Monthly Archives: July 2015

Crossed by Ally Condie

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crossed 2

I finished reading Matched by Allie Condie a few days ago and I was excited to start Crossed ASAP to see what happens next between Cassia and Xander. Cassia and Ky.

Before the first book ended, Ky was being taken away from his parents, and Cassia promised to find him no matter what happens. On top of that, Cassia and her family are being relocated to a different farmland where the Society can keep a close eye on them.

The second book, Crossed, is narrated by Cassia’s and Ky’s points of view. The book starts with Ky who is now at the Outer Provinces; a dangerous place where the Enemy attacks civilians from the Society. Cassia on the other hand is in a work camp. Her father knows Cassia loves Ky so he requested to have her sent near the Outer Provinces because she is “showing signs of rebellion.” His real reason, however, is to help Cassia get closer to Ky so she could find him.

Let me put this fact in the open: I am #TeamKy all the way instead of #TeamXander. My expectations were high. I thought Cassia and Ky will find each other immediately and they start forming a plot to take over the Society or maybe find the rebels ASAP and go on from there.

I WAS SO WRONG.

Cassia went to the Outer Province to find Ky. Meanwhile, Ky wants to go back to their old province to find Cassia.

Do you see my dilemma here? I see a long, agonizing journey ahead of them. I was hoping the author would not make it seem like the book is all about their quest to get back into each others arms. Sadly, it felt like the book was about 80% of the travel; how much they ran, what The Carving looks like and its different shades and hues, admiration to the sky and its colors, and so on.

Cassia kept on thinking about Ky and how much she loves him. I totally understand that thinking about the person you love is normal. However, it reaches to a point of obsessiveness when you constantly think about a person (eg. Cassia was scaling up a mountain and thought of how Ky might love the view). Girl, you need to stop thinking about that boy for a second, hang on for dear life, and hope you don’t fall off the cliff.

“…when someone knows your story they know you. And they can hurt you. It’s why I give mine away in pieces, event to Cassia.”

Ky doesn’t seem mysterious anymore. I realized that this young boy harbors so much trauma, pain, and suffering from his past that he built a wall to prevent anybody from hurting him again. He has trust issues, and he doubts Cassia’s feelings for him.

“My mother painted with water, and my father played with fire.”

I do like the fact that this book gives us a background of Ky’s past, his mother and his father, and how he became the person that he is. It shows his father’s teachings and how Ky absorbed those lessons. It also shows how his mother was so gentle and creative and how Ky is just as creative as his mother.

There were a few characters that was added in this book: Indie, Vick, Eli, and Hunter. I will not dwell on them too much, but they played a big part in helping Cassia and Ky find the Rising, a rebellious group who fights to defeat the Society.

(Is it just me or is there a lot of books with a rebellious group called The Rising?)

Anyway… I have mixed feelings with this book. I am not sure when I will read Reached and I certainly don’t know what to expect next.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

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More Happy Than NotIt was another routine trip to Barnes and Noble. I went to my favorite aisle which houses the Teens and Young Adult books and I noticed More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. Curious, I decided to read the book blurb and I was like, “Woah. Diversity. Score.” and took off with the book. Legally, ofcourse.

Aaron Soto, first person POV, is awkwardly funny, quirky, full of profanity, comic book-loving, and artistic teenage boy. He grew up in the Bronx in a small one-bedroom apartment for the four three of them: mom, brother, and himself. Mom works two jobs just to keep the roof above their head, and food on the table. Dad… Well he is a different story. You see, he committed suicide in their very own bathroom, in their bathtub.

Aaron has a girlfriend named Genevieve, and they seem like a normal, happy, heterosexual couple. Until, by coincidence, he met Thomas; a dreamer, and a writer who does not mind Aaron’s obsession with comic books and sketching. Both boys clicked instantly. They hung out more often, talked more often, and became close friends. Well, to Thomas they are friends. But for Aaron? Something feels different. Something feels off. He thinks he’s… No. It can’t be. He has a girlfriend.

He can’t be gay.

Wanting to forget about his sexuality and other memories, Aaron decided that he wants to go through Leteo’s memory altering procedure. It erases parts of your memory and can alter stories in your past.

After the plot twist, (which I will not mention here), I was hit by “the feels” out of nowhere.

Suddenly, I felt like I understand Aaron. Suddenly, I felt attached to the book. I flipped through the pages; wanting to know more, wanting to feel more, and crying some more. Aaron’s story socked me right in the heart.

What I really love about More Happy Than Not is Adam Silvera’s way of telling a story that feels raw, real, and unforgettable. This book delved through gut-wrenching, mind opening, and profound emotions related to homophobia, depression, suicide, and the inner struggle between who you really are and who pretend to be.

“Don’t forget me.”

I certainly won’t forget More Happy Than Not anytime soon. This debutant author caught my eye and I will be expecting great books from here on out.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Matched by Ally Condie

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matched trilogy

Matched by Ally Condie is the reason I have bags under my eyes. I literally have to force myself to put the book down and get some rest before my best friend named Migraine pays me a visit. Let me tell you why I like this book and why need to read the next book, Crossed, ASAP.

Cassia Reyes lives the good life. Meals are delivered to their home three times a day, goes to Second school and participates in scheduled recreation activities. She has an “internship” before she is assigned a permanent job. She is raised by her loving mother and father believing and never questioning the Society. In fact, it’s not just her who believes in the Society. Everybody trusts the Society and their decisions. They have the best intentions for everybody. They never make a mistake.

One thing the Society does is “match” a boy and a girl based on genetics. For longevity of life. To procreate children without defects. To create a normal life.

Cassia Reyes is matched to Xander Carrow; her best friend, now her future husband. The odds of being matched to someone you know is uncommon and it hasn’t happened in a long time. Cassia was excited, elated. After being matched, they each get a microcard that contains information about their match.

Her best friend is her match. Her best friend is going to be her husband.

Seems like the perfect life right?

She never questioned the Society until she opened the microcard. She did see Xander’s face. However, she also saw someone else’s.

Ky Markham.

Another boy who lives in the same Borough. Another boy she has known since she was a kid.

After this incident, Cassia became confused. Was Ky’s face an error in the system? Did the Matching Department make a mistake?

Is Ky Markham supposed to be her match?

Cassia became curious with Ky — a mysterious, secretive boy, from a well respected family. She kept thinking and dreaming about him even if she is supposed to be thinking about her match, about Xander.

Her grandfather, bless his soul, knew about the “error” in her microcard. He was a big part in making sure that Cassia starts to question how the Society operates; how the Society controls everything, and gives the people enough to pacify them and keep them under control.

As her curiosity with Ky grows, Cassia is in the brink of having an Infarction under her name and end endangering the people she loves. Will she chose the predetermined, law abiding life or will she challenge the Society? Will she accept the choice that was made for her or will she finally break free and fight for the life she wants and the man she truly loves?

My comments:

Matched is not a perfect book. However, it is paced appropriately; not too fast and not too slow.

My heart was wrenched when her Grandfather died and was enraged on how the elderly die at a predetermined age.

Cassia has her times where she is very naïve.

There was very little representation of Xander in the book. I did not feel attached to him. I did feel sorry for him when Cassia told him that she is in love with someone else.

Rating: 4/5 stars. 

Now that this review is done, I will commence the reading for the second book.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

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magoniaMagonia has been on my TBR for quite some time and I finally decided to read it. I am so sad to say that this book was not for me. I will admit that the only reason I bought this book was the cover. I mean look at that gorgeous sleeve! It captivated me; seduced me. Sadly, the story didn’t.

Magonia is about a girl named Aza who suffered from a lung disease unknown to mankind. Thus, she felt like she was drowning of air. Since childhood, her life already had a quota. Doctors were surprised she lasted in her teens. Knowing that she might die at any time, she does not like talking about death nor people taking pity to her.

Jason, her best friend since forever, knows a lot of stuff and is basically a genius. He knows a lot of people in the black market, and has invented things that made him rich at a very young age. He is the only one who understands Aza especially because he does not talk about death either. Bonus, he has two moms which I really loved.

The book started off with Aza rambling about how her history is hospitals. She is eloquent in sarcasm, which annoyed me. Some sarcasm is fine, one too many is just unbearable. I was so lost with her rambling on the first 30 pages or so that I thought, “Is it too early to DNF a book?” I gave it a chance and continued on because I have been wanting to read this book for the longest time.

Then… Weird stuff started to happen.

SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BOOK, STOP HERE NOW. THANKS. Read the rest of this entry

Hogwarts Library Review

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“Is my Harry Potter showing?”

This question may sound odd to a Muggle, but to the Harry Potter fandom? This is as normal as Hagrid’s desire to keep or befriend a “misunderstood” creature.

Sadly, I cannot fully say that I am an ultimate Harry Potter fan because I have never dressed up as a witch during Harry Potter premiers. I do not even have a replica of Dumbledore’s or Lord Voldemort’s wand. However, I do have an over priced Harry Potter shirt (the one he uses during Quidditch match) from Universal Studio in Florida. That counts for something, right? I do have a complete 8-film blu ray collection of Harry Potter movies which I have watched a million times. But nothing compares to the complete set of the Harry Potter books, and this AMAZING Hogwarts Library Set which includes the following books: The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages (Marauder’s Map and Hogwarts Acceptance letter not included).

Let me tell you about these books.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

I don’t know about you, but I grew up reading, and sleeping, with my Aesop’s Fables and Disney story books. This, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, is the witch and wizards counterpart. The book includes five stories:

  1. The Wizard and the Hopping Pot
  2. The Fountan of Fair Fortune
  3. The Warlock’s Hairy Heart
  4. Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump
  5. The Tale of the Three Brothers

What I love about this compilation of stories is that even if the protagonists have magic, they still have to use their wits, strengths, and abilities to conquer their problems. Bonus, they did it without any help from a Prince.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This book made me feel like a real Hogwarts student. Let me tell you why:

  1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an actual textbook used by Hogwarts students.
  2. This book was created to educate wizards, and now, muggles about magical species.
  3. It is filled with a variety of species classified from X – Boring to XXXXX- Known wizard killer, or as Ron said, “Anything Hagrid Likes.”

Did I mention it is filled with notes by Harry, Ron, and Hermione?

Quidditch Through the Ages

This is one of the most popular titles in Hogwarts school library. It tells you the reason behind the use of broomstick, the beginning of Quidditch, the invention of the Golden Snitch, who invented it, and why it was invented. It also so has technical things like Quidditch rules and standardized measurements. The book includes the history of how Quidditch became a well known sport throughout the world (besides Asia since most prefer the use of magic carpet).

Overall, these three books,  The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and  Quidditch Through the Ages were an excellent read.

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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“The horned boy — the prince — is free.

He’s loose and he could be anywhere.

We have to find him before anyone else does.”

tdpotfHazel and Ben grew up in a small, strange, town named Fairfold. It’s located in the center of a haunted forest where faeries and different creatures live together with the humans. There, Hazel and Ben pretended to be a knight and a bard, a tandem who slays monsters that live within the forest. Most importantly, they swore to protect their prince; the beautiful horned prince that has slept in the coffin for ages.

I am so happy how this book caters to diversity. A female faerie kissed Hazel, and the horned prince, Severin, kissed Ben and later on confessed his love for him. Also, I understand that this is a YA book and high school drama could be involved; worrying who is with whom and what happened to so and so. I was just not all into the names and the drama.

BUT HOLY PLOT TWISTS HIT ME LIKE A BUS

How did her brother know how to play music so well that it entices people and the Folk? How did the horned prince escape the coffin that was crafted by the greatest craftsman of the Folk? Better yet, who freed the prince? Who caused the domino effect on the mysteries in the town? Who and how did the prince end up at the coffin the first place?

The Darkest Part of the Forest picked me up from my reading slump and I am glad I finally read this.

Rating: 4/5 stars