Nya Reads

1. I read Fantasy ever since I can remember. 2. My guilty pleasure is chick lit. And 3. You can call me Nya. 

NB I do not claim to be a literature expert, these are only my opinions. I am also here and here.

 

Making of : Premade Cover #1

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

(Originally published at nyareads.com Read full review + movie review here)

 

I was offered the hardcover of 'The Girl On The Train last Christmas' by a fellow book blogger. So now that my boyfriend wanted to watch the movie, I really, really needed to read the book first (I always need to read the book first). And good thing I did, because in my opinion, the book is infinitely better than the movie.

THE PLOT
Of course, the plot, once dissected, is basic. You have your usual suspects, and you know, in the end, one of them has to be the ‘killer’. This means while it was easy to predict the end in some way, many other possible endings would be as equally easy to predict. In this case, I thought the narrative flowed smoothly. It makes the reader gain awareness until it finally…gives the confirmation it was heading towards to. So it’s a good sign that you were suspecting it would end the way it did. It was coherent, with the right balance between being predictable but not entirely expected. The pace was good and fast. No major complaints.

THE CHARACTERS
Many of the readers seem to mention the characters are unlikable and difficult to relate to, and based on a first impression, I would agree. Now we need to remember that at least two of the main characters are clearly unstable (for different reasons) and both are suffering some kind of post-traumatic disorder (we easily learn that after). In the end, the whole cast is human. Ugly, flawed, human. Again, and as I’ve mentioned before in some other book review, this is something that the mainstream audience has problems with. We as human beings always think we are better somehow. We always think we’d never be in the situation these characters were, or make decisions as stupid as they did, or or ever hit rock bottom like that. So, at some point, we don’t even feel sorry for these characters anymore. They frustrate us, due to their weakness. Hey, human for you.

All of this to say I’ve actually enjoyed exploring their minds through the pages. Even if as a whole, the characters might not be relatable, their issues are. Suspicion, jealousy, self-doubt, guilt, and so many other emotions that we are all way too familiar with.

THE WRITING STYLE
The story is narrated in first person and from three different POVs. In my opinion, Anna’s POV was unnecessary. The less POVs, the higher the suspense. The author’s writing style is strong, short and sweet, straight to the point. Hawkins’ foreshadowing techniques were implemented at all the right points, and made you wonder (aka turn the page).


Source: http://www.nyareads.com/2016/10/22/the-girl-on-the-train-by-paula-hawkins-book-bonus-movie-review

Wonder Woman #4 (2016 Rebirth)

Wonder Woman (2016-) #4 - Greg Rucka

Wonder Woman in Rebirth has yet to earn a special place in my heart. I blame my high expectations on Legend of Wonder Woman series.

Even though these origins are loyal to her roots, this Wonder Woman in Rebirth is pretty much devoid of personality, unable to make choices (does she even have thoughts of her own?), 100% conformist, 80% naive perhaps.

The way she immediately understands Steve's pain with no second thoughts or suspicions of her own, could even be considered altruistic...but a bit farfetched. There's not much depth in developing the characters either.

 

A bit disappointed overall, but Frank Cho's variant cover was beautiful.

 

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight - Jay Kristoff

(this review has been originally published here on my nyareads blog)

 

There are two things I have to admit.

 

1. I was extremely excited when I was approved to receive an advanced reader copy of this book. It seemed to have all the elements that interest me: Epic Fantasy. Dark. Intriguing premise. The main character did sound strangely YA but… It was still a Dark, Adult Fantasy after all.

2. I DNF‘ed this book. I tried so hard not to, but it started to become a struggle to go through the pages. The fact that the book is extremely long helped too. I can’t remember the last time I have given up on a book, simply because it hurts me to do this. There’s always the feeling I could be missing out on something . Or even be terribly unfair – what if the book gets awesomely extraordinary near the end? But, my dear readers, the thing is… Even though I mention some technical aspects in all my reviews, the final rating is always based on how much I’ve enjoyed a certain book. Therefore, you can understand why I have to give 1 unfortunate star to Nevernight. I spend time on a book from the very first page – this is when the story begins, and this when the book has to get my attention. I have to start enjoying a book from the very beginning. Not from the middle. Not near the end.

This negative review, by no means, is meant to encourage others not to read Nevernight. In fact, Nevernight’s current rating is the proof that this book will please many. However, due to certain aspects, it was just not the book for me.

 

So, as the French say, you have to ‘call a cat a cat’ (100% pun intended).

 

 

THE PLOT

The plot, which plot? If you hadn’t read the book blurb, then you wouldn’t even have a clue of what the main plot is until after you’ve gone through several pages. This made me really sad, because I thought this book had so much potential. So much creativeness had clearly been put into the world-building aspect. Then, when I started actually reading it, it just didn’t deliver.

The pacing was off. And so the timeline. Why sacrifice chronological order for the sake of nothing, since you are going to incorporate flashbacks straight away, without even much of foreshadowing? So many questions, so little answers. Literally.

THE CHARACTERS

Sadly, I couldn’t feel much for the characters. Their feelings were narrated passively, from a cold and distant perspective. That is, if the main character had feelings at all.

 

THE WRITING STYLE

I’d like to believe that this was the main issue I’ve had with the book. Maybe if the writing approach had been different, who knows, I might have found myself actually enjoying the story?

In the beginning, I thought everything sounded beautiful, even poetic. The parallelism between scenes, the epic and cold tone, even the footnotes. Until it became too much. It would have worked well as a prologue, maybe. But as if it was not enough to put the readers under the pressure of a very confusing first scene and thrown into a world that is mostly explained via footnotes; then there’s also the fact that this would be a pattern throughout the rest of the book.

The metaphors? Too much.

Use of passive voice? Too much.

The footnotes? Too much. First impression was that they could have added a special touch if they have been done differently. When these footnotes started acting more like an ‘info-dump’ aid rather than comic relief, they became an extra distraction that’d pull me out of the main plot (as if finding the main plot wasn’t hard enough on its own…)

Accents and dialects in writing? I am not a fan. I just am not, this might be my issue, I don’t know. I like to read words that are written as they are supposed to – in plain English. Having to read phonetic spelling simply breaks the flow.

Do not get me wrong, the author has a very specific style. The tone is ‘epic’ in some way. It could have worked. ‘O, it could‘. But it just became too much at some point.


 

Overall, I felt Nevernight wasted its potential due mostly to the writing style and writing approach. Should it had not been such a struggle to follow the story smoothly, I would be probably saying wonders about the book now. 

MCM Con

— feeling happy

Had lots of fun on MCM Manchester Comic Con. Second convention and first time with any kind of outfit, even if it being a cheap / temporary one.

 

A few things to learn from this, including I will never dye my hair blonde haha. 

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY TALKS #6 – Do you keep both a hard back and soft back of the same titles?

‘Tuesday Talks’ has been started by Janie @Goodreads. And you too can join here.

 

Click above to check my answer, and share yours :)

I've interviewed Tiffany McDaniel 'The Summer That Melted Everything'

Click the link to check the interview :) Book will be released 25th July

 

Under The Trees by Ashley Maker

Under the Trees - Ashley Maker

(Originally published here)

 

Sometimes all you want to do is read a fairy tale, and believe in the good of the world – that good people can win, and that princesses live happily ever after. But make no mistake, Under the Trees is more than that, it carries an empowering message. It tells us to stop dreaming, and start fighting – and at the same time, it tells us it is okay to accept help. It tells us about young, innocent and instant (why make it complicated when it can be simple and pure?) love. You don’t need a knight in a shining armor, and you don’t need a man to give meaning to your life. But if love comes, it is okay to embrace it.

 

Most importantly, it tells you there is a light at the end of the tunnel, an escape, a way out. Always. You are in charge of your life and decisions – even if you are a princess with a doomed future.

 

THE PLOT

The strongest point of this book is its simplicity; it’s so easy to read and get into the story. I loved how the plot was kept to the main premise and main conflict, while it incorporated interesting twists at the same time. The romance itself is simple and fast, but it didn’t feel forced and made sense within the context of the narrative. It is the young love between a princess and a prince we are talking about after all – so yes, exchanging glances is enough to spark something. The pureness and simplicity of it all doesn’t make the narrative any shallow, it only accentuates the beauty of what lies deep within the heart of those who fall in love for the first time. If you forgot what it is to fall in love without a reason, and to want to help without receiving anything in exchange, then this book (and its beautiful descriptions) will remind you.

Despite the fairy tale tone, there is a realistic vibe added to it. Behind the Fantasy veil, it’s easy to draw moral messages from the story, and a few concepts are unfortunately very real as well. Araya is a princess who is running from an abusive relationship and a from life she doesn’t want – she is a princess in this story, but in fact, she could be any of us.

I think the only issue I have spotted was how I felt that the core of action started a bit too late, and past the middle of the book. This made the pace feel a bit too slow for me at some points. But of course, I should had trusted Ashley’s direction. While I might have felt that nothing was happening, in fact character development was happening in the background. And the wait is worth it! Once you enter into the main conflict, there’s plenty of action and adventure.

 

THE CHARACTERS

You will get easily attached to the two main characters: Araya and Thor. They are faithful to their beliefs, possessing a beautiful strength to overcome challenges driven by faith and hope. Despite this story being a fairy tale of some sorts, the characters are incredibly realistic.

Araya’s will to fight and to survive, her hope in a  better future, is inspiring. She might be a ‘damsel in distress’ but she doesn’t act as one, plus she doesn’t expect to be rescued. Unlike many heroines nowadays, Araya feels real, with a strong mind but aware of her physical limitations. Thor incorporates both characteristics of a dreamy prince (and we all want to read about princes and princesses, and flawless romances from time to time) and of an inspiring leader who cares about others most of all.

The supporting characters are full of surprises, and it’s interesting how your own perception about then changes as you are fed with more information and events that involve them.

 

THE WRITING STYLE

This was in fact the main reason that made me pick this book at first. I was automatically drawn to Ashley Maker’s engaging writing style. As I kept reading, I found out that she is a master of deep PoV, making you feel as if you are inside the character’s head very easily. Her detailed descriptions of emotions, even if not flawless, are very strong.

It’s a type of writing that flows beautifully, without being overwhelming. It fits the tone, the mood, and it’s surprisingly easy to read.

Only thing that I’d probably change would be the use of the passive voice; it could do with a little less. It dramatically slowed the pace down at some points of high tension.


 

 

PERSONAL NOTE

This hasn’t affected my review in any way, but somehow, I felt this was the story of my life – had it been a fairy tale, had I been a princess. I don’t want to go into much detail, because this is the type of thing that attracts too much attention (the bad kind) in Social Media; however, let’s say I was in a difficult situation, such as princess Araya, and even though I have always considered myself to be strong and independent, I’ve struggled to get out of it. I’ve let my fear get the best of me. For so long, I have refused any kind of help. I eventually managed to find a way out, but it took me a bit longer to let someone else into my life. Yes, I did find my own prince in the end, but I thought (just like Araya) that I was not ready for love. It’s amazing how accepting someone else’s help doesn’t make you any less strong, or independent – I did learn that in the end. Another funny thing is that a few months ago, I’ve asked my boyfriend (aka my prince) to tell me a story before bed (such a weird request, uh?), and he asked me “Which kind of story?” and I said “A fairy tale. Make up something.” And he did. And guess what? It was about a princess and prince too. And the prince saved the princess (even though she did not help – or so she claimed).

And I will end this post repeating myself : Sometimes all you want is to read a fairy tale.

And believe in the good of the world.

Reading progress update: I've read 106 out of 160 pages.

The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle, Renae De Liz, Peter Gillis, Ray Dillon

I usually don't read graphic adaptations first. This probably has something to do with my newly discovered obsession with De Liz's art. 

So while I won't be able to compare it to the original novel, I can say this is damn lovely. 

The Legend of Wonder Woman #7

LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN #7 (OF 9) - DC

Expect a full and proper review of the series as soon as I finish it (as soon as all print issues are available :) 

Just wanted to say that this series keeps getting better. Bought the latest print issue today (I could barely wait), and once again the shop clerk (this time a guy, just to show you how wide the audience is!)  commented on how amazing these comics are. 

 

I think what I like most about this series is how the personalities of the characters are so well developed. I love how they are portraying Steve Trevor here - I never thought I'd like him, now I do. And, of course, I love Wonder Woman, and what she stands for is so clear and inspiring. It's so easy to get attached to all the characters, they feel so... real!

 

 

Review of Watchmen by Alan Moore

Watchmen - Dave Gibbons, John Higgins, Alan Moore

(This review has been originally published here)

 

I will start by stating that I am reading this graphic novel in 2016, and I am reviewing it according to the reading experience I’ve had at this moment in time. I have heard so many good things about this book, and while I completely understand the reasons why it had been considered a masterpiece of its time, it is also difficult for me to disregard certain flaws and see it from a perspective of what it might have represented back then.

 

Watchmen includes a cast of complex , flawed and overall “grey” characters, who make you constantly question the meaning of morality. There is no true villain, no true hero; no right or wrong, simply a matter of perspective – and a great dose of self-righteousness.
This approach obviously defied the traditional superhero concept, by adding meaning and very human traits to previously black and white type of characters.

 

A beautiful essay on hypocrisy and the very specific nature of humankind, Watchmen explores humanity, politics, morality, and everything in between. While someone tries to enforce his anarchic ideals upon the entire world, someone else with enough power to make a change, chooses to do nothing. In this aspect, Watchmen is deep, beautiful, thought provoking even.

 

Another great thing is the art, despite being obviously outdated nowadays. The carefully crafted visual motifs and patterns, the configuration of the panels, the parallelism between scenes, it all flows seamlessly.

 

My biggest issue with Watchmen is how women were portrayed. Trying not to get into a deeply controversial debate about sexism, the explanation could be as simple as Moore can’t write female characters. I would go so far as to say that women are pretty useless in this book. They don’t exist independently, their purposes are either romantically or sexually related. Considering this graphic novel represented pretty much a revolution in the comics genre, it’s sad that this revolution didn’t extend to the portrayal of female characters.

 

My other issue had to do with the fact I wasn’t emotionally engaged. The complexity of the characters could have made them more relatable, but instead, I found myself unable to connect or relate to any of them. And this leads to another deep internal debate: Why are all characters in Watchmen so difficult to relate to? Is it because we feel we are somehow better, as humans?


About the story itself, the pacing also felt slow, didn’t engage me enough to want to turn the page. In fact, at some point, the book felt more as an essay than an actual story. This influenced my levels of enjoyment and entertainment, and while these are highly personal and subjective, it will of course have an impact on my personal rating.

 

Overall, Watchmen is a great read and a major turning point in the comics genre, full of symbolism and historic influences. I’d still recommend it, specially if you are a comics fan. It might be a Hugo Award-winning novel and considered as one of the 100 greatest novels by Time Magazine, but of course doesn’t mean everyone will like it.

 

— feeling doubt

Brexit wins and UK is leaving EU. Guess what,  I be will moving to Earth 0.

The Sandman #3: ... Dream a Little Dream of Me (The Sandman Master of Dreams (issues) #3)

The Sandman Master of Dreams, #3: Dream a Little Dream of Me - Neil Gaiman

This series never ceases to surprise me. I should've given less stars to the previous issues, because now I want to give 6 stars to this one. My favorite issue until now. Glimpses of dark humor at its best.

It's amazing how many hours we have spent inside this vintage shop
It's amazing how many hours we have spent inside this vintage shop

Now this reminds me that not only I need more space for my books, I also need to find a good storage solution for comic books.

Oh well, story of my life :)

The Legend of Wonder Woman #1

(Originally posted here)

 

First of all, I would like to warn you that the following review will be coming from a Comic Book newbie, and as any personal opinion, as subjective as it can be.

 

Seeing as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice made Wonder Woman reconquer her presence in pop culture, it is no surprise to see DC Comics taking the opportunity to bring us new and hopefully refreshing projects. One of them is the all-ages mini series called The Legend of Wonder Woman which piqued my curiosity right away.

 

 

As you could probably guess by the name, the series is a take on Diana’s origin story (and one of the multiple Wonder Woman origins currently being released). It has been written and drawn by Renae de Liz, and inked by her husband Ray Dillon; and in my humble personal opinion, the involvement of a female artist has contributed very positively to a deeper, more empathetic reinterpretation of the character of Diana (and her world).

 

The book opens with a narrative that starts right from the very beginning, with a very specific history of the Amazons and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. It then progresses smoothly, from Diana’s birth through her relationship with her mother and to her own internal struggles. All of these events are narrated in a way that focuses primarily the emotions of each character involved. And how delightful this is!

 

 

The storytelling style is easy to grasp, De Liz doesn’t simply throw you into an unknown world, opting instead for being very clear about the basics, the concept, and the history of the Amazons itself. The pacing is perfect, it compels you to keep reading.

 

The art is what I would describe as ‘adorable’, expressive visuals that are perfectly complemented by the lettering and clever layout. In fact, the last time I went to the Comic Book shop to buy one of the latest issues, the lady who attended to me pointed at the cover and exclaimed: “Aw, isn’t she adorable in this series!” The attendant has also mentioned how both her and her nephew were reading the series together, which only emphasizes the fact of it being refreshingly targeted to young readers and girls.

 

Overall, the first issue of The Legend of Wonder Woman felt extremely magical, emotional and spiritual to me. It explores not only Diana’s core, but her motivations, her background, her past. If our experiences dictate the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ we do what we do, then this series could be the missing link for the true understanding of Wonder Woman’s character.

 

With the main question being it “Where does this story fits in the DC continuity”, I admit it makes me only slightly sad that it most likely doesn’t. At the very least, I would like to see more of this Diana, daughter of Hippolyta, whose motivations and past have been finally explored, and more of this magical society of peaceful Amazons secluded from the outside world. Apart from that, and judging by this first amazing issue, these series is more than enough to be enjoyed on its own, and personally recommended by me.

 

Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan

Christmas Ever After - Sarah Morgan
(Originally posted here)

 

And it’s finally time for a book review - I am so excited, aren’t you?

Those who know me know that while my main interest is Fantasy and Science Fiction, I occasionally enjoy reading or watching something absolutely girly! This guilty pleasure of mine includes anything in the very well known ‘chick lit’ genre, as long as it is funny and light, because that’s usually my mood when I decide to read these books.

 

I know this review is a bit late, it should had been posted much sooner; but thanks to my Kindle, I have all the relevant notes with me, so I can still share with you my own experience and personal thoughts about the book.

 

When it comes to review this type of books, I don’t expect unpredictable plots or an amazing master piece. So the rating is based on how enjoyable and entertaining reading this book was for me (and to be completely honest, that’s how rating works for me, in general).

 

The Plot

Of course, it will be no surprise to you that the plot is pretty much predictable. Not even the synopsis hides that fact, it completely gives it away. The selling point of this book is that even you being perfectly aware of the direction of the plot, it’s that sort of thing you still want to read, and live. You want to hear about the story of two people who apparently hate each other, but discover they have more than in common than they’d initially thought. You want to hear about people who chose love over comfort and convenience. You want to hear that people can still fall in love even after having lost complete faith. The plot might be predictable yes, but sometimes, all you need is a bit of romance and faith in your life. And for that, this book is pretty much inspiring, if not a bit naive.

 

The Characters

Despite the fact that I liked all the “fireworks” and the love-hate relationship between Skylar and Alec, I didn’t feel much for each one of them individually. Alec was the though, unavailable and unreachable guy with a broken heart, which was a safe bet for swooning material. Then Skylar, insanely beautiful, who is so much more than your average hot girl. To be fair, it’s refreshing to read a book that features a bombshell with a brain as opposed to the overused plain Jane. Who said you can’t be pretty, care about your pretty shoes, but still have a brain and be willing to get dirty (in all senses, really). I do think Skylar was a character with so much potential. At some point, though, it gives the impression as if she is trying too hard, and even comes across as needy sometimes. She wants to be tough but in fact, most of the time, she is trying to convince Alec of how much he needs to give a try to a relationship and be happy again - much to her benefit. During the rest of the time, she was simply being way too physical, in every kind of possible situation and scenario, in order to probably compensate the emptiness in her heart. It was just a bit too much. Apart from that, I have to say I loved her attitude towards both her family and ex.

Me not being a pet person, I absolutely despised the stereotype about dog lovers and how this was used to depict a bad image about Alec’s ex. Okay, we get it, the woman is horrible and uninteresting. But what does that have to do with liking or not liking dogs? “You are so different from my ex, you actually like dogs?” So what?

 

The Writing Style

I thought the writing style was very suitable to the genre and progression of the story. The author doesn’t use the chapters as a separation between POVs, but instead we have access to both Skylar and Alec’s POV (individually) which makes us feel as if we are inside the characters’ minds.

 

 

Overall, Christmas Ever After was a fun, enjoyable read, along the lines of ‘You know how it’s going to end, but you still want to read’. It has unexplored potential that could be used to actually defy the genre, and relied a bit too much in stereotypes and tropes.