“The Fog Diver” by Joel Ross

Goodreads summary:

A deadly white mist has cloaked the earth for hundreds of years. Humanity clings to the highest mountain peaks, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the teeming lower slopes and rambling junkyards. As the ruthless Lord Kodoc patrols the skies to enforce order, thirteen-year-old Chess and his crew scavenge in the Fog-shrouded ruins for anything they can sell to survive.

Hazel is the captain of their salvage raft: bold and daring. Swedish is the pilot: suspicious and strong. Bea is the mechanic: cheerful and brilliant. And Chess is the tetherboy: quiet and quick…and tougher than he looks. But Chess has a secret, one he’s kept hidden his whole life. One that Lord Kodoc is desperate to exploit for his own evil plans. And even as Chess unearths the crew’s biggest treasure ever, they are running out of time… (Goodreads)

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“Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness” by Susannah Cahalan

“It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed.” – Thomas Moore

I bought Cahalan’s book about two years ago. I’d seen it promoted on various places online but didn’t pay attention to what it’s about. However, curiosity pricked me in December 2015 so when I saw the book in Barnes & Noble, I read a couple pages and was immediately hooked on Cahalan’s story. I knew then I had to buy it.

Fast forward to May 2017 when I again picked up the book because after abandoning it on my shelves for two years, I was finally in the mood to read it. Once again, I was hooked as soon as I started reading. It was as if I was reading one of those medical novels except everything mentioned in Brain on Fire actually happened because it’s Cahalan’s recount of a month she spent hospitalized while doctors scrambled to figure out what was wrong with her.

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Two Illustrated Books: “The River” and “Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone”

It’s been a while since I’ve read an illustrated book, I realized on a recent visit to the library. I decided to rectify that by picking up two books that were on display, one about a river and another, a familiar story, about the boy who lived. Both were good reads and quite an experience, though one wasn’t as I expected it to be. However in both, I found that I paid more attention to the artwork rather than the story.


The River by Alessandro Sanna (illus.), trans. by Michael Reynolds

Quick summary:

The River is an illustrated book by Italian painter and illustrator Alessandro Sanna about a town situated by a river. The story is told almost entirely without words, and the book is separated into four parts, one for each season, that all begin with a short paragraph about how the season affects the river or the town and what is included in that section (I realized this last part after completing the book).

My thoughts and the Art style:

The River is a sweet story. To tell the story of the town and the river, Sanna has us focus on a character, a man, to see how the seasons and the river affect his life.

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“Things We Lost in the Fire” by Mariana Enriquez

I sometimes get intimidated by book reviews I must write. This is one of those times.

The intimidation usually arises because I love the book and have a lot to say but don’t know how to articulate my thoughts, such as now. I had lots to say when I completed this book but didn’t know how to make it all coherent. But the short of it is that this book is great and I highly recommend it.

Quick summary and My thoughts:

Things We Lost in the Fire is a book of short stories by Argentine journalist Mariana Enriquez. It was translated by Megan McDowell and published in the U.S. earlier this year by Hogarth Press. It’s the first book of short stories I’ve ever read and I’m glad that I had such a positive experience with it, which I didn’t expect because I thought I would be unsatisfied with the length. I wasn’t, but I wouldn’t mind reading an expanded version of some of the stories to know what the characters do next.

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“Wintersong” by S. Jae-Jones

I read Wintersong in tandem with Who Thought This Was a Good Idea because both became available on my library’s Overdrive at the same time. We are only given 21 days to read books downloaded to our devices, so I sped through both books. Good thing they were both somewhat engrossing.

Goodreads summary:

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world. (Goodreads)

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“Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House” by Alyssa Mastromonaco

Lately, it’s been hard to keep up with my reviews or remember what I want to say in them. I was more organized last year because I would jot down my thoughts soon after completing a book in my spiral-bound notebook. But at the beginning of this year, I was so lethargic and sluggish when it came to reading and blogging that I stopped recording my impression of what I read immediately after completing the book.

Most times I’m able to write a decent review despite not having recorded my initial thoughts. I highlight so many passages as I read that once I reread them, I’m able to recall why I highlighted it, how that portion of the book made me feel, and what that particular passage made me think. So a notebook isn’t necessarily needed, but it is helpful in easing the load of thoughts I store in mind as I read more and more books without posting reviews of them.

Such a notebook comes in handy when I read library e-books that disappear after its due date without me having posted a review. That’s what happened with Alyssa Mastromonaco’s memoir Who Thought This Was a Good Idea, which is about how she became the youngest woman to serve as deputy chief of staff at the White House.

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“Mad Ship” by Robin Hobb

It takes a while for me to wade through Robin Hobb’s books, especially the Liveship Traders trilogy. I started Mad Ship, the second in the trilogy, at the end of February and completed it in early May.

The book is long, at about 850 pages, but my reading was slow because the story is emotionally heavy and emotionally charged scenes are dragged out. It makes me take frequent breaks from the story and thus a longer time to read it. Still, the world and characters Hobb has created are so interesting that I can’t break for long. I keep returning to the story, helped along by my buddy read with Emily at Embuhlee liest.

Goodreads summary:

The Vestritt family’s liveship, Vivacia, has been taken by Kennit, an ambitious pirate. Captain Haven is a prisoner; his son Wintrow, who bears the Vestritt blood, finds himself competing with Kennit for Vivacia’s love as she becomes a pirate ship.

Althea Vestritt, in training to become Vivacia’s captain, arrives home to discover her beloved ship lost. Brashen Trell, her old friend and shipmate, proposes that they sail to Vivacia’s rescue in the liveship Paragon, who has lost two previous crews and is believed mad.

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