Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Book: Why We Broke Up
By: Daniel Handler
Published: December 27, 2011
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Description: I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped

My Thoughts: So, I've recently been getting into contemporary fiction thanks to my local library, and I picked this up on audio format and it was a great choice.

This story reminds me a bit of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher with the whole box of items thing, but I liked it a lot more because it didn't have the suicide aspect and I could relate so much more. We're pretty much reading a letter from Min Green to Ed Slaterton. They have broken up, and we get to see exactly why it happened by a series of items she's collected (the items she's sending back) over the course of their relationship. This story is so cute/interesting and very reminiscent of first love and all that. Funny thing is, at the end it was pretty much the exact same as my first love, minus her obsession with his looks.

Min is quirky and fun and happy and innocent and naive. I loved her so much. Ed is the typical guy. This book is so interesting in that, you knew the whole time how it would end, but the excitement was seeing how it would get there. I would certainly recommend this, though I'm not quite sure which is better. The book has some pictures in it, that you miss out on in the audiobook, but the narration of the audiobook is awesome. 5 stars.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review: The Maze Runner: James Dashner

Book: The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1)
By: James Dashner
Published: October 6, 2009
Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Description: The first book in the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series—The Maze Runner is a modern classic, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

My Thoughts: This was one of those books I picked up because I heard a lot of hype about it, and then got afraid that it wouldn’t quite stack up, so it stayed on my shelf for forever. I finally picked it up the other day, and I read through it in a day. All in all, it was a pretty good book.

We follow Thomas, who’s been dropped in the center of this Maze with all these other guys. The ultimate goal of course, is to get out. Unfortunately, it’s been 2 years, and none of the other guys have been able to find a way out, so they doubt the possibility that Thomas will be able to. The difference between then and now though is, Thomas has been able to do things no others can do, he has secrets in his mind that imply that he knows more than others, and they no longer have as much time as they want. With the addition of a Female to the environment, things in the maze begin to change, and the lives of everyone are at stake.

The story started out pretty slow. We were dropped in the story and were just as clueless as Thomas. Though I understand the author’s reasoning, this was utterly frustrating. I hate not knowing what’s going on, and as Thomas asked questions that went unanswered by people that knew the answer, I grew pretty annoyed. It got better as I went on though, and more things were revealed. The storyline was well thought out and it was an interesting book. That being said, I don’t like Thomas. I can’t quite put my finger on why though; I just know I don’t like him. I think if I met him in real life, I would ignore every word out of his mouth.

I think the hype surrounding this book messed it up for me. If I had just picked it up with no expectations, I would probably have given it 5 stars. It was certainly good, just not as good as I’d hoped. I give it 4 stars.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Quickie Review: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Book: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3)
By: Cassandra Clare
Published: March 19, 2013
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Description: Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.

My Thoughts: Clockwork Princess was the best and worst book of this particular series. It broke my heart and had me blubbering like a fool (a feat that I bet most audiobook listeners will agree is pretty embarrassing when you're around others). Everything finally came to a conclusion, and I loved the conclusion, but this book played with my emotions so freaking much it was ridiculous. We finally figure out exactly what Tessa is, and who she chooses, and we understand everything. If you have yet to start this series and have been curious, my suggestion would be for you to read it. The whole series is out so there's no worry about lag time. Go for it, but be prepared to get your emotions messed with. Cassandra Clare has a way with getting you emotionally invested, and then ripping the ground out from under you, only to catch you at the last minute. I give this 5 stars.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Book: Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)
By: Laini Taylor
Published: November 12, 2012
Published by: Little, Brown

Description: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

My Thoughts: After reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone (DSB), I absolutely couldn't wait to begin Days of Blood and Starlight (DBS2). DSB left us as a cliffhanger with the split between Karou and Akiva, and I couldn't wait to see what would happen. DBS2, though I don't believe it was quite as addicting and amazing as DSB, was good and interesting in its own way. In my attempt to avoid spoiling the first book for everyone who hasn't read it, this review will probably be brief.

DBS2 started us off with a broken heart. It was slow, and angry and betrayed with hints of sadness, worthlessness and regret mixed in. I honestly didn't like it. Karou's life away from Akiva actually sucks, as his does without her, and the way they beat themselves up about it is even worse. I didn't like the skulking person Karou became. I didn't like her weakness and I was very disappointed in her. As the book progressed however, things got better. Karou got stronger and became closer to the person I expected her to be.

This will never be my favorite book of the series due to the sadness, and the darkness it possesses, but it was absolutely necessary. It works and makes this series so much more than any other. I loved all the characters again, even the bad ones. They knew how to really make me happy, angry, sad, or absolutely terrified (chapter 71 anyone?) and that's what I expect out of a book. It was well written and, since I listened to the audiobook, well read by the Narrator. It was perfect and imperfect at the same time. I both hated and loved it. I will give it 4.5 stars. The slow start bothered me, as did my constant unease/sadness, but it was necessary and was a wonderful sequel to DSB.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Random Rant Thursday: Multiple levels of Suck

Hey everyone, I'm feeling pretty crappy right now. I follow a lot of authors, and I've read all about their writing process. They all talk about how I feel right now. The time when you're reading your work and you think, "Does this suck?" I heard all about it. How you look at it and you begin doubting it, wondering if it's really as good as you think it is. I hear its a pretty sucky time in the writer's life and the problem isn't that I didn't believe them...I did! The problem is that I didn't realize just how much it would actually suck.

Like in my mind there are levels of suck. There's like a little sucky, sucky, and then "Holy crap this really sucks." A little sucky is when you're walking through your apartment/house in socks and then you walk into the bathroom and somehow step into a puddle of water that your feet left on the floor from the shower that morning. Sucky is when you're walking into the kitchen in the middle of the night wearing socks and then you step in dog pee and track it all through the kitchen, only to realize what happened when you're wondering why your socks are wet, and then you cut on the light to see your dog looking extremely suspicious  with that yellowish puddle and realize you now have to mop the whole floor in the middle of the night. "Holy Crap this really sucks" is when you're running downstairs in the basement to pick up something while wearing socks, and as soon as you hit the bottom step, your foot splashes, and you cut on the light to realize the basement has flooded, everything is wet and holy crap, how am I supposed to get all this water out of here. (I include the socks because nothing sucks more than wet socks.)

That's what re-reading and editing a novel is like. It starts off just a little sucky and then slowly but surely progresses into "Holy crap this really sucks." You find yourself wading through the pool of words trying to figure out how to take all the stuff that doesn't belong out, and make everything else perfect and nice, and you have no idea how to do it, or if it can even be done.

Like the problem with my novel is, first of all, is my premise even interesting? I think it is, but I'm in my head all day, so of course I think it is. Do the words I put on the page make anyone want to read more, or pull their hair out. Is it ridiculously stupid and idiotic? Will people that read it hand it back to me with a lighter to set it on fire?

Then it makes me think about myself. I wrote it. But, like I said before, I'm in my head all day. There are things that I like and don't like that others don't feel the same about. What if all of that stuff is in the book? What if I'm just not a like-able person and all the stuff I write is also not like-able. What if traits of my characters are things that make readers think the characters are idiots? It would be then that I realize that I must be an idiot inside too. Of course, I have an extremely tough skin when I'm in front of people but still.

Anyway, I just wanted to take a break to tell you how I feel. It sucks right now, and I know I'll get through it and feel a little better when I'm done but right now, holy crap! This sucks.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Random Rant Thursday: Editing

Hi everyone. I wasnt going to do a RRT today, because I had nothing to say. Then I realized. I have wonderful news. I have (finally) started editing my book!!!! It only took me like 5 months to feel the urge but so what. At least I'm doing it.

I owe all my thanks to my mother. She wrote a book and began badgering me about reading and doing a first edit for her. So finally I did.I hated the process, and my mom says I was pretty harsh to her with my comments and issues but that's beside the point. The point is that while I was in the mood and understood what I didnt like about her book, I was able to take a step back and take a look at mine and guess what? It's actually not bad.

Granted, I have edited like every other line. I've added and deleted lines, and worked on choosing better words, I've also finally come up with a title, though I'm still not 100% happy about it and Ive come up with names of the different societies in the stories that im not sure about yet. Regardless, it's coming along. I hope be done with my first round of edits maybe this weekend (but probably next weekend...I'm too lazy to make hard deadlines right now).

This means I may be coming to some of you to beta read soon and tell me what you think. I'm curious to know if my book is as good as I think or if its actually best used as a fire starter at the bottom of my fireplace. If you're interested, leave me a comment telling me so and include your email if I dont already have it.

Hope you're having a wonderful Thursday. I sure am (going to go see Iron Man 3 tonight!!! Woo Hoo!!) Wish me luck in edits!!!