Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly longing for and anticipating!

My choice is The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan!

Here's how Rick described it in his exciting blog post:
How do you punish an immortal?  By making him human. 

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’ favor. 
 But Apollo has many enemies – gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go. . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood. 

As I explained on tour, the idea came to me while writing Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, because Apollo had been turned mortal twice before when he got on Zeus' bad side. The first novel has been so much fun to write! The Trials of Apollo is told first person from Apollo's point of view. During the series you will see all the characters from the previous Percy/Heroes of Olympus series so you can get a chance to see what they are up to.
Date of Publication: 3 May 2016

Finding out about this book has been one of the best surprises! I know there's so long from now to May but this can be part of the sunshine at the end of my IB tunnel;) I was so sad to read the last Percy Jackson book because he was one of my favourite characters and always will be<3 To hear that characters from Percy's series (hopefully him included!) will make an appearance in this book was more than music to my ears.

One thing I really admire about Rick Riordan is how he manages to take fascinating tales from Greek mythology and use them in his own stories. He actually inspired me to read the original Greek myths and I love them all the more once characters as special as his have explored them in a modern landscape. Apollo in the Percy Jackson series was hilarious because of his love of writing goofy haikus so it'll be really interesting and different to see him play the leading protagonist. Also he'll be going to Camp Half Blood which makes me feel so nostalgic - as though I was once a demigod who lived there, and experienced Chiron's warm advice, Mr. D being Mr. D and the magic within it:)

Can you imagine all the funny events that will occur when Apollo, the shining god of the sun, poetry, archery, prophecy (and many other things...) is forced to endure being a mortal? Well I have a feeling that Rick Riordan will exceed any expectation and as always bring some heart and meaning to the whole story.

This is essentially how I feel...;)

Thank you for reading!
What's your Waiting on Wednesday?:)

Monday, 9 November 2015

Review: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

A modern love story told through a series of dictionary-style entries is a sequence of intimate windows into the large and small events that shape the course of a romantic relationship.

Date of Publication: 4th January 2011

This book is different from anything I've ever read and I loved every second of the unusual delight. As said in the blurb, it's a love story told through entries inspired by dictionaries.

For example:
abstraction, n.

Love is one kind of abstraction. And then there are those nights when I sleep alone, when I curl into a pillow that isn't you, when I hear the tiptoe sounds that aren't yours. It's not as if I can conjure you up completely. I must embrace the idea of you instead.”

ubiquitous, adj.

When it’s going well, the fact of it is everywhere. It’s there in the song that shuffles into your ears. It’s there in the book you’re reading. It’s there on the shelves of the store as you reach for a towel and forget about the towel. It’s there as you open the door. As you stare off into the subway, it’s what you’re looking at. You wear it on the inside of your hat. It lines your pockets. It’s the temperature.
The hitch, of course, it that when it’s going badly, it’s in all the same places.”

David Levithan is so articulate that he is able to breathe life into these words, and make them mean something and everything. He uses words like these and his character's versions of their definitions to show us a love story in all its stages. We get to see the good and the bad - the breathtaking and the heart wrenching and sometimes just appreciate the deliciously quiet moments of any relationship. 

There is not a chronological order which may seem confusing but I liked how the book felt like a puzzle that I could put together in my mind as I dissect the love put before us. However I do wish that there was a feeling of finality when I had finished because I felt like I wasn't at the end of the story at all. But looking back I realize that relationships don't have clear cut beginnings and ends - in fact, they're messy but in a gorgeous kind of way so the structure of the book does reflect that. I would have loved if the end had more of an impact - like one last word that just made me smile or made the world around me stop so that the experience of the book could be represented well.

This book isn't long and it got me out of a reading slump so if you'd like to try something different and you love love and raw feelings (and maybe you're a dictionary aficionado who can't wait to see your favorite words in a new light?) then this is the book for you! Books with concepts like this don't come so often so embracing the creativity of the experience made it even better. 

I would probably give this book 4.5 stars out of 5:)

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Books in Second Person

There's something so fascinating about books in the second person. I haven't read that many in novels in the second-person narrative but as soon as I came across it, I knew I needed more! How entrancing and captivating is it that you become the character? All these beautiful and complex plots are told around that unexpected "you."

So here's a list of books that use second person because they may be worth exploring!

1. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler is a marvel of ingenuity, an experimental text that looks longingly back to the great age of narration--"when time no longer seemed stopped and did not yet seem to have exploded."
The Reader buys a fashionable new book, which opens with an exhortation: "Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade." Calvino intersperses 10 different pastiches--stories of menace, spies, mystery, premonition--with explorations of how and why we read, make meanings, and get our bearings or fail to.

This book is one of the most famous second person books and it's supposed to be the ultimate book for book-lovers! Why? Because it's all about reading, but throughout the journey of books is also love and tragedy which sounds like a intoxicating mix to me!

A book that starts with "You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, "No, I don't want to watch TV!" Raise your voice -- they won't hear you otherwise -- "I'm reading! I don't want to be disturbed!" Maybe they haven't heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: "I'm beginning to read Italo Calvino's new novel!" Or if you prefer, don't say anything: just hope they'll leave you alone." is a book I know I'll drown into. One great thing about second person books is that you tend to forget the world around you and feel fully immersed in a book that's engaging you as there's some intangible emotional pull to an author writing about "you" - especially when you're characterised as "The Reader". I haven't read this book yet but I really want to so hopefully I will soon.

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

I have read this book and I'm absolutely infatuated with the use of second person because it transported me to the mystical and magical night circus that I now dream of visiting. The plot about the duel may not have always been strong nor parts of the romance but this book was definitely worth reading and I still love it because it's one of those times when I felt like I had literally jumped into a fantasy world. The writing is gorgeous and Rick Riordan himself loves it;)

The whole novel is not in second person but whenever the night circus is being described, second person is used to give the reader a feel of the dreaminess of it all. There's a quote from the book that goes, "like stepping into a fairy tale under a curtain of stars" and that's how the description of me walking into this bizarre and beautiful circus made me feel.

“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des RĂªves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus.
You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”

3. Bright Light, Big City by Jay McInerney

With the publication of Bright Lights, Big City in 1984, Jay McInerney became a literary sensation, heralded as the voice of a generation. 
The novel follows a young man, living in Manhattan as if he owned it, through nightclubs, fashion shows, editorial offices, and loft parties as he attempts to outstrip mortality and the recurring approach of dawn. With nothing but goodwill, controlled substances, and wit to sustain him in this anti-quest, he runs until he reaches his reckoning point, where he is forced to acknowledge loss and, possibly, to rediscover his better instincts. 
This remarkable novel of youth and New York remains one of the most beloved, imitated, and iconic novels in America.

This is also one of the most famous second person narratives. I am so intrigued by the idea of experiencing someone's "anti-quest" as he slowly loses himself but hopefully finds his happiness again. I feel like reading a book like this could give me a new perspective and also give me the opportunity to experience his rollercoaster journey (from the safety of my couch). From the blurb it seems as though he loses hope and purpose, and if a book that brings you in, by making you the protagonist, explores this journey, I hope it leaves you with a profound message on redemption or identity.

And read this amazing quote: "But what you are left with is a premonition of the way your life will fade behind you, like a book you have read too quickly, leaving a dwindling trail of images and emotions, until all you can remember is a name.”

4. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris, David Javerbaum and Antony Hare


Tired of memoirs that only tell you what really happened? Sick of deeply personal accounts written in the first person? Seeking an exciting, interactive read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”? Then look no further than Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this revolutionary, Joycean experiment in light celebrity narrative, actor/personality/carbon-based life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life. You will be born in New Mexico. You will get your big break at an acting camp. You will get into a bizarre confrontation outside a nightclub with actor Scott Caan. Even better, at each critical juncture of your life, you will choose how to proceed. You will decide whether to try out for Doogie Howser, M.D. You will decide whether to spend years struggling with your sexuality. You will decide what kind of caviar you want to eat on board Elton John’s yacht. Choose correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a hideous death by piranhas. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from your time as a child actor, and even a closing song. Yes, if you buy one book this year, congratulations on being above the American average, but make that book Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography!

As an avid 'How I Met Your Mother' fan, I was so excited by this book. But that's not the only reason... an autobiography that's in second person is such a fun idea! I like the idea of choosing Neil's path and seeing where Neil would end up if I was the one making the decisions. It's a book that seems like it would make me smile.

Also Patrick Rothfuss, the author of the Kingkiller Chronicles, said, "I expected this book to be witty. I expected it to be clever and fun. And it was. It was all of those things in spades. But I didn't expect it to be sweet and sad and honest and touching. I mean, it's framed as a choose-your-own-adventure. You don't expect those to be heartfelt, emotional stories...." (To read his lovely review, click here!).

That's all for now!
Thanks for reading:)

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly longing for and anticipating!

My choice is The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski!

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks. 
But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

Date of Publication: 1 March 2016

YESSSS! I loved both books in this series and I cannot wait for more! The first book made my heart skip a beat and the second took my breath away. Arin and Kestrel's relationship is so complex, beautiful, scarred and undeniable that I can't help but feel wholly invested in them. It's the last book in the trilogy so I need Kestrel and Arin to be together but whatever the outcome, I know the journey is going to be unexpected and perfect.

There are so many miscommunications that hinder their relationship from being fully realised and I'm one step away from jumping into this book and making them finally kiss. When a book like this comes along all I can do is anxiously wait for it to come out. But at the same time, I don't want this series to end... I love it too much. If you haven't read this series then I strongly recommend it if you love reading books with characters that are so well-written than they become pieces of art, romance, political intrigue and power plays.

Thank you for reading!
What's your Waiting on Wednesday?:)