Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book Review: But Then I Came Back

Author: Estelle Laure
Edition: eGalley courtesy of Netgalley
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

When I requested this book I had no idea it was actually the sequel/companion to the author's previous book, This Raging Light, which came out two years ago. I skimmed through the reviews of that one after I figured it out and found that it didn't sound like my kind of book. Good thing this one doesn't require you to know about the previous one, and I'd argue that it's a stronger book if you read it as a standalone without a previous book.

For one, the characters come off as strong immediately. As a reader I was swept up into an already fully formed world with a character full of complex relationships with other characters. I was surprised, but in a good way, and even though I didn't get to see all the history that these characters had between each other I still felt like it was all important and that the character's themselves had had this history in the first place.

As for the plot itself, I requested it on a whim. It sounded good, even though it wasn't my traditional genre, since I like reading about near-death experiences in fiction. I had no idea what sort of emotional ride I was in for, though. The story itself is good, but the underlying emotion is amazing. I was brought to tears multiple times and felt as if I was actually there experiencing things within the pages. I've never known anyone in a coma in real life but now I feel as if I actually do. I also want to point out that the author handled the details very well. It wasn't an over the top dramatizing of the coma as a plot device, like a soap opera might do, nor did it ignore all the unfortunate side effects. It handled them gracefully and painted a bittersweet journey of a person recovering from such an event in a respectful manner.

All of this was made the better by the beautiful and heady writing of the author. Estelle Laure has a talent for words that I am jealous of on a personal level. From the first page I knew I was in for a treat and I was never let down. As the last page closed I was mourning the end of her words as much as I was crying for the events in the story. It's a beautiful prose that I'd love to have printed on my wall.

A last note, I like this story quite a bit because I felt myself connecting with the main character, Eden, a good chunk of the time. Part of it does have to do with the mental health aspect, but part of it transcends that I think. It was something about the way she thought and the way I think that made it quite the connection. This rarely happens for me, and I don't often see so much of myself in a character, but it's a pleasant surprise.

TL;DR? A beautiful book, both for the plot and the prose, that I personally connected with on a number of levels.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ARC Review: Bull


Author: David Elliott
Edition: eARC courtesy of Netgalley
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Rating: 4 Stars
I received an eARC of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Bull is a retelling of the classic myth Theseus vs the Minotaur done completely in verse and written for a modern audience. I've even seen it compared to Hamilton in this regard, which I disagree with. This novel does serve to get the reader to sympathize with the Minotaur and also fills in some gaps that the original myth just stepped over quickly.

The beginning of this novel is incredibly strong, and I was swept in quickly to the action. The voice of Poseidon was early on one of my favorites, but about two thirds of the way through I got bored of him. He narrated everything and I wish more had been left for the other characters to tell since their perspectives might have been more interesting in that way. I also think about two thirds of the way through is when the plot sort of bottomed out. The characters were interesting but didn't get any deeper, the story moved too quickly for me to really grasp everything that was happening, and the ending came as a disappointing rush where some of the action is erased too quickly.

The verse, however, is fantastic the whole way through. It's done incredibly well and every character has a unique way of "speaking" through the verse. The author also includes a little guide to how he picked how each character spoke and what those forms of poetry are, which is interesting in its own right.

TL;DR?
Some people will really enjoy this retelling, though I found the last third to be weak in everything but the verse, which stayed strong throughout.

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

March Wrap Up #1

I am in the mist of finals which is why I've been silent lately. I'm not too worried or stressed about any of them, but they do take time to study for, so I haven't been reading or blogging much. I have been spending a lot of time with friends, which has been relaxing and a nice return to normal, and I've also been watching a lot of TV. I'm knee deep into season two of the Magicians and I still love it so much! I also managed to watch Logan twice, loved it so much both times!, and finished The OA, which was also amazing.

Finished This Month
Alanna: The First Adventure
It's a nice short read that one of my friends has been telling me to get to forever and I honestly enjoyed it more than I thought.

Currently Reading
The Book Thief
It's the book I picked for the book club I'm in and I'm rather enjoying it! It's slow and heavy, and probably not the best reading material for finals, but it's rather good.

This Month So Far
It's been a slow month for posting, because it's been a slow month for reading. Once finals are over I'll have the week for spring break and my course load for next term is rather light so things should be turning up around here pretty soon.

Coming Soon
As always, this is somewhat tentative and don't be surprised if more things are posted.
March 17 -- Review of Alanna
March 21 -- Review of Bull
March 23 -- College Journey

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Curses

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Breaking the Spine
Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Graces are determined to do it. Wolf is back after a mysterious disappearance, and everyone’s eager to return to normal. Except for Summer, the youngest Grace. Summer has a knack for discovering the truth—and something is troubling her. After a trail of clues leads her to what could be the key to both her family’s mysterious past and the secret of Wolf, she’s determined to vanquish yet another curse. But exposing secrets is a dangerous game, and it’s not one Summer can win alone.
At Summer’s behest, the coven comes back together, reluctantly drawing their erstwhile friend River back into the fold. But Wolf’s behavior becomes unpredictable even as Fenrin’s strength fades, and Summer must ask herself whether the friend she so loves is also planning her family’s ultimate, cursed demise.
This riveting sequel to The Graces is saturated with magic, the destructive cost of power, the
complications of family, and the nature of forgiveness.
Why I'm Waiting
I adored the first book in this series, The Graces, and was extremely excited to see this pop up on my Facebook feed. If you haven't picked up the first book yet I rather recommend it.

The Curses is released October 10th, 2017

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I'm Back & Where I've Been & What Will Happen Next

Yes, well, that was an abrupt posting wasn't it? Suddenly I was here and then I was taking an unscheduled break. I'll be honest, I didn't know if I'd be coming back.

Why? Emotional reasons. Things got pretty bad and I was severely overwhelmed. Even though blogging wasn't really the reason, I didn't have the time or energy to spare for it and I didn't want it to get stressful so I stopped while I was ahead. Honestly, I've taken a step back from nearly everything and slowly been adding it back to my life. Next up on the list is to try and start writing regularly again.

Right now things aren't as hard as they were but I know they won't be easy like they once where and I wish they would return to. Once upon a time I didn't have emotional and mental barriers keeping me from living a regularly scheduled life, and I've thought for a while I could return to that life, but I know now I can't and I have to use what I have now to carve a life I can enjoy and handle. And that's not bad at all, because now that I'm embracing what's wrong, learning about it, talking about it, dealing with it in new ways, I'm getting back parts of that previous life. And I'm starting to learn how to be actively happy again and it's really nice. 

But I also know this means I can't count on myself to be as reliable with everything. I will continue blogging- I love it and the community- but I don't want another unscheduled disappearance, so I have to take things a little differently.

So, what's next? I had a lot of grand ideas at the beginning of the year and I intend to follow through with some of them still. It's going to be slow going though.

I'll be back to regularly posting book reviews, but perhaps not every week. If I don't feel strongly about the book I'm not going to write a review. I'll also continue with College Journey post's, and I want to get back to that DC Comics series I was writing, but that one may have to wait for a while. There will still be two wrap-ups a month instead of one each week. As for movie/tv reviews, I think I will still do a few here and there if I feel super strongly about them but no promises.

Otherwise, consider me back to business!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

To Interrupt the Regularly Scheduled Program

So I'm taking an unplanned hiatus. I talk about the reasons why here so please if you're curious check it out.

I may not be back until March. Until then I'll be around on twitter but that's about it.

:)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Review: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber
Facebook - Twitter - Website
Edition: ARC courtesy of Publisher
Buy Links: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Book Depository
Goodreads
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I am among the majority when I say this was one of my most anticipated books of the new year. It sounded splendid- a carnival event that only takes place rarely and is a magical adventure and the quest of one sister to save the other. Paired with the positive early reviews and huge amount of buzz I thought, and found correct, that nothing could go wrong with this book.

Scarlett and Tella's father is abusive and Scarlett thinks the only way to get away from him and off the island he keeps them on is by marrying a complete, but seemingly kind, stranger. Every year, however, she wrote to Legend, the master of Caraval, in an attempt to see a performance. Only a few days before her marriage, she finally receives a reply, and three tickets that will get her into the performance which is on a neighboring island. It is her sister and the strange boy she found her sister hooking up with, though, that get her to that performance by kidnapping her and stealing her away in the night. It's not long before Scarlett realizes that Caraval is even more dangerous than it seems and that her sister is the game- whoever finds her wins.

It has been such a long time since I was so thoroughly sucked into a book that I didn't want to put it down. This book was like a drug. Every word propelled it into something grander and greater than I could have imagined going in. Not only was the world a whimsical, yet dark, and stunning dreamscape that leapt off the page and stole me away, but the characters were well thought out, three dimensional beings that made me laugh and cry and feel everything in between. The plot was incredible as well and while I was guessing the entire time I read, rarely did my guesses land their mark as things turned out to be better than I could conjure.

I already know that this is going to be in the top ten books of this year, and the year has only just started! I'm eagerly awaiting the next book and I don't think I could recommend this one any harder. Should I mention the slow to develop but heart swooning romance? Should I mention the endless magic at Caraval that will leave you looking for your own ticket? Should I mention the relationship between the sisters that was stronger than even the romance and showed another, more beautiful side, to the love normally common in YA novels? Or should I leave you here and beg you to pick this up and devour it?

I'll leave you here.