Saturday, June 06, 2015

I'm leaving!

Well, I'm leaving this site. But don't worry! I won't disappear! Actually, I'm moving to Wordpress. There are some features in there that I can't find here and I discovered I needed them. The blog's name is the same and blah. I'm here now. I will keep my posts so I can come back to them whenever I want, but I won't be adding new stuff.

(click to go to the new site)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The 2015 Shakespeare Challenge

This year, I decided to start what I call the "Shakespeare Challenge". Basically - and how its name says -, I'm going to read all of Shakespeare's works and try to review all of them. Neither of those objectives is easy, though the first one gets easier the further I get in the challenge - I mean, because I got used to his language and writing.

The second task is even harder because his works have been studied for such a long time that I have almost nothing to say. Thus, my reviews are not going to be analysis on his works - they will merely my opinion on them. I will review Shakespeare's works the same way I do with all books.

Why did I decide to do this?

Everyone knows Shakespeare, and also, many books I love contain references to his works. This latter point was crucial. Why? Because it's one thing to read a quote from book A in book A, and it's another to read a quote from book A in book B. I don't know if I'm making sense, but reading a book in its original glory and then reading another book in which book A is referenced feels GLORIOUS - like, it's one of the best feels in the world.

How far am I at this point?

This is the list of Shakespeare's works I've read so far:

Maybe it's not clear in the picture, but I've read 60% of his works. I started with the most popular ones and now I'm reading the ones not everyone has heard of. I've read all the poems and sonnets - I still have to finish with the plays.

Am I going to continue?

Why, yes, of course! I'm not lying to you when I say that I turned into a fangirl after I read Hamlet. I had read The Merchant of Venice at school, but if I'm honest with you, I didn't appreciate it back then (mainly because I was forced to read it); so I decided to start from the beginnig with Hamlet, and guess what? I loved it!

After that, I fell in love with Shakespeare's writing style an I just kept on reading them for pure pleasure. His language gave me many prosegasms.

(Er, did I really say that?)

Where am I posting my reviews?

I will post them on this blog. They ones I wrote before this are on Goodreads, and I will try to bring them here soon, but the ones to follow are going to be here as well as in Goodreads and Leafmarks.


Whew, I still have lots of plays to go. I'm 60% done with the challenge, but with college and everything, I barely have time to read, so I'm a bit afraid I'm not going to be able to finish my challenge. I hope I do, though, because when I'm finally done, I will be really proud and happy.

What are your challenges?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.


My rating:

I'm honest when I say I'm surprised at my rating, because when I started this book, I was so sure I was going to hate it... but I didn't.

This is another retelling of Beauty and the Beast (with Greek mythology). So many things could have gone wrong with this, but thankfully they didn't. Just before I read this, I had finishedA Court of Thorns and Roses, which, if you ask me, was a huge disappointment and was more a retelling of Cinderella thanBeauty and the Beast.

Basically, the story follows Nyx, who's about to be married to the Gentle Lord – a demon who makes bargains and always gets what he wants – because of a bargain her father made before she and her twin sister were born. Their mother died giving birth to them and Nyx was offered (since a baby) to the Gentle Lord as his betrothed.

Now she's seventeen and the bargain must be fulfilled, so she has to marry him, but she hates him. She's always hated him because of he taking advantage of people and well, wouldn't you also? I mean, she basically has to marry the monster who killed her mother. Now she's made a promise to her family to get rid of him.

Nyx is what I want in a YA protagonist. She's brave, strong, bitter and can get angry pretty easily. She also has poison in her heart. Sometimes she could think not-so-beautiful things about her family because of what they did to her, or about her sister for always being the favorite. She didn't fall immediately for the beast – rather, she tried to kill him many times – and when she did, her character was still the same – meaning, he didn't change her into a “better” person.

As this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, there should obviously be a beast. The beast was Ignifex, the Gentle Lord. This was one of the things that could have gone wrong in the story. When reading retellings, there are some things that must stay true to the original story – otherwise they would not be retellings. In this one, perhaps the most importants are:

1. The beauty trapped with the beast. Duh.

2. The beast. Which has to be a freaking beast, not an effing chivalrous handsome guy.

3. The romance. This is basically the point of this story. How can a woman fall in love with someone that she hates so much? With this tale, you can know one of the answers.

4. The curse. Or something that explains why the beast is like he is or why he looks how he looks etc.

And you know what? This book did justice to all of the previous points!

1. Because Nyx was indeed captive in the castle. She could wander some parts of it, but she was a prisoner. 

2. Because Ignifex was damn cruel and beastly. The things he did were not charming at all! (Unlike Tamlin from ACOTAR, which was not a beast at all *snorts*)

3. Because there was no insta-love, and the change is gradual. And even after she fell for him, there were parts where she felt she was betraying herself.

4. Because it is indeed a curse and not something silly.

Okay, but this was not perfect. I wanted more action; you know, more badassery. This book was a little too romantic for my taste – that's why I was surprised I liked it at all. Even when there's no insta-love and the relationship grows not too fast, this book was romance-heavy and I rarely tend to like books like that. Still, I enjoyed this.

Another thing I really liked about this was the gothic feel. Hell, how could I not like that? Basically, all my favorite books have that dark and gothic atmosphere – and this one was not missing it. The castle was lonely and big; there were some rooms containing things that might not be pleasant to see (but they certainly are a pleasure to read), etc. But I loved that.

So, in the end, this was a great surprise and I can't wait to read Crimson Bound. I truly recommend this book and I hope you read it.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: Golden Boy

 Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin


Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect friend, and the perfect crush for the girls in his school. He’s even really nice to his little brother. Karen, Max’s mother, is determined to maintain the façade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years, but now that the boys are getting older, she worries that the façade might soon begin to crumble. Adding to the tension, her husband Steve has chosen this moment to stand for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.

The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won’t his parents talk about it? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he’s starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him—desire him—once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really?


My rating:
4.5 of 5 stars

Max is what people call a “golden boy”: He has perfect grades, he's good-looking, all girls have a crush with him, he's everyone's favorite, etc. He's also an intersex. But that's no problem – not even to him. That is, until he's sexually assaulted and he starts to question himself and people around him.

This book evokes so many feeling, but joy is not one of them. In general, it's depressing and painful to read, but I also got really, really angry at some points. This is highlighted by the fact that the book is narrated in multiple 1st person POVs, so you could be inside the characters' minds, and the thoughts of some of them were not comfortable to read.

Something I didn't like quite a lot was the writing. I felt it was a little too... flat at some points – not with Max, though, because his narration is perfect. An example of this would be Max's little brother: He didn't feel like a 10-year-old; more like a robotic kid.

But I let that pass because it was a powerful read. It addressed themes like identity, sexuality, etc., and at least for me, they were addressed correctly, though I don't know if my opinion should be trusted on this, since this is the first book I read about an intersexual character.

I also liked some of the explanations given. You see, I... I didn't know intersexuality existed until a few (very few) years ago. My parents hid all things not “straight” (and the book does touch this theme – man/ woman; black/white; good/bad, etc.) from me, and at my school they were not talked about (not because they avoided them, though; they were just not talked about).

This damn thing prevented me from reading some books, agreeing with certain things, talking about certain other things, etc. My mind got out of control once I entered college (last year), because there were more liberties and I could let myself be influenced by people (not on purpose).

In summary, my knowledge about intersexuality was limited to almost none, so of course I was grateful for the explanations. Besides, it was necessary to keep the plot moving. I should still do more research on some themes, though.

Overall, it was a great read. I'm glad I finally got around reading this. I recommend it to everyone, just have in mind that it's not an easy book to swallow.


WARNING!!!! BIG GODDAMN SPOILERS. I wanted to say some things, but they're HUGE spoilers, so careful if you haven't read this book.

Let's start with the aggressor. All things in his behaviour were wrong. First, when he enters Max's room and starts telling him to show him his genitals. Max is clearly not comfortable, yet what does he do? He forces him to have sex with him.

And what worsened the situation? That not only did he RAPE him, but he also HUMILIATED him. Telling Max that what he was doing didn't apply as being gay because Max was not even a boy – that he was less that a boy – ... what is god's name was that?

*rages a lot*

Also, Max's mother. Hated. The. Woman. She says she does things for Max' own good, but she doesn't even let him make his own decisions... and the baby... AAAHHHH!!! I just can't with that.

And when she got notice of Max's pregnancy... when she said she was disappointed... when she started to get a little angry because she thought Max was gay... at the ending when she still felt icky about the possibility of Max being bisexual... whenever she didn't trust her son... her favoritism... completely ignore Danny... blame her husband for eveything...

I think it's pretty obvious for you that I despised her if you read these things I posted:

I know there are some people who think like that in real life, and that made it even more sad... especially because I feel powerless as to solve the situation – I mean, really? What can I do to stop it? Also, random fact about me: I was raised into thinking just like her. I feel ashamed of that now. Gladly, I got over that. I just wonder what made me realise the truth.
(...) it’s no use asking why questions of sexuality and gender give people the creeps, and it’s no use blaming it on society and saying it should change, because nothing is going to change about high school…. nothing is going to change about my high school and make it okay for people to know the truth about me.

That quote made me feel really small, for example.

Most of the things that happened in this book are really common. The problem is that they're not talked about, and I wish they were so people would not react like they did to Max's situation. Part of the problem is also something Max said in the book, but I couldn't find the quote, so I can't write it here.

I just know that, had I read this book two years ago, I would have hated it. My mind changed a lot over the course of 2014.


That was long. Don't worry, now – I won't take more of your time. The rant ends here. Sorry if it's too much rambling and too little sense.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas


When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.


My rating:
2.5 of 5 stars

I feel bad for rating this book like that. I really wanted to love it, trust me – especially because I read some interviews Sarah J. Maas gave, and she seemed trully proud and happy for her book; in other words, it seemed like she put a lot of effort in it, and with it, parts of herself, and I like when authors do that.

First of all, I must say that I love the Beauty and the Beast tale. There's something so compelling about it – I can't grab hold of what it is, but I love it. I particularly love Disney's version of it, and this retelling fell short in comparison with that one.

But what didn't make me fall completely for it?

1. Tamlin is not such a beast.

As this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, there obviously needs to be a “beauty” and a “beast”. The “beauty” was Feyre, a 19-year-old huntress that is “held captive” at Tamlin's castle after killing a fairy disguised as a wolf. That mentioned Tamlin is the “beast” of the story, but he's no beast! He's incredibly handsome, and he's even courteous to her. This is not bad, but since he's supposed to be a beast, I expected a more... beastly behaviour from his part.

And here's where I compare Disney's BatB with Maas' ACOTAR...

In Disney's version, Beast deserved his name. He was an incredible asshole at the beginning of the movie. He treated Beauty like garbage, and he did the same to everyone else that got near him. Plus, his appearance was a good add to his beastly nature.

2. I didn't quite love Tamlin and Feyre's relationship.

The synopsis promises us that Feyre's feelings turn slowly from hatred to fierce passion. Well, I didn't feel that change to be so gradual. Maas takes time in developing their relationship, but it never felt to me as if Feyre hated Tamlin.

Again, Disney beats this.

At the beginning of the movie, Beauty could not even look him at the eyes. She couldn't stop crying and she suffered a lot. She was in a cell, she had to eat whenever he told her so, and she didn't have such liberties as pretty dresses or wandering the city as she had in ACOTAR.

I know it's cliched and it was obvious that at some point, she was going to fall fo him, but it was a long time until their relationship started to warm... and I liked it even more because appearances didn't matter. I mean, look at him, please:

If you see that and consider his personality too, you wouldn't think that cold hatred would turn into this:

3. The curse.

This is not the book's fault. This is my fault for keep on comparing Disney's BatB with this. I won't tell you more because spoilers, but keep that in mind.


Given all I've said, you could think this was a bad book, but it wasn't. I enjoyed it and it was a good book. Here are some things I loved:

Setting, world-building, plot.

There's something you need to know about me: I don't like fantasy. Yes, that's what I read the most, but it's not what I crave for, yet Maas is like a queen when it comes to fantasy. She has such an ability to create unique worlds and such great concepts. No one can top her on that.


Oh. My. God. She has improved her writing. It's so beautiful and vivid. The descriptions were swoon-worthy and I loved every word in the book. If I didn't read because I was intrigued, I did it for the writing. Totally marvelous. For this factor alone, I would give the book 5 stars.

The new adult-ish feel.

Please, I know you agree with me on this. As this is not YA, she could take more liberties when it came to writing sexy times, which, if you ask me, were hot. I hope she keeps on writing NA because 1) that genre is plagued with many offensive and crappy titles, and 2) because she writes so good and I want less censoring, if you know what I mean.


She's a great heroine, no Mary Sue. She's kick-ass, fierce, strong-willed and brave. I could connect with her as soon as the book started, and that's a great thing, because if I can't connect with the characters, I may not enjoy the book.


Still, even when this had those points in its favor, I could like it as much as I wanted. Disney wins for me, for the first time. I will finish this trilogy (series?), yet I think Maas' Throne of Glass series is better (so far). Hopefully, my expectations won't be as high as they were for this one.

Now, let's end with this little gif, because I just love this movie so much:

Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: The Shining

The Shining by Stephen King

My rating:

“Sometimes human places, create inhuman monsters.”

I'm kind of new when it comes to Stephen King. I read my first book by him - The Stand – last year and I loved it, so I became an instant fan and I told myself I would read all of his works... eventually, because they're a lot. I wanted to start with some of the classics – Carrie, The Dead Zone, etc – and so, I picked this one too.

Jack Torrance and his family leave to the Overlook hotel for winter because Jack is gonna be the caretaker for that period of time. Things don't end as they wanted. First because the hotel is kind of haunted, and it seems to be getting inside Jack by using his alcoholism to play him mind-tricks. But these things don't remain unseen because Danny, Jack's son, is a “shiner” - he can look inside people's minds and he can sometimes feel other things.

As the novel goes on, we see Jack descend more and more into a madness that's ruining his marriage more than how it was at the beginning and by the end, things are horrible.

What made this book so creepy at some parts? Not the haunted hotel. It was Jack's struggle. There are many people in real life who battle with this, and just reading it in this book caused many chills up my spine. We see how he really tries to avoid drinking for his own family's sake – because he loves them –, but we also see how it affects him not to do it.

During most of the novel, I didn't know how to feel about him. Some parts I pitied him, some others I hated him; but that was great. It just shows how human he was, and I love realistic characters.

There's no need for me to say anything related to characterization and writing, is it? I mean, because in this book, just as in all of SK's novels, the characters are well written and well developed. They're all flawed and perfectly human. I don't know what is it with authors that feel the need to write perfect characters; like, they're human beings! We're very far from perfect.

As for the writing... perfect. As always. It's easy to read and it's kind of entertaining whenever a character's inner thoughts are shown. They add a little more suspense and it's greatly done!

Some things didn't work for me, though.

1. Haunted houses are not really my thing. If I were in the Torrance family's situation, I know I would be just as scared, but in books they don't manage to creep me out.

2. The ending. It felt a little rushed and a little anti-climactic.

3. Danny. Cute boy with scary abilities, buuuut annoying as hell. Perhaps I hated him because I hate children and my level of patience is really slim. Being inside his head for a 500 pages novel was too much for me.

4. Hedge animals. Really, dafuq? Every time I imagined them I laughed. Really, I LAUGHED.

But this is a good book, people; don't get me wrong! I don't hesitate when it comes to recommending this, and I'm definitely reading Doctor Sleep. Also, just so you know, I came to read this without having a clue as to what it was about. I didn't even read the synopsis. I never do that with books, but I totally expected to be completely mind-blown with this for several reasons that you can guess (spoiler: It's because it was Stephen King.).

In the end, of all the books I've read by SK, this is the one I've liked the least, but it was good all the same.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review: Black Iris

Black Iris by Leah Raeder


It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.


My rating:
5 of 5 stars

I am not the heroine of this story.
And I’m not trying to be cute. It’s the truth. I’m diagnosed borderline and seriously fucked-up. I hold grudges. I bottle my hate until it ferments into poison, and then I get high off the fumes. I’m completely dysfunctional and that’s the way I like it, so don’t expect a character arc where I finally find Redemption, Growth, and Change, or learn How to Forgive Myself and Others.
Fuck forgiveness.

Hands down. This is probably the best book I've read in 2015 and it will be difficult to top this read.

I'm going to admit something: When I first discovered this book, I didn't want to read it. The synopsis sounded interesting, but recently I had been terribly disappointed by a NA book and the (I'm a little ashamed of admitting this now; I've told you I've changed a lot in a little time) LGBT tag kind of repelled me. Now it doesn't – in fact, now I look for books that address those themes--, but it did back then, and it prevented me from shelving this.

Then, the ARC reviews started to appear and they were glowing ones. As you may expect, I couldn't help but feel curious. I decided to check on the author's books and I saw she had another book published (Unteachable), which I had been recommended before, but hadn't cared to read. In my “research”, I found this blog post by the author. It completely changed my mind about this book.

So why all the ramble? Because I'm really glad I decided to get over my narrow-mindedness.

Black Iris is not your typical NA novel. Forget about fairy-tales, cute romances and hope-filled stories. This is all about revenge.

I’m the black iris watered by poison. The wolf that raised its head among sheep and devoured its way, ruthless and bloody, to freedom. I never forgave, never forgot.

I'm not going to spoil you details about the plot, but you have to know that this book is dark. The character's actions were sometimes morally questionable, yet that didn't prevent me from loving it.

As in Unteachable, the characters in Black Iris are not of the typical kind. They're complex, realistic, can be unlikable, but they're also easily relatable. Laney's struggles, for example, are things a lot of teenagers struggle with too. That said, the character development was also great. You root for the characters, even when you know you probably shouldn't.

“If you hate human connection so much, why come with us?”
Because I don’t hate it. I hate how much I need it. 
Because you’re the ones I was waiting for. 
Because you smell like prey.

Writing style is just as perfect. How would I describe it? Beautiful, vivid... explosive, as I said in my review ofUnteachable. There are no coherent thoughts that can express how much I love Leah's writing style. Look at this passage, for example:

Two girls, cherry-mouthed, glitter-lashed, our skin luminous with moonlight and sweat, making out beneath pennants that still shivered with the afternoon’s boy bravado. 
If only you bastards could see me now.

AH-MAZING. My reaction to whatever she writes is basically this:

But what makes Black Iris so special? Besides all the things I've mentioned, this book also goes beyond entertainment. It's also a study on humanity. A study of humanity's darkness and evil. Or well, at least that's how I felt it. I feel like this book is going to be important to some people, too, because the themes addressed in it are things we should talk about more commonly.

There's another thing I absolutely loved in this book, and that was the references to classics. I don't know why, but for some reason it makes me feel less stupid, and I also feel like it increases people's interest in classics. Like, I added a ton of books to my TBR after finishing this. It also felt glorious whenever I read one of those quotes and I recognised the work.

Don't expect anything like Unteachable when/if you read this, because they're not similar at all. Unteachable, even when it's better than most NA, still has that NA feel in it. This one does not have it, on the other hand. But I loved that, because this is more like my kind of book. Dark, dark, dark. So dark the light cannot escape it. I wonder what it says about me that my favorite kind of books are these ones.

Girls love each other like animals. There is something ferocious and unself-conscious about it. We don’t guard ourselves like we do with boys. No one trains us to shield our hearts from each other. With girls, it’s total vulnerability from the beginning. Our skin is bare and soft. We love with claws and teeth and the blood is just proof of how much. It’s feral.

Amazing writing, great characterisation, bloody awesome plot twists, hot sex, strong themes addressed correctly... what else do I need to say to convince you to read this? As I said at the beginning, this is probably the best book I've read in 2015. I feel nothing I write will ever do justice to this book, but oh well, I did my best.

Highest possible recommendation. BELIEVE THE HYPE!



I need this book in my life so much that it's almost going to make me sick. I liked Unteachable a lot. I didn't love it, but the writing was so amazing I made my rating go up. This is Leah's writing effect on me:

(I'm a fool for beautiful writing)

April 28th still seems a long way from now, and I simply cannot wait to read this book. It looks so much better and kickass thanUnteachable, and that one had lots of good and kickass things. It's also going to be my first f/f, just so you know.