Book Review: Neverworld Wake

Neverworld Wake book review

Even though I have tons of books to read on my shelves and even though I have 11 books currently checked out from the library (some of which I waited months to come in), I felt the need to read Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl as soon as I heard about it from Alexandra Roselyn’s 5 Star Predictions video.


I checked it out of my library through Overdrive, started reading, and by the time I put it down it was morning. Pessl found such a unique and mystical way to tell a story, I had to know how it ended.

When I put down my Kindle, I spent 10 minutes trying to process my thoughts and feelings. I sat staring off in silence, wrote a quick reaction on Goodreads, then told Lexi how much I loved the book. But I still had these deep emotions I couldn’t shake. So I woke my husband up, curled up, and had him hold me until I felt like I could function again.

My only wish was that the characters were a little more fleshed out. I wanted to know more about them and more about their motivations. I think it was pretty well covered, I just wanted to go in deeper with them.

I don’t know what else to say without ruining the experience. If you want a sci-fi mystery rooted in our reality, but with an otherworldly feel (kinda like the feeling Inception gives), check this out for sure.

Book Review: Stay a Little Longer

Stay a Little Longer book review

I received an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of this book courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Stay a Little Longer by Dawn Lanuza
Published by: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: New Adult
Pub Date: May 28, 2019
ISBN: 9781524851057
Price: $14.99 (USD)

They were perfect strangers—all perks, no strings. Until they weren’t.

Elan wasn’t supposed to meet Caty. She lived halfway around the world, and he barely left Manila. Yet here he was, giving her a ride to the airport. Convinced that they would never have to see each other again after that day, Elan and Caty started to bond over truths, dares, stolen kisses, and games in hotel rooms and bars.

With brief encounters that turned them from acquaintances to friends — tipping to the point of lovers, always — will Elan and Caty keep settling for a day, or will someone finally dare to stay long enough to discover: Is this love?


What I Loved:

» A Filipino author!
I never made a concerted effort to read Japanese or Filipino authors until recently. I specifically want to read my ethnic background. It’s easy to find English text of Japanese authors, but difficult of Filipino authors. I stumbled onto this title through pure luck of browsing and I couldn’t be happier.

» Building of Elan & Caty
I hated Caty at first. I hated Elan and Caty interacting. Their dialogue was so clunky and stilted. Caty was so immature and brash, while Elan was such a doormat. I almost DNF-ed the book so many times in Part 1. But then at the end of it, she shows she’s self-aware of how awful she can be.

Then, they get to know each other better. They both share more of themselves and I began to understood why she’s like that and why Elan is overly patient with her. As Elan and Caty open up to each other, their dialogue becomes more fluid and natural. After Part 2 I was full-on rooting for them.

» The Dance Scene
LOVE! I could see it in my mind and I loved it.

» The Long Distance Relationship
My husband and I met by chance and spent almost 2 years in a long distance relationship before we got married. Even after we got married, we spend a lot of time separated because of the military. So the angsty goodbyes and the awkwardness of seeing each other for the first time in months made complete sense. There’s a part when Caty doesn’t know how to handle having Elan in her space and it really resonated with me. When Cass came home from his first deployment, I didn’t know how to exist with him physically in my life again. Lanuza did a great job of capturing those feelings and the difficulty of articulating them to Elan.


What I Wished For:

» More of their pasts
They give each other the quick rundown of their complicated pasts, but I wanted more details. I get the gist of how these events from their pasts have effected them, but I wanted just a little more. Especially from San Juan. Caty talks about how everyone gossips about her. I wanted to see more of that.

» More of Jules
She’s friends with both Elan and Caty and I wanted more of her in their story. They talk about and around her, but she doesn’t have much a presence until a chapter toward the end.

» More info in the epilogue
[Spoiler alert! Highlight over the blank section below to read]
There were very real reasons why Elan lived in Manila and Caty in Toronto/New York. They didn’t address how they were going to bypass Elan’s mother’s health problems and Caty’s career aspirations. Elan felt all that pressure to take care of his mom because his sister had a daughter and her husband worked on a freighter and was gone a lot. Caty was building a styling career in New York and was gaining some traction. They were such huge reasons throughout the story and they felt swept aside with no real explanation.


TL;DR:
Realistic long-distance love story with great character development

Bookemon Badgathon


Readathon Creator’s Announcement

This will be where I update my progress on Bookemon Badgathon for my own record keeping.

The Creative Badge – Art / Music
The Memory Badge – Biography / Memoir
The Exemplary Badge – Classics

The Pictorial Badge – Comic / Graphic Novel / Manga
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
While I understand the hardship and horror Marji went through, she was a spoiled rich girl and it showed throughout her story. Se doesn’t seem to realize how much freedom she was given because of her family’s money. I found the history lessons interesting and I liked reading about the parts when Marji was in Iran. I appreciate her honesty and showing the darkest parts of her life.

The Amour Badge – Romance / Contemporary
Stay a Little Longer by Dawn Lanuza
I thought the long distance relationship was realistically portrayed. The angsty goodbyes and the constant texts about anything and everything brought me right back to when my husband and I were dating and whenever he’s deployed or on TDY. My full review.

The Chiller Badge – Crime / Thriller / Mystery / Suspense
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
Wow. Such a unique and mystical way to tell a story! I checked it out of my library through Overdrive, started reading, and by the time I put it down it was morning. Pessl found such a unique and mystical way to tell a story, I had to know how it ended. My full review.

The Fantastical Badge – Fantasy
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
My initial thoughts: I finished this in one sitting so it was definitely an engaging read. But I wish the world building was a little better done and the characters more developed. I loved all the Asian culture woven into the story. I’m greedy and I want more of it added in! I’m curious to see where this story goes.

The Scientific Badge – Science Fiction
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
I’m pretty sure I’m in love with Abel and Noemi. I found myself rooting for both of them as individuals and as a team. I really liked the side characters too. I hope Virginia pops up more in the second book. She was so fun!

The Rainbow Badge – LGBTQIIA+ Rep
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Such a charming and beautiful graphic novel. Can Frances please make me a dress!? I loved the artwork. I didn’t realize how long the book was until I logged my page count. I was so into the story, I didn’t realize how many pages had gone by. I also thought it was really fun to see the author’s process at the end.

The Archival Badge – Historical Fiction
The Panic! Badge – Horror
The Jester Badge – Humor / Comedy
The Know It All Badge – Non-Fiction
The Prose Badge – Poetry

The Diversity Badge – POC Main Character or AOC
Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I didn’t relate to Kiko on every level, but the parts I did hit me hard. I loved reading about a half-Japanese character! I understood her insecurities and experiences surrounding her race. I really connected with Kiko over her social anxiety. I handle it better outwardly than she does, but her inner dialogue and her feelings of awkwardness may as well be taken straight from my brain.


Asian Book Month

Asian Readathon and Asian Lit Bingo are going on this month and I didn’t really have a set TBR list for either. I actually just found out about Asian Lit Bingo so I haven’t even looked over all the categories yet.

I figure my strategy for both will to just read a bunch of own-voices Asian authors and see what sticks at the end. I’ll be updating my progress here on this blog post for my own record keeping.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Malaysian author/intersectional Asian character/queer romance
My initial thoughts: I finished this in one sitting so it was definitely an engaging read. But I wish the world building was a little better done and the characters more developed. I loved all the Asian culture woven into the story. I’m greedy and I want more of it added in! I’m curious to see where this story goes.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Iranian author/graphic novel/auto-biography
While I understand the hardship and horror Marji went through, she was a spoiled rich girl and it showed throughout her story. Se doesn’t seem to realize how much freedom she was given because of her family’s money. I found the history lessons interesting and I liked reading about the parts when Marji was in Iran. I appreciate her honesty and showing the darkest parts of her life.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Japanese author/intersectional Asian character/contemporary w Asian MC
I wish I had this book in high school or middle school. I didn’t relate to Kiko on every level, but the parts I did hit me hard. I loved reading about a half-Japanese character! I understood her insecurities and experiences surrounding her race. I really connected with Kiko over her social anxiety. I handle it better outwardly than she does, but her inner dialogue and her feelings of awkwardness may as well be taken straight from my brain.