Posted in Book of the Week, Books: Fantasy, Books: Historical, Books: Series

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

Book of the Week: (Book #1) The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
Tea of the Week: Milk Teatumblr_o3mvmlS6R81tebsfoo1_1280.jpg

Excerpt:
“Sophie knew-just knew- that there was no possible way for the small gray man to see her: she was standing on the opposite side of the street behind a pane of glass that was bright with reflected early-afternoon sunlight. She would be invisible in the gloom behind the glass.

And yet…
And yet in that single moment when their eyes met, Sophie felt the tiny hairs on the back of their hands and along her forearms tingle and felt a puff of cold air touch the back of her neck. She rolled her shoulders, turning her head slightly from side to side, strands of her long blond hair curling across her cheek. The contact lasted only a second before the small man looked away, but Sophie got the impression that he had looked directly at her.
In the instant before the gray man and his three overdressed companions disappeared into the bookshop, Sophie decided that she did not like him,”(6)

Josh and Sophie Newman are twins. Twins that share everything in life, but when Josh discovers an ancient secret unfold and  his boss, Nick Fleming, is not who he really is, his sister follows his footsteps and things are turned upside down. Through the struggles that this pair face, everything that they knew was wrong about history. Will Sophie and Josh survive the outcomes that are provided by fate, or will they fall into the hands of the wronged?

This has to be one of my favorite books as a young child and it’s partially because of the way Scott write it. He write this series in third person, but through the character’s actions you can tell what they’re thinking. It’s also a very fast paced novel, where it’s still a detailed novel, but the pacing of the event that happen are very quick. I also love how he creates the characters over a period of time so that as the character grows as a person, they also grow on you.

I find that when Josh is shown as someone who is insecure about how he doesn’t have power, and how his twin does, shows how thought out he is, as a character. It also depicts internal struggle that all of us deal with at one point in our lives, which is being jealous of someone, for something that we don’t have. And that’s totally fine, it’s a human thing, which is why I love these characters because they’re realistic and aren’t the cliche “I’m the good guy so all of my thoughts and actions are good”.

I also love how ancient history is included, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I love mythology and including it in a modern setting is possibly one of the best things in the entire book world for me. I love how it includes figures from different mythology backgrounds like Egyptian and Norse.

And while if I were to talk about how much I love this series, it would ruin it for you guys who have not read it, so for now, I’ll stop here.

Ofdragonsandtea out.

Posted in Book of the Week, Books: Teenage Angst

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Book of the Week: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Tea of the Week: Jasmine Teatumblr_o39wjbpY3t1tebsfoo1_1280.jpg

Excerpt:
“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home. I was wishing I looked like Paul Newman- he looks tough and I don’t- but I guess my own looks aren’t so bad. I have light-brown, almost-red hair and greenish-gray eyes. I wish they were more gray because I hate most guys that have green eyes, but I have to be content with what I have. My hair is longer than a lot of boys wear theirs, squared off in back and long at the front and sides, but I am a greaser and most of my neighborhood rarely bothers to get a haircut. Besides, I look better with long hair,” (1)

A classic coming of age novel about friendship and finding where you belong, written by S.E. Hinton at the age of sixteen is about life and accepting the reality of it. Everyone who says life is easy, is well, a liar. Ponyboy has things set in track for himself. He has his brothers Darry and Sodapop to rely on. He can count on his true friends, like Johnny and Two-Bit. They’re known as the Greasers, and a gang of rich kids (that can do whatever they please) take pleasure in the harm of Greasers. But when someone crosses the line, everything Ponyboy knows is flipped. . .

This is certainly a book that makes me think. The last time I read it was three years ago, and rereading it this week made me realize how much I’ve changed in three years. This is the type of book where you have to read it multiple times, and each time you read it you discover something new about the world, or yourself, and the book. Ponyboy is the character where everyone can say “Oh yeah, that would be me if I was in this book!” And it’s like that, because he’s such a well developed character and his thoughts are what many of us readers have felt at one point, or another in our lives.

It’s also about how realistic this book it, that makes the readers pulled in word for word, sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter. The reader can also see how the external conflict and internal conflicts that Ponyboy has can be put in their old life. Now it’s not the actual problem problem, but the concept that each one has. Like with Darry, Ponyboy constantly feels pressure to do better, and how much he can’t handle it when Darry applies it him, and in our everyday lives, everyone has their version of a Darry. You know, the person that want you to be the best, wants you to be better and better, and how we constantly feel that their nagging is unnecessary. And through reading this novel, we realize that the Darry in our lives, just wants us to be better for the good of our future, and it’s not like they mean bad, they are just putting it in a harmful way towards us.

And while as us, the reader, may not live in an area where there are Socs and Greasers, we still understand the concept that this has of a social hierarchy in our lives. The Outsiders also shows the reader that true friendship has so much meaning throughout this book.

I would say more about this book and how much I love it, but in fear of spoiling it, I won’t say anymore.

ofdragonsandtea out.
Posted in Book of the Week, Books: Romance, Books: Teenage Angst

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Book of the Week: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Tea of the Week: Black Tea

tumblr_o2wyj3Ozgz1tebsfoo1_500.jpg

Excerpt:
“‘Reagan!’ the boy said happily. ‘Look, your roommate’s here.’
A girl stepped around Cath in the doorway and glanced back coolly. She had smooth, auburn hair and an unlit cigarette in her mouth. The boy grabbed it and put it in his own mouth. ‘Reagan, Cather. Cather, Reagan,’ he said.
‘Cath,’ Cath said.”

Meet Cath. Not Cather. Not Catharine. Just Cath.
Cath is a Simon Snow Fan. Don’t know who Simon Snow is? Think nerd.
Ok, but let’s be real… The entire world is a fan of Simon Snow.
Being a fangirl is what Cath excels at- it’s basically a way of living for her. She and her twin sister, Wren, were the biggest fans, but times have changed. They are both off to college, and while Wren has let go of Simon Snow, Cath is still in her comfort zone.  And with meeting new people, like her surly roommate, and her always around boyfriend, her fanfictions-hating professor, her dad who’s never been left alone and a boy who only talks about words.
Cath constatnly questions: Can she do this?  Is this really what she wants?

Fangirl. It’s by far, one of my favorite books to read, and Cath being one of my favorite characters yet. I honestly love everything about it. I love the plot, the characters, the development. I love how Cath changes from beginning to end. To me, Cath reminds me of a butterfly, and I know it sounds so cliche, but it’s true. Cath starts out as a girl who’s afraid of her own shadow, and she is hopelessly stuck in the same situation over, and over. And then with the help of her friends, and herself mostly, she begins to realize her potential, and her own needs aren’t as selfish as she thinks they are. I also love Cath, for the way Rowell wrote her as. Rowell wrote Cath as a character, a girl, with many flaws, and in the end, Cath is still a flawed being. Rowell doesn’t make her characters as the cliche “girl with so many flaws but in the end of the story she’s perfect and has a perfect life”. No. She still makes them flawed in the beginning, but throughout Fangirl, Cath realizes herself as a flawed being and she tries to fix them, or rather she does something about them.

I also love the main/side characters, such as Levi and Reagan. I love them, because there’s that point in the book where I, as a reader, realized that theses characters all have their own story, and how us, as a reader, and through Fangirl, are just getting glimpses of their story, while we are looking at another person’s story, Cath’s. And it gets me to think, how are other people’s stories like in real life? How much of ourselves are included in other people’s stories? I guess those thoughts are saved for another of my random rants.

Another thing about this book, is that since one of the main parts is how Cath is writing her own fanfiction for Simon Snow, and how she feels that it’s a race to finish her fanfiction, before the writer of the Simon SNow series finishes their last book, shows how much Cath cares about Simon Snow. I love how Rainbow Rowell gives the reader glimpses of Cath’s writing, and the author of Simon Snow’s writing.

I also realized that Simon Snow, in a way, symbolizes something different for everyone, like different memories, objects, but in the end it all has the same meaning of not wanting to grow up, and holding onto that part of yourself of your childhood, or something precious that keeps you in a safe bubble. And I think one of the ways that makes Fangirl such an amazing novel, is that it makes the reader grow up a little inside, and broaded their way of thinking and perspective.

And concluding my thought’s on Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, read it. It’s a way of living that some of us readers will understand and if you don’t, it’s fine, because it’s surely a novel that even just the tiniest thing, even just one percent of this book is relatable.

ofdragonsandtea out.

Posted in Book of the Week, Books: Historical, Books: Romance

China Dolls by Lisa See

Book of the Week: China Dolls by Lisa See
Tea of the Week: Jasmine tea with some honeytumblr_o2jyp2edk51tebsfoo1_500.jpg

Excerpt:
“The boys stood and brushed the sand off themselves. When they held out their palms, I paid them their promised nickels. Once they scampered off, I turned to Helen.
‘Where to?’ “(16).

San Francisco, 1938
Grace, Helen and Ruby meet in the most unusual circumstances. In Chinatown, life is buzzing around and there’s a war about to drop just overseas, and the city? The city is buzzing with opportunities.
Grace, Helen and Ruby, three women with the most different backgrounds, meet with fate on their shoulders, in the chic Forbidden City nightclub. This trio becomes fast friends, but when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and shock lead down a twisty path full of betrayal and problems.
And then, everything changes.

I have read this book so many times, it’s probably a favorite of mine. I remember the first time I read it, I couldn’t stop reading it (I mean that hasn’t changed but..) and when certain parts got to me, I couldn’t stop crying, and the emotional stretch this had on me was very grand, and it really was an unfathomable experience.

I love the writing style, because the way Lisa See writes this book, is from the different perspectives of the three main girls, and it gives the reader three different ways to see the plot of this book. She also makes her characters complex, and relatable so that the reader can’t hate any of the characters, but it’s not like any of the characters are perfect. It’s not like the cliche, good guy versus bad guy, where the good guy wins and gets the girl.

This novel is also very empowering towards women, and Chinese and Japanese culture which I love, because I haven’t found many books that empower Asian women, which is a shame because there honestly should be a lot more! I also love the fact that this novel doesn’t “slut shame”, and is geared towards showing the artistic side of burlesque and showing the reality of prostitution and working at a nightclub.

Although this novel has some graphic scenes, and themes, it developes the book into something more. Something that can be related to our modern world and be used for inspiration. The graphic scenes, aren’t that graphic, but the things and themes that are applied wouldn’t make this novel suitable for immature readers.

And after reading this novel, it gave me inspiration to do somethings, it’s one of those books. I would definitely reccommend to read this, and although it isn’t the perfect sappy romance for Valentine’s Day, it shows another type of love. Friendship.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted in Book of the Week, Books: Romance, Books: Sci-Fi, Books: Series, Books: Teenage Angst

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Book Of the Week: The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey
Tea of the Week: Jasminetumblr_o26vdmyklc1tebsfoo1_1280

Excerpt:
“ALIENS ARE STUPID.
I’m not talking about real aliens. The Others aren’t stupid. The Others are so far ahead of us, it’s like comparing the dumbest human to the smartest dog. No contest.
No, I’m talking about the aliens inside our own heads,” (Yancey, 1).

You know those aliens that movies show as like green slimy blobs and say “Take me to your leader puny human!”?
So go figure, aliens may be like that, but The Others? Not so much.
1st Wave. No lights. 2nd Wave. Earthquake. 3rd Wave. Virus. 4th Wave. Silencers.
5th Wave. Unknown.
Meet Cassie. Short for Cassiopeia. Duh. Her life is turned upside down when the waves start hitting Earth. With her parents dead, her brother taken away, and when the 4th Wave hits, men are out to kill her. She meets Evan, a boy just like her, on the run and playing with Death. And Cassie will stop at nothing to get her brother back.
Meet Zombie. He’s only trained to do one thing. Kill or be killed. That is, until he meets Nugget, and his perspective of his reality opens up, and is never the same.
And like all cliches, the two are destined to meet another, in some case or another.

Again, another book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It’s not like your typical cliche dystopian novel where the girl is caught between her love interest and her destiny. No, no siree. Cassie is the type to be headstrong, and go for somethings until she gets it, even if that means risking her life.

Yancey writes the book where he changed the point of view, but when he does, he leaves you on a strong cliffhanger where you end up wanting to know what happens next! He develops his characters throughout the book, and when you read it, it’s like you’re growing with the characters as well. He expresses such raw emotion through his characters as well, so that it’s hard to hate any of them.

Each new chapter will catch you by surprise with the twists and turns, and the odds and ends. And by the end of this book, you’ll wish you had it’s companion and sequel novel, The Infinite Sea. Which I actually need to read. Ha!

What I really love about this book, is how the characters are twisted, and how the plot seems to be all over the place at first, but the more the reader reads, the more the lines tie together and eventually in the end, the reader is desperate for more. I also love his portrayal of the Others. Like, how he calls them the Others, and not aliens, or he doesn’t give them some weird name. It makes the book even more mysterious, and I love that about it. The entire thing seems so mysterious at first, but then things tie together in a cliffhanging ending. It’s probably one of the must reads of our modern age.

Posted in Book of the Week, Books: Fantasy, Books: Romance

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Book of the Week: Stardust, Neil Gaiman
Tea of the Week: Green Tea with Superantioxidents from Yogi

Excerpt:
      “He straightened his shoulders, placed the crystal snowdrop in the top buttonhole of his coat, now undone. And, to ignorant to be scared, too young to be awed, Tristran Thorn passed beyond the fields we know . . .
        . . . and into Faerie,”(Gaiman 54)

What happens when you combine high fantasy and a plot-twisting romance?

You end up with Gaiman’s classic novel Stardust.
In the quiet village of Wall, nothing of the unexpected happens. No adventures, or quests are to be found here.
No sir, not at all.
I mean, until Tristran Thorn promises the love of his life, Victoria, that if he were to bring a fallen star to her, then they are to be wedded. But to do so, he must enter the mystical realm beyond the old stone wall. Faerie-where nothing is expected and where witches do the wicked and brothers are the kill’d.

I would highly recommend to read this novel because it gives a nostalgic feeling that makes your chest grow warm and fuzzy all over. It pulls you in and your mind is thrown into the world of Faerie, full of never ending and mystifying stories. And then you finish exploring the world with a different look on your life.

It gets you to think about life, for a main theme in this book is that things that people search for may be closer than they expected. And another, is that although this is a high fantasy book, it includes themes that can relate to our modern world. The theme of love conquers all is clearly shown, but this common theme is developed into deeper meanings throughout the plot. When it shows two characters that have lots of internal and external conflict, it also shows them supporting the other when times get hard. It shows them disagreeing, and arguing.

What I love is that he makes this type of love realistic. He doesn’t make them fall in love at first sight, nor does he make them a perfect happy couple, where they agree on everything. He makes their relationship realistic.

And romantic love, isn’t the only type of love that is shown. Gaiman writes the platonic love between friends in a manner that makes me wish I had it. He makes the characters so that none of them are completely evil, or completely good. He has the ability to make you pity a character, and then the next minute think that they are a complete idiot.

With this novel, the reader has to take note of small details, for some of them hint at the ending. And with all the different plot lines, it may get confusing, so read carefully, because the unexpected might just become expected within the lines of this novel.