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Monday, December 24, 2012

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Rating: 4/5
Source: ALA 
Release date: January 22, 2013

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

Review: Each book has a different story to tell, and a different way of telling it. In The Archived, I was blown away by how Schwab structured her sentences, her characters, her world. 

It's been a while since I've read a fantasy novel. I forget how much time is required to become familiar with a book's world. Because of this, the beginning was confusing, and it took a while to become acquainted with all of its terminology. I wasn't completely absorbed  because the time spent connecting the dots actually resulted in disconnecting me from the book's world.

However, it does become easy to emotionally invest myself in Mac's world, where the dead are sorted into a library-like system, where their collective subconscious is kept for records, showing that history is us when we die just as much as when we are alive. The theme of love and loss was done in a totally creative way, and every character was fleshed out. Some funny, some brave, some both. 

The writing is rapid and direct; there isn't any fluff or unnecessary scene; and for a majority of the book, the descriptions are vivid, suspenseful, and in no way, boring. What I particularly liked about this book were the flashbacks. Whenever Mac addressed her father, she turned the pronoun "you" into something so crippling and dramatic. With other novels, the overabundance of flashbacks slow the pace down, but the flashbacks here are integrated and utilized so well that they actually propel the storyline. I get a better sense of who Mac is and why she does what she does. I love knowing  acharacter's motivation. I love clipped sentences and repetition in sentences and I love this book. 

Holy crap, man. Victoria Schwab's imagination. I love it. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Some thoughts...

This blog as a timeline
  • Evolution as a reader: Scrolling through my old posts, I can actually see how I've evolved as a reader. As a reader, I am no longer the same as I was in July 2009. I like different genres, different authors. I have different expectations.
Before, it was very difficult for me to write reviews because I was basically writing the same review over and over and over. I haven't updated in the longest time, mostly because I feel my position as a reader has changed. In my old reviews, I was so easily pleased. I had very little criticism about every book I read. And now, I'm finding myself being more critical, more demanding. Looking back, I cannot imagine Kim Now loving some of the books Kim Old loved in the past. Like, maybe. But love? No. Authors that I would have never thought about loving are some of the ones I love now.

I used to hate open endings--pitchforks, anyone?--and now, I appreciate them. I've learned to admire their depth and understand their ambiguity. Ambiguity is a huge part of our lives, and sometimes reading about ambiguity helps us come to terms with the uncertainty in our lives.

Honestly, I actually cringe reading some of my old reviews. But in some ways, I am still the same. I still take my fangirling to extremes. (Recently made a Facebook account for Augustus Waters. Guess who is in a relationship with him on Facebook? Heh. THIS GIRL. YEAH. WHAT IS LIFE.)

I am so thankful for this blog and other blogs because the truth is, we are still evolving as readers and as writers. Our blogs are timelines of that process.

Semi-hiatus is over. I am ready to start blogging again!~

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Leah Cypess - Top Five Guilty Book Secrets

You know we all have them. Here are mine:

ONE: I don’t love everything written by Jane Austen. I loved Pride & Prejudice, and that was it. I liked Sense & Sensibility and Persuasion. I thought Mansfield Park would have been great if the main character had been anyone but Fanny. And I hated Emma (which I have heard described as “the most critically acclaimed of Austen’s novels”) with an absolute passion.

TWO: I have no strong feelings about Twilight. Either way. At all.I read the first one without knowing how famous it was. And having read every book LJ Smith ever wrote, plus Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde plus, you know, watched Buffy, my reaction could be summed up as: "Oh, okay." I intended to pick up the rest of the books but never got around to it. I don't even remember much about what happens, except that she did some complicated cooking near the beginning.

THREE: I'm not into graphic novels. I tried. With rare exceptions, they just don't work for me. I feel really stodgy and not cutting-edge and stuff, but there it is.

FOUR: When people tell me they like Wuthering Heights, I feel like I should back away slowly.

The best review I ever read of this book was by someone on Amazon (which, unfortunately, I can’t find to link to): "This isn't a book about true love. It's a book about how child abuse perpetuates itself through the generations."

FIVE: I liked the Lord of the Rings movies better than the books. I know, I should just hand in my fantasy-loving credentials right now. But I think Tolkien's genius was in being the first writer to do what he did. Not in being the best writer to do it. (ducks for cover)

What are your guilty book secrets?


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No words.

I have some very exciting news!

Lauren and I have collaborated once again. This time, it was to create a fansite for The Divergent Trilogy! It is called The Factionless (not to be confused with the livejournal community Factionless--which is an amazing resource btw!)
We've been hard at work on it for exactly one month, and are still in the process of adding more content to the site.

Some notable features include:

- The Pit, an online forum for all Divergent fans to, you know, discuss and gush about the series.
-Diverging Designs, your source for fan-related merchandise! (More designs will be added this coming week. Merchandise will be made from different designers--rather than just one--in order to give more variety to the shop. If you'd like to see how they turn out before you buy them, keep checking back as I will be ordering them.)

There are tons of more amazing features the site offers and we'd love for you to stop by and check it out!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guest Post: Sarah MacManus | Teenage Garage Sale

Hi Kim,

Thanks for the opportunity to unload some old stuff and clear out the attic. Do I have to sell it?! Some of it may have antique value by now.

Okay – first up…

  1. A copy of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album – on vinyl with the cutouts intact. First album I ever bought with my own money.
  2. A copy of The Runaways first record – on vinyl. The first album I ever stole. I wanted to be Joan Jett when I grew up.
  3. A copy of Times Square – the movie. Has Tim Curry in it. On VHS.
  4. A large box of really badly written poetry.
  5. The ancient stereo my big brother left for me when he joined the service. It has an 8-track player in it and the 1-800 number for the Dr. Demento show written on the turn table cover in grease pencil so I could easily call in and request Weird Al’s “My Bologna.” Again.
  6. A stack of scripts from plays I was in or did tech for, including Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet, Camino Real by Tennessee Williams, Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov and The Birds by Aristophanes
  7. A box of handbills from local rock shows and nightclubs. I used to walk around and take them off the telephone polls and tack them up in my room.
  8. A selection of vintage undergarments and lingerie – I used to troll through charity shops and buy up old, hand sewn slips, nightgowns and petticoats.
  9. A copy of The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving that I “forgot” to take back to the library.
  10. An old IBM Selectric typewriter that my parents got me so I could be a ‘real writer.’
  11. A pile of rejection slips from prominent literary journals and magazines that I acquired shortly thereafter, learning that it was going to take something a bit more than an electric typewriter.

Well, that’s about all that’s left.

I don’t really have to sell them, right? I was just getting ready to write some poetry, listen to some tunes and maybe start re-reading Hotel New Hampshire again.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Source: ATW Tours
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

There have been others before who’ve felt the Need, but they’re gone—erased from the memories of everyone whose lives they had touched. It's as though they never existed. This is the fate that awaits Charlotte. But the last thing Charlotte wants to do is disappear, to be Forgotten. She wants to stay with her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend’s arms forever. She wishes she could just ignore the Need, but she can’t. And as everyone important in her life begins to slowly forget her, she has to decide if she’ll fight the Need in order to remain herself—no matter how dark the consequences

Review: My mind is still trying to make sense of the ending. I keep rereading the last few pages, and all I can think is: Wow, did that really just happen? Has there been a more beautiful ending? This book takes me to places no book has ever taken me before. I rarely ever cry when I'm reading (Those If I Stay books? Yeah, I didn't get why people cried over them), but this book? It was as if everything bottled up inside of me came out. I got really emotional. I just closed the book up and I'm sniffling and all I can do now is tell you the reasons why you should read it.

It's beautiful. Seriously. The way the author connects every single word in the book together is astounding. It's told from Charlotte's point of view, but your connection to every character reaches well beyond the pages. Every ounce of pain, laughter, and confusion they feel will become your own.

Of course there's romance and friendship here, but the core of it all is something entirely phenomenal. At least, I think it is. Something mind-boggling. It really puts me in a drastic state of awe when a book is this life-changing. It certainly gave me a different outlook on a lot of things. Choices, mainly. The second I closed this book, something came over me and I went out and told my mother I loved her. (Of course, she thought I was crazy, what with the tears and all...)

I'm still trying to think everything through coherently so I'm a little fuzzy on a lot of details. Charlotte might be a Forgetten, but I will always remember her. I will always remember this story.

The one thing I know for sure though is this book? You NEED it.

~~A Reviewer's Journey GIF Style~~

The Beginning:


The Middle:

The End:
I am not going to cry. I am not going to cry. I am not...

In short, there are not enough words to describe how incredible reading this book is.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What Happens to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Another town. Another school. Another Mclean. Ever since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her father have been fleeing their unhappy past. And Mclean's become a pro at reinventing herself with each move. But in Lakeview, Mclean finds herself putting down roots and making friends—in part, thanks to Dave, the most real person Mclean's ever met. Dave just may be falling in love with her, but can he see the person she really is? Does Mclean herself know?

Review: Oh, Sarah Dessen, how homey your books are. Because that's what every Sarah Dessen book feels like when you open it up right? Cozy and comfortable? It is not any different here.

Like every other Dessen book, they resemble one another in their own quirky ways. We always have that female protagonist with the parental issues, not to mention the phenomenal characterization.

And oh, boy. I never expected one of the characters from her previous book to appear again--especially like THIS. Wow, just wow.

I enjoyed this book, but I felt like it had more potential to be something better. I don't think Mclean's relationship with Dave developed well enough in the end. I would have liked to see her interact with everyone altogether instead of just focusing on her own problems. However, no one should ever pass up this book. One of the reasons why I liked this book was because of the characters. I don't think any book in the world has such amazing and life-like characters. If Harry Houdini is the master of magic , then Sarah Dessen is truly a master at people.

~~A Reviewer's Journey GIF Style~~


Lots of background information, but it's okay. It's SARAH DESSEN! She knows how to make these things work!

The Middle: Heh.Heh.Heh. Dave and Mclean...<3

WHAT THE HECK. O_O How did HE end up like this? :O

Oh my gosh. WHAT IS SHE DOING? Poor, poor McClean :(

The End: It feels so open!! I want moaarr XD
[FTC: Received at RT Teen Day]