Where words come to die and inspiration takes flight in a blinded whisper.
Welcome to my private corner in the world, where my heart rejoice which each word it consumes.

My other blog, for my regurgitation of words.

Currently Reading: Winter by Marissa Meyer ♥!

NaNo-failures and Life's Surprises

After another unsuccesful year at NaNoWriMo I am back to reading.

It is not that I have failed, as I do continue to work on my NaNo-novel, but that I was halted on my journey due to various life circumstances. Allow me to elaborate.

1. During the first week my apartment was broken into. I came home to find myself crying at the front door about the event on the phone. I am recovered from the shock as I do consider myself quite a brave human being. It was very stressful but I was thankfully supported by those around me.

2. Around mid-way through the month I got a seasonal flu. Quite a nasty one at that. I spent days unable to sleep due to the congestion and coughing. I even found myself sleeping on the nice warm carpet of the living room as to not disturb my love one. Thankfully, I am now recovering. However, those nights left me quite out of energy, malnourished and sleepy to even spend some thoughts on words, books or the internet. It was me, the couch, liters of tea and rolls of toilet paper.

3. Now the last and third reason is quite uplifting as I got indeed a job promotion. Which means my head is spinning around in excitement as I was aiming at this for a year and my expectation was to reach in in yet half a year more. But the universe works in mysterious magical ways and the timing could not be better. Unable to focus on anything else but the expectation, I halted my NaNo-project.

So I decided to throw in the towel and sit on the couch with a warm cup of tea and Winter byMa Meyer. (Not in the picture as I am saving my beautiful shot of the book for the review.)

Soon my days will be filled with daily commutes, meaning more books to read. So expect my activity on the online media to increase in the next year. Or so I aim to. In the meanwhile, I retire to write further my novel as I do intend to reach the 50,000 words even if after december. And to read my precious TBR pile under a warm blanket.

I am considering whether to pursue a reading goal next year,  since I will be on a train an hour a day, five days a week. Perhaps I should really attempt 50 as I always keep myself on 30 - 35 books per year.

Did you attempted NaNoWriMo? Are you achieving your goal?

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We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

a book review

During my first camping trip, my boyfriend took me to the bookstore and made me search for that one book which caught my eyes a couple of days ago. It was The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It was her first book and I loved it. The simplicity of the plot, the complexity of the characters, the subtle art of story telling.

We Never Asked for Wings is her second published novel. After my experience with her first book I was looking forward to this with great anticipation. Also a bit of fear as usually writers let me down with their second books. This book is about Letty and her family. It talks about subjects like migration, family and belonging. Finding home, and I must confess although I did somewhat understood the title, it never hit me until this precise moment as I write this line.

Letty's father returns to Mexico, leaving his grandson, Alex, his collection of feathers with a simple note, "make wings." Letty struggles to learn how to be a mother without her own mother and the sweetness of it all leaves you wishing you could snuggle Luna yourself. And though I have read many reviews feeling disgusted with Letty’s character for her actions, from a literary point of view this means Vanessa did a great job with the character. She was flawed in many ways, and with her children she tries to make things right. I have seen my own parents struggle for us, and yes, all great parents will lie and do the impossible for their children. It is not about morality but about survival, and nobody really understand this unless they go through it. I guess this is why I was not very upset with Letty, but feeling sorry and understanding, while hoping that in the end she does the right thing.

. . . the origin of our identity is love.
The phase of the story, just like with her first book, was constant and I was glad she kept to this style. Though in a way you wish for more plot deepness, you know it has just enough to make you love it. The characters are immediately connecting to you, reaching out, saying "listen to, I am here, this is my story." What I like about Vanessa's books so far is that, the characters have this sort of magic feeling to them as if they were real. And who knows? Maybe they are. Somewhere out there is a Letty, a Luna, a Rick and an Alex, as well as many Yessenia’s. And they are all searching for home. So far this is a recurrent theme in her writing and yet it is different in each book.

I truly recommend this book to everyone looking for a heart warming quick read. Is like reading a fresh breeze of summer after you are done with so many complex books. And though there are mixed feelings for the ending, this is a refreshing one and I believe people should stop complaining about endings, they are either all too perfect or all too cruel. I liked it and I loved the idea of the future that waited for them.

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Ultima by Stephen Baxter

A book review

I began this book with significant enthusiasm. After reading Proxima I was eager to know what would happen to our pioneers of the universes and how they would survive yet another reality, specially at their age. Enter, the Roman age, a world where the Roman empire never fell and the continents as well as the far stretches of the solar system were dominated by 3 major empires. Our survivors soon integrate to society and a child of different realities is born.

Going on to this child, I really disliked her even though she was just the way she was. Selfish and stubborn, she matures slowly but surely. However it didn't stop me from wanting to slap her a couple of times. When Chu entered the stage I knew he had an important role to play. This role however, was overshadowed by the constant family drama of Mardina's and Yuri's descendants. The few lines he got at the end made me wish we could have gotten some intimate conversations between him and another character like Stef. I believe I would have grown to like his character.

“In the heart of a hundred billion worlds— Across a trillion dying realities in a lethal multiverse— In the chthonic silence— There was satisfaction. The network of mind continued to push out in space, from the older stars, the burned-out worlds, to the young, out across the Galaxy. Pushed deep in time too, twisting the fate of countless trillions of lives.” 
The world just got weirder and more extreme. The quest to find the Dreamers and to catch up to Earthshine only picked up at the end of the book. (At some point the book calls him "Earthlight" which I am pretty sure was part of a first draft and slipped away on editing, but I will forgive that.) Earthshine became more important here. A perfect "villain" if you want a title, though not exactly. For a machine, quite sentimental, for sentimental, quite crude and logical. So it was a constant push and pull with him until the very end.

I was very satisfied with the end, which I will not discuss here as it involves more than you expect. But plots things from Proxima get explained, loose ends are tied up. I truly recommend this book for Space Operas' fans. Though my child-like wonder was not there as with the first book, and at some point in my notes I ramp about how I do not feel connected to any of the characters, this is still a very fun read.

Once I slowed down my reading phase again, through the battles and the survivals, I began to experience the reason once more of why I enjoyed the first book. You can't speed read this, it needs to be processed as it deals with black holes, galaxies, wormholes and the manipulation of the fabric of space and time by highly intelligent creatures classified as 'bugs'. A highly imaginative novel with plenty to make you think.

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Discussion: On book ratings…

…and why I don’t use them anymore on my blog.

A while ago I’ve noticed how much I enjoyed reading book reviews which do not contain a rating system. As soon as I see a rating lower than 4 I skim the post as I know the reader did not liked the book. However, in my reviews, though I do not like a book, I know some people might and I give my honest feedback without shaming the book or the author. This is quite rude considering the amount of effort writers put into their books, fan fiction included. So I decided to stay away from rating on my blog when reviewing a book and concentrate on the facts. On goodreads I will still rate them as part of my own shelving system and because this is the way the website works.

Sometimes I enjoy a book a lot and yet I do not entirely agree with some elements of it. This I know is not a problem for others who would otherwise love the book. So I think rating it would be unfair as I did enjoyed it but I did not like some actions or ideas in it. Would this be a 4 or a 5? I would only read books with a 3.8 score or more on goodreads, preferably 4.5+. However I have found books I’ve loved with a bit of a 3.0 rating on goodreads and this got me thinking, are ratings even valid though there are subjective? I have found out, review content has more validity for us to evaluate if we will like a book than a simple number. Books after all, just like us, are very complex creatures.

When I used to score a book a 5 I did it on levels of enjoyment. Did I live through the characters' emotions? Did I cheer for them? Did I even feel for the villains? Did I want to kick my boyfriend away just so I could finish one more chapter? These books deserved 5 stars for me. But lately I’ve been encountering books on which, though I experience all of this, I am more conscious of the writing elements in it and it kind of ruins my idea of “perfection”. A 3/5 book would be basically a book of which idea I loved but the characters failed to deliver. Sort of. And well a 2/5 would be a book in which I found myself skimming, yawning and going WTF every time the characters opened their mouths.

So these are my thoughts on rating systems and book reviews. If you read book reviews on newspapers or magazines, they also limit themselves to the facts while not ruining the reader’s experience with negative feedback or a rating system. This is my aim now with this blog. To recommend and talk about my reading experience and make the readers curious enough as to read the book themselves.

What has been your experiences with book ratings? Do you chose a book because it has a higher rating? Do you give low rated books a chance? If you do, have you been surprised about it? Do you think rating systems are fair considering there are highly subjective? Let me know!
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