book review

Everything Everything

Nicola Yoon has been on my list of authors that I was looking forward to reading. I wasn’t quite sure whether to start with The Sun is Also A Star but once I saw the film trailer for Everything Everything, I knew that would be the first book of hers that I would have to read.

Yoon is an exceptionally talented writer and demonstrates her skills in character development, plot and descriptions in this novel. She is patient with the descriptions and really makes the main character, Madeline’s youthful and child-like fascination with the world believable. In the Q&A portion of the book, Yoon even says that the innocence of Madeline was largely inspired by her own infant daughter’s reactions to the world around her.

In all honesty, I hadn’t anticipated enjoying Everything Everything as much as I had. It was a new and fresh story that has never been told before. I think that there are themes like love and protection that are carried on throughout that really grip at the readers heartstrings and get them invested in the turn of events. I also respect Yoon for making the main female character multiracial. It’s not her identity but it is something that is made clear about her. I think that it’s incredible to have more culturally diverse characters in books, television and film because it really helps to inspire diverse readers and encourage diversity in the world. It helps remind audiences that fundamentally being different is nothing to be ashamed of.

****

I would recommend this book to YA readers, fans of John Green, fans of film to book comparisons, or anyone looking for an entertaining but light read.

Advertisements
Standard
book review

Ayiti

For Haitian Flag Day, I decided to read Roxane Gay’s collection of short stories entitled Ayiti which is the Kreyol translation for: Haiti. In all honesty, there’s probably no one else that I would want to read a collection of short stories regarding Haiti and its culture than from a fellow Haitian-American writer such Roxane Gay. I found the collection to be captivating, concise and culturally relevant on all fronts.

In the chapter, About My Father’s Accent, it gave me a warm feeling of home. Having parents who were born and raised in Haiti, I grew up hearing their accents so I could hear the pronunciations of words that Gay perfectly described in the text as clear as day. It made me laugh in a child-like way while also reminding me of the pain I felt in my childhood when kids would tease me for their accents, specifically my father’s. In my mind, teasing my dad was from a loving place and anyone else doing it was unacceptable.

Another story, I enjoyed was There’s no E in Zombi which speaks to Haitian culture involving Voodoo. I’m glad this was included because one of the first things that comes into someone’s mind, for some reason, when I say that I’m Haitian is voodoo. Gay hilariously attempts to explain the proper pronunciation of the word and what letters require emphasis. The love story component was my favorite, however, because it resembled Haitian folklore, stories and cautionary tales that are passed through generations. A girl falls in love, he does not love her in return so she has no choice but to turn the love of her life into a zombi (that’s right – no e!)

I don’t want to continue to spoil the collection of short stories for you but I am honestly so glad this was the first work of Roxane Gay that I have read so far. She is a phenomenal writer and I feel as though she did Haiti the justice in its depiction that has been lacking in other stories. It’s concise and incredibly enlightening for those who want a glimpse into Haitian culture for what it truly is and not what the media has portrayed it to be. If you are a fan of Roxane Gay’s work, if you are Haitian, or if you’re just looking for a good, bite-sized read definitely go check out Ayiti by Roxane Gay.

Standard
Books

Happy Haitian Flag Day!

Today is Haitian Flag Day! I’m a proud first generation Haitian-American woman, raised by proud Haitian parents. My parents left Haiti, to come to America and make a better life for my sister and I. Despite the move, they have always kept the Haitian culture alive within us from the language (Kreyol) to the delicious cuisine.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been trying even harder to learn more about the culture since I will have my own family soon enough. I want to make sure that whether they are completely Haitian or mixed, that they have a complete understanding of their culture. From January 1 which is Haitian Independence Day to May 18 Haitian Flag Day, I want them to understand and appreciate the sacrifices their ancestors made for them.

With that, I’ve decided to announce my next book up for review: Roxane Gay’s Ayiti. Be sure to check back for the review.

Standard
book review

Caraval

OH MY GOODNESS! I am at a loss for words. If you knew me personally – you would know that basically never happens but let me try my best to explain my speechlessness. I have just finished reading Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and it was absolutely unforgettable! In all honesty, before we proceed, stop now and please add it to your TBR… it’s okay…I’ll wait.

You added it? Put it on your Amazon wish list? Made it to the local bookstore?

Good. Let’s proceed.

Caraval is the story of two sisters, Donatella (Tella) and Scarlett born, raised and restricted to their home island of Trisda. Living under the strict and abusive supervision of their father, Governor Dragna forces the two sisters to yearn for lives far away from their reality especially for the mysterious and magical tournament, Caraval. Scarlett eventually grows out of her fascination but hopes that her impending marriage to an unknown suitor will be the salvation that her and her sister have been waiting for while Tella yearns to attempt bolder methods.

Stephanie Garber is incredible in this novel and does a remarkable demonstration of skill in this fantasy novel. The themes are sisterhood, self-discovery and love in a multitude of forms. Despite the romance that builds in the story, it’s purely and innocently done and refreshingly not the primary focus of the story. No better story of sisters has been done this well apart from the film, Frozen with Elsa and Anna (at least that comes to mind). Caraval was the fantasy novel that I desperately needed to read and I will probably re-read again, each time finding something new to love about it. This has definitely earned and carved a place for itself in my favorites.

I also tweeted at Stephanie Garber today and she responded to me. I fangirl-ed soooo hard.

Standard
book review

Next up….

 
AAAAHHHHH! I’ve been dying to read this book since I heard a review calling it The Night Circus meets Hunger Games. My interest was instantly piqued and decided to keep on going on the fantasy novel express train that I’ve been riding. I’m here for it. Are you?! No spoilers please, but if you’ve read it — let me know what you think and any other similarly awesome books I should check out.

Be sure to check back for my personal review for Stephanie Garber’s Caraval. 

Standard
book review

The Night Circus

“The circus arrives without warning” is the opening sentence to The Night Circus, setting the stage for a novel full of magic, mystery and intrigue. Author, Erin Morgenstern, takes full artistic advantage of the endless opportunities in this novel to describe visually dynamic scenes of the circus turning each reader into a rêveur of Le Cirque du Rêves.

The Night Circus is a fantasy novel that follows main characters, Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair. Both are competitors in a complex magical challenge of skill and endurance starting as early as their childhood. As the story progresses, you learn that this competition involves a lot more than just testing skill and there are consequences to every action. Morgenstern blew my mind with this novel and had me lost in the mystery of Le Cirque du Rêves. The characters are exceptionally vivid and each detail serves a purpose in the conclusion. I absolutely adored reading this book and am unsurprised that it has become a #1 National Bestseller.

Growing up, I solely read fantasy books because when I was a kid — real life was never as much fun as the fantasy worlds I got to venture into. I journeyed to Hogwarts with Harry Potter and friends, fell in love in Forks, WA in Twilight, and committed a large part of my youth to keeping up with the Vampire Academy series. As I’ve gotten older, my tastes of changed some and I’ve been trying to expand to other genres like memoirs/biographies, literary fiction, thriller and suspense novels and these are just a few among others. The Night Circus gave me a sense of nostalgia for when I clung to those stories as a child and a reminder that there’s no real age restriction for a good book.

I would recommend this to: all readers looking for something outside of their comfort zone, those who were young fantasy lovers (like myself) for the perfect nostalgic purchanse and lastly to lovers of magic, the CIrcus and a touch of romance.

 

Standard
Books

Q: Name three books that have changed your life and why. 

A: Picking three is extremely difficult because I feel like every book I read changes my life. I’m just going to go with the first three that come to mind:

1.) Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Why? It’s a book that really just hit me hard. It reminded me that life is hard for everyone but we can all push through it because none of us are ever truly alone. We all hurt sometimes but have to remember that the pain doesn’t last forever, it makes us stronger. 

2.) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas Why? It’s probably the greatest revenge story ever written and also is a constant reminder that good will always prevail even if you’re charged for a crime you didn’t commit, end up in a cavelike prison for 20+ years, God is faithful and will get you through it. 

3.) The Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann Why? I was genuinely shocked by how much I loved this novel which you can tell in my review of it. It just showed how we all want things and have this ambition for money, riches or fame and sometimes once we achieve those things it’s not what we expected. Sometimes, you have to find peace and acceptance in the now because those things you yearn for might not make you any happier than you are now. 

Standard