Monday, November 14, 2011


I just finished Crossed earlier today (I know - shocker, right? me actually blogging about a book the same day I finish it?) and I loved it. I won't give you any blurbs because I don't want to spoil Matched for you if you haven't read it yet. But if you haven't, I recommend that you do. This is a fascinating series in a very compelling world.

Crossed is one of the better sequels I've read in a long time. I liked it better than I liked Matched, actually. Cassia is out in her world, she's seeing the truth and she's no longer sheltered and deluded by her "perfect" Society. Like Matched, Crossed doesn't have the break-neck pace that so many apocalyptic/dystopians have these days and it's much better for it. The characters definitely benefit from the story being more psychological because we really get to know them and what's important to them and why. We uncover their personalities and back stories in layers and the whole thing is so engrossing. Not that there isn't any action - the story definitely moves along and its setting is absolutely haunting and gorgeous at the same time. Ally Condie bases The Carving on her native Southern Utah - a fact that only makes me love this book even more.

Ally Condie is also awesome because of the way she uses art and poetry in her writing. She incorporates real poems, as well as poems written by the characters and the effect is beautiful.

I really enjoyed this book and have put this series on my to-buy list. I was going to wait until more came out to make sure they were worth owning and now I'm certain. Can't wait for book three.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Images from Laini Taylor's website

I've been meaning to read a book by Laini Taylor for a long time. I've been reading her blog for ages and have always enjoyed her clever and poetic way with words. I've known for ages that I should read something by her, but never got around to it. I'm glad this was my first introduction to her reading - this book is truly beautiful!

The word "poetic" just doesn't cut it. Laini's writing is so gorgeous, I felt myself slowing my reading pace wayyyy down so I could savor little things - descriptions, settings, clever turns of phrase. It was some of the best writing I've read all year.

The characters are all so vividly colorful. I could easily visualize everyone and everything in this world. There was a nice balance, too, of cleverness, humor, mystery, suspense, romance, and above all, fantasy.

This book is pitched as a modern, paranormal romance, which is, in general, a kitschy genre these days. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is so much more than that. At first I thought it was going to follow typical YA paranormal rules and be boring, but after just a few pages, everything changed. Holy plot. Every chapter dragged me in further and I was so immersed in this story. There were some HUGE shocking revelations and plot twists, along with some very cleverly played subtle tips and hints from the writer. I would call this foreshadowing at its finest, and I would certainly call Laini Taylor a masterful writer.

To sum up, Daughter of Smoke and Bone has nothing less than the best plot I have read all year. I really loved its dark, fantasy feel, which I know may not be for everyone - but I believe that the writing is so good and the plot is so good that anyone would enjoy this.


I've been enjoying Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy (not quite as much as his Uglies series, though) and the final book, Goliath here, just came out. I really enjoyed it and thought it was a nice, fitting ending. (Much better than Dashner's The Death Cure *see below.) Not every plot line was tied in a nice, neat little bow, but there was lots of resolution and some very nice romantic elements. This entire series is well worth a read. I enjoyed my first introduction to steampunk and I think Scott Westerfeld is a fantastic writer. Great book!

The Son of Neptune

If you've been reading this blog, you know that I have been sooooo excited to read this. And, as always, Rick Riordan delivers.

This is my favorite of his books yet.

Welcome back Percy! It was so nice to read from Percy's perspective again, and his adventure is incredible. The new characters are some of my favorite yet. Hazel has one of the most compelling back-stories I've ever encountered, and Frank has the coolest powers of any demi-god we've ever met in Rick Riordan's world. I loved reading about the roman camp. I loved everything about this book.

Book three will be called The Mark of Athena and I can't wait. Oh Annabeth. Oh Son of Neptune. Why did you have to end??????

Thanks Rick Riordan for giving me something to look forward to!

The Death Cure

No blurb on this one, since it's the final book in the Maze Runner trilogy and I don't want to give anything away. But I do have lots to say anyway.

What rubbish.

Such a complete and utter disappointment!!!

I really liked The Maze Runner, thought it extremely clever and thought the series had such potential. I had a harder time with The Scorch Trials (it was much more violent and depressing), but I figured it would all be worth it if The Death Cure rocked.

It didn't.

It told me that the time for lies would be over, but it lied about that too. Thomas was a major disappointment in this book. Instead of being brave and accepting the truth (being vague here because I am trying to avoid spoilers), he wimps out. He has truth in his grasp and he avoids it. He doesn't want to know, so we never get to know. It felt like a major cop-out on James Dashner's part. If there was a rich, complex, subtle answer to all his tricky plot elements, why couldn't he have given it to his readers? Makes me feel like he didn't have an answer. Anyway, I haven't been this mad at a series' ending since The Series of Unfortunate Events, which warned me over and over again that I wouldn't like the ending. I had no warning that The Death Cure would be so unsatisfying.

AND, it felt like the entire book was driven by action, which was non-stop and at breathtaking speeds. Where was the plot? Where were the characters? I was SOOOO angry that a major character had almost no part in this book. Can't say anymore. On the verge of spilling it all out because I'm mad. :D

Anybody else read this book? I'd dearly love to vent.


Another book for my 30 grown-up books goal. It's been on my list forever, but I never could quite get myself to read a book about economics. No matter how cool the cover or how many of my friends gave it awesome reviews. And so I was walking around the library the other day and caught it staring at me, so I finally picked it up and checked it out. Took it home and put it my library book pile. Where it sat for two more weeks.

But when I finally read it, I found it interesting, and much more readable than I was expecting. I found the writers to be kindred spirits, curious and fascinated by the world - and with the tools to interpret data which led them to some very interesting (and sometimes controversial) answers about questions that I found relevant.

I liked it. I liked its tone, its quirkiness, and it's desire to find truth, even if that truth isn't politically correct. I'd recommend it. Anyone read the sequel?

Ranger's Apprentice: Book 8 - The Kings of Clonmel

Another installment in the Ranger's Apprentice series. I must say, it's taken me a while to get to it. I really lost steam on these becaues book 7 takes place between books 4 and 5. Doing that really made the series lose momentum. I've had this book from the library for ages and I finally just decided to get it over with and read it. Book seven was just a little disappointing for me, but I'm happy to say that book eight makes up for that. It was fun and action-packed. There were some very exciting revelations made about the past of a certain major character *cough*Halt*cough* - and I thoroughly enjoyed it all. I'm always so frustrated with this series, though, because some of the books go together and I never manage to get the right ones from the library at the right time. Book eight leaves you on a cliffhanger for book nine, which - naturally - I didn't manage to get from the library as well. So, once again I have to wait. Frustrating. :D But I can still vouch for this series. It's tremendously entertaining.

The Tea Rose

Goodreads blurb:
The Tea Rose is a towering old-fashioned story, imbued with a modern sensibility that is fresh, compelling, and perfectly pitched for these times. This sweeping epic follows young Fiona Finnegan's climb from the teeming streets of East London. Her dreams of leaving her home behind are shattered when her father, a dockworker and union organizer, is killed in an accident. Crushing poverty, the loss of her lifelong love, and the destruction of her family quickly follow. When Fiona discovers that her fathers death was no accident, but a murder engineered by a ruthless tea baron bent on destroying the union, she flees to New York to save her own life. There, the ghosts of her past propel her to the very top of the city's tea trade. A decade later, armed with tremendous wealth, she returns to London to reclaim her lost love and exact a breathtaking revenge.

I've been interested in reading a book by Jennifer Donnelly for a while, because I keep reading great reviews of her novels. I love a good epic historical fiction and this is a time period (and place) I'm fascinated by. I actually own another Jennifer Donnelly novel (Revolution), which I bought at a Borders going-out-of-business sale, but it ended up in my Christmas pile. I'm not feeling very patient right now, I decided to keep myself happy by checking this out from the library.

I think that, overall, I came away satisfied with this book. Barely. I'll talk about the negative first. Hello MELODRAMA! Good grief, but this novel was soap opera-y. All sorts of ups and downs and people sleeping around and people dying, but then coming back from the dead. Amnesia, changes of fortune, manipulative girls getting pregnant to trap boys into marriage...

Getting the picture?

It was just a bit much for me. And the romance-y bits were far too *ahem* detailed.

This is an adult book. I'm hoping that Revolution, being YA, will be less specific.

And it really was a shame because the things I was most looking forward to, the setting and the history, were so well done. The writing was beautiful and the characters fascinatingly complex. There was also quite a bit of mystery, with characters trying to solve the identity of Jack the Ripper, who is - in a word - terrifying. I stayed up too late several nights in a row, knowing I wouldn't be able to sleep until I figured out just a little bit more of the puzzle.

So, to sum up here, The Tea Rose is a beautiful book with lots of interesting elements, but it is rather on the melodramatic side with plenty of adult-level romance. Not quite my thing, but not the worst book I've ever read.