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Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Girl Called Fearless

Extra Points for a cool cover :)
Written by: Catherine Linka

Eat some granola bars on the go while you read about Avie's fast paced escape!

Avie Reveare lives in a Paternalist society, where her every move is controlled by the men that surround her. She must adhere to the strict rules that govern her and all the women, and she never has a moment of privacy (really, never). When Avie's father arranges her marriage to a vile Paternalist billionaire, Avie realizes that maybe it's time for her to run away to Canada, where women are free and treated equally. With the help of her long-time love interest Ronan, and a network of friends, she is spirited away in the night. On her way to freedom though, she slowly realizes just how oppressive the Paternalists are. She deals with romance, betrayal, and lots of action.

I liked this book! The plot/setting was really original and definitely was an interesting commentary on the society we live in today. A lot of books that I read these days just seem like a repeat of the same plot over and over again (vampires and werewolves anybody?), so I appreciate the originals! The book was written well, and the sequence of events was interesting. All the supporting characters are dynamic, and their personal stories really add to the book as a whole. I liked this especially because the story wasn't 100% focused on one single character.

Ok, now for the not so fun part. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with Avie herself. Several times I found myself thinking that she was unrealistically thick. It took her chapters for her to figure out what I already had, and she made mistakes that nobody in their right mind would think of doing. She was just a little unrealistically lacking in forward thinking.

On the whole, the book was a success, and there were a few moments where I was very impressed. I would give this book a thumbs up, but maybe not recommend for your first choice.

3/5 stars






Thursday, March 20, 2014

Parched

Written by: Georgia Clark
Gulp down a tall glass of H2O and some water crackers for this one!

Yay for sci-fi/adventure/romance/dystopian original novels! Seriously, I really liked this book. Clark is a charismatic writer, and her characters are complex and fun to get to know.

Tessendra Rockwood is a spoiled rich girl who (for reasons initially unknown) leaves the protective dome of her city, Eden, to camp out in the Badlands. The contrast is horrifying; people in Eden live clean, happy lives and have an abundance of precious water, while in the Badlands children fight over the smallest sip of muddy liquid. Tessendra is eventually found by a member of the rebel group Kudzu, who are intent on ending the growing inequality. She returns home and lives with her uncle, who she thinks may be helping Eden keep the water in and the Badlanders out. She works undercover with the Kudzu, and eventually hatches a plan to help free the water, all while balancing her time studying at home with her Uncle's assistant, a handsome but odd boy who seems just a little off.

I can't say more without revealing too much, but I can say that this is a really good novel. To quote from the back of the book, "robots, renewable resources, and romance get tangled together in this thrilling futuristic adventure." It's true! The plot is just complicated enough to be interesting, and the setting is full of possibilities and a possible commentary on the current global situation. There is no stagnancy in this novel (in so many others I feel like I just want to get on with it already!), in fact the plot keeps twisting and turning so I was never bored. The villain is thoroughly evil, and the heroes are satisfyingly daring.

There are only two things that I wasn't quite happy with. First, I found it difficult to like the beginning of the book. It was a little confusing, and I wasn't sure what was going on. My advice is just to get through it, Chapter 3 is where it starts to pick up, and that's only page 26 so it's really not that hard. Second, occasionally Clark fell into the trap of making her main character a little too slow. I understood key plot points chapters before Tessendra did, which was fairly frustrating. This was my biggest qualm, and besides that, the book was awesome!

If you like futuristic adventure romances, I absolutely recommend this one.

4/5 stars!

The Geography of You and Me

Written by: Jennifer E. Smith
A big bag of Sweethearts would go well with this sweet novel!

This novel follows the life of Lucy, the daughter of wealthy but detached and barely-ever-there parents, and Owen, who struggles daily with the recent death of his mother and caring for his desolate father. One night during a NYC blackout, Lucy and Owen are trapped in an elevator together, and slowly realize that they have found their soul mates. They fall in love, but cruel fate separates them when they both end up moving away from the city, and from each other. The reader follows their up and down relationship over continents and through time zones, and watches as they eventually figure out how to deal with their complicated romance.

This book was... pretty average, actually. It certainly wasn't bad, and I'm all for a good romance, but the way the novel was written was just a tad too unorganized. Something just didn't quite click.

Lucy and Owen are both adorable people, romantics with a knack for witty banter (something we all wish we had), but unfortunately I thought they were just a little too similar. Their backgrounds were different, but their voices were the same. The dialogue was almost like reading the same person having a conversation with him/herself. I found it difficult to believe in these two people who had 100% compatibility.

Furthermore, the timeline was a little weird. Owen and Lucy spent too much time apart, brooding about how much they miss each other, and not enough time actually together. I don't disbelieve in love at first sight, but there wasn't enough of that kind of thing to make me remember why the pair actually wanted to be together.

All in all, this book certainly wasn't bad, it was just not satisfying. There was no suspense, no doubt in my mind about what would happen, no heartbreak that I felt I could relate to. Lucy and Owen weren't desperately in love enough for me to believe they could survive their geographical separation, and there wasn't enough together-ness to keep me interested.

I don't want to trash this book though, it's not that bad. I was on the edge of liking it, and just happened to fall on the not-so-much side. Smith is a very appealing writer, and I was impressed with her use of metaphor in a number of places. The scenery is beautiful, and the subplots of Owen and Lucy learning how to deal with their parents were really good. Their relationships were perhaps the ones I was most invested in.

So, if you're bored and have this book lying around, The Geography of You and Me is still a decent quick read.

2.25/5 stars






Sunday, February 23, 2014

Doon

By: Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

Once again I found myself reading a romance.  This is not exactly my genre.  While I can admire romances in books with intricate plots, romances just  don't do the same thing for me.  In general, I find it annoying when one character is constantly thinking about another.  This was an average romance.  The main character Veronica was in love with another character, Jamie, the entire time.  There was some suspense and action but most of it was about the romance, which makes sense, because Doon is a romance.  I won't say it was an extraordinary romance but it also didn't fall short.  Veronica is a girl from the United States.  Her dad left her when she was 12, her mom is marrying someone she hates, and her boyfriend just left her.  Overall, her life is pretty bad.  Her friend Kenna takes her to Scotland for the summer where they discover a magical world called Doon.  Doon passes time at about one fourth as fast as "the mortal world."  A bridge to Doon only opens every one hundred mortal years for one day unless you have two special rings.  Veronica and Kenna have these rings so they arrive in Doon two weeks before the passage to Doon is open.  When the time comes they will have to decide to live in Doon or leave it forever.  Veronica's love (who she saw visions of before coming to Scotland) is the crown prince of Doon, Jamie.  Then the romance continues all the way through the climax and the resolution of the book.  In an unfortunate turn, the book ended cliff hanger-ish.  My only problem with the ending is that it could have easily been avoided if the characters had just thought a little bit.

This book was like a loaf of bread.  Yummy, but pretty much average.  Not special but not bad either.  This book is a 2.5.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Remnants: Season of Wonder

Written by: Lisa T. Bergren
Gnaw on some beef jerky and a loaf of bread for this diverting novel.

Everyone feels like hunkering down for a gritty adventure novel once in a while, and I recommend this one.

Set in the gritty and unappealing future, a pack of gifted warrior teens (the remnants) are burdened with the task of saving the world. Andriana, the main character with the power of reading emotions travels through the empire with her companions, searching for the missing members of their bedraggled yet fearsome squad. They must fight the wealth disparity in the country, the crippling and oppressive upper echelon who keep the masses under their heavily bejeweled thumbs.

There's a whole lot of action in this novel, and I got to get down and dirty in the mud with the remnants. The plot was packed with fight scenes and escape scenes, captivating scenery, and an overwhelming sense of urgency. Bergren took me through forests, caves, waterfalls, cloud, and mountains. Danger was everywhere. The romance was enticing and of course, forbidden.

The novel isn't high literature, but it will make you think (when you have time in between action scenes).

 Every aspect of a solid adventure is present, and an attractive romance thrown in for a little charm. You really can't go wrong with this type of book. The people are attractive, strong, and just thoroughly entertaining. You won't do any profound philosophy while reading, but Remnants is a really fun novel.

3.75/5 stars!

Relic

Written by: Heather Terrell
Relic: Grab a Popsicle and chill out as you read this one (oh so punny).

Relic is set in the future, after the great floods sweep the globe and leave only those worthy as survivors in the polar ice land. Society has reached a peaceful and righteous equilibrium, and from the looks of it everyone is happy in their pre-determined life stations. Or so it seems.

Terrell starts out with the death scene of the main character's brother, Eamon. Eamon is murdered by a mystery killer as he was climbing the forbidden ice cliffs, and Eva, the main character, is introduced to us in mourning. She chooses to honor her brother by casting away her simple life of docile maiden, and replacing him in the Testing, a competition against nature, time, and other youthful competitors. The point of the competition is display your strength, wit, and skill by surviving and returning with a relic from the ice cliffs. The relics are examined and displayed for all to see; they serve as a proclamation of the evil of the past and the righteousness of the present. To succumb to the persuasive powers of the evil god Apple is a sin punishable by exile.

But wait! It seems that all is not what it seems in this cool community, and Eva starts to question her society and her beliefs.

I love the plot of this book. The idea is fresh and new, which seems to be rare these days, following the rush of vampire/werewolf/dystopian dramas. The phase is getting a bit old, in my opinion. This book though, really is new and original.

Unfortunately, the actual writing was kind of a let down. I honestly believe that fifty pages could have been cut out as Eva trekked across the icy plains. For the longest time, she didn't do much of anything, while the reader was left waiting for her to realize what we already gleaned in the beginning. The villains were easily distinguishable from the heroes, which is always boring, and the plot only picked up in the final twenty pages. And they were a good twenty pages, which was why I wish the book had cut out all the extraneous detail.

The book was not great, it was pretty average actually. I will be reading the second, however, because I think that if Terrell really took a critical look at her novel, edited out the unnecessary parts, and worked really hard, she could have a hit. The plot is really interesting, it's too bad that the writing fell through.

 2.5/5 stars

The Mirk and Midnight Hour


Written by: Jane Nickerson
Pacify your sweet tooth with a honey stick and a slice of sweet potato pie.

If you're hankering for a run of the mill adventure romance, you might as well stop reading here. The Mirk and Midnight Hour is a book set in the time of the American Civil War about a young Miss Violet Dancey who stumbles upon a little magic and a little excitement as she adjusts to her shifting environment brought on by the war. As she romps through the forest with her little cousin, they meet a wounded man holed up in Violet's old secret hide out. For a number of different reasons (the war, a deceased sibling, some ominous villains) the solider, Thomas, must be kept hidden in the woods, even in the face of possible danger.
There are several different plots that sneak through the book, and they are written fairly well. Violet's life is both quaintly average (for the times), and secretly exhilarating. 

On the whole, the subplots were good. On their own the independent story lines were original and interesting, but together they didn't always piece together perfectly. There was also something to be desired in terms of suspense. Although the climax was fun to read, it wasn't heart-pounding, blood-rushing exciting. 

Despite these few critiques, I really liked this book. Nickerson has a beautiful imagination, and her words give the novel a fairy tale quality. The scenery is sweet and fanciful, and honestly made me wish I could dive into the pages and walk through the sparkling woods alongside Violet. The writing is in beautiful style, and I was drawn in immediately to the mysterious and whimsical world she created. I could almost taste the air, feel the wings of the bees as they flitted cheerily through the air. Nothing was overpowering, and I felt almost lulled into the story, enticed by the simple and mischievous quality. 

There is magic, yes, but this is not a full out Harry Potter wands spells and werewolves kind of magic. This is a low-lying kind of magic that is mysterious and dark and realistic. The romance is of the same kind, it is slowly blooming, and lovely to read. 

I recommend reading this novel, it's really wonderfully enticing. Be warned however, this book is not for the faint of heart. If you aren't patient and only want action, you might want to pass on this one. But if you're a romantic or a dreamer, grab this off the shelf in March! 

3.75/5 stars!


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