01 May 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Sixteen, or What Happened to April?

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Cover of Stunning by Sara Shepard Title: Stunning (Pretty Little Liars #11)
Author: Sara Shepard
Publication Date: 5 June 2012
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):
Full of darker secrets, juicier scandals, and deadlier plot twists, the latest arc of the #1 New York Times bestselling series continues to deliver fast-paced, tension-ridden drama. 

After Alison DiLaurentis tried to kill them, Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna tried to get their lives back on track. But these girls just can’t stay out of trouble. First there was their disastrous trip to Jamaica, and their summer breaks were no less eventful. Now a new A is stalking them, taunting them with the very secrets these pretty little liars have been trying to forget. But this A doesn’t just want to blackmail the girls—this A is out for blood.
Oh come on. It's Pretty Little Liars. If there's anything certain in this universe, it's that I will read and simultaneously worship and loathe anything in this series.

But more importantly (or not, if you don't care...):

Oh HI THERE! You may not have noticed, but I disappeared for most of April. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was all of April. The posts that went up were scheduled long, long ago. This blog has been running itself for the entire month, and now I'm starting to wonder how it has been an entire month since I set foot...or something...here.

Mostly I've been sick. The kind of sick that makes you want to throw something at any sort of light source in the room, if only you had the strength. That meant my computer and I spent a much-less-than-usual-but-still-probably-too-much amount of time together. And those book things, with the tiny words on all the pages? Those weren't really my friends either. I tried to read, and I tried to blog, all from my deathbed (that's a bit dramatic, but haven't we all been a little dramatic lately?), but ultimately the illness of doom won out, and I spent most of the month just laying there.*

Then I finally started to feel better, hopped on Twitter for the first time in weeks (thanks GetGlue, for keeping my account up to date with all those sticker updates), and I find that someone has let the drama llama loose. I don't really feel like commenting on all of that, but it honestly made me wonder if I even wanted to come back to this blog after all. I mean, I work with unruly children and their even-more-poorly-behaving parents every day. I deal with enough crazy in real life. I don't want to come home at the end of the day, wanting to just relax and check out the latest in books, and be met with MORE AND EVEN CRAZIER CRAZY!! I mean, come on people. Seriously? What Kristi did was wrong and she...kind of-ish...apologized. If you want to continue to support her, do that. If you don't, then don't. For those of us not directly involved, it shouldn't really be much more complicated than that, but it was made to be SO MUCH THE CRAZY by SO MANY PEOPLE that I couldn't fathom what attracted me to this community in the first place...

And then I thought about it and read some less dramatic people's posts on the issue. And I had this epiphany. Oh, that's right, books!. Books are why I started this blog. And books are why I am going to continue to blog. If my lack of support for the drama llama monster bothers you, you don't have to visit. Trust me, I'll consider it a favor.

...although I do apologize for hijacking my own WOW post and being ever-so-slightly dramatic.

*I did get out of bed one day to go to the YA or Bust! tour and see the likes of Stephanie Perkins and Gayle Forman. I pretty much ruined the whole event by coughing and sniffling through it, and I apologize if you were there and really wished I would just leave already and stop spreading my germs, but OMGHFSkJEH!!! I met Stephanie Perkins and she is so so so so fantastical!

30 April 2012

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cover of Cinder by Marissa Meyer Title: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: 3 January 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: Library
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):

A forbidden romance. A deadly plague. Earth’s fate hinges on one girl...

Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen—and a dangerous temptation.

From the very first page, Cinder and I had a big problem. You see, someone, somewhere decided that Cinder needed its own special typeface. A typeface that, from page one, I did not like. You want to use a fancy font for your chapter numbers and titles? That's cool. But for the whole book? Yeah, not so much. There's a reason most things with lots of words are written in the same style of font. We're used to it, so it's easy. So for me personally, Cinder had a lot to make up for. If it was going to use its special typeface, there had better be a good reason, or it had better be a damn good story. Unfortunately, I don't think it ever got good enough to overcome my prejudice against it. And now I have invented a new category of low: judging a book by its font.

Cinder reminds me of a lot of things. Cinderella, obviously. Antastasia. Battlestar Galactica. A little bit of Doctor Who. Maybe even some Graceling. As I read, I kept being reminded of all these other stories, and I never felt that Cinder stood on its own and set itself apart. In my opinion there was nothing that made it special or distinct, which is an odd thing to say because I think a lot of people love this book because they feel that it is so different. But for me, nothing was unexpected, nothing was surprising, and nothing made Cinder stand out.

My further problem with the book was that I genuinely did not like Cinder as a character. She is a cyborg, yes. She brings it up constantly. But she is also trying to convince us that she is still a human, still capable of feeling the same emotions as anyone else, even if she can't express them physically. So she sat there telling everyone that of course she knew how they felt, but I never really got the sense that she did. I found Cinder to be very cold and unfeeling, even when she was trying to convince everyone otherwise, and there was nothing in her personality that made me feel any sort of...well, anything for her.

Something I did enjoy while reading Cinder was the character of Prince Kai. It was almost as if Marissa Meyer had taken all the emotion and appeal that she'd intended for Cinder and gave it to Kai instead. He was sweet, he was funny, he was handsome, and he was willing to do what he had to do for his people. I loved reading about him. Another bright spot was Doctor Erland, whose character I also enjoyed throughly.

I think Marissa Meyer had a great idea, but it just didn't come to fruition well enough. There are parts of the story, parts of the history to this society, that I am still wondering about. Some characters were well thought out, while others were unable to convince me of who they were supposed to be. At this point I am unsure if will continue to read the Lunar Chronicles series as the later books are released, because as much as I thought the story had potential, I don't think it panned out successfully and am unsure that future stories will be any different.


24 April 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Fifteen

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Title: The Lost Code (The Atlanteans #1)
Author: Kevin Emerson
Publication Date: 22 May 2012
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):

The ozone is ravaged, ocean levels have risen, and the sun is a daily enemy. But global climate change is not something new in the Earth’s history.

No one will know this better than less-than-ordinary Owen Parker, who is about to discover that he is the descendant of a highly advanced ancient race—a race that took their technology too far and almost destroyed the Earth in the process.

Now it is Owen’s turn to make right in his world what went wrong thousands of years ago. If Owen can unlock the lost code in his very genes, he may rediscover the forgotten knowledge of his ancestry…and that less-than-ordinary can evolve into extraordinary.
I haven't read many books with male protagonists in recent memory, except for Anna Dressed in Blood, which I didn't even finish (which wasn't even the male protagonist's fault).  So I think it will a good way to branch out from my normal reads.  Also, I've always felt a special kinship with the ozone layer since I was born the same year that the GIANT HOLE was discovered (or at least the year they announced that a GIANT HOLE was discovered).  I seriously doubt the ozone has a whole lot to do with the actual storyline of this book, but hey, they brought it up, not me.

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