Saturday, December 29, 2012

Little Women.

Little Women
by: Louisa May Alcott

In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy come of age while their father is off to war.

This is the first classic I ever read and by far my favorite thus far. It is a beautiful story of growing up and being proper ad lady-like. And it is not just one story, it is many stores told that come to one ending.

Smart and Brave Heroines: CHECK
check times five. I have read this book plenty of times ever since I was a little girl and I have always admired the four daughters and Marmie.
Meg: Ever the proper young lady and always the loving daughter. Even with her jealousy and her desire for pretty things that they could not afford, I still admired her. I love the scene where she is at the party and realizing that the way she is acting is not becoming. Then how honest and humble she is in admitting her fault to Marmie and Jo. I love reading about her and John's future and their little family.
Jo: I've always felt a special love for Jo and how independent she is. I love her passionate love for books and writing and everything literary. She's fiery and easily-angered, but she really does love all of those around her. I love her talk with Marmie about overcoming her temper and improving her faults.
Beth: Dear Beth. I don't think you can read this book without loving her. She isn't perfect, but she sure seems like it sometimes. She is terribly shy, but she still finds small ways to care for the people she knows. To live a life like Beth's is very sad, but very inspiring. She never did anything too remarkable, but she loved people and made them feel important. That was the quiet beauty of her short life.
Amy: I love seeing the transition from the spoiled and brattish child that Amy was into the charming young woman that she became. She learned to not think less of herself, but to think of herself less, which is an important lesson in humility.
Marmie: The role model to beat all other role models. Marmie seems to know every single way to be a loving, kind, and respectable gentlewoman (which I believe we need more of in our current generation). This does not at all mean being weak, it means being a woman.

Intelligent and Charming Heroes: CHECK
Laurie: He's always been my favorite. He's hilarious and lovable and charming. He grows up from being a lovely young lad to a brilliant young man. He was probably my first fictional character crush and I still love him lots. He is impulsive and ridiculous and often selfish, but he finds ways to overcome these things (with help from the four girls, Marmie, John, and his grandpa).
John: I like him. He was good and proper and just lovely while he was courting Meg. and I just like him a lot.

Original Plot and Unique Setting: CHECK
I listened to this book around six times every summer from fifth grade to seventh grade and absolutely loved it. I had never read any classics before, but this one quickly became my favorite.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
covered above. The great thing about Louisa May Alcott is that none of the characters quite feel like supporting characters. They all had stories and deeper personalities and you grow to love each and every one of them.

Excellent Plot: CHECK
Even with all of the side stories that we are told and the tangents we go down on there is still a overall end to come to. There is so much character development to keep the story evolving and improving.


“I've got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.”

“Love is a great beautifier.”

“Watch and pray, dear, never get tired of trying, and never think it is impossible to conquer your fault.”

“...for love casts out fear, and gratitude can conquer pride.”

“I like good strong words that mean something.”

"I want to do something splendid...something heroic or wonderful that won't be forgotten after I'm dead. I don't know what, but I'm on the watch for it and mean to astonish you all someday.”

"I don't pretend to be wise, but I am observing, and I see a great deal more than you'd imagine. I'm interested in other people's experiences and inconsistencies, and, though I can't explain, I remember and use them for my own benefit.”

"She preferred imaginary heroes to real ones, because when tired of them, the former could be shut up in the tin kitchen till called for, and the latter were less manageable.”

“Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow…”

“…because talent isn't genius, and no amount of energy can make it so. I want to be great, or nothing.”

"such hours are beautiful to live, but very hard to describe…”

“Now and then, in this workaday world, things do happen in the delightful storybook fashion, and what a comfort that is.”

“…Jo loved a few persons very dearly and dreaded to have their affection lost or lessened in any way.”

“He was poor, yet always appeared to be giving something away; a stranger, yet everyone was his friend; no longer young, but as happy-hearted as a boy; plain and peculiar, yet his face looked beautiful to many.”

“…she was one of those happily created beings who please without effort, make friends everywhere, and take life so gracefully and easily that less fortunate souls are tempted to believe that such are born under a lucky star.”

“…on some occasions, women, like dreams, go by contraries.”

"but, dear me, let us be elegant or die.”


The Fault in our Stars.

The Fault in our Stars
by: John Green

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind

ohh.. I have wanted to read this for a while, but even more since I found the vlogbrothers. This lived up to all of the expectations I had. All of the feels were felt. All of the laughs were laughed. All of he crys were cried.

Smart and Deep Heroine: CHECK
I loved Hazel. She was different and yet normal. I appreciated how John Green never let her stop being a teenager or a person. Just because she had to live with cancer never meant that she lived some perfect or trancendent lifestyle. She was just a girl who had to deal with the unfair realities of life. She was brilliant and clever, but in a way that made her seem more human. She was funny in mostly a very morbid way, but it made her more relatable in a strange way.

Brave and Brilliant Hero: CHECK
Augustus Waters. Gus. He was (to quote Stephanie Perkins...) "Delightfully screwy". Yes, he had gigantic faults, like his obsession with metaphoric resonance. He is not the picture perfect prince charming, he is damaged and irreparable.However, he finds a way to be funny and charming and brave. Another fault is his belief that a heroic life must include guts and glory. He is constantly fighting against wanting to do something magnificent and knowing that he's likely never going to. He forgets that merely being alive is a magnificent thing. Hazel shows him that there is something heroic about being selfless and noticing things. That's the hard truth discussed in this book, how we as people deal with the nevers and the always.

Original Plot and Unique Setting: CHECK
first, I loved reading a book based in Indianapolis because I live fifteen minutes from it. I've been to some of the places described in the book and it was easy to picture it. The hospital that Hazel goes to is the one that my little brother goes to. I also laughed out loud at most of the slams John Green takes at Indy (and I thought it was even funnier because I know that he lives in Indy too). They are funny because they're true, but its still easy to love Indy for what it is.
Also, I think The Fault in our Stars is a book about cancer that refuses to be a "cancer book." It breaks all of the stereotypes and speaks deeply not just to people with cancer, but to everyone just trying to figure out life.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
The Parents:I loved that John included the parents as real and realistic characters, rather than just an afterthought (which happens in quite a lot of YA books). I know that he
had Henry while working on this book, so he had more insight into how parents think about and act around their kids. I appreciated that Hazel's mom was going to be a "Patrick" and that her dad wasn't afraid to let his emotions show.
Isaac: I flipping love this man! I cannot even imagine how hard it would be to lose your sight, but he handled it better than I would expect. He also always made me laugh.
Peter Van Houten: There is nothing quite like a fictional author of a fictional book in a fictional book... (its Bookception). He was insane, and yet all too often he made sense. He's also a good example of how we are often disappointed when we put people on a pedestal. I love the point that John Green makes about fiction in this book. It doesn't exist, its not real, but that is why it is so important. It can have great influence upon our lives and yet not exist outside of the few lines of text that the story inhabits.

Plot Twists and Action: CHECK
well, not 'plot twists' in the typical sense, but there was one pretty big turn of events...and there was no action, but there were plenty of events happening. Always something going on to keep the plot moving. He packed so many thing into this relatively short book that made it seem a whole lot longer.

This book was everything I was expecting and so much more. A great book is one that makes you think. While I didn't necessarily agree with some of the opinions stated in the book, it got me thinking. That is why we read, to think about the realities of life from completely different perspectives.


“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”

“That's the thing about demands to be felt.”

"I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

“You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”

"I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.”

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.”

“Some people don't understand the promises they're making when they make them," I said.
"Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That's what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.”

“Oh, I wouldn't mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”

"And in freedom, most people find sin.”

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can't tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal”

“You are so busy being YOU that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.”

“The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we'd done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”

“But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.”

“You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.”

“The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture.”

“The real heroes anyway aren't the people doing things; the real heroes are the people noticing things, paying attention.”

“People will say it's sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it's not sad, Van Houten. It's triumphant. It's heroic. Isn't that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm.”

"I lit up like a Christmas tree, Hazel Grace."

(sorry... there were just a ton of quotes... #sorrynotsorry. ;) )

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


by: Gail Carson Levine

I read this book for the first time in seventh grade, and since then I have re-read it and re-read it and re-read it. It just never gets old. I know, I know, this is a "Children's book", but it's still fantastic.

Therefore, I do not care what it is labeled.

Smart and Sweet Heroine: CHECK
I loved Aza instantly when I first read this book and I still love her to this day. She's self-conscious. She's ugly. But she doesn't let it affect her sweet personality and charming wit. Also she's pretty hard-core in the mirror scene. Since I love to sing and loved to sing in seventh grade, I admired her even more and kind of really wanted to live in Ayortha.

Kind and Strong Hero: CHECK
Ijori is basically amazing! He is one of my all-time favorite male leads in any book. He's just so sweet and charming and all together a great guy and a great prince (someday I know he made a great king.) I thought his love for his uncle was adorable. I even kind of liked Oochoo even though I am not an dog person (maybe because he couldn't slobber on me through the pages).

Original Plot and Unique Setting: CHECK
I already told you that I wanted to live in Ayortha.The world-building is just so fantastic with all the details that the author puts in (from the trubadours to the song birds to the sings...) I just love the world that Gail Carson Levine built in this book (and in Ella Enchanted, seeing as they are the same world).

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Ivy: It just proves how talented Mrs. Levine is when you look at both how easy it is to dislike Ivy and how easy it is to pity her simultaneously.

The King: Even though he was unconscious for 5/6ths of the book, The King was still one of my favorite characters. He was wise and kind. Therefore, he always made both wise and just decisions when the time called for it.

Skulni: a disgusting, pathetic, manipulative spider. He was both terrible and fascinating. I thought it was interesting to hear a little about just how much of Ayorthian history that Skulni manipulated.

Frying Pan, The Tailor, Lady Arona, Uju: these little characters added so much depth to the book with their little parts in the story. They were also excellent devices that Gail used to introduce the reader to the true nature of The Queen and just how vindictive and hateful Skulni made her.

Zhamh (The Green Gentleman): From the second he came into his room to hear Aza singing I knew that I loved him, to be exact. He was so kind, instructive, and hospitable, to be exact. I loved hearing about the Dwarves' justice system and how their court worked. It made so much sense even when it didn't, because I could see both sides of why each culture has a different system, to be exact. I would say that the dwarves' system was more effective than Ayortha's, because Ayortha obviously misjudged Aza. They just brought up interesting things to think about in terms of what is just, to be exact.

Mother, Father, her brothers, and Arieda: gahhh... her family was so awesome and loving. The way Gail worked Ella Enchanted into this book through Arieda was masterful, because you didn't need to read Ella Enchanted to understand, but if you did it would be like a little secret backstory.

Plot Twists and Action: CHECK
The biggest plot twist was finding out who Aza was and what her heritage was. We knew that her and Ivy would eventually be caught for their illusing scam, but we didn't know what would come of it. When that twist came so did the action. They met ogres and desert and secret doors and it was all very exciting.

I just adore this book and will definitely never stop adoring it.


“To me, merely and pretty were words that had nothing to do with each other. Pretty went with miraculously, and merely belonged in another paragraph entirely.”

“I'm solitary as a pulled tooth,
Lonely as an unwelcome truth,
Lost as a minnow out of school,
A genius in a crop of fools.”

“Voices and faces aren't manifestations of good or bad.”

"Can a dragon judge ostumo?"

"When you think of me
remember how I yearn
remember how I ache
know how I long to be
a bright blue sky."


by: Neal Shusterman
caution: MAJOR spoilers ahead

everything I was hoping for and more in a sequel. Neal Shusterman has done it again (and by 'it' I mean, written a bone-chilling and yet completely amazing and meaningful book).

and I'm not going to review this like I usually do, because there are just too many characters I need to address...

Connor: I love how much he has grown. It's mentioned in the book at least once, but this kid went from being a easily angered 'problem child' to a responsible and brave hero who is in charge of hundreds of other kids. I can't wait to see what becomes of him and Lev in the third book 
\ trying to change the world and all that (they are also referred to as "a martyr and a patron saint", which is strangely true)

Lev: I was afraid at the beginning that he was just going to be left alone to live his life, because he simply wasn't mentioned. But, boy, was I wrong. I'm happy that a tithe rescuing operation was set up, but that got creepily close to (scratch that: it was) Lev worship (or Leviathan..). I'm also happy that he decided to go with Miracolina. They had better end up together, maybe not as a couple, but at least friends (so basically I mean that they need to find each other again and literally be together, like in the same place.)
Pastor Dan: That was easily my least favorite scene of the book. because:
1. That girl scout clapper was completely disturbing...
2. Pastor Dan got blown up... He was one of my favorite characters, but I understand the neccesity for Lev to go out on his own.

Miracolina: I loved her. She was really interesting to read because of how cold and semi-robotic she was at first and how she slowly (and I mean sloooooooooowwwwwwwwwlllllllyyyyyyy) let Lev in. This led to one of my favorite quotes of the book:

"Either things happen for a reason or they happen for no reason at all. Either one's life is a thread in a glorious tapestry or humanity is just a hopelessly tangled knot. Miracolina has always believed in the tapestry, and now she feels blessed to have had a glimpse of its smallest corner,"

Now she just needs to find Lev again.

and speaking of finding people...
Risa: I love her! she cracked me up more than once:

"Risa immediately decides that anyone who uses the word 'hullabaloo' cannot be her friend"

And even while she was doing those public announcements I knew it had to be in an effort to protect everyone. And it was so frustrating how angry she was with herself, because she knew it was for the best cause but she still hated herself. I literally did a fist pump when she finally made her announcement on that talk show.

"I am not, nor have I never been, nor will I ever be in favor of unwinding"

which leads us to...Cam (or camus camprix): So many mixed emotions. I see why it would be hard to understand that he was a real human being with emotions if you just met him. But it was different for the reader because before we even knew who he was we were inside his head, feeling what he was feeling, seeing what he was seeing. So while I wanted Risa to see him as a real person (and while I completely hate Proactive Citizenry) I knew that she couldn't feel his emotions like I did.

Roberta: I really don't like her. let's leave it at that.

Starkey (or as I thought of him, a new Roland with a cause): I kept hoping he would do something good with the power he was collecting, but I knew that wouldn't happen. But, I think the whole stork angle was interesting. (and it just proves how thorough of a world Shusterman has built) I really hope something bad happens to him, and I feel awful for all of those poor kids who got taken away from Connor (a genuine and brave leader) and now are under the full control of Starkey (an awful and selfish leader who didn't care all that much that 40 kids died in a plane crash on his watch...)

Trace: awwwwwwwwwww. *teardropI hated that he died, and even more I hated how he died. I hated that he died at the hands of Starkey, but I admired his bravery to the very last moment.

Karla: I LOVED HER! and I so appreciate everything she stood for and her full belief in extraordinary/ordinary people.

and I have one last person
(and arguably the most important to be discussed in this review)
Neal Shusterman:
That man is a genius. He has a knack for leading you right up to a moral dilemma and then letting you make up your own mind about it without even hinting at his own feelings toward it. I also have this image of him with a literal, written down list of every single political issue and moral dilemma he can think of and I can see him thinking to himself "okay Neal, what is the most disturbing way to address all of these in one book series...". And of course as he writes the books he slowly crosses them off one by one. But, he should be more well-known with a gift like his.

Okay, I'm going to go eagerly wait for the third book (I hope it's not another 5 years away....)Hurry Neal!


“The measure of a man is not how much he suffers in the test, but how he comes out at the end.”

“Anger is only our friend when we know its caliber and how to aim it.”

“The sad truth about humanity, Risa was quick to realize, is that people believe what they're told. Maybe not the first time, but by the hundredth time, the craziest of ideas just becomes a given.”

“Either things happen for a reason, or they happen for no reason at all. Either one's life is a thread in a glorious tapestry or humanity is just a hopelessly tangled knot.”

“They signed the unwind order just to spite each other,but laugh,laugh,laugh,Hayden, because if you ever stop laughing,it might just tear you apart worse than a Chop Shop.”

“Tranq'd by your own gun,"Lev says."How pathetic.” (*and a fist-pump for THE IRONY)

“History is written by the victors--and when there is no victors, it all winds up in the corporate shredders.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lola and the Boy Next Door.

Lola and the Boy Next Door
by: Stephanie Perkins
Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit--more sparkly, more fun, more wild--the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

let's start out with one fact: I did not enjoy or love this as much as I loved and enjoyed Anna and the French kiss . Probably because the magic for me didn't start until the last hundred or so pages for me. But I did enjoy reading it... so here's the review.

Lovable and Smart Hero: CHECK
Cricket is my kind of guy. I love guys that are energetic and quirky and a little dorky and awkward. They are always just so gosh darn adorable. and Cricket matched all of that description, therefore I loved him. He was so cute and sweet even from the very beginning. I loved every small detail about him, from how he dressed to his rubber bands to his hair and his inventions. I loved how shy and awkward he was but also how strong and sweet and strange he was when he started talking.

Smart and Strong Heroine: NOPE
sadly, I didn't like Lola nearly at all. I loved her perspective on life and how she was different and didn't care what others thought. but thats where it ended... She was really way too dumb. She aggravated me with how indecisive she was and how she continued to pick the stupid jerk over sweet and altogether lovely Cricket, and how she insisted on hurting them both in the progress of making up her mind. I've never understood the love most women-kind have for bad boys who hurt them, so this just left me puzzled. I realize she "loved" him, but really at some point you have to stop going just by how you feel and live by what is beneficial to you, which Max obviously wasn't.

Original Plot and Unique Setting: CHECK
As much as Lola frustrated me, I loved the idea of the costume-loving girl falling for the boy next door. It was a very interesting plot and a spectacular setting. It kept me reading and wanting to read it, even when Lola was caught in the frustrating indecisive-ness.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK

Duh! Anna and Etienne were both there! therefore, the supporting characters couldn't help but be awesome!
1. Anna and Etienne: I loved seeing them outside of Anna's perspective. Anna was a great friend (something she learned in Anna and the French Kiss ) and she was always nice and helpful. Etienne was his normal hilarious and charming self. I loved hearing about how their relationship had changed and grown since the end of their senior year.
2. Lindsay:She's awesome. I loved how she wasn't afraid to be who she was and how she had the strength to avoid interupting her educational agenda (which not many girls can do). I loved her detective-ness and how her and Lola (though complete opposites) were such perfect friends for each other.

Plot Twist and Action: CHECK
As I said in my review of Anna and the French Kiss , its Chick-lit, so we all know how its going to end. The girl is going to get with the correct guy and everything will be swell. But again I say that Stephanie Perkins made the entire story of it all completely entrancing and captivating. So I could overcome the cliche ending and just revel in the complete adorable-ness of it all.
A great read and a great companion for Anna and the French Kiss
and I'm very excited for the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After next year. I'm sure it'll be swell.


“Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to the moon. And she was mysterious and she was perfect, in that way that girls who talk to moons are. In the house next door, there lived a boy. And the boy watched the girl grow more and more perfect, more and more beautiful with each passing year. He watched her watch the moon. And he began to wonder if the moon would help him unravel the mystery of the beautiful girl. So the boy looked into the sky. But he couldn't concentrate on the moon. He was too distracted by the stars. And it didn't matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated."

“Just because something isn't practical doesn't mean it's not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough.”

"No. You're delightfully screwy, and I wouldn't have you any other way.”

“There's something about blue eyes. The kind of blue that startles you every time they're lifted in your direction. The kind of blue that makes you ache for them to look at you again. Not the blue green or blue gray, the blue that's just blue."

“Do you know my biggest regret?" She asks. "That you turned into this bright, beautiful, fascinating person... and I can't take credit for any of it.”

“Cricket tells a joke and turns to see if I'm laughing, if I think he's funny, and I want him to know that I do think he's funny, and I want him to know that I'm glad he's my friend, and I want him to know that he has the biggest heart of anyone I've ever known."

“History books are filled with lies. Whoever wins the war tells the story.”

“It's maddening how someone so easy to read can be so impossible to understand.”

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Before Midnight.

Before Midnight
by: Cameron Dokey

Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal. The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon's father, and her arrival changes their lives.

As with Sisters Red (though this is definitely nothing like it), this was not my favorite retelling, but still a charming and solid read.

Smart and Sweet Heroine: CHECK
Cendrillon was a great version of the classic Cinderella. She gave life to a character that I always found somewhat too perfect in other classic versions. She had emotion and heartbreak and doubts, but she always loved others and, in return, was loved.

Brave and Loveable Hero: CHECK
While Pascal was likeable enough but I was sad we only really got two scenes of him. So in his stead I am going to talk about Raoul. He was just rough enough to be intriguing and just sweet enough to be cute. I loved when he finally figured it out even though he lost his mind for a second there. I think he deserved more than Anastasia, but she's the one he loved and you have to respect that.

Unique Plot and Original Story: NOPE
This was so very close to the Disney version of Cinderella. She added more politics which was interesting, but the rest of it was mostly the same.

Extraordinary Side Characters: CHECK
All the side characters added dimension and politics to the story. What with Raoul being who he was (if you know what I mean). I loved Old Mathilde and all her wisdom. I also loved that her stepmother was nice and loving when she needed someone to love. I loved Nicolo and Amelie and their blossoming love.

Plot Twists: CHECK
I actually did not see Raoul's little reveal coming at all. Of course, in hindsight it was obvious,but after the fact, isn't it always (hindsight bias)?


“Remember that yours is not the only heart that may be wishing for love.”

“Over and over, we start our own tales, compose our own stories, whether our lives are short or long. Until at last all our beginnings come down to just one end, and the tale of who we are is done.”


                      by: Amy Kathleen Ryan

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Before I start this review, be warned. I read Insurgent AND The Princess Bride (two books which I consider masterpieces) right before this book, therefore this review may be a little harsh. But I believe this book warrants some harshness.
Intelligent and Heroic Heroine: NOPE
Sure, Waverly supposedly fulfills the new trend in YA, which is intense, kick-butt, troubled heroines, but I didn't get that from her. The depth needed to pull that off just wasn't there. I couldn't and didn't connect with her and all her decisions just seemed too 2-D. She altogether just felt way too flat.

Sweet and Brave Hero: NOPE
Kieran, again, fell quite flat. I couldn't connect with him either. He was neither swoon-worthy nor terribly smart. I might have connected with him more if the truly emotional sentences weren't sandwiched between spaceship talk that I (not much of a space dork) didn't quite understand.

Unique Setting and Original Plot: CHECK
It did accomplish this, because I thought the idea of a secular spaceship versus a religious spaceship was quite interesting. It was cool to see them react and interact with each other. I give props for that angle of it.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: NOPE
None of the supporting characters stuck out to me. They just seemed like names on the page, rather than people to be read about. That might be why, even though I JUST put this book down I could not tell you even one of the supporting characters' names.

Plot Twists and Action: CHECK
I did find the action scenes to be well written and sort of awesome. Also, there were some unexpected occurrences that I didn't see coming (I wouldn't necessarily call them plot "twists", because the plot remained somewhat predictable.)

All-in-all it had a lot of potential in the concept of it, but the 2-D characterization sort of ruined it for me.

The Wild Orchid.

The Wild Orchid
by: Cameron Dokey

Wielding a sword as deftly as an embroidery needle, Mulan is unlike any other girl in China. When the emperor summons a great army, each family must send a male to fight. Tomboyish Mulan is determined to spare her aging father and bring her family honor, so she disguises herself and answers the call. For all of Mulan's courage with a bow and arrow, is she brave enough to share her true identity and feelings with Prince Jian?

I loved Mulan (the disney movie) as a kid, but I forgot how much until I read that book. I now remember why I loved it and now love it again.

Smart and Brave Heroine: CHECK
Mulan has literally virtue that I admire: bravery, strength, I love that she isn't afraid to be different or to be herself. She just wishes she could be herself without disgracing her family or her warrior father. She is so brave and strong. She is one of my favorite Heroines now.

Sweet and Brave Hero: CHECK
Even though he's not the romantic lead, Li Po is so much of a hero! He risks everything he has to win honor for his family and to show his true face. In the end he ends up paying the ultimate price, his life. Now on to Prince Jian, he was fantastic and brave and smart and cute and so much more!

Original Setting and Unique Plot: CHECK
Sure, the basic plot was the same, but I am more than willing to overlook that because of the amount of depth and emotion that Cameron Dokey was able to add to the story. And the characters were all fantastic.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
YES. YES. YES. Li Po, Zao Xing, Min Xian! I loved them all, each and every one. They all portrayed such beautiful emotion and great character.

Plot Twists and Page Turners: CHECK
Not that many plot twists, but can you really expect than from a retelling of an old story already known by most? Not really. As for page turners, the writing is what inspired me to keep reading. It was beautiful and fantastic!


“I had to cease to mourn what could never be and make the most of what was possible. And I would begin doing that by trying to mend the hurts of the past.”

“I have not led an ordinary life, nor a life that would suit everyone. I took great risks, but because I did, I also earned great reward. I found the way to show my true face freely, without fear. Because of this, I found true love.”

"I could not wallow in self-pity, thinking about what might have been. I had to do my duty. It was the only way to stay true to myself.”

"My growing was definitely a series of adventures, followed by bumps, bruises, and many scoldings.”

“All of us show many faces to the world. No one shows her true face all the time. To do that would be dangerous, for what is seen can also be known. And what is known can be outmaneuvered, outguessed. Lifted up, or hunted down.”

The Princess Bride.

The Princess Bride
by: William Goldman (oops, I mean Morganstern)

A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts - The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.

I've watched this movie so many times and I absolutely love it! I had heard the book was better, and since that is an absolutely true statement about any and every movie and 100% of the time, I wanted to give it a try.
why it took me so long? I have no idea. but I eventually got my hands on it and found that to be just as true in this case!

Sweet and Interesting Heroine? CHECK
While Buttercup was ditzy early in the book, I liked it because it showed just how ditzy we all are when we first fall in love. She quickly matured into a wonderful heroine. She often kept her cool in tense situations (ex. as they were trying to get out of the gate).

Brave and Sweet Hero: CHECK
Oh my dear, Westley, how I love you. He is strong and brave and never gave up where Buttercup was concerned. Also, having seen the movie many times before reading this, I pictured Westley as a young Cary Elwes which was quite lovely.

Original Setting and Unique Plot: CHECK
Goldman (oops, I mean Morganstern) is a genius! I loved reading about Florin and Guilder. The setting in this story is brilliant and it instantly became a "new classic" for its new take on fairytales. It is the only fairytale I've ever read that even once says "life isn't fair" (and it says it way more than once) which I found really incredible.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK

Inigo: "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die" I'm pretty sure that sums it all up right there! But I will elaborate, just for you. Well, for one his passion and drive is quite ridiculously incredible. His love for his father is also quite inspiring when you look at all the incredible (and dastardly) things it led him to do.

Fezzik: The gentle giant (defiant). The lovable lug (bug). The classic follower (hollower?). He made me laugh a whole lot (spot). And i always just wanted to give him a hug to cheer him up when he was lonely or afraid or when someone made fun of him (rim).

Humperdink and Rugen: Ugh. the thought of them makes my skin crawl. Period. End of Story (but that is the sign of a great author, the ability to make truly cringe-worthy villain) (oh... also in the movie Humperdink looks kind of like the king from Shrek. gross.)

Plot Twists and Plenty of Action: CHECK
Fencing. A giant. Wrestling. Hunting. And a pirate or two. how could there not be action. As much as this is a fairytale, it is also an adventure book. As much as it is a "girl book", it is also for boys. As much as it is about romance, it is also about revenge and pride. And as for plot twists, I say that Goldman (oh, I mean Morganstern) is an expert at faking you out. You think that something that just happened or was said was real, when really it was just in the person's head.

Go read it NOW!


"I think you hunt only to reassure yourself that you are not what you are: the weakest thing to ever walk the Earth"

"my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die"

“Life isn't fair, it's just fairer than death, that's all.”

“Love is many things, none of them logical.”

"Inconceivable!" "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

“Cynics are simply thwarted romantics.”

"Enough about my beauty.” Buttercup said. “Everybody always talks about how beautiful I am. I’ve got a mind, Westley. Talk about that.”

"You mean you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword and we'll try to kill each other like civilized people, is that it?”

"She loves you still and you love her, so think of that--think of this too: in all this world, you might have been happy, genuinely happy. Not one couple in a century has that chance, not really, no matter what the storybooks say, but you could have had it, and so, I would think, no one will ever suffer a loss as great as you.”

“As you wish...”

“You mock my pain! Life is pain, anyone who says otherwise is obviously selling something!”

“Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us together today.”

Across the Universe.

Across the Universe
by: Beth Revis

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

This book was what I expected to get from "Glow" and even more! It brought up good controversies, such as 'is lying okay if you're doing it for the (supposed) benefit of the very ones that you are lying to?." For me the answer is a resounding 'no', but it was interesting to see how the characters from different backgrounds and with different responsibilities came to polar opposite conclusions.

Brave and Smart Heroine: CHECK
I thought Amy was a really well developed character. The emotion she showed was genuine and raw and really right on the mark for me. I can't even imagine giving up everything just so you could stay with your parents and then losing them too! Yet she only let herself break one time and was still able to rebuild herself from the ashes of her ruined life. That takes more bravery than I can even imagine. One thing I found refreshing about her was that she wasn't afraid to be vulnerable, she seemed to understand that being vulnerable with your friends will only make you stronger in the end (a lesson that I believe Tris learns in Insurgent, and one that I fully believe in).

Smart and Brave Hero: HALF
Goodness, the entire book I kept asking this question "Elder, why do you continue to frustrate me." I gave him half a star because sometimes he was really genuinely stupid. It took a really long time to figure out things that it seemed like I figured way before he did. It just felt to me that when he figured something out and had no doubt that it was true, he would then forget and have figure it out again. Maybe the author just meant to show how brainwashed he was, but to me it didn't come off that way. Maybe it is just because I, as the reader, have a more objective look at everything because I'm outside of the situation or because I have both Amy and Elder's perspective to look at.
However, all that isn't to say that I didn't like him. In fact, that was not the case at all! He won me back by loving things that are different and by being incredibly brave. He was also adorable in the way he respected Amy's space. He didn't go all over-the-top flirty and he didn't feel the need to be cocky around her, actually the opposite. He was surprisingly shy around her, which was refreshing to read. Also, when he did finally figure things out, he always made what seemed like the most ethical decision, which I like in a character.

Unique Plot and Original Setting: CHECK
Yes, there are lots of books about space ships headed to a new planet, but this was different because the government aboard was so different and so evil. Also, it is an interesting thing for them to have to try to figure out a way to take down a corrupt government that every frexing person on the ship fully believed in while being completely alone in the universe. There was no outside help to be sought out and no one outside the ship even knew what was happening or would even care. They were literally stuck with an utterly impossible situation.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Harley: I loved his crazy self. I appreciated his whole back story and was quite heart-broken over it. I felt he deserved to be happy if he had to be stuck inside that frexing ship anyway! Am I right? However, as we all know not everyone who 'deserves to be happy', actually get to be. It's that simple, life isn't fair. I loved how obsessed with the stars he was. The difference is that every frexing thing he wanted and obsessed about were outside his reach. He was deprived of the girl he loved , a planet to live on, and to a certain extent, beauty. All these are so important to the artist or the inventor or the writer or the singer, anyone who puts there effort into being creative. Orion: I loved the comparison between Eldest, Elder, and Orion. How Eldest kept things in control by lying and keeping secrets. Then how, in his quest to be different than Eldest, Orion began doing those same things and yet had the audacity to say he was doing things for the greater good. Then there is Elder who thought honesty was more important than control and way better than keeping secrets.

Plot Twists: CHECK
 So many plot twists! I thought Beth Revis was very skillful in the way she told you all the facts then one by one showed that everything you thought you knew about everything was wrong, while leaving just enough doubt for you figure it out on your own. That takes so much skill as an author, and I truly admire her for that .

Great Read and very recommended!

But, just a quick warning: there is a sketchy part that I was totally not expecting. Therefore, I refuse to recommend this book to anyone under 16 or anyone who thinks they will be squeamish about certain things.


"Amy seems to inspire me to be all kinds of different"

"so, I do what any reasonable person would do when faced with a crying girl... I get the frex out of there"

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sisters Red.

Sisters Red
by: Jackson Pearce

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves.Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves.

Not my favorite Fairy-tale retelling, but a solid read.

Smart and Interesting Heroine: CHECK
Not one but two, goodness gracious!

Scarlett: I loved her passion! While I could see why someone would find her level of passion/obsession crazy, I understood. I can get like that too over things I love. She obsessed over things and couldn't let them go if she had her mind set on them and decided that it was the right thing to do. She was always putting up a fight and pushing herself further to do what is right. I really loved reading her perspective!
Rosie: as much as I agreed with Scarlett's obsession, I also sympathized with Rosie's situation! She desperately wanted to not need something other than hunting, but she just could not live that way. Also, I am a sucker for friends as close as family shifting into romance because it is one of the strongest and sweetest forms of r
omance. Therefore, I was a fan of  Silas and Rosie's friendship morphing into so much more.

Sweet and Brave Hero: CHECK
Silas was everything I look for in a male protagonist. He was brave, sweet, and incredibly real. He also had a respect for both Rosie and Scarlett that I found completely adorable. He loved them both enough to make him very careful of Rosie and Scarlett's sisterhood because he knew what bad sibling relations are like.

Original Setting and Unique Plot: NOPE
As much as I love re-tellings, I prefer when they add some new element to the story. Something unexpected and new that makes me even more interesting. For me this was a somewhat typical kind of werewolf (fenris) that did typical werewolf things.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: NOPE
I loved the characters, but there was really only three of them. I love when books have a whole cast of side characters for me to fall in love with, but this book spent most of its time furthering the characterization of Rosie, Scarlett, and Silas. There was no one else to get attached to, I kept wanting them to make new friends in the city (even though I knew that they couldn't because they are hunters).

Plot Twists and Plenty of Action: CHECK
There was plenty of action and fighting scenes that kept the plot going, but when they got into a hunting slump the book really slowed down. And the plot twists were all somewhat expected except one towards the end that totally caught me off guard and that is why it still managed to get this check.

A lovely read and recommended to those looking for a somewhat light action-y read.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


by: Gennifer Albin

Enter a tangled world of secrets and intrigue where a girl is in charge of other’s destinies, but not her own. Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has always been special. When her parents discover her gift—the ability to weave the very fabric of reality—they train her to hide it. For good reason, they don’t want her to become a Spinster — one of the elite, beautiful, and deadly women who determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die. Her world is hanging by a thread, and Adelice, alone, can decide to save it — or destroy it.

Smart and Sassy Heroine: CHECK

Dear Adelice,
You rock.

ok. So yes, she's a bit naive at the beginning of this. so what?
and yes, she's not always the bravest or the strongest. so what?
and yes, she didn't actually get to train that much. so what?

not every female lead can be Katniss Flipping Everdeen. (as much as we all love her)

and a giant reason why I loved Adelice was her sass. She was really very witty and always had a clever comeback. gosh. these were the moments when I just pumped my fist and applauded Adelice for being awesome. She was very likeable and pretty dang awesome. She got smarter and braver as the book went on, probably because at the beginning she knew nothing about anything (by no fault of her own... its the Guild's fault. its always the Guild's fault)

Brave and Intelligent Hero: CHECK
Erik: no. just no. I like him as a character, he's smart and brave and altogether charming. and this is probably a personal problem, but I never trust an overly charming character. However, I grew to trust Erik as the book went on, specifically toward the end. I found his relationship with Maela overly creepy and weird, but that obviously was the point.
Jost: gahh. I love him. I've never read a character in YA like him before. He's matured. He was a father and a husband before Adelice. He's seen trouble and has lost an entire family before. For me, that made him a deeper and more meaningful character. I think it's rare to find a male lead in YA that's not just a dark, brooding romantic lead for no reason. I loved his attachment and love for his daughter. Because of it I began to truly understand him. I also think that because of his love for his first wife, the fact that he loved Adelice made his love for her more meaningful. That he was willing to love and trust again after losing so much.
and the fact that they are brothers just makes it that much more intense. I can't wait to learn more about their relationship and how they became so estranged.


Original Setting and Unique Plot: HECK YES CHECK
OH MY GOSH... this setting. So different. So new. So perfectly executed. I appreciated how Gennifer Albin started out giving the reader no information. Then how she slowly let us on to more and more information. I also appreciate how she could drop one of the biggest surprises in the middle of the book and yet their was still more information and interesting discoveries to be made. I enjoyed learning about the weave and how the Spinsters manipulated it. I loved how I started to believe that it was actually a fantasy-ish type thing and then... BOOM. dystopian.
I applaud Mrs. Albin for her fantastic world-building, her creative idea, and masterful execution.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
YES. just YES.
there was just so much depth. There was just so much political stuff going on in the story and I LOVED it.
Maela: The villain you love to hate. and trust me... I hated her. I pretty much wanted to punch her in the face every time she opened her mouth. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. But, I thought it plain hilarious how usually everyone either ignored her or told her to shut up. Basically each and every character absolutely hated her. It was just so great.
Pryana: wow. what a jerk. and a hypocrite. and a schemer. I hated her uppity attitude and her obsessive ladder climbing. She would have done anything to get ahead (and pretty much did do anything she could)
Cormac: What a creep. to quote my favorite TV show:

"Dude, he put you on the creepy train headed for creepy island where the creepy natives drink creepy nectar out of creepy coconuts." -Shawn Spencer

Honestly, I find the villains who are "just looking out for the good of society and working for the greater good" to be creepier than any other type of villain. and Cormac fits that description perfectly. "I have to protect Arras". "I'm just doing what's best for Arras". I wanted to smack him around a bit. or a lot.
Loricel: I thought of her as an older version of Adelice. But a version of Adelice that didn't make the same decisions as our Adelice. She also was witty and sassy and smart. She was simply less brave. I think that this was due to the fact that she hadn't lost as much as Adelice had or that she no longer had anyone outside that she needed to get to.

Plot Twists and Page Turners: CHECK
oh goodness. Every page left me wanting more. I wanted to know more. I wanted to see more. I wanted to experience more through Adelice. There were quite a lot of plot twists and just in general so much plot. You could tell from the beginning that this book was going to take you places and show you things unlike anything that you'd ever seen.

and the ending.
THE ENDING. if it had ended with them reaching Earth, it would have been cliff-hangery enough to make me desperate for book 2 (Altered)... but no. She had to torture us with strange lights and creepy Earth things to leave us completely and utterly shocked an waiting for the second book.

dear Gennifer Albin,
please write quickly.
I'm dying over here.
for real.
a fan caught in the world you wove (pun intended)


"don't flatter yourself. I have a fetish for cold prison floor"

"I'm not marrying him. He's just well-groomed...but lapdogs usually are."

"oh...probably less to map"

"Cormac, you worry about the political and I'll keep this world working"

"I erase and rebuild the world in my sleep, and in the morning I try to remember how to rebuild myself."

"I can't deny the wall between us, separating us from total honesty, but I'm no longer sure which of us built it.""

"smart and foolhardy, It's a great combination for making conversation, but not the best for staying alive."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Throne of Glass.

Throne of Glass
by: Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Kick-butt and Smart Heroine: CHECK
Celaena Sardothien. She wasn't just the typical kick-butt, not all too feminine, rebellious heroine. I liked how Sarah wrote Celaena so that she was also feminine. She was incredibly smart and was very adaptive to whatever situation she was put in. I appreciated how she wasn't always completely untroubled by her circumstances. She often couldn't sleep because of her worry and her stress. I just loved her never quit attitude and how she was sure she was just as good if not better than the all of the men she was up against.

Brave and Clever Hero: CHECK X2
love triangle. OH THE LOVE TRIANGLE. Sarah J. Maas was so determined to make sure that I was utterly confused. I love Dorian, but I just love Chaol as well.

Dorian: I loved him. I just couldn't help it. He was charming and sweet and yet he was still a bad boy (and you know how much girls like that... ;) ) However, as far as who I wanted Celaena to end up with, his charm did him in. I just can never bring myself to trust any character that oozes charm. They always seem to be up to something. As the book went on I slowly learned to trust him, but it was already too late for him. He was also something like a player in the beginning, and that's never an appealing trait in a romantic lead. So as much as I loved him, I couldn't in good conscious want him to end up with Celaena.

Chaol: well, Chaol is a different story altogether. The romance in this book had the feeling of a love triangle that one character (Chaol) was determined to not make a love triangle. In his mind Celaena was nothing but trouble (not just because she was an assasin, but also because Dorian had already taken an interest in her.) But, I love how Sarah let us in on the fact that he liked her before he even knew it himself. I thought their relationship and how they interacted with each other was just adorable. I was cracking up most of the time while reading their conversations.

So in my opinion, Chaol and Celaena should be together. But I also want Dorian to meet a nice girl (I might even ship Dorian and Nehemia... but that's neither here nor there. and no judging! ;) )

Original Setting and Unique Plot: CHECK
Indeed. I loved the plot movement in this book. There were dark creatures, multiple villainous people, magical forces at work, and a kick-butt competition. With all of these things to develop its a miracle that Sarah even fit them all in, let alone fitting it all in so well. There was just so much interesting stuff going on and so many people plotting evil things that it never got boring. I applaud Sarah Maas for her amazing world-building and her amazing plot.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters:
Nehemia: Sassy and strong and completely loyal. what more could you ask for in a friend? that's right... nothing! I just loved her from the moment I read her. She was just such a character of depth and meaning. She had a heart for her people. Her heart broke for them and she could not accept sitting around and doing nothing to help them.

The King: He scared the bjeebers (sorry, I don't know the spelling for what I assume is a made-up word...) out of me. He was creepy and dark and just plain villainous. I'm actually afraid for Dorian, Celaena, and Chaol and what his father is going to force them to do for him. I wish they weren't in his service, but it just makes the book that much more interesting.

Cain: I HATED HIM! I just wanted to punch him in the face all the time. He was creepy and kind of came off to me as brutish and stupid. Which of course, is exactly what he was.

Kaltain: She was just a murderous, back-stabbing, hateful, jealous druggie imbecile. and that's all I have to say on the matter.

Elena: I want to hear more about her story and what happened to Celaena's parents. My guess is that Celaena is a distant relative of hers and therefore has some magical blood. and I'm excited to hear more and more about that.

Plot Twists and Plenty of Action: CHECK
So many plot twists and so much action! This book is one of the best fantasy books that I have ever read. EVER. There was so much action in the competition. We didn't even get to read that much of the competition scenes (except the duel), but there was still so much happening. There were murders in dark corridors and a giant demon-beast. We thought for a while that Nehemia was the conspirator and then she wasn't again. Celaena might have run away, but she didn't. There was just so much keeping the story going and changing. I loved that about it.

In all I appreciate and praise Sarah J. Maas' story-telling abilities. I think she is a fantastic writer and I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series.


"“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

“I wasn't going to kill him, you buffoon.”

“You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

“Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us–to haunt our thoughts long after we've faced them.”

"This was all she had left--his outstretched hand, and the promise of hope, of something better waiting on the other side of the line.”

"She might have been insulted if he wasn't trying so hard.”

“With each day he felt the barriers melting. He let them melt. Because of her genuine laugh, because he caught her one afternoon sleeping with her face in the middle of a book, because he knew that she would win.”

“We each survive in our own way.”

"'But you're going to outlast them,' Chaol continued. 'And when they wake up the morning of the final duel and find that you are their opponent, and that you have beaten them, the look on their faces will make all of the insults and lack of attention worthwhile.”

“She lifted her eyes to his face, and found his gaze lined with silver. "Get up," was all he said.”