вівторок, 3 січня 2017 р.

Paper Towns

Paper Towns
John Green
I read this book a while back, but I saw one of my friends reading it today, and I decided to write about it because this book is one of those books...a book that makes you laugh, makes you cry, breaks your heart, and then stitches it back together in rough, uneven stitches.
It's a book like the ones I dream of writing. A book that you fall in love with, a book that you hate with all your heart.
This book provokes some deep thoughts, gives great tattoo inspiration, and makes you ponder the meaning of life. It is one of John Green's best (who am I kidding? All of his books are his best...), and I absolutely love it.
It's the tale of two childhood best friends, that, years later, fall in love. Seems cliche, doesn't it? Well, it's not. They go on an adventure, break into Sea World, and then she disappears. He fears for her life, so he tries to find her.
It's the story of a treasure hunt that seems to be a wild goose chase. The beginning hooked me, the middle made me laugh, and the ending broke my heart.
Dreams come true. Just not in the way you want them to.
Books and movies are great, but to be good, they have to break your heart open at least once. Nobody has to die, although that's what authors and scriptwriter usually do. That's a great way, but it's the easier way. The hard way is to manipulate love, manipulate personality and destiny, to make you hate a character you thought you knew so well, or to curse the decisions of someone you thought wise.
John Green is a master of his craft, and this is a book that I will be returning to.

понеділок, 2 січня 2017 р.

The children of Eden

The Children of Eden
Joey Graceffa
I had some doubts about this book at first, considering that famous people get easy publishing deals. At first, I cringed at the way the author described everything, their world, in particular, instead of showing us. It's a mistake many amateur writers make, and after reading Steven King's book "On writing," my eyes are open to all of those mistakes. (Great book by the way!)
I will admit, however, that the plot twists, characters and the interesting idea for Eden, led me to read this book very quickly. Writing about was a little longer because I had to find a balance of good and bad in this book.
The main characters curiousness and questions make it all the more interesting. she doesn't know how to act, she's unsure and shy, she ponders her sexuality, all while figuring out the truth about herself and her world, dealing with the grief of her mother's death, rescuing her brother, keeping her hate for her father at bay, and walking the thin line between friendship and love.
I love the idea for this book... the world, the bad guy, the secret societies... but I must say that the idea is better than the actual realization. Joey Graceffa is a great youtuber, but he needs to work on his skills as an author.

On a side note, this book was great. Thank you to the person, who got it for me. It was a quick read and kept me on the edge of my seat (well, not really, since I was sitting in bed all day).

субота, 31 грудня 2016 р.

Magnus Chase and the gods of Asgard

Magnus Chase and the gods of Asgard
Rick Riordan

This book is really interesting, but it gives off a huge "Percy Jackson" vibe. Rick is a great author, and I love that he keeps writing books even when he's rich and famous, but Magnus and Percy seem just a little too alike. They're both clumsy, funny, know nothing of their powers, and their lives have been nothing short of tragic thus far (although, I admit, Magnus's is far worse).
It taught me new things about Norse mythology, which I wasn't too knowledgeable in to begin with. Riordan has a way of writing, that teaches you so much, but you don't even realize it. The knowledge, however, sticks. Recently it helped me get second place at a school Bee.
Magnus has two good friends, an elf and a dwarf, who have been looking over him since his mom died. They pretended to be homeless, as magnus was, which is a new thing in literature.
The characters seem so alive, their adventures so real, that I can't help but praise this book, although it did go a little slow for me.
Four stars, generous awe, and... well, the wish that someday, I'll get to meet Samira Al Abbas.

Happy New Year, my friends! May it be bright and happy, full of joy and great new books.
(That is, if anyone is reading this...)

понеділок, 28 листопада 2016 р.

Red Queen

Red Queen
Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen is one of the better books of this decade. Just when you think the plot is predictable and you know what will happen next, the author throws in a huge twist that has you nearly falling out of your car and slamming on the brakes. The author has a way of going from one to one million that I haven’t ever seen in young adult literature. The only author that I can compare is Rick Riordan, and he’s a legend in my eyes.
This book is about a world divided, much like ours, but not by color of skin, nationality or religion, but by color of blood. There are Silvers, the god-like creatures with special abilities, an abundance of wealth, and, you guessed it - silver blood. And then there are Reds, lowly servants, who live in ramshackle huts, and whose only dream is to last till the next day.

Mare Barrow is a Red, but when she gets a job at the palace, her abilities show - on live TV. Now the whole country knows that Silvers aren’t the only ones capable of creating wonders with their hands and minds. The crown simply cannot have this. The Reds are already rebelling, and knowing that some of them have powers would only strengthen the uprising. So they disguise Mare as a lost Silver princess.
This book pleasantly surprised me. It is Victoria Aveyard's first novel, and it is quite a success. There are many plot twists, great character development, and an amazing plot.

I give this book ten stars, a permanent spot in my memory, and round of applause for Victoria Aveyard.

субота, 26 листопада 2016 р.

The Forgetting

The Forgetting
Sharon Cameron

We dream of sending men to Mars. We want to attempt life on another planet. We spend thousands, millions, billions on space exploration. What if it all finally paid off? What if those dreams came true?
In The Forgetting, this is exactly what happens. 150 of Earth's smartest, most talented, most successful, most adaptable people sent on a mission to create the perfect society. Some of them, however, had another mission that they kept secret. When this was found out fighting broke out. However, almost as fast as the fighting started, it stopped. That's because everybody (except for one little girl) forgot everything about themselves, their families and the world they lived, in.
Many years later, another girl with the talent of remembering is born. Will she bring more heartbreak, or will she fix their crooked society, once and for all?
When I first picked up this book, I was very excited. It seemed completely original, there weren't any noticeable cliches, and the characters seemed real... raw. At first, reading it went rather slow for me. But as the book started pulling me in, I realized that my first impression was correct. The characters are great, real, they have faults and insecurities.
There were no "Mary Jane characters"  - ones that are perfect inside and out. I found no cliches in the plot, and everything was original, new and very interesting. I loved the idea, I loved the ending I loved the characters. This one of few modern books that are interesting, original, and at the same time, not predictable. This book made me laugh, cry, gasp, cheer, bite my nails and nearly fall off my chair.

This book earns nine stars, a place on my "favorites" shelf, and high praise for the author.

неділя, 31 липня 2016 р.

Percy Jackson

Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson's life has never been easy. With ADHD, dyslexia, and a tendency to flunk out of every school his mom enrolls him in, he ends up... vaporizing his algebra teacher.
It's not like it was his fault! She came a his with claws and talons and all hiss-hiss, give me your soul, you're not getting out of here alive. What was he supposed to do? Actually give her his soul? That's not how Percy Jackson does it. (Plus, those bargains never work out too well for the soul being sold...)
Soon enough Percy found out that he was a demigod (half human, half god). One of his parents (growing up without a father, there wasn't much question) is a Greek god. With Percy bursting pipes and using creek water to heal himself, well... Hello, Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon.
Which, here and now may not be the best thing. Zeus's lighting bolt has been stolen, and the main suspect is Poseidon, considering he has tried to overthrow his brother in the past. The god himself wouldn't do it, of course, but he could send a human hero - Percy Jackson. Percy Jackson who has no idea, what the Hades is going on, and why he's suddenly the bad guy.
Since I already mentioned him, what is the role of Zeus's other brother, Hades, in all of this? Chiron (and the oracle) consider Hades the man for Percy. So the main question remains: can Percy retrieve the lighting bolt (and his mother) from the king of the underworld before all Hades breaks loose?
Follow Percy and his humorous narration throught this series where he tries to die, get a girlfriend, and save the world (and somehow manages all three, without losing his hilarious sense of humor and charming cluelessness).
The characters in this story have special powers, thanks to their godly parents, but they are not perfect. Far from it: most of them have ADHD, dyslexia or both. They have trouble concentrating in "normal people school," because their minds are suited for the battlefield. When they are fighting medusae, giants or any other monsters, however, their ADHD allows them to focus on the many things that are happening all at once.
I really like that Rick shows us that their special abilities, however cool, they may be, bring more trouble than happiness... are more curse than blessing. Of course, they get to learn new skills, and make new friends, but they are all constantly on the run from monsters at a very young age, the only safe place being Camp Half-Blood.
Also, their abilities may spark jealously between the different cabins, which reminds me of the jealousy we have at school over inanimate objects. This could potentially cause some to turn to evil and well... just reminds us that fantasy worlds are not an escape from all of our everyday problems, they just show us the problems in a different light. If we see things from a magical angle, some of us ignore the serious things. We ignore the things between the lines... however, in "Percy Jackson," these things aren't even between the lines. They are right there in the text, so even the most ignorant people pay attention to them.
The main plot in Riordan's book is the adventures which Percy and his friends undertake in order to keep the mortals safe, but the series gives off a strong "troubled teen finds friends" vibe, that I really love. It shows that having special powers doesn't make being a teenager any easier. (AS IF it wasn't hard enough to begin with...)
Many fantasy and sci-fi books published currently try to pull out heart strings, and this one hits the bulls-eye.

вівторок, 14 червня 2016 р.

You have a brain

You have a brain
Dr. Benjamin Carson

I, as most teengers of the 21st century, mostly read fiction. I love the fantasy worlds that suck me in with their magic, the characters that are so different from me with their otherworldly powers, yet much the same in their struggles and insecurities... these worlds help us get through tough times, and they entertain us when we need to laugh. We worry about our favorite characters, celebrate their wins, mourn their loses, and hate on the villians with them.
But sometimes, when I'm looking for motivation, I will read non-fiction. Namely, autobiography-type books written by famous people that are meant to inspire us.
One of those books was "You have a brain" by Dr. Ben Carson. After reading Carson's book, there were some things that struck me the hardest. I would like to share them with you.
Ben's mother had only recieved a third grade education. Her husband left her with two growing young boys. She lived in (not the best part of) Detroit, but for a while had to rent out her house, and then move away completely and live with her sister, to make ends meet.
She didn't let any of this stop her. She believed that her boys could get a good education, be something more. She never stopped believing in them. And she never stopped pushing them to their limits, either.
When Ben was in fifth grade, his family ha just returned to Detroit, and he was very much behind on his lessons. He was, basically, failing school. His mother prayed to God, and asked Him for wisdom. The next day, she sat Ben and Curtis down at the kitchen table and layed down her plan. Ben's mother set up a reading program for them. She told them to read two books per week, write reports on them, and read the reports to her. Back then, the boys didn't realize that the reason they had to read them out loud was because their mother simply didn't know how.
The reading helped Ben. A lot. It made him a lot more knowledgable, first on his favorite subjects, and then everything he could get his hands on. Once Ben got up the courage to raise his hand in class, he quickly went from "the dumbest kid in fifth grade" (as his classmates dubbed him), to one of the smartest.
Soon after Ben had his breakthrough, he went around helping the people in his grade and telling them bits of new information he had learned. At least, he thought he was helping, until once in ninth grade, he confronted a classmate who was being mean to him and asked him why he was being so hostile. The boy replied with "Because you're obnoxious. You know so much, and you  make sure everybody knows it."
In fifth grade, they teased him for being dumb, and now, he couldn't seem to fit in because he was smart.
The only mischeaf Ben really got into was participatung in a raid on the neighbor's fruit trees. He didn't stay there for long, because deep down, he knew it was wrong. A while after that, the group of guys he hung out with snuck into a warehouse. He went with them, but while they were going in, he weighed the pros and cons, realized that there really were no pros in sneaking into the warehouse, and quietly went home.
I really look up to the fact that Ben talked to his teachers after school, and asked them for extra assignments and such. He had a lot of mentors through high school, and although some of them seeked him out first, most of them, he had to get the courage to get up and talk to them.
Ben's THINK BIG strategy goes like this: talent, honesty, insight, nice, knowledge, books, in-depth learning, and God.
Talent. Everybody has some kind of talent. Your talent may not be in the sports or entertainment industry, which seems to be the stereotypical defenition of talent these days, but it's just as important. The defenition of talent is not "something you do better than other people." Not necessarily. A talent is a combination of things, amounting to: something you do well.
Being nice should be easy. Actually, it is easy. When we're born, we are nice. What we're taught later in life, by our parents, our teachers, our friends... determines if we are nice later in life. It's really quite sad how many people in this modern world forget to be kind. More people still think that being nice means being respectful. That is part of it, yes. But being nice is more than that. More than just saying hello to people as you walk by. Being nice is doing something for those people, and not expecting any source of repayment in return.
In his strategy, Carson more than once mentions things that have to do with academics. Knowledge, books, in-depth learning... not to mention the fact that all the other things we should have in our toolbox when we go to school as well. School should be about being nice. Being honest. Knowledge is very important, but if we forget ourselves and bury ourselves in knowledge, we become obnoxious and arrogant, many times, as Carson did in ninth grade, without even realizing it.
The main lessons I see in these book are (in no particular order): be nice, read (a lot), find your talents and know your talents, and LISTEN to your mother. She only wants what's best for you.
This book taught me many things, and reminded me of some personal values.