Friday, October 7, 2016

Love Between Two People Can Make Life Worth Living...

Oh yes...another dystopian society!

Zoe lives in a world with no emotion. Humans have a chip inserted in the back of their necks to prevent any kind of emotional reaction. Once children become adults, there is a permanent chip inserted, so there is never a possibility of recreating the emotional feeling from the past. As a child, the chip may malfunction, or glitch, creating them to feel these emotions. If this happens, citizens are expected to come forward so they can be "fixed". Zoe has been glitching for months; she knows she should turn herself into the officials, but something always seems to stop her. These emotions she's overwhelmed with...they're exciting, new, and maybe they're the cause of these abilities she keeps having.

The day Zoe is called into the office is where she officially meets Adrien, the boy with the turquoise eyes who knows about her glitching and her abilities because he has abilities too. Adrien has premonitions, and he was able to see Zoe's abilities of mentally controlling objects. In a flash, Zoe is transported into the world of the Resistance who want to recreate the world with no chips, no malfunctioning, and no suffocating government control.
As time goes on, Zoe begins to remember the importance of the memories of her past, and her passion for gaining more knowledge grows. She discovers others who have similar abilities, and together they need to find a way to escape the confines of their government before they are found out and eliminated.

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu was a great read. It has just enough of the science fiction aspect in it, so it's not too over your head with technology and chips. Yes yes, I have problems when it goes too far into that stuff. Once you lose me, I am out. But Glitch was perfect. It was really neat to watch Zoe grow and discover these emotions for the first time. The ending was a cliff hanger, of course because it is a trilogy, but it is not really what you had anticipated. Of course some things are too convenient, but the concept is new and it works. Definitely worth a look!

Monday, July 25, 2016

I Believe I'm Not in Kansas Anymore...

It's been a while, and that's on me. It takes a while to find the time to read lately, but I did finally finish this one:
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page is set in a small town in Kansas, where we meet Amy Gumm. Amy lives in a trailer with her neglectful and absent mother and is misunderstood. She doesn't seem to fit in anywhere, and all just seems lost. When a tornado hits her trailer, Amy is transported to Oz, where things are not as "peachy" as the tale might make us think.

Dorothy became the leader of Oz, but her all powerful demeanor raised a city of evil. She's selfish in her ways, kills the innocent before they can object, and controls all. The scarecrow has a brain, which he now uses to experiment and kill the traitors of Dorothy's power, the Tin Man has fallen so deeply in love with her highness that he would do anything to protect her, and the Lion seems to have trans mutated into a horrible beast set to eat and kill. The good witch, Glinda, hoards the power and forces the munchkins to work the long and brutal hours to appease the queen, and the Wizard doesn't even seem to be there.

All seems lost, until Amy is rescued by the side of evil; and they are convinced she will be the one to kill Dorothy and bring order back to Oz. Amy is trained, sent undercover, and the entire time her team of "wicked witches" hopes that she can succeed in this mission. If she fails, Oz is going to get a whole lot darker.

So usually when books take me a while to finish it's because I don't have the time, but in this case....I think it's just because I wasn't interested. I mean don't get me wrong, the whole "dark Oz" was very cool. It was neat how everything transformed into death and despair and how Dorothy's ultimate goal was to keep all the magic and just get more powerful, so she is no longer that innocent girl from Kansas. However, it took almost the entire book to lead up to Amy being "ready" to fight Dorothy. We only meet Dorothy when she captures her in the beginning, and then it isn't until the last few chapters we see her again. The focus is strictly on the side of "evil", or good depending on how you see it. And...not to put in a spoiler, but Dorothy doesn't even die. You have to read the next book in the series to find out what happens from here...so I almost felt like...why did it take so long? I get it! The author wants to keep you on edge for the next book, but I felt like there was so much build up and not enough actual action. When there was action and fighting it seemed too short.

The book had a good concept, but I just felt it fell short in a lot of different areas. I have no interest in continuing the story, so I will not be reading the other books in the saga. I just didn't care about the characters or the whole idea of making the greater Oz and saving the city. It was kind of a bust for me. It was easy to read and follow, but it makes you aggravated because the story line just takes too long.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Don't Open...Dead Inside

Of course I am into The Walking Dead t.v series on AMC. I mean at this point you either like the show, or you haven't seen enough of it to form an opinion. Because come on....who really dislikes it?


I always said I wanted to read the comics, The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, because a lot of people said they were so good; plus I heard the show goes in a significantly different direction than the books. Luckily, the boy has 1-17, so I borrowed them. I was going through a reading slump, but graphic novels (a.k.a comics) go so quickly.

Quite honestly, I am enjoying the comics. Rick is still a bad ass, events are still accurate to the series timeline, but of course there are different things along the way. I mean the major thing is Daryl is not in the comic. So the entire first issue I am waiting for the redneck with the cross bow, however I keep reminding myself that he and Merle do not exist in the comic book world. They are not the only character that Hollywood embellished. Let's be real, the comics have a lot of detail Hollywood either left out, or just chose to go in another direction with.

The comics are well done; I love the art work, and the story is just so great. I am so glad I picked these up because it does make you fall in love with The Walking Dead and the characters so much more. I know things are missing, but I watch the series for the enjoyment value at this point. I hope to get through the series of comics quickly, which shouldn't be too hard because they go so quickly. And they are thoroughly entertaining. HIGHLY recommend. And if you haven't seen the series...NETFLIX BING THAT! If not for the story...at least do it for Daryl. :p

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Where's the Humor in Death?

It has been a long time...too much work stress, too many papers to grade, just too much. But nevertheless I am back with a book I just finished a few weeks ago.

 Me Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews was one of those books I picked up simply because they came out with the movie and it looked interesting. No, I did not see the movie, and after reading the book I don't know if I will. I feel there didn't need a movie because, honestly, we didn't have to have a visual to understand the concept of this book. Okay, maybe I'll watch it eventually...but you know what I mean.

Greg has made it clear that he is going to lay low, fit in with everyone, and therefore fly under everyone's radar his senior year. He has succeeded at this; in fact most people acknowledge his existence, but he doesn't fit into any one group in particular. He and his best friend, Earl, hang out discussing movies; in fact the two have dabbled in the film making aspect. They aren't great films, but the two of them enjoy the secret of their craft. Senior year was starting as planned, until Greg's mom tells him about his "friend", Rachel. Rachel has cancer, and despite the treatments and the fight, she is sick and in desperate need of a friend. So, naturally, Greg's mother volunteers him for the job. After the first encounter with Rachel, Greg's picture perfect high school plan becomes a thing of the past. The next few months prove to be embarrassing and awkward, but Greg and Earl begin to realize that perhaps that's just a part of life.

I was laughing pretty much the entire time with this one. Andrews has a great way with humor and capturing the true essence of a high school teenage boy. It has a similar concept to John Green's A Fault in Our Stars, but this one seems more real. Greg is inconvenienced by his mother's request to be friends with this girl he had no intention of friending. She's odd, laughs weird, and is not someone he wants to intentionally go out of his way to make feel better. Yet, as time passes he warms to the idea of Rachel and making her feel better.

No, it's not a love story which was SO nice because after reading 15 million reviews on how romantic and loving John Green's book was I was over it. The ending isn't exactly expected, but that was not a bad thing.
The book was a very easy read, hilarious, and just nice. It's nice to have a book about disease that has real emotion so it's easier to relate to the characters and story. Definitely worth the read; it goes really quick and will have it's moments where you laugh out loud- which of course causes people to look at you and wonder in public. Oh well.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Link To A New World

Fantasy novels always take longer to finish and completely understand. Most of the time the authors take you to these worlds that are elaborate, some having their own languages and codes, and as a result the reader needs to take their time.  
Myst by Rand and Robin Miller and David Wingrove begins with Atrus, a young boy who was abandoned by his father, and resides in the desert with his grandmother. Anna teaches Atrus about the ways of the D'ni society that once existed years before. They survive: Atrus learns to write in the old language, and all seems right with the world. As he grows, his curiosity blossoms and soon Atrus finds himself performing experiments to help with the life style the two are encased in.
The day Gehn, Atrus's father, returns the world begins to change. Atrus is forced to accompany his father on a new journey, and as a result he must leave his familiar world forever. On the journey, the young boy discovers his father creates worlds, almost like a God. Using blank books, Gehn weaves a story into each and in turn they become Ages that can be visited and inhabited. All of the Ages have distinct differences, and the more the young boy sees, the more amazed he is. Gehn's plan is to teach Atrus the powers of writing and creating Ages so the two can become and remain powerful beings.
However, the more time Atrus spends with his father, the more he begins to realize things are not as they seem. Gehn's need to remain in "power" shows Atrus there is evil, but with his kind heart, he will try to find a way to make things right.
The concept to the novel was very well done. The author created a world...where the character creates worlds! It's mind blowing. But you can see the good vs. evil tendencies that always ring through in a fantasy themed novel.
Gehn's character, from when we first see him in the prologue, is a jerk. He's selfish, and the more you read the more you absolutely hate him. Sure, he's no Sauron (haha nerd reference), but Gehn proves to be the perfect antagonist. So perfect, in fact, that each scene he was in- I couldn't help but say "jerk" under my breath. Yes yes, I do sometimes talk out loud while I am reading. :p
You have to love Atrus's character because he embodies good. He has a kind soul, a curious demeanor, and all throughout the story you see his desire to do "good" and see the good in everything. And the minute he realizes his father is being unreasonable and a horrible human being, the "protagonist" instinct takes over.
The book was well written, and the more you read, the more you realize this is such an original concept for a novel. I mean where do we ever see a character creating anything let alone whole worlds? It's a good read, but it is one you do need to spend time with. Much like most fantasy novels, the concepts are complex, so it is important to be patient and let the story unravel. It's worth it! Stick with it, and check out the rest in the trilogy.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Every Night I Drown and Every Morning I Wake Up Struggling to Breathe

I finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan almost four years ago, but I felt myself drawn to it once again.

We all know the story, or at the very least you can go back in the tags and check my original posting. I have only finished rereading the first in the series, but in my last entry regarding the novels, I left out a few important pieces to Mary's story.

Mary, Gabry, and Annah are all strong female characters with choices to make, and each of them are trapped in a world with the diseased, the Unconsecrated, the living dead. Of course the story begins with Mary- her village is breached by the zombie hoards, so she and her small group escape with hopes of another world on the outside. However, I could not help but get frustrated with Mary.

Her mother chose the Unconsecrated in order to be reunited with her father. Immediately upon returning to the house, Mary's brother, Jed, refuses to welcome her back into their home partly because his wife has just miscarried, but also because he blames Mary for their mother's death. Mary is tossed into the life of the Sisterhood because no one claims her. She experiences rejection from all sides; the love of her life, Travis: who has claimed her best friend, her mother: who chose death and the unliving rather than her own daughter, and now her brother. The reader can't help but feel such sorrow for this young woman. She is forced into the Sisterhood, where she does not belong, but this is the only choice she can make for herself.

Travis is then hurt, barely alive, so he stays with the Sisters until he heals. Mary goes to his bedside each night, and her love for him intensifies. Even better, Travis believes in the ocean and the world Mary longs for. He feels it too. When he heals, there is more rejection for Mary when Travis is not the one to come back and claim her, but his brother Harry.
The story continues as the Unconsecrated breach the fence, their village is all taken by the undead, and Mary is forced down the forest path with Harry, Travis, her best friend Cass, a young boy, Jacob, and her brother and his wife. The more rejection the reader feels in Mary's heart, the more she retaliates. Her personality is fierce, unflinching, and this is what makes her a strong heroine.

However,  finally Mary gets her wish. She and Travis are trapped together, while the others are safe on the platforms of another village. Although trapped, and Travis's leg makes it impossible for him to follow quickly, Mary and Travis are together in a house where they can be alone. This is what she wanted; she wanted him to choose her, yet there is something missing. The ocean, her escape, is always on her mind. Maybe it's just me, but I can't help but think why can't he be enough? Was the rejection he caused her too much? Or was he just never going to be enough for her? At the beginning she longed for him, waiting for him, saw a life with him; yet she finally gets that chance and it's lost on her ultimate goal.
Even at the end of the story (be advised this is a spoiler)- she loses everything. Travis is dead, Harry/Cass/ and Jacob have taken a separate path, and her brother also falls to her dreams of the ocean. In the end she makes it, but at what cost?

I think this frustrated me the most about Mary because it was difficult to understand her reasoning. Was the constant rejection the reason for her desire to push away? Travis and Harry both had such intense loves for her, and I understand her holding back with Harry, but she had Travis- this was what she wanted. But even in the end Travis asked "Would you ever give up the ocean for me?" It's almost like he knew he would never be enough. 
Again, I have not revisited the other two novels, but I found Mary's constant hope and desire for something better frustrating. Maybe it's because of the three main characters, I can't really connect emotionally to Mary's story. Sure she went through stages of rejection, but when things began to work her way, she still could not see that as enough. She put people in danger, but worst of all, it seems she broke a few people's hearts because they knew she had an untamed soul that love and family could not calm. Maybe that frustrated me more; knowing that she could have a happy life where she could have everything she wanted, but it was never going to be enough to make her fully happy.
In the end, I fell back in love with the series and find myself going head first into the post apocalyptic world Ryan has created. This is one of the best series I have come across- her writing is lyrical and weaves a fantastic tale, but the story itself provides raw emotion, survival, and love that all three females are so desperate to find.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sometime, I Feel like my Whole Life is Lived in this Twilight Space Between Sunshine and Darkness

I read Angelfall by Susan Ee a few months ago based on one of my student's recommendations. I, of course, fell in love. I quickly read the second, had an altercation with the incompetent library staff over some business of spilled ink (which believe me I still have no clue about), and I sat patiently awaiting the third in the series. FINALLY! Just a for your info...if you have NOT read the first or second of the series, you should know that this will probably contain spoilers.

Penryn's journey through this post apocalyptic world is coming towards an end with End of Days. As she and Raffe are reunited, it seems the stakes are getting higher. Uriel is out for blood and wants to remain the only Messenger of God, and his plan is to destroy the human race. Raffe is still searching for a doctor to transplant his angel wings, and Penryn is just hoping her sister's condition can be helped.
The more time the two spend together, Penryn realizes her feelings for Raffe go beyond just a normal crush, but both know this feeling is wrong. They are of two different kinds, and angels cannot get involved with Daughters of Man.
As their journey continues, the two face hellions, fall and escape from the Pit, and realize that now is their time to fight for their own side. Raffe needs to take his place with the others in order to ensure he can become the new Messenger. Penryn must return back to her family and her people to ensure their safety and care. Both know very well where they need to be, but when time comes, will they be able to accept they are fighting on opposite sides with opposite goals.

I have to say there wasn't a dull book in the series. Sure, the second one takes a second because everyone just wants to see Raffe again. I mean...duh. But knowing the two of them are acknowledging their feelings is of course the deep sigh of relief moment for readers. Penryn is not a normal teenage heroine; she has a schizophrenic mother which caused her to do a lot of growing up on her own. As a result, she is one tough lady. I think this topped with the post apocalyptic feel really makes it an interesting trilogy.
This last one had a lot of different things. Things seemed too convenient, and yes having to believe that all of the sudden Penryn alone must now concoct a plan that saves her people is a little difficult. But, I do like the story. And with these type of novels you are just hoping for some kind of common ground and a happy ending. Or at least the happiest you can get.

I would say sit back and enjoy it. It's a nice new spin on angels (nothing like the Hush Hush disaster), and it gives you a strong heroine with a sexy angel to drool over. Easy read, quick series, but ultimately I felt positive and happy when I finished this one off. Just enough romance, nothing Twlightish, and lots of crazy monsters, demons, hellions that create a whole new meaning to survival.