Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dear Julie Plec, Thank You



Dear Julie Plec,

THANK YOU. I, like many TVD fans, was TERRIFIED that Katherine was going to really die in 500 Years of Solitude. Which would have been tragic, because I would have had to do something dire like stop watching the Vampire Diaries (except we all know I wouldn’t have been able to follow through.)
In the weeks leading up to 500 Years of Solitude, I kept on trying to come up with something suitably dire and feasible that I could do IF Katherine died. I did come up with something, and I thank you, because now I do not have to make that dire declaration on my blog (though several people I know have already heard it).
Over the winter break, I kept trying to write a blog post, in much the same format as this one. As a letter to you. It came out pleading, threatening, and it was never just perfect. But I did come up with a good list of reasons as to why Katherine can absolutely NOT die:
1) She’s the coolest character. Seriously. I love her.
2) Before that one episode when she and Stefan hooked up, I had NEVER shipped Stefan with ANYONE on the show. In fact, I’d even said that I would like to end up a lonely spinster, because Delena and Klaroline, and there’s no one else for him to hook up with.
3) The ambiance she adds to the show is VITAL. She’s the only bad, old vampire that the viewers know and love ever since the Originals (characters) left to the Originals (show). We NEED her.
So, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for keeping her. THANK YOU for not killing her. THANK YOU, because I need Katherine in my life.
Also, the episode itself was just masterful. It kept me on the edge of my seat, heart pounding, racked with worry for Katherine, until the very end, at which point I jumped up, shouting with joy that “That is SO Katherine!” interrupting my younger brother as he attempted to do his homework.

Sincerely,
An Avid Watcher of the Vampire Diaries
Monica.

P.S. THANK YOU for that Klaroline hook-up as well. And I seriously hope that Caroline didn’t REALLY mean that he NEVER come back.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Top Ten 2014 Debuts I'm Excited For



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s theme is Top Ten Most Anticipated Debuts of 2014.
There aren’t numbers because I forgot turn on the numbering feature before I started and I’m too lazy to go put them in by hand. And also, these are only in TENTATIVE order of how much I’m excited for them.
Hope you like!

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. Comes out: April 1st 2014. This. Just. Sounds. AWESOME.  
The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts.  Comes out: 2014.  Something about drugs and death and revenge and action and science fiction, and lets be serious. I love me some Action, some Science Fiction, Some Revenge, you know, this… it just sound like I’ll enjoy it.

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan. Comes out: April 1st 2014. If there is anyone who follows this blog who is UNAWARE that I love Science Fiction, well… I intend to rectify that. I LOVE SCIENCE FICTION. 

Alienated by Melissa Landers. Comes out: February 4th 2014. Okay, this book sounds remarkably like the CW’s new show, Star-Crossed. I am INCREDIBLY interested in watching Star-Crossed because it looks like Ruby Bridges with Aliens, which I just think is BOUND to be at the very least interesting, if not good as well. And this seems like pretty much the same premise with a different spin, and I think it would be cool to read this while  binge-watch the first several episodes of Star-Crossed (I wait for half the season to be out, than I go watch it on xfinity).

Pointe by Brandy Colbert. Comes out April 10th 2014. Ballerinas plus murder/kidnapping equals AWESOME.

The Young World by Chris Weitz. Comes out: July 29th 2014. I don’t know much about this, but the title is cool, the cover is cool, and I’m pretty sure it’s a post-apocalyptic or dystopia, so I’ll be reading it.

Fates by Lanie Bross. Comes Out: February 11th 2014. I get a Faerie vibe from this book, and the goodreads sidebar says people have shelved it as Science Fiction, so I really don’t know exactly what this book is abut. But I believe I already talked to y’all about Science Fiction, and if it’s Faeries, than I have to tell you: I think that an author has to TRY incredibly HARD to make a faerie story un-awesome.

Tease by Amanda Maciel. Comes out: April 29th 2014. one—PREEETTTTTTY cover. Two—it sounds REALY interesting now that I’m finally reading the synopsis. And three—can you believe a contemporary book is one of my MOST ANTIPATED debuts? Cuz I can’t.

Of Breakable Things By A. Lynden Rolland. Comes out: April 8th 2014. This book, for some reason, sounds to me sorta like Narnia. It sounds like it starts in the real world, and then something happens, and we fall through a wardrobe into a fantasy world.

All that Glows by Ryan Graudin. Comes out February 11th 2014. Again, Faeries. But moreover, Faerie ASSASSINS.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chemical Garden by Lauren DeStefano Series Review

***contains spoilers***




Plot: 1.5/5
For the majority of this series, the plot seemed disjointed and random. The plot for Wither (book 1) was by far the best, Fever (book 2) was utterly pointless and I’ll talk more about Sever (book 3) when we get there.

PLOT BREAKDOWN FOR WITHER:
Like I said, Wither was the best book plotwise. The story begins with our heroine, Rhine, having already been kidnapped and sold into a polygamist marriage. The whole point of this book is Rhine trying to escape so she can return to her twin brother, Rowan. The premise there alone is fairly good, and also, there is ONE SINGLE THING in this book that consistently pushes the plot forward: Rhine’s desire to escape.
I honestly did not like the first half of this book, because it seemed like EVERY SINGLE PAGE Rhine was feeling a different drastic emotion than the one before. “I hate him, I pity him, I like him, I hate this other guy, but he’s hot, so I like him, I’m curious about this girl but don’t really feel one way or the other, while this other girl disgusts me, but she’s so naïve, so I like her, and during all this I’ve been bouncing between liking two guys and hating one of them and…” this emotional roller coaster whiplash was NOT fun for me. It felt like the author decided to run me through the clothes washer and I was getting banged on all sides of it and tumbled around and never looking at or feeling the same thing for more than half a second. It was TERRIBLE. Around the second half, though, the emotional roller coaster whiplash stopped, thankfully. And there were some incredibly charming moments.
The GEM of this book was in chapter 15, when Cecily, Jenna and Rhine all worked together to create an incredibly awkward situation for Linden so he can give them so freedom. It was such a funny and charming moment, it is absolutely the High Point of this book, if you ask me.

PLOT BREAKDOWN FOR FEVER:
Rhine and her pointless boyfriend have escaped from Vaughn and Linden and are now headed to Manhatten to find Rhine’s brother, Rowan, and live happily ever after. Except that they are promptly captured by an insane old lady who drugs them up and pimps them out. (This is a PRIME example of the randomness of the plot). And then this lasts for HALF the book. They escape the insane old lady’s clutches with the child of the one of the prostitutes and continue to Manhatten. When they reach Manhatten, Rhine is devastated to find her brother gone and her house burned down. Despairing, the child points to an address in her book which is like, two blocks away from them. There they go.
And then they sit there. Doing nothing. For a good chunk of the book.
WHAT?!? DO SOMETHING!!!
But they can’t, because Rhine is sick, in the way people who are dying get sick. Oh, dear.
And then Rhine is captured by Vaughn and BROUGHT BACK TO THE VERY SAME PLACE SHE ESCAPED FROM IN WITHER. And, of course, she gets experimented and goes crazy.
And then it ends!
But, do you see what I mean when I say the plot is disjointed and random? Do you see?

PLOT BREAKDOWN FOR SEVER:
Sever begins with Rhine eager to once again escape Vaughn’s clutches, but after her ordeal with being crazy and nearly cutting her leg off, she’s not quite up to trekking around the country to go after her brother, who is, by the way, a terrorist.
So, she’s goes and stays with Linden’s uncle, the slightly eccentric Reed. But only until she’s ready to go trekking around the country after her brother, the terrorist. Oh, and she also has to find her pointless boyfriend, whom she thinks about only a couple times throughout the book.
So, she going to stay at Reed’s for five days. Those five days are up, and Linden says, “but wait, just let me get some shit together to give to you to help your journey, you know?” So two more days are tacked on. And then there’s a disaster with Cecily which adds a couple more weeks on... and this continues for half the book. AND NOTHING HAPPENS. The author spent THIS MUCH of the book stalling. There is no other word for it. DeStefano did not have a plot for this book so she stalled and thought I wouldn’t notice because she added Drama with Cecily’s disaster (which was incredibly upsetting for those three pages when I thought she was dead). But, however upset I was over Cecily, I DID notice that DeStefano was stalling and I DO resent it.
When they (Rhine, Linden, and Cecily) finally set out after Rhine’s brother, the terrorist, they are, once again, promptly captured by Madame, the pimp from Fever. However, they discover that they all have a character in common in their past, so it’s all fine and dandy and Madame helps hide them from Vaughn when he comes after them.
Rhine talks to one of the guards who works for Madame and he helps her escape and find her brother, the terrorist. They find him and reunite in all of ten pages.
Hey! Maybe—instead of all that stalling in the first half, you could have added some obstacles in finding Rowan and reuniting with him! What an idea!
We soon discover that Vaughn has been manipulating Rowan this whole time, and Rowan is actually NOT a terrorist! (but he did blow stuff up). Oh, and moreover, Vaughn is a good guy, and we (Rhine) are TRUSTING him now!
It was at this point I began to shout at Rhine. “What are you doing! This is a BAD MAN. He killed Jenna; he nearly killed Cecily. He has experimented on you and done TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE things! WHY ARE YOU TRUSTING HIM?????
—The one good thing about this book, though, is that the pointless boyfriend is still nowhere to be seen. Hallelujah!
Anyway, from there, people died and people were cured and when I closed the book after reading the last page I sat there and asked:
“So what? Why did you tell me this story? Why, in this incredibly rich world that is obviously full of intriguing and important stories, was it necessary to tell me this one? Why do I care?”
And there’s no answer for that. I don’t care. I don’t see a point that I should care about within this story.

Characters: 3/5
Rhine: Here is our main character. I don’t really like her. I didn’t enjoy her voice (let me refer you to the Emotional Roller Coaster Whiplash). I didn’t like her choices. The only thing I truly liked about her, was her singular focus on finding her brother. I have three brothers. If I lived in post-apocalyptic world and I was separated from them, my number one priority would be finding them. Unfortunately, Rhine is so often distracted by other things on her path to finding her brother, that her search for him drags on for the entire trilogy, and when we FINALLY do meet him, it’s rather anti climatic.
Gabriel: This is the Pointless Boyfriend I mentioned in my plot breakdowns. What I truly disliked about Gabriel, was not even that I didn’t like him. I just really hated his PURPOSE. Gabriel’s entire purpose was to add romantic tension and also so that we could have love triangle. And since he had such an Important Purpose, DeStefano felt no need to characterize him at all, give him any sort of meaningful past or backstory, any thoughts or opinions of his own, or even a personality. And THIS is what I hated about him. If you removed Rhine from the story, Gabriel, as a character, would simply fall over. He is not a character. He is not even a person. He is a cardboard cutout. All the other characters in the series, you could reasonably remove Rhine and they would still have a story. Gabriel wouldn’t. Gabriel would just live out his life, and never even have an independent thought enter his head. Every single thought AND opinion he voiced was based off of a thought or opinion Rhine had voiced. And the terrible thing is, THERE WERE POINTS IN THE STORY WHERE GABRIEL COULD HAVE DEVELOPED OUTSIDE OF RHINE. He wanted to stay at Vaughn’s! Go into that! He was addicted to the Angel’s Blood, and they had an extra vial! Have him steal it! But no. DeStefano was just too lazy to put any though into this character, and you can tell.
Linden: Linden, see, was a better love interest. He HAD thoughts and opinions, that were, admittedly, based off of a very narrow view of the world, but they WERE NOT based on Rhine’s thoughts and opinions. He had a meaningful backstory. He had a personality. A sweet, naïve personality, almost like a child, though he is one of the oldest characters in the series.
Rose: Rose, you see, could have had a story ALL ABOUT HER, that I would read, even if Rhine was removed from the story completely. Tell a story about Rose as she’s dying, her internal conflicts with her life and death, her parents, her decision to tell her husband to marry other girls while she still lived, her LOVE FOR LINDEN. I would  read that story. And probably enjoy it more than this one.
Jenna: Again, remove Rhine from the story. What would happen? Would we learn more about her past as a prostitute? Her sisters and how she feels about their deaths? How she feels about Linden and her situation?
Cecily: Cecily is BY FAR the best, most well developed character in this series. She is the ONLY CHARACTER, who, from the moment we meet her, is consistently GROWING and CHANGING and MOVING FORWARD through out the story.
Vaughn: Vaughn. Oh, Vaughn. Why? Just, why anything? Why were you so creepy if you were really good the whole time? He was an AMAZING villain. And, then, he wasn’t a villian anymore. I really don’t know what DeStefano was thinking with his character.
Lilac: Here! Remove Rhine from the story. Go back to when she was kidnapped. Who was she married too? Was her husband kind, as Linden is, or cruel? When exactly did he tell her he wanted to terminate her pregnancy? What about her relationship with Jared? and Maddie! Lilac’s character is honestly SO MUCH RICHER than Rhine’s.
Silas: Now, when we met Silas, I was practically screaming at the book, “KISS HIM! BREAK UP WITH GABRIEL AND MAKE THIS KID THE LOVE INTEREST! Of course, that didn’t happen, but I think it would have been a MUCH smarter choice than continuing with Gabriel.

The Romance: 0/5
And I think we already know why the romance score is Zero. If you don’t, then… you just weren’t paying attention to my plot breakdown rants OR my character rant concerning Gabriel.

Overall Grade: 4.5/15. I think that’s a FAIL.
There was POTENTIAL in this series. An AMAZING and INTRICATE world, full of INTERESTING and RELEVANT STORIES based on RICH and WELL-LAYERED characters. Unfortunately, the story the author chose to focus on was random and brimming with unconnected plot points that resulted in a fairly un-cohesive plot and she based this story on characters who were unlikeable and made bad decisions or were obviously half-assed with not much thought put into them.
The WRITING in this series is LOVELY. I mean, if you notice the praise on the inside flap, you’ll see those other author’s talking about the writing.
THE WRITING IS WHAT IS MEANT TO GRAB YOU AND KEEP YOU according to the praise. The writing. Not the plot, or the characters, or the romance. The WRITING. Having beautiful writing is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But excessively beautiful writing does not make up for Pointless and Unlikeable main characters or a Completely Random Plot or the Emotional Roller Coaster Whiplash.

No, I am not impressed.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday 2014 goals


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s theme is Top Ten Bookish goals of 2014.

I can’t believe I just typed 2014.
I can’t believe I’m saying 2014.
I can’t believe its been 2014 for 8 days.

To the goals!

  1. My goodreads goal is to read 175 books. Last year, my goal was to read 233 books, which I did, barely. It didn’t help that from September until mid-december I was hovering at the edge of slump territory. It didn’t help that being at the edge of slump territory made me anxious, like I had to read more, because if I had a goodreads FAIL stamped on my GR profile or, god forbid, my blog, I would just die of shame. Also, I’m straying from GE classes in college towards the more elective geared stuff, so I might be doing my homework more often. I just wanted less stress about reading. I shouldn’t ever feel stressed about reading, you know?
  2. Keep up with my challenges! Last year I did the 2013 tbr challenge. And I didn’t post the reviews to the blog post link things for, like, 8 months. This year the only challenge I’m doing is the Jumble You Genres Challenge, and my goal is just, if I have accomplished the reviews for that month, LINK THEM UP. Instead of saving them for eight months and then having to link up, like, ten thousand at once.
  3. There are pictures somewhere on this blog post. Go look at them, please. Those pictures are of two shelves on my bookcases, respectively, the unread general books shelf and the unread series book shelf. On the general unread shelf, I have so many books that they are stacked in such away you can not see the spines of them al without moving some of them. I want to get at least two books off of that shelf each month. I’m less ambitious with the unread series book shelf, because I have to read the whole series to get a book off of that shelf, so I’m only going for one a month on that one.
  4. Post regularly. I’m not sure you can call what I do on this blog ‘regular’. To often, I’ll write a post or film a book haul or something and then not put it up for a week, or ever. You know? If I write something, than I’m going to pot it. End of story.
    1. Post at least twice a week. I’m thinking Tuesday and Friday. That’s doable. I hope.
    2. Post at least two reviews a month. You see, I don’t post reviews on my blog. I think this is because, I, personally, don’t’ read blog posts if they are reviews, because I am of being spoiled, even if they say spoiler-free. Because I’m paranoid and I think that when people say spoiler-free they’re lying. Don’t get me wrong, I write reviews for almost every book I a read and post them faithfully of goodreads. Just… not on my blog. I gotta do that.
    3. Post at least two ‘discussion’ posts a month. Because I read discussion post far more often than reviews, because discussion are more conversational, there’s no chance of spoilers, and there are issues that I want to speak to people about.
    4. Last year, I came up with this thing that I was going to TRY to do bi-weekly. I called it ‘Artists I’ve been Obsessed with this Week’, and it was a way for me to talk about the music I liked. I came up with it around May I think, and there were a total of THREE of those posts in the entirety of 2013. This year, I’m changing it to ‘Artists I’ve been Obsessed with the Month’, and I’m going to put it up at the END OF EVERY MONTH.

Well. We will see how this works out. Feel free to harass me mercilessly when I disappear this April and don’t come back until October.






Thursday, January 2, 2014

(2014) Jumble Your Genres Challenge


Hey, guys. So, 2014. Most people are putting up blog posts about what challenges they’re participating in, and as I was trolling through THOSE blog posts, I saw a challenge that caught my eye.
The JUMBLE YOUR GENRES CHALLENGE.
Basically, every month you’re supposed to read one or more books in the selected genre. And then you can enter to win stuff.
It sounds really fun, and like a really good motivator to get me to branch out of my standard, current YA comfort zone.

The calendar for the year is thus (I will also include some ideas of books I might read, especially for the genres I don’t read often):
January- Young Adult
  • Teardrop by Lauren Kate
  • Switched by Amanda Hocking
  • The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
  • Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
February- Contemporary
  • Trafficked by Kin Purcell
  • Until it Hurts to Stop by Jennifer R. Hubbard
  • Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Coriell Shelley
  • Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
  • Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler
March- Urban Fantasy
  • Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
  • Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
  • Snakeroot by Andrea Cremer
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
April- Middle Grade
  • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
  • Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
  • The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
May- Dystopian
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Gone by Michael Grant
  • Partials by Dan Wells
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  •  Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
  • Taken by Erin Bowman
  • Arclight by Josin L. McQuein
June- High Fantasy
  • Girls of Fire and Thornes by Rae Carson
  • Entwined by Heather Dixon
  • A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
  • Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
  • Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
July- Adult
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab
  • Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
August- Paranormal
  • The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Sheperd
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
  • Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
  • The Mediator by Meg Cabot
September- Romance
  • How to Love by Katie Cotugno
  • Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
  • The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
  •  The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
  • Wild Awake by Hilary Smith
  • Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
October- Sci-Fi
  • These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
  • Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfruend
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
November- Historical Fiction
  • The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
  • Starstruck by Rachel Shukert
  •  Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
December- New Adult
  • Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
  • Easy by Tammara Webber
  • The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski  
  • Vain by Fisher Amelie
  • One & Only by Viv Daniels


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

TTT: Top Ten Books from 2013



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s theme is Top Ten Books I Read This year.

I am not even going to try to narrow this down to ten.
They will be listed in the order in which I read them.

  1. Team Human by Justine Labralestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. Read in January.
  2. Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. Read in February.
  3. A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest. Read in March.
  4. Everbound by Brodi Ashton. Read in April.
  5. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. Read in April.
  6. Angelfall by Susan Ee. Read in April.
  7. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Read in April.
  8. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Read in April.
  9. The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda. Read in May.
  10. Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder. Read in May.
  11. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. Read in June.
  12. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. Read in August.
  13. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. Read in August.
  14. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Read in September.
  15. Origin by Jessica Khoury. Read in October.
  16. Find Me by Romily Bernard. Read in November.
  17. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. Read in November.
  18. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Read if December.

No favorite books in July :(.