Book Reviews

Exit West – Book Review

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Summary: In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

Review: The relevance of this book is why I decided to read it, and I kept reading because of the beautiful story. It’s poetic in a way I have never seen before. Exit West has an element that feels a bit like magical realism, but what was gripping was following Saeed and Nadia through their journey. Journey feels like too light of a word to use here though. The book isn’t very long and I flew through it. It’s heartbreaking, horrific, and motivating all in one go. The talks about refugees are so prevalent right now, especially here in Europe, and I have felt empathy beyond words for everything that’s been happening, but this book opened the flood gates. It may be a fictional story, but good fiction will further open our eyes to the truth that surrounds us.

This book got four out of five metal horns!

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Books

Try a Chapter – March

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Try a Chapter is a tag that was going around Booktube for a while, and I decided to bring it over to the blog. Every month I will pick four books, read the first chapter in each, and decide what I will read next. This month I picked four books I have been meaning to start, but February was a terrible reading month for me. I was in one of my worst reading slumps I have ever been in, and I am still trying to fully shake it off.

Here are the four books I read the first chapter of, and read till the end to discover which book I decided to read next. I try not to give away too much in my thoughts on the first chapters I read.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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Summary: Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

1st Chapter has 14 pages

Thoughts: At first the chapter started off and I was instantly a little confused, that quickly went away. Todd is the last boy in a town that has no women, and only men. His 13th birthday is nearing and that is when he officially becomes a man. There was some kind of germ that killed off all the women and gave the men the ability to hear everyone’s thoughts. In this first chapter, as Todd is out with his dog, he discovered a hole, or a silence in the noise he’s been living in. It feels really weird, but I love Patrick Ness’ writing so much! I am really interested in finding out what this silence actually is.

Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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Summary: Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, 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 in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael 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 racer, 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 grows 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?

1st Chapter – 7 pages

Thoughts: The beginning is intense. Yael is on a train with her mother and tons of other people. Not a regular train, but one meant for transport of objects and not people. She’s huddled close to her mother when the doors fly open and they’re being yelled at. Yael gets picked out of the crowd for an experiment. She’s only 6 years old. It’s definitely left a mark on me, and I love historical fiction especially when it’s an alternate history kind of tale.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

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Summary: A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, from which enough ash spews to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

And it ends with you. You are the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where orogenes wield the power of the earth as a weapon and are feared far more than the long cold night. And you will have no mercy.

Prologue – 14 Pages

Thoughts: The prologue jumps around a bit, but this story is beautifully written. You jump around and get introduced to different aspects of what is happening, which I imagine will be important knowledge to have moving forward. I glanced at the beginning of the actual first chapter and noticed it is written in second person point of view. I am not a huge fan of this point of view, but with the way the prologue kicked off it feels like a fresh way to write this fantasy novel.

The Way of Kings: Part One by Brandon Sanderson

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Summary: SPEAK AGAIN THE ANCIENT OATHS,

LIFE BEFORE DEATH.
STRENGTH BEFORE WEAKNESS.
JOURNEY BEFORE DESTINATION.

AND RETURN TO MEN THE SHARDS THEY ONCE BORE.

THE KNIGHTS RADIANT MUST STAND AGAIN.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.

One such war is about to swallow up a soldier, a brightlord and a young woman scholar.

Prologue – 16 Pages

Thoughts: Well this wouldn’t be a Sanderson novel without a long chapter, or in this case prologue. The prologue kicks off at some kind of feast, and the character we are following is wearing white, which he was told to do even though he’s on a mission to kill. The idea of wearing white is you give your enemy a chance of seeing you coming in for the kill. It has really gripped me, but the issue is that this is just Part One of the first full book, and I am not sure I can make the commitment at this very moment to jump into a Sanderson book.

Decision: This was really difficult because every single book I chose to try a chapter for sounds amazing. I have decided on Wolf by Wolf though, mainly because I am only now slowly getting out of a reading slump, and the others are bigger undertakings and commitments right now, but I AM going to read the others after this. Such incredible choices!!

Till next month!!

 

Books, Uncategorized

Top Ten Books I Read in 2016

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When you read 102 books in a year it’s quite difficult to narrow it down to your top ten, but I tried. Some had to be sacrificed but it doesn’t mean I loved them any less. The ones on this list just seemed to stand out a little bit more than the rest. I won’t be putting any spoilers for any of these novels anywhere, so you can continue safely.

10.Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

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This book is a historical fiction novel surrounding Lithuania during World War II. It tore me apart and made me feel all kinds of emotions while reading it. If you like Historical Fiction, then I highly recommend this one, but be prepared to cry. It is being made into a movie as well.

9. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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This is another historical fiction novel based around World War II. Yes, I like to read World War historical fiction, not because I find it entertaining, but because I think as the living memory of the atrocities that occurred during that time begins to fade away, it is important to remind ourselves how ugly the human spirit can become. Whether you do it through non fiction or fictional stories does not matter, as long as you walk away feeling that these matters and this side of history should never repeat. This book should hit that message right on the head.

8. Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

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This was the third and final book in the Shattered Sea series, which was one of my absolute favorite fantasy series of 2016. The characters are quite unique, and so is the story itself. I was amazed at the wonderful writing, and I will be checking out more of Joe’s books this year.

7.Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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V.E. Schwab has become one of my absolute favorite writers in a very short amount of time. Her passion for writing incredible stories, is really what captured me right off the bat. Her books are what kept me hooked. This is one of three books on this list this year, and I am not ashamed to say that I am an absolute fangirl. Vicious was unique and crazy as hell. I can’t wait for the sequel!

6. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

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I received this book from the publisher and I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in, but what I got was a powerful story about rape culture in today’s society. It will rip your heart to shreds, but it is such an important read in this day and age.

5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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This book will be released next month Feb.28th and I HIGHLY recommend that you go out and buy it when it releases. The story is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and it is such a poignant novel. Starr is the main character and you follow her as she tries to balance her life between the poor neighborhood she lives in, and the prep school in a suburban predominantly white area that she attends. She then is the sole witness to a friend’s fatal shooting by a police, sending the story into a rollercoaster of emotions. I loved this book so very much, and hope you will check it out.

4. American Street by Ibi Zoboi

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If you have ever experienced being an immigrant in a new country, then this story will resonate with you for weeks on end. It follows Fabiola as she goes from Haiti to the United States and how she struggles with how to fit in with this new American lifestyle, but still keeping who she is alive. There is so much more in this powerful story, with a small touch of magical realism. It will be released on Feb.14th and you should certainly check it out!

3.This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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I told you there was going to be more Schwab novels on this list. This Savage Song is a beautiful book about monstrous things. The most wonderful thing about this book for me was there wasn’t some instalove, or silly love triangle trope. In fact there wasn’t any romance at all. But a friendship that was being built from circumstance into something awesome. I am looking forward to the sequel!

2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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This may have a ton of haters out there, but I am not one of them. Since I cannot see the play anytime soon, I read the script and thought it was an incredibly fun ride. The twists and turns were insane, but it was nice to be back in a world that I love and miss so much.

1.A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

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NO SURPRISE HERE! A Gathering of Shadows was my absolute favorite book of 2016. It is even one of my faves of all time! Schwab has created amazing characters that are still crawling around in my mind. I really can’t wait for the conclusion of this trilogy to be released, as bittersweet as it will be for me. A Conjuring of Light is my most anticipated novel of 2017 and it will be released next month!

Geek Stuff, life, Uncategorized

Goals for 2017

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Most people have been busy making new years resolutions, but this isn’t about that. There are things I have been working on in the past few months that I want to continue. There are things I want to better and things I just want to move past. I think as humans we can choose to make a change at any point during the year, but there’s something about a new year that feels like life is handing us a clean slate.

Reading Goals

In 2016 I read a total of 102 books. It’s a nice number. My goal was to read 100 and I surpassed it by 2. It’s fine for me. This year I have a similar goal, and while I marked my goodreads reading challenge at 100 books once again, I am aiming towards 80-100. I keep the goodreads goal because it keeps track of other statistics, not because I want to read more than someone else. Reading has always been a passion for me, and I am not here to compete with anyone. Also I want to read different genres than what I typically read–my main love is fantasy novels. I also want to read more diversely. Two of my favorite books of 2016 The Hate U Give and American Street(which will release next month) are diverse and wonderful reads, so I want to continue on that path. I also want to read more history and nonfiction novels this year.

Writing Goals

I am still revising and adding to my first manuscript. I am okay with that. I don’t want to write crap into my second draft just to say I am writing. I am constantly making notes of what I want to add, and this year I want to officially finish it, and begin to seriously shop it around. I also have a short story contest I am entering, and I am prepared to do some wonderful research for my second book. Writing for me is a long term goal, something I want to spend my life doing, and as such I want to put in a lot more hours into it. I want my stories out there, not for fame, but because I think there are plenty of others who may actually connect with them.

Life Goals

There is a lesson I have learned through the years that not everyone is going to like you. You can be as sweet as a summer’s peach and someone will still try to find some kind of flaw within you. As such, I will continue to speak my mind whether people find it endearing or find that I am a massive bitch makes no difference to me. I was raised to speak up when I find that something is wrong, and how people take it and react to it says more about them than it does about me. I don’t need to be loved by all. I know very well who matters in my life.

2016 marked the year I broke down and got the real help I needed for my mental health. It has been making a world of difference in my life, and I will continue on this journey to bettering myself. Mental Illness is not a joke, a punch line, or something to be ashamed about. If you are struggling, take care of yourself properly. As frustrating as it may seem at times, good mental health requires medication many times, and THAT IS OKAY! It also requires a push from within, and sometimes that’s the hardest part to find. Just do it for yourself, and you will see a world of difference.

Work wise, I want to find a place that respects me and gives me a real chance to prove myself. The most frustrating thing in the world is knowing you can work well at something and not being given a chance to show it. I have plans…and I will see them through this year.

I hope 2017 brings all of you love, health, and some hope. I feel like we all need a little dose of hope after 2016. Put family and friends first. One day you will regret it if you push everyone aside. Life is short and should be spent giving love an comfort, Not Hate.

Hugs and Peace for all.