Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shatter Me review

Description: Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

My thoughts: There's always something special about books that have multiple aspects I usually don't like but somehow becomes the thing that makes me like it. It’s probably because there are a bunch of contradictions in this book (which is actually a good thing). For one, the main characters have one of those instant loves, but they really don't. Warner is the typical bad guy, but he really isn't. Basically things appear one way on the surface but it's just a cover up. And I'm glad it's a cover up because if the story was about what was just on the surface, I wouldn’t have liked it.

In some YA books where the male character explains why he loves the main character, he always seems to include qualities of the character I haven't seen in action.  Like she's funny, but there weren’t many examples in the book. Or she's really kind, but she only (kinda) helped one person in the whole story. Or she's caring, but the character is standoffish and doesn't like to get attached to anyone. And it’s true that these girls can still be funny and kind and caring, but I can't stand it when there's barely any proof to back it up. With Juliette, when Adam says all the nice things about her, I believe it, because there are examples to back it up. So I really believe she is everything he says he is.  
And speaking of Adam! He’s definitely one of my top YA crushes now. It's not just because he's
fine (which he is), but I love his background story too. But regardless of how much I liked Juliette 
and Adam (and them together); the cherry on top was Warner. No, I didn’t actually like him but
the additional problems he caused for Juliette were so entertaining, especially the window scene 
(my jaw dropped... not really... kind of). Even at the end, Warner creates issues, and I'm not just 
talking about the war with and against the reestablishment (I'm talking personal).
Now, with everything I did like about it, there was one main thing I didn’t like. The writing style 
where one word or statement is repeated three to four times times times. It just got really old really 
fast. I could take Shatter Me’s poetry like quality and Juliette comparing herself to nature and other 
various object objects objects, and even the marked out words. But I couldn't take the words being 
repeated. I'm getting annoyed just giving examples in my review  (review review lol).

Other than that, Shatter Me was great! And the last few chapters revealed something that should
make the next book VERY interesting. 

Top Ten Books on My TBR List for Winter

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Teaser: Au Revoir Crazy European Chick

He stepped in front of Gobi, blocking my view of her, and did something fast and brutal with his hand. There was a slap and a hollow thump, and Gobi coughed in pain.
"Now," the man said, "what is your name?"
"The Virgin Mary."
"Who trained you?"
"The Holy Spirit."
Another clank and a thump, and this time Gobi cried out loud.

Monday, November 28, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Currently reading:
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Upcoming read(s):
Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala
Desert Angel by Charlie Price

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In My Mailbok 76

Birthmarked: I love dystopians and I heard this was really good. It was only $2.99 on Kindle so I HAD to get it.

Under The Never Sky and Incarnate: I'm soooo ecstatic about receiving these books from HarperTeen. They sound amazing!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Movie Reviews 01

I’m trying to make my way down AFI’s top 100 movies I haven’t seen. So I’ve decided to put up mini reviews for the movies I’ve seen in the past two weeks. I’m also trying to watch more anime movies so there are two movies that aren’t in the top 100 movies.

West Side Story
This was incredible! Really! And I don't know why I was so surprised. It's not like I haven't enjoyed musicals in the past. It's probably because this musical is a classic, and I was nervous I wouldn't like it the way I haven't liked other classics that much. (ex. Streetcar Named Desire). The dancing was amazing. The songs were great. The instrumentals, the way they sang it, the actual lyrics. I liked this way better than any version of Romeo and Juliet I've ever seen!

Howl's Moving Castle 
I haven't watched too much anime. I can't say I've watched Akira or Bleach, or Cowboy Bebop. 
But based on my experiences with Champloo Samurai (love love love!), Burst Angel, and Afro 
Samurai, I'm always excited to watch it. This has to be my favorite anime film (not that I've seen 
too many). This movie was all about the characters, even though the plot, which dealt with a war, 
was pretty interesting by itself. The characters were so strange (which was a good thing), in a way 
that couldn't be pulled off the right way if it wasn't anime. There are fire demons, fat heart stealing
magicians, a young woman with an old soul (ha ha) that has a heart of gold and a gorgeous magician
with demons in his closet. It was wonderful!

Sunset Blvd. 
This is the only film noir movie I've seen that was JUST a film noir (I think).  I'm not over the 
moon about it like the previous two, but it was very entertaining. That was one messed up lady! 
And at least now I know where "I'm ready for my close up" came from.
The Gold Rush 
As far as comedy goes, there's always that feeling that because a film is very old, I won't find 
certain things funny that people did back then. But Charlie Chaplin is hilarious! I already knew 
he was funny but I didn't think I'd like this so much. "I think that's why they call it a classic" my 
mom said when I told her that. Yes mom. It is.
Taxi Driver 
Um... It was interesting. I don't regret seeing it but I'm kind of confused.  Throughout the whole 
movie, whatever is going to happen seems to be developing from the very beginning, but by the 
time IT happens, all I'm thinking is, that’s what all this led to? *kanye shrug*
This was very intriguing. Especially in the middle of the movie when it’s revealed that certain 
characters are not who they appear to be. At the end I was actually laughing. I knew that what 
happened in the end was going to happen but I didn't know how. The way it happened was so 
random that I couldn't help but laugh (I'm not a bad person...really).

The Graduate
 I'd started watching this like three years ago, so I only watched the last 40 minutes of it. It was 
interesting, but all I can remember thinking is that I couldn’t stand how many times Dustin 
Hoffman’s character uttered the words Mrs. Robinson... I wonder what happened to Benjamin 
and Elaine.

Spirited Away
This was so cute! I’m smiling just thinking about it. That is all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shifting review

Description: After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.

Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.

My thoughts: The thing about Shifting is that since Maggie doesn’t know what she is, we don’t either. It says she’s a shape shifter in the description, but there’s more to the story than that. I thought that’s exactly what she was, but once the history off her “people” were revealed, it was clear I’d been a little off. But it was great to learn more about what made her so special as the story went on.
As for Bridger, I liked him well enough. I thought he was a little too mushy with the love aspect (not at first, but near the end) but since there is a justifiable reason (sort of) for it, I excused the over the top lovey dovey parts. In this case Maggie acted similar to Bridger, but with everything she’s gone through with never having a real family or being abused at a young age, her actions are understandable.
And although nothing with the plot really happens until the end, I’m actually pretty excited about learning more about the groups of people who can change into animals. I’ve never read any Navajo themed books, but this was a great one to start with. It had legends, history and other parts of the Navajo culture mixed throughout it. This was what made everything fresh and exciting, because when certain characters were explaining rituals or legends, it felt real. Like there were people really roaming the earth who could change into animals. As long as this series continues to be different and give me more info on the Navajo culture, I’ll be more than excited about the next book.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Divergent review

Description: Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place her in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

My thoughts: I really thought I'd found my favorite book of 2011 back in September. I was sure that nothing could top Daughter of Smoke and Bone. That is until Divergent, a book I've been wanting to read for forever but had been nervous about starting. I was nervous because I have a habit of not liking the books I really think I'm going to love. But this story did everything I needed it to do. Divergent had me eating with one hand, staying up all night and reading any time I had a break. The week I read this book was literally one of the hardest weeks at school this semester. I had an exam I hadn't studied for, a presentation, a speech, and two papers due that week. But instead of taking up extra time, Divergent seemed to make that week easier.

For starters, this is the type of dystopian story I love. Where the setting is or (is) almost as interesting as the characters. This is the book where you remember page numbers because a character said something you need to remember. Or when you hug the book after your done because it was the "complete reading experience," (which i might have done).

And lately I've been liking books in spite of the main character, often finding them annoying and repetitive. But Tris wasn't a love sick immature girl who threw pity parties for herself every 5 pages. And she wasn't this holier than thou character that never did wrong or at least never thought about it. She's nice and kind, but she's also ruthless and hardheaded at times. And I loved Four so much! The way he acted around Tris showed that even though he liked her, he wasn't going to change his personality or other things about himself for her. He also wasn't that type of male character that seemed to be unrealistic, because in real
life not every guy is going to hug a girl because she's crying (all the time) or go after her after they've had a fight. And Four was one of the few males to treat his love interest like a another person instead of JUST seeing her as a girl (or the "weaker sex").

On top of the awesome characters (including the minor ones) the plot actually progressed in a way I haven't seen happen in a while. Every YA story seems to be a trilogy now. And every trilogy starts with a book where nothing happens until the very end and it leaves you on a cliffhanger. In Divergent, things actually happened. People had growth development, enemies were revealed, and the plot got even better as time went on. I am so invested into this series! And I'm  glad I finally decided to read it. Especially because most of my favorite series have or will end in the near future, so I need new books to fill my favorites list.

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Currently reading:
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Upcoming read(s):
Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In My Mailbox 75

LightBringer: This one sounds really different (which is a good thing)
Kiss of Frost: Based on the first book, I should really like this one.

Contest update:
Something is wrong with blogger right now and I left my charger for my laptop at school so I'm extending the Dark Eden contest until November 27. To enter go here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Shattering review

Description: Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn't prepared for her brother's suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna's brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.

As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year's Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.

As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?

My thoughts: What appealed to me immediately is that the book’s setting was in New Zealand and that it supposedly had a twist of horror and supernatural mixed with a contemporary feel. And any time there’s a mixture of these aspects I always want to give it a try, because those types of books are either brilliant or unappealing, often without any in-between. But when they’re good they’re really good. And fortunately, The Shattering was one of those books.
Most books that include a little bit of a supernatural aspect in a basic contemporary world end up being ok, or even great, but it’s when an author includes horror that things (often) start to go downhill. With The Shattering, it made everything better. Initially the characters seemed to be figuring out a mystery, but once they uncovered a dark secret about the town, things got extremely exciting (and a little scary). I even got a shiver from time to time, which is what happens when things frighten me. I either get this weird shiver or I get paranoid. It’s kind of weird but it means that the book’s believability factor is working very well.
As for the characters, Keri, Janna, and Sione are the only ones who are trying to figure out what’s happening in Summertown because they have personal ties to whatever is going on. These characters are what turns the story from (really) good to great. They’re 3-dimensional characters who are friendly and kind at times, but can be just as mean and bitchy as they want to at others. But that made them feel real, because nobody is just good or just bad. And this idea is really justified when the bad characters are revealed, because they’re not going around trying to cause mayhem, but the don’t mind doing bad things if it means it’ll serve a “justifiable” purpose in the end. Sort of like the end justifies the means type philosophy.
The Shattering is the type of book that makes you think even long after you’ve finished it.
Additional note: Something I really appreciated was that the people in the book were made up of a multi-ethnic cast of white, Samoan, Japanese, and Maori ancestry, which automatically makes this book stand out.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

Currently reading:
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Upcoming read(s):
Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In My Mailbok 74

I didn't get any of these this week, but these are four books I forgot to mention I'd gotten in the past few months. I can't get to Bloodlines before I finish the VA series, or Silence before I finish Crescendo. But I can start Variant and Ashes, which both sound awesome in vastly different ways!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dark Eden Contest

Thanks to HarperTeen, I have 10 Dark Eden Fear Test CD-ROMs to give away! One of the 10 winners will also get a Dark Eden T-shirt (size M), and another will win a Dark Eden lanyard along with their CD-ROM.
To enter the contest, you must fill out this form, but here are the rules:
You MUST leave your email address, name, and check the box saying whether you’re either an old or new follower, or not a follower at all.

Extra Entries
+3 – old follower
+2 – new follower

Advertise contest:
+2 – link giveaway on sidebar and/or Tweet
+4 – blog post about contest

Contest ends November 18, 2011.
The contest is for people living in the US and Canada only, unless you live somewhere else but are able to use a friend or family member’s address.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Death Catchers review

Description: On her fourteenth Halloween, Lizzy Mortimer sees her first death-specter.

Confused at first, Lizzy soon learns from her grandmother Bizzy that as Death Catchers, they must prevent fate from taking its course when an unjust death is planned-a mission that has been passed down from their ancestor, Morgan le Fay. Only, Lizzy doesn't expect one of her first cases to land her in the middle of a feud older than time between Morgan le Fay and her sister Vivienne le Mort. Vivienne hopes to hasten the end of the world by preventing Lizzy from saving King Arthur's last descendant-humanity's greatest hope for survival. It's up to Lizzy, as Morgan's earthly advocate, to outwit fate before it's too late.

With its unique spin on Arthurian legend, this fresh, smartly written story will stand out in the paranormal genre.

My thoughts: I was attracted to this book initially just because of it’s name. Death Catchers is an intriguing title. And the description made it sound even better. Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be.
The plot had a very obvious direction, which is fine in general if there are other aspects of the story that makes it stand out. I thought the fact that it included Arthurian history would have made it stand out, because besides Greek mythology and road trips, I’m a sucker for anything related to King Arthur (Merlin, Excalibur, etc.). But connecting king Arthur to the main character wasn’t enough.
I didn’t realize until I started reading Death Catchers that it would have such young characters. I’ve found that except for books like A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Percy Jackson series, and the recently reviewed Icefall, I don’t get in to middle grade books (or YA books with characters under 17) too often.
Although Death Catchers wasn’t as good as I’d have liked it to be, it wasn’t all bad. The beginning of a romance (or at least a cool friendship) between the main character and a guy in her class was cute. It was nice to not have a character fall in love with someone in 8 seconds or less. Especially because their relationship turns out to be deeper than they initially think. And on top of the romance, some of Lizzy’s grandma’s words of wisdom were hilarious.

I liked parts of the book as much as I disliked other parts of it. And by the end of the book, the progression of the characters was enough that I’d be willing to give the next book a try (I think there’s going to be a next one). Especially because it’s revealed that although Lizzy is special because she’s a death catcher, there’s also something even more unique about her. I also think that once the characters are older, the story will appeal to me more.

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read two weeks ago: 
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Shattering by Karen Healey

Book(s) read last week: 
Room by Emma Donoghue

Currently reading:
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Upcoming read(s):
Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi

Saturday, November 5, 2011

In My Mailbok 73

1. Ship Breaker: I was so excited when Little Brown offered a copy of the paperback up for review! This has been on my wishlist for so(oo) long.

2. In The Forests of The Night: I'm reading the first book in this series and it's really good so far. I'm hoping to start this one next week.

3. White Cat (audiobook): I've never listened to an audiobook, so this should be good. I was pretty excited about the publisher having a download link to the book online (for free).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Au Revoir Crazy European Chick review

Description: Perry Stormaire is a normal high school senior– he is busy applying to college and rehearsing with his band –until he agrees to go to the prom with the Lithuanian exchange student who is staying with his family. It turns out that Gobi Zaksauskas is not the mousy teenager that she seems but rather an attractive, confident trained assassin. Instead of going to the prom, Perry finds himself on a wild ride through the streets of New York City as Gobi commandeers the Jaguar his father lent him for the prom in order to take out her targets. Perry learns a lot about himself – and ends up with some amazing material for his college application essays.

My thoughts: These kinds of descriptions always tempt me. Having one-night adventures, gorgeous killers, and a person in the middle of all of it who seems out of place. These types of book summaries always raise my expectations for the book. And I often end up being disappointed once I actually get a copy of the book. But I always give it a try, because I’m willing to go through four and five bad or just okay books so I can get to that one book that meets my expectations.
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick was that one book for me. It was nice and quick, giving me adventure, suspense, and comedy. From car chases to family dysfunction, this book was SO fun. And the idea to have every chapter represent an answer to a different college application question was very clever!
With most of this story taking place in one night, you don’t get to know much about any of the characters except for the main ones, Gobi and Perry. But that was enough for me. Gobi is a bad chick. And not just because she can take care of herself in a fight, but also because she has this really bad past, but she doesn’t let it (or anything in the present) change her goals. This girl is focused.
And Perry, who is immediately a likeable character, gets even better as the pages pass. There’s a lot of character development in just a few hours. Things like character development and the horrendous part of Gobi’s past along with Perry’s relationship with his dad makes this book deeper than it seems at first. I’m pretty sure this is a standalone, and although I’d like to see what’s happening with these two characters, I’m just hoping this author has another “it book” for me (in the near future).
Addition note: The movie rights to the book have been sold to Paramount! I’m extremely excited for this and hope they stick to the main ideas of the books… if they ever actually make the movie.
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