Book Review || Carve the Mark

Hi folks! Hope y’all have been doing well!

Veronica Roth’s latest novel came out earlier this year so here’s my review for it! Nice to be writing these things again. ūüôā

Also, I changed the look of this blog a bit! Goodness knows it needed a change. ‚̧


Synopsis

In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra‚Äôs currentgift gives her pain and power ‚ÄĒ something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother‚Äôs hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive ‚ÄĒ no matter what the cost.
The Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth’s stunning portrayal of the power of friendship ‚ÄĒ and love ‚ÄĒ in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts.

My Thoughts

I’ve been a fan of Veronica Roth for a while now so hearing about her new book naturally got me excited, and I’m super happy to say that I was not disappointed with Carve the Mark! That being said, however, I did find a few issues with this book that I’ll also delve into in this review.

Right, so: the worldbuilding. Carve the Mark takes place in a Star Wars-esque universe (or galaxy, rather). I really liked the planets and Shotet culture and just the effort that went into creating this whole world for the characters. You learn so much about the cultures and religions of the societies and the way things are and I absolutely adore that sort of thing because I am a big nerd.

I loved the characters too! They’re all so raw and real and you get to learn a lot about their personal histories and get to know the way they think. Cyra is just so broken and beautiful and you feel so much for her. Akos is also really sympathetic character and really, the entire cast of characters is really intriguing and interesting and 3D which is exactly what¬†I love! Seeing them together and the way their relationship develops was well-written and really good. And the plot, though it dragged at certain points, was winding and mostly fast paced and I found myself consistently excited for whatever was to come next. I mean, it’s set in space for goodness sake! You gotta love some good, exhilarating space action.crav the mark

Okay, now for the problematic part: you can definitely pick out some racist undertones in this book. Hear me out here. Cyra’s people, the Shotet,¬†are portrayed as savages and warriors, whereas Akos and his people–Thuvians–are the kind, peace-loving counterpart. However, if you look closer, you’ll notice that Roth identifies the Shotet to be darker skinned (or mixed-race) and sets up their culture to be galactic indigenous people of sorts. Meanwhile, the Thuvians have paler skin and are basically colonizers of the planet the Shotet have always existed on. Furthermore, the Shotet language is described as “harsh and guttaral” versus the smoother, softer sounds of the Thuvhe language.¬†Keeping this in mind with the way Cyra and Akos’s romance plays out, I couldn’t¬†help but feel¬†that¬†Carve the Mark was playing on the¬†trope of “angry person of color is civilized by kindly white person and they fall in love.” I am sure Roth did not mean for it to come out this way, but it does not change the fact that it still subconsciously plays into racist stereotypes. Big sigh.

All in all: If you can look beyond the whole racism issue, Carve the Mark would be amazing! The lack of YA sci-fi lately is pretty upsetting, and Carve the Mark was a great display of Roth’s skill and just how thrilling stories in space can be. But, yep, there’s that whole racism thing. (I would recommend this book because I genuinely enjoyed it, but be sure to read it keeping in mind that you’ll probably feel a prickle of ://// while reading.)

‚̧ Yasimone

On the State of the World

I have tried to write this post many, many times before, falling short each time and not truly conveying what I wanted to say.

This is more of a ramble than a rant, but I hope it will suffice.


The world is a mess right now. Turning on the television for even a few minutes is enough to prove that, as is scrolling through the news at any point.

I won’t delve into the technicalities of the thing, but I beg you: stand up for yourself and others. Do not let those who are vulnerable go unprotected. Educate yourself, learn about how your local laws work, and do what you can in these troubled times.

Be angry, be sad, be anything but apathetic.

‚̧ Yasimone

Update || Nope, I Did Not Fall Off the Face of the Earth!

Hi friends! ūüėÄ

Well. It’s been a while. I don’t quite have an excuse for this. I was either too busy to write anything, or had to much free time and sort of just forgot to! (God, this sounds awful! I’m so so¬†sorry.) (Kjhgfhj.)

But while I was gone, my blog turned two years old? (And the world certainly changed a lot, politically. But anyway.) Which is insane? Thank you all so much for sticking with me all this time! ūüíēūüíē I really am hoping to spruce up this lil blog and become more active after my weird unannounced hibernation.

Anyway, this isn’t much of a post; it’s more of me reassuring you all that I am, in fact, still alive.

I’ll be back soon with some revamped content! Happy belated New Year!

‚̧ Yasimone

 

Book Chat #12: The Midnight Star and Marie Lu

Hello friends! ‚̧

Yesterday, I got to go see one of my favourite authors at a book signing–Marie Lu! (Yes, I’m still in shock.) She’s got some really amazing, intense books and is a superb writer. Here’s a lil Book Chat about my experience!


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Lu has just released the final book of The Young Elites trilogy, The Midnight Star, and she is currently on tour, holding events in bookstores across the country. I immediately decided that I wouldn’t be missing it when I learned she’d be having a book signing close to my home. Oh, and when I say close, I mean at a bookstore in a city¬†four hours away from me. (Never let it be said I’m not a dedicated fan!) ūüėÄ I’m so glad I got to see her though, and it was definitely worth the drive.

When I got there, it was much smaller than the Rick Riordan meet up¬†I attended in October of last year–around thirty to forty people this time around–but everyone there¬†was excited and chattering on to each other about the new book as they sipped frozen hot chocolate that had been handed out; and yes, the frozen hot chocolate was pretty good. After a bit, Marie Lu walked over to the microphone and greeted us as everyone cheered. She introduced herself and spoke a little bit about the process of writing this new book, and then¬†all the attendees¬†raised their hands and asked questions and she answered all of them.¬† Here are a couple of¬†answers to questions¬†that I thought were interesting.

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She was so warm and friendly and and and–

 

  • Marie Lu draws out her characters before writing them, a habit left over from previously being a video game artist.
  • Her ideal atmosphere for writing is rain, a cozy blanket, and a nice cup of tea.
  • She tends to write mostly from 8 am to 2 pm.
  • Kiss scenes are hard; she always imagines a tiny mother on her shoulder, scolding her as she writes.
  • She doesn’t generally cry over anything she writes, but writing out the last scene of the last book in a trilogy makes her shed a few tears each time.midnight-star-marie-lu-jpg
  • It’s hard for her to see her¬†characters move on and leave their heads after writing their lives and thoughts for so long.
  • The original idea for The Young Elites involved a current side character, Raffaele, as the protagonist before she realised that a certain villain,¬†Adelina,¬†would make a better main character.
  • She is currently writing a¬†new duology–the first book is called Warcross–about two bounty hunter teens hired to kill a hacker messing up the world’s most popular video game. Keep an eye out; it’s being published next fall.
  • Lu’s a pantser! In other words, she’s not super great at following an outline and sometimes her writing runs away with the characters scrambling to catch up.
  • She’s currently reading Crooked Kingdom and it might just be her favourite book of the year.

Then she signed everyone’s books and I returned home in a euphoric state, clutching The Midnight Star to my chest. Overall, it was so much fun! Marie Lu is such a genuinely warm and down-to-earth person. After only thirty minutes of her speaking, I already felt like I’d known her for a long time. ūüėõ I always love seeing authors and getting to know the thought processes behind their books, and I’m really glad I was able to go to this book signing in particular.

So now all the books I own that are written by her are signed, which I am thrilled about. Also, look at how pretty they are together!

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The best fall aesthetic of all.

 

I’ll be reading The Midnight Star this week and reviewing it as soon as possible. The Young Elite series is one of my¬† favourites, and I’m sure the final novel will not disappoint!

Have a lovely day everyone!

‚̧ Yasimone

Book Review || Devil and the Bluebird

Bonjour loves! How have you all been? Life has been absolutely wild lately and I’ve been away for a bit, but I’ve managed to get some good book reading squeezed in between, despite the hours slipping through my fingers like sand. It’s also¬†officially autumn, so expect to see some enthusiastic flailing! (Let’s not mention the fact that it is absolutely boiling where I live; if the pumpkin candles and lattes are out, it’s autumn.)

Here’s a book that I picked up for the cover, bought for the synopsis, and loved for the story. Hope you enjoy!


Book Review Logo

Author: Jennifer Mason-Black

Publishing Company: Amulet Books

Release Year: 2016

Genre(s): YA, magical realism

My Synopsis

Blue Riley has made a deal with the devil.db-jpg

After her mother, who was a musician,¬†died of cancer, it’s just been her and her sister living together with their aunt–but her sister has run away, leaving¬†Blue alone with nothing but her mother’s old guitar. Determined not to lose her sister forever, Blue meets the Devil at a crossroads, and she (yes, she) offers Blue a deal: her voice, safety, and possibly sanity¬†in exchange for enchanted boots and the scavenger hunt of a lifetime. With her mother’s guitar and a bag slung over her back, Blue sets out on her journey.

She bounces from city to city, hitchhiking with people she’s never met and will never see again. If her mission wasn’t hard enough already, the stakes suddenly get higher: she cannot stay with anyone for more than three days, and no one–under any circumstances–can know her real name. Along the way, she¬†runs into many others who are trying to find their way in life too and discovers that life is unpredictable, and so are people.¬†Through dangerous encounters and leaving behind friends, with the devil appearing at every corner and time whizzing past her, all Blue can do¬†is¬†trust her boots and learn to love life, people, and let music work its magic on the world.

My Review

I read this book while I was on a roadtrip–rather fitting, I’d say, for a book that takes place in cars so much. With the trees flitting by outside my window, I finished Devil and the Bluebird in one sitting and spent the rest of the ride staring outside and just thinking about it all: about people, and how they’re never what you expect.

I adored the¬†characters. Mason-Black crafts the cast so well that all the characters that appear–regardless of the brevity of their roles–are so realistically created that you can imagine their lives and appreciate the small taste of their complexity that you’ve gotten to read. (There’s also so much diversity among the characters in many aspects, which makes me quite happy!) Blue is also such a believable,¬†lovely main character: she’s quirky and¬†she’s smart, and she’s also¬†confused and afraid. Her strife, her determination, her self-guessing, and subtle humour all resonated with me in so many ways.

This novel tackles a lot of heavier subjects: running away, religion, drug abuse, and homelessness, but ties it all together deftly with words that leave you reeling¬†in their lyrical boldness. Devil and the Bluebird is also very much centred around music; music has played a large part in Blue’s life and shows up in the story very often. Even the way this¬†book¬†itself is written and just the overall feel of it felt rather like music to me. It’s the book equivalent of a good¬†acoustic folk-rock song, sung with a rich, bold voice and deft fingers picking at a guitar, the kind you’d listen to while watching trees whiz by on an empty freeway at sunset… I’m not sure what else to say besides¬†“This book was gorgeous.”

In other words: With the passion found in David Arnold’s Mosquitoland, a uniquely haunting voice, and just the perfect amount of magical realism, this Devil and the Bluebird is a novel that will have you thinking about it for days after you read the last page. It’s a story of loss, of grief, of anger.¬†But mostly, it’s a story of hope.

‚̧ Yasimone

Book Chat #12: Happy Birthday, Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling!

Hello friends!

I am so hyped today! It’s Harry Potter’s 36th birthday and J.K. Rowling’s 51st birthday!

Happy birthday, you two! ‚̧

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It also happens to be¬†the day of the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! I have not acquired it as of yet, but I will be buying it as soon as possible. Can’t wait to read it… I was actually at a bookstore yesterday for the midnight release; it was fantastic spending time with other fans, competing in trivia contests and chatting up a storm.

Here’s a little thing that I thought was fitting for today. By no means is it a complete list of how much the Harry Potter books and world impacted me, but it’s just a little thank you to the characters I spent my childhood (and many more years to come!) with. ūüôā


Thank you…

to Hermione, for teaching me that friendship and bravery are just as powerful as books and cleverness;

to Ron, for showing that loyalty is best type of courage (and also to never mess with him in chess!);

to Dumbledore, for teaching me that it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live;

to Neville, for proving that even the gentlest of people can be the most powerful;

to Luna, for being a comforting, albeit eccentric, beam of light in the midst of darkness;

to Ginny, for showing me anything’s possible if you’ve enough nerve;

to Molly and Arthur, for taking in Harry as their own and giving us hope in good people;

to Lupin, for being just about the greatest Defense Against the Dark Arts professor ever and watching over Harry when no one else could;

to Sirius, for teaching me that the ones we love never truly leave us;

to Snape, for proving that even the most sullen people are not always as they seem (okay come on, that was a really good pun, you guys!);

to Lily and James, for showing me the true power of love;

to Dobby, for always being there when people needed help;

and finally, to Harry James Potter, for teaching me that in the end, all will be well.


Now, I’ll be returning to my Harry Potter movie marathon. Have a lovely rest of the weekend, everyone!

‚̧ Yasimone

Book Review (ARC) || The Sun is Also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon

Publishing Company: Delacorte Press

Release Year: (ARC) To be published November 1, 2016

Genre(s): YA, realistic fiction

(Shout out to the Barnes and Noble B-Fest, where I won this ARC!)


My Synopsis

Natasha lives in New York City. Her family¬†is Jamaican. She is cynical and practical. And she’s got a problem–her family is twelve hours away from being deported back to Jamaica. A place she remembers through fuzzy childhood memories. To be clear: She definitely doesn’t believe in fate, but it will take nothing short of a miracle for her to find¬† a way to stay in America, where she belongs.

Daniel lives in New York City too. His family¬†is Korean. He is poetic and sentimental.¬†He’s also got a problem–he has to apply to Yale and be the Good Son‚ĄĘ¬†his parents want and become a doctor. But that’s not at all what he wants. To be clear: He definitely does¬†believes in fate, and it is not in his to follow his parents’ dreams for him.

the sun is also a star.jpg

Did I mention I’m a sucker for pretty covers?

Now, under any¬†other circumstances, they never would have met. If Natasha hadn’t been listening to music while walking away from the immigration services building and almost gotten run over, and if Daniel hadn’t skipped his college interview and been there to save her,¬†their paths would never have crossed.¬†But it’s funny how life works. What ensues is a journey across New York, and over the course of one day, two teenagers that began as complete and total strangers get to know each other and share in each other’s pain and happiness. And as unlikely as it seem, they each learn from each other from their differences and unexpectedly fall in love. Love at first sight is a tricky business, however. Natasha is still about to be deported. Daniel still messes things up. Will this sudden, beautiful¬†spark burn on or fizzle out from unfortunate futures?

My Thoughts

The Sun is Also a Star absolutely blew my mind. ‚̧

I’m going to organise this review bit differently¬†because¬†if I don’t, this post will end up being a flailing mess. ūüėČ

Writing Style

Nicola Yoon definitely writes from her heart and it really shows! I found the writing in this book to be so touching; just like the characters, it’s ever-changing. It’s a bit of soft, poetic narration that makes you feel fluttery¬†mixed with logical philosophy and hard facts, all penned in with descriptive chapters that shake you to the core. I absolutely loved it and there were so many quote-able moments.

Format

Okay, we need to talk about how this book was set up. This book is written in multiple point-of-views, with Natasha and Daniel as the main narrators. However, some chapters are written through the perspective of side characters that briefly enter the story, while other chapters are written like the omniscient universe’s explanation of history, of fate, of incidents. It’s kind of limitless perspective that describe backstories that all connect. It’s a different reading¬†experience but one that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Characters + Relationships

Natasha and Daniel were amazing characters! At the end of this book I almost felt as though they were real people I knew, albeit distantly. They’re both so flawed and so real, just two teens who (rather fittingly) fall in love too fast in the fastest-paced city in the work: New York City.

I generally tend not to be the biggest fan of instalove–it mostly feels too contrived to me–but this was one of the rare instances in which I was all for it. While Natasha and Daniel only knew each other for a day, the way their relationship progressed was so natural! Their dynamic was so interesting to follow along. Natasha, guarded, realist, and strictly scientific versus Daniel, an open book who tended to romanticise everything. Reading their¬† character development and watching the¬†two¬†teach and balance each other out, especially as they got closer, was deeply satisfying.

Thematic Elements

The Sun is Also a Star explores themes like fate, logos versus pathos, multiverses, the theory that all things happen for a reason, rebelling against what other people want for you versus what you want, family issues, and even some scientific knowledge¬†smudged in. (Not to mention the whole immigration issue that Natasha was experiencing, in which she was being deported to a home she didn’t know¬†and the bureaucracy did nothing to help.) This wasn’t a fast, fluffy romance; it wanted you to sit down and think about these things, which I respected a ton.

Another aspect I really appreciated was the racial diversity and addressing of the trials of each group. Not only were Natasha and Daniel aware of their cultures, their families were also introduced and their histories and dreams¬†and familial struggles told. As Yoon herself is Jamaican-American and her husband Korean-America, you could tell that a lot of love and had been put into these characters and their cultures. So so so nice to see books like this. ‚̧

All in all: The Sun is Also a Star made me feel all the feelings. You need to get your hands on this book once it’s out. If you’re looking for a smart, dazzling romance that will leave you reeling with an overflowing heart when you’re done, this is the one!

‚̧ Yasimone

(Boy, this was a long review!) (Also, I’ve noticed I’ve gotten some new followers! Welcome, you guys!)

Book Review || The Kite Runner

Hello friends! Just returned to my home after five weeks of being abroad, so expect some travel posts scattered around! ūüôā Here’s a review after quite a while; I’ll be posting extra this week. (Also if anything interesting is going with you all, please let me know! I love hearing about summer!)

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Publishing Company: Riverhead Books

Release Year: 2003

Genre(s): Historical drama, political drama, realistic fiction


My Synopsis

I actually can’t give a summary for this one. There are so many incidents that occur that I honestly can’t summarise the book without giving away some major spoilers and going off on a tangent. So instead I offer you the official synopsis, taken from Khaled Hosseini’s website.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father‚Äôs 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‚ÄĒtheir 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.

My Thoughts

I picked this novel up on a recommendation. I’d heard a lot about it before; it has gotten a lot of high praise over the years. I was captivated by its synopsis, and I¬†expected to like it.

I did not.

I know, I know. It is one of the most renowned political drama novels (for lack of a better phrase) of all time. I tried to like it, really, but I just couldn’t.

One major issue I encountered was that I simply did not like the main character, Amir. I struggled to sympathise with him so much; after all, the sheer enormity of all the tribulation he goes through should, at the very least, induce some affinity for him. Instead, I¬†found him to be a pretentious child¬†who grew into a mopey adult.¬†Only towards the end, when he decided to redeem himself,¬†did I feel sympathy–or any positive feelings–toward him.

first page tkr

This book used almost every single tragic plot device you could think of–from war to rape to¬†illness to familial betrayal to attempted suicide. Every page brought another twist, another conveniently awful¬†coincidence, another way to bring suffering to the characters. (So much so that I daresay it began to resemble the winding, melancholic¬†Bollywood movies Amir and the son of his father’s servant, Hassan, watched as children.) It’s not that I don’t enjoy sad novels (because I certainly do) or war-time novels. I have read war-time books, and those centred around violence in the Middle East specifically,¬†before, but never have I encountered one with this much desolation and absence of even a glimmer of hope.

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As for what I did like: The prose was, admittedly, quite nice. It was descriptive and lyrical at times, and I admired the way imagery was used. There were some scenes that were very well-written and truly painted a picture of the beauty of Afghanistan before the war. The premise of the book is¬†interesting, as well. The only problem, for me, was the plot–which is what, in its essence, makes or breaks a book.

All in all: I do not suggest you read it if you are¬†easily triggered¬†by violence, or if you don’t like¬†wiping away angry tears¬†every couple of pages. The Kite Runner was much too melancholic, slightly disturbing,¬†and exaggeratedly¬†despondent¬†for my taste, but hey, it might be the¬†right book for you. ¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į

‚̧ Yasimone

Book Haul || B-Fest Goodies

Hello again!

As I mentioned in my last post, I was at Barnes & Noble yesterday for the very first B-Fest.¬†ūüėÉ I decided to partake in a YA trivia game that was going on–just for fun–and the prize happened to be something I found quite appealing: a tote bag filled with books and sneak peek excerpts! I ended up winning the competition (yay!) and receiving the bag. (And if I clutched it to my chest and jumped around in the middle of the store, no one needs to know.)

The contents were definitely very satisfying, and I’m still very excited about them, so here’s a book haul! Incidentally, this appears to my very first book haul in the year and a half I’ve been blogging, so if you¬†want any more of these sort of posts, please do let me know! ūüėä

book haul

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Everything in the photo above includes:

  • The Sun is Also a Star, Nicole Yoon – This one is an Advance Reading Copy and will be published in November of this year! It also happens to be my first ARC, so I’ll be reviewing it sometime in the upcoming weeks. I really enjoyed Everything, Everything and I hope Nicole Yoon’s new book will have that same magic.
  • The Hawkweed Prophecy, by Irena Brignull – Another ARC, this one being published in September. I am really intrigued by the synopsis of this novel, so I’m quite excited to read and review it.
  • An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir – I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about Sabaa Tahir’s novels, and again,¬†I can’t wait to be immersed in this world of sultry danger and fights for freedom.
  • Color Me Creative, by Kristina Webb – This one is a unique colouring and drawing book that I will be curling up with and scribbling on on a rainy afternoon very soon. ūüėĄ

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And, besides that, I also received a couple of sneak peek excerpt pamphlets of The Fever Code by James Dashner (a prequel to The Maze Runner series which will be published later this year!) and Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs, which appears to be a whimsical and heavy novel, just as Riggs’s Miss Peregrine‚Äôs Peculiar Children¬†series was. Also included was a magazine and preview feature of upcoming YA novels from everyone’s favourite Epic Reads.

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I hope you all have a great weekend, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a post about today’s B-Fest author meetings!

‚̧ Yasimone

Barnes & Noble Teen Book Festival

Hello friends!

So, let’s pretend I didn’t just disappear for two months. *laughs nervously*

I’m coming tomorrow with a full post complete with a very¬†special book haul, but I just had a great evening at my local Barnes & Noble (shoutout to my favourite book store!) at their “B-Fest: Teen Book Festival,” which is a YA book fest that last throughout this weekend. It’s the first of its kind and I had a lot of fun only on the first night, so I would highly recommend paying a visit to a nearby B&N if you’d care to do so. There are author meetings and trivia contests and prize winning too!

Stay tuned for my book haul–which, by the way, is going to be an overview of the lovely bookish goodies I won in a trivia contest this evening–and I hope you all are having a great week!

‚̧ Yasimone

(who is finally back and here to stay)

Book Chat #11: Murder Central

Hello everyone!

Hope your April has been going well so far. I am so happy that it finally feels like spring; flowers are blooming in abundance and the weather is lovely where I live. ūüėÄ

I’ve been¬†a little missing-in-action lately, partly because I’ve been doing too much reading and not enough reviewing! We also haven’t had a Book Chat here in a while so I thought I’d show you all just what exactly I’ve been preoccupied with: Monsieur Poirot and his epic adventures!

Yes, that’s right–I’ve been reading a lot of the Queen of Mystery–Agatha Christie herself’s–murder mysteries. They tend to be intricate, well-written, and immensely suspenseful books, and they’re rather addicting. Here’s a little photoshoot/quote thing¬†(?) of the ones I’ve read so far. Hope you enjoy!


book chat yasimone

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¬†“Words, mademoiselle, are only the outer clothing of ideas.”

–¬†The ABC Murders

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“Loyalty, it is a pestilential thing in crime. Again and again it obscures the truth.”

– Murder in Mesopotamia

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“Sensationalism dies quickly, fear is long-lived.”

– Death in the Clouds

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“The impossible cannot have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”

– Murder on the Orient Express

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Well, there you have it. I’m not too sure what exactly this post was, but¬†if you’d like to see more of these strange photoshoot post things, please do let me know!

Have a great week!

‚̧ Yasimone

Book Review || Murder on the Orient Express

Hello all! ūüėõ

Hope your March is going well so far. Isn’t it funny that it’s already March and yet it’s also only just March? (Does that make any sense whatsoever? No? Alright, moving on.) I mentioned in my last post that I read Murder on the Orient Express and promised you all a review. Well, here it is! Hope you enjoy my review as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Book Review Logo

Author: Agatha Christie

Publishing Company: HarperCollins Publishers (William Marrow)

Release Year: 1934

Genre(s): Historical fiction, mystery, murder mystery

Series: The Hercule Poirot Mysteries


My Synopsis

The year is 1930-something. Hercule Poirot, the brilliant Belgian sleuth is travelling in the winter through Stamboul and across Europe. It should be a fairly simple journey, but where Monsieur Poirot goes, mystery–and murder–follows. What proceeds is a first class passenger found dead in his train cabin; stabbed fifteen times, no less! Monsieur Poirot, along with his acquaintances, the French Monsieur Bouc and Greek Dr. Constantine, takes it upon himself to investigate. But this seems to be a case like no other; there are too many clues and too many suspects. Who does the pipe found at the scene of the murder belong to? Who is this mysterious lady in a red kimono some of the passengers recall seeing? Why¬†was the train conductor’s button in the victim, Mr. Ratchett’s,¬†room if the conductor never lost his button? agatha christie.jpgAnd, more importantly, is the killer on the loose¬† in snowy Yugoslavia or still in the train?

A whirlwind of questioning, confusion, and alibi after alibi follows. A diverse cast of travellers, from the chatty American lady Mrs. Hubbard to the elegant Princess Dragomiroff to the terse British Colonel Arbuthnot, explain their point of view to the sleuth, each with their own stories and observances that, impossibly, seem to match up and yet contradict each other at the same time. As Poirot, Bouc, and Constantine question each passenger, the situation becomes even more absurd. Who is innocent? Who is guilty? And how on earth will this mystery be solved?

My Thoughts

I should probably start off my saying this is my first Agatha Christie novel, and I am super eager to reading her other books! Murder on the Orient Express was honestly the best whodunit I’ve read–then again, it was written by the “The Queen of Murder” herself. ūüėČ

The writing is great. It’s very colorful and descriptive and all the characters are so, so well developed; each of them have their own habits and ways of speaking that will have you looking at them with suspicion or fondness. Don’t expect the writing to be overly florid, and make no mistake, every sentence adds something to the plot; there isn’t a single word that is there simply as filler. Dame Christie’s ironic sense of humour also had me smiling quite often.¬†Hercule Poirot’s¬†companions, M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine, while clueless in the art of sleuthing, are endearing, and the detective himself¬†is truly a great protagonist; all quick-wit and intuition and asking the right things in the right ways to get the answers he wants.

Another point that really struck me: the entire novel takes place on a stationary Orient Express that has been snowed in in the mountains of Yugoslavia–a classic “locked room mystery.” And yet, neither does the setting get old, nor do the characters; most likely because the situation changes every chapter.

murder on the orient express.jpgNow, it’s rather difficult to do this book justice without explaining the entire situation in great detail, but I will say this: every new page brought a new twist in the mystery. Just when I thought that everything had gotten too absurd to solve and gave up on trying to figure out the murderer, the great Poirot’s fine-tuned mind put all the discrepancies together and produced an outcome I could never have even considered. Agatha Christie took a murder and then wove a tangled web of clues and characters that led to an incredible ending. ūüôā

In short: Looking for a quick, well-written, crazy good mystery novel that will have you turning pages eagerly? Look no further and pick this one up!

(Update: Fun fact from a commenter below–Agatha Christie allegedly stayed in Room 41 at the “Pera Palace Hotel” in Istanbul while writing this novel. Has anyone ever been there? I sure would like to! ūüėÄ J.K. Rowling’s hotel room is quite famous now as well; in fact, the room Rowling stayed in at the Balmoral Hotel has been named the “J.K. Rowling Suite”!)

‚̧ Yasimone

Leap Day

Hi everyone!

Today, as you all know, is Leap Day. I decided that I shouldn’t miss the opportunity to post today considering February 29th only comes around once every four years.

(Also, completely unrelated but still rather notable‚ÄĒ I read my first Agatha Christie book yesterday and I. Absolutely. Loved. It. You can look forward to a shining review in the next couple of days. Honestly, I’m tempted to purchase all her novels and read them back to back right now.)

See you again in four years! ūüôā

‚̧ Yasimone

Words to Use More Often #4 [Valentine’s Day Edition]

Hello again, friends!

As we all know, Valentine’s Day is today. ūüėÄ And I’m sure while some of us have lovely plans, others will be content with living romance vicariously through books. ūüėõ

Since, last year, I wrote a post called This Valentine’s Day, Buy Someone A Book, (It’s been exactly a year and two days¬†since I wrote that! Goodness me, how time flies) I thought I’d continue the tradition and publish something Valentine’s Day-related. We haven’t had one of these Words to Use More Often posts in a while, so here you have fourteen words that, for whatever reason, remind me of love. Enjoy!


words to use more often

+ Billet-Doux

noun

  1. a love letter.

+ Saccharine

verb

  1. excessively sweet or sentimental.

+ Vestige

noun

  1. a trace of something that is disappearing or no longer exists.

+ Redamancy

verb

  1. the act of loving someone in return; requiting one’s love.

+ Idyll

noun

  1. a very happy or peaceful time or situation.

+ Pianissimo

adjective or adverb

  1. (of music) very soft or softly.

+ Palpitate

verb

  1. (of the heart) to beat fast or irregularly.

+ Twinge

noun

  1. a brief, sharp pang of emotion.

+ Rhapsody

noun

  1. an enthusiastic or ecstatic expression of feeling.

+ Lustrous

adjective

  1. having a soft glow or sheen.

+ Quixotic

adjective

  1. idealistic but impractical; overly romantic

+ Reverie

noun

  1. a daydream; the state of being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts.

+ Tryst

noun

  1. a private, romantic rendezvous between lovers.

+ Warble

verb

  1. sing in a trilling or quavering voice

‚̧ Yasimone

Book Review || The Young Elites

Hello friends! How is your 2016 going so far? Mine has been insanely busy, which is why I haven’t been able to post as much as I would have liked to. I’ve finally been able to snatch some time to sit down and blog a bit, and hopefully I’ll be able to get some more posts up this month.

It¬†seems that I haven’t reviewed any books in ages, so here I am with one of my absolute favourite recent reads!

Book Review Logo.png

Author: Marie Lu

Publishing Company: The Penguin Group

Release Year: 2014

Genre(s): YA, Fantasy

Series: The Young Elites Series (Book One)


My Synopsis

Adelina Amouteru is a malfetto. As a child, she was ill with the blood fever that ravaged the nation of Kenettra. She was left, like all others who survived the deadly disease, with strange, otherworldly markings–shining silver hair, pale lashes, and a long scar where one of her eyes used to be. After Adelina runs away one night, away from her cruel father who never hesitates to remind her that¬†she is an abomination¬†and meek, na√Įve sister, life twists upon its head; she is imprisoned by the Inquisitors with her father’s blood on her hands, about to be executed. And then, again, the inexplicable happens. She is rescued by an organisation of malfettos called the Daggers—but they’re no ordinary malfettos. They have incredible powers that people¬†say are either a blessing or a curse, and Adelina discovers her own¬†too.¬† Enzo, who heads the Daggers, is the estranged crown prince of Kenettra, and he and the other Young Elites are determined to take back the throne from his corrupt sister. As she trains to control her power and direct it to the cause, she is approached by the head Inquisitor to join their cause. The only problem is that Adelina is caught between the Daggers and the Inquisition, which works against the malfettos. Will Adelina be caught as a traitor…and which side will catch her first? Or how long can she go on in this mess of loyalties and spilled blood?

My Thoughts

This book was fantastic! I’ve always been a fan of Marie Lu (check out her dystopian novels, the Legend¬†trilogy), but The Young Elites really flaunts her skill. I could go on for quite a while about this book, so here are my ramblings in condensed form. ūüėÄ

First of all, the writing was just wonderful. Lu really thought out every little detail. Not only did she set up Kenettra, she ¬†wrote in such a way that you could feel the culture of the country—the people, the region itself, the buildings in the cities, the landscapes. Besides the world-building, the novel was written lyrically and with such feeling. There were instances that I had to pause and just admire the way a particular sentence was worded. That’s when you know a book is good. ūüėČyoung elites cover.jpg

The characters are also well-written. All of them are different and incredibly real despite their powers. They have their faults but you can’t help but feel sympathetic towards them. Adelina was¬†such a¬†great main character because the thing is, she isn’t exactly your typical protagonist. She has a multi-faceted personality and plenty of dark moments. The relationships between the characters are complex, especially when Adelina is caught between two powerful groups and has¬†way of looking at things in a slightly twisted mindset.¬†The Young Elites blurs the lines between “hero” and “villain” in a beautifully¬†deft way that will leave you wanting more.

The plot was so suspenseful and captivating that I immediately had to go and pick up the sequel, The Rose Society, when I finished it, which, by the way, is just as good. (A review will be coming soon for that as well!)

In short: The Young Elites just blew me away. Definitely check it out if you’re interested in dark high fantasy mixed in with a bit of magic! (Actually, check it out even if you aren’t.) ūüôā

‚̧ Yasimone