you read it. Although all of The Infernal Devices are brilliantly written and enthralling to the extreme, Clockwork Princess is perhaps the better of the three – however, being the finale (a Cassandra Clare finale, at note) it is expected to be spectacular and certainly does not fall short. Despite this, there are a few details from the book that are lacking in the manga.

In the previous installment, Clockwork Prince, one of the details missing was the mention of Adele, Starkweather’s granddaughter. Thankfully, this was rectified as the first thing that is seen upon opening Clockwork Princess is an excerpt of Adele’s story, which is later explained in greater depth as is true to the novel.

While the inclusion of the letters between the Consul and the Council are included (and thank goodness for that!), the text is barely legible and one must strain their eyes to read it.

The scones. That’s all I’m saying. The scones weren’t there.

In the novel, Tessa’s Clockwork Angel marks Will. For all those who have read Clockwork Princess, you’ll know what I mean and in what circumstances. This is not included in the manga. Keeping this as spoiler-free as possible, as a fan of The Mortal Instruments, this is a huge dillema. – Will’s mark, passed down through the generations, is how we find his bloodline in an important character. The scene was laid out, it would have been so easy to slip it in there, just add in an extra panel or so – I don’t understand why it was not included. At all.