I started reading this, and decided that it wasn't really my cup of tea, so I gave it to my dad. He's an oceanog...moreI won this as a Goodreads first read.
I started reading this, and decided that it wasn't really my cup of tea, so I gave it to my dad. He's an oceanographer, and is always ready and willing to read books about waves and all that cool ocean stuff. Here's what he thought.
I would not recommend this book to anyone. The author was very disjointed and lacking in continuity. It was like she sat down with a pad of paper and made an unorganized list of everything she wanted to talk about, and then wrote her book in that order. She was jumping around from situation to situation, location to location. I couldn't keep up with her. She also repeated herself a lot, so I had a hard time knowing where she was.
Her facts were accurate, but to the average person who had not studied oceanography, I'm not sure they would understand. Sometimes her use of the science itself made no sense.
I would have enjoyed more imagery and detail. I wished she had described her experiences in the water in more detail. I wanted to know how she felt, and how she reacted. This was written like a play-by-play with no emotion or connection to the reader.
I only finished it because I was intrigued, and I love the science.
UPDATE: July 26th, 2010 - It's here in the mail and it says "Advanced Reader Copy" on the cover! I feel so speci...moreI won this is a Goodreads first read.
UPDATE: July 26th, 2010 - It's here in the mail and it says "Advanced Reader Copy" on the cover! I feel so special!! :P
September 6, 2010 - This book is very interesting! I enjoyed reading about the history and the artistic qualities of this bridge. Because I got an ARC, which did not include the 8-page color insert, I don't think I can really critique the pictures of lack thereof. I did see a few small B&W pictures, but they were not very good quality. I'm assuming they will be better quality in the final publication.
It's an interesting book that covers an interesting topic. The Golden Gate Bridge is an icon for not only California, but many other people throughout the USA and the world. The writing is done very well, and I like the division of the chapters. One reviewer mentioned that each chapter is like a small essay on a particular subject involving the bridge and I totally agree. Great read! (less)
Reviews of Cinder are storming the blogosphere right now, in anticipation of today's release...moreOriginally posted on my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl
Reviews of Cinder are storming the blogosphere right now, in anticipation of today's release date! They are everywhere! I'm jumping on the "Cinder-lovers" bandwagon and seriously have no idea how to approach this review. Haha! My thoughts feel so unorganized and are conflicting with one another. What can I say that will make my review different? So many people have already covered everything. Oh well! Here goes!
Last year with my first grade class (I taught reading and phonics to a 1st grade class while their other teacher did small group tutoring), we had a fairy tale week and I spent the week reading them different Cinderella picture books. We had a zombie Cinderella, and an Indian Cinderella... and a very modern spin on the story. The kids LOVED it. At the end of the week, we wrote and illustrated our very own Cinderella story called, "Mrs. Bellarella and Miss Janarella." (I'm Miss Jana, obviously. Mrs. Bell was their other teacher.) The story was absolutely hilarious. Needless to say, I'm pretty familiar with Cinderella, and I was pretty excited to hear about a more "grown-up" retelling. I thought that cyborgs and androids were pushing the envelope a little too far, though. I was SO wrong! I loved how Cinder tied in all the elements of the original story, but put a modern sci-fi spin on it! And even though we're talking about a dystopian society with cyborgs and aliens, Cinder was still a completely magical fairy tale. :)
I loved Marissa Meyer's writing style, and very creative imagination! The world she created left me with no questions. The detailed descriptions of the scenery, futuristic mechanics and medicine, people, etc. were captivating to read. I got totally lost. I loved Cinder's character. She's a tom-boy mechanic, and has grease stains all over her ALL the time. Her idea of getting dressed up is putting on a shiny new foot, not a glass slipper. She's spunky, and realistic. She sticks up for herself when it counts, and is not afraid of anything! I pretty much adore the fact that she's always got her head on straight. Perhaps her internal programming is what keeps her grounded, but she just gets it. She knows what needs to be done, no matter what, and she does it! She lets nothing cloud her judgement. You go, girl! Her quirky android friend/assistant, Iko, is hilarious. She's a machine, but there's some kind of glitch in her that makes her more human than most androids. I was enthralled by their story, and really loved reading about their latest projects and schemes.
Prince/Emperor Kai is a little... eh right now. Don't get me wrong, I like him. It's just that as the male lead in the story, we don't know much about him. His conversations with Cinder are mostly small talk, with a few intimate details shared every once in a while. Perhaps he'll become more rounded in the next three books. I do appreciate that there's no insta-love. They both know that there's a connection, but they're not going crazy about it. Meyer is giving them time to develop their relationship, which we will hopefully be able to see in the next books.
My favorite parts were the hidden Cinderella details, and the awesome futuristic settings and technology. Oh, and the ending is pretty breathtaking as well. Twists and turns keep you guessing until the last sentence. I would have enjoyed seeing a little more character development in Kai. Right now, I'm not seeing what Cinder sees in him. Also, the story takes place in New Beijing, but I never would have known if it had not been continually mentioned. I would have liked more Chinese cultural elements, even futuristic ones. Finally, the ending was a bit too rushed for me, and then I fell off a cliff all of a sudden. I'm hanging by a thread here, wondering how the ending snuck up on me so fast!
Regardless of my tidbits of constructive criticism, I can't deny how much I loved the story. Sometimes we have to make allowances and just enjoy the ride, forgetting what we would have preferred. Plus, I'm trying to remember that there's 3 more books in the series! Marissa has plenty of time to turn Emperor Kai into Prince Charming. She has plenty of time to explain more details to me. I kind of like the mystery I've been left with. If we were given too much with this book, the others would end up being fluff. I'm sad I have to wait so long for Scarlet (Book #2). I guess that's the downside of getting ARCs: more time to wait for the next one! Haha!(less)
**I received this book free through netgalley. The following review is full of my honest opinion...more(Originally posted at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl)
**I received this book free through netgalley. The following review is full of my honest opinions, and was not influenced by netgalley at all.**
I really loved this book! Ever since I read The Hunger Games, I've been devouring dystopian novels. I honestly never thought I'd find one I liked as much, but this one came pretty close. The story was extremely exciting and had me hooked within a few pages. I became quickly invested in the story and the characters, and fell off the face of the Internet until I finished!
Aria's world is crazy. These Realms take her and her people, The Dwellers, anywhere in time and in space that they wish to visit--from medieval encounters with the knights of the roundtable, to mysterious forests, to the Paris Opera House. All they have to do is think, and they are transported there. It's all marketed as being real, but so much better. They live in domed pods with white ceilings, and never see the sky. The outside world is filled with deadly diseases, savages, and cannibals. Nobody wants to go out there, but Aria (named for her lovely singing voice) is forced out there after being blamed for a crime she didn't commit. When she runs across Perry, she's in desperate need of help to survive and return home to find her mother who has become unreachable at her scientific research lab miles away. Perry also desperately needs her help, as his nephew has been abducted by her people. A very unlikely duo sets out on a treacherous journey in search of a way to beat the odds.
My favorite character is Perry. He's very dynamic, with lots of layers that are slowly peeled off throughout the story. His back story has lots of interesting details, and I grew to find him completely captivating. His ability to sense what a person is feeling has made him extremely mature and sensitive. It has also caused him to care very deeply for people. Even though Aria is his enemy, he can't block out her feelings of pain and sorrow over the possible loss of her mother. He tries so hard to stay away, but can't help himself from trying to console and understand her. Aria sees him as a dirty savage, but softens as she realizes that he is just as capable of loving and losing someone as she is. As they begin to recognize that they're both human and are both going through the same thing even though they come from different worlds, their hearts are softened towards one another and a special bond forms. Aria's pretty strong, considering she was exiled from the only world she knew and thrown into a disease-ridden wasteland, ravaged by cannibals and deadly electric storms. She learns a lot about herself in this story, including where she came from, her powerful desire to survive, her ability to handle scary situations, the gift of her voice, and her desire to love. I liked her, but not as much I liked Perry and his best friend, Roar, who tags along mid-journey and becomes a character you grow to adore. Another character I was surprised to grow attached to was Cinder, an orphaned boy who's a lot more special than he realizes.
The writing was mesmerizing. I was totally immersed in the vivid descriptions of the land, the Aether (which made me picture the magnificent skies of Vincent van Gogh even before the author mentioned Starry Night), the advanced, limitless technology, the Realms and their virtual worlds, and even the pungent smells of the cannibals (ick!). Perry's inner struggle with feeling the feelings of others was beautifully written. The author explains his interpretations so well, that it's like a window has been opened to his mind. I could feel and understand Aria's fear when she was dropped in the Death Shop. It can be hard to write emotion, but Rossi did a wonderful job. I could feel the love as it grew between Perry and Aria. Nothing was forced or instant, just believable. I could feel Cinder's inner confusion and Roar's sense of mischief and humor. It was like I was there, along for the journey. I'm so sad the book is over! I can't wait to rejoin my friends in book #2, with a pretty vague release date of 2013.
I would definitely recommend this to futuristic dystopian lovers who enjoy action and sweet, innocent romance. I'm so proud of this 2012 debut author! Her first book is amazing, and I know it will only get better from here!
Ok... So, I didn't love this. It was just a bit too quirky for me. I mean, about 3 whole pages were spent describing a game of miniature golf. It just...moreOk... So, I didn't love this. It was just a bit too quirky for me. I mean, about 3 whole pages were spent describing a game of miniature golf. It just didn't grab me. I loved the idea of the book. However... when the publisher pitched it to me, it sounded SO much better! I was sent a summary that was not the one printed on the back of the book. The publisher summed it up for me very nicely, and now I can't find it! Anyway, the publisher's blurb made it sound so much more entertaining and interesting. When I received the book, I read the summary on the back and it sounded nothing like what the publisher said. If I had read this summary, I would not have accepted it because I would have known immediately that it was not my cup of tea. No offense to the author or anything. You can't please everyone. :)
I'm pretty picky. A book has to have me sold before page 100 or I usually give up. Some might not agree with my logic, but I think it's a service to the author. If I'm reading something I don't like, and force myself to read it... I'm pretty much frustrated by the time I write my review, and I am really critical. If I reach a point where I'm convinced my opinions can't be changed, I think it's better to just give up and state that it wasn't for me. Then I won't steer a person to or away from the book, and will still be giving the author the courtesy of returning the favor. I got a book, so he deserves the acknowledgement. I do appreciate that I was given this book, and plan to send it to a new home where it will be more loved and appreciated than it did in mine. :)(less)
I was SO excited when Syrie wrote to me and told me that I was the first ever recipient of a Forbidden ARC! I read this book back in August, and was v...moreI was SO excited when Syrie wrote to me and told me that I was the first ever recipient of a Forbidden ARC! I read this book back in August, and was very happy when it was requested that I post this review now, rather than wait for the month of the release. Put this on your Christmas lists, guys! I think you'll enjoy it. :)
First off, I really loved the story. The premise was interesting, and I like how I had to keep guessing and trying to figure out what was going on. I liked the tactic the authors used--to not tell us what Claire or Alec are for quite a while. All these crazy things start happening, and people are not who they say they are. I felt like I was just as lost as Claire was, which was exciting. I wish the back of the book did not mention angels. It would have been more fun to not have had any clue at all.
Alec is an amazing character, and I'm not going to tell you what he is. It's fun to discover that on your own. He's a mix of bad boy and sweetheart, which I love. He is so sweet with Claire. He's also mysterious and dangerous, yet soft and romantic. He's at Emerson Academy to escape his old life and create a new one... if that's even possible. He enjoys his isolation. As soon as Claire pops up on the radar as someone the Elders should be investigating, his hiding place is discovered and he ends up having to take drastic measures to protect her from those who wish to destroy her.
I'm not going to tell you exactly what Claire is either, but she's something forbidden. Haha. Her entire life should not even exist. She starts noticing changes and has to learn as she goes, because not many have ever been in her position. There's no manuals on how to be herself. Man, this is painful to explain without spoilers, so I'm moving on! She's sweet and wishes to be noticed by this one guy she's had a crush on for years. Of course, he barely notices she's alive. When Alec comes along, though, she begins to gravitate towards him right as this crush starts to gravitate towards her. She's torn. She doesn't embrace the love triangle, like so many YA girls end up doing in books. (Like... did Bella have to act so upset to be marrying Edward, but fling herself into Jacob's arms when he showed up late at her reception? Sorry... I just saw Breaking Dawn yesterday.). She does a lot of thinking, and follows her heart. She seems smart. She also uses her talents to help people, like a classmate who needed a push in the right direction. Those are two main reasons why I like her. She didn't bug me, which often happens to me with YA heroines. I feel like I'm saying this a lot lately. Maybe authors are starting to write better heroines in general?
I liked Claire's friends a lot. They looked out for each other, and spent a lot of time sitting and chatting about all kinds of things. Friends usually end up bugging me too. They can so often be petty, catty, etc. I wish I had good friends like them when I was in high school.
There were several plot twists that made me go, "Whoa! I definitely wasn't thinking THAT would happen!" I've noticed that as I read more and more of one genre, books begin to become pretty predictable. I mean, how many love triangles do we see? How many evil villains do we see? How many cliche plot twists do we see. A lot, a lot, a lot. These twists were not something I foresaw. I enjoyed being outsmarted by a genre that I've pretty much figured out.
Of course, the sweet kissing descriptions were just as good as the ones I've read in Syrie's other novels. I love romance!
My only possible constructive criticism… I'm not sure if it's because the book is part of the YA genre (which I've never read from Syrie), or if it was because she co-wrote it with her son, but there were parts of the novel that were totally Syrie, and other parts that did not sound like her. I could tell that two people wrote it. I'm not sure if it's because her writing style and Ryan's were not blended seamlessly, or if it was just that I'm used to reading adult fiction from Syrie instead of YA. In either case, it's not a huge deal… just an observation. If I had not read other works of hers, I doubt I would have noticed anything at all. I've just come to recognize Syrie's literary voice because I like it so much!
I asked Syrie if she and her son were planning to write a sequel, and she said that in their minds, it's a trilogy. However, HarperTeen only committed to one book. They have great ideas for the next two, though, so hopefully Forbidden is well-received, and they can continue the story. I'd love to know more about what's in store for Alec and Clair. Actually, I'd love a prequel, too. Throughout the story, we hear little bits about Claire's parents. I'd love to read about their story as well. It has the potential to be a pretty beautiful story.
I definitely think that the book will appeal to more than just YA readers, and I think a lot of that is due to the fact that the characters are not annoying and certainly don't fit into the stereotypical high school student formula. I think it also helped that Alec had a certain maturity that seemed to influence the other characters, and that brought on more mature conflicts and issues. I'm 24, and a lot of YA novels I read make me feel pretty old. Haha. I know I'm not old, but in a totally different place than most YA characters. I didn't feel like this while reading Forbidden, and I forgot they were all highschoolers. It was refreshing.
In short, it was a wonderful book. I quite enjoyed it, and only took about 2 days to read it. Hopefully this team gets to continue the story! While it can totally stand on its own, there are plenty of ends that are just a tad loose, that could use some tying up!(less)
**Originally posted at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl**
I was totally justified in my drastic efforts to get this book early, because it is AMAZING. M...more**Originally posted at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl**
I was totally justified in my drastic efforts to get this book early, because it is AMAZING. Make sure you clear your calendars, set aside some uninterrupted time, and prepare to be transported to another world!
1. This book is funny! Right at the beginning, Emma meets Galen by slamming face first into his bare chest at the beach in Florida. She was completely mortified. Her inner dialogue is hilarious. I was trying really hard not to laugh, because I didn't want anyone to hear me in the middle of the night. And the things she says out loud are funny too! "Ohmysweetgoodness." is a common outburst, along with "Fan-flipping-tastic". I could just hear them as I read them, and I'll admit I kind of giggled every time. There are serious moments as well, but I was not expecting the humor at all. It was a pleasant surprise.
2. I really liked all the characters. Emma is quirky, funny, a little eccentric, dramatic, a bit of an accident waiting to happen, and extremely skeptical. Her mom is ultra-protective, so much so that it becomes completely unbelievable, but funny at the same time. She means well, though. Galen is tall, dark, and handsome, and he is so sweet with Emma. Utterly swoon-worthy. I liked that he was not overprotective (although he's the jealous type, which I LOVE), but still showed how much he cared for her. His serious nature was a nice compliment to Emma's huge personality. I totally fell for him. Galen's "mom", Rachel is a human who is really Galen's assistant. She makes sure he knows everything he needs to know about humans, manages his money, and takes care of his on-land necessities. She's pretty funny as well. Then we have Galen's sister, Rayna, who has been "mated" (married) to Toraf without her consent. She's this rude, bitter, spunky grump who has a soft side if you're willing to take the time to find it. Her husband (whom she despises), Toraf is the concerned big brother type that pretty much everyone wishes they had in their own family. He's so funny, and I felt bad for him because of the way Rayna treated him. Heck, I'll take him if she's going to be such a brat about it! The entire cast (including unmentioned supporting characters) are all very likeable, and different enough from one another that you don't forget who's who.
3. I really loved the dual perspectives, with each chapter switching back and forth between Emma and Galen. I have a thing for male protagonists, so I loved jumping into Galen's head as well.
4. Anna's take on mermaid and Greek mythology was very refreshing. In this book, Poseidon is presented as a ruling Syrena (merman), rather than a Greek God. The Syrena have violet eyes, and can switch between having a fin and having legs. They can sense the electric pulse of one another in the water, which causes a lot of "duh dun" moments like in the movie Jaws, with some unknown Syrena swimming up and grabbing another one. The Syrena can also blend into the water, and become invisible. I thought it was pretty awesome. Oh, and Emma can talk to and control sea life. Can I do that?
5. There were some really intense moments! I was totally captivated and drawn in to them. I love a little suspense, and since this deals with the ocean, a scary place in my mind, I found myself biting my nails and burrowing deeper into my bed while I read.
6. The underwater scenes are gorgeous! This is why I love mermaid books. The author can turn the ocean into anything they want, and describe it any way they want. Pure imagination at its finest.
7. Ahhhh! The ending! I'm dying! Major cliffhanger, people, and my jaw completely dropped! But I LOVED IT! Is there a sequel? There has to be!
I would definitely recommend this to lovers of a new take on Greek mythology, mermaids, swoon-worthy male leads, a book that keeps you guessing, and some on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments. LOVED this book! (less)
This book was lovely for several uncommon reasons: 1. The characters are my age! I'm so used to reading about tweens, teenagers, and middle-aged adults. I rarely read about characters who are mid-to-late twenties. It was refreshing. 2. This book is an amazing book to help you feel better after a nasty break-up. I wish I'd had this book a few years ago when I went through one of those. 3. Traveling!!!!! I love books where people travel, and what's better than driving through England in a camper van named Dolly?
So, Carrie is engaged to her business partner: a farmer guy named Huw. One night he comes home from a stag party and tells her he can't marry her anymore. Of course, she's heartbroken. Who wouldn't be? THEN... just 4 months later, Huw is getting married to the woman he cheated on her with! She finds out on the day of his wedding, and runs to the church to crash the ceremony and call him out. She chickens out, though, and just ruins a very expensive flower arrangement outside the church. At this point, her best friend Rowena is pretty worried about Carrie, and decides the two of them need to go on a roadtrip to Italy and beyond. Things are all set and ready to go, when Rowena gets a job on a soap opera and has to back out of the trip the morning of. She mischievously calls on Dr. Matt Landor, an old friend from college to go with Carrie instead. Matt's currently home from a small island where he works as a doctor for a charitable organization, and has absolutely nothing to do. His passport is also expired, and so they can't leave England. Carrie is mortified at this change in plans, but Matt finally talks her into going on a trip with him. They spend just over a month traveling around the English countryside meeting new people, and getting to know each other far better than they expected. Love blossoms among several different sets of characters. There's even a bit of a scary twist that makes you worry for the characters! Mix all of this together with a lot of British slang that I had a hard time understanding at first, and you have a very cute romantic comedy on your hands.
Carrie is hilarious. She destroyed a flower arrangement with a hose! I hope that if my fiance dumps me for a skank named Fanella, I will have the guts to do something like this. I like her sense of adventure, and her determination. Not only does she get over Huw, but she has fun doing it. Matt is the brooding sexy type. Carrie compares him to Mr. Darcy, and I have to agree. He's tall, dark, handsome, troubled, and covers up his love for Carrie with witty banter and silly arguments. He and Carrie have great chemistry. Some of their conversations and flirtatious moments had me laughing. I enjoyed the supporting characters, which included some pretty funny hippie surfer dudes who end up lying on the beach stoned more than they actually surf, and a stuck up gaggle of socialites who add the word "darling" to the end of every sentence.
While you pretty much know how everything will turn out, you don't know how everything will be wrapped up. There were twists, turns, misunderstandings, and some lovely character development. The timeline of the book covers more time than I'm used to (over a year), which was nice. I loved the setting of the book. Carrie and Matt spent a lot of time along the water, and the author wrote some lovely descriptions.
Overall, this was a great read! I really enjoyed the plot line and the writing, although I would have appreciated fewer f-words. I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy travel, England, quirky characters, and romance. I'll definitely be pursuing more Phillipa Ashley books.
The release date is December 1st of this year, so you don't have to wait too long to get your hands on it! It's definitely a nice, happy read that will warm your heart during these chilly, wintery months. Happy reading! (less)
Do you ever read a book that leaves you thinking, "Ok, how on Earth am I supposed to go about re...more(Originally posted at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl)
Do you ever read a book that leaves you thinking, "Ok, how on Earth am I supposed to go about reviewing that?" Don't get me wrong. I loved this book. Sometimes, though, I come across a book I love so much, that it leaves me wordless. Haha. This was one of them. I'm not sure exactly what it was that made me love it so much. Perhaps it was the sweeping, yet believable non-insta-love romance, the unique take on a utopian world, or the writing that I totally got. You know how sometimes your brain and an author's writing style just mesh, and you're writing in your mind the exact same story you're reading? Jodi just did everything right. She and I were on the same wavelength, and I totally got her. I'm not saying the book was predictable, because it totally wasn't. I'm saying that everything she wrote was exactly what I wanted. I got my romance, my mystery, my alternate world, my suspense, my excitement. Let's see if I can break this down for you in a way that makes sense. Haha. I'm really into putting my thoughts into numbered lists right now, so that's what I'm going to do. It works for me.
1. I really loved reading about Ana's journey to Heart. The very beginning of the book just sucked me in, and I was sold. It was suspenseful, and adventurous. It was also a great way to be introduced into this world. We're introduced to the sylph, which are vicious invisible fire breathers that burn anything in their path. Whoa.
2. And then we meet Sam. I LOVE SAM. He might just be one of my favorite YA male characters. Because he's been reincarnated so many times, he's extremely smart, talented, and mature. He's unbelievably caring and considerate. People in this world hate Ana because in order for her to be born, a person had to die and never be reincarnated again. Her birth was a complete mistake, and people resent her not only because she "stole" a life, but because they are worried that more people like her will be born in the future. Sam's totally not on board with their train of thought, though. He adores her and helps her figure out that she's worth so much more than her birth mother has been telling her her whole life. And he's musical. He made me melt a little.
3. I really enjoyed learning about Heart. The walls have a heartbeat. There's a mysterious temple with no doors that is so tall, you can't see the top of it. It's so huge that almost the entire human race lives there. Plus, it's been there since the beginning of time. The inhabitants of this place said they just stumbled upon it after being born the first time. They think it was given to them by their God, Janan (which is so close to my name. woot!), to protect them from the dangerous beasts of the world.
4. The Masquerade Ball is flat-out one of the most beautiful scenes in the book. The ball is held for two souls who have pledged their undying love for one another across all their incarnations, even if sometimes one of them happens to be 80 and the other one 5. Or... if they both happen to come back as members of the same gender. It's their souls that matter, not their bodies or age. So they celebrate this ceremony with a masquerade ball, where nobody knows who anyone is dressed as. The goal is for this couple to find each other anyway. What a beautiful underlying message of eternal love knowing no bounds. It's a breathtaking thought. And wow, this ball was sexy. I'll leave it at that!
5. The action and suspense! Dragons, Sylph, people out to kill Ana and Sam... SO exciting! I was flipping pages faster than I could read, and had to press the back button on my Kindle to go back. (Anyone else ever do that? Haha.)
6. Music was a HUGE part of this book. Sam's an amazing musician, and Ana connects with music on the same level I do. Music has always been one of the main elements of my life. It brings out such strong emotions and feelings in me. I connect with it on so many levels, just like she mentions throughout this story. I identified with her so much for this reason.
7. The lyrical writing was gorgeous, but not over the top or flowery. Like I said, I just got it. I don't want to give away too many details, because it's something you've got to experience on your own.
8. There were no hidden agendas in this book. There were points where the people seem to be very religious and devoted to their God, but this was not preachy at all. I didn't feel like anything was being shoved down my throat. There were also a few moments that could almost be identified as anti-religious, but again I didn't feel like the author was trying to sway me one way or another. Remember in my review of Halo when I said that a good author can write a religion without preaching it? This book, unlike Halo, was a good example of an author who handles it without trying to force someone to have an opinion. I really appreciated that.
9. The idea of reincarnation was handled in a very interesting way. These people live, they die. Then they are reincarnated into a new body (male or female) and come back as a grown human in a baby's body. They come out smart, and with all the memories of their previous lives. It's a very cool idea, and opens the door for many interesting and well-rounded characters. I loved it.
10. And... I just have to mention the cover. It's gorgeous. And unlike some book covers, this cover tells so much about the story itself. I'm not going to elaborate on this because I don't want to spoil anything, but I might just have to buy a hard copy of this book so I can own the cover. I'm a graphic designer, and I really appreciate art that is done for a better reason that to "just look pretty". This is one of the best examples I've seen of a cover that very subtly opens a window to the story. You'll understand what I mean once you read it.
All in all, read this book! It's new, it's fresh, it's romantic, and it's pretty much awesome. I can't wait for the next one!
(Wonder why I classified this as a utopia instead of a dystopia? A utopia is when the community or society is perfect or ideal, and there are no thoughts of running away or escaping. A dystopia is when the condition of that place is extremely bad or unpleasant.)
Well... That was confusing! With this book, I kind of felt like I was just going through the mot...more(Originally posted on my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl)
Well... That was confusing! With this book, I kind of felt like I was just going through the motions. I wanted to read it, and I knew I should read it, but I wasn't excited about it or craving it like I do when I'm reading a book I adore. I spent a lot of time going, "hmmm...". This was definitely unique and totally unlike anything I've ever read before.
We have our unnamed (until the very end) heroine/narrator of the story. She's not a very riveting character, probably because she is the nameless "new girl" living in the shadow of, and pretty much replacing, the girl who disappeared mysteriously the year before. I had to feel for her. I moved around a lot as a child, and I've been the new girl SO many times. It's really hard to go to a brand new place, and at the end of high school? That's pretty brutal. It's even harder because Becca (mystery girl) had to disappear to even open a spot for "new girl" to attend the boarding school. Everyone's got a major thing against her, and they don't even know her yet. That's got to be hard. At the same time, though, because I've been there I know that you've got to stick up for yourself to fit in. She didn't. She spent a lot of time having people yell at her and accuse her of untrue things while she sat there, stunned, with her mouth gaping open. So... she kind of bugged me. Eventually she finds her footing and begins to stick up for herself. And I do admire her for sticking it out and not moving back home. I know I would want to, so I have to give her props there.
Every other chapter or so, Becca narrates and we have flashbacks of her time at the school before her disappearance. She was a snobby, cocky, manipulative, drunken slut! And... a total sociopath. I got really tired of reading about her against-the-rules late night beer pong/body shot parties at the boathouse, her two-timing two nice boys, her lies, and her ego. I really just hated her! She's the kind of person that new girls of the world fear. Her friend and roommate, Dana (also "new girl's" roommate"), was also totally psycho. She really creeped me out as I watched her grief over losing Becca totally consume her. She spent the entire book on a conquest to find Becca and ruin "new girl's" life. And she was creepy. I got chills reading about her. And then there were all the other members of Becca's posse, who also hated "new girl". And then there were the two boys who had a thing for Becca... also having a thing for "new girl" but trying not to have a thing for her because it would be weird in light of Becca's disappearance. Both guys were nothing special, and I had a hard time understand how they knew enough about her to like her so much. So... poor "new girl" does not have many positive pieces of her life.
Really, the whole story is all boathouse parties, people sneaking off to do the nasty, the occasional classroom environment, creepy encounters, and insane people being really mean to an innocent girl they don't even know the name of. And the sad thing is... I can totally see this happening in real life. I think that's why it disturbed me so much! A popular girl in a high school environment can TOTALLY take control of an entire student body like Becca did. She was so powerful that even being MIA, she still ruined the life of someone! That's kind of scary if you think about it! (By the way, I had no idea this was a retelling of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier until I read another review. Now I'm intrigued... I need to go grab my copy of Rebecca and read it!) The pacing was a little too slow for me, especially at the end... although I did kind of like "new girl's" introspection as she accessed her final thoughts and her time at Manderly.
I tend to be pretty critical, but in light of what I just said, this book had some positive points. I did not find it weird that we never knew "new girl's" name. It did not feel like we were not allowed to know. It flowed naturally, and I think not knowing her name actually allowed me to identify with her more. It was easier to slip into her mind and feel what she was feeling. I was also pretty intrigued by what happened to Becca, and how she had such control over so many people. I read most of this book in one sitting, so even though I have my complaints, I was still interested enough to continue on well into the wee hours of the morning.
(Oh my. The light bulb just went on... Rebecca... Becca. Gosh. In my defense, it's 3:00 AM. Don't judge!) <-- Ok, sorry. That was a tangent.
I liked how Becca and "new girl" were linked. They both essentially told the exact same story, but things went very differently for the two of them. Becca always got what she wanted and "new girl" pretty much never did. The character development was sound. I know the personalities of the main characters very well. I don't know their favorite book, TV show, or color. I don't know where they are from, or what they plan to do with their lives, but I can guess what they'll think or feel next. They contrasted well with each other, and I liked getting into their heads.
This book was more of an experience than a story. I can see it as a kind of social commentary. I felt the chill and the emotion. I felt really sorry for "new girl". Actually, I ended up feeling really sorry for Becca as well. It really made me think a lot. Even now as I'm writing this review, I'm coming up with new things I pulled from the book. I just keep coming back to how eerily possible the entire story is. Clearly, an underlying moral message was written between the lines, but telling you my opinions on that might foil your own thoughts.
Have any of you read this? What did you think? Those of you who have read Rebecca, how closely does this story follow Rebecca's storyline? No spoilers, please!(less)
I have been thinking about Cinder for over a year now, and Scarlet picks up right where Cinder drops off. The exact...more(Originally reviewed on the blog.)
I have been thinking about Cinder for over a year now, and Scarlet picks up right where Cinder drops off. The exact day, actually. I loved that! We get to jump right back in and pick up where we were, while learning new things about this crazy world, the Lunars, and our favorite characters!
1. For some reason, I had no idea that Cinder was going to be in this book! I was delighted when I learned what a huge role she was actually going to play in it. And her android, Iko, was there... and we even got some Kai time! Yay! So glad to see them all again. :)
2. It was also so much fun learning about some new characters: Scarlet and Wolf. Scarlet is a strong, confident character who makes a great team mate for Cinder in this ongoing quest against the Lunar Queen. I love the emphasis placed an female heroes in this series. Marissa has created two equally feisty, brave, determined, charismatic, and smart ladies to drive the story on. Wolf is sexy and swoonworthy, and exactly the kind of bad boy this story needed. His sensitive nature and core instincts make him both a ticking time bomb and the most loyal companion you could ask for. Do not get on his bad side, though. Cinder has her own male counterpart, Captain Thorne, and he's kind of hilarious. I just kept picturing this completely oblivious, clumsy, cocky guy who is always slightly drunk. He lightened things up quite a bit, and also became a character I really loved.
3. I enjoyed the balance of humorous dialogue and serious, sometimes heartbreaking moments. Scarlet's banter with Wolf was utterly charming, while her discussions with her grandmother pulled at the heartstrings.
4. This is not your typical book 2 of a series, where nothing important happens. Scarlet has SO much going on! There's space flights, running from the law, romance, Lunar attacks, kidnapping, fights, and NEWS. So much news!
5. Yet again, the world building is immaculate. Last time, Beijing. This time, Paris. Yes, people. Paris in the future is amazing.
Overall, Scarlet is just as wonderful and captivating as Cinder. Clearly, Marissa is not a one hit wonder. I can't wait for the next book! (less)
When I think of Cress, I have a very hard time containing the love I have for it. Cress is the most creative Rapunzel retelling I have read in my enti...moreWhen I think of Cress, I have a very hard time containing the love I have for it. Cress is the most creative Rapunzel retelling I have read in my entire life. Marissa’s writing is flawless. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of growth in her since Cinder, and I am so proud of her. Oh, and Thorne. Be still my heart. And Wolf! I have so much love for Cress, and can’t imagine Marissa Meyer topping this one. She has proven to us before, though, that she can and she will.
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I'm glad I read Dreaming of Mr. Darcy. I was really excited for it, and it did end up being light and fun. I just had higher expectations. Like all ro...moreI'm glad I read Dreaming of Mr. Darcy. I was really excited for it, and it did end up being light and fun. I just had higher expectations. Like all romances, everyone ends up with who you want/expect them to. I still plan to read the other stories in this series, and hope to connect with them more.