Reading Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda makes me smile for a good reason. Its warm, funny and yet meaningful in many ways how I care about the characters. But what makes Simon special was how its written. Then came the spin-off, Leah on the Offbeat, where the central character is Leah Burke - totally opposite of Simon Spier; cynical teenager about how life is for her and how she view things in life that is negative in many ways. While Simon is light and filled with colorful characters, well on his point of view, Leah on the other hand is on what reality is - no fluffy bears but just judgmental on every thing. Its not bad, its just not that better and more of the same but less beautiful.
Following the events after Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Leah Burke is in the band with Anna, Morgan and Nora, only its falling apart after college is on the horizon and with prom coming, suddenly things just seem to fall apart. Nick and Abby strangely aren't together as always, Morganhad offended Leah with a racist remark and Garrett seems to be in love with Leah, which is isn't. What matters worst is Leah's mum is in love with someone who isn't exactly someone Leah would like to have as future stepdad. And then there is Abby Suso, a girl Leah isn't sure she likes her or not but when things start to question about relationships, Leah doesn't know if he can accept Abby as someone as a close friend... or some thing more.
The beginning is some what unimpressive and it was later on, it slowly picks up. I can't seem to find what was the purpose of this book as it felt like it starts off in the middle of every thing. And then, its pretty much how young adult books are written, only with cynical wit and lots of waffles, cuss words and I-am-not-sure-what-I-want-in-life moments. There are times it is funny, and I really do start to like Leah and the rest of the characters on the later part of the book. But from how it really starts off and towards the end, overall its not that bad. Its just not better. Pretty much normal but in a realistic way. To me, this is a 3.5 out of 5 star rating. If you love the first Creekwood book, you will still enjoy the second, just no better.
I have read a few LGBT books before, I do enjoy them by how its written but missing out Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda when it was first published in 2015, I finally get around reading it. Part of reading this book was because of the movie (which I have yet to watch still, and its not showing in my country) but to get my hands on a hardcover edition, was never a regret moment. It took me a few weeks to finish when it should be just a week but I bid my time to enjoy it, which I did.
There is much to talk about Simon but I am not going to spoil much of it but share my thoughts what I feel towards it. For one - I love the writing. If there is any thing that should be written for a young adult love story, this is it. It feels so natural the exchange dialogue between characters that is real enough for me, I had a great time laughing. The characters are wonderful and memorable. There's Simon, who really is not an open person and afraid if he openly tells people he is gay, his family and friends may not accept him. Leah, Abby & Nick, his closest friends shares their acceptance and arguments with him like friends should be is just lovable and cute. And then of course, the chapters of exchange email letters. It just felt so natural, like peeking into someone's life with interest of course. I mean, we all do that some times. And then, what the main theme is about this book that makes it worth reading - open up ourselves to the world and its not about being open up of being gay, but by who we are opening up to the world of what who we are instead of just pretend to be who we are not. I love the writing of it that really have a good lead towards it, with of course a few mushy lovey-dovey teen drama in it (which is why I dock off one star and giving it a four). In all its worth, I really enjoy it.
To me, people should read this. It has this feel good feeling, the coming-of-age-out-of-open-up young adult book that I would recommend anyone reading it. I am looking forward to reading the next Creekwood book, Leah on then Offbeatafter this. If you haven't read this, please do. This is really a good read.
Where Every Heart A Doorway shows us a world where doors are open to the hearts of children that leads to home instead of the real world we live in, Beneath the Sugar Sky answers the questions why these doors exist and how time plays its role in it. The third book of the Wayward Children series continues from Every Heart A Doorway when a girl, out of nowhere drops off from the sky and lands on a lake near Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. It was this girl, that takes Christopher, Kade and two other new characters (Cora and Nadya) on an adventure through a world of Confection. From there, its starts to get a little weird.
Although I would love to reveal more but if no one has read the first book, I won't write much of it here. Still, this is a hard book to rate. I am torn between 4 star rating or a 3.5 star. You see, this doesn't feel much for me in ways to really say this is better or as good as Down Among the Sticks and Bones, its more of an adventure quest to me. Although it does answer more questions about doorways open for certain children and some times, its possible that its open for all, its enough to fulfill fans of this series that might have some questions that are finally answered here. Here, we get to know more about Christopher and his abilities, a new main character Cora taking the lead here and an old familiar face returns that will excite fans. Overall, I like it still so likely this is one series I will be staying but its a long wait for me to read the next chapter. Beneath the Sugar Sky can be fun to read, and funny at times too. This is a fantasy novella that I feel deserves some attention.
I have finally finished! The sequel to Six of Crows and the finale of this duology ends to me with a satisfying conclusion. It has been a wild journey for me, a long one (my fault, due to reading slump and work) and in the end, it's almost perfect.
Continued from where it was left off, Kaz Brekker and his crew returns to Ketterdam as wanted fugitives. After being double crossed by Jan Van Eck, the crew needs to hide their most wanted prize, if only they won't be hunted by every one who wants that prize and killing the crew. But Kaz has a plan that will change the game of odds to his favor and the only way to do this, is that his crew able to survive to challenge what's ahead of them.
I do love the finale and how it ended. Its not really great but its good enough that it ends as its meant to be. I love the characters, its development and the relationship between one another. The scheming and the planning, the plot and the twist is just good enough to keep me reading. If not for the slump, I would have finished this sooner. There is so much to explore on this book that I want to talk about but this is definitely worth re-reading... one day. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The trouble with denying children the freedom to be themselves - with forcing them into an idea of what they should be, not allowing them to choose their own paths - is that all too often, the one drawing the design knows nothing of the desires of their model. Children are not formless clay, to be shaped according to the sculptor's whim, nor are they blank but identical dolls, waiting to be slipped into the mode that suits them best. Give ten children a toy box, and watch them select ten different toys, regardless of gender or religion or parental expectations. Children have preferences. The danger comes when they, as with any human, are denied those preferences for too long.
I will always remember this passage, of how true its meaning and what makes Down Among the Sticks and Bones, the second book of the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire stands out most. This is actually the back story of Jack and Jill, twin sisters that appeared in Every Heart A Doorway, one of the characters that answers the questions of open doorways to another world. While their world is a familiar place we grew up of from nightmarish stories from Bram Stoker's novel, Jack and Jill feels real in reality of the world we live in.
Jacqueline andJillian Wolcott were born with a plan by their parents to be their perfect trophies. As they started to grow, they were expected to be at their best by their parents desires, not theirs. But when both the twins discover a doorway in a trunk that lead them to the Moors, their lives forever changed as what was once they thought home was a house, it is a place where they feel belong.
I love this book a lot. Seanan McGuire had explored the relationship of parent and child through Jack and Jill, the idea of what parents want for their kids and through here, it feels so real that truth is spoken. While this serves as a stand-alone and a back story to one of the characters that is important in the Wayward Children series, I love the simplicity and fantasy depicts here. Its dark in its way and it answers to one of the questions I have from the first book on how these doorways appears in front of the children. Then of course, the relationship of the characters and its purpose speaks in good volumes. There is anticipation, smoothness and intriguing in the book, that I regret not making time to finish it earlier. If any thing, this book deserves a 4.5 out of 5 stars and will recommend fantasy lovers or students/children to read.
What if the world we live in is our reality and there is another world beside ours exist? A world where belongs to you that you will call home. A fantasy world filled with sugar candies or a world where you are the prince in the Goblin Market. Where worlds exist isn't ours that your parents do not believe you even you had being there for a long time, thought missing or kidnap and return to the living, labelled crazy that your parents sent you to a boarding school called Eleanor's West Home for Wayward Children that helps these troubled children, only that this is a place that helps them because the the principal believes there are such worlds exist because... she has cross over before. This is the premise of Every Hear A Doorway, the first book of the Wayward Children series written by Seanan McGuire, a science fiction fantasy novella that is quite unique and yet similar to some other stories you might have heard before. While there is originality to its own, it is enjoyable and yet predictable.
It begins with a girl named Nancy Whitman, an ordinary teenager looking girl except for her white hair arrived at the manor, where she meets the residence of the Wayward Children. There, she discovers other children with similar experiences like her on different scale or level, some lived in worlds that are light and others lived in worlds that are dark and bleak. As she starts to discover and learn about the boarding school, one by one, children turns up dead in gruesome manner. Are any of the deaths, related to her or to anyone that lives in the world of the dark?
Reading Every Heart A Doorway to me is enjoyable because for its straight-to-a-point story where it doesn't waste much time as it progresses pretty much forward without any bullsh*t. And then, the world building is an interesting one where this reality explores portals opens to each children of their heart desires is intriguing and I believe, not done before. The building suspense of its mystery of the murders on the other hand at the beginning is plotted out pretty well, it was towards the end where its predictable when discovered who the real murderer was in the same old fashion reasoning why 'I done it because' excuse just fail to my expectation. Overall, I like it and I feel 3.5 out of 5 stars deserves its rating. I will be reading the next chapter, as although its not a sequel but rather a back-story of one of the characters.
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.