Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sarah's Top Ten Favorite Books of 2012

I figured that 2012 is good and over, so I ought to say which ten books I most loved reading in the past year.

I'll start with a few stats from Goodreads. Apparently I read 104 books in 2012 that, altogether, were 36,888 pages of reading. Most of it was done on the Kindle that Mark got for me in late 2011, and almost all of the books were borrowed from the library. The longest book I read was The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss at a whopping 994 pages. The oldest book I read was Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, published in 1811. The rating I handed out the most was 3 Stars, and I recommended more than half of the books as good to read. Mmmmkay, now to my top ten. I'm going to do this in no particular order. All of the top ten are fairly equally loved.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ahhhh . . . it's a time honored classic for me. I've read it a couple of times before in previous years, but I honestly don't get sick of it. I love Elizabeth Bennett, and the cast of characters is delightful yet frustrating. I picture the setting as magical and simple, but never would I ever want to be a woman during that time period. Anyway, if you haven't read it, give it a whirl. It's a good one.

Saving Francesca
On the Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Froi of the Exhiles
by Melina Marchetta
I decided to just bulk her books together as one entry. Not because they are all alike (which they definitely aren't) but because four of her books would have taken up spots in my top ten. Let's just say that she's an amazing writer and you really can't go wrong reading anything written by her. She's possibly on of my favorite authors ever . . . so yeah read any of these books.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
This book was some awesome, epic fantasy. If you love yourself a long fantasy book with unique ideas, engaging characters, and top notch writing, then read this book. After you're done reading it, do yourself a favor and do not read the second book in the series. Let's just say that I gave this book 5 Stars without hesitation, and I gave the second book 1 Star with equal swiftness. Truly disappointing, but the first book is undoubtedly worth a read.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
What I liked best about this YA fantasy book wasn't just the originality; I also immensely enjoyed that it was written in third person, that the romance wasn't ridiculous, and that the main girl was not obnoxious. The writing was also splendid. I'm sure you've heard of this book though, so if you haven't read it, just do yourself a favor and get your little tushy on that library hold list.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
If I could tell you to read one dystopian YA book and only one, it would be this one. Okay . . . The Hunger Games would be up there too, but that book is old news. Of the gillions of YA dystopian books getting published, this was my favorite I read this year, and I'm pretty sure I read upwards of 13 YA dystopians. This book would not allow me to put it down. It was utterly engaging. I loved it. Loved it.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
I'm not really sure how the two author thing works with books, but in this case it worked remarkably well. This story, written in letter format (which I usually hate, but in this case it worked and I loved it), about a woman bonding with an island of people in the aftermath of WWII was sweet, touching, heartfelt, engaging, and delightful. Yup, delightful. It took me a little bit to get into it, but once I did, I couldn't put it down.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
This book, and it's two sequels, about a young witch in modern society made me laugh. They were light hearted, funny, and a good, easy read. If you're simply looking to enjoy yourself, go read these.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Cute, cute, cute! That's how I would describe this YA Chiclit. It is like unto the delightful romantic comedies of yesteryear, such as, You've Got Mail. Another enjoyable yet romantic read.

Angelfall by Susan Ee
I already reviewed this YA dystopian here, and I still feel the same about it. Good book.

World War Z: an Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
I didn't know if I was going to like this book before I read it. I've never been into zombies whether they be in books, movies, or on TV, but I ended up loving this book. I can't even fathom how much research the author must have put into creating what would happen across the world, not just in the U.S., should some sort of zombie disease occur. I used to think that zombie outbreaks were super ridiculous. "Oh dear, they walk slow and you only become a zombie if they bite you, and you don't become a zombie right away?" I thought. "However could you solve that problem!" But Mr. Brooks made a believer out of me. If zombies happened like they do in this book, then I would be super duper scared. Anywho, strange sounding book, but it's awesome.

Well, there's my top ten-ish books for 2012. You should probably read at least two of them. I promise that you will not regret it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Reached

Reached by Ally Condie

Description: After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

Review: I honestly went back and forth on giving this one or two stars. I was thinking one because I didn't enjoy any of the moments in this book. Seriously, none. Then I thought, "No, the writing was solid. So I have to give her something for that." But then I was thinking, "Wait, any poet could write up a book all nice sounding like, but if the book has nothing engaging, no good plot, no good world, no good characters, then what's the point?" It was a lot of debate going on in my head, apparently. My end verdict is going to have to be 1.5 stars. Here's why:

It was boring. So so boring. I could have put it down at any time, walked away, never finished it and not been bothered at all. In fact, I did put it down, several times. Not even for important reasons either. Once I put it down to watch an ABC Family movie starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence on Netflix. Let's digest that. I would rather watch a crappy movie with mediocre actors that's made for TV and that I can access at any time, instead of read this book. The saddest thing is that I liked that movie better than I liked this book. That is big, guys. I didn't even like the movie that much.

I stopped caring about the characters. I actually cared about these characters in the first two books. In the first book I really cared about them all, and in the second one, even though it didn't get as much love, I still cared about them and rooted for them. She even got me to care about the new characters in the second book. She has some mad skills though, because in this third book, with me already liking  her cast, she got me to uncare about all of them. She managed to suck away my feelings for everyone in the book like a black hole of apathy. I no longer wanted to understand their motives because none of them were interesting. The characters were also fairly interchangeable in voice. It went pretty much like this: Cassia-obnoxiously poetic, trying to make everything she sees, hears, and does into poetry, so obsessed with poetry that I'm not sure she actually cares about anything else. Ky-Somewhat poetic, seeing a little too much poetry in all the things for an average teenage guy, sounds a lot like Cassia. Xander-least poetic, hardly poetic at all, obsessed with Cassia and things being black and white, somehow the lack of poetry defined him in contrast with the poetry dreamer team.

All the questions I cared about only sort of got answered or didn't get answered at all. She answered the questions that I thought of as minor. What happened to Hunter and Eli?-not something I was dying to know, but I figured she'd tell us. Who are the archivists?-her answer: they are the archivists, they like old things. Like I couldn't infer that! Who is the pilot?-some guy, who's a pilot. Who's Cassia's grandpa?-duh, he's her grandpa, someone else who Cassia never talked about was special! What are anomalies and aberrations and why are they classified thusly?-unanswered. Why was the society keeping all of those tissue samples?-truly boring and uninteresting answer. Why was the society doing what it did?-sort of an answer, but not really. What was up with the matching?-no answer, the society was apparently just really into making love connections. Why was Ky matched with Cassia?-this one was the only halfway decent answer, but it still bored me. Who will Cassia pick?-I was really on the edge of my seat for this one . . . because, ya know, it wasn't horribly obvious.

The plague. I thought this book was going to be about infiltrating the society, taking them down, trying to establish something new, all the main cast working together after being separated for most of the second book. Nope. This book is about everyone being separate and it's about a plague. The plague is not only the plot of this book, it's practically the main character too. So instead of wrapping up all of the issues she created, the author decided to make an entirely new issue that would divert everyone's attention away from all of the previous issues. Mind blowingly stupid.

Spoiler alert. If you have been dying to read this boring book and don't want to know any of the wrap up info. then do not read on.

Cassia chooses Ky, super obvious, so what happens to poor, little Xander? Well, if we thumb through my little book of YA cliches, the scorned love triangler has a few options. He either dies, suddenly and inexplicably finds the perfect new girl for him at the last minute, or he falls in love with the unnatural baby of the girl he loved and other love triangler. Condie went for door number two: Xander falls in love with new perfect girl for him who just so happens to be Vick's (dead character) girly.

The end was too neat. Everything all wrapped up in a splendid little package. And should I really believe that Anna, someone that no one in the entire society knows at all, would really be considered in elections? Am I supposed to believe that everyone is just like, tra la la, we all almost died and the society may or may not be gone or may be being replaced with a new society, tra la la. It felt like, "Don't mind the woman behind the curtain, that's just the author telling us nonsense that would never happen in any real scenario! Believe it! Belieeeeeeeeeeeeve it!" And the only people who died were characters I honestly didn't care about anyway because the author built up the three main people so much that other people really didn't matter.

In conclusion, this book was the worst of the three, and the first book was the best of the three. I don't know what happened after the first book. It was kind of like the author forgot that she had written the first book at all. She possibly also forgot that she could write good things and decided she was way more interested in writing a really bad book of poetry than a novel. My recommendation would be this: if you have great self restraint, read the first book and only the first book and imagine a cool ending (your imagined ending will be cooler than what the author did, guaranteed), or, if you do not have good self restraint, do not read any of these books. You will be disappointed if you do. And bored. I don't recommend.

1.5 Stars

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Becky Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight

So, Sarah reviewed this book a few days ago and you can read her review here. I actually read this book a few months ago but I hadn't yet posted my review. I know that Sarah gave this book a rave review, but we do actually have differing tastes in books and I did not like this book as much as Sarah did.

Description from Goodreads: Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. Forhope.

Review: This book started out really slow because you don't see Karou's story line for many many pages. And, I didn't really care for reading from the other characters' point of view as much as I liked Karou. But, once her story line finally made an appearance it started to pick up again. It was intriguing how the author melded the two lives of Karou and Madrigal and made them into this one person who is not human though she wears a human body. Also, I got insight into Akiva's life and the Angel's world, which added some more depth and purpose to the war.

The writing itself was excellent, but the story line was so slow. I did not blaze through this book, but it took a long time to read because the POV kept jumping around so much. It is like when I started to read something that I was really interested in, the book would cut to someone else's POV at that pivotal moment and then I had to wade through 30 boring pages to get back to the real storyline.

The ending was a little predictable because the author sets you up for it way before the end of the book, but I was still pleased with the conclusion. I'm looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 4 stars

Book Review: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Description: St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Review: So...this book. There were some things I enjoyed about it. Obviously, because I read the second book. On the other hand, there were many many things that annoyed the crap out of me.

Things I could not stomach:
The main character. Rose, in her own words, is a sexy, hot, C cup breasted, curvaceous, beautiful, dark haired vixen. I don't think there could be anyone more in love with the looks of this girl than herself. According to Rose herself, on a good day, she's a ten. If ten was the rating for how unbelievably cocky and full of herself she is, then I would actually rate her about a 20. And what does she do with all these amazing good looks? Why, she sluts around, of course! But, don't worry, she's not really a slut because she's still a blushing virgin. She likes to be mean, be obnoxious, and boys are fun little play things for her. I don't use the word, but this girl is the definition of a . . . [fill in the blank].

The main guy. 6'7", tall, dark, handsome. Brooding. Emotionally stunted. Boring. Shoulder length hair that he keeps in a pony tail. Russian. Bad dresser. Reads western novels all the time. 24 year old who wants to have sex with a 17 year old. Good fighter. Oh, I'm sorry, should I have stopped listing at the part where he wants to sex up a minor seven years younger than him? Yeah, there's nothing hotter than a pervert with a pony tail.

The world. There are three species of vampires. Morois-royal, tall, beautiful, can somewhat stand the sun, control elemental magic but never for aggressive reasons. Strigois (yeah, I know, try saying these stupid names out loud)-pure evil, strongest, fastest, want to eat all vampires and humans, want to kill all the things. Dhampirs-half human-half vampire, can't reproduce unless it's with a Moroi, super strong, fast, agile, all servants and lower class.
So, essentially the wimpy, pathetic, can't defend themselves Moroi, lord over the strong, fast Dhampirs and make them guard them from the Strigoi. This always happens. Like, the zebras always get the hyenas to protect them from the lions. The hyenas just do the zebras bidding for no good reason. Totally logical. All the Dhampirs just go along with it. It's not like they are slaves being forced into submission. they're a very altruistic bunch who love to be lorded over by their snobby, weaker, richer, more pathetic halves (the Moroi, to be clear).

Okay, now I'ma get into something you don't get to know unless you read the book. Don't worry, it's really not revolutionary at all, but if you want to read this book and have been dying of anticipation and don't want a single little thing spoiled, do not read on.

Why the main peoples can't be together. You would think the only reason would be the whole pedophile thing on the part of Dimitri (the main pony tail guy (can't get over the pony tail, pony tails are not hot, they're disturbing)), but it's not. There's a more important reason why this 17 year old, sexy, brat girl who has pretty much been groomed by her older mentor cannot be with him. They cannot, under any circumstances, have a life. Why not? Because the having of a life would distract them from protecting their pathetic little Moroi girl they're supposed to guard. They must forever live alone, with no other friends, relationships, or any contact with their families lest their guard go down for even a moment. In that moment, defenseless Moroi chick could get attacked by Strigoi. Why would that be bad? Well, because then their slave master would be dead and they could live their own lives and make their own choices. How crap would that be? They could then be with the person they love. Horrid.

You might be asking yourself at this point what I liked about the book. Well, the writing wasn't all crap, the pacing was decent, and not all of the characters were the worst people in the world. Read at your own risk. Semi-recommend.

2 Stars

So I went on to read the subsequent five books (yes there are six books in this series. How long of a time period do those six books cover? You might ask. One year. One year, people). The second and third book were also horrible. Possibly worse than the first. The third one was most definitely the most inane, dull, why does this exist!? book of the lot. But then book four was actually quite decent. If I hadn't had to read the first three books in order to comprehend book four I would probably recommend that book and only that book. The fifth and sixth were better than the first three, but still not as good as the fourth, and still not books that I would put on any to-read list for anyone I know. The characters stay pretty much the same. One decent character is introduced but not given nearly enough screen time. The two main girls actually get worse. I know. It didn't seem possible, but they get so much worse. The books are way too long for how little time periods they cover, and there is an excess of pointless descriptions of pretty much everything that Rose sees. I wish she had been written as a blind character. I could rant about each book individually (please stop with the repetitive nonsense! "They come first" "endorphins" and "Zen master wisdom" were said over and over and over again until they lost all meaning. Come up with something else! If I said the same crap over and over and over again in real life like your dumbo characters no one would want to be around me, much less save my life time and again.), but they aren't worth it. My end recommendation is to skip this series. You'll end up reading all of it and feeling nothing at the end.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review: The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart
Description: Fifteen-year-old Ruby has had a rough ten days. During that time she:
* lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
* lost her best friend (Kim)
* lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
* did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
* did something advanced with a boy (#15)
* had an argument with a boy (#14)
* had a panic attack
* lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
* failed a math test (she'll make it up)
* hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
* became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
* had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the
But don't worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

Review: Oh my goodness. This series was like a special little treasure. The main character was lovely, believable, spunky, funny, neurotic, flawed, and utterly enjoyable. Having a book told from her perspective was a delight to read. I loved all of the characters, honestly. The characters alone could have made this book perfection, but then their story lines were intriguing, the writing was like imagination candy. That's right, I said imagination candy.

So there's Ruby. Her life has just fallen apart. She managed to lose her boyfriend, best friends, and reputation within the course of a week. She feels like she lost her sanity along with all those things so she starts to see a shrink because her somewhat spazzy but lovable parents forced her to. 

Ah! This characters voice was so fun. I loved how believable everything was, from the characters to the high school setting. I have read my fair share of YA books where the high school and the kids are absolutely ridiculous. The super hot guy *yawn*, the super mean for no reason girl (c'mon, really? I didn't not know any super mean, tormenting you endlessly because you're good looking and the guy she likes starts liking you girls at my high school. Yet they're rampant in YA books). These nonsense characters do not show up in this book. 

The other thing this book handles with aplomb is creating a story that is for the most part fluffy, but there is a deeper side to everything. That is amazing! I love me some fluffy books, but when I can find one that also has meaning and depth underlying the brainless fun, well that is a feat. 

I highly recommend this book. It's a nice, easy read that you won't regret of forget. Read the rest of the series too. It's all good stuff.

4 Stars.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Description: Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. Forhope.
But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Review: I loved this book. Did I love it more than the first one? Overall, no, but that was more for personal preferences than for the writing. The writing on this book was flawless in my opinion. Laini Taylor has got some skills, ya'll.

She did an incredible job of melding Karou's and Madrigal's feelings and memories. I really wasn't sure how she was going to do it after Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I thought to myself, "Oh dear, the main character is going to be le weird and obnoxious because she'll be trying to reconcile her two selves the whole time." She wasn't though. She was still interesting, unique, heartfelt, and a character that you wanted to hear more about.

Akiva. Oh my Akiva. In the first book I don't feel like I got a very good sense of who he was. Well, actually I got an okay sense, but in this book you really delve into this character, his past, his motivations, his world, and everything about him. I came out feeling very impressed by him and rooting for him wholeheartedly.

The plot had a very nice pace to it that kept me wanting to read the next page and the next. The other world was described in far greater detail and I truly enjoyed the place she made.

I really liked going into the perspectives of Chimaera and Karou's friends. The mere fact that Taylor kept the human friends in the book and incorporated them into the plot in a logical and interesting way is actually mind blowing to me.

I guess the only thing that held me up was the overall dark and despairing feel to the book, but I've become a major wimp when it comes to sad things since becoming a mom, so I'm guessing the average person would not have a problem with this.

So, in conclusion. I loved it. The writing was amazing. The world was amazing. The characters were amazing. But it made me a little sad so I'm going to wholeheartedly recommend this book, but give it a

4.5 Stars

Son: Book Review

Description from Goodreads: They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive?  She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

Review: Lois Lowry, how do you do it? How do you draw me into a book on the first page and make me stay up until 1am reading it because I can't put it down? How do you make a story so interesting and tie three other books that did not at first seem related to each other in this one book? And finally, why is it that I am always disappointed with the endings of your books?

Loved the book the whole time I was reading it up until the end. Like the other books in the Giver series, the story ended when it felt like it was a new beginning. Yes, she completes what feels like a chapter in the book and the character comes to a conclusion, but the conclusion is also a beginning of a new story for the character and I know that I will never hear that story because that is how Lois Lowry rolls.

So, I recommend this book to all readers, younger and older. It was an intriguing read and one that I could definitely see a kid writing a book report on. But, I recommend that you read the other books in the Giver series first as all the characters in those books make a reappearance. But, I hadn't read those books in years and barely remembered them, but still managed to enjoy this book.

Rating: 4 stars

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Casual Vacancy: Book Review

Okay, I waited on the library hold list for this book for a few months and I can honestly say that I would have been better off never getting it at all. I must admit that I hated this book so much that I did not finish it. I usually give every book I read 100 pages to pique my interest. If it has not done that in that 100 pages, then it is not worth my time to finish it. I'm a mommy with two kids and a job, I don't have the time to be reading books that suck.

Description from Goodreads: When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

Review:  This book is super super super boring. There are too many characters, there are too many POVs and there is not enough character development for any one character. After 100 pages, I still didn't know who the main character was. And so I gave up on it and gave it back to the library. 

Too Adult! I get that this is Rowling's first "adult" book, but it was a little too adult for me. I don't like reading books that are too graphic, or too sexual, or has too much language and this book had all of that. 

When I read, I hear the words in my head as I read them. The characters develop a voice and personality in my mind. And, I just didn't like hearing such foul language in my head. That is just the kind of girl that I am.

Additionally, one of the many characters is a teenage boy. But, he is not the wholesome Harry Potter kind of teenage boy, it is the gross kind of teenage boy who thinks sexually about teenage girls and fantasizes and masterbates and GROSS! Why would I ever want to enter the mind of a smutty teenage boy? I would not. Just another reason that I put this book down.

So, I hated this book, I don't recommend it, please don't read it. Stay in the wonderful world of wizards and magical creatures and leave this book alone.

Rating: 0 Stars

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Entwined: Book Review

I find myself giving another negative review. Sorry if this is an overload of negativity. My next few reviews will be of glowingly wonderful books. Promise.

Entwined by Heather Dixon
Description: Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation. Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest. But there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late

Review: This book had an interesting cover. Sadly, that was the very most interesting thing about the book. Seriously, just take a nice long look at the cover and move on. It has nothing else to offer.

Let's just work through this book's issues methodically.

The Plot:
Was boring. Horribly boring. There are twelve dull princesses who are somehow, and highly inexplicably, poor. That's right. Their dad is the king, ruler of the country. They live in a castle. They are poor. "Is the country having hard times?" You might ask. Nope. The Kings have refused to raise taxes AT ALL for hundreds of years (like all wise Kings, none of them understood inflation, or that they rule the country, or that they are King. Inbreeding perhaps?). So they are poor. It totally makes sense. Anyhoo, back to the lame plot. Are you ready? These twelve, dull, poor princesses lose their mother from an illness, then they feel like their dad (the King, just to be clear) doesn't like them much. So they all whine and dance. A lot. Whine. Dance. Whine. Dance. For 500 pages. I could not read one more description of a dance (which, actually I just skipped over those parts because of the boringness thereof). This is the entire plot. I kid you not. Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention the dancing is done secretly in a magical place. Oh my goodness!

The World:
The magic of this world could not be more nonsensical. Once upon a time there was an evil magical king. He was super duper evil and he had lots of magic, so he only did evil things (here entereth the one dimensional villain). Somehow (this is only vaguely referenced as to how), he got all conquered, but there are random magical objects about! They do things like tell time (oooh! Ahhh!), or they jump about as if we are watching Beauty and the Beast (less singing and more dancing though, sadly). Then there is the swearing upon blood or silver. You swear on one of those and ohhh boy! you have made a magical promise. So what would twelve, dull, dancing Princesses use this amazing (sarcasm) magic for? Why, of course to swear to never ever reveal where they dance. The plot officially thickens. Random, illogical, barely explained magic? Check.

The Characters:
As aforementioned, you have the dull, dancing Princesses. They are practically interchangeable except one is fiery for no reason, one is mean for no reason, one is pathetic for no reason, one eats a lot (awesome way to give a girl a personality), and the main one is more boring than all of them put together. The King pretty much never says anything but he's in a lot of scenes. He is torturously described as "unreadable" in pretty much every scene. My goodness! Thank you for that amazing insight! An unreadable character? Why, that fits perfectly with the theme of this unreadable book. Also, two physical ticks were mentioned over and over and over again until I wanted to yell at the author to come up with something else that the characters could do or think when they are emotional. I could not handle the King sucking in his cheeks (seriously, have you ever seen someone just randomly do this who isn't attempting to make fish face?) or the main girl clenching her nails into her palms until she bled one more time. The love interest(s?) = wait...take a guess?! If you guessed super lame and boring, then you are right! If a sociopathic murderer who went around and stabbed every single one of the characters, thus killing them, had been introduced in the last 10 pages of the book, I would have felt no loss whatsoever. I might have finally been intrigued, actually. Why kill such inane people, murderer? I want to get to know this murderer better . . .

So, there we have it. I do not recommend this book. Even if you are looking for a book to make you go to sleep, choose another crappy book.

0 Stars

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Legend: Book Review

Most of my reviews up to this point have been positive, which is why I thought it would be fun to post a negative one. Here's a review of a book that had/has a lot of hype. I really can't see why anyone is into it though. Honestly, the book was one of the most boring 300-ish page books I have ever read. Here's my review:

Description: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Review: Here's the problem with a book that is supposed to have an incredibly intelligent main character (in this case two genius main characters), either the author needs to be that smart, or they need to be able to get in the mindset of someone that smart. This author failed on both those counts. Miserably.

If I, the average (okay, maybe above average if you're counting the mindless teenage fangirls who drool over anything with a makeout sesh) reader can figure out every major plot point within the first 38 pages, whereas the main "genius" characters can't figure anything out foooooooorever . . . then I don't think your little smarty pants characters are really that smart. Sounds like they're about as sharp as a rubber ball. I had to slog through the book after those first 38 pages waiting for the two little dimwits to understand all of the incredibly obvious plot "twists" (twists is in quotes like that because it's not a twist if it's shoved down your throat in the first few chapters). That's right, I slogged through a 300 page book. Normally I would have finished this book in a few hours. As it was, it took me a few days because the book made me want to put it down. It screamed at me, "You already know everything! Why are you still reading?!"

I also found Day (main guy) and June (main girl) to be utterly boring. They were soooo smart. No flaws. Blah blah blah. Yet they're stupid enough to get duped by people of lower intelligence than them over and over and over again. June seriously never ever questions the government, the people in authority, the system, or anything about the world presented to her? Day doesn't question June? Even when she is the cause of something horrendous, all Day cares about is making out with her face. Also, the characters are both described as very attractive, but I pictured them in my head as little 15 year old ragamuffins running around playing adult.

In the end the book was utterly predictable. The main characters were dull and practically interchangeable (seriously, just have one. Don't split one main character into a boy and a girl for the sake of a love interest), and the world wasn't logically unique and interesting enough to keep me going. Will I read the second one? No I will not. 38 page books are a little too short for me. I do not recommend.

1.5 Stars