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Venticinque anni e il naso sempre tra le pagine – Chistmas edition!


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MiniReview: “Gravity”, Melissa West – @I_am_europe edition!

Title: Gravity (The Taking #1)
Author: Melissa West
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 284
Year: 2012

Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.
Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

Ok. I can do this, I can write a whole review in English and since I’ve read the book in English, it should not be impossible. As many of you already know, I have a thing for dystopian books – and that’s why I’m struggling to write my dissertation about the correlation between them and the risk sociologists think society is going to face (if you read something about it on a paper or an article, please tell me!). However, the reason why I chose this one is different. A few weeks ago, the blog took part of a Book Blizt on Collide, the third book of The Taking Saga: the plot and the teaser that came with the post-kit was so fascinating I felt the urge of reading it. But in order to do it, I had to read the first book… so, I did it. And it was not as good as I expected.

The plot was very simple: Ari is going to be the next military leader in a world where humanity became a sort of living antibodies-pump used by the Ancients. The Ancients, there’s no need to tell you, are aliens. The Earth is a mess after a nuclear war that destroyed pretty much everything, so they arrived from space offering their help in the fixing process in change of human antibodies, needed to survive on the planet. The exchange takes place at night and there’s only one rule to follow: you must not peek. Well, Ari takes a look and finds that her Ancient is one of her school mate, Jackson, a gorgeous boy that should not be on Earth at all since the Ancients are not allowed to attend human schools or even be on the planet without permission. She should report this to her dad, who happens to be the chief of the military system, but she does not. And this is the moment when everything starts to change.

As I mentioned before, the plot is simple and catchy. The whole dystopian scenario works really well, even if the author does not spend so many words on it, and the story goes on with a good rhythm. But there is a moment where everything goes wrong, when Melissa West decides to push on the fast forward button and I get lost. Ari is now engaged with Lawrence, who is in love with Ari’s best friend, but she falls for Jackson so fast I actually asked myself if there were missing pages in my eBook. Yet, there’s not love triangle, because feelings evolve so fast that there isn’t time for drama to grow in a decent way. Furthermore, suddenly neither humans nor alien really want the coexistence to happen, and as a result the readers find themselves in a words maze without a logic escape.

Many people I know loved this book and I can understand them. I don’t know if it was my fault – Was I diverted? Did I not read carefully? I don’t know – or if there was something in the book that was not working very well with me. The plot is fine, the writing was good – for what I can tell, I think I proved you enough the struggle I live every time I have to speak/write a foreign language…! –  and the characters were ok despite some choices they made. I still don’t get how it possible for a girl like Ari to trust a boy she never talked to. She was raised to be a leader, she should understand the importance of rules. This young man was an Ancient who spent his whole life sucking her antibodies in order to survive on a Planet where he was not supposed to live on in that very moment! Why didn’t she reported him? The story could evolve in a different way and still lead to the same conclusion, so why did not Melissa West choose a more coherent evolution?

Overall, the storyline was entertaining and the reading was good; plus it was refreshing to finally read a dystopian book that has the main characters trying to stop a war, rather than trying to fight against the system. I don’t think I will continue with the other books, but I’m glad I gave it a chance.

Special thanks to @_ceciliasaba, who edited the review for me ❤

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#8 Incipit Madness

Non sentite già il profumo della primavera nell’aria? L’allergia imminente? Le giornate più lunghe e tiepide, la stagione dei trench, delle sciarpine e dei maglioncini? No? Solo io? Peccato! Al di là di tutto, siamo ad inizio mese, a metà settimana: quale momento migliore per tirare un po’ il fiato e godersi una carrellata di incipit in compagnia?
Febbraio è stato un mese faticoso, con la chiusura della sessione, un sacco di (brutti) pensieri, tanti equilibri stravolti e quei tre giorni di virus che lo hanno totalmente azzoppato. Se poi si pensa che siamo stati derubati di ben tre giorni, beh… è passato troppo rapidamente, dove si domanda il rimborso? Fortuna ho avuto al mio fianco belle letture! Marzo, please be kind.

People call me Biggie. Not all people. Mom and some teachers call me Henry; but for the most part I’m Biggie.
Do I like nickname? No. Of course, I don’t. Nor do I care much for Brian Burke, who, nine years ago, thought up the moniker when we were playing tag during seconda-grade recess. I should have just told him to shut up or said something mean in verbal retaliation, but I didn’t. I just stood there, head hung, shoulders fallen, hand swaying in the icy wind of early December.
— Derek E. Sullivan, Biggie.

Ecco tutto ciò che conosco della Francia: Amélie e Moulin Rouge. La Tour Eiffel e l’Arco di Trionfo, anche se non ho la più pallida idea della loro reale funzione. Poi ci sono Napoleone, Maria Antonietta e una sfilza infinita di re che si chiamavano Luigi. E neanche in questo caso sono sicura di che cosa abbiano fatto, ma penso che c’entrino in qualche modo con la Rivoluzione Francese, che a sua volta c’entra con la parata del 14 luglio. Il museo d’arte si chiama Louvre e ha la forma di una piramide, e la Gioconda se ne sta lì, insieme alla statua della donna senza braccia. E poi ci sono caffè, o bistrot, o come diavolo si chiamano, a ogni angolo di strada. E i mimi. Il cibo pare sia buono e la gente beve un sacco di vino e fuma un sacco di sigarette.
— Stephanie Perkins, Il primo bacio a Parigi.

The T-screen in our family room crackles just before President Cartier fills the screen. I wonder briefly if Lawrence is watching him, too, like the rest of America, or if he was given an advance showing. After all, the president is his grandfather. I remember the first time I met President Cartier. He was less gray then, less wrinkled. He was joking that Lawrence was too mature for a six-year-old and asked me to take him under my wing, teach him how to be young.Now four years later, staring into the T-screen on one of the biggest nights of my life, I wish I had some of Lawrence’s maturity. I wish I weren’t so…afraid.
— Melissa West, Gravity.

La prospettiva. Devo vedere le cose nella giusta prospettiva. Non è un terremoto e neppure la strage di un pazzo armato o una fusione nucleare, no? Nella classifica delle catastrofi, la mia non è poi così tremenda. No, non così tremenda. Un giorno, quando mi ricorderò di questo momento, mi verrà da ridere e penserò: “Che scema sono stata a preoccuparmi!”.Smettila, Poppy. Non provarci nemmeno. Non sto ridendo, anzi mi sento male. Sto vagando nella sala da ballo dell’hotel con il cuore in gola, cercando invano sulla moquette a motivi blu, dietro le sedie dorate, sotto i tovaglioli di carta usati, dove non lo troverò mai.
L’ho perso. Ho perso l’unica cosa al mondo che non dovevo perdere. Il mio anello di fidanzamento.
— Sophie Kinsella, Ho il tuo numero.

Ero circondata dall’Esercito dei Ragazzi Fighi.
In molti credevano che l’Esercito dei Ragazzi Fighi fosse solo un mito, una leggenda metropolitana che circolava all’università, come quella della reginetta del ballo che si era buttata dalla finestra del dormitorio perché strafatta di acidi o di crack, anzi, no, forse era caduta nella doccia e si era fracassata la testa. La versione cambiava ogni volta che la sentivo. Ma, a differenza del fantasma che infestava la Gardiner Hall, l’Esercito dei Ragazzi Fighi era qualcosa che esisteva e respirava davvero. Erano in tanti.
Ed erano fighi, dal primo all’ultimo.
— J. Lynn, Rimani con me

Il Re dell’Estate le s’inginocchiò davanti. «È questa la tua scelta? Accetti il rischio del gelo dell’inverno?».
Lei lo guardò, guardò il ragazzo di cui si era innamorata da qualche settimana. Non si sarebbe mai sognata che non fosse umano, ma adesso brillava come se vampe di fuoco gli tremolassero sotto la pelle ed era uno spettacolo tanto bello e inconsueto che non riusciva a distogliere gli occhi.
«Sì».
— Melissa Marr, Wicked Lovely.

Carter fumbled the plate he was drying, barely catching it before it fell to the floor. Setting it down on the counter, he dropped the drying rag on top of it and left the kitchen, ignoring Zandra’s worried look. Leaving the kitchen, he cut through the dining room to the living room where his mother had retired for the evening.
Rebeka Bellwood sat in her favorite chair, her feet propped up on the ottoman. She had changed into her evening loungewear: black track pants and an oversized t-shirt. Her face was lined with age and worry, and there was more gray in her hair than Carter liked.
— Sasha L. Miller, Losing ground.

Una sera a Parigi, più o meno un anno dopo che era stato riaperto il Cinéma Paradis ed esattamente due giorni dopo che avevo baciato la ragazza con il cappotto rosso, mentre aspettavo con impazienza spasmodica il momento in cui l’avrei rivista, avvenne una cosa incredibile. Una cosa destinata a rivoluzionare la mia vita e a trasformare il mio piccolo cinema in un luogo magico: un luogo in cui si incontrano speranze e desideri, un luogo in cui i sogni diventano realtà. Improvvisamente mi ritrovai protagonista di una storia perfino più bella di quelle inventate per il grande schermo. Io, Alain Bonnard, fui strappato dalla mia orbita e catapultato nella più grande avventura della mia vita.
— Nicolas Barreau, Una sera a Parigi.


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#7 WWW Wednesday!

L’ultimo WWW Wednesday che questo blog ricorda risale al 24 dicembre: direi che è il caso di rimendiare e propinarvene uno nuovo di pacca, in attesa di tutte le recensioni da pubblicare. Perché si, non dico che sono in pari, ma sono presa piuttosto bene per i miei standard, quindi yay me! Ciò non toglie che, obbligandomi a pubblicarne massimo due per settimana perché i periodi di magra son sempre dietro l’angolo e questo blog lo sa fin troppo bene, ci vorrà un po’ prima che siano pubblicate tutte e quindi quale occasione migliore per propinarvi quelle che sono le mie letture presenti/passate/future? Appunto. E poi mi andava di pubblicare anche oggi, quindi poche storie: il post ve lo cuccate in ogni caso.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Sasha L. Miller, Losing ground.
Carter Bellwood’s family has Earth-claimed the Bellwood territory for generations and they’ve always had an excess of Earth energy to back it up. Until Carter, whose energy is barely a fraction of that his mother has. But he’s the only Earth wizard in his generation and set to inherit the territory—if there’s anything left of it. The territory is being ravaged by a disease that kills all plant life it comes into contact with. They can’t cure it, can barely contain it, can only watch as their territory turns into a barren landscape. Then a new Earth wizard shows up. Tai is everything Carter is not when it comes to the strength of his magic, and more importantly he knows how to cure the disease. But he’s also terrified and clearly on the run from something, and Carter’s not sure Tai’s help is worth the risk of him trying to stake his own claim on the territory—or the risk that whatever he’s running from finds him…

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

Melissa West, Gravity.
In the future, only one rule will matter: don’t. Ever. Peek. Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die. Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

Katja Millay, Il tuo meraviglioso silenzio.
Le sue dita non possono più correre sul pianoforte, il suo mondo pieno di note è diventato muto. Nastya era una promessa della musica, prima. Prima che tutto precipitasse, prima che la vita perdesse ogni significato. Da 452 giorni Nastya ha smesso di parlare, e il suo unico desiderio è tenere nascosto il motivo del suo silenzio. La storia di Josh non è un segreto: ha perso tragicamente i suoi cari, e solo nel recinto impenetrabile che ha costruito intorno a sé si sente al riparo dalla compassione degli altri e libero di dedicarsi in solitudine all’unica cosa che lo tiene in vita: intagliare il legno. Quando sembra non esserci più luce né speranza, Nastya e Josh si trovano e le sensazioni sopite esplodono dal corpo e dal cuore. Due lontananze si incontrano, cercando l’una nell’altra la forza per superare il passato e rinascere davvero.

Stephanie Perkins, Il primo bacio a Parigi.
Non c’è nulla che Anna aspetti più dell’ultimo anno al liceo. E’ sicura che ogni singolo momento insieme alla sua migliore amica e al ragazzo per cui ha una cotta colossale sarà indimenticabile. Ma le cose non vanno affatto come sperato perché i genitori di Anna decidono di spedirla per un anno intero in collegio a Parigi. Anna è disperata … almeno fino al giorno in cui incontra Etienne St.Clair. Divertente, sensibile, affascinante, St. Clair sembra proprio il ragazzo perfetto. C’è solo un piccolo problema: lui è fidanzato. Ma- si sa – Parigi è la città più romantica del mondo, e tra una passeggiata sulle rive della Senna e un appuntamento al chiaro di luna, tutto può succedere.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO READ NEXT?

Kelley Powell, The merit birds.
Eighteen-year-old Cam Scott is angry. He’s angry about his absent dad, he’s angry about being angry, and he’s angry that he has had to give up his Ottawa basketball team to follow his mom to her new job in Vientiane, Laos. However, Cam’s anger begins to melt under the Southeast Asian sun as he finds friendship with his neighbour, Somchai, and gradually falls in love with Nok, who teaches him about building merit, or karma, by doing good deeds, such as purchasing caged “merit birds.” Tragedy strikes and Cam finds himself falsely accused of a crime. His freedom depends on a person he’s never met. A person who knows that the only way to restore his merit is to confess. “The Merit Birds” blends action and suspense and humour in a far-off land where things seem so different, yet deep down are so much the same.


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#36 Teaser Tue—Thursday!

Martedì l’ho saltato, per annunciare l’apertura delle votazione di #ADateWithThePerfectBookFriendqui trovate il post dove votare e qui quello dedicato al mio candidato, Ronan Lynch -, ma oggi non si scampa: è giornata di teaser, rigorosamente spoiler-free e dritto dalle pagine di Gravity, di Melissa West. Ora, lo so di aver più e più volte dichiarato di voler aspettare prima di affrontare anche questa saga, ma cosa vi devo dire? Sono debole e, complice la pubblicazione di Collide tre giorni fa, non ho saputo resistere al richiamo dello sci-fi distopico. E sono stata pure punita, perché devo pure ammettere che per quanto trama e ambientazione siano formidabili, sto faticando per trovare una connessione con i protagonisti. Non so se sia dovuto a una mia mancanza di concentrazione o ad altro, ma continuo ad avere la sensazione che mi sfugga qualcosa di fondamentale. Vedremo come va a finire, nel frattempo vi lascio con l’estratto!

And then we’re alone, Jackson and me, watching each other, both unsure of what to say next. I walk back toward my house, knowing I don’t have long before Mom calls me inside, and sit down on the porch swing that hangs below our deck. Jackson stops in front of me, close enough so when I rock forward our knees touch.
“What happened today? Everything was fine last night. What happened? Was it the attacks? Do you feel like I’m…” He runs a hand through his hair.
I look up at him, fully absorbing him. “No. It isn’t that. It’s… I don’t know. I just feel so unsure.”
“We’ll get the strategy, Ari. Don’t worry. We’ll get it.”
I clear my throat and glance away. “That’s not what I’m unsure of.”
He seems to consider this for a moment, then kneels on the ground in  front of me so we’re eye to eye. “I remember when this happened,” he says, brushing a finger over a large scar on my left knee. “You were ten and carelessly walking on the edge of your bed with socks on. You slipped and sliced your knee open on the bed corner.”
“How do you…?”
“Five stitches if I remember.” He raises his eyebrows.
“But they were useless because it was all better the next morning. I told my mom I had superpowers. She let me pretend to heal her for the rest of the week.” I smile at the memory, and then realization hits. “It was you, wasn’t it?”
“And this one,” he says, pointing to a tiny scar on my elbow, “happened a year ago. That one worried me. What were you doing on the roof, anyway? You slipped and fell into that big oak over there. You could have broken something, but instead just got a large gash on your arm.”
“Why did you do it? Heal me, I mean.”
“I’ve always looked out for you.”

In the future, only one rule will matter.
Don’t. Ever. Peek.
Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.
Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

[GoodReads]


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Book Blitz: “Collide”, Melissa West

Cucù, sorpresa! Ritorno su questi schermi, con un blitz improvviso per parlarvi del terzo volume di una trilogia che mi sta incuriosendo moltissimo e che conto di affrontare non appena il carico di libri arretrati si sarà alleggerito un minimo.
Che ve ne pare? La conoscete già? Oggi esce il terzo volume, quale occasione migliore per scoprirla?

Titolo: Collide (The Taking #3)
Autore: Melissa West
Data di pubblicazione: 9 febb. 2015
Editore: Entangled Teen
Pagine: 320

Sinossi
Military legacy Ari Alexander has survived alien spies, WWIV, and a changing world order. But when the new leader of Earth uses Jackson—the only boy she’s ever let herself care about—to get to her, Ari has no choice but to surrender.
To free Jackson, she agrees to travel to the national bases to train others to fight. What she discovers is a land riddled with dying people. Ari has the power to heal by turning the fighters into aliens—half-breeds like her. If she succeeds, together, they have a chance at overthrowing the alien leader, Zeus. But if she fails, everyone she holds dear will be wiped away forever.
Once again, everything Ari’s come to believe is thrown into question. In a world of uncertainty, loyalties are tested, lies are uncovered, and no one can be trusted. If Ari and Jackson have any hope at survival and at preserving a life for the future, they must fight the final war with their eyes wide open.

La saga

Gravity (The Taking #1):
|| Goodreads || Amazon || B&N || Kobo ||

Hover (The Taking #2)
|| Goodreads || Amazon || B&N || Kobo ||

Collide (The Taking #3)
|| Goodreads || Amazon || B&N || Kobo ||

My gaze drifts over to Jackson to find him watching me, his blue-green eyes no longer beaten, but strong. Alive. Raging.
I walk over and press my hands to the glass, my eyes never leaving his. In them I see everything he’s thinking and feeling. His anger at Kelvin. His sadness at losing Mami. His love for me, an unwavering fire inside him. And then I see his determination, so clear it’s as though I’m thinking it myself—he’s going to kill Zeus.
It’s time to begin.
Jackson nods once to me, and I grip the glass tighter, feeling its composition, and then the glass vibrates, harder and harder. Law goes still. I draw a breath, my focus on the boy I love and his raging eyes, and then a tiny crack splits out from my right pinky finger like a spider web across the glass, splitting again and again. Another starts from my left hand and I lean farther into the glass, imagining Jackson and me back on Loge, Emmy and Mami, and then the window bursts, the glass shooting out in a thousand directions.
Jackson stands slowly, effort etched into his face, the muscles in his arms flexing. The door to his room starts to open, and my gaze flashes over, every fiber in me focused on keeping it shut.
“They’re coming,” I say.
“It doesn’t matter,” Jackson replies, his voice like a warm blanket over my heart, soothing the ache that’s been there since he disappeared. The ache I feared would never go away. “They can’t contain us. They will never contain us.”
— Collide, Melissa West


Melissa West writes young adult and new adult novels for Entangled Teen and Embrace and Penguin/InterMix. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.
She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.

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“I thought I’d never see you again,” I whisper. “I thought you were…” I can’t bring myself to finish the thought.
He shakes his head, his eyes still on mine. “I would find you.”
“But what if—”
“You’re all I have now, all I need. I would find you.” And then his hands are in my hair, securing me to him, his lips on mine. A combination of a sigh and a sob bursts from my mouth and then he’s lifting me up, my legs wrapping around his waist as he carries me to my bed, never letting his lips leave mine. He kisses me like it’s the last kiss we’ll have, like he needs me to breathe. And I can’t get enough.
We lose ourselves in each other; exploring all the places we’d never paid attention to before. I slip off his shirt and kiss a trail down his back, up his side, loving how even now, broken by the pain of losing Mami, he is still beautiful. Even more beautiful.
He lifts me up so he can tug off my shirt and then we’re lying in bed naked, a sheet over us as we allow our bodies to meld together, everything else gone but this moment. But us.
— Collide, Melissa West

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