Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Books I've Been Reading

My sister Sarah is on some sort of reading spree, so I thought that I ought to try and read more books to keep up with her. Plus, some of her recommendations were so good that I really wanted to read the books. So, here is what I have been reading. And yes, it is all fantasy books because that is what I read. I'm so niche.

Shatter Me
By Tahereh Mafi

This book follows Juliette who can't touch anyone without causing extreme pain. Well, almost anyone. Of course there is a person she can touch, who just so happens to be a boy, in her age range, totally available, and beautiful, and in to her. You know, the typical fairytale. The world is in chaos, Juliette is in chaos and awesomeness ensues. Read this book, you will love it!

You know how YA writers all write the same and have the same basic plot lines with the same basic characters? Though her plot lines and male leads seem to follow the YA standards, the voice of her main character is not something that I have read before (and a read a bit more than average).  This is something interesting and new and not annoying. I don't like most female, YA protagonists. They are annoying and dependent, and whiny (*cough* Bella). But I actually like Juliette. So, read it, and love it.
5 stars

By Catherine Fisher
This book follows two sets of characters, those in the prison (called Incarceron) and those outside of the prison. No one knows where Incarceron is, just that thousands of people were sent to live in the prison many years ago. No one goes in, no one goes out, and no one knows where it is, not even the people inside. The prison is a living, self sustaining organism that is the sole keeper of the prisoners. Finn, a prisoner, is trying to find a way out. Claudia, the wardens daughter, is trying to find her way in.

I actually listened to the audio book of this. I like to listen to audio books in my car because the radio has become this really boring/lame thing that I hate. So, I checked this out at my library and I enjoyed it.
I enjoyed it enough to check out the second book in the series too. But, if I had been just reading the book, I probably wouldn't have made it past the first three chapters.

This book is very slow and very confusing. I didn't know anything about the books before I listened and I didn't realize that Incarceron was the prison until I was a ways into it. Either I'm really dumb, or the book is confusing... or it just doesn't translate well to audiobook. The characters are annoying and their motives are often unclear. Plus, the characters have clipped speech patterns. I bet if I was reading it, it would have been annoying too.
I don't really recommend these books, but if you are in a pinch or bored on a long road trip, they are worth a read.

 2 stars

Bitterblue (from the Graceling series)
By Kristen Cashore
 This book is the third book in the Graceling series. I read Graceling a few years ago and as I opened up Bitterblue to read, I was surprised by how very lost I was. I had forgotten so much from the original books that I felt very lost when I started reading this book. I should have read the first two books again before reading this one, but when my hold finally came up, I was ill prepared.

This book follows Bitterblue, who is a new princess to the once corrupt kingdom of her evil father, Leck. (weird names throughout the book) Bitterblue struggles to take command of a kingdom that is in disrepair while still trying to find out what exactly her father did to corrupt it.

I loved the original Graceling novel. I flew threw it and it was interesting and awesome. I liked the second book, Fire, less because it was confusing and seemed to have nothing to do with Graceling. This third book, Bitterblue really ties the two books together and I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had refreshed my memory on the first two books. I like the characters in this book because they are disturbingly interesting.

I recommend these books, but read them one after another, right away. Don't be lame like me.

4 stars

City of Lost Souls
By Cassandra Clare
This is the... 6th? 7th? book in the "City of..." book series. Every book starts with "City of.." I really like this series. It follows Clary, who is a shadow hunter (a.k.a. demon fighter imbued with angel blood). Clary is in love with Jace, who is also a shadow hunter, but their love is doomed (of course). Clary loves Jace, but Jace is possessed by a demon and hijinks ensue.

I recommend this book, because it has romance, fantasy, action, and awesomeness. But, you should most likely read the first books in the series first or this book will make the kinda sense that is none. The first book is the "City of Bones."
5 stars

The Golden Lily (bloodlines series)
By Richelle Mead

 This is the second book in the Bloodlines series, which is a spin-off series of the Vampire Academy series. This follows Sydney, an alchemist. In this world, alchemists are humans who are in charge of keeping the vampire world a secret from the rest of humanity. Sydney is assigned to a specific vampire, Jill and is in charge of not only keeping Jill safe, but also keeping the fact that she is a vampire a secret while they attend boarding school together.

I really liked the original Vampire Academy series, though I would qualify it as more on the Adult side of Young Adult as there are steamy scenes in the books.
This series is a lot more mild than the original series. Less smooching, more violence. I really liked the character of Sydney as she is conflicted between what she has always been taught about the evil vampires and what she has discovered about them from her own experiences.

I recommend these books, but you should probably read Vampire Academy first or you will definitely be lost. Which is quite a commitment since there are like 6 Vampire Academy books. But I can't help it, I'm a sucker for a vampire book.
4 stars

By Julianna Baggott
This book is a dysotopian novel. It is a "what if" story. What if, a nuclear bomb was dropped on the US and everyone outside of a protective dome either died or became mutants? If you were outside during the bomb and survived, you became fused to whatever you were touching. Laying on the ground? Fused to the ground, now you are a dirt person. Hugging your child? Fused to your child, now you are a multi-person mutant. Holding your dolly? Fused to your dolly! Now you have a doll for a hand. Main character, doll hand, girl is trying to survive in a world where everything is scary and resources are grim.

This book is weird, and disturbing, and a little gross. I just couldn't handle how effective the author is at describing the mutations and items fused to the people in this disturbing world. I could not stomach it. Maybe if the author was a little gentler in her descriptions, or if she was bad at it, I could have been able to handle it, but *shiver* no.

The story line of the book is interesting enough and captivating enough to keep the story moving, but I just couldn't get past how disturbing the descriptions of characters in the book were. If you are into that kinda thing, then yeah, read it... otherwise, I do not recommend. I know there are more books in this series, but I will not be reading them. Can't handle it.
2 stars

By Sophie Jordan

 This book follows Jacinda, who is a teenager girl, just trying to be herself and have her freedom... as a dragon! But, her Pride (group of dragons) and her mother keep trying to dictate her life. Oh, and, of course, she falls in love with her mortal enemy, but is already betrothed to another at the dictate of her Pride. It is the basic Romeo and Juliet story.

These books are a lot of fun to read. The writing isn't anything special, and the characters are your basic YA teenage angsty characters. The hook factor in these books are that they are people who also turn into dragons.

I really enjoyed these books. They are fast moving books that I consumed in a day each. I am on hold at the Library for the third book. I recommend.

The only thing that is a little confusing about the book is that the author does not describe how they look as dragons very well. I'm still a little confused. They turn into dragons, but I'm pretty sure they are the same size as they are when they are human. And also they seem to retain feet and hands and stand upright rather than four feet on the ground. The characters keep doing things with their hands when they are in dragon form that would not be possible if they had stubby feet for hands. It is a little confusing.

Oh and one more thing that I think is a little bit of a problem, the main character turns into a dragon every time she gets aroused. It just seems like this is going to be a problem if she wants a future with Romeo. The last book will hopefully resolve this.
4 stars

By Lauren Oliver
This book is another dysotopian novel. What if the world believed that Love was a disease and everyone was forced to have a surgery that would remove their capacity to love when they turned 18?

Lena, a 17 year old girl, has believed that Love is a disease that should be feared and reviled... until she falls in love. Then, she sacrifices everything, and rethinks everything she has ever learned to keep love in her life.

The first book, Delirium is really interesting and has that exciting edge to it because not only is Lena's love a forbidden thing, but all love is. Even parent and child love. Which, if you ask me, means no child would be born or ever survive if their parents didn't love them. With the amount of work that goes into raising my children, I know that if I didn't love my sweet children, they would never survive because I would not care enough to take care of them.

But, putting that aside, and putting aside the fact that no children would ever be created in this world since everyone who has their love removed also gets their sex drive removed; I really enjoyed the book. Even though the concept is a little flawed, it is an interesting idea and the author does a really good job getting you to root for the survival of love. I recommend.
4 stars

The Serpent's Shadow
By Rick Riordan
This is the third book in the Kane Chronicles which follows brother and sister, Carter and Sadie, who are imbued with the power of the old gods of Egypt. They fight to save the world from bad egyptian gods while also dealing with growing up... as they are both children.

This is definitely a children's book. As are all of Rick Riordan's most famous books. It is an interesting story about that includes a lot of historical facts about Egyptian gods and pairs with brotherly and sisterly love. I recommend if you are fond of children's literature (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, etc...)
3 stars

A World Without Heroes
Seeds of Rebellion
By Brandon Mull
Jason is a kid who accidentally falls into the pen of the hippo at the local zoo and is swallowed whole by the hippo and then finds himself in another world. A world of magic and mystery that is ruled by an evil dictator. Only Jason can save the world by finding a  magically word that can destroy the evil dictator.

This is a children's book with the typical fantasy, children's story plot. Child lives in reality and then is pulled into a world of fantasy, which is convenient because then the other characters can describe all the rules of the fantasy world via dialogue rather than exposition.

But, even though it follows typical conventions, Brandon Mull is good at describing his world and creating interesting and new characters that I haven't seen before. Sometimes you read a book because it has a unique idea and sometimes you read a book because the author is just really good at describing his story, even though it seems you have read the story before. I recommend.
4 stars

Heather Dixon
Ever heard of the 12 dancing princesses? This book takes that idea and runs with it. Once upon a time, there were 12 princesses, whose mother had just died. And these girls loved to dance, but are forbidden to by their father while they mourn their mother. So, the princesses find a secret passage in the castle that leads to a magical world where they can dance every night without their father's knowledge. But, of course, good things come with a consequence and the girls find themselves entwined in an evil magicians net.

This fairytalesque book was an enjoyable read. I believe that this is the author's only book she has ever written, but it is written really well. The author describes the dances so well that you can see the princess gliding along the dance floor through her words. I recommend if you want an easy and enjoyable read.
4 stars

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Books are le great. I recommend that you read anything Melina Marchetta in the near future. But especially Finnikan of the Rock or Saving Francesca. Yay for reading!