Review: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Ones Who Walk Away from OmelasThe Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll say it. I read it because my favorite music group (BTS) released a music video referencing this book. (Everyone, go watch this profound, aesthetic MV: BTS ‘봄날 (Spring Day)’) To be honest, I just love it when art, music, and literature make cross-overs because it is so fun to explore the connections made between them. This story was fairly short but difficult for me to read because the idea of happiness in Omelas is so genuine when I considered that one piece of misery left in the midst. I think the theme has evaded many readers but to me, the notion that the people of Omelas derive happiness from the one root of sadness is actually possible. Without awareness of someone’s pain and suffering, we ourselves cannot seek happiness because it is only through the existence of misery that we can truly understand what happiness is. This way, citizens of Omelas choose to use this misery as a reason to be kind and live happy lives. Essentially, this is a story about the necessity of evil in order to bring about immense good. I personally cannot reconcile this despite knowing it, and that is why I understand fully why Guin writes about those who walk away from Omelas. Ultimately, it does not matter where they walk towards but only that they walk away from Omelas.

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ARC Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t know where to begin as I feel bewildered and conflicted about the ending.
The only genres tagged for this book right now is ‘fantasy’ and ‘young adult’ but it is more complex than that. The story takes places in an alternate world where there are people who are Skilled (aka they have magic powers) and those that are unskilled who are all forced to do slavedays for 10 years of their lives. The premise is quite flimsy but it does raise a lot of interest because it is a difficult one to execute.
The plot meandered and took a while to pick up and I had to stop reading after events at the end of Chapter 3. Although I am used to reading gritty, dark themes, the scene in Chapter 3 was seared in my mind and I was slightly traumatized by what I read. Personally, this book toes the lines of the young adult genre and I would not recommend it to adolescent readers. I wouldn’t necessary place a trigger warning on it but there are mature themes dealt with throughout the book.

What I Liked:
-The descriptive writing and subtle humor
-Different point of views
-They talked about C-pop
-There were different settings
-Many plot twists
-Unique characterizations
-Multiple subplots

The first half of the book was boring for me and it spent a lot of time on developing the world and introducing characters. But if you can get past all of the trimmings and enter the latter half of the book, it picks up the pace and starts fleshing out the plot. The book’s biggest strength is the complexity of each character and their motives that drive their actions. The book’s biggest weaknesses is also the reader’s lack of connection with the characters. I don’t particularly care for the romance subplot, and I was somewhat apathetic to any character plights. Nevertheless, the wide cast of characters were fascinating, and I would still like to read about them even though I do not particularly like them. I still cannot pinpoint Silyen’s motives so he was the most interesting for me to read about. The villains are not clear-cut and neither are the heroes even though there is a central conflict to fight for. As the book ends on a disastrous note for many characters, I will be looking forward to the sequel. I was ultimately captivated by this dark, twisted story, and I really like it when the ending is left open-ended with many things gone wrong.

I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Retellings of Beauty and the Beast

IT’S FINALLY OUT. I’ve been waiting for the trailer ever since the first movie teaser was released! Beauty and the Beast is by far my all-time favorite fairy tale and I am ecstatic that it is finally getting a live action film. I also want to gush about all the recent book retellings of BatB so I will be listing several of my favorites below the trailer.


They are listed from my least to most favorite retellings:

7. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L Jensen (Review here)

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6. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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5. Beauty by Robin McKinley

4. East by Edith Pattou

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3. Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

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2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Check out my review here)

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Free Spirit Award

free-spirit-award

One of the greatest gems of blogging is the nominations and passing on of awards. It is such a great interactive tool especially amidst the blogging community when blogs tend to be a lone venture in stream-of-consciousness. This is actually what I want to talk about since the award has given me leeway to spew whatever I want!

Thank you for nominating me, Honya and for leaving the topic as eponymous as the award name. 🙂 From what I see, I need to only follow this guideline: Use the topic that the previous nominee provided you with and go off on that tangent. And be sure to nominate other great bloggers in the end!!
Since the topic was left open, I’ll just follow up on what Honya discussed in her post. I came into blogging naturally because of my long-standing love of books. I had always been a bookworm and it was further intensified when I discovered Goodreads. However, I didn’t truly start writing full reviews until college sophomore year (which was when I started up this blog) and I truthfully didn’t think I would stay. I assumed I would put hours of effort into making my WP website just like how I did with Tumblr and Pinterest but then quit a few days later. I had a strong ambition because writing is not my strongest skill set and my long-term goal was simply to write about what I read. So it’s been 9 months and I’m still here. I don’t know if my writing has improved because I’m still writing colloquially, and I personally did not feel a cataclysmic shift towards publish-worthy writing.

Frankly, there is no subject other than books that I can happily write and gush about. (I mean…I have Bangtan Boys and my favorite kdramas but I’m so biased that I’ll end up fangirling most of the time when I write about them.) It’s hard nowadays to find someone who loves to read, and it’s even harder to find someone love the same books I read. Sure, I found friends who loved The Glass Throne series by Sarah Maas but I’m also looking for those who read my other favorites. Where are you people?!

I really felt welcomed in the community and the amount of feedback I’ve gotten simply through a like or comment is immensely motivating. Although I don’t need people to read my posts, I am honored that they do. Even if the blogger skims through my writing, I believe it is still reading because they get the gist of what I want to say and they get a hefty idea of my writing style. My thoughts aren’t important and the fact that someone is taking time to read them, it is an absolute miracle!

So thank you to all you commenters, likers, and nominators! I really enjoy blogging and now that I’m taken up with school and work, I still hope someone will read whatever meager posts I come up with. It is an empowering outlet for me and I’m glad I made the transition from keeping a diary as a child to writing short GR blurbs to airing out longer thoughts on WordPress.


I want to nominate new followers and hear what they say!

Jess @Half Girl Half Teacup

Cloudrose @amandafreelance.wordpress.com

Laura @LaLa’s Blog

3 Quotes Challenge- Day 2

I was nominated by Kath from The Last Reader for the 3 Days 3 Quotes ChallengeThank you for nominating me! So here is Day 2 🙂

The rules are simple:

Thank the person who nominated you.
Post one quote each day for 3 days (it can be anybody’s quote, even yours. Make sure you credit it properly), and lastly,
Tag 3 different bloggers everyday.

He knows bad days. Bad days take him completely by surprise. They make him not trust the good days because it’s likely something is lurking twenty-four hours away.

Let me tell you, read Melina Marchetta’s books. READ THEM. Any one of her books, it’s your choice because I guarantee you that you’ll enjoy it.


Here are my nominations!!

Olivia Emily @bibliomad

aentee @Read at Midnight

BOOKSHOARDERGAL

Liebster Award

Thank you so much Victoria, Marcia, and Honya for nominating me for the Liebster Award!! I’m sure going to have fun with these 😀

Here are Victoria’s questions:

  1. What’s the worst book you’ve read? Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi (Anime and manga was literally butchered in this book)
  2. If you could go to any country in the world, where would you go? China
  3. What is/was your favourite class at school? Art
  4. Other than blogging, what do you like to do in your spare time? Read LOL. And draw, watch kdramas, and eat.
  5. Who is your favourite singer/band? Kpop BIGBANG
  6. If you could have any pet, what would you have? It can be mythical if you want! I want a puppy.
  7. What’s been your favourite blogging moment so far? When people actually took the time to read and comment on my posts.
  8. What, in your opinion, is your best feature? My eyes.
  9. If you could change places with a celebrity for a day, who would you be? J. K. Rowling
  10. If you could join a family, mythical or real, who would you join? Don’t worry, you can take your family with you! Tsubasa Chronicles family

Honya’s:

  1. What inspired you to begin blogging? I read a lot but I needed to hone my writing skills through longer reviews.
  2. Would you rather read books written in your native language, or do you like reading translated books from other countries? I speak Chinese but I read in English because that’s what I’m taught.
  3. Favorite author? (You can pick more than one.) Melina Marchetta, Georgette Heyer, Maggie Stiefvater
  4. What little-known book do you really like? Red Rising Trilogy, Sherry Thomas’s Elemental trilogy, All Our Yesterdays
  5. Conversely, what popular book can you just not bring yourself to enjoy? The Grisha Trilogy, Blood of Eden
  6. If you were in your own fairy tale, what kind of character would you be? The one who dies first.
  7. If you could meet any historical figure, who would you most want to meet? Jane Austen
  8. Coffee or tea? Or do you avoid caffeine? Tea
  9. Are there any musicians/musical groups that you particularly enjoy? Infinite and AkMu is pretty awesome.
  10. What other forms of art (besides books) do you like? I love drawing manga and anime is alright I guess.
  11. What are you looking for in other book blogs in the community? I look for reviews and speculation.

Marcia’s:

1. What’s your favorite pastime? Reading 

2. Favorite ice cream? Mint or Cookies n’ Cream

3. Favorite book? The Perilous Sea

4. Favorite movie? Donnie Darko

5. Favorite climate? Warm but with a bit of wind

6. Favorite vacation? Ocean City

7. Favorite color? Blue

8. Favorite hot meal? Noodles and noodles!

9. Favorite song? Melted by AkMu (p.s. you’re welcome) 

10. Favorite season? spring

11. Favorite candy? Sour gummies


Here are my questions for you:

  1. Favorite genre?
  2. What genre do you hate?
  3. How many books have you read so far?
  4. How many do you want to read this year?
  5. Favorite movie from 2014/2015?
  6. What kind of humor do you like?
  7. What color is “The Dress”?
  8. Favorite show?
  9. What do you do on a rainy day?
  10. If you have a Goodreads, what do you do on there?

I nominate:

Becca

Josephine

Erika

Precious @ Clockwork Desires

By Hook or By Book

As per usual, feel free to do the tag even if I didn’t tag you and I look forward to hearing your answers!

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater: Review

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First Impressions:
Why is Blue annoying sometimes?
OH MY GOD, I missed Maggie’s writing. It’s like coming back home after staying at college for too long and constantly eating the less-than-stellar dining hall food. It’s refreshing, amazing, and slightly nostalgic. The writing is so reminiscent of youth, déjà vu that is out of grasp, and meanders at such a leisurely pace that just further allows me to sink in the her words and savor its meaning on my tongue. Okay, now that sounds creepy but I’m so rusty with creative writing so that’s as good as it gets when I try.

Pros:
I like that all the characters get an average evenly distributed presence through the book. But poor Noah. It’s not hard to sympathize with him since (view spoiler). I loved how well Maggie handled the suspense and it nearly killed me every time I wanted to know the secrets of Glendower and Cabeswater. I have grown used to how casually the most important details with utterly purposeful carelessness and how big reveals were delivered without fanfare. I get so gleeful when I figure something or a huge twist comes and I can only reread the passage to reaffirm and accept it. It’s very interesting because the plodding writing tricks me into thinking that nothing significant has happening but in actuality, every single detail was whittled to sharp points that served as clues to build into a bigger picture. Each character was important, served as foils, used to emphasize a character development, and change in relationships.

It’s such a character-driven book even though the fantastical quest is the ultimate motive and it’s amazingly plausible to see how much havoc and change can occur within a year. People grow stronger and weaker, they become brave, bonds are strengthened and severed, they fear, they keep more secrets, and they inexplicably become vulnerable. Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Blue are initially portrayed as stereotypical people we see in everyday lives, media, and books but there’s so much more to them because Maggie pries open the inner workings of their minds and shows us what makes them tick. At least, some parts of it because Maggie is the princess of tantalizing psychological mystery.

I loved the horror element so much. It just further shows how tangible the fears and depths of terror is when dealing with the magical and strange. It’s not always rainbows and sunshine and the storyline has gotten visibly darker with each book. J.K. Rowling has handled it really well with the Harry Potter series as we see the crew slowly lose their wide-eyed innocence and meddled into darker horrors. This is great progression and a wonderful metaphor to toy with when it deals with kids on the brink of adulthood and discovery.
One of my favorite passage just oozes hidden meanings without outright saying anything. Sneaky.

“Frosty the clayman,” Noah said, amusing himself. “I took it from Ronan’s room. Look, it melts…The clay’s got metal flakes in it or something,” Noah said. “See, it’s standing on that magnet. It slurps down and eats the magnet after a while.”
They watched. They watched a lot. It moved so slowly that it took Gansey a full minute to even believe that eventually, the metallicized putty probably would engulf the magnet.
“Is this supposed to be a toy?” Gansey asked.
“Ages six and up.”
“This is the worst toy I have ever seen.”
Noah grinned. He said, “Piss up a rope.”
They both laughed uproariously at Ronan’s words coming out of Noah’s mouth.
The bottom of the clay figure had managed to hide the magnet without Gansey noticing any movement…Gansey shivered a little.
Because it was Noah and no one else, Gansey could admit, “I don’t know what I’ll do if I find him, Noah. I don’t know what I’ll be if I’m not looking for him [Glendower]. I don’t know the first thing about how to be that person again.”
Noah put the clay in Gansey’s hands. “That’s exactly how I feel about the idea of being alive again.”


Cons:
Blue doesn’t have any friends and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but only that we never get insight into her school life. Here’s what Maggie says about it and I really like her point of view:
http://maggie-stiefvater.tumblr.com/p…
I want a greater glimpse at her social interactions (none?) in school and how she deals with it. I liked that Blue actually planned for the future (hallelujah, it’s finally addressed!) in her own unconventional way but the subject seemed to be abruptly dropped afterwards.

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