Sunday, March 26, 2017

Book: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Reading this book happened by accident. A few days ago, my sister asked me to get a copy for her so it was sitting in my bedside for like a whole week. I initially read it out of boredom, having just finished Part 1 of Murakami's mammoth of a book which is 1Q84. Apparently, Everything, Everything is a thing now since the trailer for its movie adaptation was released last month.
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Plot:
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. (via Goodreads)

Saw the trailer of the film even before I read the book and I must confess that I already judged it even then. Personally, I am not a fan of characters who leave *everything* behind just because of love. Though in this case, Maddy desperately wants to have a life... the choice felt selfish and narrow-minded - but understandable I guess. The writing style was too contemporary for my taste but is charming in its own unique way. The romance was cute, but I felt like it was rushed. Olly is a  pretty interesting fellow, but not one I could rank in my ~literary boyfriend list~. Though this line right here really got me:

"Being in love with you is better than the first time. It feels like the first time and the last time and the only time all at once."

This was a pretty short book - one that you could randomly read whenever you need a distraction. Though this book has its charms, I have a relatively lukewarm reception of it if you'd ask me. Maybe it's just a matter of taste? I find myself being a bit picky when it comes to my YA readings because that genre is a bit crowded these days - and some books really set the bar too high for me (*coughs* Six of Crows *coughs*), I guess. It has it's quirks. The doodles are cute - and helpful in propelling the story forward, I gotta say. But the book itself does not offer anything new.  Well maybe the SCID thing was something new (heck, i didn't even know about it if I haven't read it here)... but you get my point.


I can't really explain it: the book was boring but for some weird reason it kept me hooked. Maybe it was because of how easy it is to read? It was easy following the story because not so much is going on and the narrative is too focused - a sad reflection of Maddy's life. And that revelation at the end kept me on my toes. If I have something to rave about this book, maybe it's that part because it really came as a shock. If you watched the trailer, it revealed almost 90% of the book - but surprisingly, the remaining 10% will make it worth it and may take your breath away. I did enjoy it.

So..... if you want to kill time with a breezy, enjoyable read, then this is absolutely a good choice. It presents some really big questions about life like the concept of risk and how not doing anything is also taking that risk + heart-fluttering feeling of that very first time you fall in love. It may be simple, but it's real - and honestly, nothing is really better than that. So do pick up and do support the movie, too! :) #EverythingEverythingMovie

Here's the my Twitter thread while I was reading the book (if you follow me): LINK. Honestly, I should really put my rants on Goodreads. >.<

My Rating: ★★☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:
"Everything's a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It's up to you."

"Sometimes you do things for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong ones and sometimes it's impossible to tell the difference."

"Maybe growing up means disappointing the people you love."


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This is the 5th book I've read this year -- and this has been part of my 2017 Reading Challenge. #Bookworm2017



Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: My Year in Books

It's that time of the year again! A few hours to go and we're wrapping up 2016. 

Sadly, I committed a high crime of not posting a wrap up for 2015. Surely such a bummer - after I pledged to do that every year. But anyway, before the year comes to a close, here it is: my year in books!

Tried to do a hand-lettered tribute to this post in a haste. It turned out a bit fine, I guess. >.<


This year, I pledged to read 10 books. Such low book count, I know, but I just don't really feel like disappointing myself if I don't hit the target. Not a good habit, but it's something I need to not feel bad on a large scale this year. It sure is hard trying to juggle work, life, studies + all these hobbies but it sure is worth it every time.



This is my 6th year of doing this challenge -- and gladly, this is the fifth consecutive year of completing it! Hurrah! This year, I managed to read 18 books out of the expected 10 books -- the last one, I just finished a while ago. *grins widely*

Here're the books that I've read this year:

Books I've Read This Year


Happy Again by Jennifer Smith | After Dark by Haruki Murakami | Queen Song (Red Queen, #0.1) by Victoria Aveyard | Steel Scars (Red Queen, #0.2) by Victoria Aveyard | Death: The High Cost of Living (Collected) by Neil Gaiman | The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman | Forget-Me-Not (Ceruleans, #2) by Megan Tayte | Hear the Wind Sing (The Rat, #1) by Haruki Murakami | Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8) by John Tiffany | Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents, #1) by J.K. Rowling | Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeist (Pottermore Presents, #2) by J.K. Rowling | Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents, #3) by J.k. Rowling | Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2) by Victoria Aveyard | Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling | Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith | Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) by Leigh Bardugo | Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo | Pinball, 1973 (The Rat, #2) by Haruki Murakami

Novellas sure dominated my read list this year. Out of the 18 books that I've read, 6 of it are actually novellas. I guess you could consider Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 as novellas but since these are major reads, I am categorizing them as novels. So counting in those 2, 10 are full-blown novels and 2 are comic book collections. Nice! Can you believe I actually ventured to a new media this year?

Haruki Murakami has a considerable presence in my reading list this year -- maybe the most relative to my other years and I am so happy. I just wished I had more alone and quiet time for it. Murakami books are best read in the wee hours of the night when almost everyone are asleep and all you can hear is your breathing and that distant nagging of your head. I've had some, but I haven't really gotten much of it enough to savor the experience -- so there are time when I read some pages just to pass the time, which is a waste really.

I've also read a bunch of books from the Harry Potter world mainly because the release of the Cursed Child script + the Fantastic Beasts movie somehow resurrected the interest in the franchise (not that it even died, anyway). Pottermore also released some short story collections, so it was really fun.

I also had some Jen Smith + Victoria Aveyard fixes this year: I continued on with the Red Queen from last year -- with the release of Glass Sword and other novellas related to the Red Queen world, as well as the This is What Happy Looks Like epilogue in the form of a novella continuing on with her recently released Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in between (which, truly, is another heartwarming read from her).

On another note, The Sandman Series was a welcome change in my routine these days. I've read two volumes already, with one already in my currently-reading list. It was really good. I was so used to reading manga and japanese things and the difference in style and story telling was really big. Couldn't say I am not learning my ropes around loving the medium, but it was really interesting trying out something new. Plus the writing and top notch art make up for it.

And finally, finally, a new discovery: Leigh Bardugo -- which, honestly speaking, dominated my 2016. Reading into the Six of Crows doulogy was like reinvigorating my love for books. The days when I can't sit still and the books I read don't leave my mind (night and day, I became a slave of it) suddenly came back in an instant. That was really fun and interesting, and I hope I could have more of it in 2016. Days have gone fast and unnoticed because of that - I enjoyed myself too much to even notice that time has passed that quickly.


Statistically speaking, in terms on pages, I am a few pages shy of equaling my 2015 count. Can't really argue with that especially with all the novellas I've been reading these days. 2012 is still clearly the winner (LOL) but I am glad that I am still maintaining my page count. After all, reading has become an integral part of myself... and through the years, it also became a way of maintaining my sanity - to keep my head floating when all else are insistent in drowning me and dragging me down *drama*.

Again, here I am disappointing myself once again because I haven't really posted a review of sorts for all the books that I've read this year. But I am trying. We'll get there, I hope. :)

There you are, Goodreads, buttering me up again. LOL.
This wrap-up won't ever be complete without me listing the top books that made my year. So hear it is:

5 Books That Made My Year
(in particular order)

  1. Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
  3. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter, #8) by John Tiffany
  4. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
  5. Pinball, 1973 (The Rat, #2) by Haruki Murakami

As I've said, the Six of Crows duology dominated my year! Read my thoughts by clicking on the individual link and you'll know. Kaz Brekker and Inej Ghafa really did it for me, and of course, the whole gang but you get it. The inclusion of Cursed Child was mainly because of the emotion it evoked when I read it. I figured I probably will never get tired of coming back to the Harry Potter world - no matter the time, no matter the age. Plus, a really good pairing was born (in my head, but not canon lol Scopius X Albus) so it's good. Plus -- I would never forget: Murakami. Gaaah, The amount of introspection and wonder his writing brings to me knows no bound. How with ANYTHING I read from him, something ALWAYS resonates. There is always something in his writing that I feel on an almost spiritual level it is insane. Those moments were particularly strong with two books listed.
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So that was it, really. My 2016 in books. I hope I could write more reviews in the coming days. Plus, I really would like to publish a 2017 to-read list so watch out. I am planning to revive this blog more than this leaving year so some changes are about to happen. Yey!

There it is guys: HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let's leave 2016 with a big smile on our faceS as we brace ourselves for the coming year. Happy reading, still, on 2017! :)
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Friday, December 30, 2016

#5

A little experimenting on stream of consciousness at 3:00 in the morning, the first few hours of my birthday. Definitely stained by something that's a bit depressing for the occasion. Birthday blues, I guess.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

In the cold Christmas morning of 2016

It took a moment to realize that, yes, I just dreamt that you were still around.
In my dream, you were just missing but you were found.
In my dream, it just took a long time but you woke up, you opened your eyes.
In my dream, you were not perpetually gone but you were alive.

I woke up with this weird, lingering feeling that is close to nostalgia or even emptiness. I wonder why it took a few more seconds still to say to myself that, "oh, I dreamed that".

In the cold Christmas morning of 2016, the first thing I dreamt about was you. They say in Christmas, one should wish to their heart's desire. Really, I won't be surprised if that was an unconscious plea on my end -- an impossible wish for an impossible heart.
____________________

Realizing the impossible distance between your wants and reality always hits hard.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Book: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows, #2)

After reading the massively addicting Six of Crows, I realized that I was so lucky to be in a world where Crooked Kingdom is already published and readily available to be devoured. If not... I don't know up to what lengths I'd go to feed my need for a closure. The highly anticipated conclusion to this explosive duology has dominated the charts -- and not without cause! The hype is real on this one. This book sailed so far, soared so high -- my life was changed. *LOL*

I'm not even sure how to start this or if I'll be able to make a decent run down of my thoughts but let me at least try. So... one by one, let me count my feels:

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Plot:
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world. (via Goodreads)
Just like the first book, Crooked Kingdom (CK) was told through alternating POVs of the protagonists. We're done with the crazy heist plot of the SoC and we now move on to a different side of the story. The crew was left cheated and, here, we come across a more slow-moving form of narrative. One that is full of backstories, underlying motives, decisions and intrigues. This is not to say that CK is boring compared to SoC. In fact, I can outrightly say that I loved CK more than SoC. The first book was the beginning, one that introduces a relatively foreign world to us, one that sets the tone of the series. I think many would agree that one of the problem with book series is the pressure for the sequels to give justice to the hype of the first book. And even though people should treat each book as an almost separate material, people expect the sequels to surpass or at least keep up with the first ones. Luckily, we got an epic second book -- a fitting conclusion to this duology. Crooked Kingdom definitely did not disappoint. 

CK still has that old SoC charm. The meticulous planning. The fast-paced action. The crazy twists. Even the romance -- all the teases, all the build-up, leading to something more. Ships were realized and everything was right in the world. The way Leigh Bardugo handle relationships is too realistic to fathom, too fitting to each character's individuality. It felt natural, and it was one part of the narrative that I definitely enjoyed breezing through.

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One big change in this sequel: Wylan Van Eck finally had a POV. And though Kaz and Inej's POVs are still my favorite, this was a welcome change. Some of my favorite scenes happened while reading Wylan's POV. There's this scene at Chapter 14 that got me crying in the corner with my feelings. Gaaah, his was such a welcome addition to the already brilliant lineup of POVs. I really loved the chemistry whenever he was with Jesper. It was really something. I can't talk about it enough without spoiling things so much but I was really happy with the way their story line concluded.
Maybe he was the same. A bullet in a chamber, spending his whole life waiting for the moment when he would have direction.
Now that I think about it, most of CK focused on Jesper and Wylan's backstories. And though it was a given that I'd certainly enjoy Wylan's, I find it surprising how I became really invested with Jesper's. Don't get me wrong, he was one smart-mouthed dude that I'd definitely would want to have a chat with if he ever comes alive (and absolutely one of my favorites)... but I find his character development back in SoC a bit lacking. Both Wylan and Jesper tend to disappear in the narrative in SoC, but with CK, they took center stage. It was nice to peak behind Jesper's free-spirited cover. It was nice reading that journey of finally accepting what he truly is, what he can do -- and channeling that to their cause. That [bullet-bending] scene back at Chapter 36 was soooo epic it was criminal. Plus, his Pa = <3. Papa Fahey had it rough, but I admire his love for his son. #ParentingGoalz

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One thing that concerns me, though: too little Kaz Brekker POV chapters! His bright, twisted mind always deliver a punch whenever it's on page so I would really like more of it but sadly only few are in here. But still, he was a looming presence all throughout the book. I am not sure how Leigh did it but Kaz was never out of the action and I loved it. There was one particular scene with Wylan that really resonated with me, and he delivered a line that I think would be one of my mantras from now on:
"You're not weak because you can't read. You're weak because you're afraid of people seeing your weakness. You're letting shame decide who you are. [...] It's shame that lines my pocket, shame that keeps the Barrel teeming with fools ready to put on a mask just so they can have what they want with no one the wiser for it. We can endure all kinds of pain. It's shame that eats men whole."
I honestly think Kaz is one of Leigh's best creations. A boy twisted by life and fate and has been broken too many times.  One that acknowledges his weaknesses and makes a weapon out of them. He thinks he's a monster but still is able to do good and serve justice to the oppressed. One that can still care so much for another -- despite protest. *wink* His relationship with Inej has been one of the biggest highlights of my reading experience and it's definitely one for the books. The intensity of it, the complexity. I can't even begin to think how to express my love for them.

Probably my favorite Inej fanart / source
And speaking of her, this I can say: INEJ GHAFA IS MY QUEEN. Kaz have questioned her thinking: "How could she still look the world that way?" and same as him... I am amazed at how little everything that happened to her affects her beliefs. The Wraith always had something to hold on to, literally and figuratively - her religion, her beliefs, fond memories of her childhood, even that small semblance of something that she saw in Kaz that made her believe in him. The trying times when she questioned her beliefs and  even Kaz's feelings for her broke me. Especially with the former because I know how important it is for her. But still, she managed. Because she is freakin' Inej Ghafa.

Also, this quote from her:
But wasn't that what every girl dreamed? That she'd wake and find herself a princess? Or blessed with magical powers and a grand destiny? Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren't chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.
I want to scream because of how much light this quote brought to my life. Some books are all about the chosen ones, the ones with a destiny that would save an entire nation, the ones whose loss would mean mourning to everyone, the ones who are at the center of an elaborate game. But what about the *others*? As Inej said: the "nobodies and the nothings [...] the invisible girls"? This right here is one of the reasons why I love this book so much. Props to Leigh for veering away from "chosen ones" stories because the YA world certainly is with too much of them now. I'm not really sure but somehow this quote made me feel represented. That despite that not being *special*, you still have a claim in the world. You still have right to get what you want from it -- and I think that thought is beautiful.

Kaz X Inej / source: tumblr
         "I would come for you," he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. "I would come for you. And if I couldn't walk, I'd crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we'd fight out way out together -- knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that's what we do. We never stop fighting."
Ah, the tragedy that is Inej and Kaz. It was all full-on romance-baiting back at SoC but things picked up at Crooked Kingdom.
        Two of the deadliest people the Barrel had to offer and they could barely touch each other without both of them keeling over.
This is a ship that I definitely would want to sail and I've been rooting for this since SoC. Two complex characters: both with something they want to fight for, both with something to run away from. There was this bathroom scene back at Chapter 26 that really made an imprint in my head. It was so beautifully written with such anguish and longing it was hard not to cry. My two broken babies. Both too damaged to even make it work, but still trying. A defining chapter indeed.

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Inej placed her hands on Nina's shoulders. "Well see each other again."
"Of course we will. You've saved my life. I've saved yours."
"I think you're ahead on that count."
"No, I don't mean in the big ways." Nina's eyes took them all in. "I mean the little rescues. Laughing at my jokes. Forgiving me when I was foolish. Never trying to make me feel small. It doesn't matter if it's next month, or next year, or ten years from now, those will be the things I remember when I see you again."
And can we talk about Nina and Inej's friendship in this book? I haven't highlighted it enough in my thoughts on SoC, but their friendship is one thing I find very endearing and inspiring. For once, this is not about two girls engaging in a competition -- these are girls who treat each other as equals, a friendship bound by mutual trust and respect. No one is anybody's sidekick, no one's presence is more prized than the other. I hope to see more of this in YA novels in the future, because, really, this is what relationships should be made of.
She was the Queen of Mourning, and in its depths, she would never drown.

And then there was Nina,. Having just come out of parem withdrawal, I didn't expect much of her role in CK. But good thing she was still the very present firecracker that she is. And with a surprising twist, a new ability was born. Matthias and her story struck a chord with me and still sends me sobbing. [They deserve better than that.]
"I," she said, planting a hand on her hip, "am a delicate flower."
"You aren't a flower, you're every blossom in the wood blooming at once. You're a tidal wave. You're a stampede. You are overwhelming."
That level of affection for each other. *creys* If I was not obsessed with Kaz and Inej already, I would be swooning over them all the time.
"I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath." 
^ Still makes me sob AF. 

Gorgeous Kaz and Inej fanart that reminds me so much of Sin City for some reason. / source

I enjoyed the parallelism, the consistency of everyone's character - that validated over and over why I love these bunch of characters so much. I mean just look at the homage for this SoC quote in these: quote 1 and quote 2. This book had its constant share of these moments of recognition which is a joy to read. I am almost ashamed at how tenderly I loved this book. 

This post turned out to be a bit long but it's because this book made me feel so many feelings I can't cope. This is the first time in a long while that I became very invested in a series so these books really hold a special place in my heart. PROBABLY THE BEST OF MY 2016. This book was perfect. I mean, cross that: THE WHOLE SERIES WAS PERFECT. Leigh Bardugo, you freakin' genius! I've never been charmed by crooks and criminals this much and that is saying something. 

MAH BABIES! / source
I was sad because the story came to an end but also a bit happy because, finally, I'll be able to get my life back. Now it's finished. A satisfying conclusion to an epic tale of complex antiheroes that I've come to love (maybe a little more than necessary). I know I can always go back -- I will always go back. *dramatically clutches chest*

To the word of Inej Ghafa on Kaz: "He doesn't say goodbye. [...] He just lets go." Maybe I don't need to say goodbye, maybe I just need to let go - but it's hard.
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My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

"I'll tell you a secret, Hanna. The really bad monsters never look like monsters."

He had often wondered how people survived this city, but it was possible Ketterdam would not survive Kaz Brekker.

When fear arrives, something is about to happen.

"Sometimes, the only way to get justice is to take it for yourself." Kaz

"That's where you're wrong," Kaz said. "I don't hold a grudge. I cradle it. I coddle it. I feed it fine cuts of meat and send it to the best schools. I nurture my grudges, Rollins."

"[...] There's no time to constantly be apologizing for existing. But when someone does wrong, when we make mistakes, we don't say we're sorry. We promise to make amends."

"Stop treating your pain like it's something you imagined. If you see the wound is real, then you can heal it."

"I've taken knives, bullets, and too many punches to count, all for a little piece of this town," said Kaz. "This is the city I bled for. And if Ketterdam has taught me anything, it's that you can always bleed a little more."

"Sometimes," said Kaz, "a proper thief doesn't just take. He leaves something behind."

And that was what destroyed you in the end: the longing for something you could never have.

"Fate has plans for all of us," Inej said quickly.
"And sometimes fate needs a little assistance."
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Searching for anything Six of Crows-related lead me to so many fan casts. I sure do hope this gets turned to a movie. Although there's always a risk that someone, somewhere will butcher this in the big screen -- there's still something amazing when you see your beloved characters being brought to life, right? Buy the freakin' movie rights to Six of Crows, please!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Book: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows, #1)

"Book Thoughts" after a long while. Now, it's one of the much (but deserved) - hyped books lately: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I originally came across this book because I've noticed that its sequel, Crooked Kingdom, is dominating the "new releases" racks of all local book store I've been to. So I searched it at Goodreads and was surprised to see so many positive reviews... I decided to give it a go. And the rest was history. Let's just say I AM IN NO WAY REGRETTING THAT I CAME ACROSS THIS BOOK. Heh. *insert smirking face emoji* So after a lot of spazzing and hyperventilating, here are my thoughts:

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Blurb:
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone... 
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes  
Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first. (via Goodreads)
Victoria Aveyard sums it up all up in her Goodreads review:

And be on edge I did. THIS BOOK WAS PHENOMENAL! I already came across a lot of YA novels but this is probably one of the best and it is here to stay. I was honestly surprised at myself for liking this too much because heist books are not really my cup of tea (or I just haven't been exposed enough). This book had me floored most of time, my heart beating fast with excitement. There was even one moment when I was too caught up with this piece of treasure that I was reading it my Kindle in the middle of a night out with friends. I was uncontrollably spazzing over this book at my social media accounts and my family and my friends and my workmates and to just about anyone who would care to listen. It was the perfect mix of thrilling plot, unexpected twists, great backstories, and an interesting cast of characters. And the romance (!!!) - gaaaaaahhhhd! - don't even get me started on that. It was raw, natural, restrained  -- and that, my friends, is how YA romance should be made of. It doesn't go over board, the tension, the development. It is not used as the center of the story, rather, one that moves the story forward and makes sense of each character's actions.

Let me just say that, as good as the plot was, more than that, I was fascinated with the main characters that make up this Leigh Bardugo masterpiece.

"A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse."

The book is told through alternating first person POVs of five of the crew - each POV fleshing out each of them and providing enough backstory and uncovered character motivation to keep the ball rolling. Even if I'm the type of person who would raise both two hands (and a foot, if possible) to declare my love for 1st person POVs, the story telling was pretty effective (bias aside). With a cast of complex and flawed but interesting characters, there's no way it won't work.

The Six of Crows // source
Nina, the sassy firecracker of a Grisha. Many fans said that they could identify with Nina the most and it's not really too hard to see. She's funny, bold, brave. A beautiful girl, with deadly powers and a heart. Matthias, a former Fjerdan druskelle. The doomed relationship was too good to my liking, but I liked the frame of a wounded warrior who sacrificed so much for love -- and is still torn between that and what his country stands for. Jesper, that funny man. A sharpshooter who had an obsession to anything that gets his adrenaline high. The comic relief in this impossibly epic book, I find myself cracking up every time he's in a conversation with anyone or just remarks something out of the blue. Wylan, a newbie at the barrel who proved himself to be a demolition expert by devising impossibly sophisticated bombs. He's the only one who does not have a POV in the book but the presentation still provided him much air time.

Kaz'z eyes should've been coffee;
But THIS FAN ART IS LIFE! Gaaaah.
// source
And of course: Kaz and Inej. There's so much to be said about these two, and, as you might've guessed.... these two are my absolute favorites in this book.
“You may still die in the dregs."

Inej’s dark eyes had glinted. “I may. But I’ll die on my feet with a knife in my hand.”
Inej Ghafa is one of the most badass book heroines I've ever read so far. She can fend for herself, dangerous. A freakin' ninja, if I'm gonna be honest. A legend in the Dregs, one who walks in the dark and steals your secrets. A Suli idealist, and one who holds her beliefs dear even in the darkest and most challenging of times. I'd like to thank Leigh for writing such a strong female character that knows what she deserves and is not willing to settle for less. *slow claps echoing*
“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”
Last but not the least, Kaz Brekker. In all his gloved and limping glory, Kaz managed to capture my attention the moment he appeared on page. Whipsmart, sarcastic, greedy, cruel, daring -- the best antihero I've read in a long while. Despite all these negatives, he managed to catapult himself so high up in my 'book boyfriend'  list. (Yeah, I keep such a list.) He wears black leather gloves all the time, uses a cane with a crow head handle and he freakin' wears a business attire on a daily basis. It might sound comic or out of place if you think about it but Leigh Bardugo managed to make a character that draws you in with such depth and intensity. He's selfish, but at least he's honest about it. A criminal prodigy, all dark humor and schemes. Leigh created such a tragic and complicated character at the center of this massive heist plot without going over the the top. Kaz Brekker ranks as one of the most memorable YA characters I've read.  And his was the POV I loved reading the most.

Leigh Bardugo managed to surprise in every turn with ridiculous plot twists and maneuvers that only validates just how awesome this crew of dangerous outcasts are -- sometimes, it's even hard to imagine these lot are just teenagers. Each with a depth of their own, and each with something to fight for. The dialogues and interactions are witty, entertaining. Although it was rather unfair for the first book to end like that, it was necessary and it felt like the natural choice.
Kaz leaned back. "What's the easiest way to steal a man's wallet?"
"Knife to the throat?" asked Inej.
"Gun to the back?" said Jesper.
"Poison in his cup?" suggested Nina.
"You're all horrible," said Matthias.
Kaz rolled his eyes. "The easiest way to steal a man's wallet is to tell him you're going to steal his watch. You take his attention and direct it where you want it to go..."
^ This quote right took the cake for me. Starting from there, everything went perfect and I was a goner.

THE CREW, from the French cover (which I definitely love!)
I've loved books before but only few made me frustrated as hell that I can't really draw properly. Too many times while reading this book have I wished that I could draw what's in my head (so I just settled on scrolling through Instagram and Tumblr fan accounts). Leigh Bardugo managed to get my whole being arrested, my whole attention invested in her world -- Saints, I am at her mercy!
I've been fangirling on a daily basis on all things since God knows when but only a few kept me restless and always on my feet. I was perpetually distracted for two weeks and this book is to blame. I've given out 5-star ratings in the past on impulse.... but I know this one is much deserved and, hopefully, won't change in the next few weeks. This book is too precious for words, too much for my heart. I am even declaring that it's THE BEST OF MY YEAR as early as now. This book blew me away with the force of multiple cannons combined. This is YA fantasy at one of its very best. Definitely recommended!

P.S.
And, oh, with or without armor, I'd definitely take Kaz Brekker.
______________
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.

source: Tumblr
"I don't want to kill people, not really."
"That's a solid policy until people want to kill you..."

"Some people see a magic trick and say, 'Impossible!' They clap their hands, turn over their money, and forget about it ten minutes later. Other people ask how it worked. They go home, go to bed, toss and turn, wondering how it was done. It takes them a good night's sleep to forget all about it. And then there are the ones who stay awake, running through the trick again and again, looking for that skip in perception, the crack in the illusion that will explain how their eyes got duped; they're the kind who won't rest until they've mastered that little bit of mystery for themselves. I'm that kind."
"You love trickery."
"I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue."


________________

Reread it a couple of times because I was too busy highlighting. By the time I was finished, my copy was bleeding yellow. I was too lazy to review books these past months but Six of Crows proved to be an exception. Plus, I just bought a copy of Crooked Kingdom so before I dive in to that epic of a book and forget what my thoughts are for SoC, I wrote this instantly. It proved longer than I expected though. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Legacy (Andalucian Nights Trilogy FINAL Installment) Release Party + Giveaway! (Closed)

Whew, it's been just a few months ago when Masquerade (#2) was published and now we're down to the final installment of the Andalucian Nights Trilogy. If you can recall, Hannah Fielding, the author of this trilogy, guest posted in this blog talking about how she devised this work.

And now we're finally here: 

Legacy by Hannah Fielding
Legacy, the third and final installment of the series, is set to be published this month. So, in honor of this special event, Hannah is having a release party around the blogosphere through out August
Blurb: 
A troubled young journalist finds her loyalties tested when love and desire unearth dark secrets from the past.Spring, 2010. When Luna Ward, a science journalist from New York, travels halfway across the world to work undercover at an alternative health clinic in Cadiz, her ordered life is thrown into turmoil.
The doctor she is to investigate, the controversial Rodrigo Rueda de Calderon, is not what she expected. With his wild gypsy looks and devilish sense of humour, he is intent upon drawing her to him. But how can she surrender to a passion that threatens all reason; and how could he ever learn to trust her when he discovers her true identity? Then Luna finds that Ruy is carrying a corrosive secret of his own…Luna’s native Spanish blood begins to fire in this land of exotic legends, flamboyant gypsies and seductive flamenco guitars, as dazzling Cadiz weaves its own magic on her heart. Can Luna and Ruy’s love survive their families’ legacy of feuding and tragedy, and rise like the phoenix from the ashes of the past?
Legacy is a story of truth, dreams and desire. But in a world of secrets you need to be careful what you wish for…
Aaaaaand, to top it all off, she'll be giving away a Karl Lagerfield "Choupette on the Beach" bag! This bag is worth around £155/$225, I think (converted to Peso, that is around 9,000+ converted from British pounds! woah! O.O) +  it looks cute AND cool.

Am I right? :D

Wanna join? It's easy. It's open to all via Rafflecopter!


If you want, you can also go to Hannah's blog for the giveaway. Just CLICK HERE.

This giveaway runs from August 1 to August 21, so hurry up and enter! It's very easy. :3

The book itself is currently available in ebook format, and for preorder in paperback by the end of August. 

Purchase Links:


Author Bio
Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean. 

Hannah is a multi-award-winning novelist, and to date she has published five novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya; The Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in Italy; and the Andalusian Nights Trilogy – Indiscretion, Masquerade and Legacy – her fieriest novels yet, set in sunny, sultry Spain

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