Because who can afford books in this economy?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Title: Revolution
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Published: October 2010
Source: Library
Synopsis from Goodreads:
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

Oh man this book was good. Really, really, really good. Top five of the whole year good. I was reading it every spare second I had, and it takes a lot to make me read that much these days. I don't know how she did it, but from the very beginning I was hooked. I had an instant connection with Andi's voice and wanted to know more about her. I haven't finished a book in so little time in months.

Writing a review about really great books is hard. There's a lot I could say, but none of it really seems to sum up the greatness of this book. At least with mediocre books, or bad books there's something that could say I didn't like, but with this book all that I can say is that I loved everything! The plot, the pacing, the characters, the phenomenal writing, everything. 

Sorry for the review being so, well, not review-like, but I can't think of anything to say other than AMAZING GO READ IT NOOOOOW!

Characters: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Originality: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 50/50 A+

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (42)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we share the books that we're eagerly awaiting the release of. This week:
Possession by Elana Johnson
Release Date: June 7th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.
My Thoughts: It sounds like Matched and Uglies had a baby. A beautiful baby. Seriously, I'm really, really loving the cover. The blue? Gorgeous.
What are you waiting on?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Title: Finnikin of the Rock
Author: Melina Marchetta
Published: February 2010
Source: The Library
Synopsis from Goodreads:
At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An imposter seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock—to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously close to home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all her knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

I love a good fantasy. Something that completely takes you away from your reality and immerses you in the culture of a completely made up place. This was definitely a good fantasy. I was completely immersed in the world of Finnikin, Evanjalin, and all of the other characters. It definitely wasn't predictable either, which I think is common in a lot of fantasy novels.

The writing is definitely the strong suit of this book. It's beautiful, but subtle. Blink and you might miss something poetic, or funny in a totally unexpected way. My only complaint is that a lot of the book is slow. The best way for me to describe it is heavy. It's not light reading at all. In fact, if you're not prepared to really get into it, you'll probably end up closing it in frustration.

It takes a while to get a feel for the characters, to really understand them and see where they might be going. It happened so gradually that once I looked up and just realized that I cared what happened to them. It was beautiful. Marchetta took some characters in a different direction than I'd originally presumed, and I loved it. I loved that I couldn't predict every little or big thing that happened.

As with most fantasy novels, I had a hard time understanding the politics. In fact, it got to a point where I just decided to ignore all but the basic facts. Maybe if there was a sequel I would invest more of my time and my thoughts into it, but for a stand alone I got along fine. The character relationships and developments are what I'm there for anyway.

Basically I really, really liked this book, but didn't quite love it. The writing is spectacular, but at times it was too slow for my liking. The characters were marvelous though, and I wish that I could read more about them.

Characters: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Originality: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 44/50 B+
Cover Comments: This cover screams fantasy, and the bright colors are great.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (41)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we share the books that we absolutely cannot wait to be released.

This week:
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: April 5th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.
Love, blood, betrayal and revenge — the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. Simon Lewis is having some trouble adjusting to his new life as a vampire, especially now that he hardly sees his best friend Clary, who is caught up in training to be a Shadowhunter—and spending time with her new boyfriend Jace. Not to mention that Simon doesn’t quite know how to handle the pressure of not-quite-dating two girls at once. What’s a daylight-loving vampire to do? Simon decides he needs a break and heads out of the city—only to discover that sinister events are following him. Realizing that the war they thought they’d won might not yet be over, Simon has to call on his Shadowhunter friends to save the day — if they can put their own splintering relationships on hold long enough to rise to the challenge.

Do I really have to say anything? 

What are you waiting on this week? 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review: Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brian

Title: Birthmarked
Author: Caragh M. O'Brian
Published: March, 2010
Source: The Library
Synopsis from Goodreads:
After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.
Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned. 

Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

I consider myself a lover of dystopian novels. Give me a story set sometime in the future that prominently features a corrupt government that originally just wanted to do good, and I'm hooked, I don't even care about the rest of the plot. So basically, I expected to like this book. I did not, however, expect to love it as much as I did. Yes, it was what I expected as a dystopian, but it was also so much more.

Let's start with Gaia, the main character. She was so relateable and realistic, despite living in a world completely different than ours. She was both strong and weak, confident and unsure, brave and scared; all the things a good main character is. There were a lot of other characters. None of them were constant except Gaia, and yet I had a sense of who each of them was as a person. Gaia's parent's themselves were seldom in the novel, but I really got to know them through flashbacks.

The world building in this book was exceptional. I was given a clear picture of how things were, and how they became that way. I got to understand both life inside and outside the wall and see it from the eyes of a few different people without ever leaving Gaia's point of view. By the end I was just as outraged by what was happening as Gaia. Something that's never really explained fully is how the world went from our world to Gaia's world, but that's not really important in the grand scheme of things.

The book moved really quickly at some parts, and really slowely at others. I enjoyed it when it was fast, not as much when it was slow. I thought that a few parts were dragged out. I appreciated that O'Brian didn't overdescribe things when she was trying to create a sense of urgency, because I tend to skip over the "boring" parts when there's a lot of action.

If you're looking for an exceptional dystopian novel I would definitely recommend this one. I absolutely loved it and I can't wait for the sequel (there is a sequel, right???)!

Characters: 9/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 9/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 47/50 A
Cover Comments: Fits the story perfectly. The bleakness fits the tone, the tower plays a big role, the girl could easily be Gaia, and the DNA is a nice touch.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (40)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we share the books that we are eagerly anticipating the release of.

Huntress by Malinda Lo
Release Date: April 5th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn’t shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people’s survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Taninli, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls’ destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo’s highly acclaimed novel Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

Well, first off it's by the author of Ash, which I loved. It's also set in the same world, which is awesome! And it has a POC cover! It basically sounds amazing, and I wish that April was a lot closer...

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Title: Halo
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Published: August 2010
Source: Recieved for review from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove. But everything changes when three angels are sent from heaven to protect the town against the gathering forces of darkness: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. They work hard to conceal their true identity and, most of all, their wings.

But the mission is threatened when the youngest angel, Bethany, is sent to high school and falls in love with the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him? Things come to a head when the angels realize they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There′s a new kid in town and he′s charming, seductive and deadly. Worst of all, he′s after Beth.

When I first heard of Halo I really wanted to read it. But then I saw a bunch of not so hot reviews of it popping up, and it didn't sound as much like something I would like. But when I was offered a copy for review I said okay anyway. I'm pretty happy with that decision, I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I wouldn't say that I loved it, because a lot of my concerns were justified, but I did like it.

Let's start with something that I liked: Bethany. I loved how yeah, she's really an angel, but that doesn't mean that she's not a teenage girl too. She was rebellious and infatuated and reacted to things in ways that most teenage girls would. Her being an angel also made it really interesting to see how she viewed our world. Everything was new to her and I liked reading about her getting acclimated to Earth life.

One of my main concerns was the pacing. It was really, really slow. It's not just a slow starter, either. The entire thing is slow. At first I was really put off, but once I stopped expecting it to pick up speed and accepted that it was going to be slow it was a lot easier to get through. That's when I started to realize that it was interesting in it's own way. I paid a lot more attention to detail, to the way Bethany felt about things and how she reacted to them. It was more subtle than what I was used to.

I thought that the relationship between Bethany and Xavier was a bit too...intense for the time that they'd really known each other. I understand that she's literally an angel and all, but did they have to go from practically strangers to in love like that? I also felt like Bethany was too dependent on Xavier once they got together. There was a point where they had a fight and she completely shuts down and locks herself in her room for days. Um, New Moon, much? Not a healthy way to portray a relationship in my opinion.

Despite my concerns, I really did enjoy this book. If you want a paranormal romance then this book is right up your alley.

Characters: 7/10
Plot: 8/10
Originality: 7/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 8/10
Overall: 40/50 B-
Cover Comments: Absolutely gorgeous. Made me want to read it immediately!
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