Sunday, March 31, 2013

Shades of Earth Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   I need sleep . . . 
   I just spent the past two days finishing this series because I simply needed to. Yay, thank you Ms. Revis! Here is the synopsis of Shades of Earth by Beth Revis, provided by Goodreads:

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.
But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.
Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.




    From the first and second books!

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
   Okay, my feelings for this book are very conflicted, so get ready for a whole lot of good and a whole lot of bad. But let's start with the bad.
   This book in a way was worse than the first book. Why? Because it took me 310 pages out of 369 to finally begin getting interested in the story. While it wasn't exactly what you'd call a slow-paced story-- it really was. Especially compared to its predecessor, because A Million Suns was definitely a fast-paced story. Yes, there were some interesting moments, they lasted about a page and I got bored again. It's ironic isn't it? I was more intrigued about what happened on a small ship then what happened on a planet with much more range of conflicts, monsters, etc. While after finishing reading, I liked what all the mysterious "monsters" built up to, as I was reading it wasn't enjoyable. Elder and Amy just kept asking more and more questions which infuriated me about the monsters, because if you have a Goodreads and you follow me, you'll notice that I foreshadowed Ms. Revis would reveal all at the end, and I was right and it wasn't enough for me to forgive how long it took me to get into it. 
    And in the beginning I don't like how Ms. Revis had Amy behave. She grew so much over the first book and definitely in the second book, but then in the beginning of this it's like she's some spoiled girl from Earth who just woke up that day and not three months before. So it took me up until the last 100 pages or probably less for me to like Amy again. As for Elder, well just go down to the spoiler section to see how I feel about him.
    I was about to give this book a 2/5 stars, but the last 60 pages brought my rating up.
    As for the likes, I did like the story once I finished it. Thinking back on everything I learned since page 1 to page 369. Elder, Amy and everyone learned a lot about their new home. They learned a lot about themselves and what they want their lives to mean; their futures to mean. I don't know how else to say it, this story just simply sticks to me. Maybe it's because I just don't read many sci-fi/space books. Or maybe it's just the characters themselves. I can't stop thinking about how much I care for them, whether they were always mentioned (Elder/Amy) or the ones that were mentioned only every once in a while (Orion/ Bartie/Kit/Doc/Harley/many others). This world that Ms. Revis created just seemed so real and alive, it proves that a great story can come from anywhere, even if they existed in a time and space light-years away.
   I don't usually have one, but for this series I always think about this song called "The Beauitful Escape" by AJ Rafael. Maybe it's because the cover is a picture of space. Here's the link so you can agree/disagree with me:

I give this book 3.5/5 stars. I'd give it 4, but I didn't really like it, at the end of the day, it was a simple like.
I give this a series overall a 4/5 stars. I loved the characters and their development and the world so much. 

Author's Quote:
" What is in our hearts is real whether we name it or let it exist only in darkness or silence."
-Beth Revis, Shades of Earth

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
   Can I take a moment to talk about how my heart stopped on chapter 70? Oh right, there is no chapter 70-- it's just a BLANK PAGE! Oh my gosh, seriously I was like frex, why? Why? WHY?? It was that moment I realized how much I loved Elder. Because before it was a like, I simply liked his character. But once I saw that blank page, I knew he had a special place in my heart.
   (I wrote this paragraph way before I was done with this book when I was bored and now only partially feel) At the end of the day, Elder and Amy deserve each other. They both held back their thoughts and it infuriated me the entire book-- no the entire series. For example when Amy never told Elder what Luthor really did, but still got mad at Elder when he didn't tell her what was wrong as soon as they landed on Centauri-Earth. (It infuriated me more when Revis kept bringing it up and still doing nothing about it, until the last time she mentioned it was when Amy's mom touched her wrists.) Or when Elder didn't tell Amy how he wanted to be there when she woke up after the flower attack, but instead just apologized. Ugh! Not all people hold back their feelings!
    One of the saddest moments of this book--because there sure as hell were a lot, practically everyone dies--I have to say was when Orion was about to die, my heart nearly broke. As I said in the A Million Suns review, Orion was my favorite character for that book, so when he died, I was about to tear. (About to, I don't cry when reading, only with movies.) Actually, that's partially true, I was on the verge of tears when Revis described his blindness so subtly: "His fingers curl like claws, and raises them to his face." It was such a beautiful way to describe Orion's blindness, the extreme consequences of Elder's compulsive actions. And how it was something that could never be given back, even if it turned out Orion actually did care about the people on the Godspeed. As I finish this book now, I have to probably say that Orion became my favorite character for the entire series. While Harley is a close second. I feel Orion just impacted me and stuck with me more.
   I really enjoyed Ms. Revis introducing another society much like the society that lived in the Godspeed. They weren't entirely human, alienating from anything that wasn't like them. They really made a nice added contrast to the Godspeed people. When Amy became one of them, I felt like she became closer to what Elder was. That they truly were made for each other. That probably makes no sense, but it does in my head! xD
    I'm sorry, I thought the last chapter was the cutest and probably my favorite chapter of the entire series (she just ended it very well-- having nothing to do that it's a happy ending), however the last word -- Always -- only reminds me of Snape from Harry Potter. And even though I never read the books, I have seen the movies once or twice, and that possibly is the most iconic phrase of the series and is highly acclaimed by fans (of which most may be found predominantly on tumblr.) However, if I hadn't thought of HP, I definitely would've thought that was the most romantic promise ever. 
    I could probably keep going on how I love this series. Ms. Revis is just a visionary, and I love how she intertwines an interest of hers (space and science, not typical fiction topics outside of sci-fi) into this young-adult, romantic, adventure. But for now, I'll just patiently wait for the day I get to relive this adventure all over again. 

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

A Million Suns Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   What??? ANOTHER book review? 
   Yes. Hehe. Here is the second book in the Across the Universe trilogy, A Million Suns, by the marvelous Beth Revis. Here is the synopsis provided by Goodreads:

It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceshipGodspeed.

But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to act on his vision—no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder learns shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a mystery that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier. Their success—or failure—will determine the fate of the 2,298 passengers aboard Godspeed. But with each step, the journey becomes more perilous, the ship more chaotic, and the love between them more impossible to fight.

Beth Revis catapulted readers into the far reaches of space with her New York Times bestselling debut, Across the Universe. In A Million Suns, Beth deepens the mystery with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

    I heard about this book from the first book! 

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
     Without ruining any spoilers from the first book, I'll try to be wary about what I say. In a nutshell, this book was amazing. It was fast paced, starting off at light year speed (hehe see what I did there?) and I can probably only think of two chapters that were sort of slow, but they didn't last long at all. 
   The relationship between Elder and Amy was so so, in contrast to their discoveries on the Godspeed and I found that while it wasn't dominant part of the book, I wish it was a little more of a conflict. I mean, I feel like Elder's affections didn't grow as much as Amy's. There was one moment where I thought he would grow a little in his love, but the devotion remained consistent since Elder first laid eyes on her in the first book. 
    My favorite character in this book is Orion. At the end of book 1 we discover yes he's bad, but honestly, he thinks the way he does because that's all he knows. The people on the ship are all he knows, the unknown frightens him. The people in the cyro chambers are alien to him, I would be terrified of them too. Especially the military soldiers, who are more violent than anyone eve is on the Godspeed. So yes, while I see how Amy hates him after wanting to kill her parents, I don't see him as evil as she does. This may be pity, or just an open mind into his very person.
      I liked this book more than the first book because Ms. Revis combined mystery and suspense into this sci-fi almost flawlessly. Like reading an Agatha Christie novel (though on another level), I couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened. While the last 40 pages were the most disappointing pages to me, I almost had to deduct half a star. (Discover why in the spoiler section below!)

I give this book 5/5 stars. My favorite book of the series!

Author's Quote:
“He's the only stable thing in the swirling chaos.” 
― Beth Revis, A Million Suns

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
    I wasn't a fan of how Elder so easily forgave Bartie. I mean for the majority of the book, he was the problem! And then the explosion happens and all of sudden, he has a change of heart and is concerned for the ship dwellers. I didn't really believe it. 
    One of my favorite scenes was definitely when Elder went out in space and took his first glance on Centauri-Earth. At first it's such a beautiful moment, he's outside the "world" he's only ever known, taking in the vastness of the universe and how small he truly is. And then he notices how the Godspeed glows and discovers the planet. Oh, I shouldn't have been surprised, but if someone videotaped me, my eyes probably grew large in surprise with my mouth shaping a small "o". I mean, yes I know the last book is called Shades of Earth, they were bound to come upon the planet eventually, but all the same I was still surprised. 
   If this book ever became a movie, I'd have to say the moment I would probably tear up the most in was when Shelby died. Like, she was just sucked into space. It broke my heart. And the thing is I didn't really form a bond with her character, but when she died it still made me so sad. Not as sad as Harley, but considering I knew her less than him and she wasn't as round a character as him, it was still pretty shocking.
    At the end of chapter 69, the very last paragraph, when Elder couldn't "recognize" Amy for the first time since laying eyes on her, was my moment where I was like "yes! he's going to finally doubt her, even if it's just for a page!" Yeaaahh, I didn't know it was literally going to last a page, he like forgot about it by the next chapter or so. No. Me. Gusta. It was in the last 40 pages or so I found Elder and Amy being so bipolar with their feelings, I was starting to get annoyed. And Amy's character was so different, so violent when she was always so helpless throughout the book. I mean, I think this book spanned the time of about a week or two. Probably not that short, but for sure no longer than a month, and she changed in too short a change. This is definitely a science fiction.
   It bothered me that Luthor got off so easily. I wanted Elder to defend Amy, but I bet Ms. Revis didn't want to steer the book down the red-brick romantic road so she made it simple by having Luthor killed off so easily. Like it wasn't even a big deal. I mean, Amy built it up, always scared what Luthor might do when she crossed paths with him, but in the end she just discarded his body into space. It was too anti-climatic for me. A good portion of the first and second books were about Luthor terrorizing her and, ugh, I'm not going to go further into how I didn't like how that played out.
   This book was perfect until that ending. When Doc was revealed to be the murderer, I wasn't really surprised. At first I thought it was Victria (which wasn't completely off...) but then that turned out to be wrong. However, I felt that the Doc he turned out to be didn't match the Doc throughout the first two books. I mean, he was so much more open to killing Amy and Elder, he had the entire book to do it, why not just do it before or at least try? If he was always going to remain more loyal to Orion, why not just unfreeze him as soon as Elder left the room? And if Doc had such a problem with Elder discovering the planet just beyond the ship's walls, why not just destroy the evidence that led Amy and Elder to discovering it altogether?
    What troubles me the most was the end. It was the most anti-climatic part of the story. Ahh, I really didn't like the ending! Orion reveals to Amy, after sending her on a little treasure hunt around the ship that there's a planet, but oh no, that's not the big news: it's dangerous and not habitable for people! Well duh! That was why they brought military soldiers, to form protection for the scientists as they began to try and build a society suitable for Earthians. And Elder's mentality at the end for bringing him with them to Centauri-Earth was stupid. I'm sorry. He deep down, after going through soo much trouble to keep everyone on the ship, wanted to go to Earth as much as Amy and Elder?? I don't think so. When he is awoken in the next book which I'm sure he will be, he'll only be trouble. But hey, a new planet isn't enough of an antagonist apparently. 
    A question, at the end of the day why was it Amy's choice? Just because she was a native Earthian? If anything her choice would be even more biased above them all! Of course she'd want to get out of a ship she'd been trapped in for 300 years!
    Ultimately, my biggest question is how come Harley never saw the planet in the first book, especially since he looked out through the door for many nights? If they could see the planet through the same door they could in the first book, how come it wasn't visible now? I mean, the ship doesn't stay still, I'm sure it rotated at least a little bit, at some point the window would've seen the planet and someone would've seen it.
   Honestly, I guessed that when they discovered the planet was not far from the ship, it was going to turn out being just Earth. And for some reason, no one on the planet ever made contact with the Godspeed

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

Saturday, March 30, 2013

City of Bones Book Review

Rawr Reader,

    This week all my classes decided to gang up on me, but thankfully it's over and I can just open a new book and enjoy a good read (I hope). This is first book in the Mortal Instruments series, the City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. This is the synopsis provided by Goodreads:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

   Especially if you lean more toward young adult, you've probably heard of this book. And since the movie was coming out I figured, hey why not read the book before I see the movie? If even then. The movie trailer doesn't look that interesting, but I heard the book is a lot better and I believe it.

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
    I'm sorry, I saw too many Twilight comparisons in this book, no wonder Stephenie Meyer would want to live in this world! (As said on the cover of the book.)
   Alright, what I liked: I liked the humor. It matched the attitude and sarcasm 16ish year olds say to each other. However, I did feel it was overdone. Every once in a while it's a nice chuckle, but sometimes there's a thing called too much. We get it. Ha ha. 
    I also liked the action. Typically I'm not a fan of reading about fight scenes because I can find them redundant and it's better to see them actually being fought out and such, but in this book it didn't bore me. At least not to the point I dreaded reading the fight sequences. Pow! Bang! Smack! Okay, not really like that exactly, but fun stuff nevertheless. They're warriors, they're going to kick some, pardon my French, bootay!
   When I started reading this book I wasn't feeling it at all. The first chapter the reader is thrown into the plot of the story, not slow paced but not too rushed, but for some reason I wasn't enjoying it as much as I would have liked. And then in the middle I was really enjoying it. Especially how Ms. Clare created the world which didn't even make it sound like I was temporarily living in contemporary Manhattan. But then nope-- I got back to disliking it. I'd say the part I liked the best was the end of the first part until the beginning of the third. (Soooo the 2nd part.) xD 
   I typically say who my favorite character is in a book and mine was, drumroll please, yes ladies and gentlemen, if you were thinking Jace then you are incorrect. No, it was Simon. Oh my goodness, I loved him. Yes I am book crushing on a fictional character--and proud. Every time he spoke I just could imagine his dorky self being all shy and cute and just himself. He's described with dark, curly hair and glasses. Yeah, I like when guys have glasses so that gave him some more points. (I'm a sucker for other blind bats like me I guess.) Oh, and the actor who plays him in the upcoming film adaption is quite a hottie, too. ;) If I had to choose my second favorite, it would be a tie between Mangus Bane and Luke. I really enjoyed a bunch of these characters, especially since there's a wide cast of them, but those would have to be my top three.
    I wasn't really blown away by Ms. Clare's writing style. I felt the inclusion of every single detail redundant and at times unnecessary. For example, when she would explain what a character was doing as they said something, or when you knew who was talking but then she would randomly drop a "he said/ she said" in the middle of the sentence. I'm not dumb, I know it was "said person" talking. As I read through these annoying moments I would beat my fist at my book as if trying to get it to explain to me what Ms. Clare was thinking. Poor book, I know it's not your fault.
    As for the character development, I wouldn't describe it as enlightening as I would normally place a well-developed character. In The City of Bones, Clary just happened to grow the courage and strength to do what she needed to. And that was it. No wowing factor on my part. 
    I was more taken away by the surreal Manhattan she created that molded itself around the mundane construction of what we perceive as our world. From the angels to demons to werewolves to fairies to vampires to others I can't remember the names of, it was a festival for the supernatural, all were invited and welcomed. I didn't know what to expect--even though the back cover of the book says demons--I just thought they were going to fight generic monsters. But it was a nice surprise I guess (though I tend to stray from werewolves and vampires ever since Twilight, I needed a break.)
    The ending wasn't a shock to me, I was guessing about what might happen about half way or before half way. Though Alec's revelation was a more of an eye-opener to me. Maybe as I was reading about him I was only half paying attention, but it sure got my attention when I learned something certain about him. The ending was dragged out, usually that's where the fast paced scenes are brought forth, but in City of Bones that was the opposite. A shame, the 2nd part was my favorite because it was all fast and actiony stuff happened. 

I give this book 2/5 stars. I wouldn't recommend this book to others. I don't know if I'll read it again, but I do want to finish the series. 

Author's Quote:
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

-C. S. Lewis

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
A Million Suns by Beth Revis

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
    Will someone please explain to me what happened with the whole Jace seeing his father die when he was ten but turn out not being his father? Then who was he? I was uber confused with that part.
    Simon. I said before he was my favorite character so I'll tell you why. His loyalty for starters after she practically cut his heart in half and stomped all over it. That was an admirable trait, like when he helped her drive around town. Though it was quite sad at the same time... He' still a friend to Clary from his moment where he confesses his love to the end, where a more stubborn man would've left her, he stuck by his best friend. Ten years of friendship couldn't be severed so easily. No Simon, you're a perfect friend. 
    Oh I hated the constant push and pull between Jace and Clary relationship. He was sweet one moment then he acted like a jerk the next. And they say girls are bi-polar?? I wanted to pull my hair out! It reminded me too much of Twilight. And I loved Twilight so the fact I saw the same ingredients (tormented love) being used in a slightly different way with some added other ingredients (new monsters) really turned me off. The ending, seriously, took waaay too long.
    Continuing on that note, as for the ending, it did not do it for. Not at all. Alright, I sort of accidentally peaked 100 pages from the end that Jace and Clary were siblings. So for the last 100 pages I was just waiting for the reveal, which sort of killed that revelation for me. But the fact that Valentine-Jace-Clary had a 30 page argument over the same thing (that Valentine was bad news) made me roll my eyes. I just wanted it to end. We get it! Jace who was so headstrong before melts like butter in the presence of his father. Maybe because I'm not a guy I don't see this bond that sons and fathers share, but it was too forced for my liking. 

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Every Day Book Review

Rawr Reader,

    I shouldn't be here right now, literally, I should be studying for astronomy, or for my stat quiz, or for my english presentation. But nope, my passion for reading books with interesting synopsis's, and after waiting weeks and finally getting it 6 hours earlier and finishing it now, here I am with another book review. This is Every Day by David Levithan. Here is the synopsis provided by Goodreads. Let's get started:

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

     I can't really remember where I first heard this from, but I'm assuming it's Goodreads.

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
    This is arguably the best love story I've ever read. I love everything about this story, the main character A and his ability yet complicated life of being a different person each day but still love one: Rhiannon. She has problems like most 16 year old girls do, but she isn't the annoying type I stereotypically think of when I think mid-teen.
   Can I start with the cover of this book? And when you open it, the page between the hardcover and the first page is sooooo pretty. It's a negative of the sky and, yeah, can't get over how much I love this book, inside and out. 
   Each day is someone new: gender, sexual orientation, weight, religious or not, with only  two constant facts that travel with him, his age: which is sixteen and he will never go into a body once he's lived in it before. A doesn't classify himself as male or female, loving who he loves, in which he tells a story about one previous love to Rhiannon. (But I will just say it's he since it's easier to stay in one gender). And in a way, I feel if someone who was on the fence on whether love should be defined by gender, they should read this book to discover that love is universal, love is love no matter who it is. But if this infuriates you and you won't read this book because of that statement, then disregard, I was lying. (Not really but if it will open you up to read this amazing book, then fine I lied!) 
   Levithan's style and structure was something I've never read before, with each day cataloged as a chapter, and every human life important to A (whether he showed more attention to them or not). He tells Rhiannon all about his past lives he's lived in, so many great ones that shaped A to be who he was, such as the blind girl or Zara or Alexander. It was so easy to read through each life, both thoughts and dialogue flowing so smoothly from A's mind to the page, I really felt the changes that A felt. I felt when he was in a body that was hung over, or in a body addicted, or in a body that was strictly active.  Every single sentence in this book was important, and I can't say that about every book, but everything said/thought helped the reader learn more about A or Rhiannon. 
   A defines his life by morals, and I think that makes him so much more admirable for it. He had no static parents to teach him right and wrong, he just observed and decided for himself what rules to live by in his "life". And he learned this at such a young age, I think around 5 or six. Several times in this book he could have chosen to be selfish, but he didn't, and he stayed true to himself. He knows that the more invested he becomes with lives that aren't his or trying to remember much about the past will make him lose part of his identity, what little there is that can truly be known as his, and I love that he chooses himself. I love that he's selfish for that reason. Because then A wouldn't be the sweet, thoughtful, faithful soul he is. 
   My favorite part about this book was probably the subtlety that Levithan depicts teens as. Most young adult writers, especially contemporary, focus on teens only desiring the big three: drinking alcohol, doing drugs, or having sex. While this may be true for the vast, vast majority of teens in America, it doesn't completely encapsulate who we are. Yes, A lives in the lives of teens who drink a lot, who are addicted to drugs, who have sex, but Levithan doesn't concentrate on solely those activities. He concentrates how A will work with these people's lives and if he can, try to adjust himself to them. As he says, he only borrows them and he's their guest, so if he can he will try to do as less to deviate from their true person. Oh I just love A. One of my top characters in literature of all time.
   I had several problems with this book, which will be further elaborated in the spoiler section at the end, but unlike most problems I encounter with stories, none of them made me love this book any less. 
   This book had several qualities that reminded me of some other books, such as the tenuous hope for tomorrow which is also seen in The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (haven't read the book yet but assuming from what I saw of the movie). Or the chance of being a male or female and still loving who you love, as is seen in The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin (a book I read a long time ago and while its what I'd classify as a slow paced story, but overall is a fantastic book). 

I give this ineffable book 10/5 stars. I would recommend this to anyone and would read this over and over and over again. Fantastic.

Author's Quote :
"How did you know it was me?" I have to ask.
"The way you looked at me," she says. "It couldn't have been anyone else."
-David Levithan, Every Day

My Goodreads:

Next To Read (more like finish):
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
   Alright, the ending was the most brutal thing I've ever read. I hate break-ups. Okay, that's a lie. Some break-ups in literature need to happen and are inescapable, they're doomed and I forget about them as soon as I close the book. However, A and Rhiannon, while I wouldn't call it a break-up for forever, the lack of their being a sequel certainly implies it. I have never felt so sad yet so hopeful with that ending. Which I love. This is a stand alone novel, no sequel which I find waayyy too many out there nowadays, especially in young adult, and it gives the reader hope that maybe Rhiannon and A will find each other again. I mean, Levithan never put if Alexander and Rhiannon hit it off, and maybe they didn't. Either way, I see the ending as more hope than doom for either of them.
   I didn't like how Nathan could remember about A and how he caused so many problems for him, but Levithan needed conflict and I think it was executed perfectly. Other than Rhiannon, he was the only other steady person who knew about A's secret, and he helped balance out A's life from tranquility to agitation (since all humans have them no matter if they change bodies every day).
   I read in the acknowledgements that one of the people who Levithan discussed this book's story was with John Green. If my guesses serve me correctly, this is the infamous author of works such as The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, etc. And I am soooo happy he didn't write/ finish this story. I have never read TFiOS, but I have read Looking for Alaska and I wasn't blown away by it. Actually, I didn't enjoy it at all. So I'm scared to think I probably would never have given this book a chance if the author was J. Green. (Please all Green fans don't hate me, because while I might not enjoy one book he's written, doesn't mean I'm not a fan of his youtube channel or his personality. I'll get to reading TFiOS eventually and maybe I'll fall in love with it like millions of others, but until then, I'm glad Levithan was the one to have written this.) I would definitely be interested in reading others works of his.
    I think what I find the most remarkable themes in this book are love (obviously) and hope for tomorrow. A doesn't know when he will die or what kind of death there is for someone like him, but he chooses to move forward, living through others though still being true to himself. And finding love where love simply is, and not behind what defines it.

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Across the Universe Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   At the end of the day I always go back to young adult, it is meant to be. This is Across the Universe by Beth Revis. Here is the synopsis given by Barnes and Noble website:

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends—and planet—behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship. Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.
Someone tried to murder her.
Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest's rebellious teenage heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead.
Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship's cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

   A friend of mine from high school who loves to read as much as I do recommended this series. I've never read a young adult space travel/ sci-fi book so I guessed this was a good book to start.

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
    Ohh myy goosh the feels. Right there. In my chest. Hold on a moment and let me take a moment to recover... Alright I'm good. Okay I don't usually watch/read much about space travel (other than watching Doctor Who, of course) so I was a little hesitant to start it. But I'm glad that a friend of mine read and recommended it because if I saw this at the store I probably would not even have given it a second glance (especially since the B&N edition is not the pretty cover the rest of the world has).
    Ms. Revis had to create a world in a ship, and I think she did an exceptional job. Not only in creating it, but having to invent a history, a new technology, a new society and standards, and a conflict all within its 10 mile metal walls. And I'll admit, it took me a really long time to get used to the confined space (which even made me a little claustrophobic whilst reading), in the long run she did a remarkable job. When a writer is able to have the reader have the same emotions as the character, they're doing something right. 
     I enjoyed Revis' writing style. It wasn't awkward like some young adult authors can be, it was an easy and smooth read, which made AtU--after getting past the first 200 pages which were hard to get into-- an enjoyable story. At first I found AtU more the story about Elder, but I like how Revis structured the book by jumping chapters between Elder and Amy. I would find that really hard to do, to keep the story at a steady pace and have only the important scenes included and have everything ultimately connect.
     I need to talk about the society within the Godspeeds walls. They're flat, unemotional, static, practically brainless, without will, in a twisted way--utopian. They don't think for themselves and don't question the higher power because they don't see any reason to. I won't say why they're like this, but I feel that the existence of them on this small (compared to the universe that is) ship made Amy's alienation among them really frightening. Not gothic ghost or horrific murderer lunacy, but the submission and voiceless souls makes the Godspeed a really scary place to be trapped. People on Earth--in at most first world societies--have the advantage to live in a society where government seeks the well being of the people, but even if they fail, there are people in society who would be willing to speak up for those who need help. But to live in a society where the government and the people won't speak up for you, won't defend you when you need it most, makes it more terrifying than real horror from thrillers. Human nature is the most frightening thing in literature because unlike monsters in fantasy, sci-fi or any fiction, people with no moral ground, selfish hearts, or any evil trace in their souls than good can be found anywhere after putting down your book.
    Harley is my favorite character. I can't even give a reason. He's the first one that comes to mind when I think about all of the characters; I felt he had the most depth to him. Honestly I wish I had a friend like Harley, who saw life in another light other than what he was raised and taught. Wow, maybe that's my reason. Elder and Amy were alright, but I found their inconsistency lacking as admirable protagonists.
     The ending reveals a ton of twists I wasn't expecting (not all good, check spoilers down below) but not all bad. The only thing I argue was the ending chapter/ last page wasn't as cliffhanging as most young adult novels tend to be. I wonder if at the time Revis suspected the book wouldn't be a hit and figured it should remain a novel, therefore giving most but not all the conclusions to Amy's adventure. But I sort of like that in a series, it's refreshing. 

I give this book 4/5 stars. I really want to give it 5 stars, but it took me waaay too long to get into it (about 200 pages...). I definitely would recommend it! Can't wait to finish the series!

Author's Quote:
“I never thought about how important the sky was until I didn't have one.” 
― Beth Revis, Across the Universe

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read the book yet, so don't read this section)
    I really need to argue against Orion. I feel that Revis just dropped a bomb with him being the murderer. Maybe since I read this book in one sitting, reading it really fast, I probably didn't catch all the little "signs" of Orion being bad. Technically Orion only was seen by Elder or Amy, but he was such a minor character as it was, I didn't think more of him. Like Steela for example, I didn't know why Revis mentioned her if for just that one meeting in the beginning, but then she brought her back in the end so it all worked out.
    Okay, I don't like near the end when Orion is about to tell Amy the "truth" and Elder's all, "I won't tell her" then two pages later he's like, "IT WAS ME!!!!" Alright not exactly like that but he did contradict himself in such a short amount of time it sort of ruined the ending for me. If anything, I was expecting it to be the cliffhanger. Instead it leaves them hopeful for their relationship which is nice and all, but I don't know, maybe it's just not what most writers would have done. Which isn't bad... I don't even know why it bothers me >_<
    The rape scene threw me off. It was the couple doing it like five feet from them that probably bothered me the most about it, not even that it was three against one. Also one of the guys was all, "I don't want to have sex with you" then a minute later he's saying he does (not Luthe but one of the Feeders; contradicting her character's words vs. their actions again! not liking this pattern). Oh and Luthe! He doesn't appear after about half way through, after the rape scene, so I'm curious what his role will be in later in the series. (Foreshadow next antagonist in A Million Suns???) I hope Elder gets his revenge because Revis slightly touches on it when Amy is "drugged" and tells him she was attacked, but it never comes back up again. I'm the chick-flick, hopeless romantic type so I love when guys defend their girl. 
    When Eldest revealed that he, Orion and Elder were clones, I was shocked. Why? It made sense after Eldest explained it... Seriously sometimes I feel I'm the slow/paranoid type of reader. It's either one or the other for me when I read, and in this case, I was slow. I mean, both Eldest and Elder have the same access code which is dependent on the person's DNA, and they looked similar! I believe when Elder was thinking of the possibility of being related to Eldest, Elder thought of Orion being similar looking to them too-- Revis you sneaky foreshadower you. ;) Also when the Plague was revealed to be a sham account in their history, I was sad yet actually interested to know that part of their history. I especially began to become interested in their history when Amy went to the Records Hall near the end and began to trace Ed's descendants to the lady who died in the Plague (something with a B). 
    One thing that I didn't get was when Elder apparently let out Amy. Was it when Doc's back was turned and he was trying to tell Eldest about Elder being down in the cyro level? Since that was the first time Elder saw Amy since Orion revealed the fourth level to the ship like minutes before discovery. I guess since I didn't notice it reading when Elder was doing it, so when Orion was all: "Ooo Amy wanna hear a secret, your boyfriend--" it was very anti-climatic. I read it without giving it the importance Revis probably meant for it. I tried to reread it and find the spot but I couldn't find it and I needed a break from the book. (With the whole reading in 10 hours, lemme tell you when I'm motivated...) ;)
     Overall, well I may have spoken more about the bad, I really did enjoy and want to finish this series. One day!

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

Friday, March 22, 2013

Good Omens Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   This is Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. As you may probably already know I'm a Neil Gaiman fan, and after reading the synopsis, I was definitely interested. A funny, quirky interpretation of the Apocalypse, who wouldn't want to read it? Well, here is the synopsis provided by Goodreads:

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. 
So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon--both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle--are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. 
And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .

  I was browsing Neil Gaiman's works on Goodreads.

(safe for those who haven't read the book yet)
   This is the funniest book I've ever read. And it had to do with angels, demons, the Antichrist, the Four Horsemen, witches, witch-finders, aliens, Atlantians, a whole bunch of other people, and the Apocalypse. What's not there to love?
    I can't think of much to say, however I felt the constant POV change really confusing at first. It wasn't until the last 150 pages or so I begun to get a hang of it. And the ending itself was a little anti-climatic. I won't say what happens, but I was expecting more.
   My favorite characters are Aziraphale and Crowley. They're supposed to be natural enemies, being angel and demon, but their common love and admiration of the world and it's people makes them more tolerable of each other. Oh their pairing is just ineffable
   Neil Gaiman has a great talent of giving all his characters memorable names. I mean, he's the only one who can give a hellhound, the personal sidekick to the Antichrist, and name him Dog. I could go on about all the other names I like, but I'll just leave it at Dog. ;)
I give this book 3.5/5 stars. I really wanted to like this book more, but it didn't turn out as I thought. I'd recommend it because it is a fun read and really funny.

Author's Quote:
“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” 
― Terry Pratchett

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Agnes Nutter's Spoilers:
(Good Omens special edition)
(unsafe for those who haven't read this yet, so don't read this section)
    When Newt and Shadwell were introduced, I didn't really understand what was going on. Maybe when I was reading it I wasn't paying attention, but either way, I didn't catch the point of them. Also Madame Tracy seemed unimportant, I wish she wasn't in the story.
    After a certain point, I thought that the Them was going to replace the Four Horsemen, since each one had a girl. That's a lame reason but hey it could have happened. 
    I really liked Anathema Device's character. Her and Newt's chemistry was like Azairaphale and Crowley's (though more romantic than the angel and demon's), it just fit. 

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Anna and the French Kiss Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   I have seen many good reviews about this book, I couldn't help myself but jump on the book bandwagon and read it, too. Here is the synopsis of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins given by Goodreads:

Anna can't wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?

This is easy: booktubers, blogs, and Goodreads!

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
    Ohh my word, I need to start off by saying I'm in love with Etienne St. Clair! Who cares if he'a fictional right? And if you've read this book, how could you not? American born, raised in ENGLAND, now studying in Paris. It really had me at the British accent... Alright this book is really cute and girly so unless you don't like romantic books, you should read this. I don't usually lean toward romantic books myself, at least not without some fantasy/sci-fi/ mystery twisted with it, but I heard a lot of good things about this one and I knew I had to give it a try. :)
    This is a story about how a seventeen-year-old girl named Anna is forced to move from her home in Atlanta and spend her senior year in a boarding school in Paris--and just as her crush in Atlanta and her had a make-out session and probably become something more. Too bad the move cuts into that relationship, which leaves Anna unsure about them. Even with Paris being the city of love, lights, and film (something she wishes to pursue in her future!) it isn't what she wants, but fortunately she makes friends quick and even finds herself a new crush. Anna tries to decide whether she thinks that her feelings for this new crush, Etienne St. Clair, can overcome her feelings for a maybe boyfriend back home in Atlanta. This is a cute tale about all the things that she discovers about both of them during their senior year. 
    Ms. Perkins writing actually reminds me a bit of me own. Well, sort of. It's a colloquial first person POV and I probably liked it more since I wasn't a fan of the style from my previous read. Ms. Perkins had me hooked from page one and I could see the story playing out in front of me like a movie (I love when books do that, I mean who doesn't?). Some of the dialogue may have been cheesy, but I don't think it was as bad as other cliché girly teen books. 
    The characters were well written, Ms. Perkins really made each main and supporting character well rounded and each have a separate distinguishable voice. This is one of those rare books that I can't select one character that was my favorite. I really liked them all: Anna, St. Clair, Mer, Rashmi, and Josh. Surprisingly I liked Anna, since you know me and protagonists. :0) Maybe I gave her some slack since she's in a new country where she doesn't speak the language. Maybe because I felt bad that her parents basically kicked her out for her senior year. Whatever the reason, I think Anna was an okay protagonist. 
    At first it was difficult for me to keep up with the French integration/transition/thing that Anna herself is going through. The French words aren't translated so since I'm lazy, I had to guess what they meant. Also I had trouble keeping up with the time. One chapter it's one day, the next chapter its three weeks later. I know for the issue of an entire senior year in a 380 page book, it can't be a day per chapter, but for me it took a while to get used to. Once it did, it wasn't a noticeable problem at all. 
   The ending worked when I finished it, but now that it's sunk in my head, I think the ending was too wrapped up. Well then dang Nicole-- what would make you happy?? Well my friend, I'm difficult to please. Okay, the ending isn't as bad as I make it sound, it actually is a good way how Ms. Perkins ended it, but maybe I expected something a little more.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars. Oh my goodness I loved this book, however, it isn't 5 star material. I couldn't put it down (literally read until 4:10am now...) and I'd recommend to any and all hopeless romantics like mua out there. ;) Oh yes, I'd read it again in a heartbeat.

Author's Quote:
“Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?” 
― Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

If You'd Like to Check Out My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
    Alright, about for good part of the first half I knew Toph was going to turn out to be a jerk. How he told Anna--and the rest of the world for that matter-- that he was dating Bridge was such a sleezy way to do it, but I don't think Bridge should have kept anything back. Especially if she was a best friend. I understood why Anna wouldn't speak to her. I as heck wouldn't! But then near the end when she does that to Ellie with St. Clair, (even though she hardly knew Ellie-- even if it's bad regardless), I can see why she gave Bridge another chance. So I'm happy they made up.
   The first time we met Ellie, I was surprised by the first reaction. That just teaches you something about another culture people in America don't encounter often, that not all girls are the jealous venomous type who pry over their boyfriends. I think it was a nice contrast to what I expected. This is obviously before St. Clair cheats on her a bunch of times. I mean, I would be flattered if I were Anna, but later on in this book when things get serious, I would be suspicious to be with him. I mean, how wouldn't she know that when they got together he wouldn't just do that with the next girl that makes him "feel that way?" You know me, I look way into stories and their characters. >_<
    Even though I don't know a lick of French, I really love how she intertwined it in the story. It was a development of Anna in France learning to adjust and become part of another culture unfamiliar to her, as well as for the reader to develop a connection with Anna (especially in the beginning since Anna doesn't know French and is nervous about mispronouncing it, and so is probably the reader).
    Alright, the entire book I was waiting for Anna and St. Clair to kiss, and when they did, and St. Clair left her, I thought the same thing Anna did. Did he just leave her for Mer?? I mean, I know he's known her longer but if he cared so much about Anna, I'd be shocked and hurt he left too. But when he explained it to Anna near the end, why he did it for her since he understood that Anna went through the same thing and didn't want to hurt anyone else, I half forgave him. ;) 
    Anna was a little dumb throughout the book. Always second guessing herself that St. Clair may like her. I mean, he wouldn't do cute stuff with just any jo shmo friend. Yeah he may have led Mer on, but I don't think he did the Point Zero Star, love poem book, movie nights, sleep together, get cute gifts for her, maybe not even Ellie. But the whole stringing Anna along was bad, even before he found out about his mom. Then when his mom got sick, that was really low for him to drag her along. I'd sure as hell think I was being used. That was probably the worst quality about him. The man didn't know how to be loyal. 
   But this is a story focused on true love, and it made me get all giggly meeting St. Clair and having all the encounters with him. Oh wait, did I just make it sound like I stepped into their world and became Anna? Oh, wait, I guess I did. Definitely one for the favorites shelf Ms. Perkins, well played.

Until Next Time, 
Nicole Ciel