Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Crossed" (Matched, #2) by Ally Condie

*Note: I want to apologize for not personally being as active in book blogging as I usually try to be. (If anyone even noticed!) I know for a while there, I was posting reviews and such every day/2 days/even 3 days. I would like to get back to that but I'm also very busy at the moment (if it tells you anything, after I finish typing this, I'm going to go do a mountain of french homework). Additionally, I seem to have like a reviewing writer's block. But regardless, I hope to try to get back to 'business-as-usual'. Anyway, basically, just thank you people for visiting the blog and all that business even though it isn't quite as busy as usual, haha!*
("Crossed" is the sequel to "Matched". If you haven't read "Matched" you may want to check out that review instead so as to avoid any spoilers in this one! You are warned.)

"Crossed" was a good book. The writing, one of my favorite elements of "Matched" with its poetry and flow were impeccable, again. The poems at the beginning were good, too-- the actual poetry. They enriched the story. Problematically though-- it wasn't awesome. It was good. I was a little bit disappointed that I wasn't totally blown away after being so excited for it. While I didn't expect an incredibly adventurous book filled with violence and suspense or anything like that, I was expecting a little bit more adventure-- the ending of the first set up for some grand endeavor to the end of the Society, and I expected that to a be a little bit more exciting that it was. There was a journey, a long one, a hard one, throughout the Society and outside it. However, sometimes it seemed to drag.

Also, I really liked Cassia, the heroine, in the first book. But in "Crossed" I didn't like her nearly as much, because I felt she was so absorbed in thoughts of Xander and/or Ky rather than what was going on and the bigger picture or even her family. It was like in parts of "Catching Fire" or "Mockingjay" when I started to get (super) annoyed with Katniss for being caught up between Gale and Peeta rather than, you know, EVERYTHING ELSE. *slight exaggeration.* I did still like Xander and Ky, and am less convinced about being 'team Xander' like before. It's harder now. Ha! 

The bottom line: "Crossed" was good book and I liked it, just not as much as I expected.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"The Falcon" by Jackie French Koller

"Sure." I heard Jim's pen scribbling again. "Our time's about up anyway. Just one more question, though. Do you have any idea why so many unusual things happen to you?"
"Yeah," I snarled. "God hates me."

Luke Carver is a 17 year old who can't seem to help getting in trouble. Every time he goes anywhere, he seems to get in trouble. He messes up so many times that it sure seems like God hates him. After all, how else would he get into such wacky, horrible situations?

Luke has secrets, though. There are things he hasn't told anyone. He hasn't even told his journal the full truth. After all, if it isn't his fault, why does he have to tell anyone?

"Yes," I said quietly. "I'm fine." Then I closed my eyes and leaned my head back against the seat. I was tired, too. So, so tired...
Just like I am now.

This was one of the shortest books I think I've read. It was, strangely, also one of the most interesting. It was one of those books where you think that it's not going to be that gripping, but then you find yourself wondering, throughout the day, what's going to happen next.

I really liked the way that the author pulled out the mystery of what happened to Luke before the book started. It was really interesting, even though it wasn't as "dark" as they made it out to seem. It was interesting, though.

I would actually recommend this book to anyone who really liked The Catcher in the Rye, mostly because the writing style seemed quite similar to me, and it's about the same sort of aged guy.

All in all- pretty good of a book.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"The Witch's Brat" by Rosemary Sutcliff (guest reviewer Runningfree)

"From the moment I picked up The Witch's Brat, I was hooked. Sutcliff follows the journey of a deformed, quiet, boy with the gift of healing in his hands, a head for herbs and their uses, a heart of kindness. One shoulder is hunched and his leg is crooked, leaving even the simple manner of walking to be a painful and arduous task. One day, on his way back from errands, he stops and watches the neighbor's cow who has, over the past three days, been growing extremely thin. Lovel believes the cow ate something that is causing her to lose so much weight so rapidly and is concerned. The neighbors raise a fuss, saying he's cast the Evil Eye upon their milking cow and Lovel is the reason the cow is sick. The neighbors create such a ruckus that a mob starts and soon stones are thrown at Lovel, driving him out and away into the wide, unknown world.
In less than 200 pages, I grew to admire Lovel and his tenacity, watched him grow in confidence as he discovered his gift for healing, and cheered him on when he doubted himself and his purpose.
Sutcliff's writing is so rich and hearty, I love her storytelling prowess, her ability to weave in so much without bogging you down. I can't say that I adore her characters like I've adored other characters but I admire them, I want to be like them, they are real, down to earth, dust covered, people that bleed, cry, and struggle through years of adversity.
Lovel, though he has been beaten by men, still has the capacity to forgive and care for them when they are ailing, old, weak and tired. He heals them, much as he heals himself.
I'd HIGHLY recommend this book no matter your age. For those of you who don't read any witchcraft, don't let the name throw you off. There is no sorcery whatsoever."

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Daughter of Smoke and Bone" by Laini Taylor

"Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?"-goodreads

This book was so many things. It was suspense, confusion, tension, beauty, strength, and weakness. There was romance and then there was hatred. There were memories and there was flipping in between their present and their past. There was a girl, Karou, our heroine of the story, and she had naturally blue hair. And that's cool too. The writing was beautiful and created superbly vivid imagery. At times, reading The Daughter of Smoke and Bone I was confused, because I couldn't decide what I thought of characters-- even Karou. By what I think, I meant whether I trusted them, and Karou is the main character! It was weird. It was deception! It was exciting. Akiva is awesome. All the characters were well developed even with their veils of mystery. The way time passed or flitted back and forth between the future and the present for the narrative, especially near the end, was difficult to get used to at first but then I ended up liking that too.

It was a peculiar book. With its many dimensions and complicated inner-workings it wasn't like anything I've read before. I have nothing to compare it to! It surprised me and it lived up to the hype. The writing kept me totally wrapped up in the story and engrossed in its complex world with its depth and clever wording-- Laini Taylor totally hit that out of the park! All that having been said; I look forward to the sequel!
Thank you to Little Brown for the opportunity to review this book!