REVIEW: Every Exquisite Thing – Matthew Quick

Every Exquisite Thing

by Matthew Quick

Publisher: Little, Brown books for Young Readers
Released Date: May 31, 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 265
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Matthew Quick is one of my favorite authors, and I was really excited to read this book. I’ve just got out of my reading slump, and it was perfect to read a really good book to keep me reading. There was no other perfect book than a Matthew Quick book.

There is no flawless book, of course. Not even Matthew Quick can write the most perfect book. But don’t get me wrong, because his books are magical and wonderful.

Every Exquisite Thing is no exception. It has beautiful story that really appealed to me because it felt like it was real. It felt like it was my story, that everything that was happening was part of my life. I thought I was Nanette O’Hare.

Speaking of which, Nanette O’Hare is the protagonist of the novel, and she was written perfectly as a character people would understand because of her plight. The other characters, like Mr. Alex Booker and Alex were also beautifully written.

I love this book because the story went to a very different way before the end of part one of the book. It went on a huge turnaround that, I have to be honest, I didn’t really like at first but as the story went on I began to understand that a story really has to face many trials, whether the book will have a positive or a negative ending. Nanette had to endure so much pain in her life, so many wrong decisions (may she have really wanted to do the many things that have occurred), and so many wrong turns.

The book featured in the story, The Bubblegum Reaper, was very significant and it was placed in the story very well. It really served its purpose well, though it’s the reason why everyone’s lives changed.

Within part two of the book, I was overwhelmed with how things were already different. Every Exquisite Thing really represented life because a lot of things changed as time passes by. We will all be as surprised as Nanette when she realizes that her life has changed because of a book she obsessed about.

Who knows? Maybe this fantastic book will be like my The Bubblegum Reaper. Though it’s not as life-changing, it still gives a big impact on the people who read it. I will definitely be looking at this book through a sort of spectrum that says that it is a magical novel that has changed the way I look at my life and the life of the people around me. It’s sort of like the Butterfly Effect, in a certain way.

Every Exquisite Thing: ★★★★★

REVIEW: Wrath & Dawn Short Stories – Renée Ahdieh

 

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Below are my individual reviews of the Wrath & Dawn Short Stories I read after finishing TWATD. Overall rating: super like!! 👍


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The Moth & the Flame (#0.25)

by Renée Ahdieh

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release date: March 22, 2016
Format: eBook
Pages: 40
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Short Stories
Rating: ★★★★☆
Goodreads / Amazon

This was a very nice and light story focusing about Despina and Jalal’s relationship: their first meeting, their interactions, and their secret moments. They were really so cute! Despina was one of the admirable characters in this series; and reading this only made me like her personality more. It also featured her few quick encounters with Ava, the first calipha of Khorasan. But, I wish I could’ve read about more of Despina and Jalal! It felt like it wasn’t enough, but I’m satisfied. It didn’t fail in making me smile and my heart melt.

“Anything is possible so long as there is a strong will behind it.”

 


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The Crown & the Arrow (#0.5)

by Renée Ahdieh

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release date: March 1, 2016
Format: eBook
Pages: 9
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Short Stories, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads / Amazon

OKAYYYY. I definitely absolutely loved this a lot! I read this while in car and before we even arrived to our destination I’ve already finished it. Totally not enough! I loved every bit of it and ughhhhh what would I give to have more of this?!?! My interest level was at the highest at the whole duration of reading it. This is Khalid’s POV when he first met Shahrzad, and it is no doubt that this is a very good short read with its beautiful writing. Thank you so much, Renée, for creating these lovable characters. They’ll always have a special place in my heart; I really ship them so much! #OTP

“Do not fear what the setting sun may bring. Where there is a setting sun, there is also a rising one.”

 


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The Mirror & the Maze (#1.5)

by Renée Ahdieh

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release date: April 26, 2016
Format: eBook
Pages: 11
Genre: Fantasy, Short Stories, Romance, Young Adult
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Goodreads / Amazon

I honestly didn’t understand what is the point of this that much because it’s literally just a scene of what chaos was happening to the city (in Khalid’s POV—which is kind of important, of course), which I think could’ve been acceptable to put it in the first book instead as an epilogue or a bonus or something. I liked the last part though, it’s like a trailer of its sequel and I’m really excited about it! GIMME!!!

“His responsibilities had always been here. He did not deserve to hold anything he loved in his keep.”

 

REVIEW: Sanctum – Madeleine Roux

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Sanctum

by Madeleine Roux

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: August 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 343
Genre: Supernatural-Fiction, Universities & College-Fiction, Haunted Places-Fiction, Horror, Mystery & Detective
Rating: ★★

[First of all, I would like to sincerely apologize that I was never able to make a review for Extraordinary Means (by Robyn Schneider). Kristen and I were so stressed about college that we were not able to read for almost 3 months! But we’re back! She just posted her review for The Wrath and the Dawn (by Renée Ahdieh), and here’s my first book review in our blog!]

Sanctum is a sequel to the horror and mystery novel Asylum. The Asylum series was written by Madeleine Roux, and the first book was released on August 20, 2013, and the sequel was released a year later on August 26, 2014.

Sanctum tells the story of Dan Crawford and his friends Abby and Jordan, on their plight of learning more about Brookline, recently turned dormitory that was once an asylum, and its horrible past. They mainly wanted to learn more about Daniel Crawford, Dan’s ancestor who was once the warden of Brookline in the 1960s that made notorious experiments on people that led to Brookline’s controversy.

After the mysterious events of the first book, the trio came back to Brookline to investigate further on why Dan Crawford is still having weird dreams and hallucinations of his dead ancestor. There, they are entailed to more mysterious events, and they find out more horrible things that have happened in Brookline.

Madeleine Roux created a prolific story filled with mystery, that will definitely let you keep reading the series and asking for more as you progress. You are placed on the hands of the protagonist, and with it, you feel the emotions, and the confusion that the book has to offer. Roux had in her hands a story that has the potential to be something great. It has the potential to be famous, and be critically acclaimed . . . Unfortunately, she ruined it.

In making a review, you should always start with the pros, to give the readers or your audience a well-verse knowledge of what’s in store for them. Sadly, I have nothing else to say that’s positive about the book (maybe I’ll leave some in the conclusion of this summary). Because it’s practically garbage. Because it’s not as good as it should have been.

See, the problem with the series is that Roux made it too mysterious, and too complex. And too stupid. There should be a line to where a story can be fantastic for being mysterious, and when it crosses that boundary, that’s where it could be criticized and that’s where the questions and the rants come in. Of course, when a story gives off more questions than answers, that’s good! Sanctum, on the other hand, made too many questions and made little-to-none answers, which made it terrible.

The Asylum series literally copied off Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s series. It had the same style, and even copied some of the font styles! And the pictures? They weren’t even ‘real’, meaning that she just bought them on Getty Images and Shutterstock! Ransom Riggs researched on the pictures, even going to flee markets to find the books’s intriguing pictures! Roux did nothing like that! The only thing she didn’t copied was Riggs’s story! (Well, mainly because that would be plagiarism.)

Also, Sanctum had pictures of circuses, and carnivals. But the story didn’t exactly revolved on carnivals and circuses! I believe that Roux just picked those photos because she ran out of ideas of what pictures to place on the book! Don’t believe me? Well, here’s a minor spoiler: The carnival had almost nothing to do with the plot! There was one event when the characters went there, but that’s it! It was not significant at all! All the characters did before and after that one event were just talking about it! The carnival had no significant role in the story whatsoever. Also, the book had a backstory about Daniel Crawford that was entirely confusing and even boring to read.

Next, the actors were way off. They lacked motivation, and they were primarily played as flat characters. It surprises me to find that the main protagonist is a flat character. Another thing is that they’re supposed to be ‘friends’. They should help each other in times of crisis. And when something bad happens, Dan suggests something for them to do, but Abby and Jordan don’t even follow or at least listen what he says. They two always despises Dan’s plans and rarely follow them. That was too annoying for me.

Here’s a minor spoiler to at least give an example to how obnoxious this book is:
So Dan and Abby have a ‘thing’. They like each other but they themselves don’t know whether they’re boyfriend and girlfriend or if they aren’t. Dan has mentioned that he wanted to know what they were, and if given an opportunity, he’d ask her. So then later on Abby was the one who asked him that, if they were actually a thing. Dan then answered something like “Yeah, I want to know that too.” AND THAT’S IT. They never answered that question, and they never dwell on it again! I mean, she literally already asked the question! And he didn’t even answered it! Even if he did say that he wanted to know, then why didn’t they talked about it!

The last thing I have to say was that there were 3 plot holes to this book. 1 was minor and could be forgiven, but the other 2 were way off. I can’t spoil too much, but here’s what I can say: The first plot hole is that there are events that happened in this book that could’ve happened in the first book but it was never explained to why it never happened in there. There were characters that were in the same location in the story in the second (Brookline) but were never showed in the first book. Those new characters played a major part in the story, whether or not it’s in the first or second book, but why did they only show up in the second book? To shed some light, they did bad things, and Dan was their target. But why didn’t they do those bad things in the first book? They were there the whole time! They knew who Dan was in the first book, but why didn’t they do anything and had to wait until the event of the second book!

Realizing it now, some parts of the two books made no entire sense. It’s hard to explain without spoiling, but just to say, the antagonist of the second book was a minor character in the first book. And I beg the question yet again: Why didn’t the antagonist do anything in the first book when there was a bigger chance to fulfill it!

The second plot hole is that the antagonist needed a MacGuffin (term for a plot device) from Dan, so the antagonist apparently had this complex plan to making Dan go to haunted houses across the neighboring town of Brookline to find information about Daniel Crawford. How is this a plot hole, you may ask? Well, the antagonist already knows where the MacGuffin is (in one of the haunted houses) so why would the antagonist needed Dan to do it when the antagonist could’ve done it? To let him and his friends suffer a bit by tiring them? Maybe, I don’t know, but it lacks motivation and continuity! The whole book is a tragedy!

So that is my review for Sanctum. Though I have to say that I enjoyed Asylum better than its sequel, I’ll still give Sanctum the same rating I gave Asylum: ★★/★★★★★. Though the low rating, I still suggest that you all should read the series. I’ll let you readers find out for yourself if you’ll like the book or have many problems with it like I did. It’s enjoyable to read, and it’s really interesting, but it will annoy you with all the errors and the problems that has. That’s why for now I’m leaving it all to Catacomb, the third and final book to the series. I want to see if it can be better than its predecessors and it has what it takes to salvage this series from the ground. Though I have the book, I’ll reserve to read it in the near future.

For now, I’ll divert to reading some contemporary books before coming back to the fantasy genre. That is why I’ll be reading 21 Proms next. Expect a review later on this week. By then Kristen will be releasing her reviews for the novellas of The Wrath and The Dawn.

So for now, happy reading! ❤

REVIEW: The Wrath & The Dawn – Renée Ahdieh

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The Wrath and The Dawn

by Renée Ahdieh

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release date: May 12, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 388
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Retelling
Rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads / Amazon

I started reading this while I’m in a plane on the way to Japan, because what else is there to do during the 4-hour travel than to read? Personally I love reading in planes, because I feel like I’m ‘somewhere and nowhere’ at the same time. I’m ‘here but also there’.

This book is a traveling book that was lent to me by a fellow reader. I was excited not only to participate but also to finally read this ever wonderful novel that I’ve been wanting to read two years ago! And so yes, I was allowed to write notes in the book as well 🙂

Now, I’m going to talk about how this book is super amazing and how I easily fell in love with it. First, the plot. Seriously? A seventeen-year-old badass who wants to kill the caliph by volunteering because her best friend is murdered by him? Those are my type. And come onnnn, for the first time I’ve read something about a non-white character and isn’t that interesting enough? The narrative was never dull nor boring that’s why I simply cannot put this book down! I struggle whenever I have to sleep already, and I’m almost tempted to get the ebook so I can still read in bed. That’s how awesome this is. Second, the admirable characters. Shahrzad, the main character, can shoot arrows and punch boys. I admire her bravery and honesty. That’s what gave her the chance to survive. Like, can I be her friend? Please pretty please?? Then there’s also Khalid, the caliph. I’ve said this once and I’m going to say it again: I have a thing for villains who has a troubled past. Because guess what, they’re actually just a little cupcake who needs a second chance, who needs to be loved. Okay? Come here Khalid, let me love you. But of course, I’m not forgetting the other amazing characters like Despina and Jalal, all of them are unique in their own way which makes the story even better.

Lastly, this is one of the best books ever because IT IS JUST THE BEST. So wonderful, so beautiful, soooooo fantastic! There’s not a single chapter or a single line that I disliked in this book. I promise. Literally there are so many good reviews about this out there. I still can’t even get over it! I just got the novellas, and I can’t wait to have the sequel in my hands! I NEED IT SOOOOON. I really really love it beyond words. I write it to the sky.

I recommend this to everyone. If you haven’t read this yet, go get your copy in your bookshelf that’s been waiting to be picked up. I have my own copy of this book in paperback edition (which I won in a twitter giveaway), so I can reread it anytime I want hehehe. I assure you all, you’re going to enjoy as much as I did! ❤

2017 Reading Challenge

New year, new books to read! We’d bet our bottom dollar that every proper human being on this planet (fictional characters may or may not be included) create goals or resolutions to accomplish within twelve months for a better year. In Goodreads, we set a specific number of books we want to read in the whole year, and that’s what we’re going to talk about.

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Since 2014, I started doing the reading challenge and have completed them for 3 years straight. I had begun at 15 books then, and by the end of the year I’ve managed to read three more. The following year, I had tried to double it to 30 and succeeded too soon that I got to read a total of 53 books. Last 2016, I challenged myself to 60 books and was so confident that I’m going to achieve it. However, it didn’t turn out to what I expected because I was always several books behind especially during the last months of the year. College got me very buys and helk was I so pressured! I binge-read novellas, poetry books and audio books to catch up. And on the last day of December, I have read three books. I completed the challenge, I did it. 😎

Sooo, anyway, this year I lowered it down to only 45 books. Better first complete it and exceed rather than not succeed! With that, I’m aiming to get more diverse books in my hands; the community is growing larger and I want to be a part of the advocacy, to support and spread the wonder of these novels. I’m also planning to read all the books off my shelf first before buying new ones. NovelKnight’s #BeatTheBacklist inspired me and therefore had me joining the club. This is to prevent the mighty TBR list from getting longerer and help readers actually read what’s on their shelf (that’s probably been stuck in there for ages), before buying the latest releases. It may be a “new year, new books to read”-kind-of-year, let’s also not forget about our book darlings that were published earlier. If you’re determined like me, I encourage everyone to participate in this challenge!

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This year, I’ll be reading at least 30 books! I was planning to go for 45, like Kristen, but she suggested that I should try to double what I’ve read last year, which was 15. To give a brief history, I started my Goodreads Reading Challenge because of Kristen. When we started to know each other, it was January of last year when she suggested that I should join the reading challenge. So basically 2015 was not my reading year, because I got to read only around 5 books that year (probably less). That statistic was pretty awful, and I wasn’t even busy that year. And believe me, telling a girl (that you really like, and who read 53 books) that you read 5 books that year was not a good way to impress her (but I still did, didn’t I? 😎). So I wanted to improve myself in 2016 and set a goal of reading 15 books! Though I was pretty busy because of college, I still completed my reading challenge just in time. And this year, it will be a bigger reading year for me. 

So I’m planning to read more this year because I want to explore more stories, some of which I haven’t read before. I’ll continue some of the series I’ve put on hold, and welcome new ones in open arms. I plan to not stop reading even if I’ve reached 30 books already, so I’ll read as many as I can! Also, I’ll also be joining the #BeatTheBacklist challenge (like Kristen), which means that I won’t be reading books published this year (or at least read less books that will be published this year). I have so many unread books from my shelf, and I want to finish them all before I buy new ones. But I will buy books which were published the previous years – books that I need to continue, or finish a series. I also plan to read more classical books this year, more than what I’ve read the previous years. So that explains what I’m planning to do this 2017 in terms of reading. So for now, I’ll be starting to read my first book of 2017 – Extraordinary Means, by Robyn Schneider (A review on that soon!).

Behind the Cover

Hey there! It’s us. And our first post will be… well, about us! We are both 17 Communication students from the tropical and sunny Philippines, and no, we don’t go to the same university although we’re taking the same major in college. It is fate that brought us together despite the (short) distance between us. 😜 We’ve known each other for over a year now, more than we individually know ourselves. That’s why here, we chose to tell things we know about each other rather than describing our own selves that’ll result to … nothing, probably. 

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This is Gio. He fell in love with books since 5th grade and stayed in love until now. From The 39 Clues to Matthew Quick novels, books have kept him company as an only child. Young Adult Fiction, specifically fantasy and contemporary, is his favorite and most-read genre. He’s a dork and a big nerd. He usually spends his free time playing video games, collecting toys (he has a hundred of ’em!), capturing Pokémon here and there, making origami and watching TV shows or movies which are nerdy (i.e. Star Wars, Sherlock, Doctor Who, etc.) aside from the seasonal football games.

He’s a huge fan of Owl City music and recently he listens to Capital Cities too. He also found his way to the world of writing; so far he has a couple of unfinished storieshandwritten and typedhidden in his drawer. Besides that, he has a collection of poetry as well in which some of them have been featured and published in folios and school newsletters/magazines. He’s currently a Literary Deputy Editor of their college publication. Being an introvert, words are his best friends. I’ve never met nor known someone like him before because of his uniqueness. For me, he’s a book being written everyday. He’s a living compilation of stories, never ending. There’s a lot more to discover behind those glasses (which he looks so adorkable with them) and I’m always in the mood to explore every page of him.

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This is Kristen. She has a beautiful smile and she loves reading Fantasy novels that bring her into her own wonderful world. I’d want to join her someday there, wherever she takes herself. She is the most brilliant writer I’ve ever known, and all of her works—her short stories and poetry—are works of art that will someday be published for their wonders. Her love for Disney is one of the things that makes her lovely; she’d spent the entire day watching Disney films as she sings along to their soundtracks. She has  a beautiful voice, though she claims that she doesn’t have, that makes me smile every time I hear it (she’s singing right now as I type this down, and I really can’t help but smile), and also makes me feel alive and well, if I’m not fine. She’s a big fan of Taylor Swift, and she also listens to country music, which is another thing that’s unique about her.

She adores ice skating and plans to improve on her skills in the future when the time comes. She’s silent, timid, and a demure type of girl, but inside her is a universe filled with thoughts, ideas, and imaginations that I cannot wait to hear when we converse in the night before we sleep. She’s really special, and she’s the best person to be with, and she never fails to make me happy, which is one of the infinite of things that’s wonderful about her.

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So, this is us, Kristen and Gio, and that’s all we can share about our personal characters (at least, for now!). Expect to hear from more of us soon! Book reviews*, book recommendations and discussions, literary works, and other varieties of reading- and writing-related stuff will be posted on our blog! Perhaps we’re going to share occasional life stories, too!

We can’t wait to travel through the tales with all of you, fellow loving readers!  After all, this is just a prologue… 😉 

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*Our review policy can be found here: https://ourwrittenpages.wordpress.com/about/