Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Paperboy

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

....I'm strangely in love with this book.

...no really, it's kind of fantastic and I just want to go on about it like a schoolgirl with a first crush.

...but I'll try to restrain myself a little bit so this review will go somewhere.

Maybe.

An amazon summary, "An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend's paper route for the month of July, he knows he'll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything. 

The paper route poses challenges, but it's a run-in with the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, that stirs up real trouble--and puts the boy's life, as well as that of his family's devoted housekeeper, in danger." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE AND GROSSLY SHORTENED SUMMARY


If you do click on that amazon link, there's seven recommendations for the books, some top choice pick things, and a youtube link that I'm not going to click on because I already spend too much time on youtube. I don't want to talk about it.

I have needs folks.

I need to tell you that the voice of this book is so profound yet easy to read and understand. That the writing itself lends the narrator his voice (in a stutter) and it's also reflected on the pages in large white spaces. It makes the reading seem simultaneously faster and slower. The narrator (whose name is not revealed until the end, and in the book he's referred to as 'Little Man' fondly by many people) is the author of the story and it comes across as a narration combined with personal reflection, it almost reminded me of the movie Forest Gump but I think the heart of the character came across a lot easier in Paperboy. 

I need to tell you that their is a surface story, there is an underneath the surface story, and there is the story that you will take away from the book (which probably will be different than the other two stories; maybe). The surface story is that young man takes on a paper route in 1959 for his friend who he calls Rat (as it is easier to say than Art (short for Arthur)) for a month while Rat is away to the farm to have dirt clod fights (and to do farming, maybe). The surface story shows you the odd people the narrator runs into on his paper route, and shows you some aspects of racism that was prevalent in Memphis at the time (DISCLAIMER: I don't know how historically accurate this all is). Underneath the surface story shows more of what the world looks like through the eyes of a stutterer and how he's always finding the hidden meaning in what people say and how they act towards him or around him. The underneath story shows the scary difference of 'two worlds' that occupy the same space (white vs black (RACISM PEOPLE, IT CAN BE A THEME WITHOUT THINGS GETTING TOO WEIRD)). The underneath story is clouded with confusion because the narrator doesn't know what it all means yet but he's trying to find it and he's trying to help you figure it out too. There's a lot more to it, but I have other needs (haha).

I need to tell you that I'm utterly in love with the story and trying not to get tongue tied about it, or immediately dive into the book again.

I need to tell you that the book will show that sometimes the people with the most outwardly challenging communication problems are sometimes the best at understanding the art of communication and how to really use it.

I need to tell you that every character the narrator encountered had their own flavors, their own mysteries that the narrator wants to figure out, and their own different conclusions.

I want to say I already did a round about way of summarizing the book, so I'm going to leave that well alone.

I would also like to say that there are some adult aspects to the book (like alcohol) but it is dealt with in a child's manner and cautious curiosity. The narrator doesn't partake in alcohol, but a handful of characters do and he observes the changes that happen with them. It's a little sad but kids who are 11 probably already have some sort of idea about alcohol (although hopefully not first hand experience) and the book displays the some sort of idea that the narrator has without getting gritty about it.

The language of the book seems like it could belong to 1959, especially with the way the characters spoke to each other. It kind of seems simple, but gets complicated when you look for the underneath story.

I guess you just REALLY NEED TO KNOW that I love this book. Because I clearly haven't said that enough already.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

If You Could Be Mine

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

A disclaimer: This book will not be released until August 20, 2013. I read the advanced reader's copy of this book so it might be different when it is published for the general public.

An amazon summary before I dive into this book, "Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they had before, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.


Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants in the body she wants to be loved in without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


So the summary did a brilliant job of describing the book's situation and I'm just going to let it have it's day.

I want to say this right away, this is a love story between two women. The story itself kind of explores some aspects of the LGBTQIA community in Iran, but not all aspects of it. Mostly from the women's point of view on society and in relation to her relationship with another women and how that is viewed socially and culturally.

However, the style of writing struck me as unattached to the events of the story. There were moments where the narrator was emotionally responding to everything around her, yet there were moments where she felt very wooden.

Anyways.

There is a lot of focus on the culture of Iran as well and I'm not sure how much is accurate and how much isn't as it is a fiction book. However, there does seem to be a lot of moments where Sahar suddenly remembers that something is illegal (say exposed elbows for women) and panics when they're in the moment, already in trouble. Yet for someone who has lived in Iran their whole life, it seems like she would be constantly on the lookout for law violations as she's kind of a paranoid person.

Regardless, the story was good to read even though I didn't quite like where it led to but appreciated how the story resolved.

I'm not going to spoil it though because the book has not been released yet although I would really like to discuss it because it seems like everything is just a giant red herring.

Also, there is a part where Sahar faints in the doctor's office due to some graphic images (operation related images) yet she aspires to be a surgeon. Her dreams don't seem realistic based on her reaction to mere pictures.

I'm glad I read it, but I'm not thrilled about recommending it. It seems to dodge around a lot of big questions and dabbles in too much of the culture without a lot of explanation.

I don't know.

Happy reading.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Love and Other Perishable Items

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

I read to page 134 out of 243 pages and I have to put this book down. I'm putting it down with a bit of a heavy sigh though as I did enjoy the character of Amelia (one narrator) but not so much the character of Chris (the other narrator).

An amazon summary, "Love is awkward, as fans of Sarah Dessen and E. Lockhart well know. Funny and heartbreaking in equal measure, this grocery store romance was a Morris Award Finalist for Best YA debut.

"Smart, honest and full of achingly real characters. And it made me laugh. What else would you want in a book?" —Melina Marchetta, Printz Award-winning author


From the moment Amelia sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It's problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, 15, is 15.


Amelia isn't stupid. She knows it's not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia's crush doesn't seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?


Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up.
"A sweet and scathingly funny love story." —Kirkus, Starred Review" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


I really wanted to like this book because love stories that are quirky and a bit unpredictable and everything like that are right up my ally. I love Sarah Dessen novels because love manages to sneak it's way into awkward and weird situations. Have a I mentioned I'm a sucker for romantics? Sheesh.

Let me set the scene for you of this story.

The story takes place in Australia (which is cool!) and noteworthy because some of the jargon I was a little unfamiliar with but could understand from the context it was used. It also threw me off a little bit when boys were referred to lads and girls were referred to as lasses regardless of their age. I digress.

Amelia has started to work at Cole's (a supermarket grocery store of sorts, although it doesn't seem to be like Walmart) and has taken a fancy to her new employee trainer, Chris. It's a slight build up to love, but it definitely escalates there quickly enough. Amelia is smart, kind of prim and proper girl because she seems to lack the confidence in herself to try anything new that's outside her comfort zone. However, she's kind of fun and has a best friend that she ignores pretty consistently; I MEAN CHECKS IN WITH PERIODICALLY TO KEEP YOU UP A LITTLE BIT ON THE DRAMA which might come back to bite her in the butt towards the end of the book.

But I didn't get that far.

Then there's Chris who's smitten by a girl from his past and on a quest to find the perfect woman. He's an alcoholic, he goes to university (often abbreviated to uni) and he's 21. He's a literature and sociology major and has no idea what he's going to do with his life after he gets out of uni.

I pretty much hate Chris.

When the book is written from his point of view he wallows in his own angst so intensely that I kind of recoil from the amount of anger and contempt he holds for his world. He constantly pokes fun at himself and seems to throw a tantrum every time he writes an entry (his narration reads like a diary). There are a few redeeming qualities about Chris, but they just seem to mask his angst only a little bit. Maybe this will play back in the book later on, maybe he'll make an astounding recovery from his angst.

I didn't get that far.

I really didn't want to finish reading this book because Amelia is 15 and in her kind of short time with Chris she relents to go to a party where there's alcohol, she proceeds to get drunk and make out with a guy that was leading her towards sex. However, a guy manages to stop them and Amelia the next morning is like WHOA CRAP. I believe the legal drinking age may be 18 in Australia, but I have no idea for certain. I do know that there was another character that was 16 in the book that was going to the bars with Chris and the other older people from the store. So maybe there's something weird going on there or they had a fake ID. I don't know.

I might be a stick in the mud and this might have turned into some sort of beautiful coming of age story for both Amelia and Chris, but I don't really want to read a love story between a minor and an adult. I don't really want to read about Amelia becoming 'corrupted'. I don't really want to read anything else that's over the top angry from Chris.

I really did enjoy reading Amelia's side of the story, and I didn't even mind too much that Chris' narration was told in the diary format (which normally I absolutely loathe), it was more that Chris' personality got in the way for me.

Amelia states a few times that she knows what kind of person Chris is, yet she loves him anyways. He seems to come across as an angry, floundering, social butterfly that doesn't have any direction to go in. I think Amelia is just charmed that he treats her as if her opinions are worth something. I did love this quote from Chris, "She even takes the goings-on of fictitious characters personally. These are the things she thinks about when she is packing groceries," (Buzo, page 48, Love and Other Perishable Items). He's referring to Amelia and her statements about The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I was kind of hoping it'd turn into something like The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Macker (which you can find HERE). It didn't seem to be going in that direction any time soon though.

Also, I get a little irked when authors incorporate books or writing into their stories. I understand that you should write what you know as you'll be able to convey it the best, but I get a little overwhelmed by the sensation of reading when I'm reading about someone else who is reading something that I have already read in a book that I am reading. PHEW. This was a great way for Amelia and Chris to share their minds as Amelia has a quirky literature teacher that seems to be giving out 'older' books where Chris already has a passion for literature (it's one of his majors). I understand all of that. But all of the reading, like WHOA.

I'm glad that the book is there to show how 'odd' people get through the rougher years of their lives, but this book just wasn't for me.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Never Fade

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

I HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO GET OUT OF THE WAY FIRST. BEAR WITH ME.

This is the second book in the series; I reviewed the first book, The Darkest MindsHERE.

This review will undoubtedly contain spoilers about the first book as it is the second book in the series.

This book is not set to be released to the general public until October 15, 2013. I did read the advanced reader's copy that I received at the ALA conference. I also got to meet the author and get a signed copy of the first book, and she signed my ARC. All of the nerd out moments. BOOKS ARE SO FREAKING COOL GUYS. :D

There also seems to be an ebook bridge book between The Darkest Minds and Never Fade which I unfortunately have not acquired. But said ebook, In Time, can be found HERE.

NOW, I can finally move onto the amazon summary, "Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children's League call Ruby "Leader", but she knows what she really is: a monster. 

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children's League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America's children-and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts-has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future-and who now wouldn't recognize her. 


As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam-and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart-she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE AND WHY ISN'T THIS BOOK BEING RELEASED SOONER


NOW. As this is an advanced reader's copy, I WILL NOT reveal anything past the first thirty percent of the book. My copy is 507 pages long, the thirty percent mark is at 152 pages, but the next chapter begins on page 156. So I'm stretching it a teensy bit by a few pages.

I'm going to do my best to summarize the book better than amazon did....because really, did you just read that? At least they didn't do a halfway through the book point. That's nice.

They just tended to leave out all the gruesome details.

This isn't a happy world that Ruby dwells within; it's fraught with survival, extra abilities, and adults who just don't seem to know how to control themselves. It's madness, yet with how the world is built, it's easy to see what happened to drive it to this point, to this far.

In the first book we saw the cruelty of camp Thurmond and once Ruby escaped, the devastation of the country. Chubs, Zu, and Liam all traveled together in a minivan searching for a children's haven, East River, set up by the slip kid. The country is in a state of disrepair.

The second book picks up with the same gruesome reality of America and doesn't seem to hold back. Ruby has joined up with the Children's League and has become a leader of her group of different colored kids; Vida (blue), Jude (yellow), and Nico (green). Cate is in charge of them and her life with the Children's League isn't anymore pleasant than Thurmond. Ruby weathers through it until Nico and Jude bring to her attention that there are adult members of their units that are taking out the children. Blake was a green put out on assignment (unusual), Jude and Nico managed to get the footage of the moment his 'watcher' (adult) put a bullet in his back.

Every kid has a target on their back no matter where they are it seems.

Ruby meets up with Cole (Liam's brother) as she is asked to interrogate him when she accesses his memories and discovers that he saw Liam and that Liam also made off with a very valuable USB drive on accident.

The trick is, Ruby has to get out of the compound without anyone knowing what her goal is: to find Liam and retrieve the flash drive. She waits and waits until she's given a mission, but Jude is assigned to go on the mission with her. Ruby knows that if she leaves Jude, they'll kill him.

On the mission, Ruby manages to snag Jude away and they make a run for it. Jude has a slip and they get picked up but he manages to terminate the electricity in the car and make their escape once more. They head out on their mission and Vida meets up with them (unbeknownst to Ruby, Cate and Cole sent her separately to help with the mission). Ruby manages to get them to the house with a few particular bumps on the way when they run into Chubs.

Chubs is alive!

Annddddd that's all the summary I'm giving out. That is page 152. Done.

Now I left out some meatier chunks of drama plot story because again, I don't want to reveal too much of the book before it's even been released. I'll talk about some aspects instead.

The gruesome parts of the story are very realistic and cold cut; there is no pulling of the punches to contain the horror that happens in the country since kids have been on the run, etc.

The character development of Ruby seems so well done considering that she spent most of her 'growing years' in a rehabilitation camp. There are a lot of issues that she's forced to deal with and it's kind of beautiful as she stumbles through it as well as continually learning how to better use her powers.

I loved Vida, Jude, Nico, and the return of some characters from the last book (like Chubs).

The only aspect that I didn't particularly care for where a lot of moments when some physical damage would happen to Ruby and she would be like OW, but carry on anyways. There didn't seem to be a realistic relationship between her own body being in pain and her brain. However, that could be a spin on the powers of the Orange; are they able to ignore their weakened bodies in favor of their minds because brain power? I don't know.

The book was pretty exciting for the whole read and I'm looking forward to the third one.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Feta Chicken Pasta Salad

Aww yeah, crappy picture of the dish courtesy of my phone.
Mmm, delicious. Also, the thing on the right is a spoon
handle. Just so you know it's not a malformed piece of
chicken or something.
Feta Chicken Pasta Salad

So basically, I'm terrible at naming things. One day I put all of these delicious things into a dish and it turns out the whole dish was delicious! Now I'm sharing it!

Huzzah!

...I'm also going to put weird space in here so everything will line up nicely. BECAUSE I CAN.






Ingredients:

  • 4 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
  • 12 ounces of penne pasta, cooked (I used tri-color because of delicious, but regular penne should be fine)
  • 4 ounces of feta cheese
  • 8 ounces of italian dressing (light)
  • 1 1/2 cups of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of crinkle cut carrots
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced onions (which you can kind of see in the picture)

Directions:
  1. Ensure that chicken breasts and pasta have been cooked. I put them in the ingredients as such, but it's always good to know that I expect you to have already accomplished this. I personally bake my chicken in the oven with some light seasoning of black pepper and garlic powder on it.
  2. Combine carrots, broccoli, and onions into a large bowl. Stir in feta cheese.
  3. Pour the Italian dressing over mixture.
  4. Add penne and chicken.
  5. Serve warm.

That's it. I like assuming that you know how to cook pasta and chicken. It makes the directions a lot easier. This is what I like to think of as a 'gather and mix' sort of recipe, but it's tasty while being relatively quick.

Happy cooking!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Spirit's Chosen

Spirit's Chosen by Esther Friesner

As this is a second book it will undoubtedly contain spoilers for the first book, Spirit's Princess, which I reviewed HERE. I don't think this is a series, I think it's just a duology. But I could be wrong.

I'm going to sound absurdly silly and mildly insane for a moment as I bequeath this, WHY DID THIS BOOK HAVE SO MANY WORDS.

So an amazon summary, "From princess to slave in the blink of an eye. . . .

Himiko's world is falling apart. An attack by a rival clan, the Ookami, has left many from her tribe dead or enslaved. Amid the chaos and fear, Himiko hatches a plan to save her people. But just when it seems that she will outwit Ryu, the cruel Ookami leader, she is captured. Held against her will, Himiko starts to realize that not all of the Ookami are her enemies. Though she may not see her path as clearly as the spirits seem to, there's more adventure (and even unexpected love) for this princess turned shaman-warrior.


Readers who love strong girl-centric adventures are eating up Esther Friesner's Princesses of Myth books, finding the mash-up of historical fiction and fantasy adventure irresistible!" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


It's taking me so long to write this blog post. Then again, it took me forever to read this book because it was so thick, and now I don't really know what to say about it.

I'm going to save myself from summarizing the book in depth because I'm so against the wall with this book.

Let's talk about aspects of the book.

The writing of the book was simplistic, but there was so much to get through between any sort of character development, plot, or even action. Then when the action happened, it almost seemed slow for action. I had to prevent myself from skipping paragraphs in the book just because it took so long to get through. The book is only 475 pages long. The writing seemed very repetitive to me and Himiko wasn't characterized very well in relation to her age in this book. I wanted to believe her age was somewhere around 18, but how she spoke and interacted betrayed her as someone who might be twelve to fourteen. The 'adults' and 'elders' in the book were also simplistic in their speech and it was off-putting as reader. The voices all sounded too similar.

The relationship between Lady Badger (her best friend, who's real name I cannot recall, probably because she was called Lady Badger for most of the book) was well done, but I had a hard time believing the character of Lady Badger herself. It didn't seem to me that women were particularly oppressed in the book's world as women were shaman and could be chiefs of their clans as well. In the context of a marriage, there seemed to be a lot of male dominance as men could have multiple wives and etc. For Lady Badger to be able to hunt and do 'manly' things as well as, if not better than the men in the book was good to see, but I'm not sure what the intended reaction was. As a reader, was I supposed to find Lady Badger courageous for being herself? Or admire her for asserting her equality? Should I have been upset that the other women in the world didn't seem to have as strong or stubborn personality as Himiko and Lady Badger? There were not a lot of indicators besides 'shock' and 'acceptance' to Lady Badger's abilities.

Himiko. OH MY GOODNESS HIMIKO. I can't stand her anymore. Absolutely cannot stand her. She is an unreliable narrator as she portrays herself as clever and knowing what to do, yet undermines herself constantly. She wafers back and forth on a lot of stances such as being good at being a Shaman, yet she won't assert or defend herself to the other characters. Also, her spirit powers seemed to be almost tossed to the side in favor of concentrating on her ability to make medicine. I wanted to see more Spirit world stuff as that seemed to be a HUGE DEAL at the end of the first book.

There wasn't a whole lot of growth to the richness of the story. I could see where the story was headed early on in the book, but I could not stand how long I had to wait for events to unfold to get to that point. I had lost hope that the central plot wouldn't be resolved in some fashion so that I would have to read a third book.

...

I'm really at a loss with this book. It's being marketed for young adults, but seems to only do so in the sense of the simplistic nature of the writing and then age of Himiko. Other than that, there isn't enough concepts present for me to consider it to be a young adult story. There isn't a whole lot of 'growing up' or 'coming of age' present in the sense of character growth. It seems that Himiko makes a lot of headstrong decisions and then can't handle the consequences of those decisions.

I didn't care for this book, I would not read the third book if this series continues, which kind of sucks because I did enjoy the first book and was curious about the continuation of the story.

Now it just seems like a daunting headache.

Happy reading!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Dream Thieves, a discussion

A small introduction on this new blog segment of sorts.

Brittany and I went to the ALA conference together and gathered many of the same advanced reader's copies while we were there. We were also escorted around by the fabulous Lynn Rutan and Cindy Dobrez of Bookends Blog.

That led to the inspiration of having conversations about the books we managed to wrangle at the conference. Granted, it won't be every book that we picked up most likely but there is hope that we'll be able to do this with some frequency.

Brittany blogs at Summerland Sushi, and her blog post about The Dream Thieves can be found HERE.
In case you missed it, my blog about The Dream Thieves can be found HERE.

In the following discussion, I AM THE GREEN COLOR. Brittany is THE BLUE COLOR.

There might be different colors amidst the paragraphs; that is us chiming in on what the other says. The colors should remain true to who said what.

This will undoubtedly contain spoilers about The Dream Thieves as it's a book discussion. Please do not read on if you would like the book to remain unspoiled.

Without further ado, here is our discussion led by questions. We tried not to be repetitive with what we already posted in our original blogs.



What made you want to read it?

LIZ: I was on the fence with how I felt about the first book in the series, The Raven Boys, and enjoyed where the plot was moving, but not as much as the writing style. I read the second book in the hopes of finding redemption for the first book and to see where the story was going. I’m beginning to like it a bit more now, but I’m still hesitant.


BRITTANY: This is an easy one for me. I adored the Raven Boys for both the storyline and (most) of the characters, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel - and now I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel to the sequel.



Did it live up to your expectations? Why or Why not? What are your expectations for the next book?



LIZ: The only expectations I had for the book was there to be less of a focus on Blue and Gansey, while answering more questions about the plot. Both of my expectations were fulfilled, but I didn’t have any expectations in regards to the story because I just didn’t know what to expect of where it would go or how it would get there.


My expectations for the next book...how about what I want from the next book. I would really like to see some more answers about Glendower rather than who else is after him and why. I would like to see some sort of resolution between Gansey and Adam. Gansey is like WHY WON’T YOU LET ME HELP YOU and Adam is like ITS NOT EVEN A SIMPLE MATTER OF PRIDE, ITS AN ALMOST UNEXPLAINABLE EMOTION annnddd they both just seem to have a mutual amount of angst and dumb in relation to the whole deal. I would also like to find out what is going on with Blue’s mother. I would like to know if Adam has become some sort of holy entity (monk, priest, atc) to the leyline itself, ORRRR if he became that sort of deal for Glendower himself. Could you imagine if he was a knight of Glendower? That would just be SO COOL. In a weird way. Hmm. This would be awesome and I would love to see it also - unless he gets some ridiculous magical sword. I’ve had it up to here with ridiculous magical swords.


What I expect to happen in next book is a concentration on Blue and Gansey again (gag both of them with spoons, now), more revelations through Blue’s eccentric family, and the Grey man having a more of a vital role. I want to believe that since so much time was spent on developing his character, there will be more of the story with him. Maybe he’ll have some sort of vital role in retrieving Blue’s mother? Hmm? Will love be a central theme to this whole story? Are we really on an exploratory story of what love is like in all of it’s different forms? I’m still not sure what the point of this book is. There’s usually a nice genre that books can fall into such as fantasy, science fiction, action, adventure, romance, etc; but this book seems to want to be everything it can be, and maybe what it shouldn’t.


My expectation for the next book is that there is some clarity brought to the series to round out the first two books, and perhaps to begin to bring things full circle. I might have a rage fit if I have to wait until book four to get any sort of full circle completion. It would be interesting if it was angling to answer the question of “What is love?” (baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more - ahem) in all it’s different forms. It would be a very uncommon way to go about it as well. Or maybe those answers are also being woven into the story. With a story like this, the possibilities are almost endless. Almost endless; let’s just hope the series finishes in a resounding four books with all ends tied up and it doesn’t become a monstrosity onto itself. These are my expectations.


BRITTANY: I think we’ll definitely stop at four - YA is great for keeping stories to the original anticipated print run - not like adult fantasy (I’m looking at you, Robert Jordan). It better stop at four. To declare it a cycle and then pull a ‘JUST KIDDING, THERE’S MORE!’ is really annoying and disappointing.


I didn’t have many expectations going into the second book because there were so many ways to answer the questions that were left over from the first book. I was actually expecting the book to focus again on Gansey and Blue; at the time, I didn’t know it was slated for a four book run, so the switch over to Ronan and Adam was very nice. I did expect more out of Noah, though looking back, I think that was wishful thinking. I really like his character but I can see where he fulfilled his purpose in exposing the leyline for Gansey. I hope this doesn’t mean he gets written out of the story all together.


For the next book, I expect the focus to shift back to Blue and probably Blue/Gansey (sadly). The shift back will be tragic. I will be all the sad. The events at the end directly involve Blue’s mother, so returning to her makes the most sense. I’m interested to see what part The New and Improved Grey Man plays. His story was more or less resolved but I don’t think he’s done with killing people quite yet. 



Which character could you relate to best and why?


LIZ: I couldn’t relate to any of the characters really, it might be why I struggle with having a firm connection with the book. I enjoyed Noah’s character the most because of the strangeness of his character. He seems to have a whimsical childish fancy with the world for being a dead boy yet he can be the most mature at times. He’s probably slowly being written out of the story’s focus and becoming more of an indicator for the leyline’s current condition. Like a weather man, but for the leyline.


BRITTANY: I wrote in my blog post about relating to Blue out of all of the characters but even in relating to her, she isn’t really my favorite. She spent a lot of this book just being mopey and whiney about Adam and Gansey and I’m not sure I buy the transition from, “I’m not at all attracted to Gansey” to “OMG wanna have his babies”. I’m interested to see if there’s a magical angle at play here, like maybe Glendower is screwing around with their relationship because.... I don’t know. I need something better than what I got, though. Noah is absolutely my favorite character, but Chainsaw is also pretty awesome. I struggle with the characters a lot since I want to like them, but there’s not a lot to like about them. I mean Gansey would be awesome if everyone wasn’t so focused on Gansey to begin with, but he seems to be undefinable to all the other characters.



Why else struck you about the book as good or bad? What did you like or dislike about it that we haven't discussed already?

LIZ: I don’t think I discussed the reveal at the end of The Dream Thieves about Blue’s mother suddenly going MIA. I am troubled by what that could mean or imply. I don’t recall the exact wording of the note but there’s a growing implication that there is a threat to the group of the magical nature. That there is some evil that is working to get them because they are after Glendower. I’m not entirely sure if this is something that is note worthy, or a red herring. It’s not good or bad depending on what it could be in later books.


BRITTANY: The ending bothered me also, but more because it felt like it came out of nowhere. Blue’s mother has kind of been involved in proceedings from the beginning, but suddenly she’s dragged into the underground awful place? This is why I want to read over starting with RB because I’ve missed SOMETHING. My best guess is that Neeve is somehow involved, because she was the Other Bad Guy in the first book and we haven’t heard from her since the end.


The other thing that bothered me was The Grey Man. I loved him when he was the Grey Man and seemed to be almost magical and mythical in his mystery. Then he turned out be to be a person with a name and that was okay too - but I absolutely did not understand the resolution of his conflict with his brother. A) I still don’t understand what the conflict was and B) Why was it such a conflict if the brother is actually not a scary individual? I understand that sometimes people are scarier in our heads than in real life, but I needed to know why.

LIZ AGAIN: I’m am also at odds with the Grey man because I loved how his character came into focus within the story, yet I am unsure of the conflict surrounding him. With his brother, it seemed over too quickly with almost no explanation, I want to see more of why that matters. I don’t think that was thrown in there to prove the brutality of the Grey man in the sense of shock factor, ‘He’s willing to kill his own flesh and blood! LE GASP!’ I need more to the Grey man as well, I would love to see more of him in book three and hopefully have revealed why he was brought into the story.


...

Happy book discussions!

(I also had a weirdly hard time getting the formatting on this right, so if something looks screwed up, PLEASE TELL ME. I've been checking and previewing it, but I can really get everything messed up easily.)

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves is the second book in the Raven Cycle; I reviewed the first book, The Raven Boys HERE.

The following review undoubtedly has spoilers about the first book as it is the second book in the series. You have been warned.

I also acquired a copy of The Dream Thieves at the ALA conference I went to; as such the book I read is the advanced reader's copy, it is uncorrected proof; there will undoubtedly be some changes to it before it is published on September 17, 2013.

Update: My blogging book buddy (Miss Brittany) has also blogged about this book as she also obtained an ARC copy at the ALA conference. Her review is HERE AT SUMMERLAND SUSHI. I suppose you can see if you're on Team Brittany or Team Liz, although that makes me nervous. There is also a discussion posted that we had about this book which you can find HERE.

I presume since the book has not been released yet, that is why the amazon summary is a little lacking on it, "The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...." AMAZON LINK OF BLAND JUSTICE

For the record, my copy of this book had 438 pages to it. I'm going to talk up until page 133 as that is approximately 30% of the book before I warn of spoiler land.

This book takes Ronan and makes his whole dream-raven-whatever thing take center stage. That is very important because new characters come into play because they're all like WHAT IS THIS? RONAN, ARE YOU A WEIRD THING THAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR?

Now that's out of the way, the beginning speaks of secrets. It takes the entire prologue to explain the profound nature of secrets, what defines a secret, and what exactly the Lynch family secrets could be.

Fair warning, I got highly annoyed with the book taking three paragraphs to explain something in an elusive way that didn't really accomplish anything that one or two sentences could have. I sense that the author believed it was creating more of the atmosphere of mystery to the book, but I just ended up hating it. I think a few times I distinctly told my book, "I get it, ITS ALL MYSTERIOUS, please stop dancing around the bush and JUST LIGHT IT ON FIRE!" ...It's just an interesting way to demand that some light be shed on the situation.

Disclaimer: I haven't lit the book on fire. No book deserves that, ever. [/down with book burning].

Now in the first book Blue Sargent was a main character, center stage with relative frequency. In the second book, it's more of her family that is important (Maura, Persephone, and Calla) because they can actually do psychic things and be useful (what? I don't hate Blue, I just find her a tad annoying all the time). In this book, it seems that Blue and her mysterious kiss of death to her first love takes a backseat of sorts because that was overly concerned in the first book, so it needs to back off in this book. Which it did, to a point. Blue kind of served as a catalyst character to the boys since she is 'sensible' and not really changing.

Then we're introduced to the character of Mr. Gray or The Gray Man, who has been sent by Mr. Greenmantle to find the Greywaren, and seems to use a lot similar devices to when in the first book, they discovered the leyline in Cabeswater. Mr. Gray is a hitman who begins with the Lynch brothers, specifically Declan (the oldest) to try and figure out where the Greywaren is.

Noah is almost completely forgotten except for a handful of scenes and only then is he remembered because of Blue's kiss thing, because of the leyline, and because near death experiences for everyone!

Adam is a hot mess. He is now the hands and eyes of something, he lives in the attic of a church in a very small cramped space, and is wrestling with the ferocious anger that dwells within him.

Something about this book itself; it seems to wrestle a lot with reality vs unrealistic; there are moments where the characters are very grounded within themselves, within their relationships, and still maintain some level of normalcy, but they lose it the moment something 'mystical' happens; such as Ronan pulling objects from his dreams. In the first book, Blue's family was presented with a lot of skepticism (besides from Blue) as if there were actual doubts that they could see the future or have any extra abilities. In this book, there are none of those doubts. They are still mysterious as hell, but they are accepted as the 'real deal'. With that notion in place, it is to be accepted that magic on some level exists in this world.

However.

There is a huge play with the finding of the leyline and using man-made scientific machines to find the different energies that lead to the leyline. This implies that there is some definable, scientific way to deal with magic. That magic in itself can be mapped out, observed, and quite simply found.

There also seems to be the implication that the leyline and the magic that Blue's family uses are the same as they interacted with each other in the first book to see the ghosts on the road in the church.

Yet the magic that Blue's family uses is implied that not everyone can do it; not everyone is clairvoyant or what have you. There are invisible rules to how the magic interacts with the world that we are not allowed to see; for as much as the book tells us, there is so much it does not tell us and probably never will.

The book seems to use many words to say, "You will never get it, you never will, but I will keep acting like I'm going to tell you one day." So maybe in books three and four it will tell us, but for now, IT IS SO FRUSTRATING.

Now I'm just going to jump headfirst into spoiler land. BECAUSE SPOILER LAND. I HAVE NEEDS.

There is a character in this book by the name of Kavinsky, who taunts Ronan into having street races with him and tends to be a general nuisance. Here is a truth that is revealed much later in the book; Kavinsky can pull objects from dreams as Ronan does. He also appears to have been doing it for longer, and much better than Ronan can. They have a weird learning montage that involves a lot of alcohol and drugs (REMEMBER, DRUGS AND ALCOHOL ARE BAD) and then Kavinsky is convinced that Ronan is his enemy or something blah blah blah, huge fight. Whatever.

Kavinsky just doesn't make sense. Perhaps he doesn't need to though.

I suspect that the author kind of threw him in there because one, learning montage so Ronan knows what he's doing (kind of), and two, to show exactly how deranged and messed up Ronan has the potential to become.

But then what does that mean about the magic? There's the implication that Ronan is using the magic directly from the leyline, so is he connected to the same magic as Blue's family and Adam? Hmm???

Alright, in my last post about this series, I had a lot of unanswered questions. I'm going to see if I can answer a few of them now.

There didn't seem to be any more strong mention of gods and devils. Perhaps a character is becoming more of a devil or a god and whoever Glendower is (god or devil), one of the characters will be the other. That's my prediction. Of course, there could just be some other crazy old being lurking around, shielding Glendower all this time and then gets into a rage fit once it's complete.

There were a lot of Raven themes to Ronan's dreams and the 'nightmare monsters' that he was able to pull out of the dream (accidentally mostly). This makes more sense to me as we now know that Ronan draws his magic from the leyline or that the magic he uses to summon dream things is from the leyline. So the leyline is directly involved with Glendower, Glendower's sign was the Raven; I'll allow it with no further questions at this time.

The thing with Adam becoming the eyes and hands of Cabeswater is explained more or less (as everything else is) so I can wait to find out how that's all going to play out in the end.

Some ending thoughts.

I'm sick of Blue. I'm sick of her refraining from kissing, I'm sick of her getting emotionally tangled with the boys in ways that she doesn't need to, I'm sick of her becoming the thing that will probably split the boys up.

I'm sick of Gansey. OH MY GOSH GANSEY SHUT UP. I'm sick of Gansey and knowing how to handle everyone he doesn't know well, and not knowing how to handle anyone he knows at all. I'm so sick of all the different descriptions of Gansey, of how he can have so many different sides and versions of himself that each character likes for different reasons. SERIOUSLY? I CANNOT CARE ANY LESS. I assume this will somehow play into when Gansey dies, because he's going to die before the series is over, (HELLO BOOK ONE) but for now, I JUST DON'T CARE. I have gotten to the point where I REALLY WANT GANSEY TO DIE so there will just be LESS of Gansey. SHEESH. There are way too many melodramatics surrounding Gansey, surrounding Gansey's and Adam's relationship, surrounding Ronan's and Gansey's relationship, surrounding Blue and Gansey's relationship, and the only relationship that doesn't seem to matter is Gansey and Noah because NOAH IS ALREADY DEAD. SO WHATEVER TO THAT I SUPPOSE. When he dies, they should just bury him on the leyline so he can be like Noah and get it over with. UGH.

I want to share a quote to illustrate how much I vilely hate the writing of the book, but appreciate the content I can gleam from it. This is the last sentence in a long paragraph that is trying to illustrate the life that Gansey's Father experienced while he was at school. It goes through five references before it lands on this one, "It was a community of scholars, just outside of adolescence, a sort of Marvel comic where every hero represented a different arm of the humanities," (Stiefvater, page 297, The Dream Thieves-Advanced Reader's copy, uncorrected proof). OF ALL THE THINGS TO REFER TO, YOU CHOSE A MARVEL COMIC? YOU CHOSE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE? WHY. WHY. MARVEL HEROES ARE NOT DIFFERENT ARMS OF HUMANITIES. YOU ARE WRONG. SO WRONG. That is the kind of crap that the entire book is filled with. It's almost as if the author is unsure of who or what to relate everything to, and therefore makes all the references even if they are HORRIBLY INCORRECT. I'm very glad that the author has the want for everyone to understand the story, for everyone to get it, and seemingly makes long explanations to ensure that everyone understands before moving on; but seriously not everyone is ever going to get it no matter how well you explain yourself.

At this point, I feel as if it has become like a handful of other series for me; I just have to read the rest of the books to know how it ends.

I really like the content of the book and the magic aspects and I'm overly curious about Glendower, but I absolutely LOATHE the over explanations of everything. So the style of writing is really grating against me.

Happy reading!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Runaway King

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

....can I just have the third one now? PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE? I just want to read it and stay in love with the story. Eh? Eh?

In case you missed it, I reviewed the first book in the trilogy, The False Prince, HERE.

...an amazon summary to gather my hyperactive thoughts, "A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!


Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?


The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


Inevitably, as this is the second book in the trilogy, I have to give away some spoilers from the first book. I'm going to do a mini recap so everyone can stick together! ALL OF THE SPOILERS FOR THE FALSE PRINCE.

Sage is actually Prince Jaron and managed to successfully reclaim the throne.

Tobias went with Jaron as he requested, Mott is also a very loyal friend/servant person to Jaron.

Imogen went with Jaron per Jaron's request to protect her life and hopefully enable to her to have a better one.

Roden tried to claim the crown from Sage (Jaron) before Sage had gone through the process to claim his throne. He tried to fight Jaron in a duel much to the pressure from Cregan to do so. Roden lost and fled from the castle in a lot of emotions.

Conner got everything he wanted but only to be stripped of it and thrown into the dungeon as Jaron deduced that Conner was the one that killed the royal family; he also figured out that Conner had help in doing so.

THE END OF THE FIRST BOOK.

The Runaway King begins with the funeral of the royal family. Jaron has sought refuge in the gardens as the funeral seems to be more for a public weeping rather than a true time for grieving. While in the garden, Jaron decides to climb the wall and as he gets settled, someone enters the gardens. Suspicious, Jaron watches them and realizes they are an assassin. He dives into action, gets the better of them before he comes toe to toe with Roden and nearly loses his life. Roden came with a message and an intense desire to kill him, but his message was for Jaron to surrender to the pirates of Avenia (the ones who originally tried to kill him four years ago in book one). If he doesn't, the pirates will destroy Carthya. They have some banter before Roden knocks him out.

The regents took it upon themselves to schedule a meeting to appoint a new steward to the kingdom until a time when Jaron is ready to rule Carthya. Jaron...is upset to say in the least.

Jaron begins putting together the clues as something about Conner doesn't seem right; there is someone helping him, but who?

Jaron has ten days to settle the pirates down so the King of Avenia cannot use them against him; for if the Avenia and the pirates fight together, Carthya will surely fall.

There's also a bunch of great relationship dynamics amongst the characters; especially between the prince and the princess. There's so much to this book that again, I feel a little tongue tied as to what to say without giving away any plot points that will come into focus later in the book.

OH MY GOODNESS.

I'm ready for the sequel.

...now.

It looks like I'm waiting until next year though. Expected publishing date according to the author's blog: March 1st, 2014.

NOOOOOO.

Deep breaths.

....

Happy reading!

Friday, July 12, 2013

The False Prince

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

So somehow I missed out on this book when it came out, but I've got it now!

An amazon summary to get the post going, "In this first book in a remarkable trilogy, an orphan is forced into a twisted game with deadly stakes.

Choose to lie...or choose to die.


In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.


As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.


An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


I'm just going to go ahead and give a basic detail of the plot as well, skipping over the minor details for the sake of summary.

Sage is a trouble maker with sometimes good intentions. In the very first scene, Sage has stolen a roast from the butcher and is scrambling to get his way through town and back to the orphanage before he can be caught. A fellow trips him so he goes sprawling, the butcher catches him, and a gentleman purchases both the roast and Sage. They go to the orphanage to make the purchase official, and begin to head out of town. Sage attempts to escape but is knocked out before he can get very far.

He wakes to find three other boys have been taken as well and as they make camp that night; their gentleman, Conner is a nobleman of the court and has the intentions of a risky plan. He offers them the chance to leave. One boy takes the offer but before he can leave, he's shot by one of Conner's minions.

Choose to lie or die indeed.

It's soon revealed that the three boys will be trained to be Prince Jaron; the lost prince of the kingdom. He's presumed dead but a body was never found so there is still hope.

The boys themselves must compete for the spot of Prince Jaron as the implication is whoever fails, will die. They'll be a liability.



I essentially fell in love with every character that graced the pages because they were so well depicted. Whether they be good or evil, they were fantastically well characterized.

I also liked the clever and wit of Sage's character and while I was suspicious of what was truly happening through the book, it wasn't ever confirmed.

I got hung up wondering about the rock thing as well. (If you read the book that will make sense.)

It moved at a good pace and I can't really find anything I didn't like about the book. I do want to know more about Mott though; he seemed like a good fellow albeit mysterious sometimes.

I'm excited to read the next book, but I don't think the third one comes out until next year. It's only a trilogy, but I definitely think I can wait to see how it ends.

Happy reading!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

I reviewed the first one in the series here, SHADOW AND BONES.

When I finished this book, I literally bolted off my chair, danced around (more like flailing wildly), and immediately went to the computer to see when the third book in the trilogy comes out. Through much googling, it looks like it will be out in the fall of 2014. I DON'T WANT TO WAIT THAT LONG. But I will, BECAUSE AWESOME.

So an amazon summary before I get too psyched out about this amazing book, "Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

The book begins with a 'Before' section that nicely transitions where the first book left off to where the second book begins.

Mal and Alina have managed to escape the Darkling for a short while, but are captured at the beginning of the book. During their capture, it's revealed that the Darkling has a new power; he's able to summon the beasts from the Fold and one of the beasts manages to bite Alina with a wound that will never properly heal (allegedly). The Darkling and his minions whisk Mal and Alina away onto a ship where they meet Sturmhond and his interesting crew. It's soon revealed that they're looking for Rusalye with the intention of getting another amplifier for Alina. Mal manages to track it down, but as the Rusalye becomes captured, Sturmhond and his crew escape with Rusalye, Mal, and Alina before making off with them; far away from the Darkling. Sturmhond claims he works for the highest bidder, and the Darkling was essentially outbid; but Alina is wary. Sturmhond lets her kill the Rusalye and he has a Grisha on board that fastens scales from the beast onto Alina's wrist. Her power becomes even greater.

Sturmhond makes a bargain with Alina that he gets to take her to his true employer and hear him out; but if she wants to leave at any time, Sturmhond will take her away from it all to where she originally wanted to escape with Mal. Alina agrees and after one incredible flying adventure, Alina discovers that Sturmhond is actually the second prince to the Ravka throne.

That's about 30% of the book. It was a lot of summary, sparing a lot of the intricate details that really, the book needs to be read to get.

I loved the relationship between Mal and Alina because although they are in love, they face struggles that are well portrayed. The world was so well done, the same as in the first book, and the book was well paced.

I enjoyed Alina's character in that it was consistent, yet she was growing as she's struggling to come into her own as well as 'save the world' of sorts.

Really, if you loved the first book, you're going to love the second book just as much. It's a great follow up sequel, and I hope the trend continues into the third book.

The book is so intricate that I really feel like I can't say one thing without having to explain the back story of it and how it got to that point so that you can appreciate it too.

I just want to run around and dance a lot.

That's all I got.

I'm going to struggle not to read it again because of all the other waiting books, but the temptation is strong.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Scarlet

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I reviewed the first book in the series, CinderHERE.

This blog post will contain MANY spoilers about Cinder as there are many leftover things from the book that I wanted to see happen in this book and it just didn't. Fair warning.

An amazon summary, "Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. 

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


So first things first.

Some things I wanted more details about in Scarlet (which failed to happen).

I wanted to know more about the World War that happened to leave the world in kind of shambles; I wanted to see how it affected the people, the landscape, the everything. I didn't get it. Frown.

I wanted a better understanding of what the technology looked like for the world; I didn't get it. Frown.

I wanted to see what the freaking cities looked like that they were traversing through or even more of a description of it; I didn't get it. Frown.

I wanted Cinder to calm down a bit and concentrate on the important things; like surviving long enough to make a difference in the conflict with Lunar. So far so good...

Going into it, I knew Cinder was going to share the narration, I did like how it switched between Cinder, Scarlet, and Kai. Good, good.

I wanted Cinder to calm down and go forth with her life; keeping in mind everything she just learned at the end of the last book (she's actually Princess Selene; rumored to be the only Lunar who is more powerful than  Queen Levana), which she did. PRETTY FREAKING SWEET.



Now let me embark on a summary of sorts so I can get to the bones of the story. I'm going to straight explain what is happening in Cinder's part and then switch to Scarlet's part. I'm cutting myself off at the 30% mark because math.

Cinder had a visit from Dr. Erland who might have upgraded some of her cybernetics and told her to meet him in Africa (which isn't vague at all) and manages to escape from prison with Cadet Thorne. Cadet Thorne insists that he's actually a Captain, but that's about as charming as he gets. Thorne really comes along because he proclaims to have a ship in storage, Cinder is in need of a ship, and she had a slight miscalculation of the cells when she was moved. They make it out of the prison with Cinder starting to learn some of her Lunar abilities. With their prison escape, they have to climb through sewers to reach the ship, deal with an unruly storage facilitator, and manage to get the ship out of Beijing almost at the price of Cinder's life. There are a lot of technology bits that happened in this part that I wasn't too fond of.

Switch to the introduction of Scarlet as a rough girl whose Grandmother has been missing for almost two weeks with a clue of her ID chip having been removed and left in the house. She wears a red hood, lives on a farm with her Grandmother and tries not to have anything to do with her Father. She meets Wolf at a bar which she delivers some of the farm's produce to. There's a newscast about the Lunar who escaped prison (Cinder) and the bar gets into a frenzy about how awful that girl must be, Scarlet defends her, and then as the bar gets rowdy, Wolf physically defends Scarlet. Wolf is portrayed as a mysterious stranger that partakes in street fights, can eat a lot, and seems very unaccustomed to normal bits of life. Like tomatoes.

Scarlet's Father makes an incoherent appearance as he scrambles around the farmhouse looking for anything that the Grandmother might have hid while rambling about a tattoo he saw on his kidnappers arm (one that Wolf seems to have as well). Scarlet discovers he's injured, gets him put together a bit before putting him to bed. She seeks out Wolf at one of his street fights convinced that he's the one who stole her Grandmother and witnesses the ruthless brutality that Wolf is capable of. Wolf and Scarlet escape separately from the fight grounds. Wolf comes by the next morning, and after some hassling of each other, Wolf agrees to help her find her Grandmother. Her Father goes into another savage rampage trying to find something her Grandmother might have hidden and Scarlet kicks him off of the farm after Wolf pulls some sort of tracker/listening device necklace off of me and destroys it.

Now I'm going to take a moment to make some timeline references. This is delving into SPOILER LAND kind of.

The story of Cinder took about two weeks in their world's time to complete. The story of Scarlet took about four days to complete in their world's time.

In the time of Cinder's story, it took Cinder and Kai about two weeks to love each other.

In  the time of Scarlet's story, it took Scarlet and Wolf a day to fall in crush with each other, a second day to realize it was love, a third day for Scarlet to realize that Wolf betrayed her, and then love again when they escape together.

FOUR DAYS TO FALL IN "LOVE". WHAT. WHAT.

I know there millions of moments in stories where they're like, "It was love at first sight", but this was "It was love at first danger" deal. Um, what? I believe Scarlet is 18 in this book. I would think that someone who has managed to survive to 18 would have some more reservations about loving someone. At the end, Scarlet even declares that she'll be Wolf's 'Alpha Female'. REALLY?

Sigh.

I'm not sure if the series is truly worth continuing to read.

I am curious if Thorne is a fairy tale character or reference to it of some sort, but I'm drawing a blank as to who he could be or if I'm just looking for something that isn't there. The same thing with Iko; is she designed to be a Pinocchio reference with how much she wants to be 'alive'.

I don't know. I also don't know if I care.

Happy reading.