Thursday, August 11, 2016

Suicide Reviews: The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey

 The Last Star (The 5th Wave, #3)

Summary: The enemy is Other. The enemy is us. They're down here, they're up there, they're nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us. 

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves. In these last days, Earth's remaining survivors will need to decide what's more important: saving themselves...or saving what makes us human.

Date Published: May 24, 2016
Published By: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 338
Rating: 5/5

I'm not sure what I would have done if the conclusion to Rick Yancey's 5TH Wave trilogy was disappointing. The first two books were just so spectacularly mind-blowing that I kind of really needed the final book to be nothing short of transcendent. 

(SPOILER ALERT! It was.)

Something I've loved throughout this series is that each main character has their own agenda and this really comes into play in the final book. It's not as simplistic as 'good guys' versus 'bad guys'. Or rather 'humans' versus 'aliens.' It's a lot more nuanced than that - characters who think they are on the same side have competing interests or goals which makes for some great conflict. 

Along with delivering an epic, action-packed sci-fi series, Yancey provides some astonishing insight into the human condition. There were some lines that gave me goosebumps, they were so accurate and profound. This isn't a book that you forget about the moment you finish reading it - this is a story that will stay with you. Which is a good thing because it's a story that touches on so many important topics - humanity, love, faith, hope, violence, war, religion, education, and environmentalism. (Just to name a few.) This isn't your average alien invasion yarn. 

And, oh my God, the writing is so gorgeous that I want to have the entire text of all three books tattooed on my body. Rick Yancey is a master of evoking an emotion in the reader with just a few well-chosen phrases. 

I'm sure there are some who would disagree with me but, in my opinion, Yancey made a bold choice in how he ended the series and it paid off. It's an ending that won't please everyone, particularly those inclined towards happy endings that tie everything up in a perfect little bow and make you feel all warm and squishy inside. But I've always argued that a fitting ending is better than a happy one, and I think the ending fit perfectly. 


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

T5W: Authors I Am Waiting On Another Book From

 Top 5 Wednesday

We all know the agony of waiting for the next book in one of our favorite series or the new release of our favorite author. What's even more frustrating is when you're waiting on the mere announcement by your favorite author of just when they will decide to hurry up and RELEASE A NEW GODDAMNED BOOK ALREADY! 

*takes deep breath* *thinks happy thoughts*

Here are the authors that I wish would announce a new book...sometime in the near future...if it's not too much trouble...pretty please?


Shana Abe is kind of under-the-radar, despite being a New York Times Bestselling Author. I have read every single one of her books and am blown away by her lyrical writing style. It's been two years since she's released a new novel and I am constantly checking her official Facebook page for updates. What's worse is that the last book she released was the second novel in a planned trilogy and I need to know how the series ends! A few months ago she said she was working on book 3 but we haven't seen any updates since.


Kristin Cashore is the author of the highly-acclaimed Graceling series. The last book in the series, Bitterblue, was released back in 2012 and I am just dying for her to release a new book because she's a BRILLIANT AUTHOR! According to her blog, she is writing a new novel and is currently in the revision stage but so far, we have no title, no cover art, and no release date. 

Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski is the author of one of my new favorite series, The Winners Trilogy. The third and final book, The Winner's Kiss, was just released a few months ago but I am already craving my next hit from this author. (Is it weird to talk about books as if they're drugs? I don't have a problem, I can quit anytime I want!) She does have previously published books that will tide me over until she releases something else but I just want her to ANNOUNCE SOMETHING ALREADY!

Stephen King

It's a bit odd that we don't have any news about upcoming releases from The King. Okay, never mind, I just checked his Goodreads page and it looks like he'll be releasing a collection of essays in October. But I'm not going to count that one because I desperately want a new novel from him, or a collection of short stories. Hell, I'll take just one short story, even a paragraph...JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING, ANYTHING!

J.K. Rowling

Although us Potterheads did technically get a new Harry Potter story just last week, I'm not going to count that one. (I will not go on a rant about Cursed Child, I will not go on a rant about Cursed Child.) While I will love Harry Potter until the day I die and will consume anything that is even remotely connected to the Wizarding World, I would love to see J.K. Rowling do something different. A new children's book, an adult fantasy series, a fairy tale retelling, hell something that has nothing to do with The Boy Who Lived. I believe J.K. Rowling is a gifted storyteller and I think she could continue to write amazing stories for the rest of her life...if only the world would let her.

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes.

Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads Group.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

TTT: Books I'd Buy Right This Second if Someone Handed Me a Fully Loaded Gift Card

 

Seeing as I have over a 1000 books on my wishlist (I'm not even kidding) it was kind of hard to narrow it down to ten. Somehow I managed by whittling it down to the ten books that are currently at the top of my (very long) wishlist:

In no particular order:

1) The Fireman by Joe Hill
The Fireman

I've yet to read anything by Joe Hill but, considering that he is Stephen King's son, I have a feeling that I'll love his work. I've collected all the books that he's published so far except his latest one, just released this year. It's supposed to be an epic post-apocalyptic novel and I cannot wait to add it to my bookshelf.

2) The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

I've seen this book several times during my frequent forays into bookstores and I've been tempted to walk out with it every time. Ken Liu has gotten some serious buzz lately and I'm intrigued to read his collection of short stories. Plus, I love the look of the minimalist cover with the adorable origami tiger.

3) Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer
Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction

I'm an aspiring writer of imaginative fiction. I need this book. Why haven't I bought it yet? Get your sh*t together, self!

4) The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood
The Summer Dragon (The Evertide, #1)

THIS BOOK IS ABOUT DRAGONS!

5) Fool's Gold (The Dragon Lords #1) by Jon Hollins
Fool's Gold (The Dragon Lords #1)

SO IS THIS ONE!

6) In the Labyrinth of Drakes (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #4) by Marie Brennan
In the Labyrinth of Drakes (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #4)

ARE YOU NOTICING A CERTAIN THEME YET?

7) The Waking Fire (The Draconis Memoira #1) by Anthony Ryan
The Waking Fire (The Draconis Memoria, #1)

I'M SORRY, I JUST REALLY LOVE DRAGONS!

8) The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
The Geek Feminist Revolution

This book is not about dragons but it is about geek culture and feminism, two things that I rate almost as high as dragons. Almost.

9) Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover by Paul Buckley
Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover

Any avid book collector knows that no one beats Penguin when it comes to beautifully designed covers. I'm dying to get my hands on this book so I can revel in the glory of beautiful book covers.

10) Harry Potter Scholastic Box Set by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter Boxset (Harry Potter, #1-7)

I've collected several Harry Potter sets over the years but I still haven't gotten my hands on a set of the classic Scholastic hardcovers. (I'm Canadian, so we got the British covers.)

What books are you dying to buy? Tell me in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original bookish meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.


Monday, August 1, 2016

New Releases: August 2016

 August 2

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
It Ends with Us

Genre: New Adult Romance

The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson
The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles, #3)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin
American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst

Genre: Nonfiction

An Accident of Stars (The Manifold Worlds #1) by Foz Meadows
An Accident of Stars

Genre: Fantasy

August 9

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff
Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)

Genre: Fantasy

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Genre: Fiction

The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville
The Last Days of New Paris

Genre: Science Fiction

The Girl Before by Rena Olsen
The Girl Before

Genre: Mystery

Adnan's Story: Murder, Justice, and the Case that Captivated a Nation by Rabia Chaudry
Adnan's Story: Murder, Justice, and the Case that Captivated a Nation

Genre: Nonfiction

Three Years with the Rat by Jay Hosking
Three Years with the Rat

Genre: Fantasy

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Good Morning, Midnight

Genre: Fiction

August 16

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

Genre: Humor

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2) by N.K. Jemisin
The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)

Genre: Fantasy

The Architect of Song (Haunted Hearts Legacy #1) by A.G. Howard
The Architect of Song (Haunted Hearts Legacy, #1)

Genre: New Adult Fantasy

August 23

The Perfect Horse: The Daring American Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis by Elizabeth Letts
The Perfect Horse: The Daring American Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis

Genre: Nonfiction

The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder
The Rat Prince

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Breath of Earth by Beth Cato
Breath of Earth

Genre: Fantasy

August 30

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir
A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Furthermore

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West
Kingdom of Ash and Briars

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
The Darkest Secret

Genre: Mystery

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee
The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor, #1)

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Suicide Reviews: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Spoiler Free!)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter, #8) 

Date Published: July 31, 2016
Published By: Arthur A. Levine Books
Number of Pages: 327
Rating: 5/5

I'll admit - I was skeptical. When it was first announced that the eighth Harry Potter story was going to be a play, I definitely had some strong reservations. Why do a play? I wondered. Why not just write it as a novel so that every Potter fan can enjoy it? 

After reading the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, my expectations were completely blown out of the water. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. I was so pleased to see my beloved Wizarding World again and see my favorite Golden Trio all grown up. The story definitely has that special Harry Potter feeling - lots of action and drama mixed in with humor, a great sense of character, magic and mystery, whimsy and wonder. It does justice to the epic seven-book series that came before it.

After reading the script, I am dying to see the play. As I was reading, I tried to imagine in my head what certain moments would look like on stage. There are so many fantastical scenes in Cursed Child that I'm willing to bet it takes an extraordinary amount of stagecraft to pull off. I'm sure it's quite the spectacle. 

And herein lies the problem with the script - it is a story that is meant to be seen on stage to get the full experience of it. You know how you never quite grasp the full meaning of a Shakespeare play until you see it live (or at least on film?) The same principle applies here - I will not be able to experience the true magic of Cursed Child until I see it on stage. I understand why J.K. Rowling chose to write the eighth story as a play as opposed to a novel - I'm not sure the story would work as a traditional book. But I was left feeling slightly unfulfilled after I finished reading it - a problem I don't experience with the seven books. 

I'm not going to post any spoilers but I will say that my absolute favorite part was towards the end of Act Three, Scene Nine - people who have read the script already will probably know what I'm talking about, especially if you know who my favorite character is. I'm sure if I was to see this particular moment on stage, I'd be reduced to tears.

A Brief Note on Canon:

Some people say that the creators get to decide what is canon and what isn't. J.K. Rowling herself calls the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play part of the official Harry Potter canon. For me, canon is a personal thing. Some might disagree with me, but I decide for myself what I consider to be part of the HP canon.

So...do I consider Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be part of the official Harry Potter canon?

Well....yes and no.

To me the epitome of Harry Potter canon is, and always will be, the seven book series. They encompass a complete story, from beginning to end, and it does not need adding on to. It is the official canon from which all others are derived. There's a distinction between Harry Potter book canon and Harry Potter movie canon. And now I would say that there is Harry Potter play canon. I consider Cursed Child to be a part of the overall HP universe but separate from book canon. A nice bonus story, but not part of the official storyline that's set down in the books. 

But this is just my own opinion, which you may completely disagree with. And that's great! I think people should make up their own minds about what they consider to be part of the canon and that it shouldn't be this thing that's dictated to us. (I'm sure Star Wars fans can relate.)


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Harry Potter Reread: Deathly Hallows

 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) 

Potter fever is ramping up this year thanks to two exciting new projects: the eighth story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will be debuting in London's West End on July 30 and the first in a new movie trilogy, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will hit theaters in November. In preparation, I decided to revisit my most beloved series and blog about it. (Besides, I don't really need an excuse to reread Harry Potter.)

Origin Story

Back in 2007, everyone was eagerly counting down the days until the final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, would be unleashed upon the world. At midnight on July 21, 2007, Potter fans around the world attended midnight release parties. As for me...

....I got my copy of Deathly Hallows at a Costco.
That's not even the worst part. I didn't even get it on the day it came out AND I got my mom to pick it up for me. I wasn't even there to buy it in person! This is one of my most shameful moments in my personal history of Potter fandom. (OH THE HUMANITY!)

In my defense, Harry Potter wouldn't come to be my absolute favorite book series until I reread all 7 books in a row. Only then did I grasp the true genius of the series. But if I had a Time Turner, I'd go back and do it properly - anticipate each book eagerly as it came out, attend all of the midnight releases, and spend years in agony between each installment. Not that I didn't look forward to each Harry Potter book as they came out but still...I could've been a bit more obsessive about it, like a proper fangirl. 

Things I Noticed This Time Around

p.115- Fred says, 'When I get married...' and all I could think was 'OH NO, FRED!' J.K. Rowling, why must you be so cruel?

p. 524- In the scene in the Shrieking Shack, Snape says this to Voldemort:

" 'Let me find the boy. Let me bring you Potter. I know I can find him, my Lord. Please.' "

Snape is practically begging Voldemort to let him go and find Harry but it's not because he wants to hand him over to Voldemort, IT'S BECAUSE HE WANTS TO FIND HARRY AND TELL HIM THE TRUTH!

p.607- Harry names his second son 'Albus Severus Potter.' This is a matter of great contention within the Potter fandom. Some people are outraged that Harry named one of his children after Snape and not someone else like Hagrid or Lupin. This has always annoyed me because I don't think these people understand how stories work. The story arc of Severus Snape is clearly a redemption arc. His ultimate redemption is Harry forgiving him and naming his son after him so that his sacrifice won't be forgotten. DO PEOPLE HONESTLY NOT GET THIS?

Favorite Parts/Lines

-Chapter Thirty-Three, 'The Prince's Tale' is my favorite chapter in the entire Harry Potter series. At the end of it, I'm reduced to a sobbing pile of feelings and tears. 

-p.578 'Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.'

Concluding Thoughts

Reading all seven books in the Harry Potter series always makes me feel exhausted but in the best possible way. I feel transformed at the end of Deathly Hallows, like I have been through this great trial with Harry and his friends and I emerge from it a better person, with a better understanding of what's important in life - love, friendship, hope, courage, and self-sacrifice. People who say Harry Potter is overhyped or is just a children's book series have either never read it or never read it properly. I encourage those people to give it another chance. 

I will continue to reread the Harry Potter series throughout my life - hopefully once every couple of years or so. It is a story that I will always return to, a story that will always feel like home. 


Friday, July 29, 2016

Harry Potter Reread: The Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) 

Potter fever is ramping up this year thanks to two exciting new projects: the eighth story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will be debuting in London's West End on July 30 and the first in a new movie trilogy, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will hit theaters in November. In preparation, I decided to revisit my most beloved series and blog about it. (Besides, I don't really need an excuse to reread Harry Potter.)

Origin Story

I honestly cannot remember where I bought Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when it first came out. Was it from a bookstore or a supermarket? I know for a fact that I didn't read it right away because I remember being spoiled (yet again) about the big death at the end. 

I know this is a pretty lame origin story compared to the first few books in the series. Just wait. My Deathly Hallows origin story is even worse.

*SPOILERS BELOW*

Things I Noticed This Time Around

p.257- An 11-year old Tom Riddle expresses the belief that his mother 'cant've been magic or she wouldn't have died.' We know that Voldemort's mother was, in fact, a witch but this particular belief seems to be an early manifestation of Voldemort's obsession with immortality. Voldemort seems to think that those who succumb to death are weak. He sees himself as the most powerful sorcerer of all time and so, in his mind, he should be immune to death.  This is why he goes to such great lengths to create the Horcruxes and stay alive at all costs, even if it means ripping his soul apart.

p.418- Dumbledore tells Harry that 'we have never been able to keep a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher for longer than a year since I refused the post to Voldemort.' Is it possible Voldemort placed an actual curse on Hogwarts? Maybe he was so bitter about Dumbledore refusing him that he wanted to ensure no one else would be able to keep the job for any long stretch of time. Or was this an unconscious bit of magic?

p.578- Hermione is explaining to everyone what happened after Snape killed Dumbledore:

 " 'We went into his office to see if we could help Professor Flitwick and found him unconscious on the floor...and, oh, it's so obvious now, Snape must have Stupefied Flitwick, but we didn't realise, we just let Snape go!'
     'It's not your fault,' said Lupin firmly. 'Hermione, had you not obeyed Snape and got out of the way, he would probably gave killed you and Luna.' " 

Now that we know that Snape was really a good guy all along (relatively speaking), my theory is that Snape stunned Flitwick and told Hermione and Luna to look after him so that they would be safe from the Death Eaters invading the castle.

Favorite Parts/Lines

p.113-When Harry and co. go and visit Fred and George's joke shop:

"The right-hand window was covered in a gigantic poster, purple like those of the Ministry, but emblazoned with flashing yellow letters:

Why Are You Worrying About You-Know-Who?
You SHOULD Be Worrying About 
U-NO-POO-
the Constipation Sensation That's Gripping the Nation!

Harry started to laugh. He heard a weak sort of moan beside him and looked round to see Mrs Weasley gazing, dumbfounded, at the poster. Her lips moved, silently mouthing the name, U-No-Poo.' 

p.529-When Dumbledore and Harry are in the cave looking for the Horcrux and Harry sees the Inferi:

" 'There is nothing to be feared from a body, Harry, any more than there is anything to be feared from the darkness. Lord Voldemort, who of course secretly fears both, disagrees. But once again he reveals his own lack of wisdom. It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.' "

Concluding Thoughts

The end of Half-Blood Prince is truly mind-blowing because Snape finally reveals his true colours...or at least, we think he does. I remember when I read it for the first time, I actually thought that Snape might still be a good guy. I think I predicted that Snape only killed Dumbledore because Dumbledore told him to. Of course, I could be just conjuring up this memory in retrospect but I think I always knew, even after Half-Blood Prince, that there was a lot more to Snape than met the eye. (I know my posts are always very pro-Snape but I can't help it! He's still my favorite character! #sorrynotsorry