Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Read: March 25-30, 2012
read in 5 days
pages: 387

Hmm, where to begin...Well the cover caught my attention first so I pulled it off the shelf and read the jacket. Cyborg? Sure I'm interested in Sci Fi stuff and its in the young adult so its like a two for one, oh and for good measure throw in some dystopic themes which works for me. Not just any run of the mill story about a cyborg though, let's throw the Cinderella theme in there as well. Wait a minute, a cyborg Cinderella? Ok now I'm intrigued. You got me. I'm taking the book home and seeing what is going on here.

*****Spoiler Alert*****

The novel takes us into the future where we have encountered two more world wars and have managed to maintain peace for 126 years, yet there seems to be a looming threat of a new war with the Lunar people if an agreement is not met soon. The Earth has been divided up into these 6 countries, and the story takes place in the Eastern Commonwealth. While there are some subtle hints of this there are no real cultural references to set the story firmly in the East. Which makes me wonder if this was done to make it seem as though the story could take place anywhere or if the world had been so ravaged by two additional world wars that maybe things have become so mixed and more an amalgamation of what was once more definite.

As I mentioned there is a cyborg, and while the Eastern Commonwealth and the Earth for that matter are peopled with some cyborgs only one is introduced, the main character Cinder. There are also androids rolling around being useful, but here again we only see two. And we have the Cinderella theme with a slight twist going on over everything that is happening. The mean step mother who treats Cinderella like a work slave, which in this case Cinder really is property of the step mother with government papers to prove it, rather than just being a step daughter. There are two step sisters, though neither is ugly and in fact one is very sweet and actually cares for Cinder.

There is the threat of war and the plague Letumosis. We the disease actually comes from Lunar. The presence of Lunar people on Earth is causing havoc and killing the people of Earth even while there is the threat of war from the Lunar people should an agreement and union not take place. There is only a tentative peace at the moment. And likely this will come up with the next novel and drive it. I wonder though could there really be anything more to the Cinderella thing, because the Prince is there and all the other aspects, but we've played the story out. Whats left? Where will this go? A new fairy tale or just continue off on its own. This is what I'd like to see but I can't get anything from the title thus far and have to wait til 2013 for the next novel. That's what I get for reading current novels. Should always wait to start a series til it looks like it is complete and all published. The waiting for the next book always stinks!

While there are details lacking as to who the Lunars are, how they got to the moon and how they travel exactly to the Earth. What the heck Letumosis is and what are the symptoms. What were the causes of the last two world wars and who was involved. No real development of the world outside of how it directly affects the characters, and really this could have been even more Sci Fi had all this been explained, but it was fine for me as it was. For a hard core Sci Fi reader this will fall very short of what they would want to read I think. But the audience seems more to be aimed at teen girls as there is the Princess theme and the romance of Cinder and Kai. The romance I have to say is something that kept me interested because it was not gushy and sappy. I'll be interested to see where the rest of the story goes as we are not left with a very satisfactory close to this novel. Got to love cliffhangers!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chime by Franny Billingsly

Read: March 21-24, 2012
read in 4 days
pages: 361

I give the novel 4 stars for the characters not for the story. The plot line and the story are just odd. There are many aspects of the novel that I don't quite understand and things that are not explained, yet being able to get into the novel and suspend your disbelief and take things as they pertain to the story you can sort of over look those things. Doesn't make it understandable just makes you think okay I'll ignore that and move on. For example I still don't know what the heck a "Brownie" is or what the "Strangers" and "Wykes" are that are found in the swamp, but hey a "Chime child" is someone who is born in the midnight hour making their birth date straddle two days and THAT is what gives them the second sight. The second sight is what makes that particular person able to see the said "Brownie", "Strangers" and the "Old Ones" as well. Oh and a "Dark Muse". That at least was explained. A "Dark Muse" is a woman who "feeds" on the souls of men, and although it was never known before women can be their prey as well. Some witchery was involved too but that is not delved into either. In fact we go through nearly the entire book with Briony believing she is a witch but we never witness her do anything particularly "witchy".

Aside from all that though I think the characters are great. The main character(s) are well developed which is why it is such a shame that the plot line is so lacking. In the end the story really becomes a journey for Briony to learn the truth about herself, that she is in fact a lovable person, and Eldric is a great compliment to her. He is not as fleshed out as Briony, as she is the main character and everything is seen from her point of view, but he is better developed than the other supporting characters. I didn't let the lack of a great story detract from my liking the novel though. It is enough for me at least this time that I enjoyed the characters so much that I can look past the silly plot that makes little sense.

I can't help feeling that there should be a companion book that explains the little mysteries of the "Chime" world and the "Old ones". BUT that doesn't mean I think there should be a sequel. In fact I was glad to see that there isn't at least at this time. Kudos that it is stand alone, but there really should have been more explanation.

As to who may enjoy this book....well I enjoyed it as I said for the characters and the writing style is unique. There is definite lacking in much adventure really, although there are a few scenes that stand out in the swamp, I found myself thinking of the novel The Night Circus. It was beautiful on description and I loved those characters, but there really wasn't a lot going on. So that said this novel, like The Night Circus may not be everyones cup of tea.

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Read: March 12-20, 2012
read in 9 days
pages: 311

Hmm, not too sure about this one. It took me a while to get into it. I am so over the Sookie will she won't she EVER just pick a guy and stick with him. Will she ever just BE HAPPY!?!? UGH. That was a complete turn off in my trying to read the book.

Luckily I guess things did pick up and I was able to get into the book. The plots were weird; there were too many things going on and nothing really important seemed to happen. This was a stand alone odd book that did little to nothing to push the story line of the characters along.

Despite the Eric and Sookie relationship that continues in this book it was weak. Just weak. Eric is not entirely Eric and things just could have been better in all of their times together.

I think I'll step away again for a while before I read the next book. While I want to continue to see that Eric and Sookie do stay together and somehow patch up the mess that was the end of this book....I know how this author writes. What I want to read about and see happen won't happen in the opening of the next book.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton


Started: March 2
Stopped: March 10
pages read: 71

Started but am not going to finish. I read the first chapter at the library to see if I would be interested after reading the jacket and was interested enough to take it home. Now I've been trying to get into this book all week and I've decided its just not worth it trying any longer. I liked the premise it sounded like it could get really good and be an interesting story, but it just flopped. Nothing seemed to flow for me logically and I wasn't all that far in. Plus its going to be a series and I'm getting burnt out on all these books that are just series after series. Can the authors please come up with some unique stand alone stories?? Please??

Anyways I think there are too many other books I want to read. So at page 71, nearly to the start of the 6th chapter - I'm putting this one down and moving on.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Read: March 1-5, 2012
read in 5 days
pages: 480

This turned out to be a new favorite of mine. I was sucked into reading it because it does have a gorgeous cover design and as per usual I am a sucker for checking out a book BECAUSE of its cover. I nearly put it down about 80 pages in when little to nothing was happening. Apparently this novel is a retelling of Grimm's fairy tale of the 12 Dancing Princesses. I knew nothing of the fairy tale aside from what I googled when I first started reading the novel. That said I think I didn't have as high of expectations as other people had who knew the Grimm tale and was really glad I continued to read it rather than put it down.

I enjoyed the setting and the code of conduct that was required for the time. The corsets, the hooped skirts, the curtsying and the dancing. The proper etiquette for addressing gentleman and the whole courting aspect. I always love novels that give a glimpse of a time past. The mannerisms and the phrases like "dash it all" was great and even introduced a few words I had never even heard of. I looked them up and they all were of the same time period so kudos to the author for having done that bit of research.

The pacing is slow and it gradually builds overtime. For some people that may not work, and usually I would say I am one of those people, however the pacing worked after getting into the novel. The continual night after night of dancing was repetitive and redundant yet I'm not sure how that could be avoided given that was a majority of the events that take place in the tale. How can you really expand on that?? Anyways the novel really focuses on the relationship between the girls and their father the King. The pacing helped to show the divide between them and is gradually overcome.

While there are twelve sisters there is only real development seen with the oldest three. We get to see them fall in love which was nice. The names were a bit silly in my opinion, but even now I can still tell you all twelve as they were alphabetical stair steps in the flower family: Azalea, Bramble, Clover, Delphinium, Evening Primrose, Flora, Goldenrod, Hollhock, Ivy, Jessamine, Kale, and Lily. Bramble was by far one of the funniest because she as so spunky. The gentlemen, although I'm blanking on Azalea's beau I really liked him the best!! He reminded me of a character from an Austen novel. The gentlemen, and there really only three who have a key point in relation to the girls, don't play a huge role to the story but they are likable.

The little bit of magic that is seen in the novel could have been more exciting if it was a bit more developed. I'm still not sure how it all worked and we never see anything actually performed. Things just happen and while I was able to suspend my disbelief and say ok fine that happened I can't explain it. It was just "magical". Thanks to the magic I was happy to see a happy ending when I honestly thought there might not be a happy ending after all.

All in all I'd say the novel turned out to be a new favorite. One I would consider purchasing so that I had it and would be able to read it again one day. It may be awhile before I would read it again, but I would still like to know that I could should I decide to.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Read: February 25-29, 2012
read in 4 days
pages: 404

I wouldn't say this was a great read. I'd say it was an ok read. The fact that the character was a ghost was ok I could suspend my belief long enough to go along with that. What bugged me was one about the second or third page said ghost indicates that since she is dead she does not need to "breathe" the air. Yet throughout the book she BREATHES!! And at times after she has been involved with the boy she meets she even pants because she is so overwhelmed with emotion. Really? A ghost? That just seemed a bit too far out for me to go along with since the point was made early on that the ghost doesn't need to breathe.

Its quite obvious that the author is going to work on another book and attempt to make this a series just like most of the teen books coming out now. I wish that authors had enough great stand alone ideas that there wasn't a need to constantly be coming out with series. For me the ending felt forced into becoming an opening for another book. Thing were concluded we really don't need to know what happens between the ghost and the boy she met. All the conflict was resolved with the exception of his grandmother wanting to exorcise her since she thought she was an evil spirit. Ugh. I don't know. I didn't feel enough of a connection to read further whenever another book would be released. I think young girls who like a good love story will enjoy this, but for me a once read through was more than enough to say I'm done.

Oh and call me a sucker AGAIN cause I judged the book by its pretty cover. That was what convinced me to pick it up from the library anyways = )