The Sun is Also a Star | Book Review

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Title: The Sun is Also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon

Synopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Rating: 4stars

This book has been a huge deal in bookish blogs and on Instagram, and rightly so. While it’s not one of my all time favorite books, I really enjoyed it. The main story takes place over one day in New York City. Natasha and Daniel meet, Daniel is smitten right away, and Natasha takes a longer time to come around.

The writing style was really different in that instead of long chapters, there were shorter segments written from different people’s points of view. It made it really quick and fun to read. I really liked getting to know little snippets about the side characters, like what they were feeling and what their backgrounds were, even if the interactions they had with the main characters were so fleeting.

I expected this story to be a bit cheesy, but it never was. I liked how the relationship developed between Natasha and Daniel, and how well their different personalities came together. Natasha is more cynical and scientific, and Daniel is a poet with romanticized ideas about things.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I went on a bit of an emotional roller coaster at the end and I didn’t expect it to all come together like that. I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a fun and easy read. It’s cute, it’s quick, but it remains grounded and doesn’t go too over the top with cheesiness or romance.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, however all opinions are my own.

 

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Dream Author Panel

Wouldn’t it be so fun to get to see your favorite authors at a panel together? That actually might be possible! Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events and conferences in your area. As far as my dream panel goes, there are so many authors I love so it’s really hard to narrow it down to a few, but I tried to stick with a cohesive theme for it.

My favorite genre is magical realism. I cannot get enough of it. I love the whimsy and magical elements in a real world setting. I thought that would be the perfect panel theme: magical realism authors.

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Sarah Addison Allen – She is, hands down, my favorite author. Her way of writing helps me perfectly imagine these gorgeous southern towns in her books and there is always a dash of magical realism and whimsy. Can I also take a second to talk about the foods and recipes she adds in her books? They really add something special to the experience as she describes the foods and their different powers/properties, like in Garden  Spells, and then will include the recipe in the book. I love the characters she creates and I would happily pack up and move to any of the towns in her books because she makes them seem so charming.

Charles de Lint – His books were my first experience with the magical realism genre, before I even knew that was an actual genre. I liked fantasy books and the cover of Dreams Underfoot caught my eye. The beginning of the synopsis says, “Welcome to the music clubs, the waterfront, the alleyways where ancient myths and magic spill into the modern world.” Once I read that one, I was hooked and bought armfuls of his other books. I love the characters he creates and how their stories intertwine in the urban, yet magical town of Newford.

Alice Hoffman – After reading all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books, I needed more magical realism in my life. So many people on book forums recommended Alice Hoffman. I decided to give Practical Magic a try, and my need for this genre has been satisfied once again! I’m sure most people have read the book or at least seen the movie, but it’s about two girls, Gillian and Sally, who live with their elderly aunts who “encourage the whispers of witchery [from the townspeople], with their darkened house, their love concoctions and their crowd of black cats”.

I would love to find out how the authors toe the line between complete fantasy worlds and and the “real” world when writing, because it’s a delicate and perfect balance they create, in my opinion. It seems like it would be too easy to just go all out and make a complete fantasy world, but to balance it with contemporary seems like it needs to be carefully done so that it remains believable. I would also love to know what inspires them to add that dash of magic into their books because that’s what makes them so special, in my opinion.

Which authors would make up your dream panel?

Book Review – Hollow City

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Title: Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Synopsis: The book, as the second in the series, picks up just after the wights have ransacked Miss Peregrine’s time loop. The monsters captured the children’s caretaker ymbryne, but the kids rescued Miss Peregrine from the wights. The book begins with the children paddling through the sea between Wales and England while the wights pursue them in submarines. Although they were able to rescue Miss Peregrine, she remains stuck in the form of a peregrine falcon.

Rating: 4stars

 

I recently finished the second novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, and I can’t get enough of this trilogy. I will try to limit spoilers in this review, because it had some twists and turns that I was not expecting!

I’ve heard mixed reviews about this book – some people seemed to love it while others thought that it was boring. I am in the first category, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. The reader is thrown into the adventure right away in Hollow City as the peculiar children try to save Miss Peregrine and help her turn back into a human. I thought this book was full of action and mystery and I was hooked right away.

I really liked getting to know the characters better and I feel like there was a lot of character development and some of them got to shine a bit more in this book that had a more minor role in the first one. It’s so hard to write this without spoiling things!

I felt deeply invested in the characters and the story, remaining nervous but hopeful that their mission would succeed. This book took the characters into and out of various loops where they made some friends and met some enemies. The majority of the book takes place in a war-torn London, and I was on the edge of my seat as the characters tried to beat the clock to help Miss Peregrine.

The ending had a twist that I did not see coming at all. I felt a mix of shock and horror after reading it, and also a ton of curiosity as to where the third book in the series is going to lead.

All I can say is I highly recommend this book if you liked the first one in the series. If you haven’t read the first book yet, I highly recommend that you do so! It’s such a fun adventure and full of moments that will leave you on the edge of your seat. I can’t wait to read Library of Souls to see how the story concludes.

Have you read Hollow City? How did you feel about it?

 

 

Book Review – The Fir Tree

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Title: The Fir Tree

Author: Hans Christian Andersen

Illustrator: Sanna Annukka

Synopsis: Hans Christian Andersen’s tragic tale of naive greed and dissatisfaction is retold through the striking and contemporary illustrations of Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Cloth-bound in rich forest green, with gold foil embellishments, The Fir Tree is elevated from a children’s book to a unique work of art and makes an ideal gift for people of all ages.

Rating: 5-stars

After receiving The Snow Queen and falling in love with the gorgeous art style by Sanna Annukka, I couldn’t resist choosing this copy of The Fir Tree. The story is about a little fir tree that wants nothing more than to be tall and important. He keeps waiting for the best moments of his life to happen, and doesn’t end up appreciating his current situation until it is too late. It’s a very quick and easy read, and definitely makes you take a moment to appreciate and assess your own life. It’s too easy to get caught up into things and not appreciate the small moments in the present. I think this is a great book for all ages because adults will be able to appreciate the gorgeous illustrations and the story is simple enough for children to understand and appreciate.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, however all opinions are my own.

Book Review – Why Not Me?

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Title: Why Not Me?

Author: Mindy Kaling

Synopsis: In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

Rating: 5-stars

I have been a huge fan of Mindy Kaling’s ever since finding her hilarious as Kelly Kapoor on The Office. I’ve read her other book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), and loved it. She seems like the best friend I’ve always wanted or the older sister I’ve never had. I find her writing style and general sense of humor really appealing, part self-deprecating and mostly just really funny.

Why Not Me? is a perfect book for any fan of Kaling. Her humor shines through perfectly as she tackles subjects from fame, jobs, love, and her dislike of weddings. I found myself thinking, “Yes, that’s exactly how I feel!” on nearly every page of the book. Her writing style is down-to-earth and relatable and I felt like I was reading my own inner monologue at times or a close friend’s thoughts. She has a really relatable way of writing that makes you feel like you’ve known her for ages.

This is a quick and easy read, but definitely a lot of fun. It doesn’t ever get too deep and I really like how the topics are broken up into little essays that flow nicely from one to the next and I didn’t find myself ever getting bored. I highly recommend this book if you’re a fan of hers because it was just as enjoyable as her first book and her bright personality and sense of humor shine through perfectly.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, however all opinions are my own.

Book Review – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Synopsis: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs. A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

Rating: 4stars

I think I was one of the last people on the planet to have read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and even though I was late to the party, I am so happy I decided to read it. I had seen the movie trailer and thought it looked interesting, but I always like to read the book before seeing the movie, so I made sure to finish it quickly so I could see the movie soon.

This is one of my favorite books I’ve read in a while. I instantly liked Jacob, the main character, who doesn’t quite fit in where he lives and isn’t happy, but he still manages to be endearing and funny, and definitely brave and intelligent. A tragedy shakes up his whole world and leads him to a small island off the coast of Wales. I thought the author’s use of imagery painted a perfect picture of the island and its residents, and also Miss Peregrine and the children. Each child was fascinating, and I loved learning about what makes them each pecuilar.

I’m trying to be as spoiler-free as possible in this review, because I was so happy to have read this book not really knowing exactly what I was getting into and discovering all the twists and turns that the plot took. I think this book had a perfect balance of humor, adventure, and definitely a dash of spookiness. The book isn’t too scary, but I definitely had moments in which my heart was pounding while I was reading.

The book is full of old photographs of (mostly) children, all of which have a bit of an odd vibe to them, and it really added to the story. It was fun to see the pictures depicting a certain event or character. It made me really want to scour thrift stores and other places and start collecting old photographs and trying to figure out the stories of the people in the pictures.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the blend of magic, oddity, spookiness, humor, and adventure it had. I experienced many emotions while reading this, from happiness to sadness to feeling completely unsettled and at times I felt like I had to look over my shoulder, just to be safe. I thought this was a perfect October read because of the whimsical, yet creepy nature it has. I recommend this book to anyone looking to go on an adventure and wanting a bit of spookiness along the way. It’s a fun and easy read, and I can’t wait to start the next book in the series.

Book Review – The Snow Queen

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Title: The Snow Queen

Author: Hans Christian Andersen

Illustrator: Sanna Annukka

Synopsis: Hans Christian Andersen’s magical tale of friendship and adventure is retold through the beautiful and intricate illustrations of Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Cloth-bound in deep blue, with silver foil embellishments, The Snow Queen is elevated from a children’s book to a unique work of art. It is an ideal gift for people of all ages.

Rating: 5-stars-2

 

This version of The Snow Queen is goregous. As soon as I saw the cover, I fell in love. It’s a true work of art, rather than just a fairy tale. The illustrations are gorgeous and unique, and I love the art style. Many of you are probably familiar with the fairy tale itself, which is broken up into seven smaller stories. It is an easy and enjoyable read, and I think this book is great for all ages because adults will appreciate the detailed illustrations, and children will enjoy looking at the pretty pictures while reading (or being read) the story.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, however all opinions are my own.