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21 December 2011 @ 11:59 am
Summary and comments: My dad and I have a bit of a disagreement when it comes to reading. He complains that I read too many of what I call easy reads or no brainers and what he calls stupid books. Just the other day, when I was reading this book in front of him, he asked me why I read stupid books. I told him that it's because sometimes I don't like to think too hard, especially after a difficult semester. He said, "But doesn't that just make you think harder?" Now, most of the time it doesn't. I am able to mostly turn off the part of my brain that's too logical and just enjoy the read for what it is. In cases where the book is so largely flawed that I can't do that, my dad is right. This was one of those books.

The first problem was that the author had too many genres. Supernatural, romantic, Victorian, political, sci-fi, adventure, and more. The second was that the world wasn't built properly. This is a world where vampires and werewolves are accepted by British society, where people can apparently be soulless. We're not told much about what it means to be soulless, except for the fact that apparently they can make any supernatural temporarily human by touching them and that according to Alexia, the main character, they have no fashion sense so she just keeps up with the latest fashions. Somehow having no fashion sense doesn't keep her from complaining about her best friend's outrageous hats every time she sees her or mentions her.

The main male character Lord Maccon (who just happens to be a werewolf) and Alecia have the hots for each other that's disguised as anger, an that often leads to hot makeout sessions. They are often too busy getting, well, busy that the plot is often put on hold and, other than some vague scenes and information that revealed itself while Alexia was trying to make jealous. Even the adventurous climax of the book, where Alecia is being held hostage and her life is possibly in danger, she is too busy kissing (and a little bit more) with Maccon that there doesn't seem to be much point.

There are other problems, too, mostly in the case of stereotypes. Alexia is half Italian on her father's side, and is often described as "exotic" with large breasts. She seems to be knowledgeable about sex despite being a virgin, because her father slept with a lot of women and apparently has a lot of books about it. Her mother is always complaining about her first husband being Italian so much that it makes us wonder why she even married him in the first place. Her mother and half sisters are constantly obsessed with fashion and marriage and are described as shallow and stupid, whereas Alexia has been reading Greek philosophers ever since she was little so she's really smart. Just think Mrs. Bennet, Lydia, and Kitty. Her favorite vampire just happens to be gay, with a bunch of other gay guys working for him, so he has really flashy and flamboyant clothes and taste and just happens to be really good with clothes and hair for when Alexia needs that. The American is brash and rude and fat and lazy. Finally, it's not a British novel without a bunch of mentions of drinking tea.

The final thing that bothered me is REALLY SMALL, but happens to be a pet peeve of mine. The author was constantly switching between calling her character Miss Tarabotti and Alexia. I find that annoying, and it often feels like the narrative was switching between the formal and informal voice.

I realize that this is the first book of a series, but a first book should successfully introduce several aspects without feeling like it's just an introduction. It should be exciting and a good read in its own way. I finished the novel without knowing much more than I did when I first started out, except that Alexia likes kissing. I most likely won't be checking out the next books.

Rating: 2/5
 
 
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
 
 
07 October 2011 @ 09:45 pm
Summary (from goodreads): On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renée Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she'd ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.

After the funeral Renée’s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious boarding school in Maine, where she finds herself studying subjects like Philosophy, Latin, and the “Crude Sciences.”

It’s there that she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome and elusive boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they grow closer, unexplainable things begin to happen, but Renée can’t stop herself from falling in love. It’s only when she discovers a dark tragedy in Gottfried’s past that she begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems.

Little does she know, Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.

Comments: A friend let me borrow this book, and after reading some good reviews on it, I decided to check it out. A lot of people called the story original, so I was surprised when I read it and thought of it as a combination of Twilight and Vampire Diaries, but with zombies.



+ Girl's parents die in some sort of mysterious (and tragic) accident, which introduces her to the supernatural world
+ At some point, the guy she's interested in injures himself, but heals himself quickly and acts innocent and pretends he wasn't injured. Girl is suspicious 
+It's been a while since I've read any of the books (I gave up on them pretty fast because they were terrible) but I seem to recall Bonnie, Meredith, and Elena doing some sort of seance and having it go wrong


+ Girl ends up going to a new school, where she stands out as the new girl and people are interested in her

+ Immediately notices a mysterious guy who is brilliant and aloof and everyone is obsessed with, though he only hangs out with his own group. This leads to a lot of description on how gorgeous he is.

+But of course they get off to a bad start, but they are partners in a class, and she is secretly glad. She stands out to him, as well. Did I mention she's brilliant?

+Dorky guy is interested in her, but she's only into him as a friend.

+There's something weird about the main guy, and he doesn't seem to quite fit in the times, and she's suspicious about him. Also he's really cold and they can't make out or anything, which makes her think that he doesn't really care. Some stuff about him being able to hurt her, some stuff about her not really caring.

+ Creepy secret about the guy doesn't end up bothering her.

Just add in a boarding school, a really creepy backstory about soul sucking or whatever, zombie like creatures, and a few other things, and you have Dead Beautiful in a nutshell.

Rating: 2/5

 
 
Current Mood: cynicalsnarky
 
 
Summary: Detective Thursday Next has had her fill of her responsibilities as the Bellman in Jurisfiction, enough with Emperor Zhark's pointlessly dramatic entrances, outbreaks of slapstick raging across pulp genres, and hacking her hair off to fill in for Joan of Arc. Packing up her son, Friday, Thursday returns to Swindon accompanied by none other than the dithering Danish prince Hamlet. Caring for both is more than a full-time job and Thursday decides it is definitely time to get her husband Landen back, if only to babysit. Luckily, those responsible for Landen's eradication, The Goliath Corporation— formerly an oppressive multinational conglomerate, now an oppressive multinational religion—have pledged to right the wrong.

But returning to SpecOps isn't a snap. When outlaw fictioneer Yorrick Kaine seeks to get himself elected dictator, he whips up a frenzy of anti-Danish sentiment and demands mass book burnings. The return of Swindon's patron saint bearing divine prophecies could spell the end of the world within five years, possibly faster if the laughably terrible Swindon Mallets don't win the Superhoop, the most important croquet tournament in the land. And if that's not bad enough, The Merry Wives of Windsor is becoming entangled with Hamlet. Can Thursday find a Shakespeare clone to stop this hostile takeover? Can she prevent the world from plunging into war? Can she vanquish Kaine before he realizes his dream of absolute power? And, most important, will she ever find reliable child care?

Comments: This might actually be my favorite of the series! I wasn't sure what to expect when I started, because while I enjoyed the first book, the next two weren't as good, but I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It was fun and exciting and also really funny! It tied up some loose ends and mysteries that had been brought up in previous books, some that we didn't even know had loose ends until it was resolved. Best of all, Hamlet came into the real world with Thursday, bringing with him a bunch of Hamlet and Shakespeare jokes. I absolutely LOVE Hamlet, and my favorite one had to be the Yorrick joke. I look forward to reading the next book in this series!

Rating: 5/5
 
 
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
 
 
22 September 2011 @ 07:59 pm
Summary: Sometimes scholars should be more careful: Youthful researcher Diana Bishop briefly consults an medieval alchemical manuscript; then, after jotting down a few notes, sends it back to its prison in the stacks. Unfortunately for Diana, her quick dabbling has unleashed a long suppressed curse—and now only she can break the spell.

Comments:
I
had somewhat high expectations of this book. A witch librarian?
Awesome. A vampire? Not so awesome, but if it was well written, fine.
Sadly, the book failed to grab me and several times I was tempted to
give up, something that doesn't usually happen because I'm convinced to
stick a book through and rarely stop.



The romance was a bit too cheesy in my opinion, the characters a bit
too perfect. Especially when you find out all of these hidden powers
that the main female character has a..
I had somewhat high expectations of this book. A witch librarian? Awesome. A vampire? Not so awesome, but if it was well written, fine. Sadly, the book failed to grab me and several times I was tempted to give up, something that doesn't usually happen because I'm convinced to stick a book through and rarely stop.

The romance was a bit too cheesy in my opinion, the characters a bittoo perfect. Especially when you find out all of these hidden powers that the main female character has and didn't know about, someone that the entire supernatural world is pretty much interested in. Some of the magic background and the world stuff was interesting (Diana's family home was great!), but for the most part, I didn't like the book.


Rating: 1/5
 
 
Current Mood: hothot
 
 
22 September 2011 @ 07:53 pm
Summary: Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone—from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud—threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future.

With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the roughcurrent. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear...

Comments: As I was reading this book, I was thinking, "This is Gossip Girl, just set in 1899." I looked on goodreads and one of the reviews there said the same thing, so I'm glad I'm not alone. The problem with this book is that:

1. It doesn't FEEL like 1899. It feels like modern day, only with the dresses of that time period. Which is a shame, because I love period novels.

2. There are 4 main characters in the book and none of them are very likable! Minus the little sister, possibly, but the point of view was changing so much that you never got to really know any of the characters, and the little sister's character was overshadowed by her romance and the other characters.

3. It was overly dramatic, with basically it being a catfight between the various female characters. Girl A unintentionally stole Girl B's guy because he has to marry someone decent and she has to save the family, but Girl A is in love with (and sleeping with) the boy that Girl C is in love with, and Girl D is in love with the guy that Girl A is engaged to and Girl B loves. Girl B then decides to ruin Girl A's relationship by pretending to be helping with the wedding, but really sabotaging it. It continues and grows more dramatic, but that's the basic gist. Though the ending did make me somewhat curious to check out the next book, so I'll give the author that.

Rating: 1/5
 
 
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
 
 
 
02 July 2011 @ 12:57 pm
Summary: Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.


Comments: By now I've sort of figured out how most of Dessen's books go (though I haven't read her older books yet). A girl (usually with some sort of unusual name) has something bad happen to her and is dealing with the affects of it when she meets boy (along with some other people who do show up but not as much as Boy) who helps her figure out how to live again until she does something to piss him off, and spends about 100 pages not talking to him. Eventually they make up and everything's okay, and there's a lot of lyrical and cheesy reflections on life in between. Occasionally there's a variation on this theme (In Lock and Key it was the Boy who messed it up) but usually it's more of the same.

I got into this book expecting more of the same, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. There is no One Big Traumatic problem, not much education on how to live, and in some ways McLean had more interactions with other characters than with her love interest, and there was no big fight. McLean is dealing with common issues for teenagers, such as dealing with her parents' divorce and discovering who she is. She played around with her identity before (each town she moved to she had a variation of her middle name, Elizabeth, and played around with her personality to fit that name) and was intending to do the same in this new town, but due to some situations out of her control, continued to be known as McLean. Some of the other characters were quite enjoyable as well (such as Deb, the "freaky" girl that everyone kind of avoided but when you get to know her, while she is kind of weird, she has a lot of other attributes) and it was more subtle than usual for Dessen.

Rating:
4/5 (though really, more like 4.5/5)
 
 
Current Mood: surprisedsurprised
 
 
Summary: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

Comments: Due to a combination of the cover/title/summary and my overall discontent with YA literature lately, I started reading this book with somewhat low expectations. I was very surprised when I started to enjoy it! It's a fun and lighthearted read, and the relationship between the two leads develops nicely. The only thing that prevented me from giving this a full five stars was that there was a bit in the middle that I didn't like so much and seemed to drag. It also would have been nice to get to know some of the OTHER characters better, but it was still a good, if predictable, read.

Rating:
4/5
 
 
Current Mood: contentcontent
 
 
29 June 2011 @ 11:29 pm
Summary: City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.


Comments: It's not a secret that I didn't like any of the other books. To be honest, I don't even know why I read THIS book, other than that it was on me and I have this problem where I have to finish something when I start it. However, I'm tempted to go back and give the other books a higher rating just to show how much I disliked this one.

The characters? Well, there was a lot of switching between Simon, Clary, and Jace. Simon spent the book angsting about his vampirism (and which of his two girlfriends to choose), Clary and Jace spent most of the book angsting about their love for each other and being scared that something'll happen to tear them apart. Jace keeps getting these nightmares that he'll hurt her and instead of talking about it with her, just avoids her. And then she keeps going on about how she's not worthy of him (I had Bella Swan flashbacks. This isn't a good thing), and Clary freaks out about it and they have a lot of angsty makeout sessions. At which point I wanted to strangle every. single. character in this book.

And don't forget all the pretentious references to Smart People literature, because it's not a Cassandra Clare book without those.

Sadly, it seems like instead of just having a trilogy plus one, she's going to make a bunch more, if the ending of this book was any indication.

Rating:
1/5
 
 
Current Mood: cynicalcynical
 
 
Summary: You see, there was a bit of a mixup when the Antichrist was born, due in part to the machinations of Crowley, who did not so much fall as saunter downwards, and in part to the mysterious ways as manifested in the form of a part-time rare book dealer, an angel named Aziraphale. Like top agents everywhere, they've long had more in common with each other than the sides they represent, or the conflict they are nominally engaged in. The only person who knows how it will all end is Agnes Nutter, a witch whose prophecies all come true, if one can only manage to decipher them.

Comments: I absolutely loved this book! It was an amusing and fun read, and all of the characters were fun!  Definitely going on my favorites shelf!

Rating: 5/5
 
 
Current Mood: gigglygiggly
 
 
17 June 2011 @ 11:46 am
Summary (provided by Goodreads):

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Comments: I did enjoy this book quite a bit and look forward to reading more (I love Greek mythology and the Persephone myth always interests me) but my issue with the book was that it felt like it wasn't so much a book as it was setting everything up for the rest of the series. You got a lot of background information, stuff that happened to the main character in the past, and a bit of new stuff, but not much actually going on. Which is why I don't really have much to say about it. Also, I'm hoping that the main female character (as well as the main male character) get a bit more characterization in the next book. The main female character was kind of blah and annoying while the main male character was the typical "dark, brooding, mysterious stranger who's also really hot".

Rating: 3/5

 
 
Current Mood: hungryhungry