Review: “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini

~o~Rating~o~
4.5 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Khaled Hosseini’s #1 New York Times Bestselling Debut

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

~o~Review~o~

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.”

I am a big Kite Runner fan so naturally I picked up A Thousand Splendid Suns. I was not disappointed. I loved this book! I love how Hosseini’s descriptions actually take you to the streets of Kabul. Afghanistan has been under A LOT of turmoil over the past few years, decades to be more precise, and this book shows just how much hardship the citizens of this country have to go through on a daily basis (the women especially).

I thought it was a beautifully crafted story of brutality and suffering as well as strength and hope. This book kept reminding me of one of my favorite Mahatma Gandhi quotes: “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body but you will never imprison my mind.” Both Mariam and Laila are two women living under a fiercely male dominant society in which they have little to no power but they never lose their spirit. They show that bravery isn’t always in fighting but in going through life with your head held high and a bucket of courage.

I’m giving it 4.5 stars because there were a few parts I had to trudge through because it was boring me. Completely worth it though.


~o~Spoiler Alert~o~
 
Many parts of the book were truly painful for me to read. When it comes to violence in Fantasy or Sci-Fi books, I enjoy it immensely, but it just feels so real when it comes to realistic fiction. I absolutely hated Rasheed and felt immense joy at his death; he had it coming. And I thought it was even more justified that he would die at the hand of Mariam who sacrificed so much for that undeserving bastard. I was cheering her on the whole time.

I have to say, I liked the ending a lot. Laila deserved a real and happy family.

Review: “Fairest” by Marissa Meyer

~o~Rating~o~
4 tp

Warning: Fairest is a spin-off of the Lunar Chronicles series. The review contains spoilers for the original series. 

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

~o~Review~o~

Being inside the mind of Queen Levana, easily one of my most hated YA villains, was definitely intriguing. I couldn’t help but sympathize with her a little. It was nice seeing her background. Don’t get me wrong though, I would still rejoice if anyone from the Lunar Chronicles gang kills her.

Levana grew up as a lonely princess. Without any friends, neglected by her parents and constantly threatened by her older sister, the future queen. She also felt the need to constantly hide herself with her glamour because of her “ugly” face. It’s easy to see why she would be so bitter.

And it was also interesting to learn more about Levana’s step-daughter princess Winter. I’m very excited for Winter the fourth book of the Lunar Chronicles.

Review: “Captive” by Aimee Carter

Captive by Aimee Carter~o~Rating~o~
3 tp

Warning: Captive is the second book to Pawn. 

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy. After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

~o~Review~o~

I tried to like this book, I really did. Did I like it though? No. The first book in the series, Pawn, was much better in my opinion. Captive started off really slow and the main character Kitty was acting like a brat during most of the book. It took a long time for me to actually get into the story and even when I did, I was not as invested as I wanted to be.

~o~Spoiler Alert~o~
 
I would say though Carter’s description of Elsewhere was interesting. In the last book, it seemed like Elsewhere was this giant forest where the rich went to “hunt” down the poor who were accused of crimes. Witnessing that it was almost like a town was unexpected.

The big reveal about Kitty’s background was also unexpected. I don’t know what I think of that just yet. I kind of liked knowing that the only reason Kitty was chosen was because of her eye color and not because of her heritage. I am excited to see where this leads though.

Review: “What’s Left of Me” by Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me~o~Rating~o~
4 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

~o~Review~o~

This was one of those books I just randomly picked up from the public library not expecting much from it. I was very pleasantly surprised. What’s Left of Me was very impressive for a book I hadn’t previously heard about.

This story takes place in a world where every person is born with two souls. One of these souls usually “faded” away by the person was around six years old. The people whose souls did not fade were known as hybrids. The main character was a hybrid; both her souls remained in her body though Addie was more dominant than Eva. It was a different experience reading from the point of view of one character who was really two people. I thought Kat Zhang did a wonderful job portraying the two souls.

I’m really looking forward to the next two books in the trilogy. I think these books just might make their way to my favorite shelf.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~
 
I’m giving it four stars because of the lack of explanation when it came to the hybrids. Why were people hybrids? Or is this just an alternative universe? Hopefully the sequels will explain better. I’m excited to see where this goes.

Disney Book Tag

Disney Book Tag

This is my first tag! This is exciting stuff! I believe the tag was created by Kat from Katytastic. Being an avid Disney fan, this tag just had to be done.

The Little Mermaid

For this I picked Cinder from Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Cinder is a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella that takes place in a future world. For one, Cinder is the outsider in her family living with her stepmother and two stepsisters. And then she’s an outsider to her world because she’s a cyborg.

Cinderella

For this I picked Tris from Divergent by Veronica Roth. Divergent, as I’m sure most people know, takes place in a future dystopian world where everyone is divided into five different factions. Tris goes through a major transformation. Beatrice Prior went from the simple, self-less Abnegation to Tris a brave and fearless Dauntless fighter.

Snow White

I just had to pick two casts because I couldn’t choose one. First the Ender’s Game cast from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I have loved the Ender’s Game characters for years now and every time I re-read the book, I fall in love with them again. The characters are written with beautiful depth. And second the characters of Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. All the characters in these books are very believable and the amount of personality Martin put in them is extremely impressing.

Sleeping Beauty

There are quite a few books that put me to sleep, school textbooks making the very top of the list. 😀 On literary terms though, I would have to pick either Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe or The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien. I tried to get through these, I really did; not a success.

The Lion King

Many of the YA characters had something traumatic happen to them as children. I picked Ruby Daly from the The Darkest Mindsseries by Alexandra Bracken.For those who don’t know, the Darkest Minds series takes place in an alternative U.S.A where the nation was devastated by a plague that killed most of the children and those who didn’t die developed superpowers. Ruvy goes through a LOT in this book and I think she is one of the strongest female heroines in YA so far.

Beauty and the Beast

The original question for Beauty and the Beast was: “a beast of a book that you were intimidated by but found the story to be beautiful”. But I don’t usually get intimidated by long books, I tend to love reading longer books. So I changed the question to: “A book that you hesitated to pick up because of the cover but ended up loving”. I know people are always saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but we all do it anyway. I picked City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I first picked it up when I was in 6th grade and the cover just did not appeal to me but I’m glad I read it.

Aladdin

This one took me a while for some reason. I am going to pick The Boy Who Lived (Harry Potter for those of you who don’t know). Growing up in an abusive home, Harry probably wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. He gets that wish granted. He finds two very loyal friends, he finds a place he could call home and he finds his true family. Granted his life isn’t the best even in the Wizarding World, but I guess you can’t have everything.

Mulan

A character who pretends to be someone else. I picked June Iparis from the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu. She goes under cover to follow the criminal/legend Day. I love these books wholeheartedly and June is probably the most intelligent YA heroine out there.

Toy Story

No way could I pick just one book. I want them ALL! Only the good ones though, the bad ones are free to stay trapped in their respective stories.

Disney Descendants

I would say the villain I most love to hate would be Umbridge from the Harry Potter series. I’m pretty sure everyone hates her. President Snow from the Hunger Games series is another one I would love to see the dead body of.

I hope you liked it!

Review: “End of Days” by Susan Ee

18500665~o~Rating~o~
4.5 tp

Warning: End of Days is the third and last book to the Penryn and the End of Days trilogy.

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy. After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

~o~Review~o~

A satisfying ending for an awesome series! End of Days is everything I was hoping for and more. It’s action packed, full of humor, some very memorable scenes and of-course Raffryn (is that how you spell it?). Not much to say without spoiling but read this series! Susan Ee brings a whole new twist to angels and it’s mind blowing! Not a very thorough review, but it was so good! Go read it NOW!

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~

I loved all the different aspects of the book. I liked that Susan Ee explained Beliel’s back-story. The whole concept of going through a sword to Hell and bringing back the Watchers was something I never would have predicted.

I also really liked that Paige and their mom played a big part in the book. Honestly, her psycho mom had become one of my favorite characters. I mean, scaring the hellions with rotten eggs? That’s as cool as moms get. And every time I try to picture Paige, I start to hate Doc more and more. I don’t care what good thing he did, he literally tore that little girl apart and sewed her back together. Why isn’t he dead again?

The ending scene with the fight was great; especially picturing the Watchers fighting side by side with the humans. *tears* That was beautiful.

I of-course loved the Raffryn ending! Their conversations always make me laugh, they’re hilarious! Poor Raffe though, after working so hard to get his wings back. Hopefully Pooky Bear will accept him soon.

Review: “Winger” by Andrew Smith

~o~Rating~o~
4 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids in the Pacific Northwest. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

~o~Review~o~

Winger is not the usual type of book I pick up but since it was getting so popular in the YA world, I decided to give it a try. I can honestly say I did not expect to like it as much as I did. It’s about a guy named Ryan Dean who goes to a rich kid private school and plays rugby. I usually don’t expect much of books with a private school setting because they’re so overdone, especially ones where the main character is very involved with a sport (not being a sports person myself), but this book surprised me. Yes, it does have those cliché breaking-the-rules-at-midnight scenes and getting-in-fights-with-the-other-teams scenes but there were also many parts that genuinely interested me.

This book is a coming of age story. Ryan Dean is a high school junior at only fourteen years old who is tired of being considered a child, especially by one of his best friends Annie who he’s hopelessly in love with. This was a little like another one of those out-of-place-in-high-school-student-rooting-for-one-of-the-most-popular-kids kind of book, and it was but it was more too. Winger is funny, very touching at times, and the ending punches you in the heart.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~
 
All I can say is that I did NOT expect that ending. Joey was by far my favorite character and I loved watching Joey’s and Ryan Dean’s friendships develop through the book. It had been a while since I cried at a character’s death (as in cried with actual tears) and Joey’s death was completely unexpected, to me at-least.

I liked the friendship aspect of the story more than the romantic aspect. I did like Annie though and I was rooting for Ryan Dean and Annie but I wasn’t as interested with them as a couple as I usually am in other books.

Up until the last few chapters, I was going to give the book 3 stars but it’s getting four stars because of that killer ending (though I would much rather have Joey living than dead). I think it shows how your life can turn upside down at a single event and how having people you love around you can make a big difference.

 

Review: “The Young Elites” by Marie Lu

~o~Rating~o~
4.5 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

~o~Review~o~

I have mixed feelings about the main character Adelina Amouteru (reasonably so). She’s not exactly a hero but she’s not a villain either, she’s more of an anti-hero (she actually reminded me of Elsa from Frozen in certain parts). Marie Lu herself says this was more of a villain’s origin story than anything else. Adelina is unlike any main character I’ve read about (except maybe Ender Wiggin from Ender’s Game). Adelina is very aware of the fact that she is flawed in both her appearance and her personality. Her marking is her bright silver hair and because one of her eye stopped working, they had to take it out of her socket so she is missing one eye.

I love that Marie Lu created this very dark and disturbing character, but gave her enough personality where the readers can’t help but sympathize with her (at-least a little bit). Adelina crosses the line between good and evil quite a few times and her sense of morality is very different from the typical YA protagonist. It’s not that she is inherently evil but more that she will do anything to protect herself. She tries to be good but she has this growing fury inside of her that she can’t get rid of. Her energy depends on the fear of others which alone warned people to stay away from her so she was pretty much doomed from the beginning. She is tired of being used and has this hunger for power which she can’t seem to quench. This book brings up the question of good vs. evil quite a few times as the line between the two get more and more unclear.

4.5 stars because the beginning was a little slow and it took me a while to get accustomed to the setting and the characters.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~
 
I loved how Adelina’s power developed and it’s a pretty cool power. I mean, killing someone with an illusion of pain? Terrifying but awesome.

The other characters were interesting but I didn’t connect with most of them. I liked Raffaelle but wanted more of his story which I’m hoping the later books will bring. His character proved that no one is who they appear to be because he is the one who banishes Adelina at the end (granted she killed Dante and technically Enzo).

Enzo: I honestly didn’t like him all that much but it did surprise me when he died. But at the end, we do see Maeve who can bring people back from the dead so this should be interesting.

I wanted to know more about Gemma and Lucent; they were mentioned quite a lot but we didn’t really get to witness Adelina interacting with them. There might be more of Teren than we saw in this book, but right now, I pretty much hate him. Thinking he’s some kind of savior by killing all these people, that’s what you call delusional.

Violetta is probably my favorite character since I always tend to like the sweet ones. She has protected her sister her whole life. I’m confused on why she doesn’t have a marking though, maybe it’s just really small. Or maybe her hair just turned a very similar shade to what it was before so no one noticed. Oh well…

I’m really excited to see where this is going. Adelina’s character could go in any direction.

Review: “Hex Hall” by Rachel Hawkins

5287473~o~Rating~o~
3.5 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

~o~Review~o~

To me, Hex Hall was one of those light reads that you enjoy when you’re reading it but forget about after a few weeks. The main character, Sophie, is a witch who gets sent to this boarding school with other supernatural kids because she messed up a love spell.

I thought the plot was predictable. She was the new girl who fell in love with the hottest guy in school (Archer) who already had a girlfriend. The girlfriend was of course portrayed as one of those snotty, mean girls in a generic high school movie. Sophie’s roommate (who also happens to be a vampire) was the most unpopular person in the school. And then slowly Archer started to fall for Sophie.

However, the book was funny at times. Sophie is witty and able to stick up for herself and her friends. And the ending did make me want to read the next book just so I could find out what happens next. Overall, it’s a nice and quick read but nothing remarkable or extraordinary.

Review: “Angelfall” by Susan Ee

~o~Rating~o~
4 tp 

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

~o~Review~o~

“But the truth is that we’re all just stumbling around in the dark. Sometimes we hit something terrible.”

“Sometimes, as we’re stumbling along in the dark, we hit something good.”

Now here is a very admirable heroine. Penryn is brave, kind and fiercely loyal to her little sister, Paige. The book begins with her, he sister and her mother going out at night to scout for supplies. As the story progresses, the pieces of what has happened comes together. The world had been attacked by angels and humans are barely getting by.

While scouting Penryn meets an angel named Raffe whose wings is cut off in a fight and his opponent flies off with Penryn’s sister. Penryn saves Raffe because she needs his help finding her sister. They two start to bond and help each other out.

I loved how determined Penryn is to the point of extreme stubbornness. She is also not just another helpless teenager; her mother has some form of psychological disability and made her take a bunch of self defense classes as a child so Penryn has some really cool moves up her sleeve.

And Raffe is just adorable with an awesome/cocky sense of humor.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~
 
In the end, when they sew giant bat wings on Raffe made me so angry! How could you do such a thing!? And then when he though Penryn was dead and brought her to the car with the other rebels, imagining that scene gave me goose bumps.

And also, poor little Paige! Those monsters took her apart then sewed her back together like a rag doll. Whoever they are, they better die a horrible death.