UGLY TEARS

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I’m SO HERE FOR THIS | A Court of Mist and Fury Review

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: May 3, 2016
Pages: 640
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Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

HOLY SHMOLY GUACAMOLE

I’ve been keeping this on my TBR looming over me and I finally cracked and got it from Target. Well actually, my mom got it for me but semantics. I had meant to keep it for my flight to Taiwan, but guess what? I couldn’t help myself and ended up reading it WELL before my flight and the payoff was so great I don’t even regret it. 
First of all let me just get this out there, the Night Court are all precious children and should be protected at all costs. They are great. I need more of them like right now. 
Now then. 
The amount of character development in Feyre is colossal in this novel. It starts with her after all that happens in ACOTAR, actually we’re three months past and we are witness to what such trauma and trials have affected her and Tamlin. It’s honestly an incredible journey for her and at the end I was like, “Yes. You go Feyre. YES.” 
A huge part of this journey is the abuse she takes and I’m not going to go widely into it because it’s really spoilery, but I’m glad that Maas has brought this topic out in the open so… unforgivingly. There’s the way she wrote it that just makes you want to pull Feyre out of this and it brings you to Rhy’s side in the end. I know there was some debate over Tamlin and Rhys, but after everything I’d rather take Rhys to be quiet honest. 
Chapter 55. 
That’s all I’m going to say about that. If you’ve read it, you know. If you haven’t, read it and you’ll know. It’s great. A+
The ending is such a build up and it’s killing me. This is why I wait for all books to come out so I can binge read, but in this case I’m going to have to WAIT. I’m upset because I need to know how this ends. I need to know what happens and GAH.
Either way, this was a great sequel to ACOTAR. It has a completely different tone to it and it takes this story into a completely new direction I didn’t see. I can’t wait to read more of this. I honestly like this series more than I do the ToG series. Maas just has a great way of creating a world, dynamic characters, and just bringing you on in this crazy journey. While your heart might bleed, you keep coming back for more. 
This review is short because I’m trying not to screech about spoiler parts of this novel but this novel is essentially a spoiler so I’m giving you the basics. If you’re into it, just go and read it. Like right now.

Review: All the Bright Places

Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Published: January 6, 2015
Pages: 400
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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

My Thoughts

This book struck a chord with me. 
Like honestly? It’s one out of the three books in my life that have actually made me cry. So this book is up there with Of Mice and Men and The Book Thief. Yeah. It’s that good.

I honestly don’t even know what to say and it’s been like a good two weeks since I finished this book. Violet and Finch were like my children and I wanted to protect them and guide them through a rocky recovery because recovery is not a nice paved road. It’s like a road that the city has forgotten so there are cracks, there’s pieces of asphalt sticking out–it’s not pretty. 
This book made me feel so many things and the greatest thing (even though it’s also the worst thing) that this book has given me was a sense of dread. From the beginning of the book I knew what the ending was going to be and I hated it. When it got closer and closer I wanted it to be different. I actually wanted it to be like “oh wow love wins all” because then I wouldn’t be so damn sad. But that’s what makes this book so great. 
The Characters

Violet: 
Violet was a character that was easily relatable. Sure she used to be a cheerleader and she used to be a great student, but shit happens–and for Violet shit hit the fan real hard. I’ve been in her shoes. I know what it’s like to lose someone so close and it totally changes your entire outlook on life. It changes who you are and it’s amazing how she yearned for everything that used to be–for the Violet that used to be and in the end, she comes to terms that the Violet that used to be will no longer be part of her life and it’s great. She learns to move on and grow. 
Finch:
Finch. My dear, Finch. This boy. He was honestly like a little brother to me. I wanted to protect him from everything. I wanted to keep him away from the darkness and I wanted to help him on a journey to recovery. It’s really sad because there were moments where I could see it shining through. 
Overall

This book really has a place in my heart. It’s a special little book and it’s one that I think everyone needs to read. It shows how raw and how real depression is and it shows two sides of it very clearly. Violet is on her way to recovery. Finch unfortunately is not. It’s very obvious in this book (at least to me) and it also shows the stigma there is towards depression and suicide. Especially in the end chapters. There are so many things that reflect what society does in the face of these kinds of tragedies and when you get inside the heads of these characters, I feel like the hurtful stigma that is produced is even more emphasized. 
This book also showed something really important: how one can look so happy while being incredibly mentally ill and depressed. Throughout the entire book Finch is trying to help Violet (and he does), but when you look back at Finch you realize just how hurt and how helpless he is. It doesn’t help that his family is probably feeding it. When someone is in his state, they need attention–and unfortunately, his family didn’t have any for him. 
This book is so important.
Rating

                                                                    

Review: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapien’s Agenda

Title: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April 17, 2015
Pages: 303
Source: Kindle
Goodreads
Rating:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My Thoughts…
Okay, so now that I have a day to kind of get over mushing over this book it’s time for a review. This is my first queer book I’ve ever read. I’ve seen rec’s from a lot of people through friends or Tumblr, but this is the first one I’ve actually gone out to read because lovely Maryam from Once Upon a Story had a lovely Buddy Read sign up and I thought it would be a great opportunity to read a book I’ve been meaning to and gain a new friend, I mean who can say no to that. 
So I thought this book would be mostly comedy (trust me there’s tons of comedy), but this book actually brought out some real struggles without being super in your face about it. If anything this book was extremely casual. It made me feel like I can take my time reading this book, but I also wanted to read this book to find out who Blue was. 
To backtrack, the person Simon is emailing in question is Blue and they have the most adorable relationship going on, but of course no one knows who the other is. So you have this fun little mystery of Guess Who, but also just a fun story being told from Simon’s perspective. But over and over again I was telling Maryam I wanted to know WHO BLUE WAS. 
Taking the book apart, let’s talk about characters. I loved most of the characters. Even the small ones. They all seemed to be their own entity and I loved just how Simon interacted with everybody. His family is quirky in totally that suburban quirky I will never understand. Nick and Abby were just adorable and fun to read about and of course Blue. I did really dislike Leah from the beginning. She seemed really uncool and she really reminded me of an ex-friend I had a little while ago. Granted, I think some of her feelings were validated but there were times where she mocked Simon’s misfortunes when hers were no where near where his were and I thought that was petty and lame. Of course I really, really disliked Martin for obvious reasons and even more so later in the novel, no matter how many times he repents. Ugh. 
The writing in this book was, as I mentioned, really casual. I felt like I was talking to a friend and not a writer. It was nice and there were genuinely very funny moments. Even the sexual parts weren’t that awkward. If anything it was a little funny at the same time. I loved that I constantly wanted to quote this book. I haven’t felt that way in a really long time and I bookmarked this book a lot just for the quotes (which will be in a different post)
Anyhow, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a really good read for anyone who likes queer novels, but also really enjoys a contemporary book that’s casual and makes you feel like you’re part of the friend group instead of a weird observer. It’s a good book that brings up very real issues for queer people in a very realistic way and also in a way that’s not totally in your face about it. It happens, and Simon copes and that’s what you read. There’s nothing the writer is pushing through Simon that feels unnatural. 

Review: Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki

Title: Geisha, A Life
Author: Mineko Iwasaki
Pages: 297
Published: September 1, 2003
Buy It: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Also found in Scribd
Rating: 

Geisha, a Life

Celebrated as the most successful geisha of her generation, Mineko Iwasaki was only five years old when she left her parents’ home for the world of the geisha. For the next twenty-five years, she would live a life filled with extraordinary professional demands and rich rewards. She would learn the formal customs and language of the geisha, and study the ancient arts of Japanese dance and music. She would enchant kings and princes, captains of industry, and titans of the entertainment world, some of whom would become her dearest friends. Through great pride and determination, she would be hailed as one of the most prized geishas in Japan’s history, and one of the last great practitioners of this now fading art form.

In Geisha, a Life, Mineko Iwasaki tells her story, from her warm early childhood, to her intense yet privileged upbringing in the Iwasaki okiya (household), to her years as a renowned geisha, and finally, to her decision at the age of twenty-nine to retire and marry, a move that would mirror the demise of geisha culture. Mineko brings to life the beauty and wonder of Gion Kobu, a place that “existed in a world apart, a special realm whose mission and identity depended on preserving the time-honored traditions of the past.” She illustrates how it coexisted within post-World War II Japan at a time when the country was undergoing its radical transformation from a post-feudal society to a modern one.

“There is much mystery and misunderstanding about what it means to be a geisha. I hope this story will help explain what it is really like and also serve as a record of this unique component of Japan’s cultural history,” writes Mineko Iwasaki. Geisha, a Life is the first of its kind, as it delicately unfolds the fabric of a geisha’s development. Told with great wisdom and sensitivity, it is a true story of beauty and heroism, and of a time and culture rarely revealed to the Western world.

I was first introduced to this book through a friend when we were talking about the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. He told me that he read this book, Geisha, a Life, as a more accurate representation of what the life of a geisha as well as the culture was. Intrigued, I took a look at this book. I have a yearly subscription to Scribd, so of course I looked to see if they had the book there instead of having to perhaps buy a copy (that college kid budget, you know). They did, and immediately I starting reading it and immediately I was sucked into the world that Mineko had grown up in. 

Reading this book gave me a lot of insight and truth to what the geiko (or geisha) world is. Mineko started off with how she became a subject of interest to the head of a geiko house and continued her story throughout her career. Now, not only did Mineko have a really good insight and a lot of character (she was a defiant one haha)–the book also showed how intelligent Mineko was and what her opinions on the society of the geiko world were. A big subject that Mineko talks about a lot is how the geiko profession is a way for women to become independent and be able to make their own income. If you’re not aware, Japan was still very much in the husband-makes-the-income-and-women-are-housewives society when Mineko was growing up and it’s still pretty common today as well. So on the outside it looks like geikos are in charge of their own income. While reading it, you come to an understanding that, actually, they’re still incredibly dependent. 

Mineko had a lot of opinions on the types of reforms that she wanted to put into the culture and how it actually didn’t promote independence and it was really interesting to read her ideals especially after living in that culture and being exposed to what it was. 

Overall, the writing is concise and captivating. Honestly, it was such a fun read from start to finish. Though, personally I love biographies and things like that. Reading stories of real people is a great point of interest for me. So I recommend this book to anyone else who has the same interest. Even if you’re just interested in the culture, I would read it as it gives great insight. Though, of course, don’t take ones word for the many. If you’re serious about learning the culture, read different accounts because not everyone is gonna have the same opinion!