Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Art of Feeling by Laura Tims

29905711. sy475 The Art of Feeling is a YA realistic fiction book about two teens who fall in love while learning to deal with different types of pain. Since the car accident that killed her mother, Samantha has been in emotional and physical turmoil- not just from losing her mother, but the fact that she'll never walk normally again. Eliot has Congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, which means that he can never feel physical pain. Eliot has let himself become a human punching bag and is trying to understand what emotional pain means as well. The two misfits fall in love while uncovering the truth behind the fatal car accident.

Eliot and Samantha could not be more different; Eliot cannot feel pain while Samantha feels too much. They made each other better people and I enjoyed watching them learn to experience and handle their emotions. Eliot is so socially awkward but very sweet and determined. It was funny and sad when he had to google what friendship was when he met her. I loved watching him learn what friendship meant and what it feels like to emotionally have pain and love and care for someone.

I liked the romance and it was very sweet. The love for each other grew gradually on the course of the novel and the romance felt real and genuine by the end. Before I read this book, I thought it would be awesome to not be able to feel pain, but now I know it's vast physical and physiological consequences. As much as we all hate pain, Congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis does not make Eliot lucky in any way. The Art of Feeling teaches the surprising importance of having emotions and pain and the consequences of not dealing with them.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: The Art of Feeling
Author: Laura Tims
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 336
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Character Traits I Love

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you want to participate, click here. This week's theme is Top Ten Character Traits I Love.

A book is nothing without an amazing character to lead it. If I cannot connect to the character and view him/her as a real person then the story isn't believable or interesting. A good story always starts with a character. Below are some of the character traits I love in random order! These traits are based on teenage characters, however they can apply to adult characters, too. 

1. Empathetic
For me to enjoy and love a character, he/she must have compassion and empathy for others. Empathy goes beyond simply being kind. The best example is Alix from Hidden. Alix broke the law and risked her life to protect an innocent stranger. While this is an extreme scenario, I love characters who take the time to understand other's feelings and put other's feelings and needs above their own.

2. Honest
Unreliable narrators are tricky for me. While people do lie, I generally want the character to be honest to themselves and to the reader of the realities of their situation- not just seeking the truth, but telling it. A clear example for me is Tandy in Confessions of A Murder Suspect. While Tandy is unreliable with her own memory, I love how she was honest with herself about it and clearly dictated to the reader her honest feelings regarding her own dishonesty and internal conflict of having a lack of perfect memory.

3. Reflective/4. Imperfect
I'm combining 3 and 4 because they go hand in hand. Imperfect is a huge one for me because in order for the character to feel real, they need to mess up and make mistakes like humans do, as nobody is perfect. At the same time, that character should acknowledge their mistakes and become reflective of them. The clearest example I can think of is from Little and Lion. Both Lionel and Suzette made huge mistakes, and I love them not only for being human, but for admitting they made those mistakes and learning from them. 

5. Heroic 
One doesn't need to have special powers or be characters from the Gone series to be heroic. I love it when characters are willing to defy the societal standard or their government to stand up for what's right or to save others from bullying or other various tragedies. Speth in All Rights Reserved is a clear example for me in this sense. She has no special powers other than a clear mind and a determination to stand up for equality and freedom of speech. There is heroism in journalism, like Carla in Second Impact, who is willing to write and expose the truth. 

6. Encouraging
Of course I love characters who are inspirational and encouraging, those who can offer me wisdom and strength. I adore characters who are role models, who prove that anything is possible and encourage readers to believe in themselves, keep their head up, and peruse their dreams. Hayley from Radiate is the first character that comes to my mind. Her positivity while facing cancer was stellar. 

7. Funny
Besides satirical humor and funny plots in general (ex: Losers Take All), I personally love characters who have the confidence to laugh at themselves or who can take awful situations and find light hearted silver linings in them. For example, Trevor Noah in Born A Crime grew up during difficult apartheid and even as a young child he could joke about abuse and poverty but still acknowledge it's seriousness. 

Well, that's 7- what do you think the last 3 should be?

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Childish Spirits (Spirits Book 1) By Rob Keeley

45992224Childish Spirits is the first book of five in the middle grade fantasy series Spirits. This book was sent to me by the author. When Ellie and her family move into an ancient manor, she makes friends with the ghost of a little boy, Edward, who lived there over a century ago. Quickly it becomes clear that someone is trying to hurt Edward and Ellie will do everything in her power to protect him from the evil spirits.

I liked the unique setting combining the past and present day. I loved the mystical vibe! The castle was super creepy, mysterious, and fascinating! I also loved cool idea of the spirit world and I found their magic powers to be fascinating. I enjoyed how the spirit world and magic was blended into the real world so that readers weren't always sure if what was happening was real or not!

It was also really funny when Ellie's family saw her talking and interacting with a spirit/ghost they couldn't see! That also raises the question of why Ellie can see the spirits in the first place- but hopefully that will be answered in the next books! I also enjoyed the mystery surrounding Edward's family history. While I did guess most of what happened, there were definitely moments that blew my mind! My one critique is that the cover seems a bit dull and undersells the magic and excitement of the story.

I highly recommend this book!

I cannot wait to read the next book in this series, The Spirit of London!

Title: Childish Spirits
Author: Rob Keeley
Publisher: Matador
Pages: 119
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 5
Rating: 5 Stars
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