Monday, June 24, 2013

Want to Blow Your Socks Off?: Obsidian, Onyx, & Opal by Jennifer Armentrout

Just the facts:

Overall: 4 Stars each!

Addiction Level: I ignored the hubby and puppies until I finished all 3 books! (And then suffered the worst book hangover. EVER.)

Believe-ability: I daydream about the created world and wonder how I fit in.


            It’s a pretty awesome feeling when I stumble upon a book or series that I never expected to actually awe me. Too often, I have high expectations for a book but am only let down in the end. I feel like throwing a raging party when the opposite happens. You know, you pick up a book thinking it will entertain you at the very least, but you’re not expecting to actually get involved with it. That’s what the Lux series was to me. Read now forget about it later. Oh, was I ever wrong.

            What is this series about you ask? Well, it’s basically the love child of Twilight and I Am Number Four. That is, if Twilight and I Am Number Four were to hook up and make babies. Sexy alien babies. If you think that seems a little ridiculous you’d be wrong. It’s hot. (There really is more to it than that, I promise. You can check these out if you want “real” snippets of Obsidian, Onyx, and Opal.)

So, to convince you, here’s my list of top five reasons why you have to pick up this series. I promise you won’t regret it.

5.) Suspense and mystery. You are never really sure who you can trust. Human friends? Luxen? Daemon? The DOD? You just never know.

4.) Armentrout knows how to write a romance. That’s not usually my thing, but wow. She’s good. Unfortunately, she’s also good at writing a cliffhanger ending. I’m really not happy about that part though. Not happy at all.

3.) Unlike many other book relationships, Katy and Daemon’s relationship is playful. In so many books the main characters develop a relationship that is “adult” and serious. (I have a theory about this but I won’t go into it now.) Life changing conversations and solemn confessions of love ensue. Boring. Katy and Daemon’s is much the opposite. They are always at each others throats or making suggestive comments towards one another. Let me tell you, no committed relationship (i.e. marriage) is very enjoyable if it is lacking playfulness. Would you really want to spend a lifetime with someone who can’t be fun when the mood strikes? Not me.

2.) The dialogue is downright hilarious. I don’t think I’ve laughed or giggled so much when I’ve read a book. Here’s two of my favorites: Chad does smell good actually. I think he wears a newer version of Old Spice. Not the kind my dad wears, because that would be gross.” And “There was no doubt in my mind that Daemon believed revenge was a dish best served in my face.” (I will warn you that the language in this series is pretty colorful, but this is one time where it didn’t actually bother me. As a matter of fact, I’ve never heard such combinations of words before. So, kudos on that.)

1.) Aliens with superhuman powers. BAM. No explanation needed.

P.S. Just so you know, there are more books expected in this series. If you start reading now, you're going to be waiting for release dates like me. Boo.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fantasy Friday: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Just the facts:

Overall: 3 ½  Stars

Addiction Level: I read it every waking moment.

Believe-ability: It was believable.

Dystopia Factor: Eh! It’s “normal” life.

            Scarlet is a retelling of the classic Robin Hood story with a twist - Will Scarlet is actually a girl. The story follows the usual plot - taxes are due, the Sheriff is a jerk, and Robin Hood and his band are trying their best to take care of the townspeople without being caught for their crimes. Of course, I’ve always been a fan of Robin Hood but having a girl in the band is pretty entertaining. (Check out Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest for another awesome Robin Hood story with a twist.)

            Scarlet is a good story for those who just want an effortless read to escape into another world for a while. It’s not too suspenseful but has plenty of action. The story is a little predictable, but that’s easy enough to overlook if you know that going into it. I really only had two complaints about Scarlet: 1) Scarlet kinda got on my nerves. She throws quite the tantrum when she wants to, and 2) Some of the fight scenes are a little over the top. I mean, really, where did the Matrix-kung fu stuff come from? Eh, it is what it is.

            As a side note, reading Scarlet made me want to watch Robin Hood again, you know, the cartoon version? It's one of my all time favorite movies. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Passionate and Disappointing Read: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Overall Rating: 1 star
Addiction Level:  I forced myself to finish.
Believe-ability:  My childhood imaginary world was more real.
Dystopia Factor:  The world has been turned upside down and all hope is lost. 


            I loved the concept of this book.  I wanted to read about a girl who could not touch others, whose touch could kill others, and I did.  However, it was not what I expected. 
            Firstly I must admit that I am addicted to reading stories about kick-ass heroines.  (Katniss and Tris rule!)  Mafi did a good job of showing how Juliette was brow-beaten and isolated for her curse/gift.  She was ostracized by society and disowned by her family.  The story starts off with Juliette imprisoned for eight to nine months; she has lost all hope.  The setting was clearly established.  I was hoping as the book progressed that Juliette would gain self-confidence.  Instead I found her whiny and annoying.  I continued to have hope that she would change in book two as the first two chapters were included in my copy.  Wrong!  Instead she perpetuated a negative self-image of herself.  This time the judgment was all a result of her own isolation.
            As romance is typical of the YA genre, I do not mind a little romance.  However, it has to be believable.  In The Hunger Games Katniss and Peeta knew each other from childhood.  Maybe they even liked one another.  Maybe in a different time they would have eventually started a romance.  However, circumstances threw them together.  In the end their relationship and love for one another was believable.  *SPOILER ALERT*  In Shatter Me Juliette and Adam have also known each other from childhood and never talked.  It is unfathomable to me that Adam would go on a crusade to find Juliette after she has been taken away after she killed a child.  However, there is still good in this world, so it is feasible.  What is not feasible is their immediate love for one another and their proclamations that they have loved each other forever.  
            Lastly the thing that made this book difficult to read was the format it was written in.  I understand authors have artistic license.  I get it, and I do that in my poetry.  However, as an English major and English teacher, I believe in the importance of complete sentences.  Mafi used punctuation lightly.  To express Juliette’s anxiety she would repeat phrases or words in a sentence.  To show Juliette’s conflict she crossed out thoughts.  It is a useful tactic, but it was used too often.  As an artist I appreciate figurative language.  Mafi went overboard, and the comparisons were odd.  Juliette described Adam’s lips as two soft pillows.  That does not show desire, and she desired him.  Lastly Mafi does not follow the numbers rule.  Never start a sentence with a number in number format, and spell out one – nine.  Ah!
            Mafi can write.  While she may want fans to love Juliette and Adam, I hated them.  As I was reading I was very frustrated with this book.  In fact I dragged my family into the story.  On the other hand I liked James and Kenji.  She successfully captured their characters in very few words.  I wanted to see more of them.  I even enjoyed the short snippet of Warner’s log.  Had it only been $.99 I would have purchased it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fantasy Friday: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Just the facts:

Overall: 5 Stars

Addiction Level: I ignored the hubby and puppies until I finished the book.

Believe-ability: It was believable.

Dystopia Factor: Eh! It’s “normal” life.


            I am so excited to finally have this book in my hands! Actually I’m pretty sad that I’ve already finished it. I hate it when that happens! It’s like having book induced bi-polar disorder. Book-polar disorder! See what I did there? Oh yeah.

            Siege and Storm picks up shortly after Shadow and Bone ends and Mal and Alina have crossed the True Sea and gone into hiding. Unfortunately, their escape doesn’t last long (its even shorter than you might think) and they are captured by the Darkling and once again forced to locate another amplifier. Much more action ensues, which ultimately leads up to the question of “What will happen in book three?” (Sorry, I didn’t want to give more information because I sometimes find it hard not to spoil the secrets.)

Luckily, Bardugo doesn’t succumb to “Second Book Syndrome” and Siege and Storm packs a wallop much like book one. We are introduced to an array of new characters including the legendary pirate Sturmhond (who Alina might call irksome, but I’d call intriguing) and the relentless brother-sister duo, Tolya and Tamar. We also find that Alina embarks on a path of self discovery that becomes a love hate relationship for both her and Mal. (I particularly enjoyed Alina’s cheekiness in Siege and Storm and found myself laughing out loud or gasping with an “Oh no you didn’t!” kind of air.) Of course, Bardugo doesn’t stop there. Siege and Storm incorporates some rather “modern” weaponry and inventions which might stretch the fantasy limits for some, but I say what the heck! The series already has many magical elements to it, so why not throw in some more scientific elements as well. It all flows together quite nicely.

Needless to say, I am dying to read Ruin and Rising and have begun my reread of Siege and Storm to pass the time. I can’t go into my anxieties without giving too much away, but of course, I need to know what will happen to Alina! And Mal? The Darkling? Ravka and the heir to the throne?! (Read it and you’ll know exactly whom I’m talking about). Oh geez! I find it hard to breathe when I start thinking about all of the potential endings! I could really use a time machine right about now!

*** Oh! And here's a very Happy Birthday wish to the best brother in the world! Thanks for buying me books. :)***