Monday, September 9, 2013

Books I Didn't Review (But Should Have): Kick-in-the-Feels Edition

I nearly always review the books I finish, even if it's just to give a brief 1-2 paragraph summary of my thoughts, but I've been truly struggling to put down my feelings into words when it comes to these novels. You know that feeling when you need to post a review, but you just keep staring at a blinking cursor, wondering if you could somehow just place your heart into the monitor so that everything could be explained that simply? Well...I do. Needless to say, these aren't reviews; they're just brief sentences on why you shouldn't pass up on these books. Even if you are a coward of right-in-the-gut emotions, I promise you, these ones are more than worth it. 

Title: Rose Under Fire
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: September 10th, 2013

What to possibly say about Rose Under Fire? Honestly, Elizabeth Wein's name speaks for itself. After the brilliant and tear-inducing Code Name Verity, I knew to expect great things going into this book, and I wasn't disappointed. I found this novel a tad bit easier to get into, only because the beginning chronicles the life of Rose Justice, an American pilot during WWII who loves her job and remains untainted by the war. It's a naive telling, but a mostly content one. When true horror finally finds Rose, the juxtaposition between her life before and after is so palpably felt. Once again, Wein writes about the strong bonds and friendships between women, and she writes these beautifully. I find she is practically unrivaled when it comes both to character development and historical fiction. Unlike most authors, Wein has mastered the art of placing fact alongside fiction and making it into a believable tale. While I found this novel to lack a bit of the emotional punch that Code Name Verity contained, along with the literary genius of Julie's prose, it is still an extraordinary novel. If you loved Code Name Verity at all, this is a must-read. And if you haven't read Code Name Verity yet, then why are you waiting for your heart to get broken? Grab a dozen boxes of tissues and get to it - at once!

Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Rating: 5 Stars

I hardly know where to begin with Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. Suffice to say that this novel is brilliant, beautiful, and heart-breaking. It follows a teenage boy - Leonard Peacock - on his birthday as he chooses to kill another boy in his school and then commit suicide himself, all after giving the few special people in his life gifts to remember him by. As a foray into Quick's works, I can't say this was the happiest of reads, but it made my throat close up in grief and my knuckles fist into my mouth to stop my sobs. It's difficult for me to articulate exactly why this book is so powerful, but Quick manages to capture the mindset of a lonely and hurting teenager perfectly. Moreover, the cast of secondary characters in this novel is stunning in their gray matter and unexpected depth. Leonard, especially, is a character our hearts go out to at once and I loved nothing more than his growth and the realistic, but hopeful, ending of this story. I truly believe this is one that everyone must read, if only to realize the pain that others carry within their hearts and learn to appreciate humanity a little bit more.

Title: Wrong Ways Down (Downside Ghosts, #1.5)
Author: Stacia Kane
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Out of the novels I chose not to review, this is perhaps the least heavy. And yet, the Downside Ghosts Series makes my stomach flip every time. After five books, we're finally given a glimpse into Terrible's head - and what a heart-breaking, but wonderful experience it is! I wouldn't encourage new readers to this series to read this novel after Unholy Ghosts, only because its full impact is felt only after the latter installments have been read. It is incredible to see how fully Terrible understands Chess - an understanding that we, the reader, only obtain after five books in her head while he claims this same understanding after a mere few meetings. Even more than the relationship between Terrible and Chess, though, this novel is so very emotional because of Terrible's own insecurities. We've seen Chess battle her inner demons, but Terrible's are also just as deep, secret, and dark. And, oh, Terrible made my heart shatter (as always). I feel like Stacia Kane just stabs me with a fork in all her books, so I'm still bleeding, but it's slow. And yet I love it. A definite must-read for fans of this series; trust me, you don't want to pass this one up.


  1. Oh yes I know exactly how it feels! It's really a huge kick in the feels. So I had that problem with Code Name Verity and I never posted a review (and I should have). Same happened with Rose Under Fire but I forced myself to do that. I'm glad you enjoyed all of these and my friend is right it's easier to write a review for books that you have something to complain about :D Amazing reviews Keertana :)

  2. Oh, I have few of those books myself.:( E. Wein's books just don't work for me. I tried to read her first novel, but I just couldn't get into it so I gave up.

  3. Oh, Keertana, I'm SO glad to see a 5 star review for FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK from you! I absolutely adored that book, and I swear it's such an underrated and underhyped novel that a lot of people are just missing out. Lovely, lovely thoughts,doll!

  4. Such high praise from you means I'll have to read Leonard Peacock immediately. I can't wait.

    As for Terrible, Stacia just keeps proving how brilliant she is, doesn't she? You're right about his insight, it's quite astonishing.

    And Perdition... Jael doesn't show up in the Jax series after Doubleblind, so methinks you're good to go.

  5. OH, really? Excellent! I'll hunt down a copy straight away, then. (Although I really SHOULD get back to March...eventually...!(; )

  6. Oh these all sound fab. The only one I knew was the Downside Ghost one. Oh my wishlist just expanded!

  7. I think we talked about this awhile back (or maybe I just talked at you, I don't remember!), but there are a handful of books I LOVED but have never found the words for when I've sat down to review them, either. It's good to see you got yours banged out! Um....I am not reading these ones because I intend to try them all soon, but it's heartening to see the high ratings up there. <3

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. I think we talked about it, Wendy, and if you read these you'll realize they're more of me repeating words than actual mutliple-sentence reviews. ;) Still, I can't wait to see what you think of these. I'll definitely be looking out for your thoughts!(:

  8. Oh, Keertana, these are all wonderful reviews! I've been meaning to pick up "Code Name Verity", and with the follow up arriving soon, that is just the motivation I need to get started on this powerful series. Today is the first I ever hear about "Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock." I think I'll be turning to Leonard when I need a good cry, or when I need to remember others and "the pain that [they] carry within their hearts," as you so eloquently put it. I think I'm due for one of those reads soon. Thank you for introducing me to the title, Keertana. :)

  9. I loved your review for Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock Keertana! I feel like I might give this one a try. You know me, I like 'issue books' so to speak and after working with students I'm always interested in their motivations to do certain things. After reading Before I Fall, I feel like this would be a good read.


    1. I'm really glad you're planning to give this a try, Savindi, though - fair warning - it's very different from Before I Fall. I wouldn't really compare the two. I'd say this is more similar to 13 Reasons Why, only instead of hearing why a girl already committed suicide, we're seeing why a boy is contemplating it. Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that so that you didn't go into this with any wrong misconceptions. I hope you enjoy it!(:

  10. Isn't it refreshing to do these types of reviews? Though you manage to make these get to the heart of each book without saying too much

    1) I still need to read ROSE UNDER FIRE, but I need to work my way up to it. Love what you said about Wein's ability to write historical fiction and also character growth. As well as friendships. I'm hoping to love this one.

    2) This book wasn't on my radar at all, unfortunately until I saw your and Jen Ryland's reviews. But now I'm very interested in this book. i will admit to being worried about the content, but the fact that you found the character to be sympathetic and the book to be hopeful speaks volumes.

    3) I don't know anything about this series and I need to go look it up. But I'm a little fearful about being "stabbed by a fork" yikes! Not sure if I'd react as positively as you did ;).


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