Delirium

DeliriumDelirium by Lauren Oliver
Delirium # 1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Number of pages: 441
My copy: ebook review copy from Netgalley

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Halloway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

* * *

I loved Lauren Oliver’s debut novel, Before I Fall, so when I found out that she was coming up with a new dystopian book, I was psyched. I saw this book first from The Book Smugglers and added it to my wish list, eagerly anticipating its release. The premise is intriguing, and as the release date got nearer, reviews are cropping up left and right. The mixed reviews kind of worried me, especially since some of my trusted reviewers were lukewarm on it, but I decided to carry on and find out for myself instead of just scrapping it because of the reviews.

Love is bad. It is a sickness that needs to be cured and you must be protected from it at all costs until you are old enough to get the cure. This is what Lena Halloway grew up with in a society that declares love as a disease – amor deliria nervosa — one that causes pain, clouds judgment and kills not only the person infected but the people around them. Lena grew up believing this and blaming the sickness for her mother’s eventual suicide and she looked forward to receiving her cure. She wanted a normal, safe, and predictable life with a person matched for her, to prove that she is not like her mother and she will not endanger anyone. As Lena counts the days to receiving her cure (a simple operation is all you need to get rid of love and you don’t need to drink anything like jack3d after), something unexpected and totally forbidden happens: she meets Alex, and she falls in love. What follows is a lot of secret meetings and stolen moments and learning about the truth that has been hidden from Lena for almost all her life.

One thing I realized while reading Delirium is that there are two ways to read this novel: the romantic side and the dystopian side. The side you’re more fond of will make or break this novel for you. I really liked the premise of the novel, and I was curious to how Oliver will make all of it work out. I’m not an expert in dystopia despite having read a lot of it (not as much as other people, though), so a world without something is already enough for me to classify it as such. I was kind of afraid there would be another love triangle in this, but figuring that this is a book where love is considered forbidden, there’s got to be some swoon-worthy and tingly romance in this book that I was willing to take on.

And I was right: the romance between Lena and Alex was surely swoon-worthy. I liked how Lena’s feelings were described as she learned of love with Alex. Oliver sure had a way with words and these were reminiscent to how she wrote Before I Fall. I related to Lena in the same sense that I’ve never been in love — never felt the rush, the sparks, the exhilaration of knowing that someone thinks you are perfect no matter how plain looking you know you are. The symptoms listed for the disease accurately describes (as much as I know, anyway) how it feels to have a crush and to fall in love if things don’t stop. It could be a symbolism of sorts in real life: the disease could be something that people who are afraid of falling in love are avoiding, and cured people are those who have decided never to love again after they have been hurt by love. Lena’s innocence about love was pure and kind of sweet, albeit tainted with fear of the deliria. But I guess that’s what love is, right? It’s scary and beautiful all at the same time, and choosing to live with or without it will kill you either way. The only difference between them is what dies in you if you choose to love or not.

But as far as the dystopia factor is concerned, I didn’t feel it. To be honest, I felt like Delirium reads better like a contemporary novel instead of dystopia. I may be biased because I really liked Before I Fall and I think the author is better at contemporary. There were just too many why’s that doesn’t make sense. Why is love considered a disease? What happened? I would understand if it’s too far off into the past that people hardly remember it, but it was only sixty-five years ago, and something that big shouldn’t be too easy to forget. What are the instances that made love the bad guy? And in their world that is controlled by the government, the big bad government didn’t feel like such a threat. They didn’t really strike much fear into me, unlike the Peacekeepers from The Hunger Games. Who led this totalitarian government? And for such a strict one, why can people get away with going to underground parties and breaking curfews. How? Delirium‘s world feels a bit hazy compared to the other dystopian books I’ve read. I guess it would be explained more in the next book, but I believe that for dystopian novels — especially books in series — to work, the world should be built solidly from the start, not in the next books because that’s what readers will be looking out for first. At least, that’s what I am looking for.

Overall, Delirium is kind of a mixed bag for me. I liked the romance, the dystopia was just kind of so-so. I liked it, but not as much as the the author’s debut. This is one of those books that people either really loved or really disliked, but I’m kind of in the middle ground. It’s just…okay. Read it and decide for yourself if you like it or not.

Oh and that ending? I have no words. :O

Rating:

Other reviews:
Janicu’s Book Blog
The Book Smugglers
Presenting Lenore
Bart’s Bookshelf
GReads!
Forever Young Adult
Attack of the Book

Required Reading: February

Sometime around January, I was thinking of what books I would have lined up for February seeing that it was Valentine’s month and it’s sort of the right month to pick up romance novels and such. How cliche of me to do that, but I liked having themed reads. I like reading certain books at a certain time of the year because the month’s celebrations call for it. I think that makes it more fun (albeit masochistic, especially in February, if you know my stories :P).

Anyway, as I was choosing books from my Mt. TBR, I wondered if I could do a theme for every month. Which led to me thinking that maybe I can have kind of direction for the books I read in this year, instead of just choosing randomly. I would be able to conquer my TBR a bit for the entire year but without the big pressure of reading them all, you know?

So I came up with my own, sort of TBR challenge for 2011, where:

  • I would pick 4 books from my TBR pile that I should read within the month that sort of fits one kind of theme.
  • These books should not be included in other 2011 challenges.

This doesn’t mean that I would only read the books I listed within the month. These are just the books that I should read within the month, but I can read other books, too, in the pace that I want to. Call it required reading, I guess.

WAIT. Okay that’s the name of this “challenge”. Required Reading. :D

I have constructed a list in my planner which is still subject to change. I will share them every start of the month, of course, but for now, my February line up!

Thanks, we heart it!Well it’s obvious the theme is love. Like I said, it may be a bit masochistic for me because of the current state of my love life (or lack thereof — but I will not post that here. If you want more of that, it will be posted in the personal blog :P)…but hey, everyone loves a good love story, right? With all it’s red and pink magic. :)

So from my TBR, here are my February Required Reading!

  • Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  • Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
  • Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

There’s a book on summer love, a dystopian novel about love being a disease, a novel about a wedding, and finally a retelling of a Roman myth with the god of love. I even feel like throwing in a few more romance novels in the mix here. Let it be a month full of books on love, yes? :)

10 for 2010: Favorite Reads

And here is the final 10 for 2010 list for this year, and the hardest one at that. There has just been too many good books in this year that it’s so hard to pick just ten. But I have to choose ten…but that doesn’t mean I can’t have runner ups and honorable mentions. ;) It’s my list, I can do anything I want to. :P

So, the last 10 for 2010, here are 10 of my Favorite Reads in no particular order…and then some. :)

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen – How much do I love this book? I am very glad that I chose this book as my first classic read for this year. I love Anne Elliot, and I want to be her. I don’t have much point of comparison over other Austen books, but this one is really, really good, even better than P&P. :) I cannot recommend this one enough. :)

2. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews – I fell in love with the Kate Daniels series this year (thanks again to Chachic and Michelle for pushing!), but among the four books out in the series, Magic Strikes is the best one so far. It’s got action, tension and all the yummy hotness of Kate and Curran in all of it. Plus the ending had me all smiling and giggly and that is always very, very good. :)

2. Feed by Mira Grant – This book wasn’t the one that got me started on zombies this year, but it was the zombie book I loved the most. :) This book had me from the cover, and then with the story. I loved how geeky this book is and how emotional it is at the end. I loved the characters, and I loved the theme of the story…and I just really loved every bit of this book! This is one of the books that I got in Kindle, then got in print because I want to have my own copy. I gave a copy away, then I gave one as a gift, and now I’m (sort of) giving this away, too. I love this book that much.

3. Happyface by Stephen Emond – This is one of the impulse buys that I never regretted. I wasn’t a fan of hardcovers, but I am glad I got this one the moment I saw it because there are no copies of this one here. This is one of my favorite contemporary YA reads of the year. Happyface is such a darling character, and you just can’t help but fall in love with him. The plot is simple, but it’s very surprising and heartwarming at the end. I wish there were more copies of Happyface here so more people can read it…but that’s why I’m giving one away, right? ;) Oh, and I still think I look like Gretchen. ;)

4. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley – This was another impulse buy, but I’ve been seeing this one way before I got it. I am glad I got it, too, because it has such a beautiful story. The story may sound a bit cheesy with all the beauty talk, but it doesn’t only just talk about inner beauty and self-esteem, but also complications of a family and dreams that never came true. Terra’s transformation was very inspiring, and the ending left me feeling very good about myself, and very beautiful. :) Truly a gem.

6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – I wasn’t planning to read this, and I stopped reading the start for a couple of times, but after I finished the first chapter, I got hooked. Before I Fall is a surprisingly good and powerful novel about life, death, friendship and the choices we make and how they affect people. I finished this book with a wistful smile on my face and tears in my eyes, thankful that I finally gave in and read it.

7. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – This is one of the book that I know I would love, only because the people whose book tastes I trust loved this one, too. After reeling from The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, I needed more dystopia to keep the high going, so I finally read this one. And I loved every bit of it. I know it gets better with the next two books, and I am very excited to read them. :D Soon.

8. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John – This book wouldn’t have made the list if I didn’t read it on time. If I read it in 2011, this would probably have made it in my 2011 list. :P I love the cover, and the story is just as good as the book. It’s not often you read a YA novel about a band, and it’s even rarer that you read a heroine who was deaf. It’s got diverse characters, a great story and a very rocking ending. :) A book that makes me reconsider my Top 10 is a book that deserves more attention. :D

9. Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra – You know you really love a book when you re-read it and it still gives you the same feeling it did on the first read. You know you love a book when you actually re-read it in the first place, and within the same year, to boot! I re-read Fairy Tale Fail after I finished reading The Maze Runner, and I really needed a pick-me-up after. It definitely picked me up, and it made me wish to have my own Lucas all over again. :)

10. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – And like every Best of 2010 books out there, I must not forget about Anna and the French Kiss! This book was an absolutely fun read. After a series of not-so-stellar books, this one just kind of blew my mind. :) I realized a lot of things in this book, particularly: I still love contemporary YA the best, and you can tell a completely ordinary story in an extraordinary way. This is also one of the books that I got on Kindle first, then the hardcover when I found out it’s already available here. That much love, people. That much love. :)

Runners-Up:

  • Paper Towns by John Green – I finished the John Green trifecta this year, and out of all books, I have decided that I liked Paper Towns best. While An Abundance of Katherines was the funniest and happiest, I thought Paper Towns had the better plot and would fare better for a re-read. :) Plus Radar + Ben and the road trip? Priceless.
  • Tall Story by Candy Gourlay – I wouldn’t have heard of this one if not for Pao and Chachic, and I am glad I got this one. Tall Story is a charming story about siblings, Filipino folklore and magic. This is a very heartwarming story, and I am glad this book is available internationally so more people can read it. If you haven’t read it, do include it in your 2011 reading list. You won’t regret it. :)
  • Unwind by Neal Shusterman – I wouldn’t have picked this book up if I hadn’t heard good things about it from my Goodreads friends. Perhaps my reaction to this was a bit similar to The Knife of Never Letting Go – I plunged into it ready to love it, and I did. It’s not a very cheerful book being dystopia, but it’s very good and it has a lot of potential for a re-read. :)
  • Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr – I read two of Sara Zarr’s books last year and I loved them, so when I saw she had a new book, I knew I had to read it. Once Was Lost was just as beautiful as her other books, but I think I like this one more because it tackled faith. I loved how simple Zarr’s prose was, and how she tackled sensitive issues with grace. If I may quote my review: “Once Was Lost makes you think, makes you ask, and in the end, makes you believe that no matter what the tragedy is, no matter how hard things are, there will always, always be hope.
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – I read this one fairly recently, and I really liked it. I don’t know if my moods influenced how much I liked it though…but like I said before: any book that has me smiling like an idiot at the last page deserves a recognition. :)

Honorable Mentions:

See, I told you it was too hard. I’m sorry if I overwhelmed you with too many books in this list! It’s just very, very hard to choose. Maybe next year I’ll be more critical, but I’m glad I read so many good books this year. Looking forward to what 2011 had to offer. :)

Now it’s your turn. What’s your top reads in 2010? :)

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters
10 Favorite Female Characters
10 Favorite Couples
10 Favorite Authors
10 Most Anticipated for 2011
10 Blogging and Reading Highlights

I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway! Get to know the awesomeness that is Feed by Mira Grant, the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy! Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

10 for 2010: Favorite Female Characters

For all the male characters yesterday, I must not forget about the females. :) I love reading about kick-ass heroines, especially after reading about so many weak, Mary Sue-ish heroines in other books who cannot live without their guy. That doesn’t mean they can’t be weak or cry or what — they do. They are weak at times, but in this weakness they find their strengths, too.

I had a hard time writing this list because I met so many awesome female characters this year. But that just goes to show how girls rock, doesn’t it? :) Today’s 10 for 2010 is my Favorite Female Characters.

1. Kate Daniels (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews) – If there’s ever a most kick-ass heroine I’ve “met” this year, it has got to be Kate. Kate is strong, stubborn and powerful, and yet she’s also very compassionate. Kate is like Thursday Next in an urban fantasy setting, and maybe even more. I might still need to re-read Thursday Next, but if it comes to combat, I think Kate will win. Sorry Thursday, but don’t worry, I still love you! :)

2. Alanna of Trebond (Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce) – I must pay homage to the mother of all kick-ass female characters in the YA fantasy genre (correct me if I am wrong though): Alanna of Trebond. Alanna is the heroine that went against all odds just so she can be what she wants but normally cannot be: a knight. I loved Alanna from the moment she decided to become a knight up to when she finally settled down. But is there really any settling down for her? :) After reading the Song of the Lioness quartet, I now understand why girls consider Alanna as their hero. :)

3. Katsa (Graceling by Kristin Cashore) – Katsa is awesome not only because she’s Graced, but because she stood up to free herself from the people who want to take her in. And just like the first two girls, she also kicked serious ass in her book. :D What’s not to love about her?

4. Fire (Fire by Kristin Cashore) – Fire is a monster with a heart. I loved that description, and I loved her development from being a woman afraid of her beauty to someone who learned to use her beauty to help others.

5. Terra Cooper (North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley) – Terra is hard to understand at first. I envied her for her sheer willpower to exercise and be “perfect” physically, but I also felt sorry for her because she was trapped in a cage that her father built for her and her mom. But as the story went on, I saw Terra’s growth, and I wanted her to win. Like Terra, I want to remember and hold on to what true beauty is all about: Let the glossy spreads have their heart-stopping, head-turning kind of beauty. Give me the heart-filling beauty instead. Jolie laide, that’s what I would choose. Flawed, we’re truly interesting, truly memorable, and yes, truly beautiful.

6. Georgia Mason (Feed by Mira Grant) – I love that Georgia is a blogger, but I think what most readers would really love about her is her integrity. She really embodies what a journalist is supposed to be. You would have to kill her to stop her from telling the truth, and yet, even so, I bet she will still be able to get the truth out. I bet Georgia would have made a great politician, too. ;)

7. Anne Elliot (Persuasion by Jane Austen) – Ah Anne. Okay, so I’ve only “met” Elizabeth Bennett among all Austen heroines. I know I have no point of comparison over the other heroines because I have yet to read them, but Anne Elliot is someone that I really want to be. She’s smart, she’s mature, she’s gracious, and she always has her heart in the right place. Definitely the epitome of great female characters. :)

8. Samantha Kingston (Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver) – Samantha is not someone I’d be friends with if we were in the same school. I wouldn’t really like her much, either, given the way she treats other people. But Samantha’s story taught me that there is always more underneath a person other than our first impressions on them. Sam started out as a bitch, but I ended up loving her as a friend as she repeated the last day of her life, and wanting her to succeed in whatever life is teaching her on her last day. Definitely memorable.

9. Margo Roth Spiegelman (Paper Towns by John Green) – I know a lot of people who’s read Paper Towns dislike her, but I didn’t. I liked her for the strength that she had in choosing what she felt she needed to do. She doesn’t know if it’s the right choice, and sure, she made other people suffer, but she was brave enough to do what she wanted to do. If I may quote Aaron (who’s a very big fan of the book): Hating Margo is like hating everyone in the world that chose, once and for all, to be themselves.

10. Caroline Sweeney (Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck) – Of all these characters, Caroline might be the most silent one. If she were placed in a room with all the other girls in this story, I bet she would have remained unnoticed, until someone suddenly needs help, and she would be there in a flash. I admired Caroline for her gentle and helpful heart, one that found that being faithful in the small things means you will also be faithful with the bigger ones. :)

Runner-Up:

  • Andi (Tall Story by Candy Gourlay) – I honestly almost forgot about Andi when I was writing my list. I could relate to Andi because she’s also a younger sister. I felt for her when her life was literally shaken when her brother Bernardo came into the picture, and I liked that instead of pushing him away, she embraced him and looked out for him even if he was practically a stranger to her. That’s what being a sister is all about, I guess?
  • Ellie Manuel (Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra) – I liked Ellie because I can relate to her, not in the relationship sense, but in the way she thinks. Ellie’s voice is so fresh and friendly that I cannot help but like her from the moment I started reading Fairy Tale Fail. I also liked how she grew into an independent character at the end of the story. :)

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters

Oh, and you do know I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway, right? Get a chance to win Fire by Kristin Cashore and find out why Fire is such an awesome heroine. Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

[Closed] One More Page – Anniversary Giveaway

One More Page Anniversary Giveaway

NOTE: This giveaway is closed! Thanks to everyone who joined. :-) Winners were announced here. :)

It’s Christmas Eve in my part of the world! :) I think I just about survived the most hectic Christmas season ever with parties, work and a wedding to attend, so now that things are winding down, it’s time to up some things here in the blog. :)

Other bloggers have set up their gratitude/Christmas/what-have-you giveaways in the past weeks, and I am kind of joining the bandwagon. My blog is about to celebrate its first anniversary in a couple of weeks (on January 9, to be exact), so what better way to celebrate that and Christmas (well, an extended reason to celebrate, anyway) than a book giveaway? :D Presenting:

One More Page Anniversary GiveawayOne More Page Anniversary Giveaway! I never really thought I’d be able to keep a niche blog for this long, and I have met so many people, read so many books and learned so many new things that I am really, really grateful. As a thank you to everyone who’s left comments, visited and followed my blog, I will be giving away copies of the following books:

I want to make this giveaway interactive, so instead of just making you fill out a form and making you do so many other things, all you need to do to enter this giveaway is leave a comment. Leave a comment in every entry from now up to January 9, 2011, and every comment will count as an entry to the giveaway. You can leave multiple comments on an entry, especially if it’s a discussion post. :) The more comments you leave, the more entries you get, and we will have meaningful conversations, too! :P

I will pick two winners at random: one in the Philippines and one international*. Winners get to pick one of the books listed above**. :)

Easy-peasy, right? :)

Again!

  • Contest runs starting today up to January 9, 2011
  • Every comment left starting this post up to January 9, 2011 will count as an entry to the contest (unless otherwise stated in the comment)***.
  • Two winners will be chosen at random (random.org), one in the Philippines and one international*
  • Winners get to pick one of the books listed above as their prize**

Alrightie then! Looking forward to hear from everyone! :)

* As long as Book Depository ships to your country
** In case the winner already has all of the books, they can pick any book worth $15 from Book Depository
*** I reserve the right not to include comments that are irrelevant to the entry or comments that are left just to leave a comment and nothing else. Again, one of the purposes of the contest is to encourage interaction, so meaningful/relevant comments, please. :)