Carla’s Corner: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (NO SPOILERS)

So so back when I was a wee newbie blogger in 2010 there was this blog I fell in love with immediately. It was called The Crooked Shelf and it was run by a sassy Brit who had fantastic taste in books and wrote some of the best reviews ever. We became friends and even got to hang out at BEA 2011…and had the best time ever. Seriously.

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And then she stopped blogging…which was the saddest thing ever for so many of us because her voice was one of the best and early on I aspired to BE like Carla in the way that I just wanted to have my own distinct voice — whatever that was. It was definitely a hit to the blogosphere for many of us oldies when she left.

And now, through a Twitter conversation about missing her as a blogger, I introduce you to Carla’s Corner where Carla will take over my blog sporadically whenever she feels like it and talk about what’s she’s reading and HAS to talk about! I’m excited to have her voice back in the blogosphere and for people who didn’t get to know her back in the day to get the chance to!!

So first up?? It is only fitting that Carla reviews a Maggie Stiefvater book. Fun story: The one and only time I saw Carla lose her shit and become a 12 year old little girl was when she met Maggie Stiefvater at BEA. It was the cutest moment EVER and her and Maggie hugging and talking made me all teary because it was one of Carla’s all time FAVORITE authors!!

So take it away Carla…

 Blue Lily, Blue Lily review no spoilersBlue Lily, Blue Lily by Maggie Stiefvater
Book #3 of The Raven Cycle series (I’ve read, loved and reviewed book 1)
Release Date: October 21st – Scholastic Press
* This book was downloaded from Netgalley for review consideration.

 Carla’s Thoughts:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is simultaneously the best book I have ever read and also the worst.

Let’s start with the best.

Trying to explain or describe how much I love Stiefvater’s writing is like trying to count all of the stars in the sky; impossible, incredibly brain aching and needing calculations and equations that my mind just isn’t capable of fathoming. I’ve never really been that good at math.

Her words are a dream come to life, like Ronan himself has plucked them out of his dreams and handed them over. The characters, they come to life, never once drifting off into slumber like those cows in the barns.  The words don’t sleep like dream things do when they’re not dream things anymore, they roar like the pigs engine. They pull handbrakes turns and skid right into your heart, then come to a juddering stop and stay there.

The character development is soft and sure and strong.  Ronan is still as sharp, shiny and cutting as the edge of a knife but everyone knows that sharp things don’t always stay so sharp. Gansy is still full of wonder and hope and light but everyone knows lights eventually dim until they sputter out completely. Blue is still small and full of yoghurt and truth. Adam is still rustling leaves and springy moss. And Noah is as still as grey and smudgy as a charcoal drawing dropped into a puddle. And yet they are so completely different, as wondrous as the legend of Glendower himself. We’ll never really know them, this little quartet of strange teenagers and I’m glad of it because things that hold that much magic should never really be knowable.

I won’t say anything about the plot because I don’t want to spoil but know this; you can dream of welsh kings and girls with spiky hair and boys with peppermint leaves in their mouths but you can’t ever dream a story so full of magic and suspense and heart guttering mind numbing terror.  It’s a dream that only Stiefvater can create for us and I can’t wait stop slip into what’s bound to be a momentous conclusion to the story of blue and her boys and their sleeping welsh king.

You will be so full of dreadful glee that you’ll laugh as manically as Ronan. You’ll worry and fret just like Adam and you will stride forward towards the end just like Gansey (walking ~is~ only for normal people after all). But most of all you hope beyond hope that their story doesn’t end how it started; with a young boy in his Aglionby uniform, his shoulders soaked with rain and the words “that’s all there is” just like Blue.

And the reason why it was the worst? Because it ended and I wasn’t quite ready to let go.
Have you guys read this one? Started this series?? Let us know what you think! Also, say hi to Carla!! 🙂

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys cover Maggie StiefvaterBook Title/Author:The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher/Release Date
: Scholastic – September 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy/Supernatural
Series: Yes, The Raven Boys is book 1 of The Raven Cycle series
Other Books From Author: The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, The Scorpio Races, Book of Faerie series

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I checked this bad boy out from my local library!

 

 

Blue has always kept her distance from boys as she’s been told by her clairvoyant mother that she’ll cause her true love to die. When she accompanies her mother, as she always does, on St. Mark’s Eve  she is able to see, for the first time ever, one of the soon-to-be dead walk on the Corpse Road as her mother days. The spirit, a young boy her age, reaches out to her and directly communicates with her. She crosses paths with the boy, Gansey, and find out he attends the wealthy private school — a Raven Boy. She finds herself curious about Gansey and soon finds out he and his best friends — Ronan, Adam and Noah — are on a mysterious quest that she also finds herself wrapped up in full of myths and magic and darkly strange things.

WOW! This is one of those books that I’m going to have to reread FOR SURE before the second book comes out because there is just SO MUCH TO THIS BOOK. It almost borderlines on TOO much to my brain but seriously these pages were bursting at the seams with WONDER and IMAGINATION and MYSTERIES I NEED TO KNOW. I read The Raven Boys in a single day — a single, very stormy wrapped-up-all-in-my-blankets kind of day and that is how I recommend you to read it. For that day, I pretty much could not pluck my brain and my heart out of this mesmerizing and fantastical world where there is magic, psychics, kings and ley lines and other supernatural things that just were so intricately woven in to the contemporary lives of our characters. Dishes were not done, the husband felt neglected (psh not too badly because that meant a whole day of video games) and I don’t recall getting up too much. One of the most absorbing books I’ve read in a long time!

This story was just SO unique and fresh. I’ve only read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater but both of these books are the two most unique novels I’ve read in a long time. I found The Raven Boys to be much less poetic in nature (but still gorgeously written) as The Scorpio Races but The Raven Boys captured the same captivating storytelling ability I found in The Scorpio Races.  OH my stars can Maggie Stiefvater tell a story!  And the characters! I LOVED Blue and just found myself wanting to go on adventures with the Raven Boys — Gansey was definitely the most memorable for me! I just felt how confused Blue must feel knowing how that she’ll kill her true love with a kiss and then she sees Gansey walking on the Corpse Road and then later actually SEES him as a living and breathing human. I felt her curiosity and I understood why she wanted to spend her time with Gansey and the boys and became so enamored with their mission to find Glendower — just as enamored that I, as a reader, became with this journey and all the mystery! There’s just so much depth to these characters and yet I still feel like there is so much to learn about them!

I will say, while this wasn’t a HUGE problem for me, if you are the type who doesn’t like to wait a while for the story to come together..this might be hard for you…but just keep reading and then the story will really start to come together. And at times there is SO much going on — so many different threads to this story — and it can kind of be overwhelming that it borderlines on confusing at times. You’ll find yourself immediately taken to this story but it’s definitely a slow burn type of book.

Maggie Stiefvater is a master storyteller and I tumbled into these pages and stayed there until I finished it in one day. There’s a lot going on on in this novel but I found myself breezing right though it because of Maggie’s knack for just sucking you into the pages whether we are reading about Blue & her clairvoyant family or the Raven Boys search for Glendower. There’s magic and kings and psychics and ley lines and all sorts of mythological and supernatural intrigue worked right in there with the contemporary lives of these truly memorable, fleshed out characters! It takes a little bit to get into the story and there IS a lot going on but it’s just such a unique and wonderful story that is worth being patient for.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? Did you enjoy it or feel differently than I did? Which Raven Boy was your favorite?? I loved Gansey the most though all of them have a place in my heart!

four-half-stars

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review

Book/Author: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Standalone/Series: I believe this to be a standalone book. HUZZAH FOR STANDALONES.
Publisher/Year: Scholastic 2011
Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher during BEA in exchange for an honest review.

My feelings toward The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater are rather muddled. I feel like I can’t give a straight answer when asked if I liked this book. There are some parts of this book that made me love it and some aspects that really made me not feel like picking it up. I wasn’t really rushing to pick this one up (but I’ll be the first to admit that I was really stressed out while attempting to read this book) but when I DID pick it up I found myself utterly immersed in the story itself as it is quite magical and captivating.

The major source of contention for me was the writing:

Good: Maggie Stievater has this knack for writing in a way that makes everything seem so alive and vivid. Her descriptions of the setting in particular are breathtaking in the way that I feel I’m gazing into that same sunset or standing right next to that horse feeling tense and afraid but so alive that my blood is pumping and my chest is thumping. I can see it clearly. I can smell it. I can hear it. Maggie Stiefvater takes me there in an intense way that most writers cannot achieve. Her prose is lovely and spellbinding and takes on ethereal qualities.

Kinda Meh: That same writing that I am memorized by sometimes also hindered my love for the story. Now, this is one thing you must know about me. I am not one that always needs a fast plot that whips me around and keeps my interest. I love a good, slow story with lush prose and descriptions that can go on for pages. I do. I mean, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of my favorite authors and THAT MAN is overly verbose. A whole chapter goes by and you realize nothing freaking happened but it was lovely and wonderful all the same. For whatever reason, sometimes I just felt as though some of the descriptions weren’t doing much for me to move the story, thus not making me dying to pick it up. I think one of the issues is that I wasn’t ever feeling SUPER connected to any of the characters so even THAT couldn’t propel me forwards. It may have been my state of mind needing something fast paced but sometimes the writing, while I would get lost in the beauty of it, would also slow me down to the point of exhaustion.

I’m not sure why I never felt too much for the main characters but I just couldn’t. I wanted them to be ok and I was obviously wanting the best outcome for them but I more so wanted to learn more about these crazy horses! They were magical and mysterious and I felt the same brimming curiosity that Puck felt despite knowing they were dangerous. The story itself was so unique and intriguing and that is what ultimately kept me reading and desiring to finish it. I rather like the romantical aspect of this book. I was rooting for that for sure despite the fact it was kind of predictable, to me, what was going to happen but despite that I found myself excited for their every interaction but happy that it didn’t overtake the whole book. I mean romances are a dime a dozen but KILLER HORSES?!? Thank you, Maggie, for not doing one of those tricks where you give me an interesting premise to lure me in but instead focus on the romance.

Final Thought: This was my first encounter with Maggie Steifvater’s writing and I’ll be for sure picking up Shiver soon as I have high hopes for it. I loved so many of the qualities of her writing (despite my issues which could very well have been my frame of mind) but hopefully this time I’ll connect with the characters more and find myself feeling more compelled to pick it up. I definitely enjoyed aspects this one but I won’t say that it was unputdownable. If you get distracted by kind of flowery prose, you probably will have troubles with this one. If you like unique storylines (with a hint of something supernatural..everything was normal except the killer horses) and love the feeling of being transported into the story by means of prose that is quite descriptive and flowery (in a really beautiful way), then you’ll dig this. I’d point this one out for all my readers of the blog who only dabble in YA once in a while. Also, I could see this being a kickass movie.

three-half-stars
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