Holy cheesecakes, this month has been assorted kinds of surreal.
For as long as I could remember, I’ve been gravitating towards romance and stories heavily-centered on love whenever February rolls around and yes, I am aware of how this makes me a legit walking breathing cliche but whatever: when it’s the month of hearts, we are all licensed to be sentimental and sappy and starry-eyed and I swear to god I will shoot anyone who says otherwise with cupid arrows and a confetti of roses. It’s Valentines, shut the hell up and swoon.
And oh, how I did. If falling in love feels like falling in love with books, please believe me when I say that I just wanna lie here in my puddle of fictional feelings forevermore and I don’t ever wanna get back up.
I was thinking of what F-word adjective would best describe this month because I am a devout believer in the power and awesomeness of alliteration in titles no matter what. But alas, so many F-words came to mind as I waltzed through my reading list for this month and eventually I just shrugged all options off and thought: screw it, I’ll just write down everything. Allow me to tell you then the many F-words these books meants to me.
It’s honest-to-goodness unpremeditated, but it turned out that all books I have read for this month are all written by female writers. So yeah, I’ve gone subconsciously sexist this month and I’m so glad I did. There are no words for how much I adore women who are never afraid to write their imaginations, beliefs and memories on paper–They are my personal rockstars and girl crushes.
I started the month with a light read: Sandy Hall’s ‘A Little Something Different’ which I picked up because she has a reputation as a fangirl prior to being published, and her book features a record-breaking fourteen freaking POVs and yeah trust me I’m not making this up, the story is really told in fourteen points of view, including a bench with perverted thoughts about butts and a squirrel whose top goal in life is, not surprisingly, acquiring as much acorns as possible. I repeat: I am not kidding.
And then off I went to a rollercoaster of emotions and serious levels of swooning. I’ve read Marissa Myer’s entire Lunar Chronicles so far: Cinder, Scarlet and Cress and EXCUSE ME BUT I HAVE TO TYPE THIS IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS, FOLKS: IT’S THE BEST YA FANTASY SERIES I HAVE EVER READ IN MY ENTIRE LIFE IT IS ADDICTIVE AND AWESOME AND MAKES ME WANNA WRITE AS MANY EXCLAMATION MARKS AS I CAN BECAUSE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Apparently I have acquired a phobia of mainstream, hyped-up books because there’s always the burden of not liking it as much as everyone else did, and this is why I have avoided reading Cinder for so long. All I knew about it was that it was a sci-fi retelling of the fairytale of Cinderella and I know, right? That premise is golden, but I don’t know why I kept putting it off for later. And then when I finally gave it a chance this month, I was so smitten I was literally clutching my chest and breathing heavily because OH MY GOD WHERE HAS THIS BOOK BEEN ALL MY LIFE WHY HAVE I BEEN SO STUPID. This is why procrastination truly sucks, guys.
Looking back, the over-all exhilirating high I’ve felt from reading the three Lunar Chronicles books may or may have not impacted my feelings for Stephanie Perkins’ ‘Anna & The French Kiss’ a little bit. I am aware of how every single person and their grandmother adored this book to the heavens, but I felt somewhat underwhelmed by it all. Before you stone me to death, let it be known that it was the fastest book I have read this month–I finished it in roughly seven hours, which is to say, I didn’t close the book until I was done with. Okay, I closed it for the occasional bathroom break or two, but you get the idea. The story had me wrapped around its french-tipped- fingernails. But at the end ot it all, I fell harder in love with the place and the atmospheric setting of its plot instead of the main couple. (Sorry St. Clair, you’re hot and all but what can I do when I’m a bibliophilic robot with a frgid and defective heart?) Ah, France. We will meet each other someday. When that someday comes, I will stand at point zero and yell ‘I love You’s in all the language that I know how.
Immediately, I reached for Eileen Goudge’s ‘The Replacement Wife’, which I was expecting to be poignant and melodramatic but ultimately ended up giving me so many WHAAAAATTTT moments that I honestly can’t decide yet how I feel about it in its entirety. To be fair, this is the only non-YA book I’ve read this month, so it’s possible my expectations are running out of place, but still. Book, why? The ending, although arguably realistic, is hugely dissatisfying and it’s so frustating because it felt like all the time I spent on reading it were all in vain, which is one of the saddest things I can ever feel about a book.
And finally: Jennifer Niven’s ‘All The Bright Places’ which totally deserves 1.) the award for BOOK THAT BROKE MY HEART THE HARDEST THIS MONTH, 2.) a golden star and a boquet of flowers for Violet Markey, a wonderfully-written heroine, 3.) a motherfrikken wax statue to immortalize the badassery and perfection of Theodore Finch and 4.) my heart–because it stole it and goddamn I don’t want it back.
►Book Ratings (in order of reading sequence)
- A Little Something Different ★★☆☆☆
- Cinder ★★★★☆
- Scarlet ★★★★☆
- Cress ★★★★☆
- Anna & The French Kiss ★★★☆☆
- The Replacement Wife ★★☆☆☆
- All The Bright Places ★★★★★
► Book Cover Design/s of the Month:
February is such a fabulous month for book cover designs. What made me want to pick up Anna & The French Kiss was its pretty pink cover with the white title font spread out across the breathtaking bacdrop of the Paris landscape and I am also drooling at Eileen Goudge’s haunting book design with its sheer white bridal gown hanging unworn behind its mysterious title. But at the end of the day, the best book cover design is ultimately the three gorgeous illustrations for the Lunar Chronicles series because the designer did such a good job embodying the content of its modern fairy tale plot with its imagery set in elegant hues of dark purple and red and it has been consistently classy and distinct for three books straight, which I believe is a rather difficult streak, given the influx of generic, overly-fancy covers of most YA fantasy/dystopian books these days.
► Book Quote of the Month:
“I know life well enough to know you can’t count on things staying around or standing still, no matter how much you want them to. You can’t stop people from dying. You can’t stop them from going away. You can’t stop yourself from going away either. I know myself well enough to know that no one else can keep you awake or keep you from sleeping.”
► Worst Book of the Month
I appreciated that this book dared to go unconventional by challenging the multi-perspective narrative to crazy boundaries. The first thing everyone always say about this book is how it is told in fourteen perspectives and like everyone else, I was intrigued. With great ambition though, comes great risk. What’s supposed to be the book’s strength turned out to be its fatal flaw. It wasn’t because I disliked the writing style—I simply did not believe it. Fourteen perspectives are supposed to give you fourteen different glimpses of a truth, but it felt like they are all one person who sounded exactly the same and the recurring observations are so overused to the point of being exhausting. Contrary to its title, the love story was so low-key and mediocre and what’s supposed to be a sweeping, grand declaration of love towards the end lacked the heartstopping oomph I was hoping for.
► Favorite Literary Character/s
Finch talks in poetry like it’s his very own language—no, he freaking breathes it like air. Everything about him—his defiance, his fear of becoming ordinary, his intense heart, his sadness– turns me on like a literary boner of sorts. Hee. The number of times I have squealed and swooned and screamed because of him is too embarrasing to admit but I have no regrets. His mind is so breathtakingly clever and original and I wish I could live inside it forever. Yup, he’s joining my super elite list of book-boyfriends.
Cinder, Scarlet & Cress (Lunar Chronicles Series)
Okay so here’s the most heartfelt declaration I have ever made in a while: I am hardcore in love with Marissa Myer’s heroines. Her writing is solid and excellently-plotted and her world-building is beyond phenomenal, but if you would ask me what her greatest triumph is, it’s the fact that she took century-old fairytales in her hands and motherfrikken owned it and made her princesses not just lovable but legendary. Cinder, instead of being painted as a glorified orphan coerced into a life of glorified servitude, is written as a badass, unpretentious mechanic with the perpetual grease on her face. And get this: she attends the ball not to gawk dreamily after the prince but to save him from being killed. Scarlet, with a temper as fiery as her hair is unapologetic and speaks her mind bravely instead of settling for faux gentleness. Based on Little Riding Hood, we get a better, more profound version of how she got her life in danger because of the wolf’s treachery; It wasn’t because she was stupid or naive–it’s because she trusts her impulse and instincts too much and is prone to think with her heart, which is a weakness we are all vulnerable to. Cress, who spent almost her entire life locked-up and alone in a tower in space, is not just a mere, helpless damsel in distress waiting to be rescued–she’s a genius web hacker and strategist whose work has been so essential that an entire kingdom is unknowingly at her mercy. Plus, she’s got great imagination to boot. How I adore them all, my precious heroines. God bless Marissa Myer!
► Best Book of the Month
Borrowing the words from the book itself, reading this book is a stunning experience of elegance and euphoria– one moment you are dazzled by the pure rush of adrenaline brought on by the rapid-fire stream of consciousness of its two extraordinary characters, the next moment you are crying blood and banging your heart on the wall because of mind-numbing grief. The way it catches the intensity and the proverbial-and literal- life and death levels of teenage romance is so unbearably accurate you wish you could look away and undo the characters’ pain and tell them to hang on and promise them that it’ll get better. I wish this book had a disclaimer on its cover that would warn everyone who will read it, and if it did, it would say: THIS BOOK WILL MAKE YOU REMEMBER THE REASONS WHY YOU BREATHE, BUT HAHAHA IT WILL ALSO TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY. GOOD LUCK AND KEEP READING.