Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book Review: The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket


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Title: The Penultimate Peril
Author: Lemony Snicket
Series/Standalone: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book #12)
Genre: Fiction, Middle Grade, Mystery
Page: 353
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year Published: 2005
Format: Hardback Copy (Library Edition)
First Line: "Certain people have said that the world is like a calm pond,, and that anytime a person does even the smallest thing, it is as if a stone has dropped into the pond, spreading circles of ripples further and further out, until the entire world has been changed by one tiny action."

"Dear Reader,

If this is the first book you found while searching for a book to read next, then the first thing you should know is that this next-to-last book is what you should put down first. Sadly, this book presents the next-to-last chronicle of the lives of the Baudelaire orphans, and it is next-to-first in its supply of misery, despair and unpleasantness.

Probably the next-to-last thing you would like to read about are a harpoon gun, a rooftop sunbathing salon, two mysterious initials, three unidentified triplets, a notorious villain, and an unsavoury curry.

Next-to-last things are the first thing to be avoided, and so allow me to recommend that you put this next-to-last book down first, and find something else to read next at last, such as the next-to-last book in another chronicle, or a chronicle containing another next-to-last things, so that this next-to-last book does not become the last book you will read.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

My Rating: 4.5/5

This story is the next-to-last book. If you didn't gather that from the description above. It was a really interesting last book it took place with so many different characters from the children's past. It was great to read about I can't wait to finish the series. This series is asking young readers tough questions what is good, what is evil? Are we all morally grey? I just wish I would have completed the series at a younger age though, as the twists and turns might be more shaking.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny 


Monday, September 18, 2017

Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray


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Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Series/Standalone: The Diviners Series (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 578
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Year Published: 2012
Format: Paperback Copy (Own It)
First Line: "In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan's Upper East Side, every lamp blazes."

"Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City- And she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It's 1926, and new York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he'll discover her darkest secret, a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened."


My Rating: 5/5

This book gets hype so much and I totally get it. The Diviners is unlike anything that I've ever read. I really enjoyed the writing style, it was beautiful but spooky. I would give a precursor that this book is a little spooky with the idea of supernatural and the occult. But if you're fine with a bit of a thrill then I think you'd enjoy it overall. This story follows so many characters that you get a really good view of the world and the time period from so many different perspectives. 
The suspense in this book was on amazing. I had to do the thing where I would close the book and just stare at the wall to calm myself down. I would get so caught up in the story and then realize that it was a book, it was all in a book and I could calm my butt down. 
Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who loves paranormal elements along with a crazy mystery. Can't wait to continue on with the series.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Spoiler: The Diviners by Libba Bray

So this is the first time in a long time that  full length book got a 5/5 stars from me. And here is why:
1. Characters that you fall in love with and who bring a lot of depth to the story.
2. The settting/time period
3. The writing style: beautiful, spooky, suspenseful, thrilling
4. PARANORMAL MYSTERY IN 1920s? Sign me up.

When I first heard about this book I proceeded with caution because of the hype. The more a book is hyped the less I tend to like it. Maybe I'm an accidental hipster... you tell me. But this book was amazing. It was so different than anything I'd ever read before, the language and the setting made it unique and interesting. I love the idea of speakeasies, the idea of the suspense that anyone could catch you at any time drinking.... scandal. The author does a marvellous job at keeping the reader intrigued and guessing.

Characters:
Evie: She is really something. The way she describes doing things "wrong" really caught me in this book. How she would try her best to do and say the right things at the right time but always felt like she was messing up. I feel like that's super relatable for most people. Don't we all just wonder if we are messing things up sometimes? There were other parts of her personality that I didn't care for, selling out stories to newspapers, sneaking into "abandoned" houses, ya know just things that didn't seem like the smartest ideas. I'm excited to see where her gifts take her next.

Memphis: I loved him more than most of the characters. The fierce love he had for his brother and the way he did anything for him made me heart warm. The way he felt about Theta and treated her was beautiful. I can't wait to see what happens in his life with so many people aware of his powers and those his brother possesses as well..

Theta: She's amazing. I'm very interested in what she can do and how she will handle her past going forward with Memphis.

Henry: To be living his life in a time period where such things were considered much more than Taboo, it makes you wonder how he got so strong to handle rumours

Will: I want to know so much more about his life and what's coming? Why won't he take advice from any one whose letting him know their premonitions?

Jericho: How long before things mess up for him? Also I understand he's not interested in Mabel but maybe he should just tell her that, instead of her finding out that he's with her best friend.

Sam: I thought that Evie would end up with him for sure. What with their witty banter and the way they had started to get on throughout the book. Ugh. I like him I won't lie. I wonder where he'll come into play again.

Mabel: I wonder what she'll do if or when she finds out about the powers everyone around her seems to have.

Isiah: He might be the most in danger from Blind Bill of all people. What's that story about? I can't wait to see where that part of the story line goes. 


Moments to Remember:

Final Line: "he took her face in his hands and his kiss blotted out the sky."


Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Book Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton


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Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
Series/ Standalone: Everneath Series (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythology
Pages: 370
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Year Published: 2012
Format: Audiobook

"Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her boyfriend- before she's banished back to the underworld... this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance- and the one person she loves more than anything. but there's just one problem: Cole, the smouldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time on the surface draw to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's Queen.

Everneath is a captivation story of love, loss and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton."

My Rating: 3.75/5

This audiobook was exactly what I needed this month. It was a reminder about why i read and why I started to listen to audiobooks. Yes, parts of this book were incredibly corny, but that being said the story overall had a plot and an interesting idea. What would make you give up your life to someone else? Completely, emotions and all? I think that the author did a good job of showing our main character and her changing world. To be reintroduced to her life after forgetting so much must have been difficult, to say the least. That being said I was left with some questions and plan to continue listening to the audiobooks as the story line is enjoyable overall. I can't wait to see the boys and if they continue to fight for our Nikki.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review: Saga Volume 4


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Title: Saga Volume 4
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 152
Publisher: Image Comics
Year Published: 2014
Format: Paperback Cover (Own It)

"Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. As they visit a strange new world and encounter even more adversaries, baby Hazel finally becomes a toddler, while her star-crossed parents Marko and Alan struggle to stay on their feet."

My Rating: 5/5

I can't resist these freaking graphic novels. I love them to pieces and each one is more surprising than the last. Due to the vast setting and fantasy/science fiction aspect, there are still so many places this story can go. I love the way the art complements the story by being beautiful but still sharp and contrasting to the crude violent scenes.  I can't wait to continue the series and see where the story goes. I love our characters and wonder what other adventures they will go on. 

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Book Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi


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Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series/Standalone: The Star-Touched Queen (Book #1)
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 342
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffith
Year Published: 2016
Format: Hardcover Copy (Own it)
First Line: "Staring at the sky in Bharata was like exchanging a secret."

"Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance. Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most... including herself."

My Rating: 3/5

This book has been raved about on booktube since it came out and the sequel/companion novel also was spoken about highly and while I understand some of the praisings, some parts of this novel just fell flat for me. The writing in this book is beautiful and so poetic, but I found myself having trouble keeping up with where the story was going. Personally, I just think that the writing was too flowery for the story that was its companion. I also found that most of the twists and turns were predictable. I gasped once or twice over the choices of our main character, but other than that I found it all slightly predictable. 
All these things considered I have decided not to continue on with the series, but would be interested in other works that the author comes out with, just in a different series or subject.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Spoiler: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

So this book was all over booktube when I first started watching booktube, and it was all over the place. People were raving about the cover, the story and the writing. So I decided to pick it up. Overall for me, this was just a bit of a letdown. It did not live up to the hype. While the writing was beautiful and almost poetic, it was too flowery for the story itself I had trouble keeping up with the metaphors and symbolism so much that I had to reread paragraphs to grasp where the story was going. I also found that the twists and turns were not as surprising as they were intended to be. I guessed that Amar was death himself and that Nritti was the villain in the story. These things aside, I won't be continuing the series/reading the companion novel, although I'm interested in other works the author may put out.

Characters:
Maya: She was a sad main character at first and to see her struggling just to feel alive and like she belonged broke my heart, but when she found Amar it seemed like things started to head in a different direction. Until she was naive enough to believe everything anyone freaking told her. It was frustrating that she believed anything anyone told her when she was so quick to question Amar to begin with.

Amar: I liked him but during the flashbacks, I saw why she stepped into the pool of souls for reincarnation. To say, fine go is a horrible idea but that happens in so many couple arguments. I also think that his love for her was beautiful, but I wish that their story of the meeting had been expanded a little more (and yes I know there is a novella and no I am not going to read it).

Gauri: She would be the only reason for me to read the companion novel. And I loved her attitude by the time we saw her again. Her power and the love of her people are beautiful. 

Gustpa: I'm very interested in his background but not enough to read the prequel, unfortunately, his love of riddles was sweet to read about and reminded me of the riddles in ACOTAR

Kamala: Everyone seems to love her, but I didn't really care for her overall. We saw her for a short time and when we did she was just obsessed with chomping on someone. Which is fine.

Nritti: Obviously the villain but her story was also tragic. That being said, he was going to be reincarnated, but that's not soon enough apparently. 


Moments to Remember:
Pg. 269
"'You're not a sadhvi, not a thief and not entirely a charlatan,' said Mother Dhina. 'Who are you?'
If I could tell her, I would. But that answer was beyond me, so I gave the only one that felt right.
'I'm a dead girl walking.'"


Final Line: "I was Queen of Naraka."


Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book Review: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre


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Title: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter
Author: Carmen Aguirre
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Pages: 277
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
Year Published: 2011
Format: Paperback Copy (Own It)
First Line: "As my mother bit into her Big Mac, her glasses caught the reflection of a purple neon light somewhere behind me."

"A gripping, darkly comic first-hand account of a young underground revolutionary during the Pinochet dictatorship in 1980s Chile.

On September 11, 1973, a violent coup removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, from office. Thousands were arrested, tortured and killed under General Augusto Pinochet's repressive new regime. Soon after the coup, six-year-old Carmen Aguirre and her younger sister fled the country with their parents for Canada and a life of exile.

In 1978, the Chilean resistance issued a call for exiled activists to return to Latin America. Most women sent their children to live with relatives or with supporters in Cuba, but Carmen's mother kept her precious girls with her. As their mother and stepfather set up a safe house for resistance members in La Paz, Bolivia, the girls' own double lives began. At eighteen, Carmen herself joined the resistance. With conventional day jobs as a cover, she and her new husband moved to Argentina to begin a dangerous new life of their own.

This dramatic, darkly funny narrative, which covers the eventful decade from 2979 to 2989, takes the reader inside war-ridden Peru, dictatorship-run Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina and Pinochet's Chile. Writing with passion and deep personal insight, Carmen captures her constant struggle to reconcile her commitment to the movement with the desires of her youth and her budding sexuality. 'Something Fierce' is a gripping story of love, war and resistance and a rare first-hand account of revolutionary life."

My Rating: 4/5

I've always had trouble rating no fiction reads because who am I to rate someone else's opinions, life or memories. I'm not someone who can do that so the number rating that you see above is based purely on my enjoyment of the writing style and approach. I think that this Carmen Aguirre does a great job of giving a huge over lay during a difficult time in South America as well as a difficult time in her life. That being said at some points in this book I had to take a break from reading, to get caught up with the idea that she had moved to another country, or it had been a large gap of time. Still, she has a unique perspective since she was directly involved in the revolution, after being involved with her family. I think that this book is an important read, especially if you're like me and don't know a lot about historical happenings. It really opened my eyes to the struggles of those in Latin America, as well as helped me to understand things that I'd heard as a child but did not understand. My family would listen to the news and I remember hearing things about protests in the streets in the south, but I didn't really remember anything else about it. I'm very privileged to lead the life I do, and this book has inspired me to reach out those for those who can't. I hope to read more nonfiction in the future, especially on serious matters.

Thanks for reading,

Sidny


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


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Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series/Standalone: Shatter Me (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance
Pages: 338
Publisher: Harper
Year Published: 2011
Format: Hardcover Physical Copy (Own It)
First Line: "I've been locked up for 264 days."

"I have a curse.
I have a gift

I am a monster.
I'm more than human.

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back.

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior."

My Rating: 4.5/5

So this was a book a pulled out of my most anticipated reads tbr jar and I'm glad that it didn't disappoint. This first installment did such a wonderful job of setting up the world, introducing the characters and starting us on what appears to be an action packed adventure. Tahereh Mafi's writing style is beautiful and flowing, but still manages to shock the reader with the idea of this dystopian world. Based on other's opinions of the third book in this series (did you guys know we're expecting 3 more), I'm curious to see how the writing changes and how the story unfolds. I can't wait to get to the rest of the series and hope to order the rest of the books soon.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Spoiler: Shatter Me by Taereh Mafi

So as per usual I'm the last one on the hype train, and at this point maybe the only one. But hot damn this was a really fun read. I caught myself remembering how I started reading dystopian and how much I enjoyed them Tahereh Mafi's writing style is so lyrical and beautiful but also gets the reader to the point. I think that the way the main characters thoughts are crossed out throughout this book is also an interesting aspect and I wonder where this will take us in the upcoming novels. I know that people either really love this series or they really hate it and that makes me nervous, but it's also nerve wracking that I thought this series was over but apparently 3 more books are coming out. I'm not panicking at all. 

Characters:
Juliette: She is an interesting main character to hear from someone who has been in captivity while the world has literally fallen apart around her. For her to remember the world as we know it and see it go to shit so quickly.  She also has the interesting experience of neglect based on "what" she is. To see her able to touch another person was amazing, but to quickly realise that she could touch both Warner and Adam made me worried. Also what else is she capable of. Anyone else get Rogue from X-Men vibes.

Adam: Am I the only one who has read this first book and thought that this guy was too good to be true? I understand that they knew each other in the past, but they never even spoke. It doesn't make sense to me how they can feel so much for each other in such a short amount of time. Especially under such crazy circumstances.

Warner: He's also crazy, but like in the need to be locked up for stalking kind of way. Too freaking bad The Reestablishment is for in the most part in control. I wonder how he will hold on to power after he loses Juliette and what will happen to him once his father finds out. Also what is his past like? Is that what the novellas are about? Ugh so many questions, not yet enough cash to purchase the books.

James: This kid has seen too damn much for his tender young age of 10. And if Adam's power is to not be influenced by Juliette's touch does that mean that James has a power. I wonder how his life in the Omega Compound will change in comparison to what he's known.

Kenji: Who the hell is this guy? And I'm also getting super Red Queen vibes so that means my favorite series might have borrowed this, which was to be expected but also is helping me to enjoy this story line with powers even more.


Moments to Remember:
Final Line: "I'm ready."

Thanks for reading,
Sidny