Thursday, August 27, 2015

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

It's 3:07am and I just could not sleep without getting this out of my brain. This is the second book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, and I cannot get enough. This book was so well-written. The story is so elaborate, the worlds so stunning. Sometimes I am simply awed by what other people's brains create. If not slightly terrified.
This whole book was quite terrific in fact, in a very true since of the word. There is so much pain. So much sacrifice and atonement. And almost none of it was stupid. There is only a tiny, minuscule particle of YA-type angst seeping through, making you want to shout at the characters that they MUST know how this will play out. But, alas.
The surprises in the book come one after another. I use to really try and guess while I was reading about possible plot twists, but lately I've given up the habit, and this book swept me away so fast that I really could not keep up at times. I even had to reread a few passages to make sure that I hadn't dreamt what I had read.
I am a huge fan of sarcasm, being a connoisseur myself, and this whole series is dripping with it. Although most of this book is of a darker variety, I found Mik and Zuzana incredibly refreshing. And hilarious. I was a bit worried that they would drop out of the story line, but I absolutely love the roles that they have begun to play, and am excited, and concerned, to see where it leads.
There are so many elements to the story when this portion ends that I am so curious about.
Can Karou and Akiva's dream still live?
Is there enough Hope for it all?
We are alive and in the same world

Crossing this one off!
10 A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit.- Although is book is mainly set in the desert, it's also partially set in Prague. I have always been attracted to Prague, and Taylor's descriptions are nothing short of poetic.

Happy Reading,

Friday, August 14, 2015

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Not even going to lie.The cover of this book completely drew me in. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. I seem to remember a lot of hype on Goodreads a while back, but it was still under my radar. I have actually had this book, and the second in the series, sitting on my shelf for over a year now. I was looking for something to read as a reprieve from The Princess Diaries series( or in other words, I read all the PD books I own and needed something to fill in). My gaze wandered to this book that had been sitting on my shelf for some time now, and I thought, 'why not?'.

Now I'm thinking, 'what was I waiting for?'.

From Goodreads: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

This story has so many elements that I loved. Taylor's descriptive writing style was surprisingly enjoyable for me. I don't normally like description for description's sake, and that's not even what this was, really. It was more like well-balanced description, just enough interspersed throughout to paint a poignant picture without being overdone.

Another is the world that Taylor has created. First, her description of Prague had me looking up plane ticket prices and wondering how my 1 year old would fare on a plane ride. But also, there is the alternate world that she creates. The worlds of the seraphim and the chamaera. With it's many species and customs, wars and histories.

Which brings me to the characters. I have a serious soft spot for Brimstone. Big, gruff, hulking. It was so hard to understand in the beginning, but you could tell that he deeply cared for Karou, and so there had to be a reason that he behaved the way he did. And then when you find out his line of work, it's impossible  to not feel some sort of empathy for him. Plus, even though his description is a little grotesque, the image of him cradling a baby Karou in his arms is still heart-warming, if for nothing else than it's incongruousness. 

And so, all of this brings me to Karou and Akiva.

As I was reading, I had just begun to read actually, there was a very descriptive passage of Karou. And it really struck me. So much so that I had to put the book down for a moment and type my reaction into the Notes app on my phone. Please allow me to quote myself.
"I love that Karou is beautiful. There seems to be a trend now that the heroines in teen novels have to be plain, not all that pretty. And usually through some revelation, be it make over or empowerment, she becomes beautiful. But this is different. Karou is exotic and stunning. From the get go. I think the reason that as authors it may be tempting to dull their characters down is that they don't want to make the female reader feel inferior. I mean, we don't have azure blue hair that grows naturally, but the point of reading is to immerse ourselves in the story. We become Karou. And you know what? It's fun."
There is a lot to be said about the outer beauty of feminine characters in literature, lacking or not. But it was extremely refreshing to me to read a character who was so strikingly beautiful, but it was not shallow or cheap. Or typical. She has blue hair, for crying out loud. 

Akiva. Ok, so let me say that when I realized that this book was going to be about angels and demons I got extremely excited. I'll just say a big ol thank you to my good friend H. Crook, Netflix, and my newfound obsession with Supernatural for this one. 

So, H. Crook, if you are reading this, I HIGHLY recommend these books to you! I digress.
I could't get enough description of his wings. I just kept hoping that he would drop his glamour and unfurl them already!!! Ahem, anyway.

The ending hurt me unexpectedly; I really didn't see the fullness of the situation until the end. Honestly I wasn't looking for it. I've made it my habit to not try so hard to sniff out the plot line, although some authors make it glaringly obvious(looking at you, Nicholas Sparks...) Thankfully, the second title, Days of Blood and Starlight is sitting on my bed as I type, waiting to be lovingly removed from it's slip cover. Here goes nothing!

Crossing this one off!
1 A book you own but haven't read.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot 

So I have a confession to make. I use to own nearly all of these. And they sat on my shelf for such a long time, begging to be read. And like a total idiot, I ignored them, even though I was, and remain, a HUGE Meg Cabot fan! Why did I do this? Because, I had completely fallen in love with the Disney adaptation starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. I mean, as a preteen, did I even stand a chance? Especially considering I broke the rule and watched the movie before I read the book? And if you have ever read any of this series, you will wonder how in the world these two stories have the same origin(okay, well not entirely, but I digress). 

So far I have read the first three installments in the Princess Diaries series. 

Once I began reading, I was surprised to find that these books all take place over the time frame of a few months. While this isn't the most conventional time progression, I got use to the idea pretty quickly.

So Mia. Amelia. If I ever have a girl, that is what I shall name her. I wish I was half as passionate about anything as Mia is about everything. She may not begin well with asserting herself, but she definitely knows how she feels about things. And man, I forgot what I was like to be in the mind of a 14 year old, and the requisite obsession with breasts! The only difference in Mia and I is that while she is a "giantess", I'm a little more hobbit sized.

Over the time frame of these three books, Mia goes through quite a lot. First, there is the premise for the whole series. She finds out that she is the sole, albeit illegitimate heir, to the small country of Genovia. And then she flails. But hey, who wouldn't? During the first book, while all of this princess stuff is unraveling around her, Mia's mom, Helen, becomes involved with her Algebra teacher, which is her worst subject in school( another thing we have in common!). Her best friend, Lily, can only add to the drama because she cannot grapple with her type- A personality long enough to consider Mia's feelings. I know I'm suppose to like Lily, and I do really, she just makes it hard sometimes. And then there is Lily's brother Michael, who Mia, in the first book, sort of likes. This is my only real discrepancy so far. Because as we transition to the second book, Mia is suddenly IN LOVE with Michael. And who can blame her, I'm half in love with him too. It just seemed to be rushed a little. 

Either way, I have really enjoyed reading these books thus far. They have been quick reads, and I find that once I pick one up I am unable to put it down until I am finished. I currently only own only these three, and my stupid library doesn't have them (who do they think they are, anyway?), so I see a trip to the bookstore ASAP!

Crossing this one off the list!
25 A book that is more than 10 years old.

Happy Reading,