Word Revel

Book blogger, recent Sociology grad in her twenties. Stares at labels when no books are in sight. Disproportionately reads YA. This is a companion blog to http://wordrevel.com.

After receiving several requests for tips and even tutorials I've decided to start a weekly Bookstagram 101 feature. If this is something that might interest you, hop on over to Word Revel and you might just find answers to your questions. See you there!

Currently reading: Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman


The audiobook is very engaging so far, even if it takes more concentration to keep all the different characters straight. I love that the setting is Ancient Greece with Alexander the Great when he was still 17. All these references to the gods and kings makes me want to refreshen my knowledge of Greek mythology. That's something I think I will definitely set out to do for 2016.

Still trying to write my book review of Divergent by Veronica Roth after re-reading it earlier this year. When I read it for the first time over two years ago, I was blown away. I still liked it this year but wasn't as excited anymore as I had first been. Putting these thoughts in writing is much harder than I had expected.

Definitely going to reread The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater next month. Until then, I'll be listening to the background music of this trailer on infinite look and soaking in Maggie's illustrations.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

The Rest of Us Just Live Here - Patrick Ness Initial thoughts: I won't lie — I felt very disconcerted reading the first couple of chapters. I wanted to know what this strange world is that is so much like our own and yet isn't. Take away all the uncertain elements and the year could very well be just a couple of years ahead of 2015 (on account of Twitter being passé and old TVs and VCRs still existing in some remote abandoned corners). Now include all the uncertain paranormal elements and what have you got? In a way, still our world. People believe so many different things and at the end of the day, there's no way of knowing how the unknown comes to influence our lives.

The difficult questions that many a person will ask because we need to order and classify everything we know are, is this contemporary fiction? Or is it fantasy? This books somewhat defies conventional YA genres despite it clearly being targeted at the YA audience. It isn't strictly contemporary but it isn't strictly fantasy or paranormal either. Genre is a very fluid term when applied here.

And then, who are these gods that reign above yet are only concerned about their own realms. Do they even matter? Not to Mike and Mike is the narrator of the story. He cares about his immediate reality more so than the strange occurrences that happen around him. That's kind of like most of us too, no? We're the centre of our lives and things happen along the periphery; people are hailed as heroes, people advance scientific research, people campaign for politics. Yet these things rarely matter to us more than we do.

When I consider The Rest of Us Just Live Here through a postmodern lens, then I see genius in this work of Patrick Ness. It encompasses paranoia to the highest degree, it revels in chaos and fragmentation, it is metaficitve — completely aware of its status as the fourth wall is broken, and it borders on hyperrealism. To regard it all through my bygone ninth grade literature education, a lot of things clicked into place.

Beyond the literary devices though, there also is diversity in a way that matters and yet doesn't at all and a highly respectful treatment of anxiety. After my disappointment in Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, I'm surprised I found redemption in The Rest of Us Just Live Here and the approach that Patrick Ness took in including very real mental struggles that his characters face in this book.

I'm currently reading Vicious by V.E. Schwab. It's pure madness and somewhat dark as you can tell by the trailer. What are you reading?

Mind the Gap! Wie ich London packte (oder London mich)

Mind the Gap! Wie ich London packte (oder London mich) - Emmy Abrahamson, Julia Nachtmann Hörbuch: 2,5/5 Sternen
Buch: 2/5 Sternen

Abgekürzte Hörbücher nerven mich total. Leider hatte ich erst hinterher herausgefunden, dass Mind the Gap! gekürzt wurde. Dabei hat das gedruckte Buch auch nur ca. 220 Seiten! Andererseits, vielleicht ist es gar nicht so schlecht nicht das ganze Buch gehört zu haben. Fands nicht amüsant genug.

Ich mag Theater gerne und hatte es auch als A Level Fach gewählt. Deswegen bin ich immer hocherfreut wenn sich Bücher um Theater handeln. Leider fand ich dieses Buch nicht gerade interessant. Filippa ist solch eine naïve 18-jährige, ich konnte nur den Kopf schütteln. Und da sie sich in dem ersten Band erst bei der Royal Drama School bewirbt gibt es auch nicht all zu viel Theater. Vielleicht wird es besser im zweiten Band. Ich hab mich nur noch nicht entschieden ob ich diese Serie überhaupt weiter lesen möchte. Vielleicht wenn Mind the Gap! witziger wäre, dann hätte ich mehr vertrauen in das Erfolg des zweiten Buches.

A Mad, Wicked Folly

A Mad, Wicked Folly - Sharon Biggs Waller August 5, 2015

Full review is now up on Word Revel.

July 17, 2015

Initial thoughts: Oh, how I absolutely adore this book! If anything, this surely counts to my very favourites this year and really, in general as well. It's well-researched and reflected the norms and expectations of the Edwardian era, while demonstrating the limited, yet increasing options available to women in the midst of the suffragette uprisings. Most of all, I loved the relationship between Vicky and her brother, Freddy, who was her most ardent supporter, regarding her as a person of equal stead instead of an irrational being beneath him, as other men and even women were wont to do. Of course, the fact that art was front and centre throughout is another reason I'm singing all the praises for A Mad, Wicked Folly.

A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book: 95 Inspiring Ideas for Photographing Your Friends, Your World, and Yourself

A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book: 95 Inspiring Ideas for Photographing Your Friends, Your World, and Yourself - Elsie Larson, Emma Chapman Initial thoughts: When I borrowed this book, I didn't realize that it was titled after the blog A Beautiful Mess. Only when I took another look at the cover when I was already home did that sink in. While I'm not a regular reader of that blog, I did recognize the style of bright colours and photos that popped. In that aspect, I enjoyed leafing through the book. Sadly, the textual content didn't do much to elevate it to an indispensable reference book. Great for small doses of inspiration but that's about it.

Across the Universe

Across the Universe - Beth Revis, Lauren Ambrose, Carlos Santos Initial thoughts: This book wasn't a priority for me based on the synopsis because somehow I didn't think it would interest me that much. The reason I read it anyway was so that I could clear the "A book set in the future" prompt for the 2015 Popsugar Reading Challenge. Lol. Yes, I'm competitive like that. Anyway, there were some concepts that interested me in how they were dealt with, like cryonics and eugenics, plus the idea of mono ethnicity. The narration-style and first-person voices of Amy and Elder didn't do much for me though and my overall enjoyment wasn't all that high.

I'm not sure yet if I care to continue with the sequel. Yes, there's a cliffhanger but I think I'm pretty okay not knowing how things continue. Not to mention, despite the mystery surrounding the antagonist, it was pretty obvious who that person would be, so no shock there. At least there were plot-points that still kept me on the edge of my seat despite the predictability on some fronts.

Someday, Someday, Maybe: A Novel

Someday, Someday, Maybe: A Novel - Lauren Graham Initial thoughts: I absolutely loved the snark. It was even better because Lauren Graham herself narrated the audiobook, which made all the more amusing. The other reason I liked Someday, Someday, Maybe so much is that the protagonist was trying to break into Broadway or at least land a few decent acting jobs in order to fulfil her goals. Even though I've never thought about becoming a professional actress, I love theatre. I find so much joy in it and wish I had time to pursue acting as a hobby. Anyway, acting is a tough career to pursue and liked hearing of the day-to-day life and struggles and triumphs of Franny. Even though the plot itself wasn't terribly exciting, the main character more than made up for it simply being the character that she was.

All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven, Ariadne Meyers, Kirby Heyborne Initial thoughts: I'm sure many readers have been thinking All the Bright Places reminds them a lot of a certain book. In some ways, it really does. But in other ways, I thought this book right here had a much better execution with characters I actually believed in and rooted for. Violet and Finch, Finch and Violet, oh, where do I begin? The overarching theme of All the Bright Places was that even though mental illnesses aren't visible to the naked eye, that doesn't mean people aren't suffering. That notion was evident from the very beginning and continuously anchored the story.

While I wasn't all that invested in either Finch or Violet for the majority of the book, I did like them. I think to me, the theme overshadowed everything else, which made it a little difficult for me to see them as people who were larger than their mental ailments and post-traumatic stress disorder. And yet there was a moment that Finch rejected labels, questioning why we let them define ourselves. That's why I thought All the Bright Places would make me think and reflect on life and death and everything in between. What I didn't expect was to spill a few tears. I think in the end, I was affected because I recognised the pain as something very real to me.


Clean - Amy Reed Actual rating: 4.5 stars
Initial thoughts: Clean is a very solid book. It explores life at a youth rehab from the perspective of five teenagers committed to it. They each battle with different addictions and have to face up to their problems. The writing varies from first-person prose to script-style to essays and to the more experimental. The various writing styles meshed together convey the dissonance that each of the characters feel as well as their jumbled thoughts. I think that this approach worked exceedingly well for this book.

The only thing that made Clean fall short of a perfect 5-star rating was the plot. It did progress and there were twists here and there but the final resolution didn't convince me. As expected, the story ended when the five of them were done at rehab. However, the lead up to "today is my last day here" and "tomorrow I'm going home" was very abrupt. It's like it just happened in order to wrap up the book. Nonetheless, Clean felt complete at the point it ended and made me feel for each one of the five.

Those Girls

Those Girls - Lauren Saft Note: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Initial thoughts: Anyone who considers reading Those Girls should be made aware of the following massively huge caveats:

1) Whoever blurbed this book must have read a really early draft without bothering about the final manuscript. Honesty is not a word that deserves to be part of the blurb. There's so much deceit in the book, "honesty" is a foreign concept. That "healthy dose of heart" was completely absent too. This book does promote healthiness in any form — not of the heart, the mind, the soul, the body or relationships.
2) The YA classification is terrifyingly off base. The amount of sex and profanity puts the NA books I've read (admittedly few) to shame.
3) In fact, Those Girls is so warped, I'm sure the moral compass points way south. Nay, the needle never stops spinning because even pointing south doesn't portray the gravity of this level of questionable morality. This book has no victims. Everyone is a culprit. No exceptions.

Having said all that, I think Lauren Saft has what it takes to be a good author if she publishes other books — any story but this one from her I would have very likely enjoyed. She writes well, and evidently knows how to craft characters that are believable.

You know how everyone hating an especially terrible villain in a movie is a testament to good acting? I think this applies to this book in some ways too. I hated every single character by the end of the book. Not because Lauren Saft created uninterestingly flat characters. These characters had fire. But they were evil and I hated them. Like I said, this book has no victims; only culprits.


Ticker - Lisa Mantchev, Fiona Hardingham Audiobook rating: 3 stars
Book rating: 2.5 stars

Initial thoughts: You'd think a book about a girl with a clockwork heart would be memorable. Alas, I can't say that is the case for Ticker. Thinking about what happened in the book, my memory's already hazy about the plot, as though I had read it months ago instead of the past couple of days. I attribute this to the technology overload that outweighed the actual plot and character developments. Gadgets peppered the book from back to front to the point that instead of building up the world, I felt they were there merely to remind us that Ticker falls into the steampunk genre. The prose wasn't particularly strong either. It was simply a medium to convey the story; nothing more.

In the end, I'd say Ticker is a bland book. It's fairly entertaining to while away the time, especially with the pleasant narration of the audiobook. Nothing upset me or made me dislike the book while I was reading it. But now that I'm done, I walk away without being impacted in any way. Since I neither like nor hate the book, I'm giving it the middle ground rating of 2.5 stars, simply because I'm indifferent.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1) - Laini Taylor Initial thoughts: This book is poetry. So many beautiful moments among more sinister ones. What is hope and what is peace? What is evil that pursues good? And what is goodness tarnished by evil? What does it mean to love? Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the most beautiful reflection on love and life — all wrapped up in a fantasy novel.

Currently reading

A Corner of White
Andrew Eiden, Peter McGowan, Fiona Hardingham, Jaclyn Moriarty, Kate Reinders
Post-TV: Piracy, Cord-Cutting and the Future of Television
Michael Strangelove
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Sarah J. Maas
Girls, Texts, Cultures
Clare Bradford, Mavis Reimer