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Review : The Hate U Give // Powerful, Important, and Provocative

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RATING : 5 Stars

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Five stars and more, and I don’t think any reviews will ever do this book justice. It’s so powerful, wonderful, and undoubtedly the most important and honest book I’ve ever read in my life.

As could be inferred from the blurb, The Hate U Give was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Going into this book, I almost didn’t know what to expect. I heard it was amazing, unapologetic, and possibly one of the best books everyone’s ever read. But still, I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was so much… more, than I could have expected. This book was so honest, strong, brilliant, and it evoked so many emotions in me. Hours after reading that last page, I’m still reeling with my emotion. There are so many things I want to discuss about this book.

Racism is a prominent theme of this book. It discusses racism, shows us what happens, and how it affects the Black and their lives. The way it was portrayed was unapologetically honest. Starr doesn’t narrate it in a mean and bitter way, she doesn’t mean to corner White people, she just talks about the reality. Differences between races exist, and so does racism.

I don’t want to say things like “I learned so much about racism and Black people” just by reading one book. It sounds… naive, and despite Angie Thomas’s honest and brilliant portrayal of it, I’m sure there are a lot of things I still don’t understand, and I don’t want to act like I do. But I’m gonna say this : THUG gives me so much insight to the lives of Black people and the racism they have to deal with. It makes me realize that racism runs so much deeper than I ever knew. It’s internalized. It’s everywhere. It’s hard to avoid, and just like Starr said, you can say something racist and not be a racist. And it’s dangerous. It costs people like Khalid, and who knows who else, their lives.

This book also evoked so many emotions in me. Seeing all the things that happened to Starr, her family, Khalid, and everyone in her neighborhood makes me angry, sad, heartbroken, furious, and baffled. But seeing Starr with her friends and family makes me smile, happy, and laugh. Between its tough issues and its sass, THUG is a perfect mix.

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More than anything, this book also makes me uncomfortable–in the best way possible. I almost never have any encounter with people from different races. In this country where I live, almost everyone here is Indonesian. We might come from different ethnics, but we’re the same race after all. But still, prejudice between ethnic exists. Sometimes I assume things about other ethnics based on common stereotypes. I know it’s not the same as racism, but it pains me to realize that I’m practically doing the same thing that these cops and some of Starr’s friends do to Khalid. They make assumption.

I also hate the fact that sometimes I justify cops killing people. It might not be about racism here, but sometimes police officers shoot drug dealers and other criminals to death. I never condone it. I believe it’s not justice. But sometimes, some tiny part of me, feel… I don’t know, relieved, that one bad person is gone. Reading THUG made me feel so, so deeply ashamed of myself for ever feeling this way. But like I said, this is the good kind of uncomfortable, because now I realize where I did wrong and it makes me want to stop doing those things for ever.

Characters wise, THUG also does a really wonderful job. Starr is my new favorite protagonist. She’s brave, strong, funny, and she’s sooo sassy I love her. She grows so much in the span of one book and I love seeing her growth. She’s grown from someone who felt like she needed to hide her true self to someone who’s not afraid. Someone who feels confident with herself and not afraid to show the world who she really is. I love all her family as fell. Seven, Sekani, Starr’s father and mother, even Uncle Carlos and Nana. They’re all amazing and together they make a wonderful family dynamic. They’re definitely my new family goal ♥

The friendship dynamic in this book is also brilliant. I love Maya, Kenya, Chris, even Hailey (even if I dislike that girl so much). I love the fact that they exist and a part of Starr’s world. It gives so much depth into the story and it makes Starr’s life more relatable. I felt weird toward Chris at first, or still do, but I love the fact that he sticks with Starr to the end. It’s also very refreshing to see a couple had been together before the story started.

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ALL IN ALL, The Hate U Give is definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. It’s wonderful, it’s so unapologetically honest, and it’s so unlike everything I ever read before. It changes my perspectives. You probably realized that I talked a lot about how the book affected me, because that’s how powerful this book really is. Highly, highly recommended.

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Book Title : The Hate U Give
Author : Angie Thomas
Publisher : Walker Books
Release Date : February 28th 2017

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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Have you read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas? What do you think about it? Did you learn as much as I did from it? What is the most important book you’ve ever read? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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34

Review : The Bear and the Nightingale // Cold, Dark, and Captivating

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RATING : 45-stars

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There are two things that drawn me into this book : 1) Russian folklore and 2) gorgeous cover. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book and I thought, even if I didn’t, the cover only was worth buying 😛 After reading it from end to end, I could say that The Bear and the Nightingale is one of those bizarre books that just work.

I always enjoy books with Russian vibe, but this book takes place in a rarely seen side of Russia. The characters live in this land called Lesnaya Zemlya, the northern part of Russia where the winter is so long. Since most of the stories take place in winter, the atmosphere of the book was cold and dark. Its depiction of winter nights and forests gave me chill. You just can feel the cold… figuratively.

The pace of the story was slow. It started before Vasya, our main character, was even born and ended until she was roughly 15. It was told from third person point of view and while at first I felt disconnected from the characters, I grew to love it as the story progressed. The way it was told was whimsical. It’s like hearing a fairy tale being read to you on a cold, dark night while you huddle under the blanket near the fire place. The prose is so rich, lyrical, and detailed. It was enchanting, but maybe not for those who prefer their stories fast paced and action packed. This isn’t that kind of story.

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The Bear and the Nightingale has some of the most complex and profound characters I’ve ever read about. They’re just endearing! ♥ At least some of them, while the rests are infuriating but still equally complex. I love Vasya to pieces. She’s so brave and caring, loyal and innocent, but not naive. She loves her family and her horses and the magical creatures so much. It hurts to see her misunderstood by so many people. I didn’t realize how much I care about her until I cried for her 😂

I adore almost all Vasya’s siblings as well. Olga, Sasha (!!!), Irina, and Alyosha (!!!) (sorry Kolya, you didn’t make the list. You’re annoying). They’re so sweet and loving especially Alyosha. I love seeing his relationship with Vasya. He takes care of her. He’s skeptical, but he always believes in Vasya and he’s willing to get involved in whatever weird things Vasya does just so she won’t be alone. It’s sweet ♥ Sasha’s exactly the same, too bad he went to Moscow early in the book and we didn’t get the chance to see more of him 😦 Their father Pyotr isn’t bad either. He’s complicated and I like it. The only person I don’t like from this book is Anna Ivanovna, Vasya’s stepmother. She’s mean and cruel to Vasya </3

The plot didn’t really kick until the third part of the book. The first part was more about introduction and history. It talked about who’s who, Vasya’s mother, the kids’ childhood, and the original tale of the Winter king. Part 2 mostly talked about Vasya’s life during her adolescence and her relationship with the magical creatures around her. Now part 3 is when the story gets serious. I tell you, IT’S CREEPY. Like, seriously! I was scared??? I had to close the book because I read at night and the story started to spook me. Some of the scenes were really graphic too 😂

By the end of the book, I was feeling content but also unsatisfied at the same time. Content because it didn’t end in cliffhanger and we actually got to see the resolution of the conflicts. Unsatisfied because while one conflict was resolved, we know that there will be more to the story, so much more, and I can’t wait to find out what will happen next. I’m also incredibly excited because I heard book two will tell us more about Olga and Sasha, Vasya’s elder siblings who both live in Moscow.

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ALL IN ALL, The Bear and the Nightingale was an enchanting story with rich and whimsical prose that will sway you with its magical vibe. It’s dark and cold and creepy but it will also charm you, especially because the characters are so endearing. However, this isn’t for the readers who like their story fast paced because this one is slow, but worth it ♥

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Book Title : The Bear and the Nightingale (The Bear and the Nightingale #1)
Author : Katherine Arden
Publisher Del Rey
Release Date : January 17th 2017

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

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Have you read The Bear and the Nightingale? What do you think about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts ♥ Also, I’m open to recommendations if you have any favorites Russian-inspired books 😀

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Review : A Conjuring of Light // Intense, Comical, and Perfect

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RATING : 5 Stars

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Click here for my review of A Darker Shade of Magic • A Gathering of Shadow

SO, SO WORTH THE WAIT!!

In case you didn’t know, Shades of Magic is definitely one of my MOST favorite fantasy so naturally, I was really looking forward to this book. And guysss, the wait was so worth it because THIS IS AMAZING! This book is EVERYTHING I wanted and MORE ♥ This is one of those books that is SO GOOD it’s hard to review….. so bear with me while I try to find words? 😛

Plot wise, there’s no doubt this book was splendid. It picked up right where we left off on A Gathering of Shadows when Lila tried to go after Kell to White London. So yeah, we’re getting action since the first chapter and IT WAS INTENSE. I was already on edge from the start and stayed there until 5 chapters before the end. However, it wasn’t… as brutal as I feared it would be. Don’t get me wrong, it was VERY brutal with blood and deaths everywhere but I was kinda expecting something even more brutal. I’m morbid, I know. Continue reading

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Review: Caraval // Strange, Magical, and Enchanting

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RATING : 45-stars

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TRIGGER WARNING : PARENTAL ABUSE

Going into a hyped book could be utterly terrifying. There’s always that dreaded question of “what if I don’t like this book?”. That’s why I was so, so wary of starting Caraval, especially since I’ve been in fantasy slump for the past 3 months. But wow, this book was pretty amazing! It reminded me of how much I love fantasy and got me back in the game. Though I kinda bounced between 4 and 5 stars the whole time I was reading it. Basically this is how I felt : Continue reading

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Review: Wolf by Wolf // Historical Fiction isn’t MY Thing but This is An Exception

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RATING : 45-stars

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Alright, congratulations are in order for me to finally picked up this book!! 😛

Hahaha it’s just that A LOT of my blogging friends raved about this book and they’ve been urging me to read it for monthssss but I kept putting it off and now I finally did! I was nervous I wouldn’t like this book so I lowered my expectation and whoa… this book exceeded it and MORE! Historical fiction isn’t my favorite genre and I don’t even like journey or road trip books but this one I enjoyed so much! I. Loved. It. ♥ Continue reading

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Review: I’ll Meet You There // I love this book with all my heart!

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RATING : 5 Stars

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Oh this book… THIS BOOK… it’s everything I need from a contemporary fiction. It’s so raw and emotional and beautiful and I fell deeply in love with it. All I wanted to do was hold this book and cry myself to sleep… and that is precisely what I did after I was done reading.

I’ll Meet You There is a story about Skylar and Josh. Sky came from a poor family where it’s just her and her mother. She just graduated high school and counting the days until she had to leave for college, then something happened and her life started to fall apart–even more than it already did. The night of her graduation party, she saw Josh for the first time in 2 years at his welcome party, only to find out that Josh lost his leg in Afghanistan. Continue reading

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Review: PS I Still Love You // First Love is So Adorable!

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RATING : 45-stars

Goodreads Amazon The Book Depository • My Review of TATBILB

You know what prevented me from reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? The possibility of a love triangle. You know what prevented me from reading this book? The possibility of another love triangle 😂 That was why I put off reading it for so long… but no, I was worried over nothing because this, the love triangle, was executed perfectly! In fact the whole book was perfection and I had so much fun reading it ♥ Continue reading