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review 2015-02-21 19:16
The Darkest Part of The Forest by Holly Black
The Darkest Part of the Forest - Holly Black

Publication: January 2015

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20958632-the-darkest-part-of-the-forest

 

Summary: "Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

 

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

 

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

 

Until one day, he does…

 

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?"

 

 My first Holly Black novel, she certainly does write amazing paranormal stand-alones! Honestly, I liked this one a lot more than I thought I would! I mean that in the best possible way.

 

The beginning kinda of set me off, because it was really slow, just re-telling the characters past but as you get more into the book you start loving it! The hole concept of the plot is entertaining and kept me on my feet, wanting to know what was gonna happen next.

 

This book is so much more than a mythical-looking boy waking up and escaping from the coffin. It tells all the Folk secrets and concepts as well as how the character are connected to them. Hazel is our main character. She has been dealing with the Folk (basically, faeries) for years, but she hasn't really known, due to a clause on a bargain she did once she was young. (Read the book and find out what the bargain was!)

 

This book is written entirely in third person, but we pretty much get the story from Hazel's (third person) perspective. I like the prospect of this, but feel like I didn't really connect with her in any especial way.

 

As usual what is a book without a little bit of romance? There is plenty of sweeping romance in this book. If you couldn't tell by now. Hazel is in love with her bothers best friend, Jack, who is a challenging. I really ship them btw! And her bother will fall in love with the horned boy.

Of corse none of these couples will have a quiet and simple journey to happiness, since there will be many bumps in the road.

 

There is a creature in Fairfold that must be stopped. The waking of the horned boy was no coincidence. Hazel, Ben (her brother), Jack, and the horned boy must stop the creature. A powerful sword, a faerie ritual, a crazed king... there is so much going on, that After a while I just didn't want to put this book down.

 

In conclusion I liked the story. At first, things were pretty slow, because Black was setting up the scene. The horned boy doesn't disappear in the first scene. There is a lot of switching back to scenes of the past in this book, but they are marked and very obvious, and don't last long.

 

I liked Hazel, honestly, but My favorite character was probably Jack, and then Severin (the horned boy).

 

This book is set in a contemporary world, it's definitely in modern times. But there is so much fantasy in this book, and it's billed as a fairy tale. Holly Black did an incredible job of constructing the world and putting in place all of the fantasy elements, in a modern world.

 

I enjoyed this book! Not one of my favorites, but definitely worth reading! Excellent work, Holly Black!

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review 2015-01-31 05:00
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Love Letters to the Dead - Ava Dellaira

 

Hardcover, 323 pages

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Published by: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (BYR)

Stand-alone

Source: Purchased/ Netgalley

For fans of: Contemporaries, Diversity, Realistic Fiction, YA, Poetry

 

 It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.
     Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven't forgiven?
     It's not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.
     In a voice that's as lyrical and as true as a favorite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl's journey through life's challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.

 

*MY THOUGHTS*

     I had this book for review before it was released, but then I heard it was written entirely in letters I kind of shyed away form it, I'm not a huge fan of poetry and that's exactly what this sounded like, But then the reviews for it started pouring in and I was so intrigued that I decided to still give it a chance. So, it stayed on my TBR until I was ready for it. 

     Oddly enough, while reading this, the letter style and the poetry feel didn't bother me. It actually made the story a little more lyrical and it flowed so nicely. Dellaira has a great writing style that I actually kind of envied. She was able to use those letters to tell Laurel and May's story as well as keep incorporate some of whoever she wrote that specific letter to. It was so intricate and well put together and I was very impressed. 

     What I didn't like was the plot. The beginning was good because I was anticipating something bad happening. (So many people had told me to get my tissues ready,) I just knew I was in for a doozie. But as it got to the middle, it just drug on. I really felt like what was happening actually had nothing to do with May and Laurel. Although it taught her a small lesson in the end, I really felt like a large chunk of that could have been left out. The ending is where it got good again which is unfortunate because by then it was too late. Finallt everything began to come together, but by then I had already guessed what had happened. So of course when it did, I wasn't surprised and I didn't cry. It was weird because I normally do cry at books like this, but after a predicted plot twist, the tears just never came. 

     All in all, this wasn't what I was expecting after everyone's rave reviews about it. Yeah the writing was very impressive, but the plot and the middle of the story just dragged on too much for me. Although this wasn't the right fit for me, I hope it falls into the hands of someone who can utilize it and cherish it,

 

 
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review 2014-08-21 05:00
Isla and the Happily Ever After

Hardcover, 339 pages

Release Date: August 14, 2014

Published by: Dutton

Anna and the French Kiss, #3

Source: Bought (Pre-Ordered)

For fans of: Romance, Hot Literary Guys, LOL, Feels, Chick-lit, 

 

     From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

 

 

 

 

*MY THOUGHTS*

     From Anna and the French Kiss, to Lola and the Boy Next Door, Stephanie Perkins has not disappointed me. I wasn't expecting this one to be any different. And of course I was right. While Anna is still my favorite, Isla plays a very close second. 

"To be good at anything you have to practice.' 'Do you wanna practice on me?"

pg. 7

     I know this has become the running saying with this novel, but it's the truth. I saw a little of myself in Isla. I swear I'm just as much as awkward and weird as she is. And then there was the way she was so hard on herself. I know for a fact that I do that. Maybe not towards the same things, but I am hard on myself. I could understand where she was coming from. Because of this she seemed like such a relate-able character. She really felt so real.

"Thank you slutty funnel."

pg. 10

     As for Josh, let me pause and physically swoon. *SWOON SWOON SWOON* You guys, he is the epitome of sweet, romantic, and any other cutesy adjective that you can think of. I LOVED him. And all because of the way he loved Isla. I'm not sure how someone else missed it, because it was glaringly obvious. I've never seen a boy cry as much as I saw read about him crying. And I loved it because it felt so genuine. Joah, just like Isla, felt so utterly real. 

"Listen I like you and you like me, so let's go find a secluded park and touch each other'."

pg. 61

     I also loved the two of them together. They both have "ugly sides" that they didn't want the other to see, but at the same time, who really wants to show someone those parts? They always try to keep those away from people as long as they can. Which makes them even more realistic. And the insecurities and jealousy are real life emotions that people in relationships feel all the time. Their relationship seemed just as real as they did. I also want to send a thank you to Perkins. Thank you for making them use protection. It is proven now that using it won't mess up the flow or ruin the mood or anything like that. It's more realistic and it's helping teens that read this understand that they must be safe. 

"Back up, back up, back up. 'You always liked me?' 'A super smart hot girl who reads comics? You were definitely on my radar.'"

pg. 97

     What I loved most about this book though, was the way it brought oiut my emotions. I laughed at Lola so hard in the beginning for all that she did in front of Josh at Kismet. And then I was SMITTEN with Josh when he was finally introduced. And then I was taken with him even more because he was so sweet with Isla. And then I felt a little of the same jealousy when she read THE GRAPHIC NOVEL. And then I was a little upset with Isla after blowing things out of proportions. In short, everything about this novel either made me sigh with contented happiness or feel like I got punched in the gut. By the end, I was teary eyed and read the part about his "edited version" three times because it was hard seeing through my bleary eyes. 

"I've always thought the best relationships are those that are as happy and content in silence as they are in action'."

pg. 154

     And of course it was a pleasure to revisit the old characters: Anna, St. Clair, Lola, and Cricket. Even Calliope makes an apperance. I thought that was pretty cool. And the events that happen when they all appear made me love this book even more. I couldn't even say anything. I just found myself in shock. I loved that Perkins was able to tie everything together and give everyone exactly what they needed: A Happily Ever After. 

"You [can't] lose anything you haven't already lost."

pg. 303

     When a book contains relate-able characters and can make my emotions go into a full on roller coaster ride, that's how I know it was a hit with me. And this one, just like it's predecessors was definitely a hit. Thank you Stephanie Perkins for creating such real life romances with Anna, Lola, and Isla. I look forward to more of your novels in the future.

Overall, I give this

 

 

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review 2013-11-11 23:15
Review: Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
Raising Steam - Terry Pratchett

If you're a fan of Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld -- go read Raising Steam. Really there's no more to be said.

 

If you've not read a Discworld book, this isn't the place to start. This is a book that comfortably assumes our familiarity with many of the characters and there is a REAL pleasure in learning more about them, watching them behave as who they are and yet reveal new aspects. The little character reveals are wonderful - and there's one at the end that just plain delighted me.

 

I'm trying not to share any spoilers and it's difficult. The book is so well-constructed that I want to say "did you see XXX coming?" or "wasn't it perfect when?" or "didn't you adore Flash?"

 

If you're looking to dive into the Discworld, the series order is here. For me, the true magic of the books begins with Wyrd Sisters, but if you want to read the city of Ankh-Morpork set books, start with Guards, Guards. Unless, of course, you're scared of dragons ;)

 

Terry Pratchett plays with words. He isn't ashamed to pun - especially in footnotes. His style is witty, critical and compassionate. Some reviewers have noted more serious, sombre elements in his later novels, but I think they were there earlier. He has something to say, and he says it with laughter and hope. Raising Steam is wonderful.

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