May 31, 2012

Review "On Jellicoe Road"

“Jellicoe Road”
by Melina Marchetta
My Rating:
Pub. Date: August 28, 2008
Pages: 432
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Source: Library
Edition: Hardcover
Short and Sweet Synopsis (Sorta...): Taylor's guardian, Hannah, has disappeared leaving Taylor to mentor a dorm full of students.  To make matters worse, the territory wars between her school, the Townies, and the Cadets has begun; Taylor is now responsible for keeping the students in her school and their territory safe from the Townies and Cadets. Can she handle these responsibilities, the loss of Hannah, and revelations about her mysterious past?

"Jellicoe Road" is a wonderful book; great writing, memorable characters, and heart wrenching stories weave together to create this beautiful book.  The more I think about "Jellicoe Road" the more I adore it.  I love how the different stories of the characters meld together by the end of the book.  While Taylor is the main character, I felt the other major character were just as important in the story.  I fell in love with the characters in Hannah's story, even if I was confused with the shifting between Hannah's story to Taylor's story.

"Jellicoe Road" is hard to review because part of my love for this book was the unfolding of all the mysteries.  I had to know about the characters in Hannah's story AND what happened to Taylor's mother.  Usually these dual plots would drive me a bit bonkers, but Melina Marchetta pulled it off brilliantly.  I have to admit I was as confused as heck at the beginning of the book (it took me forever to distinguish between the character), but by the end I really loved the story.

In short, "Jellicoe Road"is a fantastic book that deserves more than 4 stars, but I had such a problem figuring out the characters at the beginning that I couldn't give it 5 stars.  I think many readers will fall in love with it because it is a truly beautiful story.  

May 29, 2012

Review of "Shadow and Bone"

"Shadow and Bone"
by Leigh Bardugo
My Rating:
Pub. Date: June 05, 2012
Pages: 368
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Free from Publisher
Edition: ARC
Short and Sweet Synopsis: The only thing that Alina likes about her life is the time spent with her best friend, but all this changes when their regiment is attacked.  Alina discovers a hidden power that not only save them, but may also be the key to saving her country.

I just finished "Shadow and Bone" and I can't believe how wonderful it was!  If the rest of the books in this trilogy were out, I would be devouring them right now!  I can't think of anything I didn't like about this book.  The characters, plot, setting, pace, writing, and cover are all AWESOME!  There was a bit of romance, but it didn't overtake the story. 

I loved all the characters both good and bad.  I loved how the characters developed throughout "Shadow and Bone".  No one was 100% good, they were just handling situations the best they could as things came at them.  There were definitely evil characters in the book and they earned it.  There were also some "villains" that I definitely felt for by the end of the book.

Usually I don't talk about setting, but how can you not love a book where part of the land is filled in completely darkness?!  That is so terrifying!  Plus, there are evil monsters that will massacre anything that enter these dark lands.  There is also a beautiful palace filled with dark secrets.  There is an interesting play between good vs. evil and beauty vs. ugliness.  Just like nothing is 100% good or evil, nothing is 100% beautiful or ugly.  Some things that may be seen as ugly had redeeming qualities where some things beautiful also had terrible qualities.  Evil sometimes hides in beauty just like good can be found in ugliness.  I'm not going to explain anymore because I will totally give something away.

Whether you are looking for a great fantasy book or just want to read an amazing book,  "Shadow and Bone" will satisfy both cravings.  It is truly a wonderful book that is worth buying in Hardcover.  I am definitely going to be recommending this book to everyone who reads teen books.  It just blew my mind!  It has been hours since I finished the book and I am still acting like a fangirl.  I not only have a crush on a couple of the characters, but the book as well!

May 27, 2012

Review of "Pandemonium"

by Lauren Oliver
My Rating:
Pub. Date: February 28, 2012
Pages: 375
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Source: Bought
Edition: e-book
Short and Sweet Synopsis: Sequel to "Delirium".  Lena has survived her escape into the wilds, but will she be able to survive without Alex?

I have been waiting to write the review for "Pandemonium" because it took me a while to figure out my reaction.  Overall I really liked the book, but I had difficulty getting into it.  Part of my love for "Delirium" was the idea that love was a disease and I thought Oliver pulled it off brilliantly; however, "Pandemonium" just didn't have as much to offer.  It definitely felt like it was setting up for the second book for most of the time. But my biggest pet peeve was I thought it was predictable.You may be wondering how I could possibly be giving this book four stars after all that?  Don't worry, I'll tell you why.  

Once I got into "Pandemonium", I couldn't stop reading it.  The characters were complex and I am a sucker for characters with depth.  While I didn't always agree with their actions, I understood them and generally respected the characters.  Lena was pretty kick-ass by the end of the book and I give her props for the turn around.  She was actually driving me absolutely bonkers at the beginning of the book.

The other bonus to "Pandemonium" was that while I found parts predictable, I wouldn't have changed them because I can't wait to read the next book!  Oliver set everything up for a climactic end to her trilogy.  I mean, come on... the ending?  It HAD to be that way!  I knew that was coming and while I was reading it I knew exactly how it would go down, but yet I was still revved up by it.  I had trouble sleeping because I felt like my heart almost exploded.  I can't help but give a book props for making me feel that strongly about it.  Plus, just because I saw a lot of the pieces falling into place early, it doesn't mean that all readers will.  I could see readers being surprised by moments in the book.  I just had a more subtle "of course" reaction to these moments instead of my favorite "OH SNAP!" (these are my verbal reactions while reading, not mental).

To wrap it up, I did not love "Pandemonium" like it's predecessor "Delirium", but I cannot wait to read "Requiem", the final book in the "Delirium" trilogy.  Oliver created some wonderful characters and the ending of the book had me reeling, even if it was predictable.  Hopefully "Requiem"  will give me the "OH SNAP" reaction I so long to have while reading.  :)

May 26, 2012

Review: "Theatre Illuminata"

“So Silver Bright”
by Lisa Mantchev
My Rating:
Pub. Date: September 13, 2011
Pages: 368
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Bought
Edition: Hardcover
Short and Sweet Synopsis: Final book in the "Theatre Illuminata" Series that follows a love triangle between a girl who can write things into reality, a pirate from "The Little Mermaid", and Ariel of "The Tempest".  Can they survive the wrath of a sea witch, face an unpredictable queen, reunite Bertie's family, AND save the Theatre Illuminata?

"So Silver Bright" was a perfect ending to a wonderful series. These books have such a unique plot that they completely swept me into their world. The "Theatre Illuminata" series is for people who are willing to fall into a fantasy world where anything is possible.  I loved that the possibilities for this book seemed endless.   

The characters are fun and there are moments where I found myself laughing out loud. How can you not love a set of characters that includes four faeries from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"?  They are hilarious and wreak havoc where ever they go.  I will also admit that I have a total crush on Nate!  A pirate with a heart of gold who is ruggedly hansom and 100% man.  Who am I kidding? I just needed to know he was a pirate!  ;)  Ariel is his super sensual self.  Bertie, our leading lady, is growing up but still remains kick ass.  Ophelia also has a memorable part to play in this final installment.

"So Silver Bright" may be a fantasy book, but the characters struggle with issues anyone can relate to.  Bertie is trying to bring together her separated parents by learning about their past.  Ariel is trying to figure out where he belongs in the world.  Bertie is constantly trying to learn about her powers and gain the confidence she needs to be successful in her objectives.  While the problems and actions are fantastical, the emotional struggles of the characters are realistic. 

I really hope Lisa Mantchev continues to write novels because I want more of her fantastic creativity.  I am very sad that this is the final book in the "Theatre Illuminata" series, but I am happy with how it ended.  

May 15, 2012

Review of "The Half-Life of Planets"

“The Half-Life of Planets”
by  Emily Franklin and Brendan Helpin
My Rating:
Pub. Date: June 10, 2010
Pages: 256
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Source: Library
Edition: Paperback
Short and Sweet Synopsis: The story of Liana, a serial kisser and planetary scientist wannabe, and Hank, a music obsessed guy chording his way through life with Asperger's syndrome.

I loved this book!  I read it for a book group and couldn't put it down.  I have to admit I have never heard of either author, but thanks to "The Half-Life of Planets" I will definitely be reading more of their works.  

The authors did a great job at creating unique characters that had fantastic chemistry.  Hank and Liana were both interesting in their own ways.  Liana was likable even with her make-out mania and I loved being in Hank's head as he tried to analyze the situations he was placed in.  Hank is an honest portrayal of Asperger's, but his character is much more than just a disorder, just like Liana is much more than a kissing trollop.

I found this book quite powerful even though it was only about 250 pages.  Unlike many authors, Emily and Brendan understand the power of language.  "The Half-Life of PLanets" is full of short, yet extremely powerful moments. Little things like sandwiches and self-help brochures take on a whole new meaning.

I recommend "The Half-Life of Planets" to anyone who likes realistic fiction or music.  Fans of "This Lullaby", "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist", and "Carter Finally Gets It" will enjoy the relationships in the book as well as the focus on music.

May 12, 2012

Review of "Cinder"

by  Marissa Meyer
My Rating:
Pub. Date: January 3, 2012
Pages: 387
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: Library and Bought
Edition: Hardcover and e-audio book
Short and Sweet Synopsis:  Cyborgesque Cinderella with a dystopian spin.

While I actually loved reading "Cinder", I read 300 pages in one sitting, I have to admit I found it to be predictable.  As soon as certain parts of the plot were revealed, I pretty much knew what was going to happen in the end.  This didn't ruin the book for me while reading it, but reflecting back I just wished there had been one OMG moment.  I like to be surprised!  I like finishing a book and having a psychical reaction, like having to get up and walk around even if it is 4 AM.

 I think Marissa Meyer did a wonderful job at recreating the classic tale.  I wasn't bored with the story, because it wasn't exactly the same as the classic.  It's not just a flashy romance starring a cyborg.  "Cinder" touches on a lot of timely topics such as immigration issues, racism, classism, and war.  Meyer also developed some interesting characters.  I wasn't sure how she was going to pull off cyborg characters, but they were lovable.  I was happy that the villain in "Cinder" was quite evil, not a letdown.  

Cinder was a true pleasure to read.  I am getting a little sick of all the series out there, but I can't wait to see where Meyer takes the Lunar Chronicles next.