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Wounded Little Gods by Eliza Victoria

29413691Title: Wounded Little Gods

Author: Eliza Victoria

Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary:

Regina was born and raised in the small town of Heridos, where gods and spirits walked the earth.

Until they didn’t.

Ten years ago, the whole town produced a bad harvest – rice grains as black as soot – and the people of the town moved on, away from the soil and the farms, believing the gods and spirits have abandoned them.

It is ten years later, on a Friday before a long weekend, and Regina ends her shift at an office in Makati. She walks home with a new colleague named Diana. Diana, following a strange and disturbing conversation with Regina, does not appear at the office on Monday, and the day after that.

And the day after that.

On Thursday, Regina opens her bag and finds a folded piece of paper filled with Diana’s handwriting.

On the page are two names and a strange map that will send Regina home.

Wounded Little Gods is one of those books you can easily read in one sitting. Not simply because it’s short, but because it draws you in and invites you on quite an interesting ride.

The story revolves around Regina, a young woman who has a strange conversation with her new colleague, Diana. Shortly after their odd encounter, Diana disappears, leaving behind a strange map that takes Regina back to her hometown of Heridos. She unearths a mystery filled with strange rumors and whispers about human experiments held in a medical facility no one seems to know about.

There isn’t much I can say about this book without giving the plot away, but I have to say I really, really liked the strange combination of medical experiments and spirits/gods that are both parts of the plot. How interesting to see how human experiments–often a product of people who act like gods–somehow intertwine with the very same spirits/gods that people believe in and imagine themselves to be.

This is a delightful book that gives us appearances of the old Filipino gods, throws in a little bit of horrifying Philippine history, and combines both elements to create a delicious story that mixes both fantasy and history together quite well.

I’d have given this a higher rating but I was confused for quite a while because I had initially though the book was about a curse on Heridos, based on the book’s summary. Instead, I found myself on a wild goose chase involving experiments and spirits, and it took me a while to adjust and realize that the book wasn’t really about the town at all, but more about gods and humans and how we all make mistakes–and how sometimes, those mistakes take away the most precious things from us. (Which was quite delightful really, but I was confused for most of the book before it dawned on me–I’m slow lol)

 

 

 

 

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Indexing by Seanan McGuire

17907054.jpgTitle: Indexing (Indexing #1)

Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary:

“Never underestimate the power of a good story.”

Good advice…especially when a story can kill you.

For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected—perhaps infected is a better word—by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

That’s where the ATI Management Bureau steps in, an organization tasked with protecting the world from fairy tales, even while most of their agents are struggling to keep their own fantastic archetypes from taking over their lives. When you’re dealing with storybook narratives in the real world, it doesn’t matter if you’re Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Wicked Queen: no one gets a happily ever after.

Indexing is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s new urban fantasy where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.

There’s a lot of fairy tale retellings being published, and to be honest, it’s getting kinda old. I love me some fairy tales, but seriously, there’s only so much recycling of stories a girl can take. It’s getting hard to sift through all the retellings to find a book that has the perfect balance of retelling a tale yet bringing in something original to the story.

If you want something different, Indexing is the book for you. This book originally began as a Kindle serial, which are books published in episodes. Buying a Kindle serial guarantees you’re getting all the existing episodes + any more future episodes in the book when they’re published.

I read Indexing as a whole, so my reading experience may be different from others. I’ve noticed there’s a difference who watch TV series in bulk vs those who wait for a new episode every week (and a new season every year), so I imagine it might be similar with books. XD

But I digress.

Indexing follows the story of Henrietta Marchen (Marchen = fairy tale in German, heh), who heads a team at the Aarne-Thompson Index (ATI) Management Bureau. This agency basically protects the world from fairy tales (because in this world, they are real), which are dangerous because they push their way into the world and will do everything to make sure their story gets told, even if it means people will get hurt–or die–in the process.

I’m sure a lot of people would think, hey fairy tales have happy endings anyway, so why don’t they just let them be? The answer is: these fairy tales aren’t the watered down Disney version where no one except the villain gets hurt. Nope, we’ve got the dark, dark original tales where the Little Mermaid kills herself, or Sleeping Beauty gets raped while in a coma. Yikes. There’s also the disturbing fact that anyone who gets in the way of the story–whether they’re aware or not–will definitely get hurt or killed..or manipulated to make sure the narrative continues. Definitely a reason for concern, don’t you think? XD

Each episode in this book deals with a fairy tale archetype (or sometimes several), and the indexing in the title comes into play as the Index, which collects all information on each fairy tale and its variations. Each fairy tale has its own code in the Index, like Snow White is a 709 and Rapunzel is a 310, etc.

Henrietta, who interestingly is born a Snow White, struggles with her identity every day while running around trying to stop fairy tales from bringing about chaos in the real world. Her team consists of Sloane (once a Wicked Stepsister), Jeff (classified as an Elf from The Elves and the Shoemaker), Demi (a Pied Piper), and Andy (normal but has encountered the tragedy of a fairy tale coming true).

I think this is a really, really original retelling of many different tales, and I like how the fairy tales are so dark and morbid. I thought the many ways Henrietta and her team solve each mystery most of the time were really clever, and several episodes were deliciously creepy (which is both good and bad when you’re huddled in bed trying to read at 2 in the morning lol).

I’ll admit the Index was a bit overwhelming and hard to understand at first, as well as the ATI, but once you get into it, seeing the different fairy tales and how they unfold (or not) is quite interesting. I found a couple of episodes a bit too slow or boring, but most of the episodes are really great.

I really loved the characters too, especially angry, angry Sloane who is always one second away from murdering everyone around her. XD They were just so fun and…not normal, and the team’s dynamic was really good (despite their clashing personalities–and stories–at times) so I really liked seeing how everyone got together to solve each puzzle.

I think this is a great book to read if you want a darker and grittier fairy tale retelling. Plus, it’s a lot of retellings in one book! Great bonus, if you ask me.

To Be Continued by Prex J.D.V. Ybasco

25838466Title: To Be Continued

Author: Prex J.D.V. Ybasco

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: 1 out 5 stars

Summary:

Not all stories end happily nor tragically. Most of them just need to be continued.Azalea Anthony is a writer, or what she claims to be.Vim Harvey is her friend, or at least what she wants to believe.Jasmine Morrish is Azalea’s archenemy, or so what Jash believes Azalea makes people believe…er–There are other characters, too: like Warren, the basketball player, Beatrix, the model, Tom, the perfect excuse of a brother, Eclaire, the eccentric bff, etc.They all hangout in one place where they can enjoy a steaming cup of debates, an aroma of gossips, a side dish of basketball, a topping of drama, and a menu of articles : The Big Coffee Shop.

I’ve been reading this book on and off for almost a year now–it’s probably time to throw in the towel.

I got to 52% before giving in–I was hoping this was going to be something different from all the contemporary YA I usually try to read because the blurb was interesting.

There’s just too much I couldn’t stand.

The characters – There’s a representative for every cliche in the universe–they just have more unique names than your normal YA characters. To be honest, a story full of characters with odd names that live in a world full of generic city names made me lol.

Azalea (or Euiea, as she wants to be called–don’t ask me why because it’s never explained!), the heroine, annoys me the most. She’s smarter than everyone else and looks down on everyone, even her friends. How she even has friends with her attitude, idek. She’s a fucking ~special snowflake and I honestly just wanted to punch her in the nose most of the time.

Poorly written characters representing every cliche in the book and no development whatsoever? No, thank you.

The plot – I struggled through half before it dawned on me–it’s just a typical love story where the girl goes through a traumatic breakup, then proceeds to secretly fall in love with her best friend. Wow, after building up Azalea as the perfect girl, she goes and does the most cliche things ever. Er. Okay.

Maybe there’s more to the story. Except I don’t want to continue reading this book anymore. If nothing interesting has happened by at least half of the book, why should I bother?

The writing – The writing and structure was just way too awkward for me to want to continue reading. I had no clue what was happening most of the time because I couldn’t understand what was going on. This book, imo, needs a ton of editing–or a lot of rewriting, really–because it was, quite frankly, awful. Grammar mistakes, incorrect use of idioms, and…just odd writing in general.

The girls are on their way home. Azalea likes savoring the afternoon air while looking at the gold patches scattered in the western horizon. She reveres Apollo’s curtain call and wants everything to be quiet. The atmosphere usually gives her lots of ideas and queer thoughts. Right now, she is thinking of why the streets of their subdivision are named after Kings and what better names they could have instead.

This description is actually some of the better writing in the book but I’ll never understand why the sun has to be referred to as Apollo. Sure, he’s the god of light and the sun, but this reference just comes out as plain awkward.

I’d recommend reading a different book instead. Y’know, so many books, so little time. So spend your time wisely on better books!

A copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

51737Title: The Truth About Forever

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary:

A long, hot summer…

That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to question her sheltered life.

Is it really always better to be safe than sorry?

The truth about forever?

Source
Translation: There’s no such thing as forever.

Memes and kidding aside, I actually liked a YA book??? One about teens falling in love???

The end of the world is nigh.

Just kidding. Again.

But it’s no secret that I am not a fan of teenage romance novels. Most YA novels that center around romance usually annoy me because of insta-love or the stupidity of the characters. Sure, they’re teens, but that doesn’t mean teenagers fucking become unbearably stupid when they fall in love.

(I mean, come on. I was a teenager. Once. I did stupid things, but I would never dream of doing some of the shit that goes on in YA romance novels.)

Ahem.

Anyway, The Truth About Forever, when summarized, sounds like your typical romance novel. Macy loses her dad and struggles with her grief and guilt while trying to be the perfect daughter so she doesn’t worry her mom, who also struggles with her own grief. They never talk about her dad, her mom gets rid of all the stuff that reminds them of him (harsh, I know), and they are very adamant about looking Toward the Future. (While never looking back at the past.)

Macy gets a job on a whim at Wish, which has chaotic, fun-loving catering crew. This crew includes Wes, a gorgeous boy with a mysterious past and well, you know where it goes from there.

Sounds typical, right? Like you’ve read this in a billion other novels before, right? I thought so too, but..surprisingly, it works.

It’s a fun, easy read about how people deal with their grief. That probably sounds contradictory, but it really was. It’s fun, but it deals with a deep issue in a great way. Everyone’s lost someone, somehow–a family member, a friend, a pet–and we all deal with it differently. Sometimes, we move on. And sometimes, we don’t. Or can’t. Sometimes, we need help from other people.

That’s what I liked about this book. I liked seeing how Macy developed from being this girl who played safe and stayed in her comfort zone because that was what worked…to someone who learned to open up and enjoy life a little. And, little by little, learn to handle her guilt and sadness over her dad passing away.

I liked the romance too, it was kinda cute, and I enjoyed all those Truth games Macy and Wes had, but it wasn’t overpowering. It didn’t make the book all sappy. *spoiler* Every suh-woon moment had me laughing and yes, suh-wooing a little, too! Haha. *spoiler*

I think what made this book work for me was how likable all the characters were. The crew at Wish, especially Delia and Kristy, were so fun and silly and lovable that they kept me amused all throughout the story.

There were some stuff I didn’t like in this book, but they were few and far between, especially considering all the things that I enjoyed.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

13158800

Title: The Light Between Oceans

Author: M.L. Stedman

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary:

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

3.5 stars.

It was a slow start and I almost gave up a few times, but it’s a great story once you get into it.

Tom is the lighthouse keeper on Janus Island. It’s a lonely existence, really. He has only his wife, Isabel, for company. A ship visits them every few months to replenish their supplies, and they only visit the outside world every couple of years.

Tom and Isabel are quite happy on their little island. It would probably be perfect, except Isabel suffers through 3 miscarriages, which takes a toll on them both.

One day, Tom discovers a boat with a dead man in it…and a living infant. Isabel, who has just lost her third child, assumes the child is an orphan, and convinces Tom to pretend the child is theirs, because who would ever know the truth? How could anyone ever find out?

It sounds so simple, really. Until they find out the consequences of keeping the child. Because her real mother, Hannah, is alive and lives in Partageuse–the same town Isabel comes from, the same town they visit every few years when Tom reports for official business.

The emotional turmoil of knowing both the happiness of having a child and the ache of losing one haunts them, particularly Tom. Do you give up something that gives you so much happiness because you know it is the cause of someone else’s suffering? Or do you turn your back on that suffering, because you know how much it will destroy you if you give it up?

The book captures all these conflicting emotions very well. Isabel’s selfishness, Tom’s struggle because he’s always wanted to do what is right, Hannah’s agony of struggling through life without the closure of knowing exactly what happened to her child… I struggled along with them all throughout.

My only complaint is that the alternating usage of verbs (past tense to present and back to past tense again) kinda jarred me throughout the whole book. It bothered me so much I’d lose the feel of the story sometimes, haha. But I really liked the writing and the characters.

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

83142Title: The Bronze Horseman

Author: Paullina Simons

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Adult

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Summary:

During the summer of 1941 the Metanov family are living a hard life in Leningrad. As the German armies advance their future looks bleak. For Tatiana, love arrives in the guise of Alexander, who harbours a deadly and extraordinary secret.

The Bronze Horseman was a book I really, really wanted to like. A good friend of mine recommended it to me and sang praises about it, which convinced me to grab a copy as soon as I saw it at a secondhand bookstore.

I suppose the premise itself is interesting enough, although the formula is nothing new: star-crossed lovers in the midst of a war, will they ever get together??

The one thing I appreciated about this book was how it was set in Russia just as World War II was starting. The book encompasses the span of the war and you get to see how people struggled to live during this time. There’s a ton of books set in WWII but most of the books I’ve read are set in the UK or countries occupied by the Nazis, etc. Russia is an interesting setting, considering their Communist government. It’s quite different from other countries.

That being said, I didn’t like much more about the book. I thought it was unnecessarily long, and watching Tatiana and Alexander dance around each other while trying to hide their feelings from being discovered by other people got old fast enough.

I also think, if you took away the historical setting, this would be just another typical romance. Girl meets boy, boy is attached to another (in this case, Tatiana’s sister), they fall in love anyway, they meet in secret, basically it’s all you-and-me-against-the-world stuff. >_<

I thought Tatiana was an annoying heroine, and her development from naive, idiotic girl to Mary Sue loved by all just didn’t amuse me at all. I just don’t understand how anyone can like her. She starts off as a selfish brat, then becomes a martyr who endures all her family’s abuse, then ends up being a Mary Sue who is ~perfect and smart and has everyone falling for her. She’s also a damsel in distress who always has to end up being saved by Alexander or someone else.

Idk

Alexander is a more interesting character, given his ~secret past, but I ended up not liking him either in the long run. Probably because he gives in way too much to Tatiana’s whims, it’s kinda annoying. Oop.

Honestly? I think the one part I thoroughly enjoyed was when Alexander finally couldn’t take it anymore and started yelling at Tatiana for causing all the heartache they had to go through. (Which was totally justified, imo.)

I’d yell myself for wasting my time too, but I’m too busy congratulating myself for actually finishing this long, long book despite the many urges I had to just throw it at the wall.

The book ends in a cliffhanger of sorts (sigh) and I guess I’ll try to read the next book (even though I’m not invested in the characters AT ALL) in the hopes that the sequel is better.

cDkyomW

Please let it be better, book gods.

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

26116473Title: The Outliers

Author: Kimberley McCreight

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia comes a fast-paced teen series where one girl learns that in a world of intrigue, betrayal, and deeply buried secrets, it is vital to trust your instincts.

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice but to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

In this breakneck tale, New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight brilliantly chronicles a fateful journey that begins with a single decision—and ends up changing everything.

It started out so, so well. I tend to ignore/dislike a lot of contemporary YA, but this one had a hold on me from the start.

Wylie receives a mysterious text for help from her best friend Cassie and sets off on a road trip with Jasper (Cassie’s boyfriend, who Wylie hates) to find her. Wylie struggles with her inner demons all throughout, and it’s great how she doesn’t come off as horribly whiny and angsty.

The characters were interesting. Wylie, Cassie, and Jasper (Cassie’s boyfriend) all have their own struggles, and you can see the different ways they deal with it. They’re not so annoyingly whiny/angsty that it seems unrealistic, unlike characters in other contemporary YA I’ve read. You get little glimpses of their lives through flashbacks and little stories, and it got me curious. I wanted to know more about them, and I wanted to know how it all tied up to Cassie’s disappearance and all the weird stuff happening.

The road trip itself was pretty much everything I wanted it to be. The agony of waiting for another text from Cassie, that fear that started off as a tiny sliver when they started out, but soon became more apparent the further they got from home. The full-blown fear when they discovered people were not what they seemed to be.

I read a lot of the book while I was on a 12-hour bus trip home, and the descriptions of the surroundings as they started getting darker and, well, a bit sinister, started sending shivers down my spine because I took a night trip and could easily imagine myself in Wylie’s shoes. (For some reason, I imagined myself getting stranded in the middle of nowhere alone and having to ask from help from strangers…. *shudders* Needless to say, I did not leave the bus except for a quick bathroom break at a stopover for fear I’d get left behind lol)

I think I’d have enjoyed this book more if the plot twist that explains everything didn’t…feel kinda out of place. I guess I was expecting something else altogether, so I wasn’t expecting the plot twist to be so….scientific-ish. That and the fact that the story started getting a bit draggy around the last 1/4 of the book (this irony) just didn’t sit well with me. I am so disappointed I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would. 😦

The book also ends in a horrible cliffhanger, which is probably understandable since this is part of a series, but I’m not sure if I’m going to read the next book. We’ll see. Haha.

Disclaimer: I won an Advanced Reader Copy through a book giveaway hosted by National Bookstore.

 

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

20801166Title: A Little Something Different

Author: Sandy Hall

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary:

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, andeveryone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

This is actually a 2.5 stars book but I’m rounding it off to 3 because that cover is goddamn gorgeous.

I started out liking this a lot. It’s cute to have several different POVs about a love story..and none of them are the main characters’ POVs. I thought it was an interesting way of showing how romance unfolds and how people perceive it. Plus Lea is Asian (!!!) so I thought it was nice to actually have an Asian girl as the main character at once.

The romance is pretty standard though. Shy, awkward boy and girl meet and there’s a spark but they can’t seem to get together even though everyone can see that they’re clearly made for each other. And there’s a whole bunch of people who really would like to see them get together.

That was interesting for the first 100 pages, then it started getting old. Because everyone, and I mean, EVERY PERSON in this book kept rooting for them. Even bitchy Charlotte the barista and always angry Victor ended up shipping them because they were so adorable and cute.

ed7789fc874dd3aab32de08235157432.jpgSeriously?!

Another thing: I thought the bench and squirrel POVs were unnecessary. I don’t even understand what the bench was doing there. It didn’t really contribute anything to the plot???

But hey, I think this book was cute, but I just am not a fan of all this saccharine sweetness. Plus matchmaking gets on my nerves (the trauma of spending your early 20s being matched to every single male in the vicinity by meddling “friends”), so although I thought Inga’s silly matchmaking game was funny at first, it slowly became annoying after she kept making little schemes to get Gabe and Lea together.

6d3d0160-7709-0131-099b-1a593329057b.gifYes, yes we get it. Please stop now.

(Of course, the matchmaking issue is my issue, not the book’s fault. XD)

All in all, I thought the book was too cute and sweet for my liking, but I think other people who enjoy romance would really like it! (And you’ll notice I may have used the word “cute” too many times in this review, which makes me think I should put it on my list of words not to use–inside joke for those who read the book. Hah!)

Exit, Pursued by A Bear by E.K. Johnston

images.jpgTitle: Exit, Pursued by A Bear

Author: E.K. Johnston

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary:

“I love you,” Polly says suddenly when I’m almost to the door.

“I know,” I say.

Hermione Winters has been a flyer. She’s been captain of her cheerleading team. The envied girlfriend and the undisputed queen of her school. Now it’s her last year and those days and those labels are fading fast. In a few months she’ll be a different person. She thinks she’s ready for whatever comes next.

But then someone puts something in her drink at a party, and in an instant she finds herself wearing new labels, ones she never imagined:

Victim. Survivor. That raped girl.

Even though this was never the future she imagined, one essential thing remains unchanged: Hermione can still call herself Polly Olivier’s best friend, and that may be the truest label of all.

Heartbreaking and empowering, Exit, Pursued by a Bear is the story of transcendent friendship in the face of trauma.

“I love you,” I say, because I really, really do.

“I know,” says Polly.

This is the perfect book. And I have a new favorite author.

Before anything though–this is a story about rape. Probably not something everyone will want to read about, but I do hope a lot try reading it.

For some reason, I didn’t think anything would top the beauty that is A Thousand Nights, but this book did. It is so, so wonderful because even though it tells the tale of something horrible, there is so much support for Hermione.

I don’t think I can say anything to express just great this book is. It’s not a typical rape story because the heroine doesn’t end up despairing over life and rebelling and basically making her life more shitty. But the emotions Hermione feels and the ordeals she goes through seemed realistic. (Although, of course, in real life someone would probably be feeling far worse if they were alone :().

I cried while reading the book. When I finished the book, I cried some more. Because I wish everyone had a support system like Hermione did. I wish everyone had an awesome friend like Polly, ready to defend them and shut people up when they say the dumbest, most ignorant things. And I wish people would stop judging rape victims and treat them as VICTIMS, instead of saying shit like they asked for it and making excuses for rapists.

There is so much vileness in this world. But maybe, just maybe, this book will open the eyes of some people and there will be less ignorance and horrible shit in the world.

Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas

imagesTitle: Ash & Bramble

Author: Sarah Prineas

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Retelling, Young Adult

the 3 out of 5 stars

Summary:

A prince.

A ball.

A glass slipper left behind at the stroke of midnight.

The tale is told and retold, twisted and tweaked, snipped and stretched, as it leads to happily ever after.

But it is not the true Story.

A dark fortress.

A past forgotten.

A life of servitude.

No one has ever broken free of the Godmother’s terrible stone prison until a girl named Pin attempts a breathless, daring escape. But she discovers that what seems to be freedom is a prison of another kind, one that entangles her in a story that leads to a prince, a kiss, and a clock striking midnight. To unravel herself from this new life, Pin must choose between a prince and another—the one who helped her before and who would give his life for her. Torn, the only thing for her to do is trade in the glass slipper for a sword and find her own destiny.

I enjoyed this book because it has a very interesting approach to fairy tales. There are so many retellings these days that it’s kinda getting old. There’s only so many ways you can twist the story before things start getting repetitive. Or dull. Or maybe I need to start reading a different genre for a change (even though I love retellings!!). Lol.

Fairy tales usually tell the story of a poor, unfortunate girl who gets the happy ending she deserves through magic. In Ash and Bramble, a different point of view is presented. What if there is something more sinister behind the scenes? What if someone is orchestrating these happy endings, and people get hurt in the process? What if people, including the heroine, get forced into roles and have to act them out, with no say in the matter? What if Cinderella’s lovable fairy godmother wasn’t as good and nice as she seemed?

Quite interesting, right? That’s what kept me reading until the end, even though there were several times I was starting to get bored or frustrated.

For one, I disliked how the two main characters used different point of views to tell their side of the story. One minute you’re with Pin, our heroine, walking through corridors and making a nuisance of herself, all while using the first person narrative. Then, just as things get interesting, you suddenly find yourself reading things in the third person, because you’ve switched to Shoe’s (the hero, duh) view of the events. It was confusing the first time, and disconcerting most of the time. And frustrating all the time, because usually whatever is happening to Shoe is boring. It didn’t add to the anticipation of finding out what happens to Pin, it just made me sigh and put the book down and find something else to do.

Another thing I didn’t like, and it’s probably just me being nitpicky, is that I just can’t accept (or imagine) Cinderella in a red dress. Not to mention the description of the dress reminds me of Katniss, the original girl on fire. X’D

At the hem is the faintest hint of ashy gray, but the rest is flowing silk the color of living flame. I burn against the shadowed walls of the dressing room. I turn and the skirt swirls with vermilion and gold and the brilliant crimson of glowing embers. The air shimmers around me as if with the heat of fire.

See what I mean?

All in all, the premise is interesting, but I found the execution lacking. The evil behind the mysterious Story wasn’t explained properly enough for me, and I don’t really like the main characters enough to continue reading this series. I thought the descriptions of things were written quite well, and there’ll probably be more about Story in the next book, but that’s not enough for me to continue, especially when I have a TBR list that’s as high as Mt. Everest. Haha.