Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.


Wow. I knew going into this that it was going to be good, due to all of the buzz and positive reviews it had gotten (plus, it's Gaiman), but it wasn't until I picked it up and had begun reading that I knew it would be amazing. The thing about Neil Gaiman is that he is a true weaver of tales - he uses metaphors and language in a way that truly makes his books feel like home. There is a sense of comfort that emanates from his novels in a way that I have never seen before - they are not just books, they are dear friends you never knew you missed. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is no different.

This novel is of the magical realism genre, which is no surprise as everything Gaiman writes has a feel of magic to it. Overall, I'd say that the tone of this novel was reminiscent to that of the movie Stand By Me, as they give off similar feelings of intangible childhood nostalgia, and that sad pang of realization that arrives when you experience that loss of childhood innocence. In other words, this one gave me all the feels.

I know that this review is about as lame it gets, but I fear that anything I have to say about this novel would be sub-par, and wouldn't give it any justice. I don't really know what I can say about this novel, other than READ IT! If you are a true lover of books and stories (which you must be to be visiting a book blog), then you will appreciate a lot of what this book has to offer. Do NOT pass this one up!


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Top Ten Bookworm Delights

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 with 2 comments
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is about our top bookworm delights, which I'm taking to mean the little bookish pleasures that I receive or take notice in. Honestly, being a reader is a pleasure in and of itself, but I am a huge nerd when it comes to reading, and nerds love taking pleasure in all the "little things" related to their fandoms, so I had no trouble at all coming out with this list. Without further ado, here are my top ten bookworm delights:

1) When There Are Designs On The Page Ends.

Such as the red birds that are printed on the side of Ketchup Clouds, by Annabel Pitcher:

If anyone knows what this style is called, can you please tell me? Also, if you know of any other examples of books that also have designs on the sides (other than the spine), I would love to know! I have no idea if there is a proper term for it, but it was a nice surprise to see it - I LOVE the extra touch!

2) When An Author Uses Your City As Their Setting In A Book.


I'm from El Paso, so trust me when I say that almost nothing ever takes place here, be it movie, book, TV show, your cousin's bat mitzvah, etc. NOTHING. So when something does happen here, I take notice. And yes, I get delight from it. So thank you, whoever decided to make Jaime Reyes (a.k.a. the Blue Beetle) from El Paso. THANK YOU!!!

3) When You Read A Book That Puts You In Research Mode.


Like when Me Before You had me researching what Dignitas was (it's real, people!!!) and things that a paraplegic individual could do for fun, or when The Martian made me look into what would and what wouldn't be possible to do when trying to survive on Mars.

4) Finding A New All Time FAVORITE Book To Love.


There is nothing like that feeling you get when you are reading a new book and you just know that it's going to be a new absolute favorite! As they say, "Nothing beats a first kiss!" And, on that note....

5) When You Read A Book So Good That Afterwords You CAN'T EVEN.


Do you know that feeling of "book shock" you get when you finish reading something so amazing that you just can't do anything else afterwards but sit in silence with your feelings and stare at the ceiling? I absolutely love that feeling. In fact, I crave it. It's actually what keeps me from devouring one book after another, because sometimes I need to finish processing my feelings before I can even think about starting a new book.

6) When The Book You Had Put On Hold Ages Ago Is FINALLY Available To Pick Up At The Library.


I love it when I get a call from the library to let me know that a book is ready for me - especially when it's one that I had forgotten about, or one that I'd been waiting on!

7) When You Find Someone Who Not Only Loves To Read As Much As You Do, But Who Enjoys Nerding Out About It, Too!


I recently became a part of a *small* online community on FB that nerds out about books as much as I do (we know each other from a larger group that we're all in), and it has been one of the best discoveries, ever! It's just so much fun to nerd out about books with other people who love to read! I love the internet.

8) When A Book You Love Is Released In A Gorgeous New Special Edition.

  

Such as the illustrated versions of Harry Potter that are in the process of being released; or this gorgeous illustrated edition of The Princess Bride; or the special edition of Fangirl that was released with amazing fanart included on the inside covers. I love, love, LOVE special editions.

9) Cracking Open A Book And Immersing Yourself In The Smell Of Its Pages.


Yes, that's right - the smell. It doesn't matter if the book is old or new, I'll take a whiff of it either way. I love the smell of a good book! 

10) Basking In The Magnificence Of Your Bookshelf.


I don't know what it is about my bookshelf, but I just can't help but bask in its glow every time I see it. I love re-arranging my books until they're just right; I love adding new books; I love running my fingers along the spines, and stealing secret glances at it whenever I enter my room. Am I crazy? Maybe. Or maybe I'm just in love.


Do you and I share any bookish delights? Is there something missing from this list that should definitely be on here? If so, feel free to let know about it in the comments!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Waiting On: Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 with 7 comments

Heroine Complex
by Sarah Kuhn
Expected Publication: July 5th 2016
Being a superheroine is hard. Working for one is even harder.

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco's most beloved superheroine. She's great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss's epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she's not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie's forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest comes out: she has powers, too. Now it's up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda's increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right... or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.

Why I Can't Wait To Read This

First off, let us just take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness that is Jason Chan. I feel that since the cover art is what drew me in to this book in the first place, I couldn't go without mentioning it first. I am a big Jason Chan Fan! Jason Chan is a badass freelance artist - you may know him best from some of his other cover illustrations, such as the ones he did for the Théâtre Illuminata series or The Lotus War series. I'd read anything with a cover by him, lol.

But what makes this book even more awesome (other than the amazing cover art) is the fact that it is a superhero novel in which the "personal assistant" (not even a sidekick!!!) ends up becoming the hero for once. Also, this book takes place in San Francisco, which is one of my dream cities to live in, and the heroine is Asian-American! We need more diversity in novels, and we also need more superhero novels (that are actual novels rather than graphic novels - though I love comics, too!).

And, as if news of this novel weren't exciting enough, it seems that Heroine Complex is going to be the FIRST book in a SERIES of superhero novels starring Asian-American super-heroines! This book is just so full of WIN!!!

So, what do you think?

And if you haven't done so already, feel free to join in by linking-up to your own Waiting on Wednesday post over at Breaking The Spine.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I saw this tag a while back on Christina Reads YA, and I've been meaning to do it ever since. I love tags, and this one is a nice way for you all to get to know me just a tad bit better. Here goes:

1. A nickname that you get called.

I don't really have any nicknames, unless you count "Kim." Though in high school a friend gave me the nickname "KitKat" for a little while, since my initials are K.K. (don't worry, my middle name is Elaine!). My 4-year-old niece calls me "Kimalee," since she can't pronounce my name properly yet. My younger sister (her mom) used to pronounce it that way too, when she was little.

2. A weird habit.

I constantly check in the middle of the night that the front door is locked. I also like to double (and triple) check that I've turned things off, or that I've unplugged things, etc. You just can't be too careful.

3. A weird phobia.


I have social phobia and social anxiety, which is why I prefer to communicate with people through the internet, lol. Though to be honest, it freaks me out to talk to people online, too. When I was little, I was afraid that It the Clown was going to eat me, so I used to tape a letter to my bedroom door asking him not to. Once in a while I still check my closet and underneath the bed to make sure nothing is there...

4. A song you are ashamed to like so you blast it in private.


I am slightly ashamed at the number of Joe Jonas songs that are on my iPod, but I can't say that I'm particularly ashamed of any specific song. Meh. I have songs on my iPod that are in Turkish and Hebrew, not to mention all of the K-Pop, J-Rock, and Mando-Pop songs that are on there. I don't care if people hear it. Ain't no shame in my game. I love music!

5. A pet peeve.


When people crack their knuckles or chew/talk with their mouth full - I can't stand it!

6. A nervous habit.


Bouncing my leg up and down when I'm sitting. Also, pacing back and forth while listening to music on my headphones (I do this in short bursts multiple times throughout the day - especially when I'm feeling stressed).

7. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

All over. I tend to sleep in the middle, and I change the direction my head is at based on what I feel like that night. Yes, I have the bed to myself, so I can do what I want - mwahaha!

8. The name of your first stuffed animal.

I can't remember my first stuffed animal! I think the earliest one I can remember that had a name) was a yellow stuffed bunny I had received for Easter that I named 'Buster,' after Buster Baxter from Arthur.

9. What do you buy at Starbucks?

I like to mix it up, but my go-to drinks are:
  • Peppermint Mocha
  • Iced Green Tea Latte
  • Mocha Frappuccino
All with Coconut or Soy Milk, and no whip. I like their teas, too, but even if you say "easy ice," they fill those f*ckers up, so it's not worth the cost, really.

10. Beauty rule.


Always floss.

11. Which way do you face in the shower?

I tend to move around, but my preference when I am freezing cold in the morning is to set the water to "scalding hot" and face towards the shower.

12. A weird body skill.



I have none that I know of. Though I suppose it is a weird sort of "skill" how my body is often falling or bumping into things as often as it does...it's insane. I'm surprised I'm still alive, really.

13. Comfort food.


Pasta. Or pizza. Basically Italian food. Yum!

14. A word or phrase that you say all the time. 



Scheiße (German; pronounced: Sh-eye-za). It's my go-to curse word. Variations may often include: Scheiße Minnelli, or Scheiße LaBeouf.

15. What do you sleep in?


Pajama bottoms & a comfy tee shirt. Though lately I've taken to wearing a cotton night-gown. They're just so...airy. And they make me feel like a lady.


So, do you feel like you know me better?! Haha. Ok. Now it's your turn! If you've honestly taken the time to read this post in it's entirety, then consider yourself tagged! Just do me a favor and let me know in the comments if you've completed it, that way I can check out your answers (or, if you don't have a blog, feel free to answer in a comment, instead!). 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Thursday, April 14, 2016 with No comments

Like nearly one in five people, Matt Haig suffers from depression. Reasons to Stay Alive is Matt’s inspiring account of how, minute by minute and day by day, he overcame the disease with the help of reading, writing, and the love of his parents and his girlfriend (and now-wife), Andrea. And eventually, he learned to appreciate life all the more for it.

Everyone’s lives are touched by mental illness: if we do not suffer from it ourselves, then we have a friend or loved one who does. Matt’s frankness about his experiences is both inspiring to those who feel daunted by depression and illuminating to those who are mystified by it. Above all, his humor and encouragement never let us lose sight of hope. Speaking as his present self to his former self in the depths of depression, Matt is adamant that the oldest cliché is the truest—there is light at the end of the tunnel. He teaches us to celebrate the small joys and moments of peace that life brings, and reminds us that there are always reasons to stay alive.

"I was scared of the quiet. I was scared, I suppose, of having to slow down and soften the volume. Scared of having nothing but my own mind to listen to."

A bit of a memoir, self-help "guidebook," and analytical "note-to-self" all in one, Reasons To Stay Alive truly lives up to it's title. This book contains an amazing and accurate description of what it is like to struggle with depression and anxiety. I myself struggle with both, however thankfully I have never experienced a panic attack such as the ones the author has been through *knock on wood*. The thing about mental illness, of course, is that you never have two people that share illnesses also share the exact same symptoms, experiences, or feelings. Each story is completely unique, and while the name of the disorder may be the same, not everything that applies to one person will necessarily apply to someone else. 

With this particular memoir, a lot of what Matt went through seemed like it was on another plane of existence from what I go through, but at the same time, I would find myself making exclamations out loud to myself because I would come across words or passages that I completely clicked with, and was excited to see were things that I wasn't alone in feeling. 

I mostly read memoirs to step in the shoes of others and see how people live differently from myself, but it is a refreshing feeling to find myself understanding so much of what an author is trying to convey. Each chapter was short, and was its own story in and of itself, while connecting to give a larger picture of not only what the author has gone through in his depression, but to give a feeling of hope - that no matter how difficult or hopeless you can feel, there can still be moments waiting to occur that will bring you out of the darkness and into the light, and there can still be a better tomorrow.

What I appreciate most, however, is how honest Matt was about how depression is not something to be "overcome" or "defeated" - it is always there, and once you have it, even when you manage to find what brings light and hope into your life, it will still be a part of you. He actually delves into how he has found aspects of his illness to appreciate, stating that if didn't have depression, he may not feel the emotions he feels about certain things as strongly as he does. He also adds that the illness causes you to see things in a different way, affecting every aspect of your thought process and how you perceive things, and that many key people who were known for struggling with depression (such as Robin Williams, Abraham Lincoln, and Angelina Jolie, amongst others) were probably not great "despite" having depression, but most likely because of it. 

I'm not going to delve too much deeper into this, because I honestly can't do this book justice by my review. All I can say is that for an illness that has too much social stigma attached to it due to what basically amounts to a lack of knowledge and/or an inability to accept the unknown, Matt Haig does a phenomenal job of writing about it in a way that would allow anyone unfamiliar with the true nature of the disease to begin gaining a more basic understanding of it. For those who are familiar, or who battle depression on a day-by-day basis, this novel is a beacon of hope (as corny as it sounds) that shows that it is always possible for you to start breathing again, and to have a life that you truly enjoy - if you just hang in there and keep working towards it, eventually you will find your own Reasons To Stay Alive

There is always hope.

Thank you, Matt.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Waiting On: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 with 8 comments

Anticipated Release Date: August 30, 2016
A darkly funny and spectacularly original exploration of friendship, goodbyes —and spontaneous combustion. 

“Katelyn Ogden was a lot of things, but she wasn’t particularly explosive, in any sense of the word.”

Mara Carlyle’s senior year at Covington High in suburban New Jersey is going on as normally as could be expected, until the day—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to explode without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason—Terrorism! Drugs! Homosexuality! Government conspiracy!—while the seniors continue to pop like balloons.

Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it with tell-it-like-it-is insight as she tries to make it to graduation in one piece through an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, “Snooze Button™,” Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you’ve ever heard the President of the United States use over Skype. 

Aaron Starmer rewrites the YA rulebook in Spontaneous, a ridiculously funny, super honest, and truly moving exemplar of the absurd and raw truths of being a teenager in the 21st century . . . and the heartache of saying goodbye. 


Why I Can't Wait To Read This

You mean you can't tell from the description alone?! How about that glowing recommendation from John Green (who has read a surprisingly large number of books on spontaneous combustion)? Honestly, based on the synopsis alone, this book sounds friggin' awesome! I love YA novels that stand out from the crowd, since nowadays everything sounds almost exactly the same.

Plus, while it sounds like a funny enough plot, I like that there still seems to be seriousness around the main character, who just wants to graduate without bursting into flame:


Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

So, what do you think?

And if you haven't done so already, feel free to join in by linking-up to your own Waiting on Wednesday post over at Breaking The Spine.

Friday, March 25, 2016



Periodically, I like to participate in the Friday Feature & Follow that is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. As you may have noticed, it's been a while. They have also just returned with this link-up after a two-month hiatus, so we're in similar boats! This week's prompt is:

Short Stories (as companions to a series):
What do you love about them and hate about them?

I am a huge fan of authors using short stories to complement their series, especially if they actually add substance or background to the characters instead of just being used as filler. In fact, some of my favorite series have great short stories that excite me as much as the full novels do! 

There's just something about discovering an amazing new series, with a detailed world and many characters to love, that makes you want as much of that world to hold on to as possible. This is why fan-fiction is so popular. Who says the story has to end? We are a consumer population, and we can't help but want to consume more of what we love - reading does not escape this. 

Besides, novellas are fun, and as long as my favorite authors continue to write them, I will continue to read them. A few of my recommendations include:

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer


Marissa Meyer wrote enough short stories to go with her series, The Lunar Chronicles, that she released a bound collection of them, called Stars Above. I fell in love with all of her characters in the series, and love that I got to learn more about them from the novellas that were released.

The Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks

   

I like this series enough that I enjoyed reading more stories that had to do with the underwater world created by Anna Banks. It was fun to read the stories, and it helped ease the wait in between books.

Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

 

This series was soooo freaking good that the wait in between novels was utterly agonizing! Luckily enough, Veronica Rossi released these two novellas, which are both stories that I feel are pertinent to the central story, and were actually both stories on characters I found myself wanting to know more about while reading the main series. These are definitely not to be missed!

What do you think? Are there any series you love that you feel benefit from having companionable short stores to go with them? Please let me know in the comments below!