Emblebee

Red Rising

Red Rising - Pierce Brown Red Rising Review:

Oh man, I am so in love with this book!! It completely tickled my geeky funny bone! This book has literally stayed with me for days after I read it. I kept it in my purse; at work so I could whip it out to random people as I was on the Info Desk...I even had it by my pillow for a while...so yes. I think it is safe to say that #1 i was a little overly obsessed, and #2 this book was bloodydamn awesome!

Imagine Gladiator, Star Wars, and The Hunger Games all rolled into one and you might get an idea of how cool and just neat I think this book is. Darrow, our protagonist, is a Helldiver on Mars – a type of maverick who mines Helium-3, a substance that is suppose to teraform Mars for the future of humanity. Unbeknownst to him and his fellow ‘Reds’ (the lowest of the colour caste system in this future societal system), Mars has been livable for hundreds of years and the Reds are being used as miners and essentially as slaves. Personal tragedy transforms Darrow from a lowly but gutsy miner to someone who tries to infiltrate the highest of the caste system, the ‘Golds’, in order to create a revolution.

As I was reading and especially when Darrow goes through his initial physical transformation with Mickey, I was worried that Brown was becoming over the top with making his hero too perfect. But he somehow saves himself from that by creating a character that is simultaneously crazy handsome, über smart, and wickedly cunning, but also deeply flawed – enough that you forgive him the sin of being ridonkulously perfect.

I also loved the setting that is created – especially towards that 2nd half of the book. It really has a medieval/Roman warfare-era feel…I’m (for some reason that I’m not able to put my finger on yet) really reminded of Arthurian/Roman fiction books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen ([a:Jack Whyte|45309|Jack Whyte|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1231090502p2/45309.jpg] keeps coming to my mind). I was impressed with Brown’s world building and flare for invoking such strong imagery in my head.

Anyways, I’m going to go further off track. I’m not a huge reviewer – I tend to talk out loud with people, but I love reading them and I had a really interesting convo with one of my best friends about this book and it got me thinking, and therefore, writing. Often I’m able to better formulate my thoughts when I writing them down...so! musings!:
(**spoilers below**)

One of the biggest parts of this massive discussion I had with my friend was that she felt that she didn’t feel invested enough in the lower-caste characters, especially the Reds, to truly root for them – she felt more time could have been spent with the Reds and especially Eo. She was more inclined to root for the Golds because we were given more time with them and were therefore more invested in their characters. I both agree and disagree with her. I feel that minimizing the time spent with the lower castes and spending more time with the Golds was actually was a good thing ultimately – I think our society automatically roots for the underdog, no matter what. And I think that by spending so much time with the Gold and sympathizing with them, we ultimately understand that the Golds are not all the horrible part of society that they’re made out to be – they suffer too. They’re forced to do things they don’t want to do as well.
I think doing this was largely Brown’s point (and one of the reasons I loved this book so much). Everything is not so cut and dried. By the end of the book, you start to get an inkling about how complicated this series is going to get (which makes me rub my hands together in glee). Perhaps the beginning of the book was short, but I am not convinced that longer is necessary. I think perhaps what my friend and I both disagreed on most was over Eo. My friend didn’t feel invested in Eo and therefore wasn’t moved when she died. For me this wasn’t the case. She thought it was stupid of Eo to sing a song that she knew would kill her – she felt that Eo copped out of fighting. I’m not sure I disagree….but I still loved Eo. I could understand why she did what she did and therefore I was upset when she died. I especially felt for Darrow. And ultimately I think that’s the point: it slapped Darrow in the face and made him truly understand the unfairness of the system and made him not want to live the status quo anymore. Eo was a child but not a child. I think she had a very child-like vision of what she had to do in order to get Darrow to see his potential. Was it effective? You bet. Did she cop-out? Perhaps. But I could imagine that she felt she her sacrifice was worth it. Death to the Reds was not a huge deal. So many of them die every day. I could imagine Eo would think that if she could make her death mean something, then it would be worth it.

Anyways! With that, I’m going to sign off…until the next thought pops into my head that is :). READ RED RISING! So worth your time!

The Will

The Will - Kristen Ashley I don't know what it is about Kristen Ashley's books but I LOVE ALL OF THEM. I mean, there are some stories I love better than others, but seriously, I am in love with Ashley's way of writing a story. She manages to make it uber angsty without the ridiculous scenarios (and therefore I am HOOKED because I love me a good believable drama); make the heroes ridiculously macho but also completely believable and real and therefore I'm in love with ALL of them hahaha; and lastly, she makes me fall for her heroines, even if there is nothing in common with me and the heroine - something that I incredibly admire in a writer.

I recommend ALL of her books - Her name is on the "automatic buy" list for me.

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen - Susin Nielsen I really really loved this book. I thought Henry was an amazing and utterly convincing 14 year old. I'm the oldest of three and Nielsen made me cry as she described the relationship between Henry and his older brother Jesse. Just a warning, I've got spoilers from here on out!

I've got a bit of a complex when it comes to violent bullying/torture scenes in books an movies. It deeply deeply disturbs me, and yet whenever someone writes a scene well I am weirdly super appreciative of the author's ability to convincingly make my skin crawl. I felt this way when, at the end of the book, Henry describes the final act that tipped Jesse over the edge. The utter humiliation that was conveyed and ominous way Nielsen describes the duct tape being ripped open and the subsequent "sand-bagging" makes me, even as a write this, want to throw up. Nielsen accurately depicts the physiological torture of bullying. How utterly belittling it is, how worthless and helpless you feel. The physical is nothing compared to the derisive laughter. As a reader I was torn, because I finally understood why Jesse did what he did. I was a horrible choice, but I could see Jesse's breaking point. I was a complete cry-baby when it came to the part where Henry describes being a little bit ashamed of his older brother. As an older sister there is nothing more devestating than becoming "less" in your siblings eyes.

So, in short this book as absolutely amazing. I loved the characters, but I thought the family dynamics that Nielsen creates is especially good - Nielsen convincingly creates a tortured character that we eventually empathize and understand.

Hands down recommend this book.

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

I suppose if I were to be really nit-picky I'd probably give Eleanor & Park 3 1/2 stars, but I love Rainbow Rowell's writing too much to give it any less than 4 stars. I recently finished Rowell's most recent book Fangirl and absolutely loved it. I couldn't (wouldn't) put it down. In comparison with Fangirl and Attachments (another favourite), I felt Eleanor & Park read more of a debut novel where Rowell was experimenting with her style/voice (which upon research, it actually turns out that Rowell did write it first but published it second...). It just didn't have the same...flow...or depth that I felt Rowell really is starting to perfect in her writing. I found the characters to be too black and white, border-lining stereotyping (in that both Eleanor and Park's home lives' were polar opposites...good, wholesome boy meets disillusioned and down on her luck-girl). This said, Rowell writes so darn well that you ignore the extremes and just enjoy the story that she's creating.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Park's dad and mum - I love reading about a relationship where the parents obviously love eachother - it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

I wasn't totally in love with the whole Eleanor and her stepfather relationship. I thought the underlying tone of menace was excellently done; however, I felt that certain pieces weren't fleshed out for me: I didn't understand why the younger children called Richie "dad" when they so obviously hated him before...it's never explained or implied what it was that made all the kids accept Richie. Also, I disliked how at the end of the book, it's never explained what happens to Eleanor's family (especially the sister (Maisy ?)....does Maisy escape from the weird, awfulness of Richie?) - I mean I realize that at the end, it describes how all the kids toys was no longer in the yard and Richie was still in the house, but I think explaining to the reader how the family was able to get out of such an awful situation would have been better .

However, this said, Rainbow Rowell is definitely one of my new favourite authors - I hands down recommend ANY of her books!! :D

The False Prince

The False Prince - Jennifer A. Nielsen While I really really enjoyed this book (I read it in all one sitting), it was (somewhat) predictable if you've read [b:The Thief|448873|The Thief (The Queen's Thief, #1)|Megan Whalen Turner|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348276505s/448873.jpg|1069505] by [a:Megan Whalen Turner|22542|Megan Whalen Turner|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1241223424p2/22542.jpg], who I adore, for the record . That said, I loved the character Sage and how he can't seem to keep his mouth shut (much to my amusement) and I thought that the writing was great, the pacing fabulous, and the plot intriguing - I'm very interested to see where Nielsen is going with this series!!

Sins & Needles

Sins & Needles - Karina Halle Hmmmmmmm....this book stumped me. I'm unsure what I feel about it. On the one hand I didn't love the relationship between Camden and Ellie, however, I really thought that it was a new and fresh take on what I'd typically slot into a "romance genre". And perhaps that's where I'm confused: I kept wanting to slot the book into categories and it wouldn't go...which I think is one of the reasons I didn't love it and yet it's also the reason why I think it's so original and unique. I think my real rating would be 3 1/2 stars, but I'm giving it 4 because I really liked how Halle pushes the boundaries on what "should" and "shouldn't" be a romance. I also really enjoyed how the two characters are really flawed. Personally this didn't endear them to me - I wasn't as invested with the characters as I usually would have been, but this made them very interesting to read. I continued reading because they were unexpected. I had no idea how they would act. And that's what's fascinating about this book. If you're looking for something a little different, a little 'indie', then I would definitely recommend Sins & Needles. :)

Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare Oh boy but did the ending piss me off royally . I went from 3 1/2 stars and plummeted down to 1. I can not express how much of a cop out I thought the epilogue was.

Ye be warned, the rest of this review is littered with spoilers:

First of all, Jem turning into a Silent Brother???? Cop out #1. But the epilogue?! Cop out #2 TIMES 9000 THOUSAND!!!!! What the heck was Clare thinking?! And to kill Will THE MAIN LOVE INTEREST in the frigging epilogue (which is SUPPOSE TO BE HAPPY btw!)?! Did you not think this would bother readers?! And please, you cannot convince me that Jem was an equal love interest. He didn't ever stand a chance IMO.

But then Jem miraculously comes "back to life" and is now all of a sudden normal and mortal and he's given a second chance? What is this? Sloppy Seconds??? WHY?!?! It says Jem's motal and therefore will die and Tess will be heart-broken all over again. Yay?....I'm suppose to be happy about this? That Will is dead, Jem is back and he too will die and Tess is left alive and kicking FOR ALL ETERNITY?! There's nothing but heartache in this ending! I expected to read this book and feel like the trilogy is complete. Everything ends happily ever after. And INSTEAD i get "equal love for all" bullpoopy crap.

See. This is why I read romance books primarily. THEY ARE BOOKS THAT HAVE HAPPY ENDINGS THAT STAY HAPPY. None of this awful half-assery. GAH! I'm just so worked up over this.

Oh, and another point. Tess you say you're so devastated by Jem's death and yet you ask Will for a kiss and then literally jump into bed with him not even five minutes after you find out he's DEAD (also, fancy that a bed is so conveniently placed in a frigging cave....). CLEARLY you love Will more that Jem...So why all this I love you equally bull-crap????

And was it just me or isn't it weird that in the epilogue everyone's is so blasé about the fact that a TEENAGER is with an OLD MAN. I know everyone "knows that it's just Will and Tess and that's the way it's always been", but seriously? This isn't going to be addressed as a problem that the couple can't function 'normally' within society?


I just.....I'm really......Peeved....I need a stronger word than that though....I'm fricking PISSED I guess will have to do....

-----------
Update: I confess that I did cry at the ending. My ranting above does not in any way mean that I didn't enjoy reading the book or think that Clare spins a good yarn. Obviously, if I was crying then I was affected/moved by the characters and the way the story was told. I just feel very emotionally manipulated. And I'm not happy about it. lol

Comfort Food

Comfort Food - Kitty Thomas I don't even.....my brain is still stuttering.....talk about a mind f**k!!

I think I'd actually only give this a 3.5 stars, but for shock factor I bumped it up to 4...

Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker - Paolo Bacigalupi, Joshua Swanson
Title: Ship Breaker

Author: Paolo Bacigalupi

Format: Audio CD (unabridged)

Read by: Joshua Swanson

Review from GoodReads:

In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life...

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.


Be warned!! This review contains light spoilers!!

I was very much pleasantly surprised by Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. I was aware of Bacigalupi's previous work in dystopia - he wrote [b:The Windup Girl|6597651|The Windup Girl|Paolo Bacigalupi|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1278940608s/6597651.jpg|6791425] which was the Winner of the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Novel and Winner of the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novel. A reviewer that I follow on GoodReads praised Bacigalupi's work highly and said that Ship Breaker was a great introduction to his work. I'd have to agree. If Ship Breaker is any indication of his other adult dystopias, then I'm all for it!

I had to read this book for school but wasn't able to get it from any of my local libraries. BUUUUT, I WAS able to get the audiobook. I didn't know anything about the narrator, but I thought I'd give it a chance. I've had a lot of hit and misses when it comes to Audiobooks - I often find that the narrators are monotone and boring. I'd much rather 'hear' their voices from my own imagination. However, I've been noticing that Children and YA audiobooks are becoming extremely popular and are winning more and more awards....so, I borrowed it.

Anyways, my point is that I love Joshua Swanson, the narrator of the audiobook version of Ship Breaker. Apparently he's won a bunch of awards for his voiceover work in audiobooks and commercials. I can see why. He's got a very animated voice and best of all, he voices each character differently. I was really impressed with his range (apparently he also narrates Rick Riordan's books too which I'll definitely be taking out of the library). I've never enjoyed washing dishes more ;).

However, the juicy part is the book itself. Swanson's narration really added to the novel's experience; however, the novel itself is awesome. While apparently not as detailed and dark as his adult novels, Bacigalupi has a real talent for world-building and making the post-climate-change world seem very plausible. I was even nodding my head in some places thinking to myself that yes, this is actually going to happen. As someone who identifies with the whole climate change/environmentally-friendly movement, I can really see teens 'digging' this book. There's a line from the novel where Nailer, Nita, and Tool are on the train and are passing suburbs and small cities onto their way to New Orleans to find a Captain of a Clipper (ship) that will take Nita back to her father. They talk about the stupidity of past generations who squandered all the resources and created so much greenhouse gases that the world's temperature rose and the ice caps melted, creating the Drowned Cities.

"The wreckage of the twin dead cities was good evidence of just how slow the people of the Accelerated Age had been to accept their changing circumstances"

This is a very pointed comment to make. And I think that it will resonant with teenagers other readers who have grown up with hearing about global warming and the climate changes. I strongly believe that one of the reasons why dystopias are so popular among YA readers is because it addresses important political and social issues like this. The Hunger Games commented on the power of media within society and it's ability to control information and facts, whereas The Ship Breaker talks about society's dismissal of climate change and the lack of national and international policies taken regarding climate change and its irreversible impact it will have on our world. Both books talk about issues that are out of the control of young people but are issues that directly affect them and their quality of life. The helplessness and their lack of control is something that would resonate with teenagers and young adults who are smart enough to understand the implications of these things, but lack the power to do anything about it in a world that puts emphasis on power and money, and as a result, exploitation.

Another aspect that I found interesting was that once the ice caps melting and big corporations taking over and monopolizing the world's financial markets, resulted in a huge societal shift where there's no longer a middle class, but only a 'High' class and 'Low' class. The high-class are rich beyond imagine and low-class are practically slaves. I think that Bacigalupi is commenting on America's penchant and weakness for Capitalism and the fact that they permit and allow(ed) blatant corruption to take over. The conversations between Nailer, Nita and Tool are really indicative of the 'message' that Bacigalupi is trying to express throughout his book. The preconceptions and assumption that both Nailer and Nita have about each other and their respective classes are interesting and disturbing. For example, Nailer's abysmal circumstances makes him thing cynically about the money, power and corruption that constantly surrounds him - he's a realist to the point of despair. Nita is surrounded by privileged; is 'educated' and idealistic, and yet she is woefully naive when it comes to the 'real world'. In my opinion, Bacigalupi beautifully illustrates the conundrum that surrounds such important issues such as climate change: in order to make change you have to give up something. Also, it's interesting it to see Nita's naive optimism and Nailer's cynicism bringing a hard dose of reality to her - she finally sees who and what allows her to live in such opulence.

Anyways, these are just a few reasons why I loved Ship Breaker. I would highly recommend anyone who enjoys dystopias to read this book - I would hands down recommend this book to someone who had just read Hunger Games and was looking for something else similar. Bacigalupi's world building is fantastic and his prose beautiful. Like Hunger Games there's a touch of romance in this story, and it's done wonderfully in my opinion - it fits just right with the character's personalities and is definitely not over the top. I would likely recommend this book over books like Divergent.

Thorn

Thorn - Intisar Khanani A really intriguing adaptation of the fairytale, "The Goose Girl". A really promising writer - I will for sure be reading mor or Khanani's books! :)
[More detailed review to come]

Before I Fall

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver Wow! Definitely recommend this book!! I've got so many mixed feelings about it though! Review to come :)

How to Be a Woman

How to Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran One of my all time favourite books. I'm totally crushing on Caitlin Moran. She's got the best sense of humour and important things to say: a good combo in my opinion. A definite MUST read!

Shades Of Twilight

Shades Of Twilight - Linda Howard toooooo much angst - but I'm not gonna lie, I do love Linda Howard hahah

Iced

Iced - Karen Marie Moning Oh man, I have to admit that I have the biggest author crush on Karen EVER. I have been waiting for this book for it seems like forever! And now that it's finally here I've read it too fast and now I have to wait another year or so for the next one....*sigh*
I was a little apprehensive about ICED, I won't lie. I was never in love with Dani's voice in Mac's books and so when Karen said that she would be writing 3 books with Dani as the protagonist, I was worried that it wouldn't measure up to her Fever series (which I still reread an embarrassingly regular amount). It does though. Holy moly it does. I go into spoilers from here on so ye be warned....

ICED has the Fever flavour through and through but Dani's voice is definitely different than Mac's - but in a good way. The annoying chatter that I associated with Dani is still slightly there but it's waaaay toned down. The Dani that we see is actually intelligent (and not just because she cockily says so), but geekily so. Which I find very cool and gives her a big redeeming quality in my mind because before I thought that all she could do was run really really fast.

And Ryodan.
Oh Ryodan.....
I don't understand you. What's with the whole Jo thing!? I mean I get the sex, but arms over shoulders and intimating that you're an item when really it SO FECKING OBVIOUS that you're waiting for Danny!??! I never took you for a 'relationship' kinda guy. I'm just.....frustrated. It's WRONG. Which is probably Karen's purpose. But still. That said, Ryodan it awesomely smexy - I'm still crushing on Barrons though. It's going to take a LOT for my to flip sides haha.
I really love Lor though. He's great! He's so funny and he's definitely gunning for Dani, which I really like. His one-liners are hilarious.

Also the ending!!! Love!! ICED ends in true Moning style with a great cliff-hanger (but not as bad as in Dreamfever) with Mac FINALLY making an appearance :D. Also, I loved the mystery/premise of the entire book - it was awesomely thought out!!! Great 'monster' mystery that was exciting, fast-paced and really intelligently written, IMO.

The ONLY thing I wasn't totally in love with was Christian's character. This was probably totally intentional on Karen's part, but I found Christian's character to be overly creepy crossing the line from sexy protector to psycho-stalker....


Overall though, this book rocked. I loved it. I laughed frequently, grinned appreciatively, and outright laughed out loud (on the bus haha). I would TOTALLY recommend this book. Hands down :D.

Blindfolded Innocence

Blindfolded Innocence - Alessandra Torre For a book that was only $2.99 I was pleasantly surprised with the writing! Not bad! I'm pretty sure it's self-published (it only appears on Kindle so I'm kinda assuming it is...) and if it is, the editing was really good with only a handful of mistakes - and no overly repeated phrases or words (that i could tell)! (this seems to happen a lot in the self-published books i read)...
Despite the provocative cover I found the entire book very vanilla (despite the 'x-rated' erotica warnings on Amazon), with only the last 10 pages being anything more than risque. That said, I really enjoyed reading this! lol, A great start for Alessandra Torre :)

Gabriel's Inferno

Gabriel's Inferno - Sylvain Reynard Everything about this book irritated me. First of all it was the endless crying from both the heroine and then the hero. And then it was one of the characters calling the heroine "Rabbit", as in, "Don't be scared little Rabbit". Ugh. But what finally put me on a rampage was all the obscure and pretentious music and literary references...You're rich, smart and sophisticated. Okay. I get it.
The whole thing was just weird. And what made it even weirder was reading this right after I re-read the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning (literally my favourite series right now). My brain was so discombobulated lol - from Barrons to this? No thank you!

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