“All The Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven – REVIEW!!!!

all the bright places

I feel as though the authors of books that are both terribly sad and touchingly inspirational will never cease to amaze me with the depth and rawness of their writing. Jennifer Niven, the author of All The Bright Places, is no exception.

Niven cuts directly to the heart from the first line of the book until the final page. Her characters are so realistic that you feel as if they are telling you the story themselves rather than through words on a page. Narrated from the perspectives of Theodore (“Finch”) and Violet, two high school students each struggling with their own emotional walls, the novel digs into the depths of adolescent minds consumed by thoughts too deep and dark for anyone that young to have to handle.

Finch has a soft soul that is utterly torn to pieces by the horrors of the world. When he is not in an almost comatose state of depression, he is weighing the merits of different ways to die. On the day he meets Violet, Finch is standing at the top of the school bell tower, trying to decide if jumping off would be a respectable death for himself, and whether or not it would be convenient for the people in his life. Just as Finch decides that the mess he would leave behind is too much for his school to clean up, he spots Violet on the shallow ledge.

Violet climbed to the top of the bell tower on that fateful day during a subconscious trance of depression and guilt brought on by recent tragic events in her life that she feels overwhelmingly responsible for. Terrified for her safety as she realizes the enormity of her situation, Violet is saved by Finch, and the two eventually become friends.

The novel follows their journey of love and hate for oneself and life, documenting the ups and downs of their emotions and thoughts.

I would recommend this book to anyone emotionally strong enough to finish it. (If you were able to get through and enjoy The Fault In Our Stars or any other novel by John Green, you should be fine.) All The Bright Places highlights the importance of addressing the mental and emotional health of young people. Whether you are struggling with these issues in your life or not, this novel will open you up to an entirely new perspective on feelings and empathy.

Happy Reading!

Kayla

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“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” – John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

Guest Post: Behind the Novel – “Minotaur” by Phillip W. Simpson

minotaur

Phillip W. Simpson is the author of the new novel Minotaur. I was able to connect with him through Chapter by Chapter to get his personal perspective on the book. I hope it sparks your interest!

Greek mythology is a popular subject for many authors, spanning across a multitude of subtopics and genres. As a well-read lover of mythology based books, I would like to know what makes Minotaur unique? Besides being told from the “monster’s” point of view, how does this novel stand out from all the other stories of demigods, underworld creatures, and dangerous quests?

Good question. It’s because it takes a story that everyone knows well and turns it on its head. We know the ‘facts’ of the story. We know what ‘really happened’ but when all is said and done, to really know what happened is an impossibility. Writing didn’t exist then. It was a story based on an oral tradition. Nothing was written down. There are no photos. In other words, the only evidence exists from the story telling – the story has been told and retold over countless generations. It has been diluted and changed to suit the needs of the most powerful city state at the time – Athens. There is no evidence, no eye-witness reports. Essentially, I have created my own ‘truth’ in this book.

Let’s assume for a minute that there was a Minotaur, a Theseus and a labyrinth. Let’s assume we ‘know’ all there is to know about them. But what is the truth? We ‘know’ that the Minotaur was part bull, part human. We ‘know’ that he was imprisoned in the labyrinth. We ‘know’ that the Athenians sent young people there as tributes, to be consumed by the Minotaur. Finally, we ‘know’ that Theseus slew the Minotaur.

But, we don’t. There is so much room to manoeuver amongst this myth, it’s incredible. What if the Minotaur only had a slight deformity giving rise to the myth? What if the Minotaur was imprisoned because his father was embarrassed by him? What if Theseus and the Minotaur were old friends and secretly in cahoots? Now you’ve got a different story.

The story is told in first person by the Minotaur (Asterion) but he is telling his story to the Roman historian, Ovid, trying to convince the poet that this indeed is the truth. I think structurally, this also makes the story a little different as we come back to present action (Asterion telling the story to Ovid) from time to time. This is also an underdog’s story. When you are dealing with a hero, you expect to cheer for him but the Minotaur is not what you’d consider a hero. For thousands of years, he has been demonized, hated and spurned.

In my story, he is not particularly heroic either. He isn’t better or more handsome than other men. He is just a misunderstood youth with a deformity and a desire to fit in. Most of all, he wants to be loved. I think this is a point of difference when compared to other stories based on Greek myth. It makes him a much more sympathetic character and ironically, more human and less godlike (in my opinion).

Thanks Phillip!!!

Happy Reading!

Kayla

Paper Towns #readersacrosstheworld Project: Week 2 with Meagan from The Book Forums!

Hello people! *Waves to the people* You are all probably looking at your computer wondering who this strange person is who hijacked your favorite blog, but never fear super Meagan is here!

Yeah I’m sorry about that… but in all seriousness, I am here to talk about a book that is very close to my heart and that has introduces me to a lot of important things in my life— Legend by Marie Lu! Now I want you all to imagine a tall, awkward, frizzy-haired seventh grader— that was me. This seventh grader doesn’t have the most friends and kind of feels like and outcast, but all of the sudden she finds something great… BOOKS! First it was The Hunger Games but then that seventh grader needed more! One day she was surfing the Amazon when she came upon the book series known as Legend! The seventh grader became addicted to this new series and it led her to more and more books and eventually led her to starting her own Bookstagram page.

I’m going to stop talking about myself in third person now to say that Legend led me into this amazing world of books and word of book blogging. I would not be the reader I am today without that book and please go check it out if you haven’t yet!
Along with books, a lot of places have had a huge impact on my life! I live in Louisiana and not far from my house there is a water park called Blue Bayou and Dixie Landin! This is a decent sized family park with certain rides so old that you’re scared that they’re going to collapse, and this place holds a special place in my heart! I grew up always looking forward to what ride they were going to build for the new season. I have so many memories of waiting to be tall enough to ride the taller slides and coaster (yes there’s only one). This parks launched my love of theme parks and roller coasters and I just don’t know where I’d be without it!

Well that’s it from me (AWWW, I know, you don’t want me to go…) but sadly I have got to go.
Keep Reading…
Meagan!

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Paper Towns #readersacrosstheworld Project: Week 1 with Janae Mitchell!

Inspiration can come from many things, including books and places. Even as a small child, I’d read a book and it would inspire me to think about that world and how it differed from, or resembled, mine. Or I’d visit a place and it would make me think about the people who lived there, wishing I knew more about their lives. Needless to say, my love of reading led to a love for writing, and my love of the small, historic town I once lived in led to my first novel.

 A photo taken at The Revolutionary War Graveyard in Dandridge,

TN, where an actual scene from For Always took place.

Living in a house that was once slave quarters during the Civil War, we had many strange things happened, which led us to believe our house was haunted. Because of this, I became intrigued by the paranormal. The beautiful, historic town of Dandridge, TN, where we lived, only added to this interest. As you walk down the streets of this tiny, little town, it’s like the history around you comes alive, making the ghosts of the past almost feel like they are walking among us. I love it, and this love of a small town, as well as my fascination with the paranormal, inspired my very first published YA paranormal romance, For Always.

This novel takes place in Dandridge, where many readers have actually taken pictures of themselves at certain book locations and sent to me. There’s even a cemetery right in the middle of Downtown where several scenes in this series take place, which local readers of Dandridge seem to love, visualizing the story as they drive through town. Aside from this town being an inspiration for my first novel, my first novel has actually become an inspiration for me, taking on a life of its own, it seems.

When I wrote For Always, I never thought it would be something that anyone would read, let alone become published, with thousands of copies downloaded within a few months time. I also never thought readers would love this story and the characters as much as I do. So, when I started getting messages about how this series got someone into reading again, or how it’s someone’s favorite series ever, and the fact that I still get messages and comments like this, it inspires me to continue to write. There are several other books and authors that I take inspiration from, but For Always is the most personal one.

Putting so much of myself into my characters, they each have a part of me in them, and vice-versa. To this day, one of the quotes I say the most often (even more than Harry Potter) is one from my main character, Malyn Reed. “Sometimes keeping your mouth shut and not saying a word takes more strength than opening it and saying a thousand.” When I want to blow up on someone, or voice my opinion, when that opinion won’t add anything to the conversation or topic at hand, I say this quote to myself, biting my tongue. My characters seem to inspire me to be a better person, not only when it comes to writing, but in my everyday life. So, if you see this quote pop up randomly on my news-feed, you’ll know I’m having one of those moments.

When it comes to books, especially those I love, I don’t just read them, I devour them, highlighting those lines that take my breath away, re-reading them again and again. Books, including mine, are mostly written to tell a story, however, that story can light a fire inside us, inspiring us to do things we may not have done otherwise. Harry Potter makes us believe in magic, transporting us to a place muggles would never be allowed to go had it not been for J.K. Rowling. Twilight gave a new birth to YA readers across the globe, including me, causing us to embrace that once forgotten love of reading. The Hunger Games made us want to unite for a greater cause *hold up three fingers & insert whistle here*. They’re not just stories for some of us. For some of us, they are a part of us; a world we are a part of each time we open that book or think about that character, who we feel like we actually know, not just read about.

No matter if it’s Dandridge, TN… Forks, Washington… or Hogwarts… it’s home to us for as long as we like; or at least until we close the book.

 

 

 

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paper towns blog project

Hello Readers!

As you may know, the movie “Paper Towns”, adapted from the book by John Green, will be released in theaters on July 24th, 2015.

I am a massive fan of all of John Green’s work, but Paper Towns is hands down one of my favorite books. I am inspired and motivated to live life to the fullest every time I read it, and my tally of times read is becoming rather high. Along with my passion for reading and writing, I also love to travel and am intrigued by the many cultures and experiences there are in the world. These two enthusiasms are perfectly blended in Paper Towns, which got me thinking, as an excellent book should. And so, without any further adieu, here is my plan. It my not live up to the standards of Margo Roth Spiegelman, I hope you will join me nonetheless.

I would like to start a worldwide blog project in which guest writers from around the globe submit a post about a book that inspires them in life. There would be no specific rules or guidelines as to what to write about, as long as the post addresses how the book motivates or inspires the reader and why others should read it. Then, as I am also trying to include a worldly experience, I would love for the contributors to write about a personal experience that they’ve had in their own country, state, city, or town that shares a bit about the culture or wonders in that place. Think of it as a world tour through the stories of other readers and writers. If the experience could be related back to the book in any way, that would be even more amazing, although it does not have to.

Creativity is the only boundary, so feel free to include things such as pictures, quotes, or anything else to your post.

I sincerely hope you choose to participate! If you do, or if you have any questions at all, please contact me in the following places:

Email: literaryobsessionsblog@gmail.com

Instagram: @literaryobsessionsblog or @shadowhunter_runes_1234

Happy Reading (and Writing)!

Kayla

#ReadersAroundTheWorld

“COVENANT: Covenant of the Reborn” by T. E. Joshua – REVIEW!!!!

Covenant

 

Covenant: Covenant of the Reborn by T. E. Joshua is a thrilling and complex novel that tests the power of personal identity and beliefs in the face of generations of family loyalty.

Trained since birth to hate so called “Reborns”, Bodaway Lakota is among the most vicious assassins in the Covenant at only age sixteen. As deemed by the Covenant’s god, Lucian, Reborns pose a threat to the world and must be killed before they “Awaken” into their full power. When Bodaway is assigned to kill the Awakened Reborn Natalie Schultz, he is already beginning to question his faith and skills, and his questions only increase when his first attempt to behead Natalie fails terribly.

Realizing that Natalie must radiate power to be able to so easily escape his efforts (which have only failed once before), Bodaway concludes that in order to complete his duty, he must outsmart Natalie by getting closer to her rather than physically besting her. However, the more sacrifices that Bodaway, now called Tristan, makes in order to join Natalie’s world, the more he loses touch with his ancestral beliefs.

Covenant: Covenant of the Reborn was a novel that kept me on edge throughout the read. The book was thrilling, involving several allusions to cult philosophies, without being overly gory. The author skillfully paired all aspects of the story with a deeper personal meaning which made the book that much more enthralling.

If you’re looking for an exciting yet thought provoking read, this book is for you! Those fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings will find this book intriguing and enjoyable.

Happy Reading!

Kayla

Ready to Enter The Covenant? Find the book here:

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