Thursday, September 23, 2010

I don't understand how you college bloggers do it. Quite honestly, this is my fourth day in college and I haven't had a second to read or review at all. I'm having a lot of fun, but I'm also really homesick. I've actually finished The Help, Catching Fire, etc. but haven't even thought about the reviews yet. They'll probably be up at some point, but don't expect regular updates.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Listen In

One of my favorite songs. It gets stuck in my head and I can't help but hum it under my breath until everyone around gets annoyed.
In regard to reading, I'm slowly, very slowly, working through a book required for college, Mountains Beyond Mountains. Very inspirational, and very slow.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: YA fantasy

Where I got it: ODLC (the library’s e-book collection)

One sentence: Rose, a dhamphir guardian, and Lissa, a Moroi princess, return from their time on the run to St. Vladimir’s Academy, where they become caught in scandal, rumors, and danger, from both themselves and the evil Strigoi vampires.

Vampires, scandal, rumors, romance, bonds, social pressure.

Main character: I don’t really know how I feel about Rose and Lissa. Their ‘bond’ kind of weirded me out at first, but it came into play later in the book. I felt like Mead tried to hard to make Rose the brash, reckless, aggressive, party girl, and some of it felt too…forced? Obvious? I don’t know. Lissa frustrated me sometimes. She alternated between passive and aggressive, and I know she was struggling with herself or whatever, but it also seemed like she had absolutely no backbone. There was very little character development.

Secondary characters: I didn’t feel enough of a connection to either Christian or Dimitri. They felt wooden, and although Mead explained Christian’s background, I just couldn’t get into what he was feeling.

Writing style:
A little wooden at times. I wouldn’t say anything distracted me, but I found it difficult to picture anything, there was little description and the word choice was poor throughout.

Plot: I didn’t mind the background of the story: the relationships and folklore between the Strigoi, Moroi and dhampirs. However, the actual plot left me a little disappointed. The pacing is slow until the last fifty pages, and much of the plot is pretty predictable. I did actually like the last bit, and the plot twist caught me by surprise (maybe I’m just really blind to clues hidden along the way).

Best scene: The scene with Lissa in the bathroom. Really creeped me out, actually.

Positives: Entertaining, good background with the folklore, well thought out world, plot twists.

Negatives: Wooden and unchanging characters, slow pacing, not very descriptive writing.

Ending: Eh. I actually didn’t mind the ending scene, and it did kind of set up for future books, but just…eh.

Verdict: It was entertaining, but I didn’t really understand why it’s average rating on Goodreads was a 4.25. Crazy.

Rating: 6.9 / 10

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Title: The Boyfriend List
Author: E. Lockhart
Genre: YA

Where I got it: ODLC (the library’s e-book collection)

One sentence:
Fifteen year old Ruby Oliver starts visits to a shrink after she starts getting panic attacks and relays the rough past ten days in which she has become a social outcast through “the boyfriend list”.

: Rumors, romance

Main character: Ruby was a likeable main character: witty, down-to-earth, and relatable. She made some mistakes during the book, but I tend to like main characters who mess up along the way.

Secondary characters:
Not really memorable. There were a couple ‘aww’ moments with some of the boys: Shiv, in particular. I hated Jackson and Kim, which is probably what I was meant to feel, but I didn’t understand their motives, which made them very flat characters to me.

Writing style:
Lockhart has a very readable and entertaining writing style. The only thing that I had some issues with were the footnotes. I thought it was a clever idea to relay information, but I didn’t end up reading them when they were supposed to be read. I just waited until the end of the chapter and read them all at once (which is what I assume a lot of readers do), so they lost meaning, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time flipping back and forth to see what sentence each footnote was paired with. Would have been better if the footnotes were at the bottom of the page.

Plot: Entertaining. Not very original, but a good interpretation of high school as a teenage girl. The timeline often bounced all over, which was a little confusing but conveyed Ruby’s voice well. The main plot was constantly interrupted by spin-off about boys from the past.

Best scene: Any of Ruby’s discussions with her parents and the Hutch/dad/Ruby conversation.

Positives: Relatable and funny main character, witty and entertaining voice, realistic

Negatives: Confusing footnotes, timeline, a little slow at times.

Ending: I like that everything didn’t turn out perfect in the end. Another facet of realism; life doesn’t work that way. Still, I did want some closure.

Cute and charming, but not necessarily memorable.

Rating: 6.4 / 10

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA Thriller

Where I got it: ODLC (the library’s e-book collection)

One sentence: Thomas wakes up with no memory of his past in a community of teens inside a giant maze, but as soon as he gets there, things start to change in the maze and in Thomas, as he realizes he might hold the secrets to finally escaping the maze.

Themes: Secrets, loss of memory, suspense, mystery, post-apocalyptic

Main character:
I felt like there was very little characterization for the main characters, Thomas and Teresa. I couldn’t really connect with them beyond imagining what I personally would feel in the situations they were in. Thomas had Gary-Stu qualities; he showed up having no idea where he was, magically knew he wanted to be a runner, broke all the rules, became a runner anyway and earlier than anyone before, and ending up leading the entire group.

Secondary characters: I found that I liked some of the secondary characters like Newt, Minho and Chuck better than Thomas or Teresa, simply because they had more depth. They had faults that I could connect with and were interesting to read.

Writing style: A little dry. Sometimes I knew there was an intense moment and I just couldn’t get into it because of the writing. I like how Dashner came up with new slang for the Gladers because it really expanded the world and reflected the fact that they had been so separated from the rest of the world that their vocabulary had evolved differently.

Plot: This is what really drew me into the story. I loved the idea of the maze and how Dashner wove in the post-apocalyptic bits. The only part that really disappointed me was the ending (see section below). It probably should have just cut off when they left the maze.

Best scene:
Where Thomas, Minho and Alby spend the night in the maze

Positives: Plot, suspense, gasp-worthy scenes and epiphanies, setting, mysteries of the maze

Negatives: Characterization, some dry writing, ending.

A little disappointing after a good rest of the book. Probably could have waited until the next book, just because it was so different from what the rest of the book had been.

Verdict: A good, suspenseful read. The few flaws did not distract me too much from the great plot. I will definitely read the next book.

7.6 / 10

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Listen In

This song is really special to me because my dance team used it as the last song in our State routine my senior year. I absolutely love it, and I hope you enjoy it too.