Monday, March 11, 2013

Confessions & Recommendations: Breaking the News of a Mini-Break

Well...this is awkward. I'm not quite sure how to go about writing this post. I bet you're all just skimming through this anyway, wondering why the title of this is so morbidly cryptic. It's amusing how worried readers get over the word "break", even when there's a "mini" in front of it. Quite thankfully, for you all at least, I am not an author. At least not yet. Which means that I am generally not in the habit of making people cry, scream, or fall into depths of depression because their hearts have been shattered repeatedly over the course of just a few hours. I know, authors are vicious people.

Onto the real purpose of this post, though. I am taking a mini-break. Not because my honeymoon with blogging has ended (believe me, it is still going very strong), not because I don't have dozens of reviews backlogged (I do!), and not because I'm fed up of reading (impossible!). Instead, I'm actually taking a mini-break against my wishes. I know, I'm being forced to leave you all bereft of my reviews. For one week. Yes, ONE WEEK. I told you this was a mini-break!
So why a week? Why this week? Well, the simple reason is because I won't be in town. I'm going to Washington D.C. for a week from school and I'm absolutely thrilled! For those of you who know me well, you'll know that I love nothing more in my books than a heavy dose of politics, so what better place to embrace politics than the capitol of America itself? I last visited D.C. when I was only three years old, so it's been nearly a decade and a half since then, hence the reason I desperately want to go. Not to mention, all my friends will be there too! ;)
Well, now that that's out of the way, I do have to confess to something. Namely that, off late, I kind of haven't been reading. You all must have been The Lost Conspiracy on my "Currently Reading" Shelf for the past week, but I'm only on page fifty. Why? Well, the thing is, sometimes, instead of reading new books, all I feel like doing is immersing myself in an old one. It isn't even strictly re-reading. Instead, I open the book to a random page, start reading, finish up the chapter and either flip back or forward to read some more again. I'm honestly not quite sure if other people do this and ever since I've started blogging, I try to limit myself. I could spend weeks just doing this with all the beloved books on my shelves, but off late, I haven't, simply because of the desire to keep on reading. I find the number of books I haven't read yet to be quite daunting.

Thus, I figured that since I've leaving and confessing, I might as well be recommending too, right? I've compiled a list of some of my favorite novels, the ones I repeatedly return to on my shelves when I just want some comfort reads or am in the mood for characters I already know and love.
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

I love this series. Love. It. It's definitely my favorite fantasy series out there, no matter what I may say about being a Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fanatic. Quite simply, this series is perfection, in the most complex of ways. KoA is the third in the series and by far my favorite, merely because of the transformation the main character, Gen, undergoes in the eyes of whom he's king. Whenever I pick it up for a re-read, though, I always find myself slipping into the well-worn and underlined passages of dialogue between Gen and Irene. I can never fully wrap my mind around their unique romance and although extremely subtle, it is probably one of the most swoon-worthy by far.
The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill

I came across Cry of the Icemark half a decade ago, but I fell in love with it upon my first read. Even now, as a much older reader, I am unable to fall out of the magic within its pages to acknowledge the flaws it most certainly must have, like any book. For me, it remains a testament of fantasy in my childhood, of strong warrior queens and warlocks, of talking snow leopards and vampire treaties. Yet, most of all, it is a story of war and loss and hope and faith. It's a masterful work of magic and politics and every time I re-read it, I cannot help but get lost in the witty dialogue and honorable diplomacy within its pages. Just do yourself a favor and don't pick up the sequels: this first book, perfect as a stand-alone, remains the best.
Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard 

Confession: I like this more than Gayle Forman's Just One Day. For me, Kristen Hubbard managed to nail the perfect travel novel with Wanderlove, and especially with her artistic protagonist, Bria. Whenever I re-read this, I am caught up in the descriptions of South America all over again, not to mention the slow-budding romance between Bria and a hitch-hiker she meets, Rowan. Guys, Rowan literally quotes books. I kid you not. Granted, he's a bad-boy through-and-through, but a reformed one and I can't get enough of him or the unexpected depth he has as a romantic interest. Wanderlove just transports me to another place in a matter of phrases, a contemporary magic all of its own.
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Out of all of Melina Marchetta's novels, this is probably the least favorite of many, along with Looking for Alibrandi. Naturally, since all my tendencies simply go against the norm, this is my most favorite of all of Marchetta's book. Sure, Jellicoe Road, The Piper's Son and The Lumatere Chronicles may be her best work, but that doesn't stop this from being my favorite. I love Francesca and a good tale of friendship between strong girls always makes my day. I also find that there is something so bittersweet, yet unbreakable, about the romance in this. Will and Frankie have a long-distance relationship, as we can see in The Piper's Son, but the strength of their bond always blows me away. I love going back and reading and re-reading their rocky start, one that led to a lifelong relationship of faith. Everything in this, from friendship to romance, and especially to family, makes my eyes tear up every time. I just love it.
Fire by Kristen Cashore

I feel like the world should be fed up of me talking about this book already. It should, but if it is, too bad. Until everyone on planet Earth reads this book, I will not tire of talking the cover off of it. Fire is very easily my favorite book, even though its cover is red and red is a color that looks worse on me than even yellow does. Quite honestly, though, I can't even explain why I love this book so much. I love every scene in it, every dialogue, every introspective word. It speaks to me. Fire isn't a kick-ass fighter like Katsa, the heroine of Graceling, the predecessor to this novel. Yet, she is just as strong because of her inner courage to keep moving on, even in the face of war, crime, and destruction. I am more than happy flipping this book open to any page when I pick it up, simply because Fire's interactions with each and every one of these characters is so important and complex. Everything, from war, politics, royalty, and romance is woven into this. Also, it is my favorite romance ever. I can never get enough of Brigan and Fire, their deep understanding for one another, their appreciation, their honest and equal relationship...everything about it is a model for life itself. If I'm feeling happy, elated, upset, or just down, I can count on Fire to cheer me up or brighten my mood, no matter what. I just hope everyone has a book like that in their lives.

Honorable Mentions
I've re-read all of these books at some point, but they aren't the ones I come to flip and re-flip the most. Not sure why, but it it a simple truth. 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I love Anna's narration and honestly, I can never get enough of St. Clair. Who can? Just simple scenes like these two sitting in a theater are sizzling with chemistry that I can't resist.
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken: I just adore the characters in this one, not to mention a good curse, politics, and flirting scenes that can make me smile, no matter how many times I re-read them.
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: In all honesty, this book transports you into the streets of Australia, which is possibly why I hate opening to a random page in it since my brain insists I start at the beginning. I can't resist the poetry dispersed between the pages of this, though, or the dialogue. So beautiful.
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier: We all know this book is way too sad to re-read, but the beach scene and the ending pages are too perfectly serene for me not to return to, time and time again.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: I only recently read this - so recently that I haven't even posted my review for it! - but I loved it. It's filled with poignant phrases or poetry and the romance is so butterfly-inducing that it makes me swoon every time. It's the perfect blend of happiness and sadness, making for a perfect read, no matter what type of mood I'm in.

Well...that's all for this week, my lovely readers! I hope you all have a fantastic week ahead, read lots of amazing books, and post many wonderful reviews for me to read when I return! When I get back, you can anticipate another Just Another...Book Crush! post along with an ARC review or two! I'll miss you all, but hopefully I'll find time to get through a few novels with my Kindle! *fingers crossed* :)

25 comments:

  1. No worries at all if you don't feel like reading new books and would rather be rereading old favorites; I know that the blogging and publishing world almost makes people stressed out if we just want to reread. :) Have fun in DC! We'll miss you until you come back.

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  2. Thank you so much for letting us know about this! I must say that you are a very dedicated person to have written a wonderful post like this!



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  3. Enjoy your break, Keertana! Sounds like fun :)

    Love your recs too - I agree with you on all them (well, the ones I've read, I mean). They definitely stand up to multiple reads.

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  4. Oh have fun there!! :)
    Also I love Francesca. It's really a lovely book and just today I posted review for The Piper's Son :) I must also read Fire even though Graceling is not my fave book but I'm happy to hear all these amazing things about it :)
    So have fun :)

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  5. I'll miss you, even if it's only for a week, Keer!

    Enjoy your time in DC and I loved seeing Francesca on your list, plus you've reminded me that I must read Wanderlove

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  6. Have a fantastic time in DC! Hope you have nice weather too. I love the description of how you've been reading. Flipping through pages, and re-reading a few chapters of favorite books at a time - I do that as well. I love the feeling of going back to a book I loved and realizing that the magic is still there. However, you've already read wayyyy more books than I have this year, so I don't know how many more that would be if you HAD been reading, friend.

    Anyway, I really need to read FIRE. For some reason I'm worried I won't like it. Probably, because I'm one of the few people who didn't love GRACELING. There was too much of an agenda in that book, plus I felt like there was an imbalance of power. I'm not a fan of the endless friends-with-benefits thing. I'm not even going to go near BITTERBLUE, but it is a big deal to me that you love FIRE so much. I'll tackle it one of these days!

    Just a mention of Gen and Irene has me swooning big time. I need to re-read that one too.

    Have a great trip!

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  7. Everything on your rec list sounds great! I'm now jumping to check them all out.

    And I totally understand what you mean by itching to "reread" past books. Whenever I see EON/EONA on my bookshelf, it physically hurts not to pick it up. Okay, not physically but you get the idea.

    In my case, Anna and the French Kiss is my favorite fluffy contemporary but alas, I can't reread it because I gave my copy away to my friend. That just goes to show how much I love her.

    Thanks for the list, Keertana!!!

    Gellie @ A Discombobulated Balladry

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  8. Enjoy your time off Keertana! I'm glad to hear your break has nothing to do with falling out of love with blogging! Normally whenever a post like that goes up, the blogger never comes back. *sobs* I've been re-reading a lot lately as well, there's something comforting about favorite books, and I've read so many dark, unhappy books lately that I needed to retreated to the beloved shelves and spend some time. "See" you next week!

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  9. Great rec list Keertana! Fire is one of my favorite re-reads too (in addition to being my favorite book in the series). There's just something about the story and Fire and Brigan's romance that I just can't get enough of.

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  10. Oh hay for getting to go to DC! I went as a teen but we only had a short time so we saw very little. We did see the inside of the White House though since it was before they closed tours. It was pretty amazing! I really want to go back!

    Your recs are always so tempting for me! I'm glad you loved Fire as much as I did. Everyone raved about Graceling but I loved Fire more.

    Wanderlove is one I will def reread. Its such a perfect travel book.

    I read Cry of the Icemark years ago. I liked it but I barely remember it. I did get the next one finally so I think its time to reread that series.

    Have a wonderful trip!

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  11. Have fun in DC Keertana! I'll miss reading your reviews for a week, but I'm glad it's only a mini-break. And I love your recommendations. I mean Fire and The Sky is Everywhere! Completely agree!

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  12. I hope you have fun in DC, Keertana! I always like to take a break from the blog when I'm out of town too--I kind of figure if I'm not online to interact with people over my posts, why bother posting? Obvs I need to read The Cry of Icemark (but not the sequels). Enjoy, and don't stress about getting anything read while you're gone!

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  13. Aw have fun in DC, Keertana! I've been there twice, but not for a long time. It's a great city and I'm sure you'll love going there!
    I agree about Fire! I love that book! Not sure if I love it more than Graceling, but I love it equally, if in a different sort of way. And same with The King of Attolia. LOVE. (Although my fave is The Queen of Attolia...that distance from Gen in book 3, while it makes complete sense, still makes me a little sad.). I really need to read Saving Francesca! I've heard so many great things about it!

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  14. Breaks are GOOD, Keertana! Washington DC trip or not! And don't feel bad about taking them. I sure don't:)

    Love that you put some of your favorite "comfort" reads as recommendations! And I am in total and complete agreement with you on Saving Francesca (my fave Marchetta book too, btw!), Wanderlove (travel and art themes in a coming of age story, YES!), Graffiti Moon (again, art AND poetry!) and The Sky is Everywhere. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on that book in particular because it is easily one of my favorite books of all time!

    Have a fabulous trip to DC, chica:))

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  15. I hope you have a fabulous time in Washington Keertana! And I re-read favourite passages from my favourite books all the time! only intend to read a few pages but before you know it, it's been a few hours and I've already more than half of the book! Thanks for the great recommendations, so many of these books I still need to give a try! :)

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  16. Have fun, lovely! Take lots of pictures, enjoy everything and keep your eyes wide open so you can tell us less lucky folks all about it.

    I WILL miss you, of course, but I'm glad you're going on an adventure.

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  17. Have a great trip, Keertana! I hope you have a good time and can tell us how brilliant it was. :)

    I love your recs, too. Saving Francesca and I need to go on another date. ;) I loved that book! I also suddenly feel the urge to visit Etienne St. Clair again now that you've mentioned him. :D

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  18. I hope you have a fabulous trip, Keertana! I am sure you will love Washington and I am so immensely jealous. I would love to visit a place full of history and politics (although I tell you, my American history sucks! - ducks and hides).

    Still tell me all about it when you get back!

    Thanks for the recommendations though, they have all be added. Particularly Fire since it is the one book I've heard of and I've read Graceling, the predecessor of that one. And I so nearly bought it the other week. How infuriating.

    And for your confession, not only a couple of weeks ago I got into a reading funk and did exactly that so I know how you feel. Now I am behind on my reading challenge. Although I am sure you can afford to re-read your favourite chapters.

    Happy break time! :)

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  19. Oh haha, Keertana, your enthusiasm about politic makes me smile! I kind of wish that you could share some of the enthusiasm with me last year when I had American politic class. ;) I hope you're going to have lots of fun in your trip, hun! I know that you're going to have fabulous time there! <3

    Anyway, thank you for the recommendations! I squealed when you mentioned Wanderlove and Daughter of the Forest - both are my favorites! <3 Wanderlove is amaaazing, and it resulted in the worst wanderlust feeling in me when I finished it! xD Daughter of the Forest is just perfection. So sad, so lovely, so beautiful. I looove that book to bits and pieces. <3

    I'm going to miss you terribly, hun! <3

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  20. I totally re-read my favorite books often, thought not in full. Like you, I usually have a few scenes in mind that I want to re-visit, and it's like catching up with a beloved old friend quickly.

    Wanderlove is definitely up there for me, almost equal to Just One Day in my "books to read when I've got a bad case of wanderlust" pile. I do think Bria is a more interesting protagonist than Allyson, but I like Gayle's writing better.

    I love your other choices too, thought I haven't read The Cry of the Icemark. Given the rest of this list, I probably should pick that up.

    Have a wonderful trip with your friends in DC!

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  21. New Follower frm GR, glad I found ur blog :) excited to be able to talk books with u

    Danielle @ Coffee and Characters
    www.daniellecromero.blogspot.com

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  22. WAY TO MAKE ME NERVOUS, KEERTANA.

    Phew! I'm glad your mini-break is for a fun reason, not something negative. And how awesome that you're going to DC! One of my favorite cities.

    I hope you have an amazing time. Let me know if you need any recommendations for places to eat, see, etc. :) I did live there for most of my life, hah. xo

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  23. Well, by the time I got over here, you are probably almost back home and back to blogging:) I love your picks--I added the Stuart Hill book as I've never heard of it before right now but look at that epic fantasy cover! I love those old-school ones with paintings of all sorts of people and magical things; they only make me more curious.

    I reread my favorite parts of books sometimes but I rarely reread entire books. I am always wondering what other stories are out there that I'm missing out on.

    Everybody needs a break now and again so I hope you took full advantage of yours:)

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  24. I LOVE Washington D.C. so yay for you Keertana!! You've picked one of my all-time favorite reads up there: Fire. The story and romance was amazing! Have fun on your trip. I just got back from mine. :)

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