Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Saving June

By Hannah Harrington

So, straight off, I could tell that this was another cliched book where this girl meets this hot older boy, then in a matter of hours/days, and then they kiss/make out and everything is happy and jolly and such. But, surprisingly, this book didn't bug me.

It's about a 16 year old girl named Harper Scott who's older sister June committed suicide. Her whole family is torn up and her divorced parents want to spit June's ashes. Instead of letting them, Harper decides to bring her sister to California, the one place June always wanted to go. Coming along are Laney, Harper's best friend, and mysterious Jake Toland, who has some odd connection with June who tutored him. Together, the threesome drive in Joplin, Jake's black van, toward the West Coast, encountering idols, odd people, old friends, raging protesters, and romance. Of course there is romance. It is almost a necessity in teen books these days. Which bugs me. But not in this bood, funnily enough.

As stated several times before, this is a really good book. I find it surprising how much I like it even with all the little things I find annoying about it, the biggest complaint of which is how predictable the story line is. Except for a few twists and turns. Also, I find even more bad influence on the youth of this country than in Amy and Roger's Epic Road Trip. They swear and curse a lot, including the F-word dozens of times. And underage drinking, and running away from home, and sex in high school, and smoking in high school. But once you get around that, it's really quite good. At least a 4.

You should read it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

By Jennifer E. Smith

So it's about this girl, Hadley, who has to go to London to see her dad, who she is thoroughly angry at, get married to 'that British woman' as Hadley calls her soon to be stepmum, Charlotte. So, she gets to the airport, and misses her plane by four minutes. Then she meets this really cute guy (duh) and they get along right from the beginning. And they spend a jolly time together on the airplane for 7 hours. Then they get off and they're awkward, but before they completely part, they *spoiler* kiss. And Hadley goes to the wedding of her father and then stuff happens. I can't say much else without giving the book away.

I thought it was a half decent book. I didn't like how much I could pretty much tell what would happen pages before hand. And it reminded me a bunch of Sarah Dessen's books. It wasn't my favorite book, but it was still half-decent. It deserves a 3.5 or something. No more, probably a bit less, but still okay.

Also, I love the title. It just has this ring to it. And the cover is awesome. :P

Friday, February 24, 2012

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

By Morgan Matson

A very good book. It tells the story of a soon to be high school senior who's dad died. Now, her mother is making her move cross-country from her native California to Connecticut. Her mom movers out a month or so early, after sending Amy's brother to a rehab clinic. Once school's out, Amy is going to bring the family car over. One little catch: ever since her father's death, she has been scared to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger Sullivan, the surprisingly cute guy who is in charge of driving Amy and the car to Connecticut. Amy and Roger are all set. They have a route planned out by Amy's mother and reservations in hotels. But, Amy does the unexpected.

She agrees to go on a detour.

It follows the wonderful experience of a lost and confused teenage girl trying to figure out how to cope with her father's death and not knowing where her home is anymore, accompanied all the while by extremely cute Roger. Who has a girlfriend. And then *spoiler* they break up. And *spoiler* Amy and Roger get together.

I found this to be a really good, quite inspiring book. it taught me to treasure every moment I have with someone because I won't know when our last moment will come. Also, it tells the readers to treasure their family and not isolate. And, it has a very fun set up. As for the rest, you'll just have to find out for yourself!

This book gets a very hight rating. A 4.3. I just didn't like the cliched ending I could see from 3,000 miles away, about the US coast to coast. Also, I didn't like how Amy and Roger slept together mere hours after their first kiss. I don't think it sets avery good example for our generation. In terms of food, it's a very delicious derby pie (read the book), except it leaves a funny taste in your mouth. You liked the pie a lot but can't get around the after taste. So there you are.

Aphrodite's Blessing

By Clemence McLaren

A pretty decent book. What attracted me to it is the Greek mythology aspect. In the book, McLaren tells the stories of the Greek characters Atalanta, Andromeda, and Psyche, and how they all got their happy endings. Also, she includes facts from actual Greek culture and (as far as I can tell) actually tells the stories of the myths instead of making up a bunch of rambling that sounds good.

There's not much else to say about the book because it was very short. And to the surprise of myself, my friends, and very few of my very small number of readers, I'm not going to harp about how each girl got to end up with the man of their dreams and how that rarely happens. After all, everyone needs their happy ending every once in a while.

This book gets a solid 4. I detracted a few more points in my head for the cliched endings, but it does happen to be mythology and I don't feel like contradicting myself yet. I'm skipping the food part of the review process because I'm too lazy. So enjoy life!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Fairy Ring or Elsie and Frances Fool the World

By Mary Losure

This is the charming story of a little girl who sees fairies. However, her mother and her aunt and uncle don't believe her. Her cousin Elsie does. So they make a couple of paper cut outs of pained fairies (Elsie's an artist). It follows the story of the pair as the pictures they took took with their 'fairies' are taken too seriously. Several important people including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famous as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, believed in fairies and at that period in time, people wanted to try and prove the existence of fairies. As the whole deal got more and more out of control, they get really guilty and don't like the direction their joke went in.

It was a really interesting book overall. I would not have imagined that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have believed in fairies. Also, I thought it interesting that scientists wanted to classify fairies into a species and such and document them. I think that this book should get a 3.5 or something about that. It was good and a very quick read, but I had trouble keeping track of all the names and the amount of time passing. In terms of food, it would be some food you don't really like, but then you eat it and it isn't half bad.

 This is the first picture Elsie and Frances took of the 'fairies'. It depicts Frances and some of the fairies.
 This is Elsie in their second picture. She is with a gnome with wings.
 The third picture they took. This is a couple years later after everyone took an interest with them and their 'fairies'. This is Elsie with a flying fairy, offering her a bouquet of flowers.
 This is the fourth, and last posed picture they took, depicting Frances and a leaping fairy.
The last picture they took. According to the book, they just thought it was a jumble of grasses. However, some person who was studying fairies scientifically was convinced it was a fairy home thing, after seeing the fairy shapes. Frances apparently stood by this picture as being real for her whole life.

Note: This is a repost of one of my own reviews. The original can be found here.

The Hero of Ages

By Brandon Sanderson

And so comes the conclusion of the really good Mistborn trilogy. The final book comes with more surprises and sadness and happiness and emotions. Attention: There may be some spoilers. So, like, yeah. Read at your own risk (?).

It is yet another year after the last book ended, and Vin is 20-21. She and Elend work on helping their empire and surviving and trying to help their empire survive. And Ruin, this really powerful force of destruction that like, affects a whole bunch of people and manipulates them to do his bidding, is out to destroy the world. You know, the usual sort of thing for this kind of book. So, it follows them connecting the dots of Ruin's plan, and their friends off doing other stuff, and Sazed battling his depression. Everyone is desperate and such and they have to figure out how to save the world. And so they have a bunch of fun almost dying and seeing people they know get killed and trying to survive tons of koloss attacks. And it's like a picnic in the park. And then we get to the end of the book. More connections are made, more people die, and in the last few chapters (especially the very last one and the epilogue) we, the readers, get full understanding of what the past two books have been leading up to. And it's definitely unexpected. And stuff happens and then the world is saved, though we lose a couple of very good friends. :(

This book, by itself, is rated AWESOME. Aka, a 4.7. It's a bit loopier than the first book (minus points) but better then the second (stays the same). It's like finding out that no one ever put anything in the cake (from the review of the second book) but then going out and buying/eating some of the delicious food (from the review of the first book). However, you can't enjoy it as much as you would because you are disappointed that the people were leading you on and you're not very happy with them.

Now, on the trilogy overall:
It was very good. Some of the stuff mentioned in the first book is brought back on connected to the huge picture that Brandon Sanderson is painting with a tiny tiny brush (for all the more detail!). And it brings you on a roller coaster ride, and really allows you to connect with the characters and feel like you know them. Then, he kills them off. But still, it's a good story. Every story needs it's tragic hero.

One final word, READ IT. Please. :)

Note: This is a repost of one of my own reviews. The original can be found here.

The Well of Ascension

By Brandon Sanderson

Hello one and all! Welcome back to the second installment of my reviews on the Mistborn trilogy. Yes, this does mean I'm going to be reviewing the third book, The Hero of Ages. But they are just such good books! Well, moving on. Please note: This review may include some spoilers. View at your own discretion if that is the right word. :P
     In this book, it is one year after the fall of the Survivor, the death of the Lord Ruler. We rejoin the old crew ( - Kelsier, + Elend) and some new friends we just meet. The plot twists and turns as always, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat, or reading in class under the desk. In this new book, Elend Venture, now king, struggles to keep his city and his kingship, under control. On top of this, his relation ship with Vin is strained. For the first time, he must stand up to his post and act who he is. Meanwhile, in Vin's life, she tries to figure out who she wants to be and who she needs to be. Not helping is Straff Venture's Mistborn, and son, Zane. She also has to make herself comfortable with her position in the new Church of the Survivor as 'Lady Heir'. On top of this, she thinks she's a mythical hero and has to chose which to love and be with of the two brothers, Elend and Zane. (Have I heard this before? Like in When the Stars Go Blue?) Well, as always, they overcome. But then there's a koloss army as well as two other human armies (Cett and Venture's) out the city waiting to break in and get the fabled atium supply of the Lord Ruler. Well, they win the battle and lose some friends. All is happy until the end. (Woot! I'm a natural poet)
     About the book, I have to say that I was sort of disappointed in the beginning. I was all hyped up after the end of the last book (review foundhere). But then I started, and I found that Vin and Elend seemed like they went through complete personality changes. In addition to my grief over Kelsier, I now mourned the loss of the original Elend and Vin. Luckily, they mostly returned. And all was well in the kingdom again. But then, like THREE MORE PEOPLE that one really gets to like died and I was like *distressed sound*. And I was like, "NO! Why Brandon Sanderson? Why??" But then I had to deal with it.
     Truthfully, it gets a 4.5. I wasn't impressed with the personality changes and too many people I liked (No!) died. It's like that old thing where you bake a little trinket into a cake and whoever eats the piece with the trinket in it gets to be "King" for a day? Well, there are two pieces left and you like, eat one of them, certain that you are eating the one with the trinket in it. You're getting to the last few bites and you're really excited, trembling with suppressed energy. You get to the last bite and you find nothing in the cake and you're like, "Darn!" And you're all disappointed and the like. Well, that's this book. But the cake still tasted delightful!

Note: This is a repost of one of my own reviews. The original can be found here.

Mistborn: The Final Empire

By Brandon Sanderson

Truthfully, I have nothing but hight praise for Brandon Sanderson. He builds flawless worlds and intricate magic systems that are (in truth) somewhat confusing but oh so awesome. His characters are engaging and his story lines are just epic.

The first book in the Mistborn Trilogy has been incredibly fun to read. We meet Vin, a paranoid street urchin with abandonment and trust issues, who is living in Luthadel, the capitol of the Final Empire and home of the Lord Ruler. Soon, she gets recruited by the Mistborn Kelsier, who tells her that she is also an all powerful Mistborn. Vin get caught up in a world of rebellion and lessons about Allomancy, the basis of the power of Mistborns. It is also part love story. It is an awesome book and everyone should read it.

This is one of the best books I have ever read (almost better than Harry Potters 1-6!). I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy or sci-fi or stuff like that. It gets a 5 and then some on a number scale, and the most delightful, rare, delicious delicacy you can think of in the food things. In other words, just read it. You won't be disappointed unless you are.

Note: This is a repost of one of my own reviews. The original can be found here.

The Name of the Wind

By Patrick Rothfuss

Another assigned reading project by my dear friend. By now, I knew the drill. Get it pushed at me, try to start reading it, procrastinate for several weeks (sorry!), then get into the book and start reading under the desk in class and give it a high rating. However, I got caught by my teacher. But, it didn't disappoint. This was a wonderful tapestry of a world, with a nicely developed magic system. It tells the tale of a boy who's parents were killed by a fairy tale gone nightmare in life. It follows him in his life in the city as a street urchin to a university goer who is brilliant, to a Talented musician.
The character of Kvothe is an interesting one, though one thoroughly concerned with image. However, this being only the first book in a promising series, I shall wait until the next one comes out (had better be soon!) to draw conclusions about him. Then maybe I can decide whether or not Kvothe and Ambrose's relationship is exactly like Harry and Malfoy's from Harry Potter, or more malicious. I'm going for the latter.
Since I can't think of anything else to say about this book other than it's really SUPERBLY good, (read it!) I'm going to give my food analogy and number score, then blink out. I would describe this book much like I described The Way of the Kings. It is a delectable apple pie, crisp and fresh out of the oven on a cool autumn day, you breathe in the scent, wanting to savor it and then just break the crust with your fork, releasing the built up steam and even more of the warm, cinnamony aroma and then your mother, seeing that you're eating pie before your dinner, goes, "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING???" swipes the plate of pie away, leaving you staring after it, knife and fork in hand, thinking, "What the heck are you doing? I was gonna eat that!" Then, to top it all of, your mum lectures you for a good 5 minutes about how pie isn't dinner, and you have to wait until after and she spent so long making the dinner of macaroni & cheese (which can be made in 12 minutes). Then you're like, whatever. To condense one long wind into a couple of characters, this book is a solid 4.3. Good to the point of great, but then it ended too abruptly.

Note: This is a repost of my own review. The original can be viewed here.

The Way of Kings

By Brandon Sanderson

     Having been shoved at me (a bit more forcefully this time) by the same person, I read this book, expectations high, because the person didn't lead me wrong on The Midnight Palace. Sadly, the book ended. WAY too soon for me.
     It was one of the best books I have ever read (including the Harry Potter's, and don't get me wrong, a hardcore fan here). The 15 or so years Sanderson spent world building and meeting his characters was well spent, creating this masterpiece. Following Shallan, Kaladin, Szeth, Andolin, Dalinar, and friends (as well as enemies), this novel explores a world torn apart by a 6 year war, driven by the murder of King Gavilair (pardon my spelling), and fought by the disjointed kingdom of Alethkar.
     The view point jumps between the characters mentioned above, all leading seemingly unrelated lives. As the reader dives deeper into the world, becoming emotionally attached to Sanderson's characters, they start encountering each other, plot uncovering connections between the heros. In all, a work of art, as flawless, strong, and beautiful as the Shardplate their world so covets.

     Limited to a 5 out of 5 number scale, I have to give it a five when it deserves a much higher score, such as a 50,000,000,000. Yeah, it's that good. As a food, it is your favorite food, the most scrumptious part of a cookies or cake or maybe cheez-its and chocolate (hey, don't knock it till you try it) that you have been longing for for ages and then you get those first few bites, so savory and delicious that you sigh. The flavor melting on your tongue, permeating through your taste buds until it's all you can taste and it surrounds your senses, enveloping you in its delicious flavor. (Wow, so repetitive.) You take a few more bites, then your parents, thinking you have had too many sweets (which you haven't. There aren't that many truly good books out there) and then taking it away to be revisited on a later date (the next book). Sadly, this book had to end before one finds out what happens to their favorite characters, leaving one clamoring for the last book.

The progress of the next book in the Stormlight Archive can be viewed on Brandon Sanderson's website.

Note: This is a repost of one of my own reviews. The original can be found here.

When the Stars Go Blue

By Caridad Ferrer

     Once, Soledad thought that the best thing in the world was the percussion encouraging to move faster, jump higher, reach the skies. But things change. She gets into a relationship with Jonathan, a horn player from a corps, and he invites her to dance with the group.
     First impressions were good, a not so usual fairy dancer, Soledad, but one with actual substance. But then, it got really cliche. She falls for the guy, obsesses over him, then, is faced with a problem that might bring her apart from him. And it kept going. She falls for another guy, Taz, a spanish soccer player, then has to choose between Jonathan and the hot soccer player. It goes the whole jealous boyfriend cycle as well. Then a twist almost brought it back from the dead for me, but it somewhat disturbed me. It reminded me of Pink's music video for Don't Leave Me (which I don't recommend watching). Then, guess what! It got cliche a And she even ended up with Taz in the end.
     It's like a well known meal of macaroni and cheese that you've eaten so much that you're sick of it. You're handed a plate of it at your friend's house and have to eat it in order to be polite. You start eating it and it tastes the same, except that some spices add twists to the taste, but then it gets back to the same old and you're forcing it down again. It wasn't that good to me. I give it a 2.

Note: This is a repost of one of my own reviews. The original can be found here.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

By Laini Taylor

      Karou is a girl with blue hair. Unusual in itself, but she didn't dye it that color; she wished it. Raised by demons, Karou has no family that she can remember other than Brimstone, the Wishmonger, Issa, Twiga, and Yasri, helpers in Brimstone's wish shop. She lives in Prague, a 17-year-old art student with her friend Zuzana and ex-boyfriend Kaz, while sometimes running off to run errands for Brimstone: to collect teeth. What started as a normal week quickly descended into chaos.
     Attacked by an angel, or a seraph, in Morocco, Karou went inside the shop, something permitted only because she was wounded badly. Once there, she went through the other door in Brimstone's shop, the one that has always been closed in her presence, never open, until now.  Once through, she found another world, one of constant war, of constant fear and fighting. The world of her family and the seraph that had attacked her.
    Thus unfolds the story of Karou, one with blue hair and wishes to use. She finds her origin and why she feels so attracted to Akiva, her angle.
     A interesting book where hope is more powerful than wishes, it is a 4, only because it reminded me of Twilight in the aspect of two races who aren't supposed to be together connected by the love of one pair. More like a piece of cake that has been promised to you, and has been drawn as the most delicious thing in the world by your friends, then it falls short of that taste that you created in you head. But it was still exceptional.

The Midnight Palace

By Carlos Ruiz Zafón

     Having been shoved at me as an assigned reading project by a friend, I was all set up and ready to hate the book just because I was forced to read it. However, Zafón soon had me captured in a world of mystery and danger, as well as one twisted with secrets. A wonderful story of a group of seven friends, who had grown up in an orphanage and had sworn to always protect another, on the eve of their separation, ends up being a thrilling plot.
     Ben, the main character, learns the truth about his family.  But someone from his past is threatening to kill him and his newfound friend Sheere. The rest of his friends and he try to unravel a 16 year old mystery as to who this mysterious and dangerous Jawahal is. The 8 friends risk their lives to unravel this mystery to the end, and find out truths they didn't necessarily want to know.

Those who play with fire always get burned...

     Having been able to change my mind around about this book, it would be that home made pie that is all crumbly and partially burnt and looks like it would taste horrible, but is exploding with flavor in the non-charred sections. Well of course, that's to me. Without the first appearance tainting the overall flavor, it would be a juicy and sweet red cherry, fresh from the tree in the midst of the more sour yellow cherries. In simple terms, a solid 4.5.

Note: This is a repost of one of my own reviews. Original found here.