Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After

Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After

I received an ARC of each book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Leigh is only sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving nothing but the words, “I want you to remember.” And this leads her on a journey to Taiwan in search of a bird, to meet the grandparents she never knew and hopefully learn about the life her mother never spoke about.

I can tell you it’s been a while since I finished a book and immediately started sobbing after completing it. The Astonishing Color of After was a wonderful, visually and writing-wise, novel about grief and family. There’s just so much to it. It’s a mystery with Leigh uncovering secrets her mother buried years ago through memories. But it’s also a love story as Leigh struggles with her relationship with her best friend, Axel. Her mother’s passing changes everything. And both sides of the story are equally beautiful and enthralling. But the family is the heart and strength of this story, and it indeed is so astonishing.

There’s also a magical element to this novel. Leigh experiences the past in the form of burning incense and items such as photographs, and she’s able to experience her family history from the perspectives of her family members. This allowed her to understand what she never could before and to accept the daunting choices that were made. This aspect of this was so, so gorgeous and Pan’s style made this so stunning to experience.

Overall, there are so many words to describe this novel: stunning, extraordinary, beautiful, gorgeous. The lyrical prose, Leigh’s strength and struggles as she tries to connect with a past she wishes she knew and while accepting a new future. She finds what she needed, and the ending was so satisfying. A beautifully-told story, and one that I’ll definitely remember.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

tw: suicide – mentions of it through the book and also the moments just after it. Depression.(if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

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Book Review: Waking Gods

Book Review: Waking Gods

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

I received a copy of this via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review!

After the events of Sleeping Giants, where a crew had located pieces of an unknown being which were scattered across the world and put them back together again. Now in the second book of the series, Neuvel takes the story and raises the stakes and gives us a terrifying insight into what an alien invasion might be like.

Set ten years after the first book, the US has formed a defence group in order study Themis, the giant robot that was found previously. We’re quickly brought up to speed on what the characters have been up to: Vincent and Kara are still piloting Themis. Rose is still trying to recollect herself after her memory loss. Everything is quiet until another one comes – much larger than Themis and possibly even more dangerous. Everyone must come back together in order to solve the mystery as to why.

The Themis Files is truly one of my favourite series. It’s just so much fun and has so many surprises.  So much happens in a short amount of times. And you’re led to believe that Themis is good but things have changed so much. The pacing is so fast but still leaves a readable plot. Things get violent but not in a gory descriptive way, it was very horrific to read half of the stuff that happens in here. It’s a very powerful follow up to Sleeping Giants.

For some reason with the first book, it took a while for the style of narration to grow on me. I wasn’t even sure if I had liked it back then but now it really appealed to me and I love this style. Something about it – the interviews, journals, and radio – really works for me now. Our mystery narrator was also a question mark for me in book one but all my questions about him were answered and we really do see a vulnerable side to this all-powerful narrator. There’s also a spark that came from reading Sleeping Giants that I felt like it was missing here but it’s still a worthy sequel.

Overall, an interesting sequel that carries over the stakes from the previous novel. And that epilogue was truly a shock. I thought this might be a duology since the story felt close to being finished but Nuevel drops a bomb off a cliffhanger. I truly cannot wait for the next instalment.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY |

tw: major character deaths, sudden death (if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

Book Review: They Both Die At The End

Book Review: They Both Die At The End

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Just minutes after midnight, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio receive their Death-Cast calls: they are going to die today. Despite being total strangers, they find themselves meeting each other and having one final adventure on their last day ever.

Can you believe he spoils the ending with the title and I still found myself a total wreck by the end? I have not read any single Adam Silvera book before reading this, but if they’re all as gut-wrenching and amazing as this: count me in.

The concept is so fantastic and Silvera has created such an inventive, alternate world.  It’s very character-driven as the book encompasses a whole day in the life of two teens as they go around whatever they want. Mateo’s introverted, while Rufus is more outgoing, but both use this day to truly be themselves without the fear of judgement because, hey, they’re dying today.

They visit their favourite food places, close friends and visiting Mateo’s dad in the hospital. It’s packed with moments of emotions and first experiences. The plot was very sweet and sentimental. They’re very empathetic characters which such different personalities but somehow connect and spend the day working together to have a fulfilling ‘Last Day’. At its core, it’s basically a message of carpe diem but it plays out in such an interesting way

One of my favourite parts was the inclusion of other character’s perspective. When I first saw it, I wasn’t too sure of it since most of the time, it never works. But here it did. In between the main story, we get a brief glimpse into the lives of many other characters. Even though they aren’t central to the main story, it shows how the actions of other people are connected to plot in some way.

To be honest, I don’t have many criticisms aside from the technicality of Death-cast and the one-day love story. I would ignore this if I was you guys, I’m just being technical. You’re called on your mobile that you’re doing to die that day but what if you don’t have a phone? Does some scary man knock on your door at midnight and be like ‘so ya, you’re gonna die today?’ Or maybe the universe is set up in a way that everyone has one but just doesn’t seem plausible. Also, I’m just very sceptical of one-day love stories, maybe it was all for plot’s sake, though, but I loved their story, nonetheless.

Overall, it’s easily one of my favourite books this year. It’s so great and I definitely need to bump Silvera’s books up my reading list. I would recommend this one to anyone!


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY |

tw: death of LGBTQIA+ characters, anxiety, mentions of suicide (if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

 

Book Review: The Good Immigrant

Book Review: The Good Immigrant

Rating: ★★★★★

Honestly, there’s little to say about The Good Immigrant that hasn’t already been said. I’m not a huge non-fiction reader, but I can say this book was so worth reading.

It’s an interesting and fascinating collection of essays, from authors who are BAME individuals and sharing the stories of their lives and what makes someone a ‘good immigrant’, each one bringing a different aspect of their own lives. They all touch on different topics: why they/or their families move to the UK, their own culture, and the situations they had to deal with. That’s what I loved about this collection, how everyone had a completely different story to tell, each compelling and interesting as the one before it. Its contributors range from people whose families immigrated here, those who were born here, and to ones who had decided to leave.

I think the only flaw I could really point out is that most of the contributors are mainly in media/entertainment which means it excludes people from other fields of work where immigrants have greatly contributed. But, overall, this is a great collection of essays which were all thought-provoking and most importantly, honest. Highly recommended.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE

Book Review: A Boy Made of Blocks

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you can find the book at:
GoodReads Author’s website | Amazon |
Rating:  ★★★★★

~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~

Thirtysomething Alex is struggling. Struggling to have a close relationship with his autistic son Sam. Struggling to hold onto his failing marriage. Struggling to come to terms with a childhood tragedy. During a trial separation, Alex moves in with his best friend Dan, wondering if his family could ever come back together.

I loved this. It was so good. I don’t know how many ways I can say how amazing this was. Sad, happy, heart-warming and heart-breaking. A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS is incredibly humorous and moving. It may sound gloomy, but it’s far from it. In the beginning, you sit there wondering if Alex will ever learn but he does. He learns from his mistakes. He changes his approach in handling Sam’s tantrums and understands his son’s fears. There were so many moving scenes in this. (Tears were streaming heavily when a certain thing was destroyed but my heart was warmed when it was fixed.)

There were certain moments where Alex knows he shouldn’t yell at Sam but continues to do so and that really irked me. Like, he’s aware of how he shouldn’t yell at Sam but still continues to do so. I kept wanting to literally yell at Alex to shut up so many times. This is repeated so many times, probably for plot’s sake, but like it was really irresponsible of Alex. It was in those moments when I thought Sam would be better off with his mother.

The incorporation of Minecraft is one of the best parts of this book. People often unfairly associate Video Games with negative things. How it’s destroying this generation of people blah blah durr hburr techonology is bad kind of thing. But A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS shows one of the many positive things about video games and games like Minecraft. Minecraft provides an environment that encourages social interaction and helps people learn to communicate within the game’s well-defined rules.

Inspired by the author’s experiences with his own son, A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS is a heartfelt story of love and family.

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 1st 2016 by Sphere
ASIN:B010QDG9RI

The King’s Men (All for the Game #3) by Nora Sakavic

23667559you can find the book at:
GoodReads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Author website

my review:
Rating:★★★★★

“Pull out all the stops and lay it all on the line. Fight because you don’t know how to die quietly. Win because you don’t know how to lose. This king’s ruled long enough—it’s time to tear his castle down.”

I can’t believe it was only fifteen days ago where I didn’t even know what the hell The Foxcourt Hole was. And it’s been almost a week since I finished The King’s Men and I’ve just been scouring Nora’s Tumblr, reading everyone she’s written about post-TKM.

I genuinely thought I was never going to make it to the final book. Because I’m a realistic reader and there were times in this series where it’s so bizarrely unrealistic and none of their behaviours would be acceptable in real life. (for example, in book 1, I don’t think the NCAA would ever permit Andrew to play Exy on the condition he would be on drugs, and allow him to play with knives hidden under his clothing). You don’t understand how hard it was to read this without wanting to yell ‘HOW WOULD THAT EVEN BE PERMITTED???’

But putting that aside, The King’s Men was a really gripping read and I think it’s my favourite out of the trilogy. The action of the story keeps you on the edge with every turn of a page. It’s been a week since finishing this and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Nora takes the story and makes it even more brutal and heartbreaking than its predecessors.

I’m just going make a small mention of the relationships within this- small because I know I’ll never shut up about them. The interactions between the characters are so cute, and I loved each and every single one of them, especially Neil, Dan, Renee, Alison, and, never forget my ultimate fave, Nicky. And despite the description heavily emphasising this book is about romance, it was subtle and doesn’t overpower the main plot of the team. I loved the way the Foxes went from this dysfunctional team that had no hopes of even scratching the list for the championship to working together and growing together as a group. And this tumblr post sums up everything that is pure and good about the USC Trojans, but has huge spoilers, just to warn you.  (Yeah, small mention she said, well done Zaheerah.)

Overall, I might not have had the best beginnings with this series but the ending swept me away and I know I’ll most definitely be reading more from Nora Sakavic in the future.

Kindle Edition, 370 pages
Published December 2nd 2014
ASIN: B00QHMU0PU