Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Scheinmel

Title: The Stone Girl
Author: Alyssa B. Scheinmel
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: eBook
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from August 18 to 21, 2012
My rating: 1 star: I don't like it
Summary: Sethie Weiss is hungry, a mean, angry kind of hunger that feels like a piece of glass in her belly. She’s managed to get down to 111 pounds and knows that with a little more hard work—a few more meals skipped, a few more snacks vomited away—she can force the number on the scale even lower. She will work on her body the same way she worked to get her perfect grades, to finish her college applications early, to get her first kiss from Shaw, the boy she loves, the boy who isn’t quite her boyfriend. Sethie will not allow herself one slip, not one bad day, not one break in concentration. Her body is there for her to work on when everything and everyone else—her best friend, her schoolwork, and Shaw—are gone.


She feels like a creature out of a fairy tale: a girl who discovers that her bones are really made out of stone, that her skin is really as thin as glass, that her hair is brittle as straw, that her tears have dried up so that she cries only salt. Maybe that's why it doesn't hurt when she presses hard enough to begin bleeding: it doesn't hurt, because she's not real anymore.

This is one of those novels I think I might like but end up not liking. I've never read any books that involve eating disorders of any kind before, so I thought this could be a new experience. But it is an understatement to say that I am disappointed.

I didn't like this book. Because of the 3rd person point of view, I couldn't get into the story to begin with.  I found it hard to read and it didn't help that it really kind of bored me. But there are other things that endlessly disturb me, like the narrator's thoughts.

The narrator, Sethie Weiss, starts out an anorexic and then becomes a bulimic as the story goes on. Being extremely thin is her idea of beautiful. What really makes me uncomfortable is the fact that she glorifies her eating disorder like she really believes it. Realistic? I don't know. But definitely uncomfortable. She says she loves lying down on the floor and feeling her hipbones pressed against the hard floor, because it's telling her that there's no fat there. This girl is seriously obsessed. There are a lot of scenes where I had to turn my eyes away and scrunch up my face because I was really terrified. Especially the scene where she wants to "cut the fat right out" and "scrape out the fat" with her nails.  So what does she do? She scratches her right knee, the place where she makes her scab flick off, and then she leans closer and sucks. Yes, DIY liposuction! Only she doesn't suck out the fat. What comes out is blood, which according to her, is "disappointing." If you want to her if she swallows the blood, no, she doesn't, because "for all she knows, blood might have calories."

This book makes me want to cry big time.

It might be because I couldn't relate to the main character, not having had an eating disorder and all. However I, like most girls, have felt ugly because of my fat. Sure, I used to hate myself and be depressed because of it, but I got over it. The thing is, I don't ever remember having ideas as ridiculous as Sethie's. I don't sleep with a knife under my pillow or mattress. And I sure don't play with it, let alone using it to trace my skin and thinking about cutting it to let out the fat. Which is precisely what Sethie does, among other things like throwing up and starving herself. Like I said, it disturbs me a lot.

Except for disgust, I hardly felt anything reading this book. I didn't find Sethie sympathetic, and I definitely didn't like her. There's no character development whatsoever. It's kind of ironic that, being a realistic young adult novel, there are a few unrealistic aspects. Sethie is supposedly very smart, but she also uses drugs, and lets herself be used for sex. And in the end, she miraculously wakes up. No, it doesn't work for me. If someone has been so stubborn about her behaviors, she doesn't just get up and change herself like that.

After everything I've said, as you might have guessed, I have to give it just one star. The subject matters may sound interesting, but trust me, that's really all there is to it. Unless you want to spend your time reading the wrong book and experience disturbing issues, there are other books for you. I'm definitely not going to recommend this book for anyone.


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Title: Confessions of an Angry Girl
Author: Louise Rozett
Series: Confessions #1
Genre: Teen, Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from August 14 to 17, 2012
My Rating: 2 stars: Nothing special
Summary: Freshman Rose Zarelli has rage issues. First of all, her father lost his job, took work as a contractor in Iraq...and never came home. Second, she likes the wrong guy and his super-intense, scary cheerleader girlfriend is now her nemesis. Third, her fashionista best friend, Tracy, is suddenly infinitely cooler than she is—and talking about losing her virginity. (What?!) Rose is ahead when it comes to studying for the PSAT, but she’s so far behind socially that she might as well be moving backward. She needs Tracy’s help choosing the right clothes, she likes all the wrong extracurricular activities, and she can’t even make a decision about which photo of her father to put on the memorial website she’s making (and hiding from her adolescent-shrink mother). With her brother away at college and her mother always locked in her office with her messed-up teen patients, Rose struggles to get through each day without inflicting bodily harm on anyone.


This is a story about a girl with a stellar vocabulary who is four years away from college and a year and a half away from a driver's license. About a girl trapped in a hostile universe where the virginity clock is ticking down--relentlessly--with zero consideration for her extenuating traumatic, lifealtering circumstances.


Let me start off by saying that this book is not for me. From the start, I knew that I wasn't going to like it much. Throughout the book, the story failed again and again to interest me. It's just incredibly boring This is one of those books that I won't want to pick up again once I lay it down. 

Which is, to be honest, quite unexpected. I know Rose has lost her father in the war in Iraq. And I tend to love books whose main character's father is dead, which I can totally relate to. But most of the time I was annoyed by Rose. Her character isn't all that believable to me. She is supposed to be angry as described in the blurb. But no, she feels pretty normal to me. Just any other normal teenager who's pessimistic and sarcastic and annoying. Rage issues? Please, what an overstatement. It's just a way to make Rose sound more interesting, I guess, but it's so deceiving. She does have angry outbursts but only no more than 3 times, and they are nowhere near rage issues. She claims to be very smart, but I really couldn't see how. 

The other characters in the book are also just as, if not more, annoying. There are your typical mean girl  named Regina (but is nowhere near epic as Mean Girls' Regina George), the best friend who can only talk about "doing it" without protection with her boyfriend, and the crush--oh, the unattainable crush who's with someone else but plays with Rose's heart anyway and then quits by saying he's not for her. Hmm. I'm not sure which one of them I want to punch first. 

Frankly, I feel like this book is maybe for the teen age group. It really didn't do it for me. There are a lot of things that I really don't like in the book that feel immature and childish. Girl drama, crush drama, best friend drama. None of that really interests me. And in the end, I could say that the plot really goes nowhere. No character development, that's for sure. I couldn't feel the climax, if there is one. The story just goes on and on, and then abruptly stops. Seriously. I emphasize, abruptly. And then? Oh, there'll be book two! Haha, well, too bad I'm not impressed enough to want to stick around when it comes out. This is a very forgettable read for me. 


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review Copies Cleaup (RCCleaup) Update (2)

BBT

This challenge is hosted by Books, Biscuits, and Tea and Nyx Book Reviews. Head over here if you want to join. Sign-up is open until August 15! 


So, after last week's post I have made a little progress. During the week I wrote two reviews for the ARCs I'd finished, and then I finished three more ARCs, and wrote two reviews for them. The other one is on its way. :D 

I consider this a pretty good progress, considering how much of a slow reader I am. 


ARCs finished so far in August: 
1. Glitch by Heather Anastasiu 
2. The Wednesdays by Julie Bourbeau 
3. Let's Hear it for Almigal by Wendy Kupfer 
4. Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle 
5. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire 
6. Rape Girl by Alina Klein
7. Speechless by Hannah Harrington
8. Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
9. Confession of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett 

I plan to finish these books in August: 
1. The Stone Girl by Alissa B. Scheinmal (CURRENTLY READING)
2. Reflection by Jessica Roberts (not ARC but for book tour)
3. At What Cost by J. Anderson (not ARC but for book tour) 

And if I finish the three books above early, I won't start with September ARC's yet. I'll take a month off reviewing. Since September is my finals month, I need to finish these: 
1. Er hieß Jan by Irina Korschunow (for German class)
2. The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen (for Eng Reading class)
3. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (for Eng Lit class, will be a reread)
4. Life & Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee (for Intro Lit report)

Busy time is approaching ever so quickly now. I need to get things done as soon as possible so I'll have time to study for finals. I'm also currently being bombarded with tests and assignments. Boo. Speaking of which, tomorrow I'll have a Lit test on The German Refugee by Bernard Malamud. I've read it two times already. I need one more close-reading to be sure. Wish me luck! :) 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review: Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Title: Over You 
Author: Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Genre: Young Adult, Chick Lit
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 304
Format: eBook 
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from August 13 - 25, 2012 
My Rating: 3 stars: I like it
Summary: After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all. 

How is it that civilization evolved the ability to shuttle someone to the moon, but other than capturing its excruciating details in every medium, it hadn't come up with anything to guide women through heartbreak? 

This is a story about a 17-year-old girl, Max Scott, who runs a company of her own called Ex, Inc. With the help of Max's two friends, the company helps girls all over New York get over their exes. So far Max is the guru of heartbreak, until she sees Hugo Tillman, the guy who dumped her years ago, in the neighborhood. And then this proves to her that she isn't really as over him as she thinks she is.

I liked the idea of this book. I thought it was very promising and that it would be a fun read. And in a way, it is. I expected it to be a YA novel, but it turns out to be chick lit with YA characters. Now, my experience with chick lit novels in the past has told me that I don't tend to like them that much --there are only a few chick lit books that I have given the maximum of 4 stars to. And while I liked Over You enough, there are some things in the book that kept me from fully enjoying it.

In the very beginning, I had a problem getting into it. To begin with, I'm not really a big fan of third-person omniscient narration in chick lit, and this is exactly how the book is narrated. What's more, the run-on sentences (some are 7 lines long!) with lots of punctuation marks make me constantly lose track of what's being said. This wasn't fun. The progress was slow and I was annoyed more than anything. But after a quarter of the book, it became less difficult for me. I'm not sure if this was because I'd already got used to it or the writing really was better. Still, I wasn't impressed with the writing, to say the least.

There are many ways the book could have been better. Especially in the character department. While they're fun to read about, they don't have much depth. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. Max is a good character, but I'm not sure if I liked her. She's portrayed as strong, confident, and someone who knows exactly what she's doing and doesn't let anyone mess with her. But years ago, she's been broken too. Max's breakup with Hugo, as revealed later in the book, is very miserable and involves goose shit. I liked how she thinks she's fine until Hugo comes back into her life again and she loses her cool. That's as realistic as  a relationship can get. But I don't like the way the book makes Hugo a jerk. I mean, Max is seriously not over him and she loves him so much still, and when they have another shot, the writers decide to make him the biggest asshole ever so that she realizes he's not for her and so she can easily make a decision to go back to her present love interest and easily get over Hugo. What I'm trying to say is, after all the crying and pining, if he's really that much of a jerk, how come she doesn't realize it until now? But that's not the point. The point is that I find it a very bad plot device -- one that weakens the conflict in the story and makes everything too easy. Hugo is an important character because he makes all that Max think she is come crashing down. Hugo could've had much more depth to his character and be used to make Max doubt herself even more before she finally gets over him, which would make the story much more powerful.

Bottom line: Over You has a very promising idea and is a light and fun read, but it could have been much better.


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from Edelweiss and the publisher for review.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

SPEECHLESS
Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: August 28, 2012 by HarlequinTEEN
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read on August 12, 2012
My Rating: 4 stars: I really like it (4.5)
Summary: Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret. Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed. Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse. But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

Hate is easy, but love takes courage.

Hannah Harrington did it again! I hereby worship her and declare my undying love for her, as she's now one of my favorite writers. Actually, she already became one when I read Saving June. I swear, whatever she writes, I'll read. I'm that loyal, and she's that good. And I'm sure her next works will still continue to blow my mind over and over and over and over again. I have no doubt about that at all.

I must admit that I was a little bit surprised to find that Speechless isn't what I thought it would be about. This is because I'd totally got the wrong idea by watching the book trailer released by Harlequin last month. I don't know if this is just me or the misunderstanding is universal (unlikely, though). From the video, I understood that Chelsea Knot (main character) walks in on Noah (whom I thought was her boyfriend) in bed with someone, and then she decides not to speak ever again. Well, that doesn't make much sense, does it? I mean, if that's what it is, then why wouldn't her saying sorry be enough? What does she have to apologize for anyway? She just catches them in bed! Hahaha. I was so clueless. And now, I'm so glad to find that the real story isn't like that!

So what is this book really about? Okay, first, meet Chelsea Knot. She's one of your typical popular girl sidekicks, equipped with sidekick attitude and personality and all. She's proud to be queen bee Kristen's best friend, and she has been for two years. Until one day she isn't anymore. That day at Kristen's party, she walks into a bedroom and finds Noah, one of her schoolmates, in bed with a guy. As a girl who can't keep a secret, she rushes downstairs and tell Kristen and her jock friends. Noah and his guy friend leave the party. It couldn't ended like that. But this is where things go wrong: her jock friends decide to chase after them to teach them a lesson, which is jock language for beating the shit out of them. And duh, that's what happens.  They beat him up so terribly that he lies in coma in the hospital bed. Chelsea knows this too, and so she calls the cops, who later put her jock friends in jail. And then Chelsea is hated by everyone including her "friends."

She's called a lot of names such as "rat," "stupid whore," and "bitch," to which she replies "Bitch? Really? Whoever is behind this is in dire need of a thesaurus. The level of creativity is tragic more than anything." You gotta love her. But that's beside the point. The point is her so-called friends turn their backs on her, and this put her on the receiving end of all the things she's done while being Kristen's sidekick. It's terrible and ridiculous, now she realizes that. And she's sorry. Not for the social status it costs her, but for what she's done to land people in coma and in jail. Realizing running her mouth does more harm than good, she decides to "do the world a favor" by taking a vow of silence.

Speechless totally blew me away. It tackles tough issues like bullying and LGBT rights and still can manage to be funny and very entertaining without being too heavy. I love  how Chelsea, determined to be silent, makes an evident progress in sympathizing with other people and listening to them, which I don't think she would've learned, had none of this happened to her. It's like she opens up her mind more and becomes a better person. Her character development is impressive. Chelsea goes from the girl who follows Kristen around, not really having an opinion of her own, who lives to gossip, to a selfless version of herself who cares about others and stands firmly for something she believes in. Although many reviewers say that they find Chelsea difficult to like at first, it was the opposite with me. I liked her from the beginning, but not because I liked what she was doing. I liked her voice as it resonated in my head, giving me things to think. I liked how her character is very well portrayed and well-developed that it's hard not to think she's real and to feel like you already know her.

Other characters are great as well. I think this is one of the many outstanding talents of Hannah Harrington. She can create well-crafted characters that feel so real and so alive and so wonderful. I love Chelsea's two new awesome friends, Sam and Asha. They come into her life and make it all better. Asha is bubbly and sounds like a fun person to be around. And Sam, oh-my-god Sam, is so cute! I'm not even going to gush about him, because it would be really over-the-top. Noah and Andy, they're lovely. I love Noah for this:
"Hate is...it's too easy," he says. His face is calm, calmer than it has any right to be, his eyes not wavering from mine, like he's so completely sure of what he's saying. "Love. Love takes courage." 
I'm sure this must've put tears in my eyes, even though I don't remember it. It's like, wow. Forgiveness. It's awesome. It's totally worth having your eyes brimmed with tears. As I earlier stated, Chelsea's voice totally impresses me. No, actually, Hannah Harrington's writing renders me speechless. (Haha!) This is one of the things I love Hannah Harrington for. Whenever her characters talk to us, I know it's my cue to grab my highlighters. Gosh, I can't begin to explain this. I'm a big fan of words and when words line up as beautifully as Hannah Harrington's do, I'm hypnotized. I'm seriously lost and I drown in them. It's her thing, I supposed. Whenever her characters tell us what they're thinking or how they're feeling, it's almost always something memorable that never fails to strike a chord with me. This also happened a lot of times with Saving June, her debut novel.

If I were to compare Saving June with Speechless, I'd say I loved Saving June more. Because it's true. I'd also say they are quite different from each other. In my opinion, Saving June is tinted with teenage angst and sadness of someone who's lost a loved one, which hits very close to home for me and therefore scores more points. While Speechless doesn't have that kind of sad vibe I love so much, it's still a great journey of a girl trying to find her own voice, a story about mistakes, forgiveness, bullying, and the right to love. I can't say which one is better but I can assure you that both books are brilliant.

With beautiful prose (as always), wonderful characters, cute romance and just enough humor, Speechless is guaranteed to take you on an awesome journey that will leave you... well, speechless! (Ha!)

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This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.

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Words of wisdom from Hannah Harrington in the Q&A section:
"Words matter--how we use them and how we don't. Sometimes it is really difficult and even scary to speak up for what you believe is right, but it is important to do. At the end of the day you answer to yourself, no one else, so you'll be happy that you did."

My Saving June review

Book Trailer


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: Rape Girl by Alina Klein

Title: Rape Girl
Author: Alina Klein
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: August 15, 2012 by namelos
Format: eBook
Pages: 126
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepostory
Read on August 11, 2012
My Rating: 2 stars: Nothing special
Summary: Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl. But not the rape girl. That’s who she is now. Rape Girl. Because everyone seems to think they know the truth about what happened with Adam that day, and they don’t think Valerie’s telling it. Before, she had a best friend, a crush, and a close-knit family. After, she has a court case, a support group, and a house full of strangers. The real truth is, nothing will ever be the same. Rape Girl is the compelling story of a survivor who does the right thing and suffers for it. It is also the story of a young woman’s struggle to find the strength to fight back.


"Hey, look. It's that girl. That rape girl, right?" 

After Adam's raped Valerie and her mother's told the police, Valerie is labeled the "rape girl" and a liar. Her friends turn their backs on her because they either really don't believe her, or they just want to still be on Adam's side, the popular people side. Valerie is torn. She's the victim, but people treat her as if she's the guilty one. She's separated from class and can't show her face in public, while the rapist still lives his life normally as if nothing's happened. What's more, Valerie is blamed for making up a story that will keep Adam from his becoming a missionary. This is ridiculous.

While I was drawn to the heavy subject matter of this book at first, I regret to say I didn't like it. I didn't feel connected to Valerie at all. This is probably because the author didn't allow us readers to get to know her that well within the limited 126 pages. Yes, this novel is very short, and that's the problem for me. There's hardly any tension to feel at all. And although this is a young adult contemporary, I feel like Valerie's voice isn't strong enough. It sounds like a teen voice, as in a 13-year-old teen complaining about life or something like that. I could hardly feel anything from her words. If anything, I think she's only telling a story without showing us how she feels. It's hard to like a character when she doesn't really allow us to feel her emotions, in my opinion.

I won't argue that it sucks. Being raped and still getting treated like the wrong one. And having to go through all those tests, rape kits, interrogations, and everyone's whispers and stares are no fun. Your life changes even if you're the victim. I know, it sucks, it's terrible, it's infuriating, and it definitely isn't fair. But I have to say that the book doesn't portray it that well and is well-developed enough for me to like it. This isn't the best story about a rape victim either. In the end, it still remains unclear whether or not Valerie can put it behind her and move on. But honestly, I don't care about her enough to want to find out.


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: The Wednesdays by Julie Bourbeau

Title: The Wednesdays
Author: Julie Bourbeau
Genre: Middle Grade, Paranormal
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 256
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads, Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from August 2 - 3, 2012 
My Rating: 3 stars: I like it
Summary: Max’s village is absolutely normal in every single way and on every single day—except Wednesday. Most of the townsfolk shutter their windows and lock their doors to hide away from the many peculiar things that happen—things like cats getting stuck in the vacuum cleaner and birthday cakes meeting fiery and horrific ends. But Max is too curious for that, and so, breaking every rule in the village, he searches out the cause of all the Wednesday weirdness. What he uncovers is a secret so devious—so dastardly and mischievous—that life as he knows it will never be the same. Max himself is not the same. Suddenly the mysterious little accidents so common on Wednesdays are happening to him on Thursdays, Fridays—even Saturdays! What’s come over Max? And more importantly, is there any cure for a case of the Wednesdays? Mystery, magic, mischief and monsters abound in this slightly fantastical story of a human kid who wants to stay that way. 


A wednesday's job is never done as long as Wednesdays are. We heed the clock when it tolls twelve and come from near and far. We're never late -- we cannot be for then we'd miss the door. Neither do we dare to leave till Wednesday is no more.

So start one of the wednesdays' song.

This review will be short and simple because it's been 10 days since I finished this book and I already forgot some of plots of the story. I'll just say that I enjoyed this book. Normally I don't really enjoy middle-grade books because I find them too light for my liking. However, The Wednesdays has enough dark stuff in it. It's kind of paranormal, though I'm not sure if we can really call it that.

As the title suggests, this book goes around the wednesdays. We're talking about both Wednesdays as in the day after Tuesday, and wednesdays as in little paranormal creatures that come out on Wednesday to wreak havoc in Max's village. According to Max, they look like this:
Besides the silver eyes, the wednesday appeared more or less boy-like, in a crooked, simultaneously squished-down, stretched-out sort of way. It looked like a proper boy whose arms had been pulled like taffy, while the rest of his body had been scrunched down into a tubby egg shape with springy, squat legs. [...] The creature's head was mostly head-shaped and -sized, except for the fact that it seemed vaguely square and didn't seem to have the benefit of much of a neck to sit upon. Overall, the thing gave the impression of being rather putty-like.
That's the wednesdays for you.

I really like the idea of them coming out to cause trouble for everyone. It's fun to read, honestly. The elements and plot come together nicely to form an impressive ending. I wouldn't have thought the Wednesday songs could be that important, but Max figures it out, which is awesome. It's a little sad near the end, and I found it very moving.

All in all, great plots, nice illustrations (which really helped me picture the wednesdays more clearly), beautiful writing. A very enjoyable read.

Wednesdays come and wednesdays go but we know something you don't know. 


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review Copies Cleanup (RCCleanup) Update


BBT

This challenge is hosted by Books, Biscuits, and Tea and Nyx Book Reviews. Head over here if you want to join. Sign-up is open until August 15! 


Since I forgot to make an update post last week, this post will cover the first two weeks of August. Normally during uni, I get to read only about 4-6 books a month. And 8 books tops when I'm free and lucky. Because uni consumes me almost completely. And surely there are two months that I don't get to read anything at all: midterm month and final month. August is, in fact, the month between those two. So I figured I should read as much as I can in August to make up for the lack of reading in the previous month and next month. I should say I'm doing a very good job, being on schedule and all, which is surprising and incredible even for me. 

I've finished 6 review copies in the first two weeks of August already! 

1. Glitch by Heather Anastasiu 
2. The Wednesdays by Julie Bourbeau 
3. Let's Hear it for Almigal by Wendy Kupfer 
4. Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle 
5. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire 
6. Rape Girl by Alina Klein

I have yet to review half of them, though. ;) 

I plan to finish these books in August: 

1. Speechless by Hannah Harrington (CURRENTLY READING)
2. Over You by Emma McLaughlin 
3. Confession of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett 
4. The Stone Girl by Alissa B. Scheinmal 
5. Reflection by Jessica Roberts (not ARC but for book tour)
6. At What Cost by J. Anderson (not ARC but for book tour) 

Whew. Still half the number to go in half a month! 

And there are still these I need to read for FINALS! 

1. Er hieß Jan by Irina Korschunow (for German class)
2. The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen (for Eng Reading class)
3. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (for Eng Lit class, will be a reread)
4. Life & Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee (for Intro Lit report)


All of this looks very discouraging. But I can't give up!
I'll be updating again next week. See you then. :) 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Title: Beautiful Disaster 
Author: Jamie McGuire 
Genre: New AdultContemporary Romance
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 432
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from August 9 - 10, 2012
My Rating: 4 stars: I really like it
Summary: The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand. Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.


There was only one reason I could ever feel that way with anyone. I belonged to him. It was then that I knew. Without a doubt in my mind, without worry of what others would think, and having no fear of mistakes or consequences, I smiled at the words I would say. 

Who would've thought that I would like Beautiful Disaster as much as I do? I'd read a lot of negative reviews; but then I'd also noticed even more positive reviews. Curious, I started reading, expecting the worst, expecting to turn a page and start hating it, but it never happened. Actually, I ended up liking it -- which totally caught me off guard. I finished this in three sittings with sore butts and a slight backache. I literally couldn't stop reading. This has to be one of the most addictive books I've ever had a chance to read!  

I blame it on my inner hopeless romantic. I am drawn to the ideas of love that is no good and can't work but can't be stopped. I don't even know where I got this from; it's like a chronic disease -- I can't seem to shake it. For some very strange reasons, I am in love with the idea of hopeless love, just as I am in love with heartbreaks. Though I'd hate to have to deal with this kind of love in real life, I love to read about them. And Beautiful Disaster offers me no less than that, and still a lot of fun. 

It's easy to see why some readers do not like this novel. It has some of the elements that I don't like at all. To illustrate this, I hate clingy boyfriends. The kind that has been fine all their lives until they meet you and suddenly they need you to breathe. The kind that is overly jealous and will take down anyone that lays their eyes on you. The kind that goes crazy when they don't know your whereabouts and won't stop calling you until you talk to them. The kind that has your name tattooed on their skin. This is Travis, and this is insane. Normally behaviors like this would have turned me off immediately, but for some unknown reasons, I became even more engrossed in the book. I think this may be because in other books, such demeanor is simply annoying and off-putting, but in this book, it is scary like hell! It made my heart race, fearing for Abby if Travis happens to lose it, which happens quite often too. Poor minor characters who get beaten senseless. Travis's violence made me wince every time. 

But I don't hate Travis. I don't know how exactly I feel about him, maybe just scared? And I definitely don't find him cute or attractive. I think he's an interesting human being who seriously needs anger management and needs to tone the over-protectiveness and jealousy down big-time. But I understand why he's like this, or at least I think I do. There's someone I know who had never been in a relationship before, and when he had his first girlfriend, he messed it all up by being -- just like Travis but without the violence -- clingy, jealous, and overprotective, because he really didn't know how to act. Could this be the case with Travis? Probably. He's never needed anyone before but when he needs Abby, it scares him, so he tries to keep her closer but it only pushes her away. 

Abby, the narrator of the story, is a likeable person. I think she's smart. She knows better than to be involved with someone like Travis. Basically, he is the human form of everything she runs away from in the past to be at Eastern. But even so, despite trying to be his friend, she can't help but be attracted to him too. For whatever reasons. I found myself agreeing with a lot of things Abby says and a lot of her decisions. Travis is stupid, and he doesn't always know what he's doing, but that doesn't mean it's okay. I respect Abby for standing up for herself and leaving him when she has to. I didn't think she's being difficult, I thought she's being right. The best way out is always through, as they say. 

Their on-and-off romance is more than interesting. It's many things together: heartbreaking, painful, scary, terrible, sweet, beautiful, and disastrous. I didn't always like it, but it's definitely entertaining to read. Travis is so hopelessly in love with Abby that he has his nickname for her (Pigeon, which I find a little stupid but it didn't bother me) tattooed on his wrist, which is a little extreme in my opinion, but he can be real sweet at times, too. And Abby, who's so determined not to fall for him, finds herself doing exactly that. Sometimes it seems like their relationship is doomed to fail, but the fact that it still keeps going because their love can't be stopped satisfied my inner romantic more than I can explain. It would send electricity through me (I'm not kidding. I really felt it.) and make my chest tighten, unable to breathe for a second. It was an awesome experience. Some of the words Abby says are spot-on, which I totally loved. For instance: 
If I gave in, either he would change his mind about Benny, or he would resent me every time money could have made his life easier. I imagined him in a blue-collar job, coming home with the same look in his eyes that Mick had when he returned after a night of bad luck. It would be my fault that his life wasn't what he wanted it to be, and I couldn't let my future be plagued with the bitterness and regret that I left behind. 
This broke my heart. It's so precise, and I could feel the bitterness dripping from these words already. She loves him against her better judgement, and she isn't afraid to make a decision she believes is right even if it's going to hurt them. Wow, Abby. I really like her. Even though this is not how the book ends, I think I would've liked it more if it had ended this way -- bittersweet. 

Having said all that, I don't think there's anything much to add. I really enjoyed Jamie McGuire's writing. It's true that I wouldn't have liked many things in this book, but because it is well-written and beyond  entertaining allowed me to overlook its imperfections. Expecting the worst, I surprised myself when I realized I liked this book a lot. I almost didn't pick it up as I hesitated, and now I'm glad that I read it. I recommend this for readers of contemporary romance. And maybe older audience, because it has sex and violence in it. I'm looking forward to reading book two, Walking Disaster, which isn't a sequel but only Beautiful Disaster told in Travis's point of view. It should be interesting.


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Title: Kissing Shakespeare 
Author: Pamela Mingle 
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from August 4 - 9, 2012
My Rating: 3 stars: I like it
Summary: Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school's staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide. Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she'd like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he's a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen's really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright. Miranda isn't convinced she's the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it's her only chance of getting back to the present and her "real" life. What Miranda doesn't bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.


"How would you like to meet William Shakespeare?" A laugh burst from my mouth. "You're crazy." 

When time-traveler Stephen Langford chooses Miranda as the one to take back to the 16th century to save young William Shakespeare from becoming a Jesuit, she doesn't have a choice but to go along with him. Once there, Miranda has to learn to adapt to the way of life of the people in that century, and she also has to pretend to be Stephen's sister, Olivia, while the real one is sick at home. Her mission here is to seduce her idol William Shakespeare, to make him realize that he's a guy suited for worldly things, and that the religious path is not for him. If she succeeds, she can save Shakespeare from being hunted down for being a Jesuit, and she can also save all of Shakespeare's works in the future from vanishing, and save the future forever.

I'll try to keep this review short and simple for there isn't much to say. I didn't expect anything when I started this book, so I wasn't disappointed. It's pure fun and a good break from all the crazy stuff going in my life right now. It's one of those enjoyable books you don't expect to get anything out of, which you don't anyway even if you try.

Some of the plots aren't very well-executed. I'd love to know more about Stephen's time traveling, which the author gives me no chance to. There's a scene where Miranda dresses herself as a boy and everyone believes her. Eh? And then there's this huge plothole that bothered me. The author has Stephen tell Miranda that the time she belongs in won't move on without her -- when she returns, it will be as if no time has passed. As a believer of logic, I wasn't satisfied with this explanation. But I knew this was all I was going to get.

The characters are flat and mediocre. I regret to say that Shakespeare doesn't play the main role in this story. I kept picturing him like this and cringed every time because it wasn't fitting. This book talks about the younger Shakespeare, of course. And when I pictured him with Miranda, he looked like a pedobear to me. This problem is caused by the fact that the author doesn't bother telling us about any character's appearances. I don't know if this was intentionally done or she just forgot. The 16th century is hard enough to picture, and I'd love to know what the characters look like.

I like the ending. Love doesn't always have to work out, you see. I think this ending leaves a lingering haunting feeling, which is much better than if it'd gone for the happily-ever-after. I'm tired of authors trying to make impossible love work. I find the ending especially refreshing.
"As much as it hurts to admit it, I knew he was right. I would love him with all my heart, but in the end, it wouldn't be enough. I'd long for everything I couldn't  have, and that would kill the love between us. Not right away, but someday." 
This is the best part of the book in my opinion.

Looked at in parts, the elements of this book don't seem to work, but together they do. I don't know why and I don't know how to explain. It just works, unless you expect it to be spectacular. If you don't think much about it, you might find it enjoyable and light and fun. But that's really just about it.


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (1)


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish

August 7: Top Ten Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU

(as a reader and a person -- so pick the 10 best reviews/posts that you wish every potential reader of your blog would see!)

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I had a really difficult time trying to pick ten of the best reviews I have written. The point is, I don't even know which ones are the best. So I just picked 7 of my reviews of the books I absolutely love and rated 5 shiny stars. I hope that by reading these reviews, you might feel that you know me and my style better. ;) And another 3 are those reviews that are not entirely positive, but I think I did a good job at giving my constructive criticism and my reasons as to why I didn't like them or some of their aspects. 

Here we go. :)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer 
My #1 most favorite, most adored, most admired, most heart-wrenching, most cried-for,
most beautiful writing, most read, most... most... of all time. In short: the best book I have ever read in my life. I love this book as much as it is possible to love a book and more. I was very personal in my review, and maybe if you read it, you'll understand why I love it as much as I do. 
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My #2 most favorite of all time and 2012 favorite! I didn't know why I waited so long to read this one. It's awesome, it's brilliant, it's perfect. 
Saving June by Hannah Harrington 
Definitely another one of my favorite of the year! This book touched me so profoundly (although not as profoundly as the previous book). This is my #4 most favorite book of all time. 
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Although I didn't love this book as much as I love the first three, this book is awesome fun! I'd definitely read it again. 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 
This is the one book that I keep recommending for my friends when they ask me if I have any recommendations. Why? Because it's light, it's fun, it doesn't require much thinking, and St. Clair is swoon-worthy! A book for every girl, this is.
The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes 
Another one of the great 2012 reads. This debut novel is extremely good! One of the best contemporary YA I have ever read.
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Well this is the only non-contemporary novel that made it to my top 7 review list. One of my all time favorites! I've always loved fairy tales, and this book put a real nice spin to it! Fairy tales retelling? Who wouldn't want to read it? Fun, fun, fun! 

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
I didn't like this book at all, even though I'd expected to love it. I think I did a great job in this review, explaining what the problems were for me and all. This is my most liked review on Goodreads! 
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
A huge love/hate case that made my head spin. I couldn't tell you whether I loved it or hated it more. Go read the review, so you can judge for yourself. This book is so bad, but it's so good too! 
Glitch by Heather Anastasiu 
A like/dislike case. My feelings for this one aren't as strong as they are for The Book of Blood and Shadow. The book is fun, but it's also kind of boring. 

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So that's it, folks! This is my first Top Ten Tuesday post, and it's only 6 minutes to Wednesday already as I'm typing this. Looking forward to posting next Tuesday! :) 

Thank you for stopping by! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review: Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Title: Glitch 
Author: Heather Anastasiu 

Series: #1 in Glitch trilogy
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia

Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 371 in paperback
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from July 29 to August 2, 2012
My rating: 3 stars: I like it
Summary: Zoe lives in a world free of pain and war. Like all members of the Community, a small implanted chip protects her from the destructive emotions that destroyed the Old World. Until her hardware starts to glitch. Zoe begins to develop her own thoughts and feelings, but nothing could be more dangerous in a place where malfunctions can get you killed. And she has another secret she must conceal at all costs: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers. As she struggles to keep her burgeoning powers hidden, she finds other glitchers with abilities like hers, and together they plot to escape. But the more she learns about beauty, joy, and love, the more Zoe has to lose if they fail. With danger lurking around every corner, she’ll have to decide just how much she’s willing to risk to be free.


"Love shouldn't exist but it does. It's the biggest anomaly, some might say the biggest defect, of the whole human race. But it's the most beautiful anomaly. I understand that now. And I would give up anything for you, even if you don't feel the same way. Because I love you."

In Glitch, everyone lives underground in the Community because they're told that the surface is dangerous and deadly. Everyone has a v-chip at the back of their neck that connects them to the Link. When they're connected, they zone out and become a drone; they don't think, don't notice beauty in things and they don't feel any emotions. This is so that order can be maintained in the community where everyone serves a purpose. Order first, order always. But what happens if something is out of order? Someone like Zoe? Zoe starts glitching. She is somehow disconnected from the Link and she can think for herself and feel emotions unfamiliar to her. These behaviors are anomalous and need to be reported, so that they can fix her. But Zoe is reluctant. She wants to be fixed so that she doesn't have to live in fear of possible deactivation if they find out, but she also wants to embrace all these human things. She still wants to feel, to think, and to draw. Watching people go on being drones, she realizes that this is nothing but slavery, and together with a few others who malfunction like her, she will struggle to free herself from the Community and claim the freedom that's been taken away from everyone.



This book didn't start out as an easy read for me. It starts with Zoe telling us about a day in her life which includes drawing, breakfast, going to the market and telekinesis. I feel that the author didn't do well enough with the world-building for a dystopian book, so it was really confusing for me for a long while. I didn't get why everyone has to live underground, and how exactly the uppers rose to power, and how the society is run. I didn't get how it is that people live underground and take subways from housing units to school or whatever. I mean, I used to wonder a lot what it'd be like if we all could live underground. I was in Singapore earlier this year and had fun exploring its little underground city. It's so huge and it's so endless. But even as huge and endless as it is, I doubt it could house a nation of its own like in Glitch. So I had a tough time trying to believe this. Plus, the description didn't help. I found it lacking and confusing a lot of times, especially when it comes to describing Zoe's room. From the narration, I came up with at least different five versions of her room, each for a different scene. One time, the bed looks like this and stands there; another time, it looks different. I don't know if it's just me or it's really the way it's written that's so confusing, but reading this really did annoy me.

And sadly, the confusion wasn't the only thing that prevented me from fully enjoying the book. I found it off-putting that Zoe doesn't know words that have to do with feelings and emotions. I would've been okay if she doesn't know any of those words at all, but she does know some of them, which is hard to believe, because why would she know these and not those? She doesn't know, for example, "sorry," but she knows what "embarrassed" means. Huh? In the society where nobody feels anything, isn't it supposed to be just as likely that she doesn't know both words? And how come does Adrien, the main boy, know them anyway? I don't buy it. While Zoe seems to not know a lot of words, Adrien seems to have a few favorite swear words. And of course, he has to say at least one of those words in every sentence he utters. 17 "shunting"s and its variations, 13 "crackin'"s (mostly crackin' hell), and 13 "godlam'd"s. Whatever they mean. But seriously? Aren't they a bit too overused? Are they supposed to be his signature words or what? It's irritating to have to see them appear over and over again.

In a way, this book reminds me very much of George Orwell's 1984. There are the upper-class men who live luxuriously and tell lies, and there are the lower-class people who believe those lies completely, who serve a purpose in the society, who just don't know any better about anything, who think whatever they have is all there is to life. And then there are rebels who think they can make a change. I regret to say that I find all the characters incredibly flat and I don't even like any of them, but I don't hate them either. Zoe is boring for most of the book, constantly getting into troubles and having to be rescued by Adrien, her prince on a white horse, who seems to be shunting sweet and all but swears too godlam'd much. Did I mention there's a love triangle? Oh yes, there is. Zoe, Adrien, and Max. Now, Max is a friggin' psycho. He's had a crush on Zoe ever since he started glitching, and when he finds out that Zoe is also a glitcher, he's very happy because now he can tell her she's all he's ever thought about (creepy much?), force her to make out with him and ask to see her "genitalia" (he really asks her that) so they can explore "pleasure." Awkward? I thought so too.

Anyway. Despite everything I've said, the book starts becoming a lot more fun later in the second half. And that is why this is another one of the love/hate cases. I can't say anything much about the fun without including spoilers, so I won't. But let me tell you this: this book is a huge troll! One minute it's clear this is the bad guy, that is the good guy; another minute it's reversed, and the next minute there's someone else claiming to be the good guy, and everyone else is the bad guys. WHAT? It's this uncertainty that makes reading it fun. It's extremely action-packed near the end of the book, which is something totally worth reading. I had to hold my breath and I couldn't take my eyes off of the pages. It messed with my head so much, but I had to know! So that night I ended up going to bed at 2 AM or something. It was exhilarating.

In the end, I can say that I definitely don't love this book, but I like it enough. It's true that I struggled with the world-building and mostly everything about the book, but I found the action parts to be such awesome fun. And while everything else just falls short, I can still manage to give this book three stars. It's enjoyable, and surely not something special. Like many other love/hate cases, I can't really say if I would recommend this book for anyone. It was an okay to good read for me.


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Feature & Follow (1)



Feature & Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.


This week's question:

Do your reading habits change based on your mood? Do you read a certain genre if you are feeling depressed or happy?


Yes! When I'm sad, I like to read even sadder books. I love to drown myself in tears. But even when I'm not sad, I go with sad books anyway if I can freely choose (and don't have to pick one of the review copies). Heart-wrenching books are my favorites and I'll choose them over happy books anytime. I guess I'm an emotional masochist like that! Hahaha. But still, when I'm super happy, I look for happy, sweet, giggly books. Hahaha. I love when my feelings are intensified by the books I choose to read. I love to go all the way; not going with the opposite of what I feel like many other bloggers do. :P 

Thank you for stopping by! 
Leave your comments on this post and I'll make sure I do the same for you. ;) 

Best

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Series: #1 in Throne of Glass Trilogy
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: August 2, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 404
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from July 26 to 28, 2012 
My rating: 4 stars: I really like it
Summary: Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness. In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught. Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted? 


You must listen to what I tell you. Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin, to learn the skills necessary for survival. 

While Throne of Glass didn't manage to get me hooked right from the beginning, it sure did capture my heart by the end of the book, leaving me craving for more. I wasn't really surprised at my blankness, as I normally don't expect myself to hit it off with fantasy books right away. There's this part of my brain that keeps doubting the credibility of things presented, that continually asks me if I really believe what I'm reading, or if the story is good enough to keep me going and suspend my disbelief. As Throne of Glass progressed, it proved itself worthy along the way, and at one point I couldn't stop reading even though I could barely keep myself awake. I just had to finish it! And then I did, but I had to take a nap in my German class the next day and had my teacher woken me up three times. 

Needless to say, this book is fantastic. 

Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, a deadly 18-year-old assassin with a pretty face. Celaena is renowned as "Adarlan's Assassin," which is why the Prince of Adarlan, Dorian Havilliard, has to track her down to find her as a slave in Endovier, and offer her an opportunity that might be what she needs most: freedom. But of course, freedom isn't given for free. The Prince, in return, asks that she agrees to be his "champion," to compete with other champions in a fight-to-the-death tournament organized by the King, and she'll be given freedom only after winning the tournament and serving the King as his royal assassin for 4 years. If she doesn't win it, she'll either die or go back to serve a life sentence in Endovier just as she is now. Celaena takes the opportunity, moves to the King's castle, and this is where the fun begins. 


One does not simply mess with "Adarlan's Assassin" Celaena Sardothien, but entering the competition as  jewel thief Lady Lillian Gordaina, she's often overlooked and underestimated. As strategies, she has to play down the smarts and try not to outperform anyone in training, fooling everyone that she's nothing special. Although she doesn't like the strategies, she has to do as the Prince and his Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, say. 

Now, I have to say love triangle was the least of my expectations, which is why I was surprised when the Prince shows interest in Celaena. I didn't like him much at first, but Dorian Havilliard has his ways to win you over. I couldn't help but have a soft spot for him. There were times when I liked Dorian for his charms (he's such a flirt!) more than Chaol, who's always so silent and distant, but sweet and caring nevertheless. Both are awesome characters. Most of the time I was just glad that I didn't have to be the one choosing. I love that Celaena doesn't spend much time pining for anyone. I love that she can make a decision for herself, and that she's not afraid to end things that might get in the way of her getting what she wants most. A determined, hard-headed, kickass heroine. That's Celaena Sardothien for you. 

I love Celaena. She isn't what I expected a female assassin to be like. She's funny and loves to tease people, especially the girls in the castle trying to win Dorian's heart. I found myself tremendously enjoying her character. I love that she's smart and seems to know a lot about things she does (killing, for example). And my, she loves reading and clothes! Haha. Hard to believe at first but it makes her character more interesting. She's so seriously kickass and I love it. 

Apart from the characters, I also enjoyed the story very much. You can't tell from looking at the cover or reading the blurb that there's magic in the story! The mentions of magic in the beginning of the book didn't strike me as anything until "Wyrdmarks" and Nehemia, Princess of Eyllwe, start becoming involved in the story. And then, wow, bam! Blood, murders, secret passageway, ancient tomb, spirits, more secrets, mysteries, weird creatures, Wyrdmarks, more Wyrdmarks, ancient sword, whoosh, bam, bam! Haha. It's so much fun. Hardly anything can be said without the possibility of ruining your pleasure in discovering it yourselves, so I'll leave it at that. 

Full of mysteries and actions and just enough romance, Throne of Glass has exceeded my expectations in many ways. The ride was more than enjoyable; it was thrilling most of the time and also sweet at times. There are still things that are left unexplained in this book (mostly about Celaena's destiny) which I can't wait to find out in book two and three. The world-building is very well-done; I totally believed it. The narration in 3rd person (which I normally don't like) works very nicely with the story as the view isn't limited to any character's limited knowledge. Sarah J. Maas's writing is wonderful and although I'm not really a huge fan of fantasy books, I'm already impressed and looking forward to the next book in the trilogy. For some reasons, I know she won't disappoint. This is a great read. I'd recommend Throne of Glass to anyone!


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.
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