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Showing posts from April, 2013

Review: Insurgent

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: YA,dystopian, science fiction
Rating: 3/5

 I really liked Divergent. I thought it was one of the better YA dystopian novels because of the great characters, intriguing technology and social structure, and the way the author wasn't afraid to let bad things happen. I was tired of terrible things almost happening and then getting averted just in the nick of time, and I was so glad that Roth wasn't afraid to take those risks. I can't say the same about Insurgent.

 It's been a while since I read Divergent, so I don't remember all the little details. This was a slight problem because Insurgent jumps right where Divergent left off. I was left in the dark about who all these minor characters were and what exactly had happened at the end of the first book. There could have been a bit more explanation to ease into the second book, but I don't think it is too much of a problem.

 Insurgent deals with some interesting issues, b…

Review: The Diviners

Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Genre: YA, historical fiction, fantasy, thriller

If it's any clue to how addictive this book is, I read this 600 page tome in 3 days (for some perspective, that's about twice as fast as I usually read). This book was intense to say the least!

I have read a couple of Libba Bray books before, and I have usually liked but not loved them. I am always annoyed by the over-the-top-ness of her characters and satire, but I do respect the ideas she has and the way she constructs such bold stories around them. I think bold would be a good way to describe The Diviners as well - it's a mix of historical fiction and fantasy in one of the most unique and interesting combinations I have ever seen. The Roaring Twenties, characterized by opposites (both great success and great poverty, religious fervor and rebellion, prohibition and flapper girls, the list goes on), meets the classic age old good versus mysterious evil lurking in the shadows.

The story cent…

Review: Code Name Verity

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, Suspense
Rating: 5/5


If you are a fan of historical fiction, you will love this. If you enjoy novels with unreliable narrators and layers of truth that need sorting and piecing together, you will also love this. And finally, if you think friendship is one of the most beautiful things on earth, you will love this book to death.

I don't really know quite where to start with this book. There are simply so many different sides to it, and I want to do it justice. This is a hard book to review simply because I don't want to accidentally let anything slip - there were so many "aha" moments when scraps of information clicked and I saw situations in a whole new light.

I was immediately hooked by the honest, open voice of the narrator in part 1. "Verity" is a spy who has been captured by the Nazis and is being tortured to tell them information about what the British are planning against th…

Review: Between Shades of Gray

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: YA, Historical fiction
Rating: 3/5

I thought the subject matter of this book was really interesting - rather than telling the story of displaced Jews in Nazi Germany (as most World War II stories usually do), this one covers the displacement of Lithuanians in Stalinist Russia. I didn't know much about this side of World War II; we never really learned about how various groups were victimized by the social Darwinism that spawned from Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Although it was interesting to learn about this side of history, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would.

 The main character, Lina, is an artist. She's "gifted" at drawing and her whole family is proud of her ability. Little does she know that this talent will end up being a survival skill...

Lina's family is split apart and taken from their home by force; Lina doesn't understand what her family has done to deserve it. …

Review: A Game of Thrones

Title: Game of Thrones
Author: George R.R. Martin
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

I went into this book a little nervously: people either seemed to love or hate it, and generally when half the world loves a book, I'm in the latter camp. I grew up on fantasy novels, but over the past few years I'd switched over to sci-fi, but after some glowing recommendations from a few friends I decided to give this a try. I'm glad I did - I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would.

Don't get me wrong, there were definitely some aspects of this book that I didn't like (Daenerys, I'm looking at you). I know it has something to do with the historical context, but it was disturbing how young all the girls were when they were getting married and having children. Also, I felt like it was very unnecessary for all the men to have whores and mistresses (if the word "manhood" comes up as much in the next few books, I'm going to scream). Can't there be one health…

Melina Marchetta!

If you don't know who Melina Marchetta is, there is a void in your life that needs filling.

Melina Marchetta is an Australian author who writes contemporary and fantasy novels. The one common thread I have found is that they always deal with messy relationships and sticky situations and ugliness, but always turn them into hope and beauty. Her characters are always so real and almost every one of her books has brought me to tears (or very close to them).

So you can imagine my excitement when I found out about a hardcover giveaway of her Chronicles of Lumatere trilogy:

http://www.themidnightgarden.net/2013/04/quintana.html

I have been dying to get my hands on Quintana of Charyn for ages. If Froi of the Exiles is any indication to go by, this book is going to be intense, heartbreaking, and absolutely gorgeous.

What are you waiting for? Enter the giveaway!

Favorite books

What would a blog about words be without a list of my favorite books and authors? My favorite books are the ones that changed something in the way I look at the world or at books, books that struck me because I read them at the right time in my life, or simply books I am fond of because they have been with me for so long. In no particular order, here they are:

The Book Thief - Markus Zuzak
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card
The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi
Froi of the Exiles - Melina Marchetta
Unwind - Neal Shusterman
Monsters of Men - Patrick Ness
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents - Terry Pratchett
Crime and Punishment - Fyodr Dostoyevsky
Ptolemy's Gate - Jonathan Stroud


And an honorable mention list for amazing books that made me laugh, gasp, and cry but didn't quite make it to "favorite" status:

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Days of Blood and Starlight - Laini Taylor
Liar - Justine Larbalestier
And Then There Were…

Hello!

I suppose the first post on a blog should be a bit of an introduction, so here goes!

I am a college student who loves to read books. Words have always been a fascination of mine; once I started reading, I never stopped! The library is one of my favorite places, and few things can make me happier than when I'm running my fingers over the cover of a new book. Some people say books help them escape their day-to-day lives, but for me books are more than that. They stories and ideas that come from the books I read become part of my day to day life.

Over the past few years I have been writing short stories. My favorite genres to read are science fiction and fantasy, so naturally most of my stories fall into these categories. I'll write almost anything, though. All I need is a spark of an idea, and then I write it out until it's gone. I've attempted to write a novel, and although I did manage to finish one, let's just say I'd be happiest if it never saw the light of …