Monday, November 19, 2012

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s really hard for me to write a review of this book without getting angry. Suicide makes me angry, and there’s just too much to say about it that I can’t put the whole thing into a review of this book.

I might one day take the time to talk about my feelings about suicide, but for now, I’ll just give everyone a break and focus on the book.

So, I really like the book, even though I have issues with Hannah “blaming” her suicide on other people. She can blame them for their stupid and thoughtless, and even criminal, actions, but it’s completely unfair to put the blame of her suicide on those actions.

Teenagers make mistakes all the time, and I have both treated my peers badly and had been treated badly as a teen. I have had my closest friends turned against me, and had things get so bad to the point that I had to change schools. I got over it, we all got over it, we grew up and we’re all friends again now. Maybe my case wasn’t as bad as Hannah’s, but there are many other people who had it worse, and they got through it too. Two different people can go through the exact same thing, but they will react differently because of who they are.

Bottom line, people don’t contemplate suicide because of what other people do to them. They do it because they can’t handle it. Does it make what those other people did right? No. But they are in no way responsible for the suicide. Responsible for being jerks, maybe, making people miserable, sure, but suicide? No.

So I don’t like Hannah, I don’t think she should’ve committed suicide, the things that happened to her aren’t even that bad, and she did have good things happen which she by choice pushed away. The part about how her parents weren’t there for her was also weak. It’s also not like she didn’t have the strength to fight back, the fact that she did what she did before she committed suicide, showed that she had the anger, the will to stand up for herself.

The fact that she shared all those thoughts and emotions *after* she killed herself is such a cop out. Suicide was her choice, she had many choices and she chose to kill herself, yet in the end, she wouldn’t even take responsibility for that one final action.

However, while I don’t like Hannah, at all, I loved the way the story was told. I loved how intense and emotional it was. I always say that I like books that make me think, but the best books are the ones that make you feel. I felt deeply with this one. Anger. Frustration. It doesn’t have to be good feelings all the time.

I could’ve given this book only 4 stars instead of 5, because I felt that all the reasons for Hannah’s suicide were really weak, but instead of blaming the author for not being able to come up with convincing reasons for Hannah’s actions, I choose to believe that he made Hannah’s reasons weak on purpose, because, let’s be honest, there’s no reason good enough for suicide.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dash & Lily's Book of DaresDash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So after I finished reading Rachel Cohn’s Beta, I realized that she had also written this book, which had been sitting on my shelves for a while.

I was interested in reading this book because I had watched Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and then found out that it was from a book of the same name that these authors wrote together.

I haven’t read that book, but I read this book and it’s so much fun and so different than the young adult romance you usually find out there.

I love the Book of Dares, and I love how Dash and Lily have fun with each other, being playful, and yet also honest and raw at the same time. I like how it’s not a sappy romance, but it’s real and awkward, and so funny!

Thank goodness there are two other books written by Cohn and Levithan; Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List. I’ll have to get my hands on them asap!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beta by Rachel Cohn

Beta (Annex, #1)Beta by Rachel Cohn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elysia is a Beta, that is, she is a test clone. Created to serve, the Governor’s wife bought her to act as her surrogate daughter and to please her children as their sister and playmate.

Clones are not meant to be able to feel or to want, but Elysia feels and wants more than she should. There are people who want to destroy Defects like her, so she has to keep her feelings a secret.

Inevitably, things happen that forces her secret out, and she has to run for her life.

This is the first book in the Annex series, and it’s been a really exciting read. The backstory about clones and how things came to be is smoothly woven into the story and is really quite interesting. The mystery of Elysia’s First, the person she was cloned from, is intriguing as well, and leaves us wanting to know more.

I finished the book in one sitting, and let me just warn you, this book ends with a really exciting cliff-hanger, and I’m cursing the fact that the second book isn’t out yet! I want to know what’s going on and what happens next! A great read!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Forging ahead

I’m not completely back in the groove of blogging yet. I haven’t spent a lot of time on my blog or in visiting other blogs or anything a blogger normally does.

But I am posting, at least!

I have to force myself to post at least once a week, and having a book review to write certainly helps.

I’ve been really disorganized and struggling with getting stuff that needs to be done, done, but even if I’m not fully blogging yet right now, I’m still forging ahead with posting something every week.

It’s a start, right? =)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Postman by David Brin

The PostmanThe Postman by David Brin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Postman movie starring Kevin Costner was one of my favourite Kevin Costner movies. I don’t like a lot of movies he acted in, but I thought The Postman was really inspiring and hopeful.

I never knew it was based on a book, and even when I came across this book, I wasn’t sure if it was just another book with the same name as the movie. I was curious to find out though, and sure enough, it was the same story as the movie.

Well, not the same exactly, movies based on books are always different because there’s no way you can fit everything in the book into a 2-hour, or in this case, a 3-hour movie.

There were enough similarities in the book and the movie that I was sure the movie was based on the book, but mostly, it was a completely different story. There were more complications in the book, for one, and some techno stuff thrown in, like modified human beings and the concept of “living computers”. It was also bleaker and slower-paced than the movie.

This is an unusual case where I liked the movie better than the book, but still, it was really interesting to see where the story came from and how it was originally written.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Misfit by Jon Skovron

MisfitMisfit by Jon Skovron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this book, not so much because of the story, which was really good and interesting in an of itself, but because of the way Skovron told the story.

He was able to integrate deep insights about theology and beliefs into the story without making it seem preachy.

Some in particular that I like to say in real life, and I’m paraphrasing here; “Magic is just science we don’t understand yet.” “Beliefs create reality, not the other way around.” “People don’t choose their actions based on their beliefs, but rather choose their beliefs to justify their actions.”

Again, Skovron was pretty good with not preaching, these just jumped out at me in particular because I have personally been saying them in some form or other for a while.

Back to the story itself though; Jael is a half-breed. Her father is human, and her mother was a demoness. Her mother was murdered by another demon when Jael was just a baby, and she and her father has been running all their lives to evade the demon who wants to kill her.

When Jael reaches her sixteenth birthday, she finally receives her birthright from her mother, which her father had been keeping from her, and she decides to fight rather than keep running.

It’s a great story with a lot of nuances, and though it doesn’t seem like there’s a sequel, I would definitely read it if Skovron decides to write one.

Monday, November 05, 2012


I’ve been really struggling to get back in the habit of blogging, or in fact, writing at all.

I used to blog all the time, anytime I had anything to tell, or every time I finished a book, but now I have to consciously remind myself to blog at least once a week.

Habits are hard to break, but once broken, they’re hard to pick up again too. =(

I do want to keep blogging, and reading everyone else’s blogs, I remember having so much fun with them, and especially all the blog memes. Those were my favourite parts of blogging; the community, sharing each others similarities and differences…

It might not come as naturally to me as it used to, but I’m going to keep on blogging at least once a week until it does.

Bear with me until then, please.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

The Book of Blood and ShadowThe Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this will be my first review in months, and I’m glad that it’s this book, because it’s one of the better books I’ve read recently.

In brief, this book tells the story about Nora, who one days finds one of her best friend, Chris, dead, and her other best friend, Adriane, who is also Chris’ girlfriend, catatonic. Her own boyfriend, Max, is missing, and is a suspect for the murder of Chris. Nora has to track Max down and find out what happened that night, and who really killed Chris.

The story is more complicated than that, however, as Nora, Chris, and Max were all working with a professor to decipher a 400-year-old book, and apparently there were some secrets in that book that some secret society would do anything to possess.

This book was categorized under the Young Adult genre, but I felt that it is a lot more sophisticated than most YA novels. There’s a lot more depth to the novel and the characters too, and I found myself really liking and sympathizing with most of them. The plot was really interesting, though a little bit slow at times.

There were some parts that were kind of unrealistic, like the fact that they were on a wanted list, but yet no one recognized them and turned them in even though they were moving about in public so much, and the fact that two different secret societies were looking for them, yet they always could go back to the same hotel and relax without worrying about anyone finding them.

The story did explain that the secret society wanted Nora and her friends to move about freely and “solve the puzzles” for them, so if we suspend our belief a little further, this explanations kind of works. It didn’t bother me too much though, and I still enjoyed the rest of the story. It was a great read, overall!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blogging again

I haven't been blogging consistently for the last three years. I haven't blogged at all for the last year. I miss blogging, but I feel like I'd lost my voice somehow. Moving to a new place, meeting new people, learning a new way of living... I feel like I had left my old self back in Malaysia and have been spending the last couple of years learning who my new self is.

I'm still learning, but I'm finding more of myself every day, and I'm trying to embrace the changes and allow myself to continue growing. I feel like I'm back for good this time, I love blogging and I've missed writing my thoughts about the books I read.

It's kinda ironic because I've been reading more than ever. I read 114 books in 2011, and I'm at 167 books already this year and there's more than two months left in 2012!

Maybe I'm reading more because I don't take the time to think and digest the books, I just devour them one after another. It's Calgary's fault for having such an amazing public library! There's just so many books, I have too many choices and I can't stop reading!

It's kinda taking a toll on the housework too... but who cares? ;-)

I do plan to slow down on my reading though, savor the books more, and write what I think and feel about them. Sometimes I actually forget that I've read a book, the way that I've been going through them. If it wasn't for and listing the books I've read there, I might've read some books twice without even realizing it!

It still doesn't beat writing my thoughts about the books here though. I may list the books I've read there, but I don't remember how I felt about them or if I even liked the book. I rate them, but ratings aren't the most accurate way to remember a book.

So you see, I haven't got a choice. I have to blog again! =)

It's good to be back!

Template by:

Free Blog Templates