Friday, March 24, 2017

Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu
Published between 2011-2013
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
Another dystopian trilogy so there were definitely some similarities with other dystopian novels but I also found new twists to it which I enjoyed.  The one thing I liked was how America was split into two aspects – Republic on the West and the Colony on the East.  I remember when Trump first got elected, California and some of the other western states were trying to do a “Calexit” which is awesome except that I (NYC) also wanted to join in on that but they refused due to the fact that Trump is from NYC (boo).  So I can actually kind of see a split between the West and East in the future (if a dystopian event ever occurs) rather one between the North and the South. 

Another aspect that I enjoyed was how poor America is in the future for both the Republic and the Colony.  I actually found it interesting to see that Antarctica is now a major power player rather than the desolate location it is right now.  There were definitely a lot of interesting tidbits about the dystopian world that Marie created.

Between the two characters: Day and June – I think I prefer Day a lot more.  There were a few times when I found June to be a bit selfish and not at all aware of the others around her.  However, this might also because she was raised in a wealthy environment and god knows those people tend to be very self-focused.  She was also very stoic at times but that’s also due to her military background where being stoic is pretty much in the job description so sometimes it was difficult for the others to understand her emotions.  I really like Day mainly because he was free to do what he wanted and he showed that in his actions and emotions.  He didn’t have a lot of obligations other than caring for his loved ones and it really showed.  There were times when I thought Day was a little too headstrong because he would often just jump right into something.  Basically he would think with his emotions rather than his head which is why he was a good match with June because she was pretty much the exact opposite.  She thought with her head and not with her heart so sometimes she was able to make the tough decisions whereas Day couldn’t.

I also thought that the relationship between June and Day went well in the first book and then kind of went on a stagnant state in the second and even third book.  For a hot minute, I actually thought that maybe June would end up with someone else and so would Day because there were others who were probably better matched for them than they were for each other.  However, I’m glad they still ended up together even though I thought that the ending was a little bittersweet since it wasn’t an entirely optimistic ending but more of a hopeful one. 

I did enjoy the trilogy immensely and I’m glad things worked out at the end.  I hate dystopian novels where the main character dies *coughVeronicaRothcough*.  I mean, dystopian novels are by definition a depressing topic because it talks about Earth after it had already been savaged and how those who are left are struggling to survive.  And then you go write a book where the main person dies?  Please.  Anyways, enough about a different trilogy.  I thought that the Legend trilogy was nice and well-written.  The pace of the plot was good and the action made sense. 

Overall, I highly recommend these books for those who enjoy dystopian novels, action, adventure and romance.  
Rating:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Genesis by Bernard Beckett
Published April 20, 2009
Summary on Goodreads

Review:
Definitely a crazy book.  The last few pages pretty much shocked me like no other mainly because I went in with assumptions and realized that Bernard, the author, pretty much blew all of my assumption out of the water.  I just can’t believe the ending and the realization that Anax faced as well as anything else really.

The book definitely started out a little slow and it was very wordy.  It certainly was not a book where you can simply gloss over the paragraphs but you really had to read each sentence, each word, very carefully otherwise you will miss hints that are scattered throughout.  However, the book was also very short.  To be honest, I considered putting the book down at one point because I just wanted to get to the climax or the action, really.  But once the book entered the dialogue between Adam and Art, I started to really get into it.  It was fascinating to read the exchange between the two – man and machine.  At the same, though, I was curious to know why exactly they were imprisoned together.  I understood why Adam was imprisoned because that was explained but not for Art.  And apparently they spent years together in the same jail room. 

Another interesting facet was towards the end when they – Adam and Art – plotted their escape and that realization was particularly fascinating.  I couldn’t believe what happened and it really made me question stuff about life.  Is man really more powerful than a machine?  Normally I would say yes because man is needed to create the machine but at the same time, clearly machines are more powerful than man as seen by computers and similar gadgets we have now.  So it’s a lot of information to mull over and consider. 

The ending was definitely the craziest aspect of the book.  I still can’t believe who, or what, Anax and the rest of the “people” were.  Not to mention, the truth of the actual examination and why it’s there and how it affects Anax’s future.  The ending was also very abrupt but it was an abruptness that made sense as opposed to some other books where the ending is simply cut off for no reason.  There is most definitely a reason as to why this ending was cut off.


Overall, I found this book intriguing and it certainly made me think a lot.  However, due to the wordiness, the pace of the book and the lack of character development since a lot of the context was either the exchange between Adam and Art or the interview between the examiners and Anax, I can’t stay that I particularly liked the book too much.  It was basically a book that reminded me of philosophy that was somehow concise and put into a YA book. 

Rating:

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Need So Beautiful Series by Suzanne Young

A Need So Beautiful Series by Suzanne Young
Published between 2011-2013
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
I think this was one of those series where the author could have been better off with leaving it after the first book.  I’m not saying that the second book wasn’t good or that the novella didn’t wrap things up – both were true.  However, I definitely felt that the second book opened up a can of worms that never answered any questions and only left with more confusion.  The first book, while a bittersweet ending, could have been the ultimate ending despite the fact that it didn’t answer things 100% which the novella did.  But it just wasn’t super necessary, if that makes any sense.

Book 1 felt like it was just the precursor where Charlotte was just trying to figure out what was going on and then had to face the ultimate decision – save herself and go into darkness or sacrifice herself for the sake of everyone else.  Obviously we all know which decision she took (duh!).  The one thing I would say about this book is that I felt that things happened in a blur from when Charlotte started to get the Need to when she had to face the ultimate decision.  I felt that she didn’t have enough time to really process everything and then she suddenly had to give up her life. 

For book 2, it definitely didn’t focus as much on the Need but more on the Shadows and how to combat them.  I was also a little surprised about Lucy’s and Abe’s arrival since I thought this trilogy would basically be a showdown between Charlotte and Onika but clearly that wasn’t the case at all.  My biggest qualm about this book is that it didn’t answer anything especially the most important question – how come she came back in a different life/body?  What made her different from all of the other Forgottens?  And how come Harlin, Charlotte’s boyfriend in book 1, somehow found her so quickly and was somehow still the same age?  That was another biggie for me – okay, I can move forward with Charlotte’s reincarnation but how the fuck did Harlin still look like he belonged in high school despite the fact that more than a year passed between each reincarnation?  Not to mention, each book was over a course of a few weeks/months.  And in the distant future, if she kept reincarnating, how can Harlin fit in as a romantic partner if he’s aging as a regular person but she’s still coming back as if she was still 17 all over again?  It just made no sense to me.

Even though Charlotte’s character/body changed with each book but I think that her true personality still remained the same and it was evident as I read the series.  I liked how the author made her consistent throughout the series despite her having different lives and different bodies.  I thought that was nice.  Harlin, her boyfriend, also remained consistent though he did lose some of that happiness from the first book which is obviously understandable since he basically witnessed his girlfriend basically exploding into lights.  However, he remained true and steadfast and still loved her with all of his heart.  While I found that admirable and romantic, the cynical side of me simply cannot believe it.  Remember, they’re both teenagers yet somehow after witnessing himself that his girlfriend had passed on and yet still somehow remained true to her.  The author didn’t talk about whether or not he met other girls along the way or whatever.  I don’t know…I just can’t imagine that.

Overall, the books were good but there was definitely room for improvement.  I wish the author answered a few more questions about the logistics of some of the plots but overall, it was decent.
Rating:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Published June 14, 2011
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
This was a very strange book.  At first, it seemed like your typical YA novel where the MC (main character) goes into a sort of “coming-of-age” scenario but then something happened and then I was basically like WTF.  I didn’t realize that this book had some sort of “magical” or fantasy element to it since I did not get that impression whatsoever while reading the synopsis.  However, that was exactly what it was. 

At this point, I still don’t fully comprehend what exactly happened especially with Ruby and London.  I mean, what actually happened?  And how or where did Chloe play in all this other than being Ruby’s precious little sister?  And the biggest question of all: how was Ruby able to do all of that stuff?  I just felt like this book didn’t really answer anything and would just randomly spew out scenarios and situations where you just become baffled.  I was honestly confused almost the entire book other than the really beginning when things seemed really straightforward.

I also think that the town itself was magical or at least it was when Chloe came back from living with her uncle and his family because of the whole phone situation.  But at the same time, how then did her mother reach out to the uncle to inform him of Chloe’s whereabouts?  I’m assuming that somehow the town was disconnected from the rest of the world until you left the city limits.  It kind of reminds me of Once Upon a Time or something…

I also didn’t get the whole Ruby fascination.  I thought at first it was because she was the most popular girl or something but then it became something more when she did that balloon stint.  And then that just threw me off.  Like I asked before, how did she get these powers?  And what is that whole thing with the other town underneath the reservoir?  I also didn’t really understand why Chloe herself, despite knowing what she did, went along with Ruby and her essentially crazy antics.

I definitely think that this book focused more on the writing style than the actual plot or the characters because god knows, the plot was confusing and the characters even more so.  However, the writing style, the prose, was almost lyrical which I guess suited this type of book well.  It gave it that magical, mythical feeling to it.

Overall, I wasn’t a huge fan since I tend to focus more on plot and characters rather than how an author writes.  However, if you love reading to gain more writing knowledge then I guess this book would be good for you.
Rating:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally

Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally
Published November 29, 2016
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
Honestly I’m not too sure what to think about this book.  I didn’t particularly like it nor did I particularly dislike it.  I didn’t also particularly like nor dislike the characters.  I’m really not too sure what to think about it.  I guess it’s just one of those books where you’re basically like mehh. 

Maybe the one main reason why I’m on the fence about this book is because this book didn’t really resolve anything.  I think it literally only resolved one thing – to get Luna to talk to her mother again and that was just “hi, mom”.  Other than that, I felt that this book didn’t have any real conclusion and no real purpose to it.   There were so many problems that were shown during the book – Phoebe’s fight with her best friend, Tessa, which was never resolved but it was at least explained; Luna’s fight with her father which was also never resolved; Phoebe’s own personal anxiety with her mother that was also not really resolved; Phoebe’s boy problem back at home which was also never resolved but then she moved on to a different guy but still really liked the old guy (I have no idea?); etc.  I just felt like this book posed a lot of questions but no real answers.  Maybe some of it was answered in a really abstract way such as Phoebe asking her mother to talk about her past at the really end but that didn’t really answer or solve anything.  Or how her father said he’ll go to Luna’s concert next week but again, that didn’t solve anything because this wasn’t the first time he went to her concert and clearly nothing happened so why would it now?  Honestly I just feel that this book had no purpose and that’s most likely why I’m like eh on it.

I also didn’t really understand the whole reasoning behind Meg (Phoebe’s mother) and her obsession with not being famous.  Okay, I understand that being famous has a lot of drawbacks (yes, I’m looking at you, you paparazzis) but shouldn’t she have known that getting into the scene?  It’s not like they became famous “by accident”.  They totally set out to become famous and then she totally flipped out and you see a bunch of flashbacks from her perspective and her resentment to her fans and the cameras.  I simply don’t understand why.  It was like she didn’t realize what she signed up for and had buyer’s remorse but in that kind of industry, you really can’t.  You’ll end up going crazy (basically what she did by denying her identity when someone approached her and by uprooting her daughters to the middle of nowhere). 

So anyways, I’m still on the fence with this book.  We’ll definitely do a video on this one so maybe Emily will have some greater insight on it.
Rating:

Holed Up In A Book © 2015