Thursday, February 2, 2017

[Speak Now...] Time to be Brave

I've been meaning to write this post for the last three weeks, and I find myself unable to. Doing so would mean revisiting a period of my life that I don't really want to think about ever again, but I owe you guys an explanation. It's been a long time. A really, really long time. I've posted here in the blog regularly enough the first half of 2016, and poof, I just vanished. Usually, even though I'm in a blogging or reading slump, I'd still be active on twitter, bemoaning my slumps, but that wasn't the case last year. Things just escalated out of control, and it took everything I had in me to hold on. I had to focus solely on holding on - and nothing else - because I felt that the slightest distraction would make me slip and fall.

2016 was a difficult year; a year of extremes. I was hopeful the first half; and I felt like I was drowning the latter half. It wasn't just being physically sick that was the reason - too many things happened, and I had trouble coping. I couldn't even make myself reach out for help, because I felt too... helpless. To be locked inside your mind where there are no good thoughts running through it is a truly terrible thing. To this day, I still have no idea how everything started. Looking back, it was probably a lot of different things at once. The development was subtle, but I didn't notice that right then and there. Next thing I know, I was falling. Drowning. I was in over my head.

To the people who noticed, thank you. Thank you for reaching out. That you for helping me get back up. To the people I had the courage to reach out to, thank you for not pushing me away. I may not have said what exactly was wrong, but thank you for noticing that something was wrong, and doing your best to help me. To the people I talked to after everything, thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for not thinking that I'm exaggerating or making all of this up. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for believing me.

And most of all, to the people above - thank you for believing in me.

Writing all of these makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, but also strong. It feels good to finally be able to say all of these; to try to make sense of everything that happened. I feel like I can finally move forward.  I have no idea what is store in me this year, but I already know that I'll be able to face whatever that may be. I'm okay. I'm truly okay now.

What about reading and this blog, you may ask? Over my unplanned hiatus, I realized just how much I love blogging, and just how big a part it is of my life. I think I need to try harder when I work on the things I love, and that's why I plan to invest more time in both blogging and reading. It's going to be tough at first, but I'm confident I'll make it.

So that's it for now, guys. First post of 2017. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for sticking around.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) 
Title: Nevernight
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: August 11, 2016
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?
To be perfectly honest, I haven't cracked open a book in months. Nope, I'm not exaggerating. Months. MONTHS. And it's not just your regular slump either. The main reason why I haven't been able to bring myself to read is... well... life (the past two months have just been crazy!)... but there's a also the fact that I haven't been able to find a book that has successfully piqued my interest.

And then enter Nevernight.

You see, I have a lot of friends who adore Jay Kristoff, his Stormdancer series, and EVEN MORE friends who can't get enough of Illuminae. Me? Well... I have yet to read a Jay Kristoff novel. So there was a lot of curiosity with this one - one of the most hyped books of 2016, and an author that so many people are a huge fan of. If you happen to read my blog regularly, you should know by now that I'm one of those reviewers who always, always checks out the hype.

So. What did I think?

Heh. Read on. (You didn't think I was going to summarize what I thought in one sentence, did you??? Come oonnnnn!)

First things first (and I noticed that practically all bloggers say the same) - the writing of Nevernight is a wee bit intense. Intense in the sense that it's just a bit too flowery, a bit too melodramatic, and a tad too wordy. And hey, this is coming from someone who loves Cassandra Clare's writing! I honestly couldn't help but feel overwhelmed at the beginning - there's just too many metaphors! So, was the writing a DNF factor for me? Nope. The writing was indeed jarring at first, but as I read on, I got used to it. It  became part of the magic.

Um and okay how brilliant was the beginning? That whole compare-and-contrast that basically set up the entire book? Amazing, wasn't it? (As much as I would like to talk about it, I can't. Spoilerrrrr!)

Also, Nevernight is one of those YA books that is not quite like the YA that we're used to - this book is DARK. There are a whole bunch of graphic scenes, violent scenes, but don't worry - they're not out of place, and they're not there just to shock you. I do think that the dark overtones worked - I mean come on, how can a book be about an assassin if it's all fun and games?

Mia. Mia Mia Mia. I was prepared not to like our main character just because she clearly has a chip on her shoulder (I mean she did watch her father die in front of her) and because she's a freaking assassin but hey guess what? She's not that different from you and me, and she makes do with what she has. Sooo I did end up liking her, and rooting for her. Also, it took a while for the plot to unfold, but damn - once it did... the twists and turns are enough to take your breath away!

All in all, I do understand why some people didn't like Nevernight, but hey, between you and me, give the book a shot. Read it until you get the writing, and then allow the story to engulf you. You won't regret it.

Rating: 4 Stars

Thursday, June 9, 2016

[Defiantly Yours: A Bookish Podcast] Episode 2 - A Love Letter to Sabaa Tahir and An Ember in the Ashes

First of all, I'd like to thank you guys for all the great comments and tweets we received about our first episode. You are all sooo awesome!!! Again, thank you so so so much!

In this week's episode, Dianne of Oops I Read a Book Again and I talk about Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes. Don't worry, folks - there are NO spoilers, so it doesn't matter if you have or haven't read it yet... We'd really love it if you have a listen! We list down the reasons why we adore this book (and Sabaa's writing!) oh so much, and what we hope for in the sequel, A Torch Against the Night. 

And you all guessed it right - OF COURSE there's gushing and flailing involved, but we also get a wee bit serious in some moments. Basically we have another endlessly entertaining podcast for you guys! *winkwink*
BTW I think we pronounced Elias incorrectly (we pronounced it El-yas and I think it's supposed to be E-li-us) so our apologies for that!

Without further delay...

We want to hear your thoughts! Have you read An Ember in the Ashes? If so, did you love it as much as we did? What are you favorite parts? Who are your favorite characters? If you haven't read An Ember in the Ashes yet, did we convince you to pick up a copy? Also, are there any other fantasy books that we should pick up? And finally... what topic should we discuss next?

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