Review: The Kiss by Anton Chekhov

As much as I like to be a cynic about love, it’s pieces of writing like “The Kiss” that serve to remind me just how timeless the topic of love is. I’ve been hopping from one book to another with seemingly nothing to please my impatient head-space. Until this story came to my notice, thanks to Tavi Gevinson’s blurb in Rookie on Love (how I got to reread my old review of Rookie is another story): “I just don’t trust words a whole lot, and wonder if writing this, too, takes the air out of the whole thing, like in the Chekhov story “The Kiss,” where the sad loner shares the story of an improbable romantic encounter with his male colleagues and, upon hearing it out loud, experiences the whole thing as woefully insignificant.”

This loner mindset sounded eerily familiar… It was all I needed to dive straight in. Truthfully, I was waiting to be disappointed like with all my previous readings. Thankfully, I was not.

This book left me in awe. My own words will fail me here so I’m opting to showcase the brilliant way this author can put words to thoughts. I felt seen, which is the one key thing I look for in books. I haven’t felt that in a while. Like, romanticizing someone you met briefly to deflect from your not-so-romantic situation? Check. Completely losing track of what they looked like and reconstructing them in your mind? Check. Realizing you have no idea how to visualize them and feel defeated? Check. Knowing full well that you’re in over your head with a simple encounter and yet still overthinking it? Check.

At first when the brigade was setting off on the march he tried to persuade himself that the incident of the kiss could only be interesting as a mysterious little adventure, that it was in reality trivial, and to think of it seriously, to say the least of it, was stupid; but now he bade farewell to logic and gave himself up to dreams. . . .

This is a gem. Thankfully, there are many capturing moments that I cherished:

Like, thinking of all the reasons you’ll never see them again, but then: The “inner voice,” which so often deceives lovers, whispered to him for some reason that he would be sure to see her . . . and he was tortured by the questions, How he should meet her? What he would talk to her about?

The days flowed by, one very much like another. All those days Ryabovitch felt, thought, and behaved as though he were in love. Every morning when his orderly handed him water to wash with, and he sluiced his head with cold water, he thought there was something warm and delightful in his life.

To add to the glamor of this piece, I have to share this beautiful song cover of Slow Dancing in the Dark.

Check out this gorgeous piece of writing for yourself through my Amazon Affiliate link: 

Review: Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

“You are made of dreams and this world is not for you.”

Right when I thought my Ronan Lynch obsession had reached its peak, Call Down The Hawk comes out.

Please tell me how it’s been three full years since The Raven King came out and concluded one of the best series out there? It’s unreal. Time is just an illusion.

I still remember cracking open the first book, The Raven Boys, waiting to see if I’ll be impressed. I was completely hooked on the first line. And I sped through the series in a few days’ time. I lived with these characters for months after. I heard their lines echoed in my thoughts.

This new release couldn’t have made me happier. Having my favorite character grow alongside me is a perk granted to few. I don’t take it lightly. Having new iconic Ronan Lynch lines is a perk I don’t take for granted, as well. Having stories about his childhood? In love. Seeing his perspective on ground-breaking scenes in The Raven Cycle? Love. Seeing Declan Lynch break out of his mold? Give me more. G I V E   M E   M O R E.

Like my reviews for The Raven Cycle, I have to mention my favorite gems in here. Future me, this is all you need to know before you start on book 2 in this new trilogy:

Spoilers ahead

  • The main theme of Ronan’s conflicting thoughts on being left behind felt all too real.

“He loved the Barns, he was bored of the Barns, he wanted to leave, he wanted to stay.”

It’s truly heartbreaking to see a gang as tightknit as the gangsey all on their separate paths. From having late-night conversations in the bathroom/kitchen in The Raven Cycle to barely having once a week text contact was breaking me. This is the part of growing up that no one warns you about. So it’s no secret then that I didn’t take for Adam’s new friend group, and I was beyond glad that we didn’t have to spend more than one scene with them. They just don’t get it like the gangsey does.

  • Dauntless Declan. I am so utterly impressed with his character development. I always wanted to see more of him and Matthew, and I got just that. The dynamic between the brothers makes my heart shine.

“Thank God,” Declan said, retrieving his car keys.
“You can if you like,” Matthew said. “But I dressed myself.”
He shot a look at Ronan to make sure his joke had been funny.”

This is such a younger sibling thing to do that I can’t help but smile.

  • But then my mind always returns to that heartstopping moment when the Lynch brothers didn’t know if Matthew was safe. All you want is to know that they’re okay so you can breathe in relief. It showcased just how entangled they are.

“Ronan didn’t know who he would be without them.”

  • I highlighted so many Declan quotes because he just gets it. He understands how it feels to numb yourself so as to not feel anything until there’s a glimmer of hope for a better life.

“Because the safest shape was being both unknown and unchanging”

The Lynch brothers make me feel alive. They understand my deepest fears and most intimate thoughts. Whenever I have the chance to read their words I know I’ll feel a little less alone.

  • Ronan stepping up to help someone he doesn’t even know truly showcases just how much he’s grown. He’s become his own Gansey. He understands himself now better than ever, and it was refreshing to see him open himself up and be vulnerable to help another dreamer. The moment he revealed the significance of the leather bands on his wrist was another hit.

Again, it’s a Declan quote that tells it like it is:

“Declan hated that he loved someone who wasn’t real.” 

  • Besides, did anyone else perceive Bryde as a healthy Kavinsky? Both of them taught Ronan to take charge of his dreams. One did it a bit more provocatively, but still. I feel like he’ll have a big part in Ronan’s life. And I’m not sure, what with Declan’s proclamation, if it’s simply platonic: “Adam wasn’t really enough for him, either, but Declan knew he hadn’t gotten that far yet.”
  • The saddest part was feeling so good reading this book and taking my time with it but also knowing that with each chapter I enjoyed, it took me closer to the end. It came to an end all too soon. I was both happy and sad reading this.
  • Also, this is how you write a follow-up book after years. You don’t info drop everything that happened over the course of four books in the first chapter. You sprinkle it in when called for. So I immensely appreciated that little detail of not dropping everything on the reader immediately. (This is something that really bothered me when starting the third book of The Diviners, “Before The Devil Breaks You”.)
  • Oh, and I encountered the perfect song that captures the darkness and subtle movements in this novel:

The first few seconds of the music playing without any words really has it all.

What else is there to say but that I need the second book now more than ever. Anticipating this release was less gruesome because I had no idea what was awaiting me. Now I know and I want my daily dose of Ronan Lynch.

Check the dreamer out for yourself with my Amazon Affiliate link:

The Perfect Fall Read: Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks

Pumpkinheads - bookspoilsAh, there’s nothing quite as comforting to me as settling into a new Rainbow Rowell release. Having re-read all her books countless times, I take particular joy in any new works.

Plus, having that familiarity with her books, it’s funny noticing how this graphic novel didn’t have the main characters sit on the floor by the bed, which is something I’ve hit upon recently when browsing through her writing. Carry On caught my attention with this scene mentioning it: “…and sits on the floor at the end of his bed, even though the room is full of comfortable things to sit on.”

Moving on, Pumpkinheads feels like the quintessential fall read that makes you want to cozy up in your layers.

Pumpkinheads- bookspoils

Also, any time I have to type the word “pumpkin,” I just think back to Fangirl‘s Cath cringing at Levi’s misspelling. Now I’m ultra-aware of the word.

And I adored so much in this read that it’s best summed up here:

  • Why is Josiah the perfect visualization of Levi? Like, all the plaid and farm boy vibes are screaming “Levi!” at me. All he’s missing is that infamous Carhartt jacket. I mean does this move not scream “Levi!” to you:Pumpkinheads 3- bookspoils Josiah is like if Levi had anxiety in social settings, especially romantic ones.

Pumpkinheads 5- bookspoils

Luckily, he has Deja there to hold up half the weight, maybe sometimes (usually) even more. You know when someone’s so great you can never find the right words to encompass all their greatness? That’s Deja. This is them in one panel:Pumpkinheads 2- bookspoils

  • Tackling the widespread idea of romanticizing people because they look like a great cover for whatever story you want to paint them in your head. Deja put it best:

Pumpkinheads 6- bookspoils

  • The artwork by Faith Erin Hicks is a whole new world of brilliant. Am I spying a Rainbow Rowell pop up within the graphic novel or??

Pumpkinheads 4- bookspoilsB R I L L I A N T

  • Many great puns and humor incorporated throughout, which we’ve come to expect with Rainbow’s great one-liners. Few examples include,

    “Vanessa Pudgens,” “Fudge Judy,” and more that I’ll leave for you to find out.

Check out just that through this excerpt: