Monday, September 8, 2014

The Cure for Dreaming: Review+Photo Collage

17841138Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women.

First and foremost, I want to say that Cat Winters is now my favorite historical writer, very close to Libba Bray. The Cure for Dreaming is the first book I've read by Winters, though I also own her other young adult historical fiction book, In the Shadow of the Blackbirds(which I must get to soon). You're probably wondering, "Wow, she's only read one of her books, and suddenly she becomes her favorite historical author; that was fast!" However, Winters has completely shown me her emormously amazing writing skills and abilities to make me engrossed while reading The Cure for Dreaming.
The problem that I almost always encounter in historical books is infodumping. There will be ten different words in a page that describe clothing or the setting and it's usually an immediate turnoff. Winters does the opposite: She captures my attention with her beautiful, vivid details of the time era, 1900.
Now, the second problem I encounter most of the time in historical fiction is a bland introduction to the world. Here Winters does the opposite as well. The book starts off with a bang when Olivia Mead, the protanginist, goes to a hypnotist event for her birthday. She is then selected as a candidate...and well, you get the picture. Immediately, Winters has captured my attention!

"The hypnotist wrapped his fingers around mine and helped me climb to the floorboards above."

Let's talk characters. I've just mentioned the main character, Olivia. Olivia is a girl with many things to say, but too shy to usually say them outloud, especially to her father. She secretly defies her father by attending Women's Rights rallies. The main trait that Olivia displayed through the book was tenacity. She is a very strong-willed, capable, and independent girl. She goes through some transformations across the story, and I admired her more and more by the end.
Then there is Henri(or Henry). Oh, how I loved him so. In a time era where men put women beneath them, I thought it was a great feat that Henry defies what normal men think and believes that woman deserve equal rights just as men do. Henry is a great many things: sweet, understanding, kind, average-looking, smart, encouraging...I could go on. But, I don't want to point out his traits so much as the actions he performs to make him into these characteristics. He understands the way the world should be; and helps Olivia see that, even though Olivia didn't necessarily need it to truly see the world. He is evermore kind and sweet and gentlemanly to Olivia. He respects her in her own ways. He is only average-looking in the world, but for Olivia she can see everything; his distress, his beauty, his fatigue...
There are other important characters, such Genevieve, Dr. Mead, and Frannie in the book, but I won't go into depth about them. All I will say is that I admire Winters abilities to write real, human characters.
The setting of this book was honestly what I was looking forward to most, and it met my high expectations. The book is set in 1900, when Women are looked down upon by men. Winters also throws in an interesting twist in this world with hypnotism. Olivia is hypnotised into seeing the world "as it truly is." Olivia then starts seeing visions of people walking down the street that resemble monsters. This perspective really shows the originalty Winters has, while also dealing with real-life-current problems.
The ending to this book was perfect. It was left somewhat open for us to imagine what might happen next, but it also is a very satisfying ending.
Overall, I adored this book. Winters showed me her writing abilities, and I was impressed! The world and writing immediately captured my attention. She combined originalty with real problems and her characters fit the book perfectly.

Photo Collage:


Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Heart and Other Black Holes: Review

18336965Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner. 

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

This book crushed the best possible way. I don't know how to put any words down, really. Whenever I try to come up with some sophisticated way to describe my feelings, I can't. This book is beyond my words.

My Heart and Other Black Holes brings up an ugly but very much needed topic: suicide. It goes about doing this in a darkly humorous perspective. My Heart and Other Black Holes has spunk and humor! It made me chuckle while also tearing open my heart. There are just so many feels.

Our protagonist Aysel has been feeling depressed ever since her father committed murder. As the author describes in the book at one point, "a black slug eats away all of her happy thoughts."  I couldn't quite connect to Aysel, but I didn't even care because she was funny and real. It's only later in the book when I start to sympathize with Aysel's story and really understand her character.
Enter Roman: they meet up when they find each other on the suicide site. Immediately, I knew I was going to love him. And I did. I wish there were boys in real life that were as sweet and honest and everything as him. The feels.
The initial reason why I wanted to read this book was the storyline. This book just screamed tears and honesty and the difficulties of dealing with depression. Did I love this book as much as I hoped to? No. However, it came very close to that and I still loved the characters and all the feelings this book elicited out of me.
This review jumped everywhere, because I honestly don't know how to put down my thoughts in order. So don't mind the jumbled, messy review. I just want to convey that this book deserves appreciation when it comes out. It won't be for everyone, but I can applaud the author for exploring a not-nearly-enough talked about subject with humor and hope.


Monday, September 1, 2014

August Book Haul(In Which I Buy Way Too Much)

Hi all! This is a little different than what I usually do, but since I got a ton of books this month, I decided why not? All of these books I got sometime between August 1st to August 30th(since August 31st doesn't have mail).

The Silvered by Tanya Huff- I saw this book while searching through Goodreads, and I needed it in my life. Bought through Amazon.
Forget Me by K.A. Harrington- I pre-ordered this book through Amazon.
Gilt by Katherine Longshore-I bought this book, because I love historical fiction! Bought through Amazon.
Tarnish by Katherine Longshore-And, yes, I bought the second companion novel. Bought through Amazon.
Brazen by Katherine Longshore- And, umm, yes, I bought the third companion novel. Bought through B&N.
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson- Stacie Cruz was selling some books on twitter, and I saw this and immediately bought it.
All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry-I also bought this from Stacie Cruz, because I've heard some great things.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein-The pb was selling really cheap on Amazon, and I've been meaning to buy it for some time.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke-This is just another book I've been meaning to buy and finally got around to it! Bought from Amazon as well.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness-Another book I've wanted to get and finally did. Bought from Amazon.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness-This was really cheap on Amazon, and I've only heard amazing, amazing things, so I bought it.
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner-Alot of people have loved this, so I'm looking forward to finally reading it! Bought through B&N.
Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb-Someone recommended the first book to me, and since I really enjoyed it I bought the 2nd book as well. Bought through Amazon.
Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb-And the third book. I honestly don't know when I'll get around to these beasts, but I will! Also bought from Amazon.
The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar-I needed this cute contemporary. Bought through B&N.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater-I wanted to have these beautiful hardcopies on my bookshelf and finally bought them! Bought through Amazon.
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater-Also bought from Amazon.

The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett-I won this in Lori M. Lee and Sarah Fine's twitter chat awhile back!
The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove-Won from Word Candy.
Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson-Won during Nikki Wang's GYDO  from Ri at Hiver & Cafe.
Sway by Kat Spears-Won from Alexis Sulcido on twitter.
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley-Won from Alexis Sulcido.
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black-Won from Alexis Sulcido.
Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn-I won this quite awhile back from Chelsea Pitcher's Diversify Your Shelf giveaway.

So there you have it! I am really, really going on a book ban this time, because no more money for me ;) I'm not going to include any of my digital review copies, because too much there.