ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE BY BENJAMIN ALIRE SAENZ

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IT’S BEEN A WHILE, I KNOW. While I wasn’t blogging, I did do a lot of other things this summer. I organized a readathon on instagram for pride month! (it’s really fun, I’m @shreyareads there so DM me if you’re interested.)

Our first book was Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the Universe. This has been on my TBR list for a while now. Apparently a lot of other people in our readathon read it, too, but they were more than happy for a reread 🙂

Synopsis:

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.


While reading this book, I forgot about everything around me. I finished it in one sitting. This is the sort of book that makes you feel all warm and nice on the inside, really poetic. It was a beautiful read. I don’t regret picking this book up.

I loved Ari. As a character, he felt very relatable to me, as I’m a bit of a loner myself. I could feel all of his angst right off the page. His insights about stuff, about the people around him, about life, keeps you engrossed. It felt as if I was taking a peek into his universe. I also liked Dante. He’s adorable and must be protected at all costs!

One thing that made me very happy was how supportive the parents were, both Ari’s and Dante’s. I almost thought this would have a sad ending, but they were very supportive.

The writing style was lyrical. There are a handful of beautiful quotes you can find while reading!

Overall, it was the perfect book to start Pride Month with. Everybody should read this gem of a book. Even if you’re not a teenager, reading this will make you feel nostalgic. So you should definitely go read it. You’ll discover a few secrets yourself while you’re at it.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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God I LOVE the ACOTAR series so much, it’s like, my total fave! What’s not to love? Awesome world-building! Badass characters! Such lovely representation! Did I mention what a feminist series this is?

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Kidding. APRIL FOOLS!!!!

Anyone who has read my somewhat recent posts and follows me on instagram knows my passionate, undying hate for all works of Sarah Janet Maas. My personal favourite, ACOTRASH.

I recently read this charming series. Read on to know my thoughts.

synopsis:

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

what i liked:

uh, the cover was pretty?????

what i didn’t like:

Here comes the storm.

The plot,,,,, was very slow. It dragged on and on and on. For most of the book I really don’t get the point of anything. There is no point here. Why is Feyre taken from her home to a much, much more luxurious place? Not much of a punishment.

Feyre is a mix of Katniss Everdeen and Bella Swan, I’m guessing she is what SJM hoped would be a badass, feminist character. Overall, Feyre is very dull. As one dimensional as paper. Apparently, this book was marketed as a beauty and the beast retelling. So Belle = Feyre, Beast = Tamlin, People cursed to be objects = Lucien and other peeps around.

The writing is really flowery and extravagant. SJM was going for a big medieval vibe but it spectacularly fails.

Also that one non-con scene between Feyre and Tamlin.

conclusion:

This is a grossly over-hyped book. And what’s worse, it’s applauded for being feminist or something. It doesn’t deserve the hype. There are YA authors out there who actually deserve hype. Avoid this book, I beg you.

Rating: 1 out of 5

 

 

FIVE FEET APART BY RACHAEL LIPPINCOTT

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I don’t really read much of sick lit stuff, because they all turn out the same. Girl and boy meet, girl and boy fall in love and all that sappy stuff BUT girl/boy/both are terminally ill and tragically die in the end.

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Anyways, I didn’t know this was actually a book at first. I wanted to watch the movie because it looked sweet and it had Coal Sprouts in it. So I decided to read the book because while it does sound cliched enough, there’s a twist. Girl and boy can’t come six feet within each other, because they both have cystic fibrosis.

So was it a total cliche?

synopsis:

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

what i liked:

Despite what I thought, it WASN’T a total cliche.

So like, I know it’s romance centric but I love they didn’t focus completely on the romance, or how they didn’t make Will and Stella’s illness their only defining trait. It is also their induvidual story and how they deal with the struggles in their life, plus their illness. And character development in the end was great too. They both realize in the end, that they can never be together without seriously endangering the other.

The ending was a little open ended, but I think I prefer it that way. The plot is a perfect mix of sweet and tragedy. Overall what I liked the most, is how this story is a little different than other similar Sick-lit books.

what i didn’t like:

I felt the story was a bit rushed. Maybe they could have taken it slow? It’s a short read and you can’t have so much in a book of this size, so quick. While they do manage to give emphasis on both Will and Stella personally, and not just their romance, they should have slowed down a bit.

As for accuracy, I’ll leave it for the people who actually have the right to decide: the CF community.

conclusion:

It was much better than I expected. What I had expected was another Sick-Lit book that exploits off people with illnesses. But this is an actually sweet read, completely refreshing. Anyone tired off excesive Sick-Lit in YA should read this.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

ANOTHER BIG RANT ON YA FANTASY

My opinions on YA books have been forever changing, the three and four posts on it here, each having completely different opinions from the other, are proof enough. So like, this year I’ve been reading a lot of mainstream YA fantasy books because I *used* to avoid them like the plague. And I wanted to write this post with what I think about this genre now (i have all the time in the world my exams just got over. thank u, next, 9th).

I was 11 when I started reading YA, and one of the first few books I read was Twilight. Initially I liked it, but, I was 11. When I gained a few braincells I started to recognize Twilight for what it truly was: shit. Which sowed the seeds for my hatred for the YA fantasy (does twilight qualify as such?). Obviously most YA fantasy is no where near Twilight, thank god.

I read Divergent and a bit more of YA fantasy. I didn’t like it. It was cliched, dull, boring. Same old chosen one, same “plain” girl, same divided societies. Then I gave it a break, and switched to other books.

Last year I started reading YA contemporary. I loved them. I love feel-good books, plus some of them were actually relatable. And had much better rep. Although I now recognize some inherently racist tones in Eleanor and Park. After reading them my opinion on YA fantasy being shit solidified, because I still thought we lived in the Twilight era. That isn’t fair, now I can see, as Twilight released in 2008 or smthn’ but over the years a LOT of nice *actual* YA fantasy books came out.

There are so many awesome YA fantasy authors.. Unfortunately there are also some who follow the footsteps of Stephanie Meyer.

There’s Sarah J Maas. I’ve heard dozens and DOZNES of YA blogs giving glowing recommendations, praising her world-building, characters, rep, so on (ironically it was a negative review that made me read it). I had read Assasin’s Blade when I was in 8th and my friend was obsessed, but I just found it boring. It follows the path of ACOTRASH, I see.

There are so MANY probematic elements in her books. First off, ACOTRASH shouldn’t be marketed as YA, period. Yes, the general targeted audiences are 13-14 to 19, but kids much younger read it (i don’t want to imagine reading this series at 11). The whole glorification of abuse and excessive smut aside, her books are just plain bad. The characters are too similar to each other, the writing is dull, etc etc. And the terrible rep too.

There are some books and series which have similar problems. Authors like SJM are hyped for no reason and are blindly praised. Thankfully the anti-sjm community has expanded 😀

Overall I’m not that averse to YA fantasy anymore. Over the years so many good YA books have been written, that break the genres stereotypes. The representation has improved so much, though there’s always room for improvement? Finally, YA fantasy has good books, which we can relate to, which have actually good representation.

*also like, sorry for any typos i wrote a lot

THE CRUEL PRINCE + THE WICKED KING BY HOLLY BLACK: A JOINT REVIEW

My finals start on Tuesday, wish me luck folk (lol, i need it). Anyways, you know how you end up reading a book because a friend forced convinced you and you expect it to be meh? But then it ends up to be, like, super-duper awesome?

The Folk of The Air series turned out to be one of Those books. Yeah.

I was suffering from a bad bout of cold and there was nothing to do, so I thought why not? I finished BOTH The Cruel Prince and Wicked King in two days, no speed-skim reading (where is that read-speed when I need it?).

I really don’t like to read anything Fae related because, well, acotrash has scarred me for life. I thought “okay-ish overrated book”.

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plot:

The plot was legit the most captivating since SOC. Perfectly paced and told through Jude point of view, I wasn’t bored even for a second. Family, loyalty and betrayal play an important part. With a side-serving of adventure and a sprinkle of the Perfect Ship Ever, you will 100% read this in one sitting.

Unlike the ACOTAR series, where the plot is literally non-existent, boring to the point you fall asleep, and all over the place.

world building:

It’s awesome! This is the first series I’ve read where the Fae world is set alongside a modern setting. What I love is how flawless the world-building is in one book itself. The setting is very aesthetically pleasing, quirky, original, not just some rip-off from the medieval era. As compared to ACOTAR where even in four books, I can’t really visualize the setting or anything.

characters:

Omg I am in LOVE with the characters. I can go on about Jude all dayyyyy. What I was initially expecting: another washed-out cliched YA Female Protagonist™. She’s one of the most badass, ruthless protagonists. What I really like is how she isn’t turned into a mary-sue, and she has her flaws. My fav female protagonists alongside my SOC ladies 😀 Honestly I can’t believe people compare Feyre and Aelin with Jude. Jude is nothing like Miss Perfections.

And then there’s Cardan. Who I thought was the Broody and Evil Guy™ but just turned out to be a sad trainwreck of a person with a crush (honestly, relatable). All other enemies-to-lovers troops can go home, please, because #Jurdan absolutely SMASHES them all royally. I love how Jude is the broody one here while Cardan is the morally conscious one. Another rare YA dude that doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out.

(THO WTH DID YOU DO CARDAN????? I CANT GET OVER THE ENDING OF WICKED KING)

It was interesting reading about Jude’s relationships with her sisters and foster parents, and how she tries to navigate her life in the Fae world. I loved her character development in these two books, from an insecure girl to a person who (literally) pulls the strings from behind the scenes.

Love to hate Taryn and Locke. They deserve each other.

conclusion:

This book is a treat for people who love good fantasy lit. Or even for people who don’t care for it. With the captivating world and badass characters, I think everyone will appreciate this series. I, for one, am eagerly waiting for Queen of Nothing to release next year. (let’s hope they use the “One year and one day, but not a minute longer” for the release date).

 

SHATTER ME BY TAHEREH MAFI

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Hello, oh look, I’m still here! I wasn’t abducted by aliens or anything! Although I wouldn’t mind that. My finals are coming up and they are a literal pain. They physically hurt.

But I have to write one last review before I sign off, again, for a month. This one especially couldn’t wait.

Synopsis:

I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I’m more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

Okay … I heard a lot of hype about this book? A lot of mixed reviews on goodreads and stuff, but still I guess a lot of people have read it (obviously, since it released in 2012 or smthn’)

what i liked:

The blurb very appealing?

what i didn’t like:

*takes a deep breath*

This could have actually been a good book. I mean, girl with scary powers? Yes ma’am. Weird world and evil government? Sign me up. Oh wasted, wasted potential.

The main idea was appealing. From the blurb. After starting the book, well. Nothing was. First off, the characters oh my god the characters. Juliette is very unlikeable. Or maybe I just couldn’t sympathize with her because everything about her screamed cliche. I tried very, very hard to feel something for her, but she’s just dull.

I don’t like Adam or Warner. The only purpose Warner serves is to be that Bad Guy™ who is SURE to be like, a future love interest. He’s not even a good villain. And Adam is the Righteous One who is the epitome of Goodness and Bravery. They serve no purpose other than a potential love triangle, from what I get with the spoilers I’ve read for the next part.

The world building is too vague. Like for example, there’s the Restablishment, but I don’t know much about it except that it wants to erase the past? And I guess the writing on it’s own is bad too. Like a poorly stringed fanfiction with sort of lyrical phrases, almost trying to be poetic.

I guess it really is the way it was written that made it so bad. The world building is poor, the characters are unlikeable, the plot is boring and drab.

conclusion:

It’s very rare that I hate a book. I guess I try very hard to find something nice in every book, or I’m just lucky to have not come across too many bad reads. But it royally sunk, because there is literally nothing appealing in it.

overall rating:

1.5 out of 5

BIRD BOX: BOOK VS. SHOW

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Like every person on the planet, I’ve watched Bird Box on Netflix. And I loved it. What I didn’t know, was that it was based on a book by Josh Malerman. And we all know, books are obviously more awesoeme than it’s movie adaption.

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So after reading one of my favourite bloggers’ review of the book, I got the book immediatly.

Okay, the movie was definitely thrilling. And awesoeme. But there’s some stuff different from the book. So, who does it better? The book, or the netflix adaption?

Thrill:

Book. While the movie was very thrilling when I first saw it, the book sent legit chills down my spine. The creatures were described in much, much more detail than the movie.

Plot:

Book. While the central plots are obviously the same, creepy ass creature that you absolutely can’t see, these two have different plots. After reading the book I felt the movie sort of rushed it??? There are so many more creepy, interesting stuff they could have added.

Characters/development:

Movie. Surprisingly, seeing some (altered from the book) characters on screen was better than I had visualized in the book.

Protagonist:

Book. Malorie’s development throughout the book and how she survives and raises the children all by herself, and training them, is more detailed. The movie doesn’t show us what happens during those years she’s alone. (tho tom is alive in the movie, at least till that time?)

Climax:

Book. I thought nothing could top that scene in the movie when Gary rips open the curtains, but it pales in comparision with the book.

Ending:

Both of them have it good, but . . . I prefer the more detailed ending about the center in the book.

Final verdict:

The book wins. If you don’t read the book, the movie is thrilling and awesome. But tbh, it is a book after all. There are some things you can visualize and feel in a book that you can’t with it’s adaption, probably why no adaption can ever get the book right. All the same I liked the book too and I won’t mind watching it again.