A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

amonstercallsI was for a long time reluctant to read this book though I’ve read a lot of good reviews about it. After finally reading it, oh, my heart! I’ve read reviews that this will break the reader’s heart. And it certainly did. I was honestly expecting that things will get better towards the end but it did not.

The story is about Conor dealing with his dying mom and was visited by a monster. Who is the monster and why does he visit Conor? You’ll have to read it for yourself.

I loved how simple and honest this book is. Patrick Ness was able to blend everything in this little piece of gem. I have never read anything from the author before but this has certainly blown me away. It definitely tugged my heartstrings. I tried not to cry. But I cried. And you will, too.

Highly recommended read if you haven’t yet.

Quotable Quotes:
“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”
“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”
“Don’t think you haven’t lived long enough to have a story to tell.”
“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”
“Stories don’t always have happy endings.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

feast for crowsA Feast for Crows is the fourth book in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire. It tells us the aftermath of the war of the five kings and focuses on the main continent of Westeros. From what I’ve read, the fifth book A Dance of Dragons is this book’s counterpart that takes place at relatively the same time outside of Westeros.

Well, this was the least entertaining among the 4 books I’ve read so far. This introduced a lot of new characters and there were very few of those we’ve known, hated and loved from the previous books. I got bored with the chapters involving the Greyjoys.

I, however, enjoyed Cersei’s chapters for sure. There was a great emphasis on Cersei here that I was really looking forward to her chapters because getting into her head was just so fun. I love her ruthlessness and her chapters were eventful. It makes me sad to think, though, that she won’t probably be in the fifth book as her character was mostly explored here already.

Jaime’s chapters were sympathetic to read. I’ve learned to love Jaime for a long time and it’s sad reading about him searching for places where he could fit in.

It was also nice to read Sansa and Arya’s mirrored plots, having to find themselves in need to take a second identity to survive. It wasn’t really surprising to find Arya in this situation but Sansa? As we know, these two sisters have very different personalities. But seeing how both of them are surviving in sort of the same way, they really are more alike as sisters after all.

I find the entertaining part of the book lost for me (except for Cersei’s chapters) but if viewed as a whole series, this is still a good read with George R.R. Martin’s established tradition — a book immensely rich in detail and extremely clever complexity. I am still determined to finish reading to the end. I’ve invested enough time to make it this far, why stop now?

Quotable Quotes:

“My old grandmother always used to say, Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.”

“History is a wheel, for the nature of man is fundamentally unchanging. What has happened before will perforce happen again”

“We all dream of things we cannot have.”

“Men have scars, women mysteries.”

“Sometimes there is no happy choice… only one less grievous than the others.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

 

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

A Storm of SwordsThis is the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I started reading late last year but only managed to finish it a few days back. It won’t be easy to write about the book without spilling a few beans so if you haven’t read the book or watched the TV series yet and intend to, you can stop here.

So there’s far greater turmoil in the seven kingdoms thus it’s packed with lots of crucial events. There’s the Lannisters, the ruling family. Daenerys with her dragons. Robb as King of the North. Threats beyond the Wall. The Red Wedding. Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding. Catelyn releasing Jaime from captivity. Arya escaping Harrenhal and soon ran into the Brotherhood Without Banners. Jamie’s hand was cut. Bran continues his journey north. Jon Snow’s adventure with the wildlings. Sam and The Night’s Watch were attacked by the Others. The Onion Knight back in Dragonstone. Tywin Lannister is now the Hand of the King. The thrilling and climactic duel of the Red Viper and The Mountain. The Unsullied. Sansa’s escape from King’s landing. And too much death.

A Storm of Swords is also filled with regicide. I’m not a fan of Robb but since he’s a Stark, it saddens me that he was killed in The Red Wedding. It was later revealed in the book that this were all planned by Tywin Lannister and Lord Bolton. I’m extremely glad though that Joffrey died, too, on his own wedding day. Unfortunately though, Tyrion’s accused of poisoning him. I’m just so glad that Tyrion was the one who killed his father, Tywin Lannister. Some deaths were surprising (and fun!) which proves that no one is ever safe in the hands of the author! But I also didn’t expect Catelyn Stark alive at the end!

As in the first two books, this also have multiple POVs and each viewpoint character has a specific story. As usual, I enjoyed the most Tyrion’s viewpoint. Jaime’s, too! I enjoyed every single one actually! The author hauled the characters through a series of events and are further fleshed out which led to their change by the end of the book. This is where we see the most character transitions. Like I don’t hate Jaime Lannister anymore. It’s good to know his point of view of the world and in this book, it’s good to see that he is actually different from Tywin or Cersei on the inside. (His final scenes with Tyrion was so, so sad though.) And I didn’t really hate The Hound from the start but in this book, I can say I really like his character. And you will love Tyrion even more! Daenerys developed into a stronger and matured queen supported by interesting characters like Ser Barristan and Ser Jorah. And of course, Jon Snow’s story is becoming more interesting as it continues to unfold.

A Storm of Swords is a brilliant book — character-wise, plot-wise. I’m again blown-away by the story and characters, very detailed and the story expands in different ways while so much is happening. Contrary to the second book A Clash of Kings, I loved how the book came as fast as a bullet rain. There’s always something significant happening in every chapter. There’s no running out of suspense, twists and turns. This series just keeps getting better and better.

Quotable Quotes:

“Sometimes I think everyone is just pretending to be brave, and none of us really are. Maybe pretending is how you get brave, I don’t know.”

“Old stories are like old friends, she used to say. You have to visit them from time to time.”

“Every man must die, Jon Snow. But first he must live.”

“The greatest fools are ofttimes more clever than the men who laugh at them.”

“Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Book #14. Another Neil Gaiman.

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Stardust is about Tristran Thorn who promised Victoria Forester that he will retrieve a fallen star on the other side of the Wall. On this other side of the Wall, fallen stars are beautiful girls whose hearts are taken by witches. The book chronicles Tristran’s adventures from talking trees, unicorns, witches and a lot more.

The book wasn’t too fast-paced but not too slow as well. It makes you wonder just like his other books. It’s nice and entertaining to read. The last forty pages or so were the best parts for me. I also liked the characters the way I liked the characters in his other books. The bantering between Tristran and Yvaine were fun. I just enjoy bantering between characters in books. 🙂

I don’t know if other readers will agree but I think the ending was perfect. It’s bittersweet but I think it’s the best way to end the book. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

All in all, it’s another good read!

Quotable Quotes :

“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.”

“He stared up at the stars: and it seemed to him then that they were dancers, stately and graceful, performing a dance almost infinite in its complexity. He imagined he could see the very faces of the stars; pale, they were, and smiling gently, as if they had spent so much time above the world, watching the scrambling and the joy and the pain of the people below them, that they could not help being amused every time another little human believed itself the center of its world, as each of us does.”

“He wondered how it could have taken him so long to realize he cared for her, and he told her so, and she called him an idiot, and he declared that it was the finest thing that ever a man had been called.”

“It’s not hard to own something. Or everything. You just have to know that it’s yours, and then be willing to let it go.”

“Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at the stars because we are human?”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Goodness gracious! I love Rainbow Rowell! I love, love, love Rainbow Rowell! I loved Carry On!

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As I have mentioned several times before, I don’t read/like fantasy as much as I read/like contemporary stories. I don’t like reading about someone who will save mankind or in this book, a chosen one. However, this just worked very well for me. So well! 🙂

All the three main characters (I love Baz the most!) were interesting enough that they really got me into reading this book. The character development and the relationships were very interesting. And of course, the dialogues. The cute, silly banters were a lot of fun, Rainbow Rowell really struck me with her sarcastic wit. It really made me laugh-out-loud literally! :D:D:D I also can’t remember how many times it made me shout “just kiss already!” in my head while reading this. Oh Baz! I really adore you!

So, I loved this book. Even though I’m not a big fan of fantasy and chosen one stories, I was amazed by this one! It’s super gay. But I think that is why I enjoyed it so much. Simon and Baz’s relationship just shows that there really is a thin line between love and hate. 🙂

Favorite quotes :

“He held himself up on all fours above me and made me reach up for his mouth—and I did. I would again. I’d cross every line for him. I’m in love with him. And he likes this better than fighting.”

“Every thing is a story. And you are the hero. You sacrificed everything for me.”

“I wish I’d never figured it out. That I love him. It’s only ever been a torment.”

“One time, he pushed me down a flight of stairs. It was awesome.”

“It’s the good things that hurt when you’re missing them.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

My Top 5 Reads of 2015

I had a wonderful reading adventure in 2015 and I managed to read 55 books! And so today, in no particular order, I would like to share the top 5 most memorable, most entertaining, most touching and most awesome books I have read:

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand 

This is the story of Louis Zamperini, a young and promising Olympic runner from Torrance, California and served as a bomber crew in the Pacific during the second World War.

As a bombardier, Louie was in-charge of locating the targets while in flight. He and his crewmates had terrifying experiences during their missions until one day, they had to fly in the crippled plane Green Hornet in order to save their friends. The plane went down in the Pacific and only three of them survived thus where the real story started.

What Louis went through as the plane went down in the Pacific and as a POW would have broken other people but not him. He remained “unbroken” to the very end.

This is an amazing story and very well-written. I highly, highly recommend it to everyone!

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I read this while I was vacationing in Vietnam and it was really the perfect time and place to read this book. It was recommended to me by one of my friends in Goodreads and bought it right away when I saw it in the bookstore. I’m not a big fan of fantasy novels but I definitely enjoyed this.

The Night Circus is about magic, love, desire & imagination. The main story is about two magicians, Marco & Celia, who were committed by their guardians to a mysterious competition designed to end in death.

The circus known as Le Cirque de Reves felt so real and alive, it makes you feel you are there in that magical world.

This is a real page-turner and yes, I definitely recommend it to everyone, old and young! 🙂

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

I think everyone knows the plot of this book already so I don’t have to bother describing and yes, it’s one of my top reads this year! I love Amy! Funny and smart bitch! Haha!

This is the kind of book that’s nearly impossible to put down. I enjoyed every page of it and surprisingly, I liked the movie, too! I’m no fan of movies based on books because I’m often disappointed in them (except for LOTR) but in the case of Gone Girl, it was okay.

So if you haven’t read this yet, read it. It’s twisted & disturbing but irresistible.

4. Stoner by John Williams

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Stoner is a plain and realistic human drama. Nothing much happensin the story and it lacks that “excitement” most people look for in a book nowadays BUT it is so deep, significant, captivating, saddening & depressing as hell.

This is not a big, life-changing kind of book but it might be a good reminder to everyone that people are important and that your contribution to the world doesn’t have to be something huge, it just have to be relevant and meaningful.

5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin 

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I have only read two epic fantasy books, The Lord of the Rings (of course!) and this! I regret that I didn’t read this right away. This is just so awesome! The many different plots will keep you want to read more, not to mention the multiple POVs. George R.R. Martin was so adept in giving life to all the characters and for me, the direwolves are the coolest! 🙂

I’m quite surprised at how much I love this book, really! That feeling while you read this book is just different, I don’t know, like you’re transported to another world, excellently made world! I just love this book to pieces! A Clash of Kings? Yes, please.

Honorable mentions go to:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

How about you? What are your favorites this year? Any recommendations? I’d be glad to hear from you!

Happy new year homo sapiens!!!

A Game of Thrones

Okay… so who haven’t heard of A Song of Ice & Fire series, or at least the first book, A Game of Thrones? I think everybody knows or heard something about it already and I’m probably one of the last few to read the books. Well, I’ve just finished the first one last Friday and I regret not reading it as soon as I’ve heard of it!

I haven’t read epic fantasy books except for The Lord of the Rings (of course!) but I received these books as a gift last Christmas. I started reading the first book a few months back but some books just got in the way.

I liked that the book was told in multiple POVs and George R.R. Martin was so adept in giving life to each of the characters. There is always something going on in each of the chapters so it won’t bore you reading. I specially enjoyed the chapters of Eddard, Daenerys & Tyrion.

I feel really glad to have read this and now I understand why people enjoyed both the book and the series (the first book & the first season). Awesome read! A Clash of Kings, I’m on my way!

Favorite quotes : “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

“The things we love destroy us every time.”

“Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.”

“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”

Rating : 5/5 stars