Friday, May 25, 2012

Cover Crazy (49)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about. Well hey it's Friday again! Summer is already ruining my grasp on my week. :/ This week it's The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse! I came across the synopsis for this a while ago but at the time there was no cover.  Stumbled across it again and dang! I LOVE it! Kind of reminds me of the cover for Island by Aldus Huxley in how it's like a compilation of all these different things to make a larger image.  It's rather brilliant looking.  Can't wait to get my hands on this one! XD 

Review: Erasing Time

Synopsis: In this high-action and romantic futuristic adventure, there is no escape from the future for two contemporary girls pulled out of their own time.

When twins Sheridan and Taylor wake up 400 years in the future, they find a changed world: domed cities, no animals, and a language that’s so different, it barely sounds like English. And the worst news: They can’t go back home.

The twenty-fifth-century government transported the girls to their city hoping to find a famous scientist to help perfect a devastating new weapon. The moblike Dakine fights against the government, and somehow Taylor and Sheridan find themselves in the middle. The only way to elude them all is to trust Echo, a guy with secrets of his own. The trio must put their faith in the unknown to make a harrowing escape into the wilds beyond the city.

Full of adrenaline-injected chases and heartbreaking confessions, Erasing Time explores the strength of the bonds between twins, the risks and rewards of trust, and the hard road to finding the courage to fight for what you believe in.

My Review:  This is going to be one of those reviews where I'm still trying to figure out what I thought of the book.  I just can't seem to decide if I liked it or not.  The vast majority of the novel I was forcing myself to read it while the end had me wanting for more. It was just a peculiar read, so this is probably going to be a peculiar review.  

First of all the whole time jumping plot just seemed weak to me.  It's not an issue of plausibility, more so an issue with convincing the audience.  In a sci-fi novel time travel is perfectly okay because it is SCI-FI.  The genre umbrella's physically impossible things.  Granted, this book should probably be considered sci-fi, hell it's set in the future, but it just...I don't know- failed to convince me? The future world just lacked real depth. If you're going to plop two 21st century girls 400 years in the future I just think really detailed and in depth world building is required.  A lot of things have of course changed.  I applaud the author for thinking about the language differences.  Naturally they still speak english, but it has evolved so much that it's barely recognizable. So yes, that was well thought out.  But the fashion of the future-just- I couldn't take it seriously.  It seemed gimmicky and ridiculous.  I just can't take a character seriously when he has bright blue hair with a matching crescent moon on his face.  Can't.  Sorry. 

Also, the reason for Sheridan and Taylor being brought to the future seemed really weak to me as well.  Taylor is of  Stephen Hawking type level intelligence and apparently the future can't live without her.  Only problem is, that Sheridan got dragged along to the future with her.  The whole reason for them being there dealt with something that Taylor helped build, and yet I feel like I knew nothing about it.  I mean I have a beginners understanding of physics.  Maybe intermediate because I'm a little science nerd and like interstellar physics, but even with that I was sitting there going "how is this possible?" The author just kind of gave you basic facts and didn't explain anything.  It just kind of bugged me.  

I liked Sheridan and Taylor well enough.  Taylor was a bit of an annoying, condescending jerk, but she wasn't too terrible.  Then again, you never get her POV in the whole book, so I could be judging too harshly.  I even enjoyed Echo's POV a lot.  The one thing that I thought was done really well was the political atmosphere of the novel.  You have the thought controlling government, the corrupt Dakine who basically control the government, and the Doctor Worshippers who are supposedly mad.  The groups interactions with each other were pretty interesting and were very dynamic.  I thought it was well done.  

Ironically enough it wasn't until over half way through the novel when Sheridan and Taylor are pretty much on the run non-stop that it got GOOD.  I went from having to force myself to read, to forcing myself to go to bed.  Suddenly the story was gripping, and interesting and pulled some very big twists that I didn't even have an inkling about.  That being said, I was severely disappointed that it ended where it did.  I felt like the story was JUST getting started and bam it's over.  

I think pacing was my biggest issue.  If this had been paced correctly then those little things that bugged me wouldn't have made as big as an impact.  I'll still probably read the sequel (because with that ending there BETTER be a sequel), and truly I feel like this story is just getting started.  So I'm gonna stick with it.  So really, I have no opinion with good vs bad.  I'll just leave it as this story is promising and you need to read it for yourself to form an opinion.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorn

Synopsis: Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

My Review: 
I bought this book forever ago because everyone said it was really good.  It has been sitting on my shelf for a good 4 months.  If not longer.  I blame college.  Anyway, I finally got around to reading it and I cannot believe it took me that long to pick up this book.  I was glued to this from beginning to end.  I absolutely freakin adored this.  

I think the thing that struck me most about this novel was Elisa.  She was so far removed from your typical YA MC that it was truly astounding.  Her appearance is similar to that of hispanics and she's not stick thin.  Most of the comments from other characters is that she is fat.  And really, I loved her all the more for it.  So often in the book world all characters are white.  Or if there are ethnic characters the cover often doesn't stay true to their ethnicity.  It's this lingering phobia of race and ethnicity that weaves it's way into the modern novel.  Society has it in its head that everyone should be white, thin, and pretty.  Elisa single handedly smashed every single one of those stereotypes to smithereens.  And breaking stereotypes is not the least of her accomplishments.  I think Elisa as a character is a great role model for young girls. It just goes to show how shallow most people are, and true beauty comes from within.  I could probably talk forever about this, but if you've read it or plan on reading it, you'll understand what I mean. 

The world building was just amazing as well.  I greatly enjoyed the almost Roman Catholic influence on the cultures of this world.  The theology as well as the concept of being God's chosen.  Even the Godstone was pretty cool and unique.  If this had been purely a religious heavy book I'd have hated it, but thankfully this was not the case.  Carson did an impeccable job of weaving adventure, conflict, magic, and romance all into this story and still incorporate a strong theological foundation for the world without getting preachy.  It truly was just perfectly balanced.  

All of the characters were just wonderful.  Usually I can pick out a few that lacked fleshing out or three dimensionality.  It's so easy to make secondary characters flat, but I can honestly say there was not one character that I didn't feel like was well rounded.  I felt like everyone had their part to play, but they each had their own motivations and inner turmoils for the things they did.  The characters I started out hating ended up surprising me with acts of valor or kindness.  The cast was just truly remarkable.  

The only complaint I really have against this novel is that the author killed off my favorite character.  Seriously, like the most lovable, sweet, sensitive, and brave character I've ever had the pleasure of reading, and they get killed off in the first book.  I sobbed.  Hard core.  And I don't even feel embarrassed over crying over a fictional character because I bawled my eyes out when Hedwig died in HP. I get emotionally attached.  Still, it crushed me.  I feel like it crushed me more than it did Elisa.  I had to literally stop reading and go to work to calm myself down and stop the flow of tears.  God I'm getting sad all over again just writing this.  :( 

Enough of my blubbering.  Moving on. 

I think it's safe to say that I absolutely loved this book.  I will praise it up and down till I convince everyone to read it.   Or at least my friends and family who read.  I might be satisfied with that.  The only plus side for me having read this so late in the game is that now I just have to wait till September for the sequel! Or if I am extremely lucky before then.  Truly though, new favorite book for 2012.  (It being published in 2011 is besides the point) :P 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: Shadow and Bone

Synopsis: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart. 

My Review: I didn't really know what to expect going into this.  It definitely sounded like something I would enjoy but I hadn't really heard much about it.  Nonetheless I was still excited to read it.  I don't know why I ever doubted it for a second.  It sucks you in almost immediately.  The world is just intriguing.  People called Grisha are bound to the service of the king, each of them having a different set of skills.  There are Grisha who can summon wind, bend metal, and even rend your heart from your chest.   They are something foreign to the rest of the population and even more so to Alina.  Alina is a cartographer's apprentice in the First Army, and she's never been particularly good at anything.  Her best friend has always outshone her.  When they are sent to cross the Fold, a nightmarish place full of deadly creatures, it is Alina that saves them, though she has no idea how.  She's now drawn the attention of the Darkling, the head of the Grisha, and is shocked to discover that he thinks she is Grisha too.  Alina is swept away from her friends and the life she knew to start training as one of the people she used to fear.

I absolutely loved this world.  The Grisha were fascinating to say the least.  They are not witches or wizards and do not perform magic; actually they get highly offended at the word.  They are practitioners of what they call the Small Science. An interesting concept to look at magic in a scientific manner.  Just like any elite group there is a certain level of snobbery and cliques.  Nonetheless, Alina makes a few friends amongst the Grisha.  Eventually she even starts to accept her new abilities and thinks of herself as one of them.  Though court life is full of glimmer and shine, there is something a lot darker lurking beneath all the pleasantries.  Ravka is at war with the surrounding countries, the King is practically as useful as a child, and the Abbott is a sinister presence always ready to corner Alina when she is alone.  Even more distressing to Alina is that her best friend, Mal, has failed to answer any of her letters.

Alina was an amazing MC.  She's kind of awkward and can never do anything very well, but that never stops her from trying.  She literally exhausts herself with her studies, and keeps pushing herself. Once her powers fully flourish, Alina finally becomes the young woman she's been striving to be.  She is no longer held back by her past and embraces her newfound power.  For the first time in her life she feels like she has a purpose.  She can help destroy the Shadow Fold and free her country from the horrors of war.  She even feels desired for the first time.  Always that skinny awkward girl that most guys refer to as "Twig" she's never felt confident in herself.  When the Darkling, the most powerful man in the country, shows an interest in her things start to look up.

The Darkling was just as interesting.  And yes you never get to know his name.  He is the Darkling.  I'm such a sucker for dark, quiet, misunderstood types and I fell hook, line, and sinker for this guy.  I really thought that he was seeing Alina for who she really was and liked her for it.  I don't think I have ever been so drastically wrong about a character's motivations.  Anyway I still remain firm in the belief that there is more to the Darkling than anyone thinks.  He's such a mysterious figure that you just know that he has some other deeper issues going on.

And the ending to this! I was on the edge of my seat for probably the last fifty pages.  I couldn't have put it down if I wanted to.  I am absolutely stoked for the sequel.  Shadow and Bone was such an amazing start to a wonderful new trilogy (I'm assuming) and I highly recommend it.  It's full of magic, intrigue, dark forces, and a bit of a love story.  Absolutely top notch.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway with The Subtle Chronicler

Hey peeps! So my good friend Mike is having his blogs 2nd birthday! Of course he is celebrating with a bunch of giveaways! And like the good friend I am, I'm helping out.  Haha.  Check out all the awesome giveaways he is holding HERE and check out my guest post if you so desire as well here.

And of course I'm doing a giveaway as well! Up for grabs is a book of your choice.  Open internationally! Just enter the form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cover Crazy (48)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about.This week it's Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.  Not only does this book sound completely amazing, I love the cover! Really gives you that badass assassin feel.  ^.^ Can't wait for this.