Plague is a much better 3rd sequel compare to Lies and in many ways, one that surprises me how much better in terms of where this is going. After the events in Lies, the kids in Perdido Beach is left with so much doubt and destroyed confidence towards those they can rely on. Sam is self-pitying, Astrid learns a truth about herself, Albert became a self-centered business man, Quinn found his calling and the rest is just as it is, with Caine and his crew living up on the high-end of comfort on an island they took over. When Drake escape, a new disease is getting rampant - a flu spread like wild fire that kills from inside out and... a new army of insects that is almost unkillable, not even Sam's powers can burn them. With the gaiaphage influencing its power all over the FAYZ, the end maybe near... and only Pete Ellison may be the answer to all the troubles everyone in the FAYZ is facing... if only he knew what he is doing.
The fourth book of the Gone series picks up its pacing with more action, suspense and thrills. Yes, for a young adult book, the content description can be a little over when it comes to gore but this has been one that really lives up to its title that promises a science-fiction fantasy series that works. I am looking forward to the last two and hopefully, Fear will lead the way to a finale that is satisfying. (yes, I took too long for this one too)
One of my regrets of reading is when I am on a reading slump and it happened on a book that really is very, very good. Six of Crows is one of the exceptional quest stories I have ever read that I should have read it at one go.
Welcome to the Grishaverse, in a place called Ketterdam. A place of international trading, where what you want can be done if its the right price. This is a place known to one Kaz Brekker, also known as 'Dirtyhands'. A young man that always wear gloves without taking them out, limps with a crow cane. He was offered a chance to be a rich man, an impossible heist that he can't do alone. He is going to need a crew of dangerous outcasts to make it work... if only his crew do not kill each other first.
Such is the premise of Six of Crows but what make's the first book of a duology works is how original it turn out to be. The characters, to each of their own, is uniquely deep and interesting. The interaction on the other hand is lively and beautifully draws me to their world. What's more - the world building itself is some thing I have never read and yet captivating. With how each chapter weaves its way into my heart, I slowly begin to take my moments in reading. My only regret was I took too damn long and I was on a reading slump. More than a month I completed it, which I should have finish in less than a week. Still, I don't see any flaws in this book at all. It has every thing I never expect as it turns out, is what I want in my reading pleasure. Six of Crows has one of my highest rating that really deserves a read.
Reading Lies, the 2nd sequel to Michael Grant's Gone series is a step back from the first two books. New characters are introduced, a new plot takes another twist dealing with deception, more action and more thrills. In Perdido Beach, nothing is what it seems. The undead is walking among the living children, Caine and what's left of his group takes a journey to an island searching for food, Zil and his crew are stirring trouble that lead to the burning of the township and gaiaphage found his way... and with a return of Drake Merwin, bending on revenge.
I can't say I do not enjoy it but it is a step back from the first two books, which really pushes the limits of children dealing with problems they need to fix. Lies to me is a tale of deception where there is no one they can trust. While new characters are introduced (again) but to a certain limitation of development, I do find the existing ones some what unnecessary on the drama emotional side. It really did short fall on other regular characters but as the plot pushes forward, its pretty much like watching a season TV series that the whole season just doesn't live it up to viewers expectation. Nevertheless, I still enjoy reading Lies and I can't wait to jump right into Plague.
Hangsaman to me is probably one of the weirdest book I have ever read. Shirley Jackson's second novel released in 1951 centers the story of one Natalie Waite, a young teenager about to enroll into college and how along the way, the way she sees the world isn't the same as how others sees it. As life in college begins to take a different turn, she walks among the living in a dream like state of awareness not knowing what is real and what isn't. Thinking she is a fiction of a life she is living, her journey crumbles not knowing what hold's her sanity and the reality we all live in.
Based on the inspiration of an unsolved disappearance of Paula Jean Welden, an american college student that disappeared in 1946, Shirley Jackson wrote a world that truly is the weird and the strangest tale of between real and fiction. It is almost towards the sense that feels like madness but then again, as a reader it does makes me wonder what does it all mean. Although the reading is quite addictive that really takes me into the mind of Natalie Waite, there is some thing not normal about her, which in a way intriguing as I read. Was it a journey of a girl that so happens at the beginning, some thing happen that changes her to such confusion of identity or was it some thing more of an experience in her college life that lead spiraling down into a dark place where only Natalie sees it? One needs to read to know.
It is a hard book to rate but I felt a 3 out of 5 star is a much more appropriate rating for me as there is so much to explore here and yet, what was the motivation of it. Was it the strangeness or the understanding of a mind that can't grasp reality? For me, its some where I know that deserves a 3 for even though it is an intriguing read, I am still trying to figure out what the title means and wanting to understand this strange book I just finished today.
What began in Gone, Hunger gets right down to business on tackling the realism of one situation - food. As read previously (finally following up the series after more than a year) in Gone, the kids in Perdido Beach are now facing a major problem - food. Starvation is reaching in all corners of the FAYZ and with trouble brewing on all sides of it, Sam Temple and his crew are going to tackle adult problems they never faced before... and a looming darkness in the mineshaft, ever ready to come out of whatever intentions this darkness calls 'gaiaphage' wants. With Caine, Drake, Diana and a few others raiding the power plant for control, another problem arises - what divides those with powers and those without. As problems escalates, Sam is left with a few decisions he has to make that wills sacrifice the life of his friends.
Reading Gone had me at the first page of curiosity and excitement that I long for for a long time. Its a good first book to read that lasted so much impression on me. Hungeron the other hand is a sequel that is worthy of the first book. Michael Grant had really outdone himself with laying out the plot lines of realism and even further more, issues of adults upon teenagers. Yes, there are parts of this book can be squeamish, not easy to read but important part of and there are some really intense moments that really builds up so fast, it doesn't waste any time on any thing else. Clues are given more as to know who 'gaiaphage' is and how its link to Little Pete. More characters are introduced and even though, its still not much a development in character, the entire book itself is like watching a good Season 2 television series of your favorite TV show.
Hunger is a sequel worth picking up. It begins with a want and ends with a fulfillment of hope. I am looking forward to the end book and hopefully, it doesn't fall out a little as to how the book turns out to be for Lies. I do recommend this series to anyone who wants some thing fast and an exciting read.
Neighbours as we know it can be friendly or not. But in Shirley Jackson's The Road Through the Wall, neighbours as we know it is not what it seems to be. I had quite a number of days to read her first book, which turns out for me quite conflicted whether I like it or I don't. Never the less, I do enjoy her writings and even though there is much to talk about of its flaws, this is still a good read for me.
In Pepper Street, this neighbourhood seems 'perfect'. Neighbours greet each other, they are formal in their own way of being nice and courteous and they have their days of sharing a common hobby together like sewing. But within each household lies another reality - shallow thinkers, bullies, selfish actions and egoistical show offs. The children have secrets among one another, so are the parents. Everyone harbours lies that on the outside, they are superficial. Only one goodness remains - Caroline Desmond, a three year old little girl hardly spoken, hardly knew what is going on in this neighbourhod. There is a wall that divides one street to the next but when the bricks starts to crumble and a tragedy strikes, every thing else is an open secret and what was once consider a nice neighbourhood no longer matters.
Its a simple story really with a lot of characters being introduced in the first chapter itself. I do get a little confuse with one of the other but as I read its easier to know who is who. Still, this is a book that is difficult to rate for me. There are loop holes involve where its never explored at all. Some of these are as to 'why' the actions of certain characters of what they do were never explained completely. I had to make assumptions in order to fulfill them and its easier, as the setting does feel like the late 1940s and early 1950s. The dark part of the book are how each of them backstab each other in ways how superficial they are in front of the neighbours and the children, well, they shown their dark parts too. The writing on the other hand is, as always, pretty much how Shirley Jackson would write - clear, precise and straight to a point. What I enjoy most is how she hook me into the chapter of some of the characters, in a way development explain of who they are and then of course, reach to a point of a little surprise there that feels as if she wanted me to the ride that may keep me guessing. The ending on the other hand, is typical of her and since this is her first book in 1948, I am pretty sure her intentions of writing them is as real as her experience much like how neighbourhoods are in any place in the world.
For me, this is a hard rating to give. I like it but not that much to a point I love it. Its good writing, just not the story itself. Where else there can be much to explore here, I wonder what motivates her to write this story as her first book. I won't say it is bad or any thing but as conflicted as I am in giving a good rating, the best I can think of is a 3.5. I won't say I will recommend this but this story is much like a cautionary tale of what neighbours are (and even can be as an example for today) behind closed doors.
Before, I did mention I enjoyed reading short stories. There aren't many books with short stories today and for a long time, I heard about The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, which is one of the reasons why I had been looking high and low for this collection. There are 24 short stories altogether and to my amazement, I really enjoyed reading all of them.
The Lottery and Other Stories is divided into 5 parts and to its own theme. Here's a short summary for each of these stories:-
The Intoxicated - When a drunk meets the daughter of the host of the party. The Daemon Lover - A girl looking for her future husband on her wedding day. Like Mother Used to Make - A man cooks dinner for his guest only to be thrown out of his house. Trial By Combat - A woman's apartment been robbed by another tenant. The Villager - A woman pretend to be a buyer of things. My Life With R.H. Macy - A man works in Macys. The Witch - A man tells a story of a scary witch to a child in gruesome details. The Renegade - When an owner's dog kills a farmers chicken. After You, My Dear Alphonse - A game played between two children. Charles - A boy shares his school days with his parents about a naughty student. Afternoon in Linen - A grandmother proud of his grand daughter of a poem she wrote. Flower Garden - A wife who fell in love with a cottage meets the new owner that the neighbors do not want to be friends with. Dorothy and My Grandmother and The Sailors- A trip to a town only to avoid sailors. Colloquy - A patient shares her problems with a doctor. Elizabeth - A day of a literary agent. A Fine Old Firm - A meeting of new neighbors. The Dummy - One night show of a ventriloquist. Seven Types of Ambiguity - A couple going into a bookstore to buy books. Come Dance With Me In Ireland - When three women shown kindness to an Irish old man. Of Course - Greeting a new neighbor. Pillars of Salt An experience trip to New York to remember by a couple. Men With Their Big Shoes - When an expected married wife gets a different view about husbands from a caretaker. The Tooth - When a married woman goes on a trip to New York to extract a tooth with devastating change. The Lottery - A lottery that is held with unexpected results.
There is a small poem as a companion to The Daemon Loverwhich can be read at the end of the book. This is my first time reading a Shirley Jackson book without any expectations. I never thought I would be amazed by her writing, let alone magnetize by her way of story telling. There is some thing about her writings that really makes an interesting read. These stories, some doesn't have an ending. Its like a pick out of the blue chapter from some where. Its plot isn't interesting but by way of reading, its something else. I followed to each of their own and to each of them, they are all good (for me any way). Usually I won't enjoy a short story if it lingers in the end but this is an exception for me because, its just the way she writes that I like about. I had invested in her other books (bought almost all of them I think) and I can't wait to read them all. The Lottery and Other Stories is a book picking up because of its writing but yes, it may not be anyone's cup of tea but still, I would highly recommend it for its weirdness, twist and unexpected spin of tales of the normal that makes it quite extraordinary.
I picked up Songs With Our Eyes Closed on a good feeling and it was a wise choice I have read this well-written collection of poems from Tyler Kent White. As his debut, all of his poems are common themes many modern poets faced today - depression, life, loss, love and resilience. There are some poems I felt connected that I became emotional towards it, and while others I felt are good but not much better. Still, I did enjoy reading them and even though there's nothing exceptional in most of the words we say today, its still a good read. Written poems about life is almost every single poet of what they experience in writing. In brilliance or whether in its common ground that we can identify, Songs With Our Eyes Closed is a good debut read worth picking up.
Lost. Dreams. Connection. Loneliness. Good Morning, Midnight is a drama tale of two people - Augustine, a brilliant but old astronomer whose whole life is all about the universe and the stars and Sully, an astronaut on a mission in space and left her family for a long period of time to get back to them. When the world suddenly went silent, these two ordinary people are thrown into the uncertainty of a future... one that they will never know if they can survive if humanity is lost forever.
Some thing I never thought I am drawn of, let alone written in beautiful prose, entails me in an understanding about humanity that we yearn to belong to. The book begins when some thing happened on Earth but was not certain what it was that throws Augustine in the Arctic research facility that may not last long to survive in a cold that seems unbearable. He was offered to transfer out of the place but he refuse. Why does he chose not to leave at such an emergency is unclear but explores throughout the book about his life, his regrets and his purpose. Above and beyond, Sully and her crew of astronauts are on their journey back to Earth when their communication systems are cut off on their space ship Aether. Sully worries that they may not be a home left but recalls of her feelings of lost and the life she led that fears of love. As the chapters unfold, the reading of Good Morning, Midnight is one at the beginning no idea where it is headed but the ending is one that is beautiful in delivering the message of beauty of life, which I find it well done. Its not really fast-pace and its meant to be that way and what kept me reading was finding out how these two characters evolve elegantly that truly shows the beauty of this book. For a debut release, Lily Brooks-Dalton delivers a nicely written drama that works but may not be for everyone. Its the patience of reading that makes this book a lovely read.
When I first heard of Animal Farm, my curiosity peaks to a point if I should read it. This was in fact in the 1990s when I heard about it. Of course, I didn't read it at all and never even go further and didn't even know there was a TV live-action movie that was released in 1999 or even the 1954 animated featured as well. Straight to 2018 and finally, I read the book. After so many years and I bought it last year, I finally read it for an upcoming book discussion and as it turns out, I didn't really enjoy it nor hate it a lot. I just felt indifferent.
I am sure many have read Animal Farm before. It is this book that George Orwell, besides 1984, he became successful compare to his early writings during his journalistic days. In many ways, Animal Farm is a political book. Reading it on the other hand, it is what transpire of what is happening today. I mean, there isn't any thing I do not know about that will give such value on this book that I do not know of what is happening in today's politics. In fact, I look at all angles and it is a straight-forward adult fairy tale... one that doesn't have a good ending. To me, its more of 'this is what happens when you become ignorant' and 'you don't blame anyone when you support loyally to a greedy swine' than just a story with a good ending. Its an awareness book that was meant as life in totalitarian ruling of the old Russia, when it had its revolution and the rise of Joseph Stalin (I am not sure how many younger generation knows this) and the degeneration livelihood of Russia then. But reading it I can see its almost similar to the world's politics today even in certain countries (I don't think I need to mention which one, if people aren't ignorant on reading news). To me, its nothing exceptional but rather, a representation of what the world was then in politics, its the world that it is now in politics.
Although I had not much complains on the writing, as it is clear and simple and easy to follow, I can't say I do enjoy the book. I mean, I like the writing but not the tale itself. Still, I can understand why it took such difficulty for George Orwellto publish this book but only after
the World War II he was able to, but by that time itself, after his death it became even more popular, although not among critics, read by many and even introduced in literature classes as well. Animal Farm is a book that whether to read or not, it doesn't matter. All around us are... well, we are living in a huge animal farm of our own. As I quote the famous line 'All Animals Are Equal But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others' is now part of life we are living. We still have, in fact, ignorant people that believe in words of Napoleon of such (we have lots of Napoleons, that swine reincarnates!) every where, this book to me... doesn't make much difference but it can be a discussion worth debating.
If there is one thing when it comes to anime, people will always remember Akira. When it comes to manga, this is a one read people should invested on. I love Akira personally because of its sheer epic story of man versus Godhood and any thing that writes about power, this is the book people of all reader types should read.
30 years ago in 1992, an explosion in Japan cause the beginning of World War III. In 2028, Tokyo has become Neo-Tokyo, a place where society is on the rise of political distrust and Japan's top secret military army is trying to prevent one of its biggest secret to leak out to the world... until an accident on a highway towards where the origin of the explosion starts a chain of events that will lead to... Akira. Two friends (Kaneda & Tetsuo) will be fighting for their lives on friendship, love and the fate of Japan.
I love Akira ever since its anime was released in 1989. When I watched it, I was floored by its cell animation, its story and its science fiction action dystopian future. I never knew there was a manga series (but that was after I read Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita, and it still is one of my favorite mangas of all time, next to Akira) and it took me a while to finally waited long enough to get the compilation series in six volumes and read it at one go. This to me... is nothing more than one of the best sci-fi manga series ever written and drawn. There is so much to explore here and so much to love. Not many authors or creators these days are bold enough to write some thing this good and this is one of the best 1200 over pages I have ever read. Yes, there are some issues on the book that is overlook and not answered at all but to much of its own, it has answered a lot when it comes to its main story, not the back story. For me, if you want to pick up a manga title and its your first time ever - this is the manga series to invest on.
p/s: Lately my reviews are getting shorter and shorter in writing. I would definitely explore back and write more if I had time.
Detachment. Misunderstood. An outsider. The first time I read Albert Camus's The Outsider (also known as The Stranger for U.S. publication), I was recommended that this was his best work. With over a little 100 over pages, divided into two parts, this is a story of Meursault, a man that doesn't connect with the world of the living.
The book opens with a funeral of Meursault's mother. He doesn't feel any sadness of his mother, let alone feel anything at all. He shares a cigarette with a caretaker as his mother's friends attend and watch him, he doesn't shed a tear. After a few days, he met a girl named Marie and they became intimate. He made a friend as well with a colleague of his (Raymond) and soon they embark on a beach where one choice change the life of Meursault that leads him a destination he accepted, even he feels nothing towards the world of the living.
The Outsider in many ways speaks in volumes. The right to judge someone, the absurd condition of humankind and the right to challenge one's belief. There are many parts of this book that speaks well of people who many do not understand. I felt Meursault is not a tragic character but a character, in general, people do not understand. I for one... do. There is so much richness in this book that if read between the words, I understand that a person as simple how Meursault thinks about the world itself, its deeper than it covers the depths of a simple book. In fact, there is so much to explore and even discuss the meanings as much as how incredible and carefully written this book where its not meticulous and yet, well written in many ways. I truly enjoy the book as much as I understand the world Meursaultthinks he is in. Where one is forced to believe in God, he doesn't. Where one believes he had no attachments to his girlfriend Marie of love, but he would do what she wants him to. He did love his mother, but in his own way that nobody understands. In a point where how Meursault live his life, he felt indifferent towards what is in front of him.
I enjoy reading The Outsider. To me, I would recommend anyone with an open mind to read this. This is truly a book I consider a classic and its a rare thing to enjoy this much. I should have taken more time to finish this since its a short book but in the end, its worth finishing it.
There aren't many romantic novels that I do find appealing these days for reasons I probably watched most of them in the cinema. Of course, books and movies aren't the same thing when it comes to execution but I have always been looking for a book that really works on me. Most of All You: A Love Story is one I picked up because of its good reviews and its blurb. While I took a month over to complete reading it, I wasn't as impress as what others had said about it.
The book itself gave two perspective (it has been a trend for many authors writing such a style) - Crystal, a girl with a past, broken beyond any able to trust any men that what she understood, love brought only pain in her life. When she met Gabriel Dalton, a man with a known history of his past needed her for therapy, they never knew it would take them on a journey to healing... one that brings hope to each other.
Such a premise I had seen before but as a reading material, I can't find any thing exceptional about it. Do not get me wrong - its a good read but the characters, as much as any romance book can get, its pretty much typical of any script written for a movie. The formula is there - broken girl don't believe in love, broken boy had a trauma in life, two met and two with a past fall in love. That's just how it is with most romantic stories these days. While nothing new is offered, I can't help but find a familiarity in this book. Although I love the writing, its just a book I can't seem to find any thing that lifts up my expectation. I wasn't disappointed at all when I finished it, its just I felt I had known such stories before. For a season reader and movie-goer on the topic of romantic stories, this is on a level I do enjoy, just not that high a level.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being is not everyone's read. For one, there is so much to follow on this book that the true nature of it is the topic that covers about love, infidelity, sexuality, obsession and lust. Its about two men, two women and a dog and how their lives are intertwine from one another based on Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of eternal recurrence.
I do enjoy reading it as it is funny, enlightening and enjoyable in my own account. I do understand its philosophical approach about love and sex and communism, where one felt some lightness of what Tomas desires and the weight burden of what Tereza felt when she was with him. Freedom is the main exploration of what adults do to each of their own. Where else love is a burden when it comes to relationships (that's how Tomas views it), in many interpretations it views differently for other characters.
For me, its a book I am not sure who to recommend. I can say this book gives me a different view how things happen for a reason, and we have only one life to choose from and no other better decisions will make it better as there is no point in comparing any thing. In my own personal opinion, I do find this one of the better reads in modern literature.
Post-apocalyptic dystopian stories are some thing I enjoy most. When I pick up Ice, it was a read I never thought I would enjoy, mainly because the setting is a character itself. While the story revolves around narrator who is in love with a girl that is pale as ice and hair that is silvery that it sparkles when she turns her head, its a story of love that is personal to the author herself - Anna Kavan.
The world is ending and ice is forming in almost every where. As the world is near frozen, one man travels from place to place to seek out a girl, held mysterious captive by a man known as the 'warden'. Where society on the brink of self-destruction and no government officials to control the chaos, the man had to travel through harsh ice and snow to save a girl who hardly knows him.
There is so much to enjoy in this book. Its my first time I heard about Anna Kavan (a pseudonym she use from one of her book characters; her real name is Helen Emily Woods) and when I pick up this book, it was just the theme I was looking for to read. I never knew that Ice was also a personal journey of her life experiences. Yes, there are some autobiography elements of her life in this book, one that truly shares the deepest depths of her unhappy life. As it may be weird in reading, this is a science fiction novel that truly has a unique voice. For me, this is by far one of my favorite reads this year.
How did the Silver Age DC Heroes came to be? That has always been a question for me for a long time in my days of reading comic books until I read Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier. I have always been fascinated wanting to read this comic mini-series and waited until a collected edition was available and finally, since its released in 2004 and now its 2018, after 12 years I finally read it. Its a seamless transition from the Golden Age superheroes paving way to the Silver Age of superheroes of a new era. And it was all done by the late Darwyn Cooke's story masterpiece.
It is the 1950s where paranoia is a government business, where glamour and glittering lights is the new trendy and superheroes who fought for freedom during the World War II are outlawed by the government - a new enemy emerge from the depths of the unknown. There are still icon heroes fighting on, working with the government - Superman and Wonder Woman. But when bigotry and racism is on the high, are there any heroes left to believe the American Dream or is it all about control? With a new dangerous enemy approaches on a path of destruction, the world needs its superheroes more than ever to save mankind once more.
The love the opening of DC: The New Frontier and soon I knew I am going to read a classic of its own. The way the Silver Age superheroes are introduce is just at the right moment for comic fans or new readers to enjoy every moment of the artwork itself. It is so well-balance that not a single superhero was done unjustly of its attention. The battles, the panels and its colors draws riches of its tale and fulfill me with a reading I knew I won't regret much at all. This trade paperback not only includes the entire mini-series but also includes behind the scenes in more than 50 pages of artwork, sketches and designs plus a one-shot special Justice League: The New Frontier that is a companion to the animated movie. To me, this is at its best I have ever read since Kingdom Come. Although can't be compared, on its own it has the same level of epic reading that is decent and beautiful on its own. I highly recommend for any who love DC heroes to read this.