Month: February 2015

Book Review: Unwind

unwindThis is a book that has been on my TBR for quite some time and I finally got around to it…and now I’m not sure how I feel. Maybe I just need to stop reading books about revolutions.

Unwind follows three separate character perspectives: Connor, Risa, and Lev. Each one is about to be “unwound” which is the process of having their bodies harvested for parts through legally granted permission by their parents. The society the trio lives in has a law which states that although abortion is illegal, choosing to have your children unwound at the age of 13, until 18, is not.

Under a very interesting set of circumstances, the three stumble into each other’s lives and become bonded. Connor and Risa don’t want to be unwound while Lev is a tithe, or someone who was raised specifically to be unwound when he turned 13. They meet a host of characters along their journey and even become separated for awhile, creating distance between them. There is no straight path to salvation and the only goal is to stay alive until they are 18 at which point, they cannot legally be unwound.

The book’s concept is a little creepy and a lot disturbing, even more than The Giver and makes you take a serious look at society and human nature. What can happen when both sides of an argument no longer care that they win but that the other side loses, what can happen when everyone forgets what they are fighting for and just wants to continue fighting, and what it truly means to be alive and human.

The plot pulls you in and keeps you invested in the characters but parts of it make you cringe away at how sick people can be. There is more sadness and discomfort than joy in this book, so I don’t recommend picking it up before bed. Character growth and bonds bring a lot into this story and there is more than one shocking surprise in store for you.

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

My personal rating: 84

  • Writing style – 8
  • Plot – 9
  • Dialogue – 9
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 9
  • Love story – 7
  • Invokes emotion – 9
  • Synopsis accuracy – 7
  • Consistent level of interest – 9
  • Stays on topic – 8
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 9

Book Review: Fairest

fairestWho doesn’t love a good villain backstory? I’m going to venture a guess and say, almost no one. The background, the journey to becoming evil is part of why we love them…or love to hate them.

First, if you haven’t yet read The Lunar Chronicles, what have you been doing with your life? Stop reading the book currently on your side table and go pick up Cinder, book 1 of the series. Any love for fairy tales, especially ones with a twist, and this will definitely get your juices going. So if you haven’t read that series yet, stop reading this review and hop to it!

Secondly, this book was more or less what I expected it to be. Although I didn’t expect quite so much intrigue and deception. Or rather, I anticipated it in a different way. Meyer weaves her world so flawlessly that stepping into these pages is like going into a dream. There is magic (of sorts), mystery, murder, revenge, death, love, loss, and of course, the bonds of family.

Levana’s history is bloody, as is to be expected, but it is also sad and sweet at times. Her young naivety is almost endearing, it’s like a freight train that you know is going to wreck and yet you are trapped outside the pages, unable to help. Little snipets of the past are revealed as Levana lives her life over the course of 5 or 6 years. It tells of her rise to power and why she rules with such disdain and an iron fist.

This book was enthralling, not quite as heart-pounding as the series, but softer almost. More quiet in a way. But compared to a series where characters are constantly facing death, that’s not really hard to believe. Levana is a woman, a gifted Lunar woman, but a woman nonetheless. She loves, laughs, cries, and feels. She is a mortal living as though she is not and is filled with the haughty pride that seems to natural to royal blood.

We are always interested in the debate of “is evil made or is it born?”. More often than not, we find stories that give us the former. It’s up for debate how much of either side is in Levana and I will let you discover that for yourself.

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

My personal rating: 88

  • Writing style – 10
  • Plot – 9
  • Dialogue – 8
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 8
  • Love story – 8
  • Invokes emotion – 8
  • Synopsis accuracy – 8
  • Consistent level of interest – 9
  • Stays on topic – 10
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10

Timeout

I need to take a minute to write some of this down. I am feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment and need to get it off my chest.

As many of you know, I am currently around 600 miles away from my family. Something that has been made infinitely harder by the fact that I have recently decided to move back to New England to be with them this summer. Another thing that has made my time away even harder recently has been the engagements of not one but both of my sisters. It has come to my attention that I am one of those people that can’t be without their family, especially not for long periods of time. And with all the family joy spilling over, it’s becoming even more difficult.

wedding bellsAnd currently, my little sister is trying on wedding dresses.

I wish I could be there so badly and it absolutely sucks that I cannot. Instead, I’m stuck in what I’ve come to think of as my dungeon, also known as my bedroom, attempting to do the mountains of homework that are required of me to pass the four grad classes that I am taking this semester. (For the record, three is the recommended maximum amount of classes.) But my concentration has been totally shot all day, especially now that I am receiving pictures and wondering how much better everything looks in person.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m miserable because she is getting married and I am not. On the contrary, I am very happy for her, for both of my sisters. But not being able to be there is one of the hardest things. It’s one thing to miss the snow and the weather, it’s another entirely to miss out on events that I would love to be there for.

I’ve tried all my normal avenues of distraction: my favorite tv show, a book, homework, music loud enough to shatter an eardrum. So far, nothing has worked. I’m hoping if I tell you about it, that might help. Or you might have some other suggestions.

Although I guess I should give that book thing another try since I know you’re expecting a review this week 😉

I guess that’s all I can say and just hope that it gets easier.

Original Work Friday: ‘Til You Make It

Sometimes you just have to grin

and bear it.

Put on a happy face

even when your insides feel shredded

and your heart is torn in pieces.

Pretend it doesn’t bother you

say it’s all okay.

Sometimes it’s all you can do to say sane,

to stay standing

when your legs are about to give

and the world is collapsing around you.

The loneliness creeps in and

you start to believe it.

Losing the faith you had in yourself

as you watch the happiness fade.

Sometimes the tears, the pain

are all the focus you can handle.

Because without that,

you might just fall to pieces

and can’t be put back together again.

Rage against it,

fake it ’til you make it

and keep standing tall,

smile with everything you have.

Because that just might be

enough to get you by.

Top Ten Tuesday

Thanks again to The Broke and the Bookish blog for all of these Top Ten Tuesday topics!

Top Ten TuesdayFebruary 3: Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t/Want To Read From X Genre (for example I feel like I’m pretty well read in contemporary YA but there are some STAPLES I can’t believe I haven’t read. Or if you just want to books you WANT to read in a particular genre..not necessarily long overdue)

This is a hard one because there are so many I have been meaning to read and just haven’t gotten around to yet, but here we go.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen – Gah! The only remaining Austen book that I haven’t read! I have the entire collection in one solid B&N collectible book but this is still the one that lingers on, waiting to be enjoyed.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Seen the movie, love the movie, have had this book recommended several times to me and so I really need to read it now.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Seen the show, love the show, and I’ve been told that it’s not too far off from the books…except that it is more modern, so I own them, now I just have to read them.

1984 by George Orwell – Yup, this one is still waiting on my bookshelf. It beckoned me over winter break but alas, I was distracted easily by Friends and Dr. Who.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – Also still waiting. I wanted to read it before I saw the last movie but unfortunately, that did not happen. Now, it is silently abandoned…and probably judging me.

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov – Recommended by a friend, apparently it is a devilishly good time, involving Russians, vodka, a black cat, and Pontius Pilate, must read soon!

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – One of the few books I wasn’t required to read in high school and has been sitting on this list every since I went to Ireland and learned more about Wilde himself. If I come across a copy, I will buy it and eventually read it.

The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer – Classics that beckon, myth and man combined, this has been at the top of my list for awhile and I own both but somehow haven’t gotten around to them.

The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie – I actually just learned of this book and cannot wait to pick it up. Astounded that I’ve never heard of it before. All about rich and poor and philanthropy, yes please.

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler – I find Hitler to be a fascinating man of history so to read the story of his life from his perspective sounds amazing. Known about it for awhile and it just resurfaces so it’s slowly moving closer to the top of the queue.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten TuesdayI know I missed last week’s so instead you get two this week, here is the first:

January 27: Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.)

This is such an interesting topic and I often wish I could join a book club so I would have people to share my joy and tears over a book with. So here are the ones I would like to read with others, as always in no particular order.

snow like ashesWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart – This book left me with such mixed feelings that I need to discuss them with someone. I enjoyed the layout and the story but the twisted ending left me heartbroken and I have no one to understand that.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I know, I know, this is is on EVERY list that I’ve done lately but it is just that good. I love the world that Raasch creates and I would love to share that with as many people as possible.

Legend/The Young Elites by Marie Lu – I put both of these books because I feel they are so vastly different that they would provide a great conversational topic for the variety of writing styles that Lu possesses. Plus they are both pretty badass stories.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick/Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – Obviously we would start with Austen and then read the more modern version, perhaps also watching some of Rorick’s YouTube videos. One of my favorite classics paired with a great new interpretation. Love, love, love. horns

Horns by Joe Hill – Dark and intense but definitely worth the read. And anyone who attended Catholic school or knows about Catholicism will definitely appreciate a lot of the symbolism and text. It’s a murder wrapped in myth and shoved into a scary reality. Amazing.

The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop – I did manage to convince my bestie to start these and they were recommended to me by my cousin and have since become an all-time favorite. The world, the people, the story, all of it is blended into a seamlessly beautiful set of books that I always tell people to read.

Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima – Chima is an amazing author, colorful dialogue and witty characters. She builds a realm and makes you live in it. She blends character perspective into a narrative that is as fantastical as it is fantastic. Definitely one that people would enjoy talking about.

The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Sarcasm, demons, and high school, what could be better? Truthfully, this series should come after the Dark Hunter series but this version of blood of olympusNick Gautier is too irresistible for me to not talk about.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – An all time favorite collection from beginning to end, loads of people have read it, but few have actually done so as an adult and are willing to discuss it. I’d like to change that. Reliving a childhood classic can be beneficial in more than one way!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians/Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan – And of course, Riordan’s writing is pure gold, comedic and otherwise. The blend of myth and reality, the different interpretations of both, the characters and their relationships, friendly and otherwise, all of it would make great conversation. Especially the growth over the two series.