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. 🙂


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

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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™ 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.

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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. 😉

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! 🙂 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’s 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—their 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.

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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. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

❤ Yasimone