Review: Soooo... ok. Done with that, then.
So I actually read Clockwork Prince almost three years ago, which explains why I was so confused while reading Clockwork Princess. Apparently it didn't make TOO much of an impression, because I really don't remember it very well. Clare handled the exposition well, I thought; there was just enough that I still caught most of what was going on, but not so much that it would have been annoying if I'd read the first two books recently (which is something I also liked about the Mortal Instruments series, come to think of it).
I don't really know what to say about this one though. I think I'm kind of over the whole Shadowhunter thing. I mean, I wanted to finish the book, and it was enjoyable, but I didn't feel a whole lot of emotion while reading it. I was just finishing it for the sake of finishing it.
I wasn't very invested in the Jem/Will/Tessa love triangle. I think Jem had a lot more personality earlier in the series, maybe? (Like I said, it's been a while.) He was really vanilla in this book. And there was a lot more tell than show in his relationships with Will and Tessa; they all spent a lot more time talking about their relationships than actually having them.
Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-ya
Review: Soooooo... yeah, not that impressed. I wasn't that interested in Emma as a character, although she does have qualities that are interesting. She's ambitious, she's curious about the world, and she's anxious to prove herself as a journalist. On the other hand, her obsession with Jimmy (and specifically, with hooking up with him) got pretty boring pretty fast. Griffith tries to give Jimmy some depth, what with his medical backstory, but really his sole purpose in this novel is to solve Emma's problems. Oh, and be eye candy, of course. (Not to mention that they fall In Love after what, a week or two?)
Speaking of Emma's problems, they all seem to be solved fairly easily. Despite the rich atmosphere of the setting, the stakes never feel terribly high. Even though the characters are constantly pointing out the horrible dangers the jungle poses, nothing TOO dangerous ever seems to happen. Even the climactic final act wasn't too stressful for me, because a convenient deus ex machina arrives to save the day.
I did like the setting, though. Despite the fact that she didn't do too much with the danger of the Amazon in terms of the story, Griffith clearly did a TON of research on the Amazon's flora, fauna, and peoples. The setting is definitely the book's strongest asset. In fact, the characters actually do face quite a bit of danger from the Amazon, but because the jungle itself always feels so ominous, the plot seems pretty tame in comparison to the scary possibilities.
One final thing: I try not to be too much of a pearl-clutcher; if there's content in a book that I don't like, I generally just ignore it. But frankly, I'm really sick of "New Adult" novels with college-age protagonists that are all about sex. As this genre becomes more prevalent, I hate seeing that strong sexual content seems to be a requirement. This book isn't an exception; although it isn't entirely about sex, but it has a few really graphic scenes, which cost my rating of it a full star.
One more final thing: I wrote all of the above several weeks ago, and today I got an email from the publisher about the copy of the book I read. According to the her, the ARC I read was edited for publication. The sexually explicit scenes are being tamed down and/or removed. To which I say, Good for you, Astor + Blue Editions. Good for you.
Goodreads Shelves: fluffy, is-this-a-kissing-book
I received a free ARC from the publisher, Astor + Blue Editions, in exchange for an honest review. Amazon Burning is available now.
This review is brought to you by my amazing sister, Kelli. You can find her on her blog and on Goodreads.
Summary: When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.
But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
Review: I desperately wanted to give this 5 stars because I loved the ending, but Ileni was seriously SO woe-is-me pity party for so much of the book that I just couldn't round my 4.5 stars up. Having said that, her self-pity is pretty much the only thing that really annoyed me, and that was all internal. To the outside, she presented a pretty kick-a$$ heroine who was haughty and powerful. And I loved that despite her admittedly crappy position, in the final evaluation, she acted from a position of strength and reasoning rather than her feelings of betrayal, anger, and sorrow.
And I'll go ahead and admit up-front that for some reason I'm a sucker for stories with assassin main characters. Books like Throne of Glass, Graceling, Poison Study, Grave Mercy are all 4- and 5-star books for me. But the heroine isn't an assassin, and in fact is pretty disdainful of the assassins. It's interesting because in reality, I think murder is horrible, too, so I can easily relate to her. The author's timing is well-done as she introduces more facts and plot-points to develop Ileni's sympathy for their position.
This is clearly a first in a series, but I felt there was sufficient closure to not be considered a cliff-hanger. There's more story to tell, but I look forward to reading it in another book rather than feeling like I was cheated out of the last half of the story.
The part of the book that made me want to stand up and cheer is actually on the last page or two and would be a huge spoiler, so all I can say is that I wanted to call all my friends and rave about this book and demand they go read it so I could talk about why without spoiling a huge plot point. So go ahead and read it, then hit me up and see if you can guess what I loved.
So begins the epic tale of Scott Pilgrim and his quest for true love. Over six episodes, Scott will have to battle the seven evil exes of Ramona Flowers, the girl who's been rollerskating through his dreams. Not to mention holding down a job, helping his band find success, and getting over an evil ex of his own.
Review: Ok, so this might be the first graphic novel I've reviewed on the blog? I dunno. Anyway, my husband is a big fan of the movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, so we decided to read the books together. Technically this is a six-volume series, but the story is so cohesive that I'm gonna go ahead and just write one review for the whole thing.
Aaaand, I think I'm gonna do this in two parts:
THE BOOK BY ITSELF
So I really liked it. Scott himself is (admittedly) dumb as a post, but charming, in his way, and also played for laughs. The story is so fun, and I loved seeing flashbacks and explanations, and the fact that it's a graphic novel meant I didn't have to waste time watching/reading fight scenes. I like the art style, and I especially liked how the girls weren't all drawn as skinny waifs.
THE BOOK VS. THE MOVIE
So I'm gonna say this now, and hate me if you dare: I'm not really a Michael Cera fan. And I'm especially not a fan of him as Scott Pilgrim. He wasn't as likable as in the books, and definitely not as cute. If I could have chosen, I would have cast Chris Lowell:
AmIright? Yeah, ok, I know that Piz is probably the least liked Veronica Mars character. But seriously. The hair. The boyish charm. You guys.
The other characters were cast perfectly, I thought. Especially Kim Pine.
I really loved the music in the movie. They constantly used tracks from video games, and it was perfect.
Goodreads Shelves: addictive, be-proactive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-a-movie, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman
Jennifer and Beth are friends who work at the paper, who don't have high opinions of the internet policy. But they don't realize (or care) that their emails are being read by Lincoln every night.
Lincoln knows he should report the girls' violation of the internet policy. But as he gets caught up in their lives and their friendship, he starts to like them and their emails. And that's when things start to get messy.
Review: Ok, I've never read a Rainbow Rowell book before, but maybe I will? I don't know much about Eleanor and Park, besides the fact that everybody seems to think it's amazing, but I've seen the synopsis of Landline and it doesn't seem like my cup of tea. So... I dunno. But I did LOVE Attachments. (PS. I keep thinking of Rainbow as a boy's name? And I have to keep reminding myself that Rainbow Rowell is a woman? Am I the only person who has this problem?) (Also, is it annoying the way I end sentences that are clearly statements with question marks. Would it help if I end questions with periods.) (Maybe I am a little tired right now. I'm sorry.)
Anyway, as I was saying, I LOVED Attachments. In fact, I kept reading the exchanges between Beth and Jennifer and thinking, this is the kind of conversation I have with my sister all the time. (And told her so. Ad nauseum.) They were witty, cute, friendly, and supportive. These girls are obviously good friends, and they are smart and clever and tough and awesome and I wish they were friends with me.
As for Lincoln, though. In the beginning, I was kind of bored of the Lincoln chapters. I was a LOT more interested in the email conversations. About halfway through, though, Lincoln became more interesting. He started getting as bored with his life as I was, I guess. I appreciated that, though. I like how he began to grow and change and try to figure out what he wanted his life to look like.
The ending was a little, I don't know. I don't know how I wanted it to end. (I guess I didn't.) It was as satisfying an ending as I could have wanted though. So yeah.
So if you're a fan of books with email/IM conversations (which I am), or books where people get their crap together (which I am), or books with lots of movie/music references (which I am), you should read this one, because you'll love it.
(PS. Beth is a movie reviewer, and she mentions that she automatically gives a movie an extra star for having a wedding scene in it. Which is awesome because there are two wedding scenes in this book.)
(PPS. For your enjoyment, here is one of the shorter email exchanges:
"From: Jennifer Scribner-Snyder
To: Beth Fremont
Sent: Wed, 09/01/1999 1:14 PM
Subject: Do you want to hang out tonight?
I need a break from Mitch. He's still in a funk about our successful use of birth control.
Beth to Jennifer: Can't. I'm finally going to see Eyes Wide Shut.
Jennifer to Beth: Ech. I don't like Tom Cruise.
Beth to Jennifer: Me neither. But I usually like Tom Cruise movies.
Jennifer to Beth:
Beth to Jennifer:
Jennifer to Beth: Men don't like Julia Roberts?
Beth to Jennifer:
Jennifer to Beth: Good to know.")
Goodreads Shelves: addictive, be-proactive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman
Cress has lived in a satellite for the last seven years. She only knows one person. She's never had a haircut. So basically, Rapunzel in space.
When an attempt to rescue her from her goes awry, our band of heroes finds themselves separated once again, this time (mostly) on Earth. And as Kai prepares for the most hastily thrown together Big To-Do ever (really? two weeks? shouldn't it take that long just to negotiate, I don't know, the date? not to mention that high profile of a wedding should ACTUALLY be starting with an engagement party) (but we've already established that my opinion of Ms. Meyer's take on interplanetary politics is low), Cinder has to find a way to stop the wedding. Because, you know, of Levana's tyranny. It has nothing to do with how she feels about him, nothing at all, la la la.
My opinion: So I am loving these books. And I love that they keep getting better. I feel like so many series and trilogies start strong, then get worse as the series goes along. Is that because authors take years and years to write the first book, then send out queries and get agents, and THEN write books 2 and 3 and so on? (Seriously, do they do that? It would explain a lot.) Anyway, The Lunar Chronicles does NOT read that way. They start slow and build, and each one is better than the last. I had owned Cinder for quite a while before I picked it up at the library, liked it a lot, and went home and finished it on my Nook. And I liked Scarlet even more, and Cress is just the best one so far.
For starters, Cress herself is so adorable. As you know, I read this book picturing Avery from Dog With a Blog as Cress, and I think it was a good choice. She was so cute and sweet! So hopeful and naive, and excited about the world around her, and even though she was idealistic and wanted so badly to fall in love, she grew and learned enough not to do anything hugely stupid.
As I predicted, it was different to see Captain Thorne through Cress's eyes than Cinder's. While Cinder saw him as opportunistic and cheesy and a little smarmy, to Cress he was brave and heroic. And it was actually great for me as a reader to have both of those perspectives, because blending them together helped me create a more realistic idea of an actual person, who is cocky and charming, but also insecure and a little vulnerable. I liked seeing him grow more and more protective of Cress, which (when avoiding Cullen-level creepiness) is such a sweet expression of affection, in my opinion.
(I did roll my eyes, a little bit, when we found out that [SPOILER ABOUT CRESS'S FAMILY]. I mean, does the world have to be that small? Can't a random person you meet who happens to be trapped on a satellite for seven years just be a random person? But no, not in book world, apparently. Oh well.)
Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, excuse-me-half-the-book-is-missing, fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
Review: I think... I think I'm addicted to these books. Seriously, I have wanted nothing more than to read Cress since the minute I finished Scarlet. It's $8.89 on both Kindle and Nook, which is a lot more than I'm willing to pay for an ebook (and a lot more than I paid for the first two Lunar Chronicles), but if the hold list at the library weren't so short, I'd be sorely tempted. On to the review, though.
Confession: I'm not into "Little Red Riding Hood." Even though her song is one of the best ones in Into The Woods, I'm just not feeling it. The story itself is just "meh" for me, as are most retellings I've read/seen. It's just... yeah, not my thing.
But Scarlet was pretty great. Despite the source material (which, ok, I ignored enough to be surprised by a couple of the twists in the story -- *shame*), the plot had me riveted. I was expecting to be so focused on Cinder's story that following Scarlet's story would be boring to me, but I was equally entertained by both. Neither felt weaker than the other, which was refreshing (and rare, in my experience).
The only weak link, as it were, was Kai's chapters, since Kai, at this point, is frustratingly ignorant of important
Anyway, as for new characters in the story, I love Scarlet. She's tough, loyal, trusting, a little naive, a little too impulsive. A great person to have around in a fight, but also not afraid to show weakness. Fantastic.
Wolf was hard to get a handle on, which is intentional, so props there, and I'd never want to date him, because, baggage. But I appreciate that Scarlet does? So good for her.
I really like Captain Thorne, though. Maybe Meyer tries a little too hard to make him "charming", but I think that tune will change when I see him through Cress's eyes, don't you?
Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, excuse-me-half-the-book-is-missing, fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-ya
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
Review: I am surprised by how much I like this one! I've read Pivot Point and Split Second, so I wasn't actually expecting that much in terms of character development and plot, but after reading this one I might go read them again!
I LOVE that Caymen talks about her weird dry humor - and then actually displays a weird dry sense of humor! I would have known that about her even if she hadn't pointed it out constantly, and I appreciate that. I like that she doesn't change herself for Xander, despite how much she likes him.
I like that I (pretty much) remembered Caymen's name after reading this book. That's a bit of a pet peeve with me, when books are written in the first person and you can't remember the main character's name afterwards.
I also loved Caymen and Xander's quest to "discover themselves," as it were. I love that Caymen comes up with creative and interesting answers to Xander's "career days," even though she can't jet him off to Vegas or borrow a penthouse suite.
I wasn't too into the way Caymen was preoccupied with Xander's wealth, but considering her background and her mom's attitude towards it, it was understandable.
Also, because of how the town where they live is described as Haves vs. Have Nots, I kept wanting to picture it as Neptune, California.
Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-ya
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
Review: I don't... I don't know what to say.
I was actually on a reading kick; I was pretty much obsessed with reading. I couldn't/wouldn't stop. As soon as I finished a book I found a new one. It lasted about a week. Because then I read We Were Liars.
I'd been excited to read it pretty much since I heard of it. I've read all of E. Lockhart's other books; Frankie and Ruby hold very special places in my heart. And when she said this book was different from all of her other books, boy did she mean it.
I was actually pretty on board with it. I liked Cadence's metaphors and imagery, and I liked how she could use her flashbacks to understand sinister meanings behind seemingly innocent conversations she'd participated in.
But the ending... was horrible. Like, the events. I know it sounds overdramatic, but I think a little part of me died. Honestly, I wish I'd just looked it up on Wikipedia and found out how it ends. (Both because going into it knowing would have made me pay attention to certain things, and also because I would have been prepared. Honestly, I probably should have seen it coming, but I really really didn't. You're welcome, Reader/Author Contract.) (I just looked it up, and it's not on Wikipedia. But I could have found a way. Should have...)
Anyway, now I'm having a hard time finding a book I'm willing to read. I need something light and fluffy, but not crappy. Pancakes, as opposed to cotton candy. As it were. Any suggestions?
(In all fairness, my reading kick also got derailed because I recently obtained this, and it's been eating up all my free time. TALK about an addiction...)
Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, pretentious
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Review: Ugh, can we please stop having "big twists" that the audience figures out in the first chapter? Seriously. There's this big "reveal" that happens pretty much in the last 5 pages, and literally every single person who reads this book heaves a huge sigh and is like, "yeah, I already knew that, thanks." Not to mention that this "big twist" is hinted at in the summary of the book! Can we stop doing that? Please? #kthxbai
*steps off soapbox*
Now that that's out of the way, what a cute book! Futuristic, cyborg retelling of Cinderella. I am totally down with that. I knew I'd love it, but I'm not sure why I hadn't read it sooner.
Cinder was pretty adorable. She's tough and capable, but also loyal and sweet. And even though she lies to Kai, by not telling him she's a cyborg, I can understand why. And the two people in her "family" (I don't know if I legitimize her domestic situation by calling it a family, but you know-- the people she lives with) that she loves and are nice to her (her younger stepsister Peony and her android Iko) are actually people that I would like, too. (As opposed to Annoyingly Sweet characters -- it's always nice when the protagonist's friends are actually likable.)
Kai is also cute... to a point. I like his crush on Cinder, and I imagine that the reason he pursues her for so long is the whole "Thrill of the Chase" thing guys are always talking about in books and movies (and in real life sometimes, to be fair). But... for a prince, especially the heir to the throne, he seems to have a lot of free time on his hands. I mean, shouldn't he be meeting with ministers and governors and heads of parliament all the time? And why does he seem to only have one advisor, who ALSO has tons of free time (as evidenced by the fact that he has enough time on his hands to attend EVERY meeting Kai takes)? And shouldn't Kai, as heir to the throne, already have received a TON of training in leadership and diplomacy and management and stuff? And how, in some post-apocalyptic world in which there are only six countries left on Earth anyway, did we manage to keep an actual, honest-to-goodness monarchy, with rulers who are more than just ceremonial heads of state? Wait-- that might actually explain why Kai has so much free time. But if so, shouldn't his Prime Minister be the one negotiating a peace treaty with the moon?
And while we're on the subject of politics, I found Levana's diplomacy to be... well, pretty horrible. She invites herself to his palace with absolutely NO notice, makes demands of Kai's police and security forces, attempts to discipline his servants (with corporal punishment, no less -- not just bad diplomacy, but also super tacky), and tries to arrest his citizens! And then tries to maintain the charade that she might not declare war. Sorry, honey, but you pretty much already have.
However. Once I suspend my disbelief on the subject of politics, the book was quite riveting. I LOVED all the Cinder/Kai stuff, as is my way, and was super excited by the story -- it turned into quite a nail-biter. I'm excited to read the rest of the series.
Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, excuse-me-half-the-book-is-missing, fluffy, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-ya