Friday, July 29, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Review

For as great as this book started out I feel like the plot just took a walk down the desolate road of grim storytelling. Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth intrigued me so much from the back summary and what I had heard about it. I was thinking, "Awesome! A real zombie apocalypse book written for my attention span." And yes, it does live up to the macabre atmosphere of a classic zombie story, the characters and plot fell flat.

The book is told through the perspective of Mary, a teenage girl who lives in a very primal village that is controlled by the Sisterhood and is protected by a fence to keep out the Unconsecrated (zombies). All we know about life there is that the Sisterhood is a religious government that keeps the village going and the human race surviving amongst so much death. We learn that the Sisterhood has many secrets and dark dealings with life and death that Mary seems to only skim the surface on. She is also involved in a love square with her best friend and 2 brothers. And while the drama of that ensues, the village is breached by the Unconsecrated and Mary and a few survivors head off to find some sort of solace from the downfall of the only home they have ever known. The only motivation to continue on is the stories Mary's mother told her as a child of the ocean and life beyond the forest of hands and teeth.

As far as characters go in this book, Mary is the only one I became somewhat attached to. Her character actually kind of reminded me of Katniss from The Hunger Games. I appreciate that she is a strong female lead and that she isn't satisfied with just the love of a guy. She needs more in life than just the promise of love and comfort. She is also a fighter and isn't afraid to hack off some heads. Always a good trait. The other characters were intriguing but I don't feel that I ever got to know them. Sister Tabitha is a mysterious almost villainous person, she holds many secrets about the world. Mary's best friend, Cass starts out as the innocent girl who "smelled of sunshine" but becomes hardened by the reality of the broken world they live in. The 2 guys in this book are Travis and Harry who are both in love with Mary but neither are good enough for her. I wasn't really drawn to either of them as romantic interests. I am interested to see where the story goes in the sequels but for right now I am not dying to know.

The writing is beautiful, I will admit that. That is what held me through the whole book, every sentence was beautifully crafted. Even the gruesome descriptions of the Unconsecrated's breaking bones and tearing flesh was so vivid and disturbingly done. I liked the use of biblical names throughout and I am anxious to see how well they follow their origins. The use of roman numerals also intrigued me. I liked them just as the chapter names, but then when they were starting to make an appearance in the story it got my hopes up. But I don't think all the intriguing things that were set up at the beginning where followed through with. Any answers I got to questions I had fell flat in my mind.

As a whole the story was an interesting story and I appreciate the raw, gruesome zombieness. I will always love a good zombie story. But for anything beyond the undead, this book was just kind of "eh" for me. 2 out of 5 stars, mid-low shelf, okay? Tempted to see if the sequel will improve my doubts so we shall see. 

Forbidden Review

Never have I read a book that made me feel such unbridled heartbreaking emotion before Forbidden. Tabitha Suzuma tackles such a taboo subject in this book and does it with such grace and beauty that you can not help but laugh and cry along with the characters. The two taglines that accompany this book say it all: "Sometimes love chooses you." and "How can something so wrong feel so right?" Forbidden is a story about a brother and a sister who fall in love. That's right, the heartwrenching emotions you feel are for an incestual relationship.

Forbidden is told from two perspectives, every other chapter switches from 16 year old Maya's view to 17 year old Lochan's. By doing this you can fully grasp how serious these feelings are from both sides of the relationship. You are welcomed into the family of Lochan and Maya at the start of the book and you see just how dysfunctional it is. Their father left them years ago and their mother is an alcoholic who is desperate to kept her youth and ignores the responsibilities of being a mother. She is dating a young new boyfriend and is around less and less. So Lochan and Maya take on the parenting role for their 3 younger siblings, Willa, Tiffin and Kit. As struggling partners and surrogate teen parents they confide in only each other.

The characters are so lovable from the get go. Lochan struggles with severe social anxiety and can only talk normally with members of his family but is truly a genius. Maya appears independent and protective of her family but really depends on Lochan to keep her going. Willa is an adorable 5 year old who is hardened by the tough life she has all ready lived. Tiffin and Kit are the middle boys; Tiffin only cares about soccer and Kit is the angsty 13 year old who is all ready involved in tough gang life. Through the struggle to keep the family together, Lochan and Maya mature way too fast and turn to each other for support and love.

The writing is beautifully done with a refreshing UK style. The bonds and relationship building is done slowly and realistically so you, as the reader, can fully see how it happens and doesn't leave you questioning anything other than your own morals. The characters acknowledge just how wrong the feelings they are having for each other but can't stop them. The physical part develops slowly but man, does it get steamy. *disclaimer* This is a very graphic and descriptive book, not for young readers. The love you feel between these two characters is so intense and real that you just long for them to be together and not have to deal with even more struggle against society. But you are on edge constantly through reading because you know something is going to happen to prevent them from being together. Definitely a white knuckle read.

I will not spoil the ending. But I will say that I have never reacted to a book the way I reacted to the ending of this book. By the end you are so attached to the characters that you react as strongly and passionately as if you actually knew them.

Breathtaking book. As weird as it sounds, I think this is the best love story I have ever read. And I am not ashamed to admit that. The development of love and passion is done so well that it negates the atrocity of incest. READ THIS BOOK! 5 out of 5 stars, top of the bookshelf, will read again...when my heart can take it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Forgotten Review

Forgetting backward, remembering forward. That is how London Lane's brain works. She is a normal teenage girl who, when she falls asleep every night, loses all memories of that day. She writes herself notes each night with little hints and facts of what happened that day and what is going to happen tomorrow. Her "memories" are actually flash-forwards that provide her with a little help of how to get through each day. Interesting concept right?

Cat Patrick's debut young adult novel is startlingly creative and mind-boggling. I honestly thought it was just going to be a cool contemporary read with a little twist. But as soon as I read that the protagonist remembers forward I started to really try and figure out as much as I could about the story instead of just breezing through it. London starts to "remember" a funeral and the more "memories" she has of this funeral the more details appear. Not only is this a twisted contemporary read, it starts to turn into a mystery as well.

London has always just accepted forgetting what happens everyday and relies on her notes and her best friend to help her through the day. London's mom is a single mother who doesn't really speak of her husband or anything from the past. She helps London cope with the memory loss and is very patient when she doesn't remember trivial details. When she meets Luke everything starts to change. He is the all around cute boy who takes an interest in London. She tries her hardest to not let him find out her amnesia issue. The characters don't appear to be very complex in this book, there isn't much emotional growth evident. This is based solely on the fact that London literally meets most of them all over again every day. The only ones that she can remember day-to-day are the ones she can see in her future.

The story is told through London's perspective so you can only see what she sees. As the book progresses you realize that maybe she forgot something crucial from before the start of the book and we, as the reader, never got to know that because it is all ready lost. Even though the writing is simple and fun, you have to really pay attention to catch any clues that may be relevant later and that London will just forget. There are some cliched romantic moments in this book but that's what made it fun. In my opinion, it was done well as a teen read but I would love to have seen it take a darker twist. The concept could definitely open up a world of possibilities for a very deep, thought-provoking story.

As a young adult book though I thought it was done very well. Definitely one of those books that sticks with you and makes you thankful for something you may take for granted: memory. 4 out of 5 stars, middle of the bookshelf, enjoyable and thought provoking. Ironic that a book called Forgotten can be so memorable.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Theme Song Thursday!

Dagnabit! Almost made it on Thursday! Half an hour late...oh well.

For this week I was just finishing up reading Forgotten by Cat Patrick and I couldn't figure out what song I wanted to go with it, I couldn't find many that fit it too well. After googling songs about amnesia and forgetting I found this random video from the ending credits of a movie called Amnesia and it all seemed to fall into place.

Andrea Revel-Don't You Forget Me

I feel like this song captures not only the memory loss aspect of Forgotten but also the cute love story that occurs in this book. Every day Luke has to remind London of their love and start all over again. This song is just as touching.

Flying Blind Review

Okay, kind of nervous about this review. I am not too sure how well I can write a bad review without sounding too criticizing. I just recently read Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke and honestly, there wasn't much about it that I enjoyed. I had just finished reading Firelight so maybe it was because I read such similar stories back to back and I just happened to like one more. But in my mind that proved that that story could be done well.

Flying Blind is about a 15 year old girl named Zoe who is desperately awaiting to hit puberty, not to fit in with all the other girls her age, but that means she gets her dragon powers. Zoe is a Pyr, a dragon shape-shifter, and she is also going to be the Wyvern, the only female Pyr. A lot of expectations are put on her to finally start to shift. In one overly cliched girl fight in the locker room, Zoe accidentally starts to change. From that time on she is sent away to Boot Camp, a training program that all the boy Pyrs have been going to and it is Zoe's first time. Boot Camp is where she is supposed to learn how to harness her powers and train to be the next generation of Pyr. Instead Boot Camp turns out to be more of an adventure than she planned for it to be.

As far as the characters go in this book I think Cooke took every cliche she had ever heard of teenagers and mashed them into each character. Zoe's best friend is the nerdy girl with braces and glasses and is the math tutor to all the hot guys. Zoe is self-centered and always concerned with if a guy likes her and how annoying her lack of powers is. Isabelle is the perfect, gorgeous girl you want to hate. The guys are all overly attractive in some way or another and act like Zoe is amazing.

Writing seemed very young. After finding out that Deborah Cooke is a romance author, it did all make sense. Flying Blind does read like a romance novel for young girls. Every guy has rippling muscles and falls into at least one type of fantasy guy. It may have been too young a read for me to appreciate. I just wanted more substance. The lists of history and mythology of the story didn't really help, in fact I found them kind of annoying and took me out of the story.

All in all, I don't think I would recommend this book. I gave it 2 out of 5 stars, I regret buying it. And into the closet it goes...sigh.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Firelight Review

Are forbidden love stories overdone? Yes. Do I still secretly devour every one I find? Yes. Firelight by Sophie Jordan may be another cliched "girl falls in love with boy who was destined to kill her" story but it was still all kinds of enjoyable. So instead of the stereotypical vampire romance, this time it comes to you with a refreshing new twist on the lovable storyline: dragons.

Jacinda is a draki, or a dragon shape-shifter. She is a rare fire-breather in her pride and it is all ready predetermined that she will become the mate of Cassian, the heartthrob of the pride. During a rebellious night with her best friend, she almost gets captured by hunters. Forced to leave by her mother who is trying to save her from the punishment from the draki, Jacinda finds herself thrown into modern teenage high school hell. Her twin sister who never got the ability to shift is ecstatic for finally fitting in and her mom tries to convince Jacinda to leave her draki self behind.

Enter Will. Adorable, intriguing and of course dangerous. Will is the hunter that let Jacinda escape in the opening sequence. Yet he does not know Jacinda was the beautiful dragon he let go, nor can he find out. So starts the romance.

As a whole this book was cute and fun. Nothing blew me away about it but I definitely loved reading it. 4 out 5 stars and I would say middle of the bookshelf. Now to anxiously await the sequel Vanish to find out where the cliffhanger ending will end up.

The Hunger Games Movie Poster!

Who else just sat there and started at this until you realize you need to blink? ...not me of course...
I've been anxious and nervous about seeing publicity for this movie. After seeing the cast slowly be revealed I have really high and extremely low hopes for this movie all at the same time. Some of the cast members are spot on to how I pictured them (Rue for example), others not so much (Lenny Kravitz for Cinna? really?)

I am thrilled that the first poster released doesn't have any of the cast in it though. It creates the same idea that the book cover did: intrigue but no clue what the story is about. I appreciate that.

I also love that the tagline for the movie is the infamous "May the odds be ever in your favor." Threw me right back into the arena and the horrifying anxiety of Katniss being raised into the first Games. So excited and yet so nervous!

Shatter Me Cover Revealed!

dun dun DUN! Finally we get to see what the highly anticipated cover of Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me. I know I am not the only one who is oh so pumped to read this. After seeing the hype rise about this book from BEA I could not wait to see what it looked like. So here it is:

I have mixed feelings about this cover. While it is an amazing picture, I'm not sure it portrays what I thought the book is going to be like well. It seemed like a dark, military dystopian novel and this cover looks fairly girly. I was expecting a grittier cover. But this will definitely catch some eyes. Here's hoping that it lives up to the cool cover!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eona Review

Whew was this book a rush. Eona by Alison Goodman is one of those standout sequels that I actually enjoyed more than its predecessor. Everything that Eon lacked in plot, Eona made up for in a big way. In no way did I think the first book was bad, it set a very good scene for this epic sequel. There was a lot of descriptions and backstory that brought you into the Asian inspired culture in Eon. It got you to fully appreciate the rules of the land and government Eona is a part of in order to prepare you for the intensity of the war she fights.

Eona picks up where Eon left off. Eona thought the worst of her problems was admitting to everyone that trusted her that she wasn't "Lord" Eon; she is mistaken. Not only does she have to deal with regaining her friends' trust but now the future of the empire and the dragons rests on her shoulders. High Lord Sethon plans to take over as ruler after the emperor dies and the government is overthrown. Eona joins Kygo, the rightful heir to the throne, in the resistance fighters' battle to prevent such a horrible leader from dominating the land. But Eona has not even come close to mastering her powers as a dragoneye and depends on Lord Ido, her enemy, to teach her.

In this fast-paced book, the dynamics of the world you are thrown into shift constantly. There is a constant fight for power amongst the characters and you never know who will come out on top. Through the struggle for power, a struggle to grow up and find love also surfaces. Finally romance starts to appear in this book. It is hinted at in Eon, but man does it show its face in Eona. The sexy scenes are few and far between but they are worth plowing through the book to get to. A love triangle begins to develop and you find yourself questioning your own sanity for being intrigued with the one male figure in said triangle.

You only grow fonder of the characters you came to love in the first book. Dela is an amazing friend and ally throughout both books. Ryko adds the weathered warrior/guardian position. Kygo becomes not only the good guy but the love interest; so of course we all love him. Lord Ido who was the antagonist becomes somewhat of a shady ally. Eona develops from a crippled girl pretending to be a boy into one of the strongest female protagonists I've ever read about.

Summary: fan-freakin-tastic. 5 out of 5, top shelf.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Theme Song Thursday!

Number Three!

Eona by Alison Goodman


This is the best quality video I could find of this song so sorry guys. I found this band through my local renaissance faire (yes, I am a nerd). They're are a really good Scottish band and this song is amazing. It may not fit the Asian theme of the story but the lyrics alone reign true. The book Eona so far (I am only about halfway through) is all about embracing your history and accepted who you are, where you came from, and where you are going. Eona is coming to terms with her ancestors and what they mean to her and is literally battling with her history's demons. The lyrics to "Ancestors" discusses accepting where you come from and feels very powerful. It fits Eona pretty well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Theme Song Thursday!

Part dos!
Sorry I missed last week guys, I was in the middle of the wilderness with no internet...
But I'm back!
I flew back home yesterday and on the plane I started The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and this is the song I picked to go with it:

Ludo-Save Our City

This is the second song of a great concept album by the band called Ludo. If you haven't heard of them, definitely check them out. This whole album is full of awesome. This song in particular seemed to fit in well with what I have read of this book. So far I know there is a village that is surrounded by a fence to keep out the "Unconsecrated" which are essentially zombies. The villagers look to the Sisterhood to keep them safe and provide order. Save Our City seemed fitting considering it's about the zombie apocalypse and the zombies are marching into the city. And how can you go wrong when there is a chorus of zombies singing?