Sunday, March 29, 2009

Twilig-- I mean, Evermore by Alyson Noel

I find it amusing (and disappointing) that so many novels these days just seem very... similar. I am often able to describe whatever it is I'm reading by mixing multiple books together. This one, for example, is sort of a mixed up Twilight without the vampires (or werewolves for that matter) and a distinct Deadly Little Secret flavoring.

Ever, a car accident survivor, is pretty normal. Well, as long as your definition of "pretty normal" includes having the ability to hear the thoughts of those around you and frequently chatting with your 12 year old sister... who is dead. If your definition of normal does not allow for that sort of thing... well 1.) you haven't read as many fantasy/sci fi/mixes of fantasy and sci fi books as I have and 2.) you might (like Ever's high school classmates) label her "freak" instead. But not to worry, Ever does have some friends, namely an attention-seeking goth chick and the generic gay best friend. Yay for stereotypes. So, basically there's this new guy in school (I believe the word smoldering is used more than once) who everyone from the aforementioned generic gay best friend to the aforementioned goth chick seems to be falling in love with. Ever attempts to avoid him, but when she finally makes contact she (stares creepily at him for a few minutes and) notices something strange about him. He is the only person, aside from her dead sister, who lacks the ever present swirling aura that only she can see.

Even the blurb on the back of the book recalls distinct phrases from Twilight. "...she has no idea just who he really is-- or what he is. The only thing she knows is true is that she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him." *exasperated sigh* Oh, ye gods of YA lit, I'm sure I've begged this favor of you multiple times but could I pretty please have a (fawesometastic) supernatural romance that doesn't stink of every book I've ever read in my life... okay, slight exaggeration there. But honestly, aren't any of you feeling the same way? I just want something different and amazing. Is more awesome too much to ask for?

A mediocre 4 out of 7 for a not-very-impressive novel.

Fanatically following The Logbook of the Ketty Jay,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ophelia by Lisa Klein

Ophelia starts off as an ugly duckling with a conspiring lout of a father and an older brother that she loves very much but could never dream of being equal with. But her world changes when she comes into the service of Queen Gertrude of Denmark. Suddenly she has her mind full of the deceptions of court and her eyes full of the image of the handsome young Hamlet, heir to the throne.

Her world is turned around when the prince returns her longing and they fall in the purest of loves. But something is rotten in the state of Denmark (I'm sorry. I couldn't help it) Hamlet falls into a melancholy when the king dies and a plot is uncovered. This is the classic story of Hamlet (and then some) through the eyes of Ophelia.

So. Beautiful. I had never bothered to really think of Ophelia in this way and see her as a strong heroine, despite the many times I have read Hamlet. But the writing gave her this incredible character and these fantastic layers. She was such a real narrator, not to mention the brilliant speech in which she relayed her story. It was Shakespeare for n00bs.

The love she described was brilliant. Passionate without being lewd. Young without being immature. I completely admit to crying in this book. It was just. that. well. written.
Here's the downside.

If you don't like Shakespeare, you probably will not like this piece. It has all the tragedy and much of the language. And understanding of Hamlet is not required, glory be, so I can recommend this with confidence to anyone willing to take the chance on a very straightforward tale of love, hatred, deception, evil, and growth. Ophelia is one of my favorite narrators. Maybe in the top 20. Top 15 even. The only part I did not enjoy was the first 20 pages or so. After that, it picked up in a matter of paragraphs.

6 out of 7 rapidly flowing rivers
. Yay Lisa Klein for writing this. So good. A literary work of art.

Checking out this fantastic author,
Aella Siofra

Monday, March 23, 2009

So I'm a failbat. What else is new?

I know, I know. I've had Bloodhound for...uh.... ever. Here's the shiny review that I should've written... uhm... forever ago. It's funny, because I was really motivated and excited when I first saw it on Aella's bookshelf. My thought process went something like this as I perused her collection for the millionth time: Hmmm.... meh.... oooh pretty cover... wow that book sucked, why does she have that?.... that looks inter---OH! I hope that what I think--- YES! IT IS! *mental happydance*

And here, straight off the shelves of Goodreads, a summary of Bloodhound:

Beka thinks she may be falling for Rowan, but she won't let anything--or anyone--jeopardize her mission. Beka Cooper is finally a Dog--a full-fledged member of the Provost's Guard, dedicated to keeping peace in Corus's streets. But there's unrest in Tortall's capital. Counterfeit coins are turning up in shops all over the city, and merchants are raising prices to cover their losses. The Dogs discover that gamblers are bringing the counterfeit money from Port Caynn. In Port Caynn, Beka delves deep into the gambling world, where she meets a charming banking clerk named Dale Rowan. As she heads north to an abandoned silver mine, it won't be enough for Beka be her usual "terrier" self. She'll have to learn from Achoo to sniff out the criminals--to be a Bloodhound....

*thanks the Goodreads deities*

For all of you who have come to expect awesomeness from Tamora Pierce, you will not be disappointed with Bloodhound. I enjoyed the second installment of the Beka Cooper books because the new setting introduced just enough... new-ness (redundant? who me?) and also showed more of Beka's personal side. Be sure to grab a copy of this one when it comes out on April 14th. 6 out of 7 *lightning-y and thunderous sounds effects*

Off to review something else ( really... I will... don't give me that look...),

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie isthisreallynecessarytotypeout Meyer

Oh wow. Getting a little behind on the reviewing, aren't we? But never fear! The Maelstrom has resolved to fix this readingfail as soon as humanly possible. Then again this isn't so much a review as a "Aella-is-not-a-fangirl-but-still-wishes-to-express-her-giddiness-after- (finally)-completeing-normally-fangirlized-novel" moment.

Short and to the point methinks. This was definitely my favorite Twilight book. It felt very different from the others and I loved how the bond between Edward and Bella became so much more concrete. It didn't feel like a flighty teenage romance anymore and that sort of made me go YESSSSSSS.

Also? Renesmee = love. I have no idea how Stephenie Meyer makes a six month old child so easy to read for and interesting to watch develop as a character. I like the cover just as much as I did when it was first revealed. Some of the buildup for the end conflict was monotonous, but I really liked how everything unfolded right there at the conclusion. It was one of those "Take that _____ insert antagonist here ______" moments. Even if the Volturi do still have a special place in my heart as for awesome villains.

Otherwise? Jacob is still pretty awesome. Edward is mkay. I guess. Jasper needs to not be in lurve with Alice so that I can haz him (creeper moment). All the new vampires were fun to learn about (Kate? Shocking powers? wth?). I still like the Host better. I think that pretty much sums everything up. Now to review something for real. *full month later...*

How do you rate this? It's not brilliant, but it's not bad, but I can't really measure it. No rating. Just draw your own conclusions I suppose.


PS: Then again, according to my English class (yes. even the teacher), I am the last-person-lyk-everr to get around to reading this.

PSthe2nd: Comment with what you thought overall, especially if you don't agree.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Shelter Me by Alex McCauley

I'm really not sure how much of this book to give away in the summary so....
*unsurreptitiously stealz from Goodreads*

Maggie Leigh just wants to be a normal teenager, but when German bombs tear apart London during World War II, her ultra-religious mother sees the destruction as divine punishment. She sends Maggie to a remote boarding school in coastal Wales, supposedly to keep her safe, but also to keep her in line. The school is creepy, the headmistress is a lunatic, and the students range from spoiled rich girls to speechless trauma victims. But when a tragic accident happens on the beach, Maggie and three friends are forced to flee the school, plunging into the nightmarish world of Europe during wartime. Now every decision Maggie makes is fraught with danger, and living to see another day depends on how quickly she can think and act...and how far she's willing to go.

Thank you Goodreads.

The plot in this book was... incredible. When Maggie and her friend met the Nazi pilot who coincidentally crash lands on the beach next to the convent I was like "Oh... okay. That could happen." When Maggie returns to the beach only to find that her friend has killed the Nazi pilot, I gave a skeptic eyebrow-raise. When Maggie and her friend proceed to inspect the remnants of the crashed plane and find a box with a baby in it I stopped expecting something plausible from this book and just enjoyed laughing at the increasingly unbelievable plot twists. Oh no it doesn't stop there. From bizarrely warped nun conspiracies to out of the blue lesbian lovers to random army deserters stabbing themselves on trains, this book has it all.

3.5 out of 7 strangled teddy bears for Shelter Me.

Tracking down a good faerie book,