Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Liesl and Po

Liesl & PoLiesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

...If you do not believe that hearts can bloom suddenly bigger, and that love can open like a flower out of even the hardest places, then I am afraid that for you the road will be long and brown and barren, and you will have trouble finding the light.

I have read other Lauren Oliver books and I know her stories are well-written. I am also used to dystopian themes, but I also know that this is a children's book. What I didn't know is that this story was written in a way that can be heart-warming even (and especially) for those who have experienced a death of a loved-one.

This story contains the ingredients of a wonderful children's book-- alchemy, magic, love, pets, friends, family and sunshine. The story began in a dark place but as it unfolds, it seethes with innocent, warmth and hope.

But if you do believe, then you already know all about magic.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

And The Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains EchoedAnd the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Khaled Hosseini is an excellent writer. His novels have basically the same elements that make into a poetic and unforgettable story. The plot has the usual immersion of several multi-generational characters with intertwining stories told in a chronologically non-linear way.

I couldn't help but compare this to "The Kite Runner", though, and there are instances when my attention was not wholly captivated. Maybe I found it a bit long-winded. On the other hand, the first and the latter parts of the story touched me the most. Hosseini's works never fail to touch my heart and make me cry.

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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Panic

PanicPanic by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A lot of contemporary YA authors are good at writing dystopian novels and Lauren Oliver is one of those. I have yet to finish her Delirium series because I wasn't that much excited reading the third one ("Requiem"), but I am intrigued by her stand-alone books.

The latest one, "Panic", contains themes about survival, fear, love, friendship and the strong urge to get away from a suffocating life. I'm sure a lot of YA readers can relate to those. I applaud the twists of the stories, although I am not that enamoured by the characters. There were a lot of gripping moments, but the ending seemed abrupt and left me a bit disappointed. Overall, this is still an interesting read and has a storytelling quality that is still Lauren Oliver.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the reasons why I was not disappointed with this book is that I let go of my initial notion that this is a horror story. The pictures may have given this book a creepy look, but I think that's what made it interesting. The story was created and inspired by actual, random, old photos. I was immersed in the world that Jacob discovered-- a world of peculiars, time loops, wights, hollows and ymbrynes. The plot is mystical and magical, but it also contains themes of family, friendship and love.



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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading the first few sentences of this book felt like falling in love at first sight. I knew I was in for a treat. I also knew it was going to be a roller coaster ride. I couldn't peel my eyes off it.

Through all of youth I was looking for you
without knowing what I was looking for

— W.S. Merwin

My head is a mess right now. A few hours after I finished reading the book, I don't think I can write a decent review. I have had my fair share of reading coming-of-age books, but this is probably one of the best. It's everything I want for in a story and I didn't want it to end. The writing was smooth and reading it felt like watching the story unfold on a screen in front of me. It was funny, witty, deep and emotional all rolled into the main character's simple wish to understand the world and himself.

This is a story of friendship, family, life and love. The characters are not without flaws. The Universe is an inscrutable entity with secrets that the characters want to unveil. In the end, the answers to their questions and the enlightenment to their confusion are just in front of them.

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