REVIEW: simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda; becky albertalli

review - simonvs9.5/10 ✩

genre: young adult, contemporary, LGBTQ, romance

series? no, standalone

published: on april 7, 2015 by balzer + bray

pages: 320

i read the: us hardcover

began: april 14, 2015 // finished: april 15, 2015

where can i buy this? here via the book depository!

goodreads: right here.

first sentence: “It’s a weirdly subtle conversation. I almost don’t notice I’m being blackmailed”


DSC_0403

simon vs the homo sapiens agenda is a book everyone needs to read – and i mean everyone.

this is a book i know will stay with me forever (or at least for a long long time). if you don’t already know, this is a “gay” book. even if you feel uncomfortable or somewhat opposed to people of LGBTQ, i still believe you should read simon vs.

i’ve read other novels that are LGBTQ, but i’ve never read one that was as wholeheartedly and honest as simon vs. everything was so relatable. in other novels, it was clear and obvious the characters that were LGBTQ were sorta different: in the way they act, speak, dress, etc. etc. however in simon vs., that was most certainly not the case. after reading this novel, i’ve realized that people who are LGBTQ are just like everyone else. there really isn’t a difference between gays and straights, except the preference in gender; in the end, that’s all there is.

reading things from simon’s perspective, we could also see how the LGBTQ community is generally treated. it was beautiful to see people who were incredibly supportive, but also people who were just downright awful. i loved every bit of that. it was completely genuine and true. we saw everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

my favorite aspect of the novel was how casual simon and his friends spoke of being gay. they would often joke about it – but not in anyway i found insulting or condescending. people often make this a huge deal, which i suppose it is a big deal, but sometime it shouldn’t have to be a big deal. if you think about it, being gay/straight/etc is only a big deal because people make it a big deal. why should it really matter? it’s just a small part of who we/you are. i find it similar to a person’s race. for example, it’s not like you’re going to see someone and instantly judge them because of their race (if you do, then go away). the same should be said about a persons’ sexual orientation.

moving on from the deep and somewhat controversial stuff, let’s talk about the writing and plot.

simon was an extremely sarcastic and funny character, so i couldn’t help but smile and grin the entire time. no, seriously, i couldn’t read this book in public because i would (literally) laugh out loud and smile to myself. people were definitely giving me strange looks, but i have no regrets because i looooooove it so much! (eventually i resorted to happily reading in my room.)

the main reason why i enjoyed this book so much was because IT WAS SO CUTE. the interactions between simon and blue made me want to squeal; i couldn’t help but root for them until the very end. the relationships between everyone were truly genuine and lovely and just.. *content sigh*. his family and friends were great and everything was <3.

awwwww

simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda was like a diary. because the writing seemed like this, there were parts i really enjoyed, but also parts i didn’t like. i loved how we could hear and see simon’s internal dialogue. i mean, he’s hilarious and very relatable. i got to connect with simon much more because i knew what he was thinking. but, there were parts in the beginning i was left confused. since simon already knows these characters, there’s no introduction. we meet everyone and it’s like an information dump and you’re kind of left stranded like, “what’s going on?” also, there are less descriptions. i don’t describe people in my head, so it makes sense for the writing to be this way. but, i found it hard to visualize characters, places, etc.

it was a quick read, which has it’s good and it’s bad. it’s a wonderful book to read in between huge series because it’s quite tiny, but because of that you’re left wanting more. the book concluded wonderfully, but since it’s so short i feel like i need just *holds fingers .00001 cm apart* that much more.

overall, i loved this book. it was honest; it was hilarious; it was adorable; it was so much more. becky albertalli created a true masterpiece from beginning to end. with a easygoing prose, the story was filled with love, finding yourself, and truth for the LGBTQ community. i’ve come to realize that many people are simply ignorant to the way LGBTQ people are it may not be their intention to be condescending or offensive; they’re simply oblivious to it all. i would recommend this book to… um, everyone. *whispers* go read it.

fivestars

**on a side note: i saw this beautiful artwork by risa rodil and i had to share it with you. it was one of my favorite quotes from the novel! she made it for spark notes’s review on the novel. you can find her original post by clicking the image.

– alexandra

buy books here♥ // instagram // goodreads // bloglovin // twitter// facebook

REVIEW: red queen; victoria aveyard

DSC_0101

4.4/10 ☆

genre: young adult, fantasy, dystopian

series or standalone? series

published: on february 10th, 2015 by harperteen

pages: 383

i read the: us hardcover

began: march 11, 2015 // finished: march 12, 2015

where can i buy this? here via the book depository!

goodreads summary: right here.

first sentence: “i hate first friday.”


DSC_0245

reading red queen was a frustrating process; i was super interested in the plot, but everything else made me cringe.

the story is like any other dystopian: a poor girl is somehow different and special compared to everyone else. the king and queen notice her – and want her dead. there’s a rebellion going on. and don’t forget the confused love-triangle feelings! what caught my attention was the premise; a world split by blood: silver and red. people with red blood are ordinary peasants who live in the towns. those with silver blood have special powers. our main character, mare, is a red.

i wanted to love this book, i really did! my annoyance started off as just that – an annoyance, but it continued to grow as i read on. i was hoping that if i continued to read it, i would like it better, but it just went on and on and on. the situations was too predictable and stereotypical: our main protagonist is living a dull, ordinary life, then a bunch of things get worse for her. suddenly, she’s the symbol of a rebellion. sound familiar? (psst.. the hunger games) add in a prince trying to find a bride (echm.. the selection?) and a confusing love interest (um.. very misleading) mix it all together and you got red queen! yes, the story is super interesting (which is why and also how i managed to finish it in one day), but it’s predictable. i would be reading a chapter and think, “why am i getting a sense of deja vu? has this happened before?” buuuuut, i’ll admit the plot twist at the end is extremely shocking. (shocking to the point where it’s unbelievable. as in, this-doesn’t-make-sense-no-way-ohmygod) but let’s be honest, besides the interesting storyline and plot twist, i didn’t find this book enjoyable.

omg backing away

that plot twist got me like

i’ve rolled my eyes too many times while reading red queen. it’s gotten to the point where my eyes should’ve rolled out of their sockets. it seemed like mare would constantly repeat the phrase, “i’m different.” yes, we know you’re different. not only have you shown us, but you’ve repeated the phrase six hundred times. i wanted to slap her across the face. however, there would be moments of clarity. it would feel as if the character actually had feelings: she was sassy, witty, and thorough. but then, mare would go back to being her annoying self and the alter-ego would *poof* disappear. she is (usually) indecisive and overdramatic – the typical ya “heroine.” i found it hard to connect with her thoughts – on second thought, i found it hard to connect with any of the characters. the closest it came to was, “oh, that’s nice” or, “um that’s unfortunate.” the main male character would either be a complete asshole or extremely compassionate. okay?? i couldn’t see any of the characters; they were murky and inconsistent. 

the love triangle, square, hexagon thing is confusing to no end. it starts off with one guy, then another appears and the first guy is disregarded, then another guy appears and i don’t know what to think. if you want to be friends, then just be friendly. if you want something more, then make a move. she was teetering on the edge of just-friends and love-of-my-life for all three guys. please, make up your mind! it seemed like the author wanted to simultaneously make the romance a small and big part of the story.

overall, this book was irritating beyond my comprehension. the storyline had the potential to be so much better. i was expecting it to be so much better (which i clearly should not have). i will probably be reading the next book (ugh, more mare) simply because the cliffhanger was quite good and i’m giving it a second chance. not fun to read, but it was so interesting.. UGH. do you understand my struggles???

how did you feel about this book? let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

alexandra

buy books here♥ // instagram // goodreads // bloglovin // twitter // facebook // tumblr

REVIEW: the winner’s crime; marie rutkoski

DSC_0054

8.9/10 ☆

genre: young adult, fantasy, romance

series or standalone? series. trilogy to be specific; second book

published: on march 3rd, 2015 by farrar straus giroux

pages: 416

i read the: advanced reader’s copy (arc), reread in the us hardcover

began: january 26, 2015 // finished: january 28, 2015

where can i buy this? here via the book depository!

goodreads summary: right here.

first sentence: “she cut herself opening the envelope.”


this is the second book of the trilogy. if you haven’t read the first book, please redirect to my review on the winner’s curse here. i would not advise reading the rest of this review if you have not read the first book. it will contain SPOILERS on the winner’s curse!

okay, so i’m assuming if you’re still here, you’ve read the winner’s curse but not the winner’s crime. the first and most asked question is almost always: did you enjoy it more than the first? quite honestly, no. it was good, but i still liked the winner’s curse better. they were different, but it felt like you didn’t know what was really going on (conclusion: all the second books of dystopian trilogies follow this pattern. see: insurgent, catching fire, prodigy, etc.). but here’s the main reason for my disliking:

kestrel and arin became unbearable. meaning: they would try to protect each other, claiming they know what’s best, resulting in lying and betrayal. *cough cough june in prodigy, ruby in never fade, tris in insurgent, katniss in catching fire…* the main characters in the second book of dystopian trilogies are almost always like this, too. i don’t know why i expected different. it was frustrating to no end. you should’ve listen to me, kestrel and arin. look at your regrets. i couldn’t stand it because a lot of their problems were just misunderstandings. one character would jump to conclusions, and the other would say, “it’s for the best.” please, stOP. why are you doing this to my feelings?!

screaming:whimpering

everything else, was more than the first book. not necessarily better, but more: more intense, more emotional, more shocking, more action, just more. you really see the conflicts grow and you begin to think, “oh no. there’s no way this is going to work out. i’m not going to have my happy ending.” but, kestrel and arin’s feelings grow stronger as well, so they have to have a happy ending.. right? there are more plot twists, betrayals, and the cliffhanger is just plain cruel. marie rutkoski, i’d like the next book PRETTY PLEASE WITH CHERRIES ON TOP.

the story is now told from both arin and kestrel. in the winner’s curse, there are only small snippets from arin. you see his betrayal coming before kestrel knows what’s happening. now, we hear from him nearly every other chapter. we get to know him more; there are flashbacks to moments in the first book and you see his perspective of things. before he was mysterious and hard to read, but now we see who he truly is.

although the characters change, they are still themselves. sometimes when characters develop, authors would change them into a completely different person. that didn’t happen here. kestrel continue to impress me with her brains and goodness; arin continued to impress me with his strength and fiery passion. it felt as if everyone was alive and living. you wouldn’t be able to guess what’s next, but it was never out of context.

the mood of the book was sad, which is another reason why it wasn’t as enjoyable. don’t get me wrong; i did love this book. but i grew so attached to the characters that since they were sad, i became sad. i felt the character’s struggles and depression; i felt their sorrow and guilt. there were happy moments but the overall mood was negative, which is another big reason as to why i liked the first book better. (claps to marie rutkoski’s writing! making me feel all the things, yet again.)

the writing was so beautiful. i fell in love with it in the first book, but this one was even better. there would be pages and pages of scenes and moments and i would tear up because it’s so beautiful. there isn’t another adjective for it. usually when we hear from two povs, they have no relation to each other. it goes like: ___ did this, ___ did that. arin and kestrel’s chapters intertwine. they could be across the world or in the same room, and their thoughts are together; they are completely in sync.

its so beautiful

 

you’ve read the winner’s curse, so what are you waiting for? buy/read this book right now. it is definitely worth the read and i cannot wait for the next installment! (if you finished, let me know your thoughts in the comments!)

xoxo,

alexandra

buy books here♥ // instagram // goodreads // bloglovin // twitter //facebook // tumblr

REVIEW: the winner’s curse; marie rutkoski

DSC_0048

9.2/10 ☆

genre: young adult, fantasy, romance

series or standalone? series. trilogy to be specific; first book

published: on march 4th, 2014 by farrar straus giroux

pages: 355

i read the: us hardcover

began: january 24, 2015 // finished: january 25, 2015

where can i buy this? here via the book depository!

goodreads summary: right here.

favorite quote:

“isn’t that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?”

– kestrel, page 6

first sentence: “she shouldn’t have been tempted.”


DSC_0051

 

first, let’s talk about this gorgeous cover. i’ve tried taking a million pictures of it, from all different angles and it still doesn’t do the real thing justice. if you’re deciding between ebook or physical copy, definitely buy the physical copy. and once you pick it up to read it, you will thank me.

i don’t even know how to compile my thoughts on this book. the more i think about it, the better it gets. i’ll try my best to summarize the main gist of things:

in a world filled with power-hungry empires, salves, and war, kestrel is the daughter of one of the high generals; she lives a good life, in a large house filled with maids and yes, slaves. one peculiar day, she’s wandering the town with her good friend and they come upon an auctioning for slaves. normally she would just walk away, but for some reason she purchases this slave. from that moment on, things begin to change. – that’s how the story starts, and i don’t want to share any more because i feel like the resolution would seem very obvious but it’s NOT. the plot has a lot of twists and turns, it would be more fun to read if you knew little of what it’s about. and i feel like i’ve already spoiled too much. it’s fairly straightforward – you know what’s going to happened, you can see it happening, you don’t want it to happen – but it leaves you grasping for more, nonetheless.

my favorite aspect of this book was the beautiful characters and their relationship/chemistry between each other. they are sassy, witty, selfless, and not-annoying in any way. annoying characters will be the death of me. what amazes me is that they’re all good characters, but none of them are “mary sue.” they have flaws, but *squeals* i just love them. the chemistry between everyone was so smooth and natural. a lot of the times, i’ll see interactions between characters and it seems so forced. there wasn’t a single time that happened in this book. if it did, it would seem intentionally tense or awkward.

i think the biggest problem here was the lack of a map. yes, that’s the biggest problem. it made the whole world hard to visualize. their city/state/country/idk-what-it-is is on an island. i didn’t know that until the end of the book. things would’ve made a lot more sense if i’d known that small fact. we just need a map. it’s fine though because i know the second book, the winner’s crime, will have a map. THANK YOU!

there are a lot of hidden metaphors. there would be a repeated sentence here, another reference there, and you don’t realize their meaning until the very end; you might not even realize until you reread the book. marie rutkoski clearly put thought in every word and sentence, which is another reason why i love this book. the writing is gorgeous. however, there was lack in sense of time. you never knew how much time passed, or sometimes, it felt as if time didn’t even exist.

if you finished the book, i also advise reading the author’s note! she explains where she got the idea of the winner’s curse and all that interesting stuff.

what are you waiting for? go read this book! if you’ve already read it, let me know your thoughts in the comments~

xoxo,

alexandra

buy books here♥ // instagram // goodreads // bloglovin // twitter //facebook // tumblr