Thursday, February 28, 2013
I just got finished reading this post over on The Experiment in Terror Official Site page talking about the backlash from women about the character of Ellie Watt; liar, thief, con-artist, and 100% bad-ass from the Artists trilogy. (See My review for the first book, Sins & Needles, here.) It seems women pretty much hate everything about her, all of her decisions they hate. Even the one bug huge decision at the end they hate; the one that shows that maybe, perhaps, Ellie Watt is attempting to be a better person. To some women readers, her decision is selfish, and in some ways maybe it is. Regardless, the decision is made.
I really dont understand the backlash. As Karina Halle, Author of the Sins & Needles book, said, we love our male characters to be bad boys. They can lie, cheat, steal, kill, rape, abuse, and do pretty much anything else and as long as they have rippling abs and sexy dark eyes and decide not to kill the one damsel in distress, they're officially swoon worthy. Excuse my language, but What the Hell? Seriously. How is Ellie this horrible person because she's made bad decisions whereas the guys are completely sexy and gorgeous? Double Standard anyone?
It's my belief that there are little bits of Ellie in all of us women. Maybe that's why it's so hard for some women to accept her. We all put on these innocent fronts for everyone around us of being good little girls who always do the right thing and only want to fall in love and blah-de-blah-de blah. We act like we would never do anything wrong, like we never lie, or cheat. We spend our time pretending we dont think badly of ourselves as Ellie does, that we dont always deserve the perfect life for our mistakes, and we therefore make even more mistakes. We act like there hasn't been a time when we hear our conscience screaming at us to just do the right thing. That this time you probably shouldn't do that one bad thing you always do, because this time you may just get caught, but you do it anyway, and stupidly you get caught. Sure our actual events may not be as serious as Ellie's or as dangerous and damaging, but still, I think we're more like her than we know. We just grew up in a different situation.
We all have skeletons that not even our closest friends know about. Yet we prefer books where the guy is the bad-boy and women are the good girls because it ensures that no one knows our secret. It ensures that no one knows that women can sometimes be just as bad, if not worse, than all those sexy men we love in the books.
I love Ellie Watt because she shows the good, the bad, and the ugly. She shows our weaknesses, not just as women but as humans in general. She shows our strengths and our ability to go on despite all odds. She show's our innate ability to survive no matter what. Her final decision in book 1 shows the sacrifice we as women make time and time again to protect those we love from getting hurt. No, it may not have been the best decision, but it was the one she could deal with.
I love Ellie Watt, I love Sins and Needles. It's my hope that we as women can see the good in her the same way we can see the good in our male book heros and stop puting her down.
What do you all think about this topic? Do you agree that this may be the reason people put down the character of Ellie Watt or do you think I'm wrong? Could it be that we hold our fellow women to a higher standard than we do men? If so, do you think that's fair?
Message to the Author: (if by some miracle you're actually reading this) Thanks so much for making all your characters as flawed as we as humans really are. It makes your books so much more real and it keeps me hooked!
By: Heather Anastasiu
Published: April 12, 2012
Published By: St. Martins Press
Description: In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.
When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.
As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.
In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.
Posted by Sherre at 8:29 AM
Thursday, February 21, 2013
By: Theresa M. Jones
Published: February 2013
Published by: Self Published
Description: Thousands of years after the battle between the angels, when Lucifer was defeated by Michael in the Heavens, the war is still being fought on Earth by the humans who have their Power, the Angel’s Power.
Allison Stevens is a 21 year old single mother who gets thrown into the middle of this battle when Damien, the Leader of the Rising, decides to hunt her down and kill her because he fears she is the descendant prophesied to save the world.
David, a member of the Order, takes Allison under his wing in order to show her the ropes, and hopefully groom her into being the one they have been waiting for. The only problem is that they start to grow more attached than a teacher/student relationship should allow.
But that isn’t all. Damien wants to open the Seven Seals and bring about the apocalypse and it’s up to Allison to not only save herself and her family, but save the world, all while trying to keep her heart from breaking.
No problem… right?
POWER is the first book in a New Adult (Mature YA) Paranormal Romance Trilogy and is the debut novel for author Theresa M Jones.
My Thoughts: Power is a drama filled new adult novel that shows that power of love over that of fear and hate. Told in alternating points of view, Power tells the story of fate and the role it plays in your life and the lives of those around you.
We follow Allison, a 21 year old single mother who has been having strange dreams lately about a dangerous man. She is also beginning to feel filled up with a strange purple substance all while dealing with the controlling nature of her ex-husband. One day, while she is meeting with her ex, her dreams and her reality collide with fatal results. It's not soon afterward that she learns about herself fully; That she has the power of Angels within her, and that she may be the descendant that has been prophesized to save the world. The story follows her learning experiences, both academic, romantic, and social and ends in a way that will have readers thinking about what prophesy really means, and about the power of love.
As a character. Allison was much like any young single mother who has been through a bad breakup and has not yet understood her path in life. She experiences an intense growth in this book, and becomes a much stronger person in the end. Her love interest, David is so sweet and intense. I loved seeing the book in his point of view. As for Damien, the "bad guy" I dont believe he's that "bad." He doesnt scare me in any way, and almost seems like a regular old guy who's expected to be bad and does so just to stay where he is and to defeat Allison. Lilith, on the other hand, is a terrifying thing to behold. Her manipulation and demented ways are the perfect recepie for her bad guy role.
I enjoyed learning a bit about the angels and how they impacted their descendants. I also enjoyed seeing the relationship between David and Allison blossom. I loved seeing her daughter and grew to feel affection toward her as if she were my own. Unfortunately, there were a few things I didnt like.
The lessons Allison recieved took up much of the middle of the book. At points, I felt mroe like I was receiving a history lesson than reading a fiction book. Additionally, most of the conversations between characters seemed too stiff and proper, and a lot of the conversations were entirely too dramatic for my taste. Finally, we learn that outside the secure compound where Allison it stationed, a few of the seven seals have been opened and people are rioting ant starving, and all hell is basically breaking loose. On her trip outside the compound to visit her mother, she sees the destruction of her old home, but other than that I didnt notice anything that led me to believe things were too much worse than before. There were no references to the hardships one would most likely face in those conditions and it made me feel disconnected from the story.
All in all, Power was a good story. I though it had a bit of a Matrix feel to it with the whole "you are the one" scenario, but the actual character doesnt believe it herself. I would recommend this story to those who like to read stories about humans who do the bidding of those in heaven and have to sacrifce their lives to save the world. My score is 3 stars.
The author will also be having a giveaway. Please fill out the rafflecopter form below. If you want to see the author's page, please click here.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Posted by Sherre at 12:01 AM
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Friday, February 8, 2013
By: Rae Carson
Published: September 18, 2012
Published by: Greenwillow books
Description: In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.
Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.
My Thoughts: I absolutely loved the first books in this series, Girl of Fire and Thorns, and Crown of Embers is no different.
Elisa is being hunted, constantly publicly attacked, and also privately deceived. As expected, she is wounded both physically and emotionally and we see that the role of Queen isn't all ball gowns, gold, lavish weddings, and expensive offerings. Elisa is only seventeen and already has more to deal with than seventy year old's. She's dealing with threats to her nation, herself, and her people all while trying to decide who to trust in a sea of traitors and those that want to control her life. Meanwhile, she must determine how she can marry for the good of her people and not for herself.
We saw a lot of growth out of Elisa in the first book as she went from spoiled overweight princess with a stone in her bellybutton forced to marry a King with a mistress and child from his previous marriage, to a Godstone bearing Queen leading a desert army and defending her kingdom from sorcerers after the death of the King. Elisa grows in this book as well. We start with a widowed queen, now made to become mother of the soon to be Heir while determining how to deal with the promise of another attack from the sorcerers and this time, an attack proving to be deadly. She has multiple attacks on her life and the lives of those protecting her. She journeys to a sacred, unknown land for power and a way to help her people. There she learns things about herself, and what she needs to to do effectively lead and become a stronger leader and a better person overall.
Most middle books in trilogy's tend to feel a lot like fillers meant to do nothing but bridge the gap between the first and last books. That is not the case with Crown of Embers. It had a purpose and I enjoyed reading it.
I loved Elisa even more in this book. She had vulnerability, but also strength. Those she had around her obviously loved her. I loved Hector, the leader of her Royal Guard and the most amazing man ever. Mara was sweet and lovely and girly and so fun, and even Ximena, with her overbearing mother-like tendencies was just as annoyingly lovable. We also got to see some old faces from book one which was a wonderful treat.
This story talks about finding whats inside yourself and learning to tap into it. It's about following your heart, and doing what's best. It's also about faith and the knowledge that what doesn't kill you, almost always makes you stronger. It did end in a nearly unbearable cliffhanger but I understand it couldn't have been avoided. I cant wait to read the next book in the series, The Bitter Kingdom. There was nothing I didn't like about this book. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good fantasy read with the hint of romance and Godly purpose. Crown of Embers easily earns 5 stars. The next time I get the chance to spend money on books without feeling regret, I will certainly be purchasing this and the first book for my bookshelf collection.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
By: Jay Asher
Published: October 8, 2007
Published by: Razorbill
Description: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
My Thoughts: For those of you that watched my you tube book haul, you know that I got Thirteen Reasons Why as an audiobook from the library. I don't normally read contemporary novels, so when I do, they tend to be in audiobook format. This particular story is one that I heard a lot about. I was told it was heart wrenching and deep and moving and all that. I'm not sure I totally agree, but it certainly was an interesting read.
The story follows Clay Jensen. He's a high school student who comes home and finds box of tapes for him to read. Those tapes hold a step by step account from Hanna Baker, his former classmate and crush, who killed herself. In the tapes she explains the reasons she committed suicide and the people involved in the process. The audiobook, narrated by a man and a woman to give the voices of Hanna on the tapes and Clay's thoughts, really captured the intended feelings.
Clay panics most of the story. He obviously liked Hanna despite her"reputation." and seemingly feels guilty about her death. He seems to think that people can read on his face the fact that he's listening to an account from a dead girl and just acts all around strange the entirety of the book. That being said, he seems to be your typical "nice guy" and is wondering why he's included in the tapes at all.
As for Hanna, I must say I don't respect her. The whole book is her explaining the reason she killed herself and she is, in my opinion, doing whatever she can to bring everyone else down with her. She seems to have a thin skin, is extremely naive and just basically annoyed me the entire book. I found myself wanting to go through the book and strangle her myself, before I remembered she was already dead. I mean seriously, the things that bothered her, on their own or piled together, do not warrant suicide in my opinion.
I must point out though, that this book was one big snowball effect. As I said, on their own, the events that contributed to Hanna's resolution don't warrant suicide. However, when you stack them up, one on top of the other, on top of the other, you can understand why she was so depressed. I still don't agree with the suicide, but I guess I can follow how these things affected her so deeply. It's interesting to read how everything connected and ho, one little mean/selfish thing one person does can affect that person's entire life from then on. It reminded me of when I watched time travel movies as a kid, and they said if you change just one thing in the past, the entire future is different. Likewise, a small insult, or comment in the past can affect the way people treat and view other people, and often this grows into something in the future that becomes bigger than it was.
Hanna understands that she's giving up, and near the end of the book, we realize that she's doing whatever she can to just ruin her life further, so that there's nothing left to salvage. Ultimately, her bad judgment was part of the reason she continued to ruin her life, and she expected others to see her actions and stop her. Admittedly, I can sympathize with that feeling. Often, when I was her age I remember feeling a bit like a failure, like my life was ruined, and I began to act accordingly. Many of my decisions were hurried and destructive (although no where near as serious as suicide or cutting or the like). I just didn't hold myself up to the level I should have because I didn't think I deserved it. Luckily, I grew up, and began to understand my own worth. I understood that no one can help you if you don't try to help yourself. Hanna killed herself before she could learn.
Thirteen Reasons Why was an interesting story about seizing great opportunities and chances, being a good person, understanding how things you do affect others, and understanding how the things you do affect yourself. It was about accountability and immaturity. While I was reading, I couldn't wait for it to be over, just as Clay couldn't. It kept you thinking and reflecting.
That being said, I gave this story a low rating. It really was wonderfully written and accomplished everything it sought out to do. Nonetheless, I just couldn't bring myself to give it a higher rating. My rating was merely a reflection of how I feel about Hanna, and Clay, and their view on the world. It's also low because I don't like the idea of the tapes and the blame game that ensues. I don't agree with her suicide. Nevertheless, I would without a doubt recommend this story to all middle schoolers/high schoolers. I would also recommend it to those of you who like contemporary novels that teach a bit of a lesson about life and make you reflect on your own decisions. It was a great book, though I will probably never read it again. Yes, my review is kind of all over the place, but that's how my feelings are for this book. My Rating is 3 Stars.