Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: Of Poseidon

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
The Syrena Legacy #1
Publisher: Feiwei & Friends
Release Date: May 22, 2012

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom...

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.


Taken from Goodreads

Start: 1/28/2014  |  End: 1/30/2014  |  Pages: 324  |  Rating: 3.5 Stars

 My Thoughts:


I don't know what happened to me, but I ended up finishing this book in two days. This book wasn't even as good as some of my reads from last year, but then again I usually read adult fiction. So although Of Poseidon is 324 pages, it's easy to understand, and therefore a fast read. 

Before reading books, I usually skim reviews made by other readers on Goodreads, just to get a taste of what I'm about to read (without spoiling myself of course). My review below will kind of reflect on what I've read from these reviews, using my own opinions of the book. 


The truth is that I'm a sucker for mermaid love stories, especially when it is the guy that is a mermaid--excuse me, Syrena--while the girl is human. There's another book almost like this one, called Ingo. The story starts right off with Galen bumping into Emma, literally. He's there because he got a message from one of his human companions that there's a girl with the Gift of Poseidon walking around Florida. So when he finally meets her, he and his sister have their doubts. How could this girl possibly be a Syrena? 

One of the first scenes of the story almost stopped me from reading, just because such a thing should not have happened. I have no idea WHY the author decided to do this, but she ends up killing Emma's best friend Chloe. And this isn't even the worst part, because a couple of chapters later, we see Emma getting over her best friend's death. 

I WOULD HAVE BEEN DEPRESSED FOR AT LEAST A YEAR.

But oh noooo, a hot boy goes to your school now, and he keeps talking to you, pretending that you didn't just watch your best friend die. I really don't understand. Chloe could have stayed throughout the book, in the background or something. 

Anyways, that was the only thing that really put me off edge.

The rest of the story is just Galen investigating Emma, and showing her her new Syrena abilities. Throughout the book, he realizes that he really likes her, but isn't sure what to do since it will impact the Syrena society. Anna Banks creates a society where the male Syrena basically takes control. They find their own mate by sifting, or checking out females, and then ask their fathers, or older brothers, for a marriage rite. Galen's sister, Rayna, is married to her best friend without her consent, and after she told him multiple times she did not want a mate.

Many reviewers have complained about this, but here's my view on this whole situation. Emma is completely different from any Syrena female Galen has met, and he really likes her. He likes the fact that she's independent and headstrong. There's this one point where he "scours his memory for a sweet-natured Syrena who would take care of him, who would do whatever he asked, who would never argue with him." Well that's because you didn't like any of them, which is why you don't remember anyone. I feel that Galen and Emma will be the ones to change the rules of how Syrena society is run. At least I hope so, in the next books hopefully.

I did somewhat enjoy Of Poseidon, although I wish it could've been slightly better. The author definitely could have done a better job with characterization. But other than that, I will most likely read the following books in the series.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #1


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


Top Ten Worlds I'd Never Want To Live In


So I've never done a Top Ten before, but it seems like a really awesome idea, especially since I love lists. Anyways, this week's theme is world's I would never want to live in. I'm not sure if it's only for books, but that's what I will be focusing on. 

And with that, here are my picks!

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This is a no brainer. The concept of the world is cool, but I would never, ever be able to survive in such a world. In this world, you're either picked for the Hunger Games, or left to wither away in a district. I might be able to survive in a district that's well off, but just the reminder of the games would put my off edge. 

2. Sabriel by Garth Nix. I'm currently reading the first book in this series, and although it seems innocent enough, I'm not too fond of the idea that the dead can come back and basically possess people. 

3. Machine of Death by Ryan North. I don't know about you, but living in a world where you know how you die is very nerve-racking. Due to this anthology of short stories revolving around this topic, I will never, ever go out of my way to figure out how I will die.

4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I would hate to live in a world where everything is genetically engineered, where natural breeding is socially unacceptable, and babies are sorted between being alphas or betas. 

5. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. I hate the process of having to go through surgery to dumb yourself down and become "pretty". And then this means that no one can go against the government, or whoever is in control, because they don't have the means too. Nope, I would never want to live there.

6. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I'm referring specifically to the fantasy world that David enters (for those who read this book). Being the hard core disney fan that I am, I would NOT enjoy living amongst the people of this scary, twisted world.

7. Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Love is illegal in this world, and that's a big no no for me.


Characters I Would Never Trade Places With


1. Valerie in Hate List by Jennifer Brown. She may have the same name as me, but having a boyfriend that shoots up the school is not something I would want to deal with. 

2. Alice in Still Alice by Lisa Genova. In this book, we go through the life of Alice, who recently found out she is suffering from Alzheimer's. It was really heartbreaking to see her fall apart, which is why one of my main fears involves losing my memories.

3. Liesel in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The trauma of the holocaust and losing the people you love is not something I would want to experience.

What about you? Share your thoughts below :)


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review: Oath of Servitude

Oath of Servitude by C.E. Wilson
The Punishment Sequence #1
Release Date: September 2012 

This is the story of Teague and Cailin, two teenagers who have been brought together by fate. Teague, a human, struggles to come to terms with the consequences of a recent accident that has destroyed the happy life that he had once enjoyed.

Cailin, a pixi, is trying to stay true to herself while fighting against forces beyond her control that have exiled her from her home into this strange world of humans. She fears the darkness. He cannot escape it. But when the two of them are thrown together, they begin to discover the light inside of themselves.


Taken from Goodreads 

Start: 1/12/2014  |  End: 1/24/2014  |  Pages: 159  |  Rating: 2.5 Stars

My Thoughts:


I got this from the author of the book in exchange for an honest review. Well, here it is!

Oath of Servitude focuses on the unlikely relationship of Teague, a blind human, and Cailin, the rebellious teenage pixi. After recently being sentenced to a month of Darkness by the Portune, the "Elders" of the pixi world, Cailin's father fights for any other punishment. In the end, Cailin is sent to serve Owen and his son Teague. Owen desperately wants Cailin's help in getting Teague to stop drinking, and actually start living his life. Cailin, on the other hand, doesn't want anything to do with the humans. They're bigger, scarier, and just completely different from what she's used to. But, in the end, the two fall for each other, regardless of the size difference. But then again, Teague doesn't find out she's a pixi until almost the very end. 

One of the main problems I had with this book was the repetition, in both the dialogue and the narration. After Cailin's father mentioned that he did not want any of his daughters going to the Darkness (which is by the way some kind of prison, but more emotional scarring), I was reminded of that fact five times afterwards, a page after. This happened with Teague's conversation with Cailin about not going after her sister as well. I feel like a lot more stuff could've happened in this space.

Other than that, I liked the idea of a pixi world, I've never read anything like it before. It's an interesting concept, although it could've been expanded a bit more. 


Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Blogger Hop #1

Book Blogger Hop
Hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

Do you think you will ever read every book in your TBR stack?


It really depends on when I actually stop adding more books to my TBR stack, because what usually happens, is while I'm on Goodreads, I end up just adding more and more books I discover from my update feed. The only way I can read every book, is if I just stop myself from going on Goodreads. But even then I still have a mental to read list in my head. 


Do you think you'll ever finish every book you've wanted to read? Leave your answer below :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Release Date: April 6, 2010
"With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they're there."

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 1/1/2014  |  End: 1/21/2014  |  Pages: 298  |  Rating: 3.5 Stars

My Thoughts:


I had very mixed feelings about having to read this memoir, for the book club at my school. I have never read anything about the prison system before, and I have not read anything non-fiction in a long time. Basically, this book was totally out of my comfort zone, but I still somewhat enjoyed it.

The author and main character, Piper, landed herself in prison 10 years after trafficking drug money abroad, just once, for her girlfriend, Nora. During those 10 years, Piper completely rebuilt her life and settled down with her fiance, only to suddenly find the feds at her door. Apparently, after breaking up with her Nora, the whole drug smuggling business fell apart and names were mentioned, including Piper. So after 10 years of hiding her past and moving forward, it all comes back up again. Lesson to this story, don't participate in drug trafficking.


Although I've never watched the Netflix series, I've heard that it's a little bit different from the book. First off, there aren't any sex scenes in the book. In fact, Piper brings up lesbian relationships in only a couple of parts. Most of the focus is on prison ethics and her actual life in prison. I found this so much more interesting and educational, because as a 20 year old, I know nothing about prisons. Actually, I recently found out through my book club discussion, that prisons themselves make a lot of money, but yet the state still has to pay over $40,000 a year for each prisoner. This is because the minimum wage for jobs in prisons are a lot less than $7, and buying commissary items while in prison is much more expensive. 

Another important thing I learned is that prison is like a trap for some women. Some women end up spending more than 5 years in prison, and when they're released, what's in store for them? It's hard to get a job, hard to find a place to live, and some of them might not have any family left. In prison, you get free food, free health care, a job, and you can even attend college classes. In these womens' eyes, prison is a much more affordable place to live in compared to the real world. Therefore, most women just end up going straight back to prison. 

In the end, I enjoyed reading Orange is the New Black. There were a lot of names to grasp, due to the comings and goings of inmates, and also the end was dragged out a lot, but what can you say, it's an accurate description of prison life. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: The Book of Lost Things


Sorry about the long hiatus everyone, I don't read books as fast as other readers, and plus I just started college classes again. Also, I've been reading three books at a time, which was a really bad idea. But anyways, here's the latest review. I'm going to try to pick up/make up some memes so I can still update my blog without using reviews.

Also I updated my header and background :) 

Anyways, here's the review!


The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: November 7, 2006
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own -- populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.

Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives."



Taken from Goodreads

Start: 1/14/14  |  End: 1/19/14  |  Pages: 339  |  Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I've always been a fan of fairy tales with a twist from the original stories, so The Book of Lost Things pretty much pulled me in immediately. The story starts off with David, a young boy around ten years old, and his beloved mother and father. Both him and his mother love books and stories, but once his mother dies, he is left all alone. His father remarries a woman named Rose, and they have another baby. David, stricken with the loss of his mother and the gain of a new family, begins experiencing visions and hearing voices from his books. 

The fantasy world begins when David accidentally follows his mother's voice into the sunken garden in his backyard. The world he enters is made up of the fairy tales that David loves, except not the ones he's familiar with. In order to escape the Crooked Man and go back home, David must travel to the King in order to find the Book of Lost Things, which holds the key to bring him back to his own world. 

Throughout his journey, he encounters many different characters, all of which are part of some fairy tale, but in a completely different way then you would think of. For example, the Snow White in this story was incredibly rude and mean, and she completely turned down the prince when he rescued her. I'm sure that there was some hidden meaning in every story, and I loved being able to match the characters to the modern fairy tales that I knew of.

Although there were some gruesome parts in the story, I didn't find anything I didn't like about The Book of Lost Things. This book greatly reminded my of the children's book The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making , which is probably the reason for the 5 stars. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely, and anyone who likes fairy tales or coming of age stories should pick this book up.   

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review: The Spirit Thief


The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Eli Monpress is talented.

He's charming. And he's a thief. But not just any thief. He's the greatest thief of the age - and he's also a wizard. And with the help of his partners - a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls - he's going to put his plan into effect. The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he'll need to steal some big things. But he'll start small for now. He'll just steal something that no one will miss - at least for a while.

Like a king.


Taken from Goodreads

Start: 1/4/14  |  End: 1/7/14  |  Pages: 310  |  Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I am incredibly impressed with the Rachel Aaron. She really knows how to put together a story. Here's what you need to know about The Spirit Thief.

Don't underestimate this book. It might be a mass market paperback (which I don't know for you, but I don't usually read these, not that I know what the difference is between them and other regular books), but it sure beats some of the other books I read. Also, I had no idea that this WASN'T part of a young adult series. While reading, I understood everything that was going on; no parts of the book were left unexplained.

The great thief Eli Monpress, a young man with a boyish grin, and his companions kidnap the king in order to increase the bounty on his head. Why increase the bounty, you may ask? Well, to be the best thief in the world! The higher the bounty the more valuable you are.

Then there's Miranda, the spiritualist "cop" going after Eli, but initially not because of the king, but because of an ancient artifact sitting in the kingdom's treasury, which allows any wizard incredible power to enslave spirits. Anything can have a spirit, like a tree or a rock, the only problem is that they are usually asleep. Wizards or spiritualists can wake up the spirits in order to ask for help. Finding out about the kidnapping as she arrives, Miranda offers her help to try to bring the king back.

While this is happening, the kidnapped king's older brother, a powerful banished wizard, comes back to the throne in order to offer his "help". He is accompanied by a mercenary, Coriano, who is only in for the fight and bounty of a certain companion in Eli's group, Josef. Both Coriano and Josef have powerful, awakened swords that have a spirit of their own. Coriano is after the sword Josef has, which is called the Heart of War.

And along with all of this, the last companion in Eli's group is a demonseed, called Nico. Basically she can eat spirits, causing discomfort to be both wizards and spirits. If she eats too many spirits, she becomes too powerful, which can cause incredible destruction.

So here we have four different plots going on in the story, and I applaud the author for tying them all together. I think this is what makes the story fun and adventurous. There is always some obstacle or challenge happening that requires the full attention of the reader. The dialogues are always meaningful, with no fillers to try to lengthen the book. Every scene and event was equally as important as the next.

The only tiny, tiny problem I had, was that there wasn't any romance at all. However, I have a slight hunch that the next book in the series will feature more romance, hopefully.

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone looking for an adventure.

Birthday!

Hey readers! Guess what? I'm officially 20 years old today!

I don't feel any older than I was yesterday, and I definitely still feel like a teenager, even though I'm not one anymore. Just yesterday at the dentist's, the receptionist asked if my parents were with me, because she thought I was under 18. And then the dentist himself asked me whether I was old enough to make my own decisions about my teeth.

But anyways, I just finished The Spirit Thief, so I will get that review up once I come back from my birthday dinner!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Review: These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Starbound #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: December 10, 2013
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.  Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it."



Taken from Goodreads

Start: 12/27/13  |  End: 1/1/14  |  Pages: 374  |  Rating: 3.5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

I went into These Broken Stars with incredibly high expectations, due to reviews I read about the book, and boy was I let down. For example, this one review compared it to the video game series Star Ocean, and I am OBSESSED with Star Ocean. It is literally one of my favorite video game series, so to be told that a book is similar to your favorite video game, and then find out is NOT similar to said game, is like being shown chocolate chip muffins, but then later finding out they are raisin.

These Broken Stars started onboard a large cruise-like vessel, called the Icarus. Here, we are introduced to a society with a huge social gap between the rich and the poor. Our heroine, Lilac LaRoux, daughter of the man who created LaRoux Industries, finds herself talking to recent war hero, but poor, Tarver Merendsen. Unfortunately, this fated encounter should not have happened, because the wealthiest man's daughter cannot be seen together with some poor war hero. But when the Icarus suddenly starts to fall apart, the two are forced to team up together in order to survive.

To be honest, I really hated Lilac LaRoux from the start. I did not like the way she played with Tarver's heart, especially when she embarrassed him in front of her friends. So when the two finally escaped the ship and crash landed on the foreign planet, I half expected Tarver to just leave her. BUT NO. He's way too nice. Also, during the first part of their trek towards the Icarus crash site, I wanted to punch Lilac in the face. Seriously, stop insulting him and tell him the truth. JUST TELL HIM YOU'RE PROTECTING HIM. Yes, I was pretty frustrated at this part.

But the second half, the second half was more interesting. Now there are the whispers, and the illusions, and things materializing out of thin air. With Tarver and Lilac's relationship stabilized, the more important question was with the planet itself. Just what was that planet, and who exactly lived there?

Lilac eventually redeemed herself. She no longer was the little, helpless, daddy's girl, but an actual independent woman. Tarver, on the other hand, didn't change much at all (at least I don't think so), other than his feelings for Lilac. But since he was already a super nice guy in the beginning, I don't think it matters much. And with this, my love for their relationship grew along with the progression of the story. The book gave a perfect amount of romance, not too much and not too little.

However, the reason this isn't a 4 star, or even a 5 star book, is because the author didn't explain much, especially at the end. There are a lot of things I am still very confused about, and I wish the author would clarify what exactly happened in the events. When it comes to hyperspace and time travel or rifts and whispers, I know next to nothing. This is one of those books where you just have to accept everything that comes along. If you look for an explanation, you will find none.

I would like to end with the fact that this is part of a series, and like other series, it continues in the next book. Unfortunately I recently found out, through some searching, that the next book will not be focusing on Tarver and Lilac but on a completely different couple.

Yeah, I'm a little heartbroken about this, but nevertheless I will be looking forward to the other books as well.




Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014 Everyone!

Wow I can't believe 2014 is already here! And with a new year comes new resolutions, one of them being reading more and also blogging more. Actually I was supposed to officially start blogging this year, but I decided to take a head start. And so here I am.

Reading Goals


27 Books  |  9745 Total Pages  |  Longest Book: The Book Thief

Look at that it seems like I'm an OVERACHIEVER! This is probably the most books I've read in a year, after middle school of course. I remember I used to read so many books when I was younger, no matter the genre. Books back then were so short and easy to read.


I've decided to stick with 35 books for now, due to college and anything else (video games). I think 35 books will be a big enough challenge for me. 

I really like the widget for this year. It's a nice color blue.

Resolutions


1. Read as many AMAZING books as possible
2. Review more books right after I read them
3. Write more
4. Use more vocabulary when writing reviews, or writing anything in general
5. UPDATE MY BLOG
6. Find more blogs to follow and comment more often. Also reply to my own comments
7. Discuss more books on Goodreads! Feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads! The link is up top.

Happy New Year Everyone!