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?

Book Haul

I've recently gone to Singapore, and the major thing that I like to do there is go on a book shopping spree at my most favorite bookstore of Kinokuniya.



And it was definitely a good break from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta. What I also love about Singapore is how safe the country is, I could totally picture myself going there by my own someday. I was successful in the book spree and got quite an amount of them. So here they are! (You can click on their links to find out what they're about!)




clockwise until the center :

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- A classic tale I'm sure some of us have heard of. And I like a challenge while reading a book.
- I simply loved the first book of this series by Maggie. It's so poetic and moving and it really captured me.
- I've heard a lot of good things about this book so I thought, why not?
- I've been anticipating this book and I'm super excited to read it.
- A love story, with some fantasy twists. How can I not love that.
- The concept of Witchcraft goes into this book and that's a bit of unfamiliar territory for me but I'm excited to read it too!
- Ever since I've read Fallen by Lauren Kate, I've been so fascinated about the concept of Angels. This book caught my eye and it will definitely satisfy my curiosity.
- I've read this one too, and I like it, it's like a modern fairytale.
- I love traveling! Traveling sure does emerge in this one.
Tao Te Ching
- A little Chinese philosophy could go a long way.
- My first picture book in a long time and I was blown away by the pictures. Totally amazing.

xoxo,
Maya.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

I'm so excited to do a review for this one! I picked up this book at my school's book fair. I've heard a lot of good things about this one and I was excited to read it! And I've been so into fantasy, folk lore stories and this was one of the most enjoyable ones.

Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started work with a theatre company. Sure, she's an understudy for the Avalon Players, a third-tier repertory company so far off-Broadway it might as well be in Hoboken, but things are looking up—the lead has broken her ankle and Kelley's about to step into the role of Titania the Fairy Queen in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Faeries are far more real than Kelley thinks, though, and a chance encounter in Central Park with a handsome young man will plunge her into an adventure she could never have imagined.

For Sonny Flannery, one of the Janus Guards charged by Auberon, the King of Winter, with watching over the gate into the lands of Faerie that lies within Central Park, the pretty young actress presents an enigma. Strong and willful, she sparks against his senses like a firecracker and he can't get her out of his mind. As Hallowe'en approaches and the Samhain Gate opens, Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and Faerie alike.

From the first few pages of the book, I was totally hooked. I think you could pretty much sum up what is in the book from the synopsis above. Kelley's an aspiring actress trying to make it in New York, working at a theatre as a stand in for the production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. She's actually got the talent. Until at the Central Park, she meets the strange, and handsome Sonny. He guards the Samhain gate to the Otherworld which prevents from beings from the Otherworld from coming over to the mortal world and cause trouble.

Sonny is somehow intrigued by Kelley and she noticed how she strikes out, and how she's different from others. From that moment on, he just can't seem to get her off his mind and becomes very drawn and attached to her, much to her annoyance. She doesn't believe about him being one of those from the Otherworld. But as she eventually gets to know about him, both of them are in for the dangerous journey that they thought would never come. There's a lot more to Faeries than Kelley thought.

This book was like cotton candy, cause it was just a delicious read! It took me sometime to get into the book, but the story just has this amazing flow. I love getting deep into the Faerie world, and it is actually really fascinating and beautiful! Wondrous Strange just had all these characteristics mixed together so brilliantly. Like, theatre, romance, folk lore, magic, fantasy with some urban twists here and there. Let me tell you, the romance is so devouring, and so humorous at some parts. She doesn't give in to Sonny that easily, laughs at his face, which then leaves him confused and frustrated, and it just gets so humorously sweet from there. I totally love the characters in this book, and how the details were so carefully thought out, it's just amazing, really. It was all so vibrant with splashes of color within the characters and the plot. I just can't bring enough praise for this book. Bravo!

xoxo,
Maya.

Grade: A

Impossible - Nancy Werlin

Hey y'alls, it's time for me to do another book review. First of all, I just had a book shopping spree, and I was so successful and ended up with 10 books, which will be shown very soon. I picked up Impossible as soon as I saw it. I saw the book a couple of times on the shelves but I don't know, I never really got around to buy it, but I'm glad I did. It was a good book.

Okay, the synopsis.

Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child's birth. But Lucy is the first girl who won't be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents beside her. And she has Zach, whose strength amazes her more each day. Do they have enough love and resolve to overcome an age-old evil?

Three impossible tasks, a family curse, only true love can save her. That's what it said on the back. That really lured me in to read the book. So here's Lucy Scarborough, your ordinary 17 year old girl who lives with her foster parents as she was abandoned by her estranged and mentally-ill mother Miranda, and Lucy only occasionally sees her. But when that happens, things doesn't usually turn out so good. Besides that, she's got the life we've always envisioned as "normal" for a teenager. She's in her senior year, on the track team and she's got her best bud on her side, Zach. They've known each other since they were little, he's a little older than her, but he'll always be her best friend.

Then on prom night, everything will change for Lucy, and this surely is a life's test. She soon discovers after that she's pregnant, then she finds out about this curse from Miranda's journal and letters written before Lucy was born, before Miranda went crazy and astray. From Miranda's writing, Lucy finds out that many other Scarborough women before her suffered a curse and Lucy herself could be affected by this curse too. Then it also tells Lucy about a song called "The Scarborough Fair" that Lucy has always remembered growing up. There's more to the song than she thought, and it's linked to the curse. The song showed 3 apparently impossible tasks that she must attend to before her unborn daughter is born. Otherwise, she'll suffer the same fate that the past Scarborough women have experienced.

But she's not alone, she has her family's support and the faithful support of Zach, who has no intentions on giving up to break this age-old curse. Attempts on breaking this curse will really test Lucy, emotionally and physically. Scarborough women in the past, never had the help that Lucy has, nobody there to support them. Lucy, Zach and her parents will go to many extents to break this curse.

This is a good story, and it keeps me turning the pages to find out more. I love the essence of fantasy in the story yet it also keeps you grounded with reality still intact. There are continuous changes with the points of view between character. It makes me a little bit confused at some parts that I have to go back and read the paragraphs again. The characters are also quite well-crafted in the book. The story had a nice flow to it, and some parts of the book were exciting that I had myself almost jumping out of the chair at Starbucks, hands in the air, saying "I KNEW it!". It's a jewel of a coming-of-age story that I'll cherish.

xoxo,
Maya.


Grade: B-
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