Author: Elsie Chapman
Recommend: This was a thrill ride that never addresses how completely wrong the whole idea behind it is…
I’ve been toying with picking this one up for quite some time now. I found the concept bold, daring and original. What if there were two of you but only one version could live until adulthood? What if you had to kill the other in order to survive? I was really worried that this was going to be executed poorly but the writing is good and the main character is complex enough for the reader to feel connected with. It was an enjoyable if not bloody read.
My big issue with this one was that they never really addressed how wrong the society was and that something should be done to fix it. The idea of kids killing other kids is never questioned except for the fact that some people cheat in order to stay alive. Or the idea that people would even want to have children when they would be forced to kill someone else or die in the attempt. A society that condones murder as a way of life and yet the author never goes on the record to attempt to fight the system. To be fair, I have heard that there is supposed to be a follow-up book. which will give the author another chance to do that but without it, it made the book feel incomplete.
This one was entertaining but nothing to write home about.
Get it used…
It has been a while since I read this one but I loved it. I got an opportunity to go to an advanced screening of the movie a week ago and was really excited to see if the adaption would be as good as the book was.
My husband agreed to come with me even though he hates sad movies and isn’t a big fan of books in general. We barely made it into the packed theatre in time, found a seat near the front because it was the only thing left and settled in. I was pleasantly surprised that there were no previews and we went straight into the movie, starting with the death of Lissel’s brother and the burial by the train tracks where she steals her first book. From there it was a whirlwind of emotion and sobering images of their interpretation of Germany during Hitler’s control.
While the whole thing was extremely well done, there were two scenes that stood out for me more than any others. The first was the impact of the way they set the removal of the Jews from their homes. It was harrowing to hear children sing about the joys of the purity of German blood and how evil it was to be Jewish or a Communist but then to set these images of Jews being brutally dragged from their homes against it was horrifying. The ending of the movie also had me in tears. It would have anyway but the way they built up the emotional impact made it more of a tear-jerker than it would have been. I don’t cry during movies but this one made me lose it.
It was not without its flaws of course. There was only so much story they could tell. One of my favorite characters was missing from the story completely and they had to push through some things that I wished they would have spent a bit more time on, but overall, it was one of the best movie adaptions I’ve seen in a long time. Definitely worth the money and one I will be seeing again.
Book: Agenda 21
Author: Glen Beck and Harriet Parke
Recommend: This one is a MUST read…
What if the United States was simply a dim memory? Freedom was a word never spoken and daily life was something out of a futuristic dystopian novel? What if your job, spouse and movements were all carefully controlled by your government? That is the life of Emmaline, a young girl who is among the last to have been raised by her parents instead of the state. She is paired (marriage is a thing of the past) and forced to produce children she will never get to see, let alone hold. When the government can take away everything, how can anyone fight back?
This book was a great read. It was cleaner than most YA I read (although it is adult fiction) and yet it had an edge that left me sitting on the edge of my chair waiting with bated breath to find out what would happen next. The characters were a great mix of innocence and a hardness created by their rough environment. The characters had depth and were very memorable. I think that Emmaline and David will be resonating through my head for quite some time to come.
By the way, whatever you do, don’t forget to read the afterword on this one – it will knock the wind right out of you.
Need more than one copy!!
Book: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Recommend: This one started strong and then fizzled out…
Okay, I have heard nothing but rave reviews about this one on a multitude of YA fiction sites and so when I saw a copy sitting at my library, actually available, I snatched it up as quick as I could. This book started out with a bang and kept me reading straight through to the end. Even with the pacing though there was a major problem that simply couldn’t be overlooked which basically ruined the whole end of the book for me.
Okay this one is a zombie book if you couldn’t tell from the title. The forest is filled with them and they are stuck in a town with only a fence separating them from the moaning flesh hungry mob, which has been done in quite a few of the other zombie books I have read and so I won’t go into my issues with this idea. The main character Mary seems to get pushed into impossible decision after impossible decision time after time without a break. I was really with this character though up until the climax of the book. She got the boy she wanted and – was still miserable. While I celebrate the idea that having a boy isn’t the end all be all of life and even knowing this was probably written in direct response to Bella Swan‘s seeming dependence on Edward Cullen this plot point was completely uacceptable to me due to the fact that it made the main character completely and totally inconsistent. Now, you cant say she was growing as a character but a character who had grown like that wouldn’t make the choices that she makes in the next few scenes. From this moment on, the character goes from being completely solid and really interesting to read to a bland plot driven cardboard cutout character.
So while this book had a lot of really go things going for it. I simpy don’t think I’ll be able to finish this series.
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Book: The Penelopiad
Author: Margaret Atwood
Recommend: Definitely worth a read, especially if you had to suffer through The Iliad and The Odyssey in high school.
Okay, I am a fan of Greek mythology. I find it oddly fascinating that people could believe in this set of self-absorbed petty gods who thought it was fun to mess with the people they ruled over and who had limitations. I found their attitude towards women appalling in the way you find a train-wreck appalling – so horrible but yet you simply can’t look away.
Due to these factors I couldn’t help but add this book to my bag when I discovered it at the library. I have only read one of Atwood’s other books but I found her writing wonderful to read and that’s saying something considering I started with The Handmaid’s Tale. This book tells the story of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus who went missing for twenty years. She fended off suitors by the truckload and managed to stay true to him over twenty years. Never mind the fact that he was cheating on her every time he had the opportunity.
I found the character quite fascinating in this telling of the story, although slightly inconsistent in the center due to her passivity towards her household while her mother-in-law was alive. I loved the interjections from the author of almost sheer random wanderings on the topic. It broke up the story in an interesting way and get me to think about it from a myriad of perspectives.
Definitely worth a read if you are a fan of Greek mythology.
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Okay, so I actually went to the late night showing of Ender’s Game on Halloween night. I was expecting to see full theaters and lots of buzz. I wasn’t expecting Twilight levels of enthusiasm but I was expecting that when we arrived at 10pm that we would be quite a ways back in the line. Instead, we were the first ones there. I looked at my best friend and the only thing we could come up with between the two of us was that due to the poor choice of premiere date, they theaters were just going to be slow for this one. We decided to see it on IMAX because it was epic space battles and seemed necessary for the subject matter being explored, so we paid the extra cash and the decided that since there were very few people there, we would get dinner.
We returned only a few minutes before the movie was going to start and were still able to get the exact seats we wanted (right in front of the metal bars so you can put your feet up without annoying the people in front of you). We sat through a ton of preview trailers (I swear they add more and more of those things every time I go to a movie). Then finally settled in for the feature presentation.
By the time the movie was over I felt somewhat vaguely satisfied but very much thinking exactly one thing. I wanted much more than there was. The movie was much shorter than it should have been. There was so much story that that simply glossed over or didn’t bother getting into at all. It felt incomplete and rushed. I think the most painful thing for me was not being able to seethe progression of the character develop in an even semi-logical way. Being a fan of the books and having read them numerous times, I know exactly how long Ender was at each stage of battle school and how many battles they fought. They left entire sequences that shaped who Ender was completely out of the equation and didn’t give enough cause to the issues that caused Bonzo to finally snap. Also, the fact that Bonzo didn’t die on that bathroom floor felt cheapened the depth of his eventual death and it’s impact on Ender seemed to make less sense. Overall, I felt that there was far too much action and so little character development that the story felt like a shadow of the original, paling to almost nothing in comparison to the impact of the books.
While it was definitely gratifying to finally see this movie hit the big screen, it almost felt like someone was trying to sabotage it from every having much success from the rushing the telling of the story to the poor choice of debut weekends. I feel like they could have done so much more and it would have been so much better and that will probably keep me form adding it to my shelves when it is all said and done.
Author: Keith Brooke
Recommend: Definitely not worth the time or effort to get through this one.
This book had a lot of potential. An interesting idea of a world where aliens ruled and we were at their mercy. The thing that doomed this book honestly was the fact that the author simply didn’t construct his world well. With a little bit more effort and clarity this book could have been so much better than it was. Basically this author needed to read Card’s book about writing science fiction and fantasy. He had no clue how to create a world or add the right amount of details so that the reader could see it in their heads. Some things were very well defined but others were so vague that you couldn’t really get a good sense of what was going on. The storyline is good but the world underneath it isn’t established well enough for the reader to really get into it.
I would skip this one because it will only create frustration and aggravation for you.
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Recommend: Yep. This series is still going strong. I can’t wait to read book number four!
Okay, I have to admit this series has really gotten me excited about reading YA fiction again. I was getting completely burnt out but knew I had to get through this series because it had been sitting on my to be read shelf for what seemed like forever. I now wish I hadn’t waited so long to read them and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book.
In this one Nick is fighting to figure out how to keep himself from becoming Ambrose. He desperately knows that he doesn’t want to be evil incarnate and yet, it was what he was born for. Fighting your birthright is not something that comes easy, especially to Nick. I think the best part of this character is that he makes mistakes – all the time and they are not the predictable make a mistake so the character doesn’t seem too perfect kind of mistakes. No, this character makes huge mistakes and there are actual consequences for them.
I am really enjoying the idea that people are not made up of what you see on the outside. Bubba has to be one of the most complex and interesting characters I have ever read in YA fiction. I would read a book based just on his back story. (Hint hint Ms. Kenyon – not that someone like her would ever read my blog).
I will say that if you have issues with paranormal fantasy, this book might not be the cup of tea for you. We are dealing with all kinds of mythology and Christianity tossed together in a strange mix so this might not be for every teen reader.
The only negative about this book is that there is a point near the end where everything goes a bit wonky for a while and it’s a bit confusing becaus so much happens so close together without a breather in between that it is hard to keep up with and that’s coming from a girl who has no problem keeping track of all of the characters in War and Peace. So , just be warned there might be a bit of rereading involved near the end. Also the minor annoyance of a slight Scooby Doo moment at the end of the book annoyed me slightly because I hate when the random character shows up and their only job in the whole book is to take the fall. Yep. Happens at the end of this one.
Overall a really fun read and I really want more.
Buy it new :)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Recommend: It’s a fun read if you are into paranormal fiction.
Hurray for a sequel that doesn’t stink! I like how this author keeps the story moving through the whole length of the book and unlike her adult material the action doesn’t seem to wane after a while only to build to the climax. She had created a great balance of interest and plot development in just the right proportions to keep the reader interested and informed. Nick is finding out more about his world and begins to figure out who Ambrose is in this one. Also there is a crazy undead football coach trying to kill him in a way that is quickly becoming far too familiar for this character.
The only issue I have with this one is that he is supposed to be working for Kyrian but I think he’s showed up at work a grand total of two times in the two books I’ve read. I get why he hasn’t been there but it would be good to see him actually do the job that he is getting paid an obscene amount of money for. Other than that this is a fun read. I’m actually rather disappointed that I didn’t get book four yet. I see a library trip in my near future (like immediately after I finish the third one).
Buy it new :)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Recommend: If you like paranormal fiction this one is an interesting read, although not for everyone…
This author is well-known for her Dark hunter series, which I have read a couple of books out of, although I have to say I end up skipping over quite a bit of the books due to their adult content. So, while I have read enough to understand what is going on, I will say that I know little about some of the storyline due to the fact that I haven’t read the whole series. This series is a YA one and so it is much cleaner which I appreciate (aside from the main character’s mother’s occupation).
The story centers around Nick who is fighting to live a life that is better than the one he grew up in. His mother’s only wish is that he would grow up to better himself. However, there are a ton of people who seem to want the exact opposite for him. Some want to see him become a corrupt and powerful force of evil as he grows up.
I really enjoyed this one. I enjoyed a trip into the paranormal that wasn’t trying to be a ripoff of Twilight. Hurray for originality and an interesting storyline. Worth a read. Can’t wait to get into the next book in this series and with four already out, I know I’ve got a significant amount of reading ahead of me as long as this stays as good as the first book was.
Buy it new :)
Book: The Wheel of Ice (Doctor Who)
Author: Stephen Baxter
Recommend: If you are a fan of the Doctor. Oh wait, that should be everyone who has ever seen Doctor Who (if you haven’t – go watch it)
Yep. I’m a Whovian. I started watching with nine and can’t seem to stop. I’ve watched a few older episodes when I can get a hold of them. This book though is my first real exposure to the second Doctor. I found the companions entertaining and the overall plot enjoyable. It definitely was a Doctor story in so many ways. For that alone, I really enjoyed it.
I think that the biggest flaw in my eyes was that it has too much information that is up to date. The second Doctor wouldn’t have known some of the things he seems to know in this book. There is too much future knowledge and too many things that don’t ring true of the second Doctor. I know why the author made the choices that he did but it was still distracting because it was the second Doctor. I think the Whovians could have handled the scientific inaccuracies in favor of staying true to the Who Universe.
Definitely a fun read if you are a Who fan but if you aren’t a fan of Doctor Who, you are going to need to watch some first before diving into a book like this.
Get it used…
Is there anyone still out there???
I know it’s been over a month since I posted on here. My life has been a bit insane lately. The hubby got a second job and I’m working like crazy at mine. I’ve spent the last month and a half getting ready to move which we did a week ago today! I think we are at the point where there is less in boxes than there is out of boxes which is exciting! To make it up to my poor readers (if there are any of you left anyway), I’m posting a review every day for the next seven days. I’m so sorry for being gone and hope to be back to a regular schedule again!
Book: Revolution 19
Author: Greg Rosenblum
Recommend: Definitely. One of the more original works I’ve come across lately.
This book has all the basic elements of dystiopain YA right now. Family in distress, slight romance, and seemingly insurmountable odds. This is where its similarity to everything out there ends though. This is more like The Matrix minus the machines meets I, Robot if the robots had won, The general plot was original and fun to read. A bit more desperate than most YA fiction.
The biggest flaw was the ending. I have said it once and I will say it again, the series is not always necessary and in many times painful. This could have ended at the end of this book. I already know how they will defeat the bots and his mother’s fate and yet we are going to have to suffer through at least two more books in order to confirm it. I think that authors need to stop being greedy when a series doesn’t make sense. Stop with the formula and simply write your story. Don’t try and make into a money grabbing machine. So many of the series that are out right now simply didn’t need to be series. They could have been finished in twenty more pages. Now, some need the length of multiple books to get there, but this one simply just doesn’t.
Overall, this was a great book and I think I’ll read the follow up.
Get it used…
Author: Erin Bowman
Recommendation: I think I’ve read too much YA lately to be fair to this book or this author..
I have decided that I need to go on a YA diet. I have been reading way too much of this stuff because it has gotten to the point where they are all sounding the same. Taken is the story of a society where the boys disappear at at eighteen never to be heard of or seen again. When the main character Gray goes searching for answers he finds much more than he ever though possible and that his whole life is a lie.
Dystopian fiction? Yep. Love Triangle? Uh huh. Super predictable plot? Yep.
I think that this book had quite a bit of potential. However it was sadly ruined by plot holes and uneven characters. The main character Gray was somewhat inconsistent, but Emma was the worst. There were so many places in this book that I wanted to roll my eyes and send an email to the writer expressing my annoyance because the decisions were for the convenience of the plot and not true to the characters. I honestly found the whole book somewhat annoying but not so much that I didn’t finish it.
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Book: Janie Face to Face
Author: Caroline B. Cooney
Recommendation: If you read the Janie series growing up, then this one last trip might be appealing but will ultimately disappoint.
I read the first book in this series when I was in junior high and the rest as I grew up so when I saw that there was another book coming out as a conclusion of sorts to this series, I couldn’t help but read it even though I was much older than the intended audience. I picked it up and wanted to see something with the power of the first book. Unfortunately what we got was a sad attempt to deal with the aftermath again of what she had been through including a total personality flip for the main character.
I simply can’t stand this version of the main character. Janie struggled in the original story and the character had some depth and growth. However, in this one, the character has not only reverted, she had become incredibly shallow and feels like someone completely new. Couple that will some of the very strange decisions she makes and I think you’ll find yourself as disappointed with this one as I was.
The only good point of this book was the villain. It was the only part of the story that made me keep reading. However, the way the author kept the reader in the dark was not only annoying but frustrating and not in a good way. It took a good story and completely ruined it. I honestly wish that I had stayed away and not read this one.
Author: Lauren Oliver
Recommend: Meh… wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t amazing either.
The curse of the poorly written love triangle strikes again. Here is a hint, when you can tell who is going to win even before you start reading the book, the author has failed to write a decent love triangle. Other than the horrifically written romance though this was a great way to close out the trilogy that began with Delirium.
I really liked the inclusion of Hana’s piece of the story. I think it created some much-needed tension into a series where we basically knew what the final outcome would be. The information about her fiance was truly disturbing and when you figure out what the real issue is, Hana’s story almost becomes more interesting than the plight of the main characters.
If you read the first two books, it’s worth finishing but only just.
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Book: The Gates
Author: John Connolly
Recommend: This one is not for everyone… but it might be for you.
Alright, warning everyone now, this is not a book for everyone. This deals with demons and hell in a way that not everyone will appreciate. I would liken this book a combination of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dante’s Inferno, The Screwtape Letters with tons of sarcasm and snark thrown in. It reads a bit like Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams and J.K. Rowling sat down and decided to write a book together.
I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I’ve read The Book of Lost Things and I think I liked this one even better, although many who are fans of that one, have said just the opposite. I was planning on putting this one off for a bit longer. I actually own this one but I picked up the second book in the series by accident at the library and figured that now was as good a time as any to get into it.
A bit of a note, this one might be extremely offensive to some because they might feel that it treats hell in a less than respectful manner and there are demons as main character and not all of them are clearly the bad guys.
I hurt my ribs today and let me tell you, this book is NOT one to read when laughing hurts.
Get it used…