Book Review: Night Owls

3star
Title: Night Owls (US Title: The Anatomical Shape Of A Heart)

Author: Jenn Bennet

Series? No

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads

Book Depository


I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster Australia in exchange for an honest review.

My opinion of this book changed several times during the read. I alternated between thinking it was adorable and wanting to shake some sense into the characters. Ultimately, the ending of Night Owls placed firm importance on family and love, which means I parted with the book on a happy note.

Book-Review-Night-Owls

I prefer the UK cover, but I like the US title better. I AM TORN.

NightOwlsLikedThe focus on arts!

You’re no HB. You’re like ten Prismacolours all at once.

Jenn Bennett mentioned in the author’s note that she wanted to celebrate artists: not just the ones in museums and galleries – but every day people and their attempts at self expressions. Both our protagonists are very much defined by their passion for art – with Bex exploring human anatomy, while Jack practices beautiful yet illegal street art. I enjoyed that they both had an identity outside their mutual attraction, and that they found a kindred spirit in one another.
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Book Review: Illuminae

3star

Title: Illuminae

Authors:  Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Series? Yes, 1 of 3

Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads

Book Depository


No one is sadder than I am that I did not enjoy Illuminae. I have THREE copies of the book, mainly bought because I couldn’t wait to get started! This is coming from a girl who never bothers to buy physical copies (my existence is held together by a Kindle).

Illuminae-review
Image credit goes to Freepik, edited by me.

I can’t say it’s a complete waste because the book itself is GORGEOUS. The designers and authors deserve much credit for tying the story together in such a visually stunning manner. Yet, that’s about all the positives I have on Illuminae.

Illuminae-03

As you all know, Illuminae is a book surrounded by immense hype and built up by an army of ringing endorsements. By the end of BEA 2015, I was convinced 70% of bloggers in US have read the book, and they all seem to agree it’s the best thing in fiction since Harry Potter.

In general, I’m 50-50 with popular books – I either lap it up and turn into a crazy fangirl along with the adoring public (see Six of Crows, or Throne of Glass from book 3 onwards) – or I just feel underwhelmed. Unfortunately, the latter happened here. I built up too much expectations, and what I got in return is a fairly standard YA scifi – complete with obligatory romance and sketchy world building. It sets itself apart by being brilliantly marketed and packaged, though I don’t feel it’s enough for me to award it more than 3.5 stars.Read More »

Discussion: Authorial Intent VS Reader’s Interpretation

Discussion-Intent-Interpretation

You guessed right, this post is partially inspired by the immature Teen ‘article’ condemning Teen Wolf fanfiction that made its way across twitter yesterday. It’s also an issue that’s crossed my mind in a few times during my recent reads, especially ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell.

This is a question that we as fans debate again and again, whether it’s about a new or ongoing series, whether it’s books or other forms of media. Once an author has placed their book out there into the world, they cannot control how readers react, nor can they stop their fandom from coming up with head canons, from dreaming up subtexts and themes.

As a reader, I used to feel bad about ‘going against’ the author’s wishes. While I accepted that other fans may have different opinions and will always respect them for it, I viewed the canon as ‘law’. My thoughts on the matter has changed a bit lately.Divider-Ice

Characters & Their Development

This is more obvious with series, where characters grow and change with each book (as they should!) When I was younger, I often rolled with it when characters changed – even if it was not in a direction I particularly liked. For example, Harry of Book Five bugged a lot of people, myself included – but I recognised why JKR took him in that direction.

However, there are two recent examples of character development that have bafffled me. Firstly, Chaol of Throne of Glass – and secondly, Theron of Snow Like Ashes. I won’t elaborate on how they have changed, to spare you all spoilers – but I know I’m amongst the majority when I say that they feel like completely different people. Is it still good development when I can’t see HOW they became who they are? Yet, who would understand a character better than their own creator – who spend years in their head space? As fans, are we right to feel disappointed when the characters we love end up unrecognisable? Read More »

Book Review: The Walls Around Us

4-star

Title: The Walls Around Us

Author: Nova Ren Suma

Rating: 4/5 stars

Series? No.

Goodreads

Book Depository


My Halloween reading continues! While some of this book was confusing, I adored the suspenseful writing and the constant mystery which shrouded the story.

The-Walls-Around-Us-Review

BALLET DRAMA:

For Ori, dancing came naturally, without a nervous stomach or worries she’d forget the steps. She danced like it was meant to be, in a way that couldn’t be copied, no matter how carefully I watched her move, mirroring my body after hers and trying to get my limbs to loosen up and act more free.

Although I don’t watch ballet in real life, previous consumption of the manga Swan and along with the movie Black Swan – has turned me into an ardent fangirl of ballet related drama. Violet, one of the narrator in this book, is one such competitive ballerina. I love the contrast between the beautiful, pink dancers with the darkness behind the curtains. From the get-go, we get a sense of Violet’s obsession with her art, along with hidden layers about jealousy, bullying, and a bloody homicide or two. Violet is not a protagonist you could root for, but she makes for a fascinating narrator – filled with envy, paranoia, and a frustrating tendency to victimise herself in every situation.Read More »

Book Review: The Dead House

The Dead House

4-star

Title: The Dead House

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Series? No.

Goodreads

Book Depository


In the name of getting into the mood for Halloween, I went on a little horror movie and horror books binge last week. Note to self: you’re too much of a chicken to ever attempt this again. I found The Dead House incredibly riveting and engaging – I also adored the epistolary nature of the novel!

The-Dead-House

Creative Formatting!

I fancy myself an amateur designer, so I get all excited when I see books that are told through special formatting. At times, this can come across as a little bit gimmicky (*cough Illuminae, I am having some doubts about you*) – I though The Dead House benefited from this form of narration.  We got a mixture of diary entries, video logs, interviews, and police files that patched together a story.  The missing information and the non-linear style of the writing truly elevated what would have otherwise been a mediocre plotline.

It also helped that the writing was stunning in the way it portrayed Kaitlyn/Carly’s slow descent into madness.  The prose was always dark, atmospheric and unpredictable. I didn’t even mind a couple of pages where a single word was just repeated incessantly! In fact, I have a couple of graphics in this post that was inspired by the unique way this story was told.

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Kaitlyn & Her Unreliable Narration

“They think I don’t exist . . . they think I’m like a disease. I’m infecting Carly.”

The main character of this book is Carly Johnson, the primary suspect in the burning of Elmbridge high school in what became known as The Johnson Incident. Carly is referred to by all the reports and professional personnels by her legal name – but the star of the show is actually Kaitlyn, her nocturnal alter ego.

Carly/Kaitlyn was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, with Carly representing all that is warm and light – while Kaitlyn lives on in the darkness and exhibits deviant characteristics. Despite her instability and depedence on her diurnal alter – I found Kaitlyn a very easy protagonist to root for. I loved that as a reader, we had to constantly second guess all the information she is giving us. There’s never a clear answer on whether the voices that haunts her are supernatural or a product of a decaying mind. I also enjoyed the fact that the authority such as Kaitlyn’s psychiatrist do not have all the answers, and may also be implicated in the bigger mystery.

The author definitely excelled in painting a teenage girl who’s looking for acceptance and yet only finding madness. I was kept guessing throughout the book, which is ironic, as I saw the final plot twist from a mile away.

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It’s Creeptastic!

“Hang up.”
“But why? What is it?”
“I can hear someone breathing on the line”

Finally, the book is definitely delivers the scares – which is more than I can ask of it.  While I am very susceptible for TV/Cinematic horror, I find myself a bit more immune to books (perhaps because I admittedly don’t have an active visual imagination, for shame!) However, I still found myself double checking the mirrors and turning on all the lights while reading this book. More than that, the book also made me ponder about the mental illness that Kaitlyn may suffer from – and whether she was mistreated all along. This particular line of thought is even more chilling than any supernatural happenstance.


Overall, I highly recommend this unique book, especially with the spooky season looming near!  If you’ve read it, please share with me your thoughts and let me know whether you were scared?

Book Review: The Bone Season

3star

Title: The Bone Season

Author: Samantha Shannon

Rating: 3.5/5

Series? Yes, 1 of 7

Goodreads

Book Depository


While I really enjoyed The Bone Season, I felt for every single positive I could list for the book, I found another negative as well. I am just so conflicted about all my reads recently! For this review, I’ll discuss both the goods and the bads to the various factors in the book.

The-Bone-Season

There was no normal. There never had been. “Normal” and “natural” were the biggest lies we’d ever created.”

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5 Signs Your Blogging Honeymoon Is Over (And How To Deal!)

Discussion-Honeymoon

Joey promised me a couple of months back that my boundless enthusiasm for blogging was destined to wane. While I initially dismissed this as one of those crazy, irreverent fiction he likes to spout – I have to admit he’s right! My honeymoon period is coming to an end – no longer is blogging filled with all things shiny and good. I have to -gasp- put effort into my hobby now. Do you suffer from the post-honeymoon blues? Check below for the symptoms.

Divider-Honeymoon

I. Most books you read seem a little lacklustre

Last week I DNF-d three books and wrote two 3-stars review. Now, my 3-stars reviews are usually quite positive, I aim to be nice and diplomatic – but I found myself exceedingly critical. I also felt I had little patience for less than stellar reads. I confess to having spent more time complaining about books on twitter, DM and Gchat than actually reading or reviewing them,

HOW I HANDLE IT:  I stopped reading review copies for a week and started reading books I’ve had lying around on my Kindle for a while. Sometimes I even read with no intentions of reviewing the book, which takes the pressure of needing to commentate on every plot point a bit more bearable. Once my reading diet is healthy with 4 to 5 stars reads, I’d go back to conquering that ARC TBR. I want to put myself in a frame of mind where I am constantly grateful about reviewing, rather than seeing it as a chore.Read More »

Book Review: Ice Like Fire

IceLikeFire

3star

Title: Ice Like Fire

Author: Sara Raasch

Series? Yes. 2 of 3.

Rating: 3/5

Book Depository

Goodreads


I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Contains spoilers for Snow Like Ashes!

This was one of my most anticipated release for the latter half of 2015, as I absolutely loved Snow Like Ashes. Unfortunately, Ice Like Fire suffers from a fierce case of Middle Book Slump, it has little of the spark that initially ignited my love for Meira and the Winterians. Today, I’ll look at why middle books often do not work for me, and how Ice Like Fire fell trap to all these factors.IceLikeFire-Review

The Worldbuilding Lacks Depth

One of the reasons that keeps me reading a fantasy series is the world, and the expansion of the world with every instalment. For example, Harry Potter, I could stay on board every step of the way as there was always new corners of the wizarding world to explore. Whether it be the hidden Room of Requirement or an international Quidditch tournament.

Cordell, with its green and gold and fields of lavender; Yakim, with its brown and brass and gears; Ventralli, with its eclectic styles and colourful buildings..

With Ice Like Fire, we did get to explore numerous new kingdoms: Summer, Yakim and Ventralli. Unfortunately, while we got to see multiple new places, none of the new location had any depth to them. The kingdoms are differentiated by very superficial factors. Summer ruled by an indulgent king, only interested in parties and debauchery. There’s the strict and bookish world of Yakim, seemingly modelled after England during the Industrialisation period. Finally, there’s the dramatic, treasonous Ventralli, whose intentions are hidden behind elegant masks. These separate kingdoms are walking stereotypes, and Meira never gets to learn more about the culture of these places. My understanding of Primoria did not expand, despite the numerous pages we spent extolling on the qualities of Summer’s wine and Yakim’s knowledge.Read More »

BBCreativityProject: School of Blogcraft and Wizardry

BBcreativity-HeaderIntroduction:

This post was put together as a part of the BBCreativityProject spearheaded by Nori of ReadWriteLove28!

I was assigned to Team Red!  I originally had an idea to make a tag themed around Harry Potter coursework, but in the hands of my fellow team mates – my puny idea transformed into something awesome!  We are dedicating all of October and November into providing blog posts that will i) add to your TBR pile something fierce and ii) improve your bloggish life! Here are the subjects and their awesome professors!

Click on their pictures to head to their blog :D!

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Book Review: Tower of Thorns

tower-of-thorns

4-star

Title: Tower of Thorns

Author:  Juliet Marillier

Series? Yes, 2 of 3.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads

Book Depository


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Contains minor spoilers for Dreamer’s Pool.

I am happy to announce that Tower of Thorns is a superior sequel in every way. While I enjoyed Dreamer’s Pool, I felt it was slightly different from the usual Juliet Marillier books that I’ve grown up loving. With Tower of Thorns, we go back to her roots with magic, fairy tale and true love.

Book-Review-Tower-of-Thorns

The Blackthorn and Grim novels operate on two levels. First, it focuses on the personal growth of Blackthorn, as well as her developing partnership with Grim. Secondly, there’s a monster-of-the-week type side story that head spear each book, narrated by a lord or lady that Blackthorn is assisting.

Monster in ancient tales were often a disconcerting mixture of man and creature… But in my book, the vilest and worst was the human monster.

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