Sunday, August 1, 2010

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Whew! I just finished reading another book, Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Alright, the synopsis.

At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight. Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as the princess's personal assistant, has his work cut out for him trying to save his girl's soul and plan the Master's fast-approaching Death Day gala.

First of all we have seventeen year-old Miranda. All her life, she never knew that she was being watched, and loved by a guardian angel, Zachary. He has known her since birth, got to know her, and fall in love with her over the years as she grows into a beautiful yet shy and quiet young woman. Miranda has a best friend Lucy who is so much more than her and Miranda stands under her shadow. She's just the usual teen girl, quite insecure, crushing on the perfect boy and trying to make it in theatre for the school play. As said before, Zachary is always there with her, invisible to her eyes, watching, protecting. Until one night he keeps seeing this shadow of Death swirling around her, he knows something is wrong. Then another night came. And that's when everything changes for Miranda and Zach.

That is when Zach does the unforgivable thing that an angel could do. That night, he admitted his love for Miranda by showing himself to save her life. But he's too late and fails. Instead, Miranda is taken by the king of vampires, the Dracul into his underground world where vampires are called "Eternals", and he converts her into one of them, and as his heir. As for Zachary, he becomes a fallen angel. But he's been given a chance to redeem himself. Miranda's new life involves Dracul who Miranda calls "Father" while she forgets about her life as a human. She has her killer and fancy wardrobes, servants and a sleek SU. It's all so different! But then Drac tells her to get her own Personal Assistant. Zach is told about this so he jumps at the chance to help Miranda find her redemption too.

The book is told in two perspectives, Zach's and Miranda's. The story really builds up when they both reunite. I like the interaction between them two, especially Zach's humorous and delightful personality. Of course that bloomed into something more. But the story is more than the love between them. In this book I get to explore more of the mythology about vampires, angles that I've been reading about from other books. There are also some references to other classic literature, and I also love the funny and witty phrases that I find. Eternal definitely has the gothic theme to it, and it's got more of a bloodthirsty vileness to it which sets it out from the usual vampire books. Altogether, Eternal was quite the page-turner, a story of redemption, salvation, love, loyalty and grace. Cynthia has wrote a book that turned centuries of lore about these mythological creatures into something unique and spooky.

Grade: B

xoxo,
Maya

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

This is another Sarah Dessen installment. It's called Lock and Key. I've already read one book of hers, Just Listen which made quite the impression on me. First here's the synopsis:

What happens when your past is not just past, but wiped clean entirely? How do you figure out where you're going when you can't even claim where you've been? These were the questions that inspired Lock and Key. It's the story of a girl named Ruby who is abandoned by her mother and determined to make it on her own, even---and especially---when she is sent to live with her long-lost sister in a whole new world of privilege, family, and relationships. As Ruby learns, there's a big difference between being given help and being able to accept it. And sometimes, it takes reaching out to someone else to save yourself

This is a story about seventeen year old Ruby and her life. Now Ruby and her mother moved around the country a lot of times. So their lives are almost unpredictable sometimes, and in the story they currently lived in this old yellow farmhouse. So one day Ruby's mother disappears without any notice, and she doesn't come back for months. So Ruby was left on her own. She tried to ignore the fact that she's too young to be living on her own and then she eventually learned that her mother had abandoned her. So she tried to live on her own at the yellow house for a few months until her landlords found her and sent her off to live with her long-lost older sister, Cora. Ruby and Cora hadn't seen each other since Cora left for college, leaving her and her mother.

So that's basically where the story started with Roby narrating the whole plot. She's a girl with a lot of memories behind her, and they're usually not very warming memories. Somehow she's in this state of self-proclaimed denial.Anyways, Cora, she has build a very good life for herself. A successful career, Jamie her husband and a great house. But Ruby has never lived a life like that, and she's not sure if she wants to. Jamie happily welcomed her into their home but Cora seems a little tense, so Ruby doesn't want to be a burden to her sister. She doesn't really trust people so easily, so she has put up a big wall around her as an emotional defense. She tries to escape this new life, but instead she got into a good school, finding a job and finding friends, and maybe a little something more with her next door neighbour, Nate who seems to have secrets of his own. There's a special thing to Ruby that is of a big significance in the book, she always wears the necklace with her yellow farmhouse key to remind her of her difficult but more familiar old life.

There are a lot of interesting characters in this book, like Cora's husband Jamie and Nate. As the story unfolds, I see Ruby discovering herself a lot more and opening up to people. Something she has always been reluctant to do. She begins to learn more about what a family is all about, she begins to lower her emotional defense wall and reconnecting with Cora. She begins to settle into the changes in this new life. I really liked this book, even though the plot started a bit slow and stale during the beginning, but it got more interesting towards the end. I loved how Ruby grew into a more open person, and this is something I can relate to. A touching and meaningful story of moving on, but still holding on and opening your heart to others.

xoxo,
Maya

Grade: B

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita

Here's another review! I just recently read this delightful book. It's called Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita. First of all is the synopsis:

When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-alongs and gooey s'mores. If Ashley, the alpha queen of Whispering Pines, doesn't ruin Sam's summer, then her raging crush on the surfer-blond and flirtatious Hunter just might. At least she has playful Cole, who's always teasing her, but is oh-so-comfortable to hang out with, and the singular gang of girls that become fast friends with Sam-they call themselves the Sleepaway Girls.

When I found this book at the store, I was actually in the midst of my summer holidays. So I thought, why not? I should buy a book with a really summery feel to it. And I'm so glad that I bought Sleepaway Girls. So, from the synopsis above you could already see what the story is all about! Summer Camp! There's Sam Montgomery, your average fifteen year old girl in her summer holiday. She has a best friend who apparently has found a new boyfriend and she hated feeling left out. Sam loves her, but she just doesn't like being treated that way. But then she finds her way out, by applying for a job as a counselor-in-training (CIT) at a summer camp called Whispering Pines.

Sam is in for quite the ride at Whispering Pines, this book wasn't all about the smooth ride of spending your summer at a camp. There were quite the amount of drama in this book. It involves the mean girl Ashley and her little entourage, and they didn't exactly make Sam's life fine and dandy at Whispering Pines. Then there are the two guys, the handsome and dreamy Hunter and the cool, pleasant, laid-back Cole. Well, they definitely brought a lot of sweetness in Sam's life at the camp. Yet she still made some funky friends that she got to know, and they really did had her back, and were with her through Ashley's backstabbing way. Okay, but Sleepaway Girls isn't only about the drama, there were actually a lot of details about Whispering Pines and the camp traditions. And since Sam is a counselor in training at the camp, she had to learn to take care of the little campers. I loved how they were described based on their age levels. Pez, marshmallows. It's one of many delights that I found in this book. I never really got bored while reading and I found the book very colorful.

I love the excitement of Sleepaway Girls, but it's also a book about Sam standing up for herself and deciding on her own. It's about friendship, loyalty and love. It is actually a meaningful story and not the typical Summer book that is mostly focused on the drama and stereotypes. As I said, I was never bored and I loved the feeling of looking forward to turning the page and reading more. The plot of the story was very real and it got me to look a little differently on summer camp. The characters were well defined and described, although I wished it could have been done more on some. From this book I also learned about the sacrifices we make for others, standing up for yourself. But I also learned that we don't always have to follow the path people want us to take, we could make a path of our own. It's definitely a great book to read during a car ride, (unless you get a little car sick) the beach or the pool with the sun kissing your face.

I hoped you had a good summer everyone!

xoxo,

Maya

Grade: B+

Marmut Merah Jambu - Special Post!

Hi all. Sorry that I have been kind of AWOL for the past few weeks. But I'm back for several reviews now. You can see that I've labeled this as a special post. I'm about to review a book by this special author from my country. And his name is Raditya Dika.

There he is on the cover page! So he's a writer, but not fictional. He's also a comedian so he loves to entertain himself, and make fun of himself. Weird enough. Haha. Raditya loves to write books about his life experiences, in a really funny way of course that will get you laughing to tears! I've never really heard of him that much until people started talking about his latest book called Marmut Merah Jambu. a.k.a Pink Hamster. So I became interested and decided to see what's all the buzz about Raditya Dika. And boy! I was hit by the Raditya Dika tornado!

Usually Raditya writes about random funny moments of his life. But in this book, it's more about funny encounters in his life about one of, well, maybe the most absurd and confusing matter in this life. Love. There are still the random stories in there though, which makes the book really special.

I honestly laughed a lot while reading this book. And a slight hint, you might want to read it in private. That means if you don't want to get funny and weird looks from people while you read. It tells about his junior school crushes and how dumb he made himself look in front of those girls, it's very genuine yet still very humorous. He's making his simple life stories so interesting and funny, and I really love that! Now, just when you feel like you're reading in peace, there comes the random phrases and words that gets you exploding in laughter! But then, there are the simple and delightful things coming unexpectedly that will make you think and smile. It'll make you think about how it feels when you have a crush on someone, that tingly feeling of just seeing them.

Marmut Merah Jambu is a book with a lot of different feelings or emotions wrapped into one. You know, it actually took me a while to realize the Jambu (Pink) part of the title. It's trying to describe to you that hint of love. Haha. Raditya Dika really did a fantastic job in telling us his private life stories that people wouldn't really care about, into funny, delightful and sweet stories that will make us smile. I really did enjoy reading this book, and I can always look back and read a specific chapter to get a good laugh. Maybe it is the best medicine. :)

xoxo,

Maya.

Grade: A+

Monday, June 21, 2010

Playlist?

Hi all, I just want to explain about a tiny addition that I will have to my reviews. And it's the Playlist.

So it's basically a list of songs I know that relates to the books I've read. I thought it would be fun to do that, and it collaborates my passion for music and books.

xoxo,

Maya

Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland

Here's another review! I thought I'd like to kick off the Summer with a light and pleasant read. So I thought, Scones and Sensibility would do the trick!

Synopsis

Polly Madassa is convinced she was born for a more romantic time. A time when Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables walked along the moors and beaches of the beautiful land, a time where a distinguished gentleman called upon a lady of quality and true love was born in the locked eyes of two young lovers.

But alas, she was not.

This, however, does not stop our young heroine from finding romance wherever she can conjure it up. So while Polly is burdened with a summer job of delivering baked goods from her parents bakery (how quaint!) to the people in her small beach town, she finds a way to force…um…encourage romance to blossom. She is determined to bring lovers, young and old, together…whether they want to be or not.

When I read the synopsis on the back, I was really intrigued by the book. I opened it and I jumped right into it. It's such an adorable book and the main character is the ever-so-charming Polly Madassa. She and her family own the Madassa bakery, and she has an older sister named Clementine. Polly is so special in her own way. She's this twelve year old girl who seems to come out from those classic books. Her favorite ones are Pride and Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables. It's like she's living in the wrong time. But again, that's what makes her so special. I also have a soft spot for classic writing and how beautiful and lush when people speak back then. She calls her parents Mama and Papa and her outfits are usually those old fashioned frocks and dresses. I love the term affection of "bosom friend" that she has for her friend, Fran.

I could relate to some of her aspects, especially the daydreaming part. Sometimes I just love sitting still, outside with the sun dancing on my face, and just think. In other words, daydreaming! Haha. Okay, well, one summer she was told by her parents that she was to be set with a duty of delivering pastries in her town. She was very happy with that and she loves socializing. One thing you should know about Polly is that she believes in love, but her idea of love and finding it is through her novels. So then she comes up with this idea of bringing love to the people that means so much to her in town, through delivering these fantastic pastries!

Polly's antics into finding love for her friends were very charming at first, but then she finds out that things doesn't always go the way that it does in novels. Her heart is in the right place and she means well for everyone. But then she realizes that you can't force love. That was basically the main challenge for Polly in the book, but Polly was willing to learn from her mistakes. So it's not all tears.

There were a lot of characters in this book, but I didn't mind that at all. Lindsay Eland's writing for this book was very charming and understandable. Scones and Sensibility is a wonderful book that I can read in a cafe, by the beach or the poolside. Along with a refreshing drink and a tasty sweet snack. There were some parts of the book which felt a little bit slow for me, but I kept my faith in the book and in the end, I really enjoyed it. From Polly's story I learnt the same thing she did, you can't force love, on anyone or on yourself.

xoxo,

Maya.

Grade: B-

Friday, June 18, 2010

Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Hi all, I'm sorry for being AWOL for the past couple of weeks. I was so caught up in the chronicles that is life, so caught up that I had to abandon this blog for a while. But now I'm back I've got some reviews! And do you notice the new layout? Thank you Blogger!

Anyways, I was so happy when I got this book, the second installment of Aprilynne Pike's faerie world, Spells. I read this in just a couple of days, so here's my review.
Synopsis:

Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger--and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

This is the sequel to Wings and it's about a year after Laurel learns that she is a faerie and the events occurring onwards. In this book it was really about Lauren being sort of torn between two of her worlds. She accepts who she is as a faerie but this also causes a few problems. She is set to Avalon which is the faerie realm for one whole summer. Since she's a Fall Faerie, she has to learn the skills and the ways of being one. The first part of the book was mostly her being in Avalon, I was really happy to finally get the chance to read all about it. It was very interesting to read abut this whole faerie caste system in Avalon and the people from her past. I also got to read about the differences between the Summer, Winter and Spring Faeries and they magical powers. Avalon seems like a really beautiful place from the book, but Laurel isn't exactly there to bask in the beauty of Avalon most of the time. She has to come forth to learning and improving her faerie skills. She spends a lot of time reading about faerie craft. I love that Aprilynne didn't go straight into the whole typical situation where once Laurel finds out she's a faerie, she is already fully equipped with faerie powers. Boom- just like that. But no, she actually has to control and make use of her faerie powers.

In Avalon, of course she spends some of her time with Tamani. In the previous book, there was obviously an undeniable connection between Laurel and Tamani. By spending some time with Tamani, their relationship and their feelings begin to develop. This of course resulted in conflicted feelings within Laurel, because, well she is already in a committed relationship with her boyfriend, David. I also got to see their relationship in the book go even deeper and I think I found myself rooting for him. Hmm.

So, after Avalon, she has to come back home. And once she's home, she has to cope with different challenges. Now that she's a faerie, and both her parents knows it, she has to cope with their feelings about her new faerie ancestry. And in the previous book, there was the threat of the trolls to Laurel's life. And in this book, the problems doesn't end, and what with Laurel's conflicted feelings, she has to deal with a lot of things in this book. For me personally I think that the synopsis above might be a little bit ambiguous. When I first read it, I was thinking "Oh, okay. More romance. I understand". But when I read the book, it's not wholly about the whole love triangle drama. It was also about Laurel discovering more of herself, coming in to her own. Once again, what I like about Aprilynne, she doesn't take the typical approach with Laurel, the heroine of this story.

Laurel is not a character who is very dramatic, with an in-your-face disposition to her, who obsesses over boys all the time. She's a quiet heroine, with her own strength, and she's also a little bit vulnerable. Her relationships with Tamani and David is obviously an essence to the story but she also has her responsibilities in the human world and in the faerie world. She still has the love of her friends and family, that is also important to her. She makes her fair share of mistakes, and she is not the character that has to always be saved by someone. She even puts her life in line to rescue someone she loves. Laurel was a really tough cookie in this book, but with her vulnerability she still has her share of mistakes and faults. Between Tamani and David, she still manages to keep composure and stand on her ground. Even when she has to make that one decision.

In Spells, you really got to know more of the characters in Wings. Not only that but more knowledge of the faerie world, the culture and the responsibilities that the faerie has, especially in Avalon. I also loved the friendship between Laurel's friend Chelsea and there are even some fresh faces in the story. Aprilynne's writing is very pleasant and I can't wait to read the third book and see how Laurel develops. You rock!

xoxo,

Maya.

Grade: A-

Playlist:

1) High- James Blunt
2) No One- Aly & AJ
3) No Surprise- Daughtry

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn

Okay, I just finished A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn in about 4 hours straight. It's basically a modern re-telling of Sleeping Beauty and Alex Flinn is known for her liking of fairy tales. So here's my review.

Synopsis

Talia fell under a spell . . . . Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . .

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.

I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

So I knew the story sounds familiar when I read the back of the review. I followed along with the story and Alex Flinn really did put her thought with the twists and turns in the book. First of all, there's Princess Talia. She is a princess living in the sixteenth century in a kingdom called Euphrasia. Her whole life, she's been protected from a curse set upon her by an evil witch called Malvolia. It is set that on her 16th birthday, she would prick her finger on a spindle. So ever since she was a baby, she was taught about the spindle and it was actually the first word she had learned. When she pricked her finger, she would fall into a deep slumber and her whole kingdom too. They can only be awakened by a true love's kiss. Yeah, you know the story right?


Then one day the story jumps into the modern age, and we find Jack O'Neill. He's on his summer vacation in Europe. He gets totally bored one day of all the museums and other sites. He and his friend Travis decided to sneak out of the tour to have their own fun at a nearby beach. They ask help from a quirky salesperson and they find themselves in the woods of Belgium. They went through the bushes and the brambles, and they see a community with a large castle that looks like a historical tourist attraction. They noticed that all the people were asleep. Then while exploring, they make their way into the castle and Jack finds himself drawn to this sleeping, and beautiful girl which is, of course Talia. He kisses her and he awakens the whole kingdom.

Jack and Travis is then arrested because they have addressed the princess agressively. Then Talia finds herself attracted to Jack feels sorry for him. And yet she also felt the guilt because she pricked herself on the spindle and she's the whole reason her kingdom has been asleep for 300 years. She gets Jack out of the dungeon and they ran away. Now Jack took care of her while they planned to go back to his home in Florida. But during the journey they can't help but get on each other's nerves, bickering and all that. And what with Talia and her quirky and funny sixteenth century acts. He introduced her to his parents and sister, they didn't like Talia at first but then she won over them and they slowly become fond of her. Not only that, but Talia and Jack's relationship undoubtedly blossoms to something more.

But things aren't always so sweet. Malvolia is back and she really wants to cause some trouble. So, she kidnaps Talia. Jack has to save her and find happiness for both of them.

This book was very pleasant and again, I adored the little twists that are put in the story. It is told in dual perspectives between Jack and Talia. It was really enjoyable getting to know these two characters in the book. Alex Flinn was very astounding in blending the medieval and modern touches together and it wasn't any trouble for me. There is definitely a lot of humor in this book and it could be seen in the relationship of Jack and Talia in the book. The whole love-hate act and the fact that these two individuals are separated by centuries, which create some funny moments. The flow of the book went really well, although there were some bits and pieces where it kind of went on. The adventures and experiences that Jack and Talia went through helped them to understand not only each other, but themselves as individuals. A very pleasant and funny read.

xoxo,
Maya

Grade: B


Playlist

1. I See You- Mika
2. Wild Horses- The Sundays


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell

I just finished yet another book. Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell. This was another quick read for me, and very enjoyable indeed. I'm kind of taking a break from fantasy books right now and I was really refreshed by reading this book. Alright, here's the synopsis:

"I’ve got my entire life planned out for the next ten years — including my PhD and Pulitzer Prize,” claims 16-year-old overachiever Vassar Spore, daughter of overachiever parents, who in true overachiever fashion named her after an elite women’s college. Vassar expects her sophomore summer to include AP and AAP (Advanced Advanced Placement) classes. Surprise! Enter a world-traveling relative who sends her plans into a tailspin when she blackmails Vassar’s parents into forcing their only child to backpack with her through Southeast Asia. On a journey from Malaysia to Cambodia to the remote jungles of Laos, Vassar sweats, falls in love, hones her outdoor survival skills — and uncovers a family secret that turns her whole world upside-down.
Vassar Spore can plan on one thing: she’ll never be the same again.

Vassar Spore. 16 years old. 5.3 GPA. Named after a very prestigious women's college by her parents. She's got everything planned for her life, and I do mean everything. She vows to spend her summer improving her academics by attending a bunch of classes. But just when she's about to embark her classes, she receives a birthday package from her grandma in Southeast Asia. What's in the package? A plane ticket to Singapore and a birthday note from her Grandma Gerd. Grandma Gerd offers an "all-expense paid summer vacation backpacking through Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos". Hows' that for a change of plans? And of course her parents had an instinctive reaction by turning down the offer. How could she miss her AP English classes, or Advanced Advanced English classes and many others? Then Grandma Gerd phoned and her parents tried to keep Vassar away from hearing their conversation. Yet, Vassar managed to grasp some odd words from the conversation and it all somehow led to The Big Secret. Then her parents gave in to the offer and Vassar was convinced that Grandma Gerd had said something to them to make them give in.

Vassar's curious about this Big Secret and her brainy friends help her try to figure it out, but they just can't. And her parents were determined not to let Vassar find out the truth. So Vassar went on the trip complete with her 10 suitcases, and she's very well equipped let me tell you that. Both Grandma Gerd and Vassar went on a very adventurous trip. And Grandma being a very eccentric, free spirit, live-in-the moment kind of person and Vassar being...well, not. It definitely adds something to the book.

I love the adventure and humor in Carpe Diem. And I have gone to some of the places she went to in Cambodia and Malaysia. I like how Autumn Cornwell described the scenery of the countries in the book, and it was almost a deja-vu for me. From the crowded atmosphere of a local restaurant in Malaysia and to the feel of the heat at the temples of Angkor in Cambodia. I love traveling and reading this book made me want to go out into the world, and find the adventurous side of me. Nothing in her life has prepared Vassar for the things she experienced in the book. She met this Malaysian cowboy personality, Hanks. He really tested her nerves, although his delightful ways got to her as the story progresses. He's basically her guardian during her trip I really love Hanks in the story, even though he also annoyed me in the beginning of the book. The humor found in the story is so outstanding, I find myself laughing out loud at them. Vassar encounters some difficulties during the trip and she deals with them in such hilarious ways. She faces some extremely embarrassing situations, such as, the squat toilets.

The book was full of interesting places, humor but I think this book was really about how Vassar changes and grows as a person throughout the story. I love seeing her gradual change and she emerges as a better person when the book ended. This book had a great pace, it was delightful, it was sweet, it was funny and I couldn't put it down. A fantastic read!

xoxo,
Maya.

Grade: B-

LIM! (Live-in-the-moment)

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Outsiders by S.E Hinton

We've been reading a book in English class, and it's a heck of a good one. The Outsiders by S.E Hinton. I kind of underestimated this book at first, and boy, I was totally wrong for doing that. Here's the synopsis for ya,

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.

I would tell you little snippets of the plot here but you could probably guess by the synopsis above. When I first read the summary on the back of the book, I was thinking "okay, it's kind of like a thug novel". But when I finished reading it in class with my other classmates, I realized how wrong I was to have so quickly judged this book.

Now, after reading it, I can't stop thinking about the story, that was how deep The Outsiders had struck me. I could recall so many things from this book and I would love to read it again in my personal time. This is a book about friendship, love, understanding, gangs, violence. You name it. And all of that were experienced by these group of boys called 'Greasers', and this book's perspective is from the emotions and thoughts of one of the characters, Ponyboy Curtis. And yes, that is his real name.

To tell you the truth, I love some you know, flowery words in a book once in a while. But for The Outsiders, maybe it's not one of those books with a high standard in literature. S.E Hinton drives right on to the story, faithful to every paragraph, and right into the characters, with their characteristics and background. But frankly, I didn't mind at all. I was so immersed in the book, that I put that standard away in the dust. It just makes the book feel really precious and genuine. The characters in this book definitely were not dull at all, especially Ponyboy.

I was emotionally connected to these characters and I just love when that happens while I'm reading a book! She created wonderful characters, these boys who had things going on in their life that sometimes we would never thought of. They're fantastic and I really felt for them, well maybe for the exception of one boy in the gang, Steve. He didn't really stand out in the book for me. And Ponyboy, man, there were definitely moments in the book where I related to him. He's really some character. His thoughts and emotions really described just how he is, he's confused, he's scared, he's uneasy about the things that goes around him. Yet he's a brave boy, and a very kind one at that. His narrative was just so real, sincere and it just has these vulnerabilities and honesty which made the story so real. I could see some vulnerabilities within these characters and it kind of made me think, and also surprised that boys could feel those things. I hope what I just said made sense.

Again, the plot went really well and I really felt the excitement. I almost dropped some tears during specific moments in the book. The emotions also flowed very well through the different characters. It's very well-potrayed, and I even have a soft spot for one of the boys in the book, haha. It described so many social issues mentioned like gangs, violence, family conflicts and all that. For me, I think that this book has a message. That message to me is that, throughout the dark turmoils, there is hope for those who hasn't given up the fight. There is something worth living for in this world. I'm so glad that I got the chance to read this book and it's definitely one to cherish.

Stay gold.

xoxo,
Maya.

Grade: A+

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wings by Aprilynne Pike


I've been wanting to read this book for a while and I never really got around to buying it. And when I saw it on the bookstore, I immediately picked it up. Wings by Aprilynne Pike. I'm so excited to review this one for you!

Synopsis:

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.


This is another young adult debut novel that very lovely portrays the traditional faerie mythology that I have grown to love. Yet it has some awesome twists

I basically indulged myself and my time in this lovely little book, and I didn't regret any of it. So here's Laurel, a fifteen year old girl, who had just moved into a public school after being homeschooled for so many years. And, she's adopted. Well, not really adopted I guess.. But you'll see why in the book as it has a pretty big significance. She has always been different from other kids at her school, that has made her a little bit of an outsider. Like really different, she doesn't eat in a way like the rest of us do, and she wears tank-tops on a cold morning! How quirky is that. But she was never really fazed with the fact that she's different, until something changed her life, that one morning.

She woke up, walked herself to the mirror and found something that resembles as wings sprouting from her back, and they rose above her shoulders. You could guess what that means, and what those wings make her. She found them beautiful, too beautiful for words. That's where the story kicks off for the rest of the book. As she went through her days in school, trying to somehow adjust to her new 'wings', she made new friends. David, the cute and easy going boy in her science class. He understood her, and he went on to become her best friend, with maybe something more for them in the future. Then there's the alluring handsome boy, Tamani who was very much like her, and apparently knows too much about her, to her amazement. And she finds herself unknowingly drawn to him. But then, the sky's not always blue during the day, as a dark mystery lures around, it brings Laurel and David into a world that's not so wonderful at times. It threatens the safety of Laurel and her family too.

That was basically the spice in the book, the delicious love triangle. Yet the book still keeps the precious folklore and mythology in there. It just makes the book that much more special. I also love the adventure in the book. The plot flowed really well, although it was a bit slow in the beginning, but once the spice kicks off, you can't help but go along with the flow of the book. Before I know it, poof! I finished the book! I'm so excited for the next book to her series, and I'm just aching to find out what happens to these fantastic characters.

xoxo,

Maya.


Grade: B

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Well I finally finished Ballad a few hours ago. Right now I'm going to just pour out my feelings about this amazing, amazing book.

Synopsis

In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament, music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James' musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love. Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.

Don't think that I could say enough praise for Ballad. To be honest with you, after I finished Lament I was looking forward to what would happen to Dee. As I read the synopsis for Ballad, I was rather put off that this time it was going to be about James instead. That was so wrong of me to feel. This book totally blew me away. And it's more of a companion book rather than a sequel to Lament. I have come to like James when I read Lament and in this one, I fell for him just a little bit more.

This book focuses on James after all he went through in Lament, including his unreturned sentiment for Dee, and everything else in between. Of course, the way Maggie Stiefvater writes is totally captivating. As I said before, her writing is so poetic and lyrical, I just couldn't get enough. How she painted James' complicated character was very detailed and charming. James himself is charming. I love the little quirky things about him, his sarcastic, witty comments, his weird t-shirts, his writing-on-hand habit. Oh, and his bagpiping talents. He definitely made me laugh out loud as I read.

Then there's Nuala, the faerie muse whom he meets. Nuala is a faery muse who feeds off of the mystifying musical talents of human until they die. She is drawn to James and makes a deal with him and for the first time, he rejects her invitation. But there's this thing between them that couldn't be denied and that grew into something fiery. There are changes of point of view between James and Nuala but she has a way with her narrative voice that I wasn't even bothered, annoyed or confused. There were parts of the book where I was just so captivated. The story's so beautiful that it hurt for me to read on, but I was with the book until the last word and emotion. I loved being in Maggie's faerie world as I read the book and it was sad for me that I have to leave it. I love the characters so much and they're close to my heart. James and Nuala have got to be one of my favorite characters in any book, and their unique, quick witted personality just clicked.

I miss James already now. I can't wait for more books from Maggie, and her work is an inspiration to me.

xoxo,
Maya.

Grade: A +

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Maya's Book Rental?

Hmm, that's what I was thinking. My friend Winie suggested that I can come up with a productive project from my book collection. One of her ideas was a book rent. That has been on my mind for a while too and it's actually not a bad idea.

What do you think?

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