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fataledistraction

Strange Words

I'm a 24-year-old student who loves reading, writing, video games, knitting, and a lot of tea.

Currently reading

Not a Girl Detective
Susan Kandel
Fool Moon
Jim Butcher
Reblogged from Angels With Attitude Book Reviews:
Grimspace - Ann Aguirre Good leisure read for those who want a good scifi novel with a touch of romance. Its not going to win any awards, but its good enough to keep me interested, even if I had some trouble starting up. I'm not terribly fond of March, but Jax and Dina make the whole book worth it. I'm hoping to pick up the second installment sometime soon.
The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey I really wavered between giving this 3 stars or four...Largely because of one very poorly developed character that kind of ruined a large portion of the book for me. Evan Walker.

When I started out reading this book, I really liked the main character, Cassie. She was a well-written character, a teenager trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland entirely by herself. Her backstory was interesting, although the way the author wrote her to be kind of baby-crazy was a little obnoxious. When we're introduced to Ben's part of the story, the excitement starts to pick up even more. Here is where I can see why people are comparing this to Ender's Game. Ben's pieces of the story are definitely reminiscent of Card's famous novel.

Everything seems to be going good, I'm really enjoying the book for the most part, and then we get to Evan Walker.

Most boring romantic plot device ever.

His romance with Cassie is bland, uninteresting, and downright stale. Its not believable by any stretch of the mind, its out of character for Cassie, and she trusts him FAR too easily for my taste. The entire stretch of the book where she's with him in the cabin remind me, quite painfully, of crappy fan fiction I used to write with my friends in high school where we'd stick the characters in a cabin in the woods for absolutely no other reason than that it makes the perfect location for cheesy, poorly written romance.

In fact, this section of the book feels like it doesn't really belong at all, and is without a doubt the most poorly written part out of the entire novel. At first, I thought it was Cassie's fault. I felt like her character had suffered a dramatic change and started disliking her greatly. I'd speed-read through those parts just to get back to Ben and the real action. It wasn't until I was almost done with the book that I realized it wasn't her at all. It was Evan.

He is so poorly developed, its ridiculous. He practically has no character at all. He's a blank-slate stock character stuffed into a story that was perfectly fine without him for the sake of a plot device, with absolutely no other purpose aside from an awkward romantic interest and a tool to further the plot. He could probably be yanked out of the book and replaced with a lamp and there wouldn't be too much difference.

The only other major issue I have, however, is a very small part in the beginning, and I'm probably the only person it bothered. Its the scene in the woods with Crisco, where he tries to rape Cassie. The scene is disturbing on its own, but what really made me want to vomit was the way his actions were completely excused by the author because he misses his parents. Boo-fucking-hoo. The icing on the cake is the line "You wouldn't have hit me if you were a virgin". I'm sorry, no. Vomit central. I actually had to put the book down and take a break from reading it for a few days because I was so angry at that part.

While I enjoyed this book overall, the abysmal way Crisco's scene was handled, the fact that it didn't add to the plot and didn't have ANY purpose whatsoever, and the trainwreck that was Evan Walker's character, or lack thereof, really makes me struggle over giving its four stars. I think I'd have to give it 3.5, because for its flaws it was a really exciting story, well-written with the obvious exceptions, the parts without the crummy romance kept me reading obsessively, and I'm really looking forward to the next book. Rick Yancey certainly isn't the worst YA writer I've seen (that award still goes to Stephanie Meyer), but he has a lot of room to grow, and I look forward to seeing if and how he improves in the future.
Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1) - Orson Scott Card I hate that I loved this book.

Card may be a militant homophobic scumbag…but damned if the bastard can’t write. There’s a reason Ender’s Game is considered a staple of modern SciFi for all ages; because it’s fucking good. Card is a master of one of my favorite methods of story-telling, show-not-tell. He catapults you straight into this strange, post-war world without any explanation of how things work, no dull, drawn-out hand-holding. He lets the reader think and figure things out for themselves, then confirms their theories later down the line in unobtrusive ways.

His command of the written word is impressive, and his characters are memorable, real, and flawed. Even the seemingly unrealistic depiction of children is perfectly in place with the world he’s created. These kids have been so fucked up by the system, that they’ve been forced to grow up practically a decade ahead of time. I frequently had to remind myself that these aren’t teenagers. These are pre-pre-teens. And that’s scary.

There were really only a few things that bothered me about the book. The obnoxious slang, which is really a matter of personal taste; the fact that there was not a single, trustworthy, non-antagonistic adult character in the entire story; and the obvious parallels to Mormon theology. I mean, seriously. The entire last chapter was pretty much the Latter Day Saints In Space. But like I said, these are personal tastes of mine.

One thing I can say about the ending is that I really enjoyed the theme of acceptance and love for those who are different from you. It was touching; a nice, peaceful end to a chaotic story filled with war and deception. I just wish that the author could take his own lesson to heart. Hate gets you nowhere, Card.
Insurgent - Veronica Roth Really torn between 3.5 stars and 4. Mostly because Tobias was acting like a total douchenozzle throughout the vast majority of this book, which really irritated me, and the cliffhanger at the end made me want to through the book out the window and shriek expletives into the night.
However, the last two hundred pages had me incapable of putting the book down, Roth's portrayal of Tris' emotional struggle, while often obnoxious, was actually stunningly realistic. As someone who has experienced those same suicidal feelings, it was shockingly real, particularly her realization near the end that she did NOT want to die.

I see a lot of people complaining about Tris transforming from a strongass woman into Bella Swan, which is a legit complaint when scenes of Tris crying and bemoaning her life interrupt the plot. But when you get to a part like that, stop and think.

This girl has lost her parents. She was forced to kill a close friend of hers and burdened with the attempt to hide that from her other friends. She's undergoing a lot of stressful emotional shit, and I do not want to meet the person who can ignore all that and not break down crying every five minutes. At the very least, we can rejoice in the fact that Roth did not pull a cheapass cop-out by blanking out an entire chapter to express the character's feelings. She made you sit there and fucking experience it, and that is the difference between Tris' emotional struggle and Bella's weeny-ass tantrum because her boifran broke up with her.

Other than that, there were some great plot-twists that I kind of saw coming from a mile away and was still blown out of the water by when they finally came around, so bravo on that.

Was it better than Divergent? Eh. Was it worse than Divergent? Eh. Am I going to have to pick up the next installment? You bet your beautiful ass I'm going to. Do I recommend that fans of Divergent pick this up? UM DUH.

Might not have been comparable to the original, but it kept me wanting more, it stimulated my feels and got me raging in all the right ways, and its not Twilight. For that, I'm willing to toss the less-appealing parts up to the Second Book Curse and sit in front of my door, eagerly awaiting the next book.

Boneshaker - Cherie Priest I happened to pick this book up in the middle of a pretty severe book-hangover, so I found it a little hard to make myself trudge along through it. The annoying character of Zeke didn't really help things. Briar's character and sections in the book are by far the most interesting part of the book. She's a stunningly flawed, powerful, dangerous woman, which I adore. I'd love to see more of her, so I was disappointed to learn that she won't be having any major roles in the following editions to the series.
Overall, I enjoyed it, even though I had a hard time getting through it. That was my own fault.
Divergent - Veronica Roth I see a lot of people giving this book extremely negative reviews for being a "ripoff" of Hunger Games, or other novels.

After having read it myself, I have to say, those reviewers are insane. Its about as much of a "ripoff" of the Hunger Games as the Hunger Games is a ripoff of Lord of the Flies, or Battle Royal. Meaning, its only a "ripoff" if you haven't actually sat down and took the time to read each one with a critical eye and make the comparisons.

That being said, I loved this book. Maybe its having come fresh out of reading City of Bones, which was a monumental disappointment, but Divergent felt like a breath of fresh air in terms of Young Adult novels. "Info-dumping" is a word I hadn't known about until reading City of Bones. Where CoB was a figurative dumptruck of upfront information, Divergent has little to no info-dumping, meaning the reader has more of an opportunity to work things out for themselves.

The romance blew my mind. Not because it was so juicy and sexy and a whirlwind of steamy scenes to get a teenage girl's heart (and other bits) all a quiver, but because it wasn't any of that. It wasn't the main driving point of the plot, it was a bit subtle, very sweet, and probably one of the most healthy examples of teen romance I've read in a long time. For once, the heroine doesn't go for the jerky, emotionless twatwaffle that doesn't treat her right. While Four does have a few instances where he seems to be rough with her, those instances are few and far between, and usually born out of necessity. It very quickly becomes obvious that everything he does is to protect her, in a very genuine way, even if she doesn't understand at first.

Four is a surprisingly deep character, and my favorite part about him is the way Roth starts off with that strong, stoic character and totally rips it apart by giving him some very realistic fears and weaknesses.

Speaking of weakness, that's my favorite part about the main character, Tris, as well. She's weak. She's FLAWED. She's extremely flawed. She's not the perfect Mary Sue character Twilight has made the norm. I felt like Tris had a personality all her own, whereas reading some other YA novels you get that "insert-self-here" vibe.

Divergent is certainly no piece of classic literature, but its many awards, recommendations, and its place as one of the most popular Teen novels of the year is WELL deserved. Sure, it shares similarities with other popular novels that came before it, like The Hunger Games. But while it might share one specific theme with something, Roth takes that theme, runs with it, and creates a completely different piece that is memorable and enjoyable, and completely separate from anything else in its genre.
City of Bones  - Cassandra Clare Still not sure if I liked this enough to buy the second book. While I liked the plot, and many of the secondary characters, I still had a lot of problems with the book. I don't like Jace, Clary just seems to be another "insert-yourself-here" character like Bella, and Valentine leaves a LOT to be desired as a villain goes. There's just something missing.

Clare also has a habit of info-dumping that is a little irritating. They say when you write that you should show rather than tell. Well, Clare doesn't just tell. She screams it through a freaking bullhorn.
There are a lot of inconsistencies in story detail and in the writing that distracted me throughout the whole book. Most likely do to the fact that she lifted a great deal of this from her Draco fanfiction, which is probably why I don't like Jace. I'm not going to even touch on the rumors about plagiarism.

There are some weird grammar and spelling problems that bothered me a great deal, too, but I'm VERY nitpicky about that stuff. She misspells the shoe brand "Sketchers" as "Skechers", and capitalizes the word "Dumpster" for some reason, among other things. See? Nitpicky stuff.

But, there are a few characters I did like that kept me reading. Isabelle, Simon, Luke, Magnus, Alec...pretty much everyone but the main characters, but that's pretty typical for me.

In short, its okay. Its your typical YA fiction. One thing I can say to its credit is that it isn't nearly as bad as Twilight. Someone handed me the sequel to lend, I'd probably read it. If you've just read a really emotionally or intellectually taxing book and your brain is super fried, this is a good thing to give yourself a break with, something you can read without thinking about, without depth, without worrying that if your mind wanders for a split second, you'll miss out on some vital symbolism. Everything is spelled out for you, no thinking involved. If you want depth, move on. If you're looking for an easy read to occupy yourself for a bit, this is a good bet.
The Book Thief - Trudy White, Markus Zusak Ouch, my heart.
That is literally all I can say at this point.
One of those books everyone should read.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs Ransom Riggs uses an interesting, if somewhat awkward method of interweaving the story with vintage pictures. The story itself wasn't as creepy as I was expecting, but it kept my interest and left me wanting more. I'll probably try to pick up the sequel when it comes out. Definitely worth the read, and I can see why people have been raving about it.

Click-Clack the Rattlebag

Click-Clack the Rattlebag - Neil Gaiman Not the scariest thing I've ever come across, but definitely has a nice chill factor, especially if you read it in the dark. And of course, its Neil Gaiman so its very well written and enjoyable to read. I was expecting it to be much scarier, though.
Beneath a Marble Sky - John Shors This book had me sobbing on the floor in the very best of ways. Jahanara is one of the strongest female characters I've encountered in fiction, and her story is so incredibly moving. I can't wait to read more from this author, and I recommend this book to everyone.
The Emerald Tears Of Foxfire Manor - Clara Wimberly While the storyline was interesting enough to keep me reading until the end, the actual romance was so entirely unappealing, it nearly made me put the book down. Matthew treats Kathryn so poorly throughout the majority of the book, its kind of sickening how enthralled she is with him. I haven't read a book whose so-called romance fits the criteria for an abusive relationship so well since Twilight. I would not recommend this book to any of my friends, and I would not read it again.
Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern - Joshua Zeitz If you’re looking for an in-depth look into the 1920s, or are a veteran fan of the era, this is probably not the book for you.

However, if you’ve always had an interest in the era of the Flapper, the history and culture surrounding her, and the events leading up to her emergence into the world, this is an excellent place to start.

Zeitz sets the stage throughout the book, telling of the stuffy Victorian years that lead up to the 1920s, examining the culture that spurred many women to seek change and excitement in their lives, following up by painting a vivid picture of the creation and life of the Flapper, and the eventual downfall of the Jazz Age. He jumps right into the excitement with a few chapters on Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald to grab your interest, then reels back a little to give you the Victorian history that lead up to the conception of the Flapper before jumping back to the 1920s for a new look at our Modern Girls. While it may seem a little disjointed to some, I felt it was a good way of keeping my attention while simultaneously providing me with information vital to understanding the times.
You’ll be introduced to Coco Chanel, Clara Bow, and Louise Brooks, among other famous names, and given brief insight into their background, and how they contributed to the timeless image of the Flapper. While the book does focus quite a bit on the Fitzgeralds, there is still plenty of interesting information on other icons, and is quite the interesting read for those who don’t know much about Zelda and Scott.

I’ll be honest, my education on the 1920s was essentially “there were flappers, and then the depression, the end.” I learned more about American history from this one book than I’ve learned from over fourteen years of school, and it has only increased my hunger for more great historical reads. It has inspired me to look up books that have tighter focus and a more in-depth look at the times, and I feel that it has provided me with a wonderful foundation to continue my studies on the Jazz Age.
Alice in Zombieland - Lewis Carroll A cute (albeit morbid) little read, but by no means quality. As another reviewer mentioned, it was very cut-and-paste with little original content, and the overall effect was kind of a let down. I feel like a lot more could have been done with this idea and the book feels like a missed opportunity. I had to sort of force myself through it, and it was not a pleasant experience.
Vixen - Jillian Larkin Honestly, I put this book down after the first chapter because of this excerpt:

"Oh my gawd-- Welda, my lab partner, was just suspended...she was caught in the bathroom during last wknd's dance with the CAPTAIN of the football team..."

I'm sorry, but any author who actually uses abbreviations like that in a finished product is not worth my time. Not to mention the editors and publishers who should have caught this and replaced it with the proper, fully typed out word, before it ever reached the public.

I really, truly hope this is a horrible mistake in printing. Either way, the book starts out completely uninteresting, and I don't get the feeling at all that I am in the 1920's with this book. I get the feeling that I'm watching an annoying, rebellious, rich teenage girl who could be easily yanked out of this book and placed into any other time setting, which rather defeats the point of a historical novel for me.