Jan 26, 2016

Book Review: A Drop of Night - Stefan Bachmann

Title: A Drop of Night
Author: Stefan Bachmann
Release Date: March 15th 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she's been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780's to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.
Or so she thought.
But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths...
I picked up this book in my attempts to lessen the unread ARCs in my bookshelf, and man, I sure wasn't prepared for this. A Drop of Night had me at "underground palace" - just how were they able to build one back in the days when technology wasn't as advanced as it is now? And for what reason? 
I don't believe in the whole "people are basically good deep down" notion. I think deep down is where people are the worst.
The story starts by introducing us to Anouk, our rude and angsty main character, who seems to think her life is the worst even when she's surrounded by opportunities to do whatever she wants. I think this is the one thing I dislike about her; sure, her parents regretted adopting her the moment her baby sister was born, but to take out that frustration on basically everybody else, even those who were trying to be friendly and helpful, was immature and wasteful, especially for someone supposedly as smart as she is. But moving on.

The all-expenses-paid trip to Paris is her way out of that life. Although she has taken many such trips to different parts of the world before, she thought this one would finally allow her to leave her dysfunctional family once and for all. She is joined by four other gifted kids who have no idea just how they were chosen or what the criteria were, but soon, the trip turns into a deadly nightmare that they have to escape.

This book is told in two ways: by Anouk, and by flashbacks to medieval France when the palace was in construction. The flashbacks built up a good amount of suspense that had me pulling at my hair, thinking just what in the world these aristocrats were doing - and hiding - under there. But while the flashbacks cooked up the mystery, the story as told by Anouk in the present provided the action. I don't want to go into much detail in order to avoid spoiling this for anyone, but believe me when I tell you that this book is not what you're expecting it to be.

Overall, A Drop of Night is an action-packed book, some happening so fast I had to reread for me to understand what happened which may have actually watered down the excitement quite a bit. Still, it kept me on the edge of my seat, feeling like I was one of the kids they sent into the palace, avoiding traps and hiding in panic rooms. This is one book I would love to see on the big screen.

RATING:

Jan 20, 2016

Cover Remake {2}: Anna and the French Kiss

For when I'm too bored or too lazy to write a book review.

I think I prefer the one on the left because it looks like a movie poster, imo. And I'm not the hugest fan of the script font that I used on the right one - I better get new fonts soon! Oh, and I reviewed this book if you're interested!

Jan 14, 2016

Book Review: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Title: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Release Date: May 23rd 2006
Publisher: Alfred F. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Goodreads
"I know this is going to sound strange, but would you mind being my girlfriend for the next five minutes?"
Nick frequents New York's indie rock scene nursing a broken heart.
Norah is questioning all of her assumptions about the world.
They have nothing in common except for killer taste in music, but one awkward chance encounter turns into an all-night quest to find a legendary band's secret show in the mystic maze of Manhattan - and a first date full of falling in and out (and in and out, and maybe in and maybe out) of love.
I had one rule when it comes to book-to-movie adaptations: if I haven't read it, then I have no right to watch it. But a little before 2015 ended last week, I decided to break that rule and watched Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, and although I eventually found out that it's almost a complete one-eighty from the book, it did have me running to the bookstore as soon as I could. Good job, movie!
No, bitch, I mean you intimidate guys with a look or a comment before they can decide if they want a chance with you. You're so judgmental. Along with frigid.
Unlike the simple, whimsical tone of the movie, the book is filled to the brim with teenage punk and emotions that poured out of the page, and because I saw the movie first, it was like the book took the plot of the movie, laid it on paper, and colored it with crayons such as "Sweaty Club" and "Can't Get Over My Ex". Or to put it simply, the book is more emotionally complex than the movie, but that's definitely not to say it was a bad movie. I actually really enjoyed it, and Michael Cera with a bass guitar is surprisingly hot, and the soundtrack is amazing.
Feminism should be all-inclusive - it should be about sexual liberation, equal pay for equal work, and the fundamental girl right of boy2boy appreciation.
Just like Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (I seriously have a love-hate relationship with these titles, ugh) is the kind of book that you can start and finish in one sitting because reading it is so easy, so comforting to read, like you're chatting with a long-time friend or curling up in bed with your headphones on on a rainy day. And I love how the authors made all of their characters, not just the main ones, jump out of the page, each of them unique and equally interesting.
I shouldn't want the song to end. I always think of each night as a song. Or each moment as a song. But now I'm seeing we don't live in a single song. We move from song to song, from lyric to lyric, from chord to chord. There is no ending here. It's an infinite playlist.
Perhaps the only thing I disliked about this book is how similar Nick and Norah sounded, so much so that most of the time I had no idea whose perspective I was reading - but maybe that's only another indication of how in sync they were, because I honestly believe your musical soulmate is one of the few - if not the One - for you, and believe me when I say that this book, even if punk music grates on your ears, is going to be your musical soulmate.

MY FAVORITE PART was the Marriott. Good heavens.

RATING:

Jan 8, 2016

Top 10 Series I Want to Start This Year

The moment I thought of making this list, I wanted to hit myself on the head with all of the books sitting unread on my shelf, but I can't help it! Like I said before, I self-harm with books, and God knows I have so little time as it is. Anyway, let's see which of these I get to read by year's end!

Jan 2, 2016

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: December 2nd 2010
Publisher: Dutton Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all... including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
Anna and the French Kiss is one of those books that I regret not reading sooner. I'd known I was going to love it, so why rush? Wrong. So very wrong. The moment I finished the last page, I just wanted to hit myself on the head with the book because I was reeling. And to think I could have experienced that wonder years ago!

Some people are finicky about going to the theater alone, but I'm not. Because when the lights go down, the only relationship left in the room is the one between the movie and me.

For as long as I can remember, I've always been fascinated with Paris, but only after reading this book did I have a solid itinerary for when I finally visit the City of Love. However, aside from the Eiffel Tower, Point Zero, Shakespeare & Co., the Notre Dame, and the fictional school SOAP, what made Anna and the French Kiss such a standout for me was the interesting array of characters who made this story jump out of the page - particularly the main ones, Anna Oliphant and Etienne St. Clair.

To be honest, I seriously thought I was going to hate Anna, that she was a spoiled brat with a perfect life that she didn't want to leave behind. I mean, who sulks about being shipped off to Paris?! (I ought to be better at reading synopses, I know.) As it turns out, though, she couldn't be more different from what I'd imagined. She's awkward and hopeful and assuming; she already had an idea of how her life was going to play out, with her family and best friend and maybe-soon-to-be boyfriend, and, aside from leaving the familiar, she is more upset about Paris because her father didn't give her a choice. Granted, she probably would have chosen to stay at home, but I completely got her frustration at being left without a choice.

So off to Paris she flew, and what better way to cope with the fact that you've been shipped off to a foreign country for your senior year than with an "English French American Boy Masterpiece" such as Etienne St. Clair? Etienne, who has an English accent, can speak fluent French, is obsessed with history, and would win the gold medal for the Hair Olympics? God, this boy is overkill.

Let me tell you now, just in case you have not read this book (although I highly doubt it): this book is basically their entire senior year in Paris spent full of friendship and romantic tension, but what I especially loved about their relationship is that they became best friends first, lovers next, because they couldn't act on the aforementioned romantic tension thanks to Etienne's girlfriend and Anna's hesitancy. They're one of those cases where you want to lock them in a room so they would just kiss already, because the glances and near-kisses are too much to take. This book exhausted me emotionally.

Anna and the French Kiss is the rare book that gets better with every reread - I should know because I've read it thrice. It gave me something new and made me squeal like a banshee every damn time, and I know my third read will not be the last.

MY FAVORITE PART was Anna arriving back in Paris after Christmas break. Sigh.

RATING:

Jan 1, 2016

Bye 2015, Hello 2016!

 

2015 was a very good year for me except for two aspects in my life: reading- and blogging-wise. I read less books than I had in 2014 and posted infinitely less here on the blog, and I can blame it on work and school but I know that, more than that, it was because of my poor time management skills. I'm a big procrastinator, and oftentimes, I end up with a pile of new, unread books and sixteen hours of sleep. 

But this year, I resolve to making much better use of my time! No more playing Cooking Fever on my phone till I get dizzy! No more sleeping for longer than eight hours! No more countless hours of Suits and The Flash marathons! (Okay, maybe I'll give myself three hours during my days off.) But, still! I'll allot more time for reading even a few pages every day and blogging at least once a week. 

For now, I have this lame post to herald in the new year, but rest assured that there are more and better things to come from my blog. My book reviews will always be insufficient, though :P Happy New Year, friends!

P.S. Care to share with me any titles you're excited for? I sure need to add 2016 releases to my TBR list.