Saturday, October 27, 2012

Broken by A.E. Rought

I really don’t know what to say about Broken by A.E. Rought. Really, I don’t. Sometimes it was heinous and sometimes it was okay. I just… I’ll try to figure this out. In the mean time, here’s a summary…

            Emma Gentry hasn’t been the same since her boyfriend, Daniel, died. She’s been sulking and moping around, mostly at a graveyard where Daniel isn’t even buried… Yeah, I don’t know. Then Emma meets Alex Franks, the only son of a world-renowned surgeon. His father wants him to take a very specific path in life, but after waking up after a “fatal” accident, Alex has been having different thoughts, dreams, visions, and they don’t exactly follow his father’s plans for his success. When Alex seems strangely familiar to Emma, she can’t help but be intrigued. Little did she know that he would drag her into a huge mess that involves being injured numerous times, mostly in stupid ways. And I will give you a hint to what this book’s all about: Frankenstein. That is all I shall say on the subject!

As I said before, I can’t really understand this book, so this review is going to be VERY different from the others I have done. I’m also in a snarky mood right now, so I’m sorry if this sounds mean, but I’m just speaking my mind over here. You know, the First Amendment and such…

            When Emma first sees Alex, an electric current courses through her body and nearly stops her heart… is that what happened? Did it really? Well, girl, stay away from the dang electrical sockets when you’re looking at people! It may give you the wrong idea…. I don’t understand why authors of YA books say that a bolt of electricity magically strikes them upon seeing their “true love,” because I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen. Someone correct I’m if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. And has anyone ever gotten electrocuted before? Because it hurts. It’s not romantic or anything of the sort. I would think feeling electricity when you see someone would automatically detract from them, but hey, what do I know?

            Also, Emma is obsessed with him in two seconds flat. Why? Is it because he’s hot or something? What is it? Because I have seen plenty of attractive people in my life and I don’t become creepishly obsessed with them instantaneously. Actually, I don’t really become this weirdly obsessed with anyone, so I would say she displays some stalkerish tendencies. She’s also slightly self-destructive because she purposely cuts herself on a piece of grass during science class (yes, it is as random as it sounds) because Alex isn’t at school from one day. Um…. Okay….

            In the book, she says, "No new guy is going to fill that void he left." The very next day, she’s like, “Alex I love you, love me. What, Daniel who?” So obviously someone fills that void he left and you figured that one out the second you saw him when you got hit with some kind electrical bolt out of nowhere.

            Alex wears his hood all the time and apparently that’s sexy and mysterious? Umm, no, I think it’s kind of creepy. And no teacher would let a student wear a hood all day, anyway, so that’s not very realistic. While we’re on the subject of hoods, this woman uses the word “cowl” an overwhelming amount of times. Someone should give her an award for knowing an obscure word for “hood,” because I think that’s what she was going for there…

            Throughout the entirety of the book, Emma was like, “I’m not sure I even like Alex,” or “I haven’t even known him long enough to like him yet.” I know what you’re thinking: What’s wrong with that? The answer: Nothing. It’s her actions that are the bad part. She kisses him and slow dances with him and does so many things that she wouldn’t do if she didn’t like him. She’s super hypocritical and I don’t understand her at all. She says one thing, then does something else. It’s confusing as heck, I tell you.         

            There is one thing about this book that I must admit I liked, and that is Alex. I know everything I’ve said thus far leads you to believe that I didn’t like him, but I thought he was perfectly lovely. He was terribly adorable and sweet throughout the book, so I would say he’s definitely the one redeeming factor of this book. There isn’t much else…

            Rought’s grammar could be a tad awkward at times and there’s also… they’re not plot holes, but holes in the telling of the story. For instance, Alex is fighting someone named Josh and they’re on steps and Josh is above Alex on the steps. Alex falls down the steps and somehow rolls into Josh… then the next minute they’re next to a chair and a desk… on the steps… yeah, I didn’t really catch that. And the fighting that they were doing, it would have been impossible for anyone to fight like that on steps. Not even Jackie Chan could do that. Yeah. I think you get the picture.

            This book is extremely offensive to redheads. I would be insulted if I had red hair. She is always mentally making fun of this kid with red hair and saying horrible things about how he could never look sexy because he’s a redhead and how his freckles were gross or something like that. These are her words, not mine, so don’t blame me for them!

Yeah, I know that review was mean. But I can’t help it! Don’t put things like this in books if you don’t want people to point them out, okay? 

This just was not my book. 2 Smileys!

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

For a school-reading book, especially one written in the 1800’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde was amazing. I feel like it’s one of those books you either love or hate and I LOVED it.

            Dorian Gray has it all: gorgeous looks, tremendous fortune, and a dirt-free reputation. When Dorian wishes for a painting of him to age instead of his actual body, he never expects to get his wish. When he does he is truly horrified, but he is unwilling to reveal his dirty little secret to anyone. With every horrid act he performs, the picture grows more and more grotesque. With his looks and fortune constant, the only thing that can decompose is his reputation. After meeting Lord Henry, Dorian’s morals take a turn for the worse as Henry’s influence creeps through Dorian’s subconscious, until there is little distinguishing between Henry’s thoughts and Dorian’s. Can Dorian survive through the slow deterioration of his mind, as well as his picture? Will he even want to?

            Lord Henry was definitely my favorite character in this book. He could be considered the villain, I suppose, but what he says in the book is so awesome. It completely goes against the grain and is contrary to what everyone says and it’s definitely a breath of fresh air (except for when he talks about women…). He made this book so entertaining for me, it’s not even funny. Well, it was sometimes…. Anyway, Gladys, a duchess that Dorian is friends with, is also amazing. She is like a girl version of Lord Henry, except a little more scrupulous. Actually, a lot more. But the reason I love her most is that Lord Henry always says that women don’t know anything and they are just there to look at, but Gladys really shows him who’s boss and it’s slightly/totally awesome. Dorian was really adorable at the beginning, all innocence and rosy cheeks, but as he got older he became more and more deplorable, mostly due to Lord Henry’s influence.

            This is easily the most quotable book in the history of the world. THE WORLD. While I was reading it, I wrote down at least ten quotes a chapter, and vowed to remember many more of them (not that I did, but I really tried!) Here’s just a sampling of some of the awesome quotes from this book:

  • ·      “There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.”

  • ·      “It is only shallow people who require years to get rid of an emotion. A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure. I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”

  • ·      “Is insincerity such a terrible thing? I think not. It is merely a method by which we can multiply our personalities.”

  • ·      “There were sins whose fascination was more in the memory than in doing them, strange triumphs that gratified the pride more than the passion, and gave to the intellect a quickened sense of joy, greater than any joy they brought, or could ever bring, to the senses. But this was not one of them.”

  • ·      “Each of us has heaven and hell in him.”

  • ·      “We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were much too afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to.”

  • ·      “I knew nothing but shadows and I thought them to be real.”

  • ·      “Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.”

  • ·      “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”

Pretty great, eh? I never said they were moral, I just said they were awesome. Don’t judge me.

            The reason I say that someone will either hate or love this book is because it is purely philosophical about… 95% of the time, I’d say. Some people hate that and love action, or vice versa. I happen to love both, so I really loved this book and I thought the philosophical points made during the book were absolutely fascinating and overwhelmingly true. The themes presented in this novel are absolutely true (no matter how much people want to believe otherwise).

                  Everyone MUST read this book. It was AMAZING!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

So the first time I ever used my school library, I read this book, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I’d consider my first trip to the library a success…

            Samantha Kingston is on top of the world; she’s one of the most popular girls in school, she has the hottest boyfriend in the world, and she has three of the best friends anyone could ask for. Until she dies on February 12th. Just when she thinks her life is over, she wakes up in her bed and finds out that it is the exact same day: February 12th. Day after day, this day repeats, each time her morals crumbling a little more and her life becoming even more of a mess. On her final day, she swears to do everything right so that she can finally move on, wake up on February 13th, and live out the rest of her life happily. But will the events of that day allow her to move on to February 13th or will they end her days forever?

            The main character, Sam, was slightly infuriating. She drank and had no worries and she was a total sheep, at first. I did not like her character at all at the beginning of the story, but I think that was the whole point. Each day she relived, I liked her even less; watching the days go on was like watching someone’s slow descent into madness. She went crazy a little bit more everyday until she vowed to change herself. There was a definite change in Sam when one compares her original self with the person she is at the end. Let’s just say I like her a whole lot more at the end.

            I also want to mention Kent, because he was so awesome and cool and he was my favorite character by far. And Sam’s friends, no matter how messed up they were (each had their own serious problem) and no matter how much I disagreed with their decisions, they were still really good friends to her and I appreciated them that way, but like I said before, they had problems. Big ones.

            There was a lot of drinking and drugs in this book, almost to the point of un-believability, but then I realized that I just don’t live in that world. There are probably people at my school that do the same thing as the people in this book do, so I think if I was a part of that group (thank God I’m not) then I would understand it a lot more. But in the end, I did believe it and the whole thing seemed so real. Lauren Oliver is a GENIUS when it comes to her writing. This story was beautifully told and I loved every second of it. Even when nothing was happening at all, I still loved it. She has a way about her writing that is beautiful and I love every single book I read by her.

            I would call Before I Fall a tragedy and at the end, I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest, beaten with a club, and thrown in a blender. I was so devastated that I couldn’t even cry- I just sat there in a shocked silence for a few minutes. I’m pretty sure the thoughts were knocked straight out of my head for the remainder of the day.

            Before I Fall was hauntingly beautiful and lovely in every way. It was a story of love, sacrifice, and second chances. It had a huge impact on me and I say to READ IT READ IT READ IT!!!

I urge you all to read this book! 5 Smileys!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dearly, Beloved (Gone with the Respiration #2) by Lia Habel

I absolutely loved the first book by Lia Habel Dearly, Departed and I really liked her second book in the Gone with the Respiration series, Dearly, Beloved as well! This series (and book) is extremely complicated, so I will try my best on this synopsis…

            Nora and Bram know that everything is stacked against them: one is living, one is dead, the entire city hates the dead, and hates those who sympathize with them even more, plus there’s a group of zombies called the Changed that is producing a whole bunch of chaos for our favorite characters. Now a new bird-mask-wearing group, they call themselves the Murder, is out for blood, both zombie and human. When Nora, Bram, Pamela, and her family are attacked by this mysterious Murder, they can no longer ignore it. Nor can Michael Allister, considering he’s in it. He wants more than anything to kill Bram, who took Nora, whom Michael thought was rightfully his. He wanted to teach Nora a lesson and ultimately win her over. Only one other person knows: Vespertine Mink. She doesn’t like Nora, but their squabble was solely verbal, nothing as fatal as guns and knives. She needs to decide whether to help Michael and destroy Nora once and for all or to save Nora’s life, as well as that of countless others. Oh, and there’s a new strain of the Lazarus that can’t be prevented from the vaccine.
            There’s SO MUCH MORE to this story, it’s not even funny. I just glossed over some of the huge concepts, but this book is over 520 pages and none of them are filler pages, so if you really want to know what happens, you have to read the book!

            Now, for our female heroine: Nora. I loved Nora in the last book and she stays true in this one. She is filled with fire and she never plays the damsel in distress; she’s more like the knight in shining armor. She’s really smart; she’s actually the one that comes up with all of the plans and all the other people just follow her lead. Even when she is forced to hide from the world, she still finds useful things to do; she doesn’t just sit there and mope. She always puts herself in harm’s way to protect the ones she loves, but I don’t think she’s appreciated enough for it. Nora is one of my favorite heroines of all time and it actually makes sense that two guys are in love with her; she actually has a personality to fall in love with and she’s just awesome overall.

            Bram, the hero, is also amazing. He’s really sweet and I feel like he understands his life well and without illusion; he knows that he doesn’t have long to live, so he’s living like every day is his last. That’s not to say that he does stupid things or acts impulsively, but he never lets an opportunity slip out of his fingers. He also doesn’t push Nora away even though he knows he won’t last forever. Traditionally, in YA, that would be seen as selfish, but that’s just stupid. It’s not selfish if the other person agrees and understands it too, okay YA? You hear me?? Anyway, I said before that Nora was more like a knight in shining armor, but I did not mean to infer that Bram was the princess (that’s Pam’s job, I think); they are both like knights in shining armor and they protect each other, which is the way it should be.

            Now a sentence or two on each of the other narrators:
1.     Michael: I couldn’t decide if he was sweet in a twisted way or just a creepy stalker. I opted for the second.
2.     Pamela: She was kind of wimpy and annoying and I didn’t really like her that much; she was pretty drab. She was also stiff and not very likable (hence why I didn’t like her…).
3.     Vespertine: She was just kind of there. She didn’t really play that big of a role in this story and I am indifferent about her. I don’t really understand why she was even a narrator…
4.     Laura: A new narrator is introduced! I could see that her point of view was important, but she was really wimpy until the end, at which point I actually liked her.

Finally, the plot! I loved this book from beginning to end, except there was a bit of a lull in the middle of the book, but I got over that quite quickly. As I said before, this book is SO COMPLICATED. It’s really easy to keep everything straight while you’re reading it, but it’s really hard to tell someone what it’s about. There are so many facets to the story; it would be impossible to explain it all, or if you did, it would take until next Tuesday and no one wants to listen to someone ramble on for that long. Trust me. It is awesome in its complexity, though. It makes the story so interesting and I loved it! The only thing I didn’t love was the number of points of views and some of the narrators (*cough* PAM *cough*). There were six different points of views; that seems a little excessive, don’t you think? And it was a tad confusing at times, but mostly it was okay. I loved Bram and Nora’s points of views the best because they were awesome, but the other people were just okay.

THAT ENDING! I LOVED the ending of this book. It was the most adorable and sweetest thing I have ever seen/read (how should I word that?) and it was a slight cliffhanger, but it still left me satisfied… for now. But I still really want the next one to come out soon. It has not yet been announced that there will even be a next book, but with the ending, I think there will be. At least I hope so.

I loved so many things about this book! 4 Smileys!