2013 Reviewed Books (book titles)

Here is the corresponding list of last year's book reviews (I did the book covers last January!):

2. Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes
3. The Pretty One by Cheryl Klam
4. Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
5. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
6. Reflected in You by Sylvia Day
7. Going Bovine by Libba Bray
8. Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
9. Because it is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin
10. Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman
11. It's Kind of A Funny Story Ned Vizzini
12. The Selection by Kiera Cass
13. The Prince by Kiera Cass
14. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
15. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
16. Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern
17. Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick
18. The Elite by Kiera Cass
19. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
20. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
21. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
22. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
23. Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral
24. The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
25. The Boy Book by E. Lockhart
26. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
27. Lizzie Goes Wild
28. The Bermuda Triangle by Charles Berlitz
29. Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase
30. Reasons I Fell for the Fat Funny Friend by Cassie Mae (A.K.A. Becca Ann)
31. Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
32. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
33. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
34. She's Dating the Gangster by Bianca B. Bernardino
35. The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch
36. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
37. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
38. Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
39. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
40. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
41. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
42. Butter by Erin Jade Lange
43. Abandon Changes by John M. Cusick
44. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
45. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
46. Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
47. The Every Boy by Dana Adam Shapiro
48. Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

I miss reviewing books! It's been 60 days (exactly two months!) since the last and it's a pity because I inhaled this one. I was engrossed.

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Greg S. Gaines is a seventeen-year-old boy who has successfully avoided associating himself with any of the groups of Benson High School's strata. His modus operandi in maintaining the seemingly "invisible" facade is to be good friends with everyone but not close enough that it obligates him the sit-with-me-at-lunchtime & let's-hang-out-after-school social norms.

Our lead character may look like a friendless fool on the surface but, really, he has a best friend. Earl Jackson, a boy Greg describes as his "coworker" (they make homemade movies together), is a spunky boy of African-American descent.

Drama in Greg's undoubtedly lighthearted life develops the moment he befriends a cancer-stricken girl named Rachel Kushner.

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As soon as I read Greg's take on how the story would go, I branded this book right away as the Anti-TFiOS (The Fault in Our Stars). The main character immediately denied that there would be any kind of romance between him and Rachel. In fact, he even chose to highlight his negative traits. Considering how selfish and cold he painted himself, I managed to feel sorry for him when Rachel died. Other than the entertaining narrative, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl pulled off some earnest and heartrending story.

I don't think this book is the kind you read chapter by chapter every night. It's the kind of book you want to see through immediately. And it is because of Earl, most of the time.


2013 Reviewed Books (book covers)

Hooray for 2013! I exceeded 2012's by one book. Seems like I fulfilled my New Year's Resolution (which is to counter 2012's 47 books).

These are the 48 books of 2013 (click photo for the corresponding review):


                                               

Mistress of the Solstice by Anna Kashina

Happy New Year blogger-verse! The scent of a promising year to encounter great books is wafting through my computer screen.

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A novel inspired by Russian folklore, Mistress of the Solstice chronicles a story of a young boy named Ivan who attempts to woo Marya (the Mistress of the Solstice herself).

Set out to a journey of magic and peril, Ivan is determined to put the annual virginal sacrifice Kashchey the Immortal executes to a stop. Kashchey, the father of Marya, was confident that the solstice sacrifice will push through as planned until Ivan arrived in the scene.

Together with a talking wolf named Wolf, we get immersed into Ivan's mission in turning Marya into a Mistress of the Solstice no more.

Will he succeed? Let's find out come Solstice night!

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I like that there are some Russian dialect injected in the book. I learned words like versts, lapti & izba. The story-line on the other hand can keep a reader. Not slow or fast-paced, just enough to keep someone guessing. But my disappointment were the characters. 

The Ivan and Marya chemistry wasn't built up properly that whatever they said they were feeling about each other seemed unreal. The romance could have been better because the rest is just background. The selling point of Mistress of the Solstice is the love story and so I had higher hopes that upon reading their interaction, a shiver would run down my spine.

There were borrowed characters like Bayun the Cat (obviously the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland) and Magic Mirror (oh you know where this came from!). Also, Marya's lust towards her father was disturbing. I don't know how to feel about it but it's just not supposed to go that way.

All in all, I'd still say it's quite some story! 3 stars if I were the kind who gives them.