Monday, December 30, 2013

Favorite Books of 2013

Now that there's only two more days of 2013, it's time to reflect on all those good books I've read. This year I only managed to read 27, which is actually the most I've read ever since starting college and high school. But anyways, here are the top 10 books I read this year!

10. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Amazing read, although the only problem for me was Gaiman's writing style, because he has a weird way of explaining what's going on at the moment. I also read The Ocean at the End of the Lane and had even more trouble with it. Nevertheless, the plot pulls you in and keeps you engaged. I mean it's a boy being raised by ghosts in a graveyard how can it not be awesome?

9. The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Usually I never ever read books that are about suicide, drugs, and school shootings, but this one was different. The reason I even bothered to pick it up was for an All About Me challenge (which sadly I didn't finish). Although at first I wasn't looking forward to reading it, after the first few chapters I was hooked. The Hate List accurately portrays what happens before, during, and after a high school shooting, unlike the media. And since the character, Valerie, is directly related to the shooter, I got to see how she had the handle the situation. Honestly I felt so bad for her, because none of it was her fault. During the entire book I just wanted to scream and tell everyone that just because the shooter was her boyfriend it doesn't mean she's bad too. Anyways, this book was really intense, and I highly recommend it. 

8. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

I was super excited to read this one, and although it was a little below my expectations, it's still one of my favorites of the year. Basically, this little girl, September, winds up in Fairyland and goes on a journey in order to get rid of the new Marquess. This is one children's book I will be making my kids read, because there are so many twists that I just did not expect. And because of that, I will be eagerly awaiting the sequel.

7. This Is How You Die: Short Story Anthology

This is actually the sequel to The Machine of Death, which I read about a year ago. AND ALL OF THE STORIES ARE AMAZING. This is what it says on the back:

The machines started popping up around the world. The offer was tempting: with a simple blood test, anyone could know how they would die. But the machines didn't give dates or specific circumstances-just a single word or phrase. DROWNED, CANCER, OLD AGE, CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN. And though the predictions were always accurate, they were also often frustratingly vague. OLD AGE, it turned out, could mean either dying of natural causes, or being shot by an elderly, bedridden man in a botched home invasion. The machines held onto that old-world sense of irony in death: you can know how it's going to happen, but you'll still be surprised when it does.

How does this NOT make you want to read the book? Just that alone should intrigue you and make you read it because this and it's prequel is amazing. I really recommend it to everyone.

6. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

I don't know why I haven't read this until this year, but I do not regret it one bit. Not only do I love the fact that it's in space, but also it features young kids. I know it is hard to imagine, but it shows that kids can be smart, wise, and responsible. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm really looking forward to watching it.

5. The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

I know I just wrote a review for it (which you should check out), but this novel is just simply amazing and I enjoyed it immensely! I loved Anna so much, I just wish that there was an epilogue or a sequel! Actually, there is a prequel to this, but it's more of a spin-off so I'm not sure I will like it or not. But I will read it soon!

4. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

If I am not mistaken, this is Wecker's first novel. And kudos to her because this is one HECK of a novel! This is an amazing tale that brings together two religions and connects them with a story of two very magical beings, by using LOVE. I am an absolute sucker for crossovers, so I enjoyed this so much that I cried when it ended. This is an amazing example of a historical fantasy, and I recommend to all, as usual.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I'm just going to bring up my little post from Tumblr which I wrote right after I finished this:

Ok, let me gush about this book because I JUST NEED TO. If you haven't heard of it, you go read it RIGHT NOW because it describes the Tumblr community COMPLETELY. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell describes Cath, an introvert that literally fangirls about a book series (like harry potter) and writes fanfiction about it,pairing up the two male leads in the series. I can say that she DEFINITELY represents EVERYONE here on tumblr that is part of a fandom, like sherlock, doctor who, harry potter, supernatural, etc. etc.

If you aren't convinced HERE ARE SOME QUOTES:

"Have you ever seen an alpaca, Cather? They're like the world's most adorable llamas. Like, imagine the cutest llama that you can, and then just keep going."

"I'm not interested in lips out of context."

"This was why Cath wrote fic. For these hours when their world supplanted the real world. When she could just ride their feelings for each other like a wave, like something falling downhill."

"There are other people on the Internet. It's awesome. You get all the benefits of 'other people' without the body odor and the eye contact."

As you can see, there's nothing more I can say, other than how SUPER FANTABULOUS this book is!

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I have no words to say other than this quote from the book.

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I'm likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.”

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I read this book on my kindle for book club, and then I made someone buy a hard copy for me for Christmas. If I had the time, I would read a little bit of this book every day. It made me sad, made me happy, made my frustrated, made me angry, and most importantly, it made me realize how powerful words can be. This story isn't about the Holocaust; it's about a girl that has the ability to shake the world with her words.

Review: The Firebird

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: June 4, 2013
"Nicola Marter was born with a gift: when she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When the gallery she works in receives a wooden carving she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird, the mythical bird that inspires an old Russian fairytale and was once owned by Russia’s famed Empress Catherine.

Nicola’s investigation into the Firebird’s origin draws her into the 1715 world of Anna Logan and leads her on a quest through Scotland, France and Russia, unearthing a tale of love and sacrifice, of courage and redemption"

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 12/2/13  |  End: 12/25/13  |  Pages: 539  |  Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts:

I'M GOING TO BURST if I have to wait one more day to review this book. Actually I was supposed to finish this a couple of weeks earlier, but I didn't, for certain reasons I will explain right now.

So here's the truth. I am a 19-year-old girl slowly making the shift from young adult novels to adult fiction, picking up books here and there from each section (truthfully I feel like I've been reading "New Adult", because that's what Goodreads is telling me these days). The Firebird was painfully slow at the start. I wasn't intrigued by Nicola's gift as much as I thought I would be, and also...

I DIDN'T LIKE ROB (at first, I do now because he redeemed himself)

Yes I know. How can you not like Rob he's a nice guy. Well, I wasn't fond of him at first because it just felt like he was the center of attention. Rob had more psychic abilities than Nicola did, and it just WASN'T FAIR. 

Now Anna's story, her story I did like very much. As the novel progresses, Kearsley pulls me deeper and deeper into Anna's life. I mean, I was shocked when I finished reading, because I was just expecting more, like I wanted an EPILOGUE! But besides that, these characters were truly amazing, and beyond all my expectations. Also, Kearsley mentions very few random facts here and there, and she also explained the whole true king of England, I was very glad for that. I have not read The Winter Sea, so I knew nothing about the topic. 

AND THE BEST PART about this is that Kearsley managed to bring two different stories from two different times together, and she did it so well that I didn't notice until it was over. Because the truth is, no matter how much I didn't like Rob and Nicola, without them, The Firebird wouldn't have been as amazing.  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Review: Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: July 3, 2012
"Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart."

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 11/17/13  |  End: 12/9/13  |  Pages: 304  |  Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: 

I love Peter Pan, well at least the Disney version. That's what I was expecting out of this book, for it to be an equally happy story about the wonders of Neverland. Although I was completely wrong about it, I'm glad this book added a new twist to the whole Peter Pan theme. 

First off, the fact that Tinker Bell is narrating the story is brilliant. Not only is she such an underrated character in the original Peter Pan, but the author also uses her to tell the story. Tinker Bell is able to read and feel the thoughts of humans, so throughout the book I kept on forgetting that it was her telling the story. Sometimes it's frustrating to see Tink try so hard to get noticed by Tiger Lily or Peter, that it destroys me a little inside. 

All the characters completely blew my mind, well mostly Tiger Lily and Peter Pan. Peter was described as a vicious boy, rather than the adventurous one I grew up on. And he didn't even fly! I think flying was replaced with some sort of wire contraptions that I didn't exactly read too deeply into. But anyways, the author depicted Neverland as a place with mermaids and fairies, but it also was just an island out on the ocean. 

Throughout the story, Tiger Lily experienced so many hardships and obstacles and I really couldn't handle it. I almost threw the book across the room because enough is ENOUGH, this poor girl doesn't deserve all this! The more I read, the more I pitied her, which isn't surprising because Tink is the observer and the narrator and what she felt was what I felt. 

Overall, this book is a tearbreaker. You learn to love the strong and fierce Tiger Lily, and then you watch her world crumble. And because of this, I will never see Neverland in the same light again.
BUT DEFINITELY GO READ THIS, especially if you're a fan of Peter Pan.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Start of a Reading Blog

I am so excited to get started on blogging! I definitely know I will have absolutely no time since it's getting closer and closer to finals, but you know what, procrastination is the way to go! And anyway the studying is going to get done sooner or later. And plus I'm helping someone with French right now over chat so THAT SHOULD COUNT somehow.

But basically, I am going to try to blog about as many books in general. I mostly read anything, whether it's adult or young adult. I haven't officially read a non-fiction or a memoir but I will read anything that interests me.

And just a heads up, I am not the best writer in town. My dad spoke French and my mom spoke Chinese, so I grew up learning three languages, but not very well. I have a very hard time putting words together and forming sentences that accurately portray what I'm trying to express. BUT THIS BLOG IS GOOD! Because I can finally improve my skills.

Since this is my first post on Blogger, I just want to say that the way this is set up is so convenient and fresh! I'm in love with the fact that creating a post is so EASY. I never imagined blogging would be so fun.

I will try to get my first book review by tomorrow or the next day. But for now I will be going to bed :)
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