Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars

By: John Green
Published: January 10th, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Source: Bought
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Thoughts

This was actually my second time reading The Fault In Our Stars. I friend asked to borrow it and I decided that I should re-read it before I lent it to her so that we could talk about it after. There are many quotes that I love from TFIOS but since I don't have my book with me, I will (possibly) add them in later!

I remember seeing TFIOS in the bookstore for a while before I finally decided to pick it up- and I am sure glad that I did! For a middle-aged man, John Green writes teenagers, spectacularly well. I would be hard pressed to find another author who writes such REAL teenagers. There were two moments that come to mind for me that were just sort of  AH-HA moments regarding the absolute real-ness of Hazel.

Moment 1-  Hazel uses the phrase "freaking incredible" (or something along those lines) and the young people I know, use that phrase a lot!

Moment 2- When Hazel gets a letter from her favourite author, she yells WHAT IS LIFE? and freaks her mom out but this is such a young thing to say. (I have a similar response when I get responses from my favourite authors)

There are so many more moments in this book that I love. It has beautiful, serious, quotes that are widely applicable to life and then there are real teenager quotes that make me giggle. (like " I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly and then all at once" and "hump the wall") 

Hazel and Augustus know at some point that they will die. This is an inevitability for them both but they choose not to wallow in that, not to be your stereotypical 'cancer- hero'. And I think that this is important because it shows a realistic portrayal of cancer and having to live with it. I also think that it shows how parents (both Augustus and Hazel's) deal and cope with their child having cancer, and the knowledge that you can't do anything to stop it.

I particularly found it interesting to read after reading Esther Earl's book This Star Won't Go Out. John has said that TFIOS is not Esther's story but the novel is dedicated to her, and I can see some parallels, but also some very different aspects of Esther's and Hazel's stories. I can see Esther in Hazel but they are also very, very different individuals with different stories.

The Fault In Our Stars is not a 'happy' story, but it is real. And that is what makes it so incredible. I'd recommend this book to everyone, regardless of your usual genre or reading preference. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

City of A Thousand Dolls

City of A Thousand Dolls

By: Miriam Forster
Published: February 5th 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: Gift | Friends
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die. (more at Goodreads)

My Rating

This book had caught my eye when it first came out but then it got lost among all the other books coming out and I sort of forgot about it. Fast forward almost a year to my birthday when my best friend gave me City of A Thousand Dolls. I was super excited to read it because it sounded pretty cool and there were cats! (I am a huge fan of cats!)

I liked that it was set in an Asian world because the majority of the books I read are set in the States or American societies/worlds. The world building was pretty unique but also drew strong parallels with China (and maybe Japan?). The different houses that trained the girls were a nice idea but sometimes I got confused about what each house was. I'm still not sure exactly how many houses there were- 5? Maybe 6? This might be partly because I picked this book up, then put it down because of school craziness and then picked it up again and I just started where I left off. So that might not have been the best idea!

I loved that cats and the fact that Nisha could communicate with them because I am positive that my cats talk to me, plus cats are just the best animal in general.

This book is a bit of a fantasy- murder mystery but I did find myself forgetting that Nisha was actually trying to solve murders because there is so much drama surrounding Nisha. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, I guess it depends on what kind of book you are looking for! It definitlely wasn't a murder mystery in the traditional sense because there isn't really any set up of concrete suspects that you would usually find. I was pretty shocked at the end! But that's all I'm going to say because SPOILERS!

So I would recommend this book to anyone who might be in a reading slump and is looking to get out (that was totally me!), or enjoys books set in Asia, fantasy, murder mysteries, or books with CATS! 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Save the Date: Sea of Shadows

Sea of Shadows

By: Kelley Armstrong
Published: April 8th 2014
Source: Netgalley |Thanks to Random House Canada!|
My Rating: 4 out of 5


In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted. (more at Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I requested a copy of this book on Netgalley and was given the chance to review this book. This in no way affected my opinion of the novel.

Sea of Shadows was a bit of a departure for me but I'm also a fan of Kelley Armstrong's books so when I saw the chance to read it- I took it. The other thing that really made me want to read this book is that it had twins. A book having twins pretty much means that I have to read it- regardless of whether or not it's my normal type of book! Now for some more book talk:

What I Liked

I absolutely loved both Ashyn and Moria. There characters were so unique and dynamic and their twin relationship felt very real it me. In fact they reminded me of a set of twins that I know! Also I loved that they were each bonded to an animal, in our world people can form bonds with animals and it was cool to see it taken even further with Tova and Diago.  I loved the spunkiness of the girls, their desire to do their duty and protect the people they love. As well as the twins interactions with others it was interesting to see how they interacted with Gavril and Ronan- both of whom are sort of outsiders. The exploration of that dynamic was very well done. The storyline was darker than a lot of what I read but it was well-paced and captivating. I may have stayed up late many nights just to read! The switching viewpoints was very well done. Normally I'm not a fan of it but Armstrong did a fantastic job!

What I Didn't Like

There was many mentions of blood, which kind of wierded me out but I also realize that comes with the genre/story but it wasn't my favourite. I also found that there were times when there would be several chapters of one twin and I just really wanted to know what was happening to the other! Other scenes felt rushed and I would have liked to see more depth and description to them.

Overall I would recommend this book to people who are fans of Armstrong's past books, or who like the fantasy genre and don't mind a dash of gruesome! So save the date (April 8th) and head out to your local bookstore!