While I’m clearly not the targeted reader for this novel, I love the occasional Middle Grade and I’m always up for anything by Levithan. This story felt like an ode to The Chronicles of Narnia but one that never really went anywhere and I just wanted more from this fun concept of a story.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened remains one of my favorite books of all time, however, Broken was a massive disappointment. I’m not sure if Lawson’s sense of humor changed (or mine) but I found her antics to be far more preposterous than entertaining.
Astrid Sees All by Natalie Standiford | Published April 6th 2021 by Atria Books
This was recommended for fans of Fleabag and this couldn’t be further off base. I personally loved Fleabag because of the realness and how darkly comedic it is and honestly, this book didn’t possess a single funny bone in its pages. It was dreary and pretentious and none of the characters left any semblance of an impression on me.
I’ve developed a taste for short stories only recently, but flash fiction is something different entirely. There simply wasn’t enough substance in any of these snippets to keep me invested.
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy | Published August 4th 2020 by Flatiron Books
Migrations is definitely your standard literary fare full of fanciful descriptions and an oftentimes hard-to-follow storyline that likes to bounce between the present day and flashbacks. I don’t think I was in the right mood to try this one (or if I honestly even possess a mood that is “right” for reading literary fiction.)
I got major I’ll Be Gone in the Dark vibes from this true crime tale, but I’m not sure I mean that as a compliment. There’s an exceptional amount of information regarding the investigation within these pages, however, once I discovered that this case was actually solved in 2018 it made me wonder why the story seemed to have been written as if this wasn’t knowledge the author possessed. I’m unclear when the author started writing this story, but I felt like at the very least an addendum could have been added prior to publication.
"There it was, hanging in the sky above the school: the blazing green skull with a serpent tongue, the mark Death Eaters left behind whenever they had entered a building...wherever they had murdered...."
When Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive one summer night to collect Harry Potter, his wand hand is blackened and shrivelled, but he does not reveal why. Secrets and suspicion are spreading through the wizarding world, and Hogwarts itself is not safe. Harry is convinced that Malfoy bears the Dark Mark: there is a Death Eater amongst them. Harry will need powerful magic and true friends as he explores Voldemort's darkest secrets, and Dumbledore prepares him to face his destiny....
“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”
Once upon a time, I considered Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to be my favorite of the bunch. This re-read? This is quite possibly my new favorite for how well-paced and exciting the mystery was. There was a reason behind everything Rowling included and when the links become apparent it was nothing short of fantastic. These stories have been quite dark since Goblet of Fire, but this installment added many fascinating angles to it and finally gives us the relationship between Harry and Dumbedore that should have been in place years ago. Technically this is my very first time re-reading past Prisoner of Azkaban (#3) and it almost felt like I was reading them for the first time. Having read Cursed Child has also changed my perception on the story as well by being able to view the characters differently knowing not just how they turned out at the end of Deathly Hallows, but several decades later as adults too.
While I haven’t re-read these as much as I should, I have seen the movies several times and those are what has been ingrained into my brain so it’s fantastic to recall the subtle/unsubtle changes that were made. Peeves continues to be absent and Tonks’ major part in this book is left out completely, the destruction of the Burrow didn’t happen at all in the story, a certain someones funeral gets left out, but most missed were many of the memories of Tom Riddle that Dumebledore shared with Harry. Those memories, to me, are what makes Voldemort most fascinating (in the worst of ways) and gives him a much needed complexity which takes him beyond your standard cardboard villain. But yes, I have a vastly different appreciation for this story now and am grateful I’ve finally made time to re-read this series in its entirety.
“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.
Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.
The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.
“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.”
Khalid spends his days keeping his identity secret as he helps to rebuild his demolished city and Shahrzad is doing all she possibly can to break the curse on Khalid so that they can live out their days together in peace. The Wrath and the Dawn only hinted at the presence of magic and I’m pleased to say that the magic is on full display in The Rose and the Dagger. There’s heartbreak and strife galore because is anything ever easy when it comes to love?
It’s no secret that I absolutely adored the first book. Whether it’s because I loved the first so much and I didn’t expect the second to be able to live up to it or because of my poor track record in regards to final books in series’ but it took me forever to take the plunge and pick this one up. But better late than never, I finally did. This installment focuses less on the romance and more on the conspiracies and scheming going on in the background of the kingdom. Yes, the romance focus was definitely missed since I loved it so, however, there was a maturity to it this time around that was definitely absent from Wrath what with all the passion flying around. There were some intriguing mysteries involving Khalid’s rivals and Shahrzad’s father that I quite liked but one mystery in particular View Spoiler »involving Despina « Hide Spoiler left me feeling confused what with the unraveled ends that it was left with. While I was not nearly as enamored with this installment as I was with the prior, this still ended up being a most magical story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.
How does one talk about love? Is it even possible to describe something at once utterly mundane and wholly transcendent, that has the power to consume our lives completely, while making us feel part of something infinitely larger than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this age-old problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary constructs the story of a relationship as a dictionary. Through these sharp entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of coupledom, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
‘It scares me how hard it is to remember life before you. I can’t even make the comparisons anymore, because my memories of that time have all the depth of a photograph. It seems foolish to play games of better and worse. It’s simply a matter of is and is no longer.’
The Lover’s Dictionary is the antithesis of a love story. But it’s still a story of love. It’s the type that brings to light all the hairline fractures and imperfections of romance. It shows the wondrous, shining moments of first love and the gloomy, dispiriting moments when it comes to a close. It’s both tragic and comforting and it’s an astonishing piece of writing.
The natural state. Our moods change. Our lives change. Our feelings for each other change. Our bearings change. The song changes. The air changes. The temperature of the shower changes.
Accept this. We must accept this.
I read and reviewed this years ago but I recently purchased a copy for myself and have been wanting to re-read just to see if this retained all the same magic that I recalled it having. I quite possibly loved this even more, mainly because while I could appreciate the emotions behind the story the first read, the second read was like a mirror reflecting back all my current emotions. It made my heart ache quite fiercely at times, but reading something so sincere and genuine can be a breath of fresh air, even when it hurts.
There are times when I doubt everything. When I regret everything you’ve taken from me, everything I’ve given you, and the waste of all the time I’ve spent on us.
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
‘Every day I am someone else. I am myself – I know I am myself – but I am also someone else. It has always been like this.’
A is a new person every day. Boy, girl, straight, gay, white, African-American… it doesn’t matter. Each day A lives life through the eyes of someone new. A is something of a spirit and has no control over where he ends up the next day but it happens without fail each and every night. After being so many different people, A has made it a point to not change these people’s lives. He’s able to access memories in order to determine where they need to be on each particular day and to be able to interact with others in that person’s life but A tries to interact as little as possible because of the guilt from the intrusion. I found the whole concept of this storyline to be extremely interesting and original despite a few issues.
‘If you stare at the center of the universe, there is a coldness there. A blankness. Ultimately, the universe doesn’t care about us. Time doesn’t care about us. That’s why we have to care about each other.’
First off, there was this one particular scene where A goes to a computer and accesses his personal e-mail account. To me, A seemed more like a spirit which inhabited a new person’s body on a daily basis and since this was never elaborated on then that’s the explanation I created. So, spirits with email accounts? Eh. Of course this played a huge part in the entire story, but it still threw me off for the rest of the book.
It had a wonderful message though, about loving someone for who they are inside and not for what they look like outside. The love story itself between A and Rhiannon I admit was a bit instantaneous but I ended up sold by the end pages. It was touching and incredibly sweet and I truly believed that she loved A and not because of an outside appearance as that changed daily. But…
‘If I were in a different body, this would be the time I would lean down and kiss her. If I were in a different body, that kiss could transform the night from off to on. If I were in a different body, she would see me inside. She would see what she wanted to see. But now it’s awkward.’
Then A woke up in a 300 pound body. It was definitely disconcerting how A acted because of his appearance, how everyone treated him that day, and how it resulted in View Spoiler »Rhiannon rethinking their entire relationship. She seemed to be fully content with continuing to work out their ongoing body switching issue but as soon as A showed up in the 300 pound body of Finn despite the fact that they had a wonderful dinner and movie date the very next day she’s deciding she couldn’t do what they were doing. It was heartbreaking and I hated it and it really ruined the ‘message’ for me. « Hide Spoiler Also, I found it to be a bit over the top when A and Rhiannon were struggling to see each other every day. A was always calling in sick or leaving school early just to meet up with her to see her and Rhiannon was doing the same. It seemed as if the majority of the story was finding rides and making excuses to get to see her and it got a little exhausting.
Despite my few issues, I still found this to be a fast and enjoyable read. This is only my second David Levithan book (first being The Lover’s Dictionary) but his writing continues to amaze. Definitely won’t be my last book of his.
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
corrode, v. ‘I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust.’
This was a delightfully unique story of a relationship’s major occurrences told by short entries in dictionary format. I gave major points for the originality of the entire concept of the story; I’ve never read anything like it before. The writing was beautiful and the story bittersweet and poignant.
dispel, v. ‘It was the way you said, “I have something to tell you.” I could feel the magic drain from the room.’
The story was told from the point of view of the male in the relationship who remains unnamed throughout the entire story. It was also an extremely quick story and could easily be read in a single sitting but I ended up reading it bits and pieces at a time. I went into this story thinking that this would be a traditional story that followed a standard timeline; however, it seemed that the dictionary entries flip flopped around in time and you don’t end up getting the ‘bigger picture’ until the end when you can sit back and contemplate the entries. This was troublesome for me at first and I had a hard time understanding it, but by the end I was completely sold; the author’s execution of the story was brilliant.
ineffable, adj. ‘These words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convey. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there, there will never be enough.’