Quickie Review: The Menagerie

Aug 30, 2013

The Menagerie (Menagerie, #1)The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

I found this book to be very entertaining. The premise is simple, and at times cliched-- but it was enjoyable, in the least. Although I prefer deep, thoughtful, well-written books, I still like a good light read now and again, so this book was perfect for it!

I don't read much fantasy, mostly because not much of it interests me (vampires? zombie? ghosts? goblins? ugh.). But I decided to give it a shot because it sounded okay.

I didn't like the main character, Logan, mostly because it was like, (view spoiler), even if Logan really couldn't help it and it wasn't his fault at all....

I am SO DONE with totally precocious main characters. Hello? They should have flaws too! UGH.

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Quickie Review: An Abundance of Katherines

Aug 28, 2013

An Abundance of KatherinesAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book's title has always intrigued me, and I'm so glad that I decided to check it out.

This book was just beautifully written and thoroughly entertaining. I'm sure that if I look closer and scrutinize it as I have in some of my other reviews I am sure to find some mistakes, or some part that is faulty in some way. And sure, some of the language just did not sit well with me. But the characters were so quirky and fun, and I was on Colin's side from the beginning. I wasn't sure about Hassan for a while, but he grew on me, too. And Lindsey! Oh, she was such a delight to read about.

The part about the factory wasn't very clear, I think, and at first I thought Hollis was Lindsey's adopted mom or stepmom or something because Lindsey calls her by her first name.......

But if I step back and think about it, I can't honestly say that this book was perfect. Still, it was a refreshing and interesting read, and I think that it was funny and amazing enough for me to really really like it.

So........... I found this book to be an enjoyable and good read (ha-ha, see what I did there?) and I would recommend it to many other readers.

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Escape from the Forbidden Planet by Julie Anne Grasso

Aug 24, 2013

Escape From The Forbidden PlanetEscape From The Forbidden Planet by Julie Anne Grasso
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The title is a bit misleading. Most of the book is not about the forbidden planet, much less the escape from it. In fact the first mention of a so-called forbidden planet was page 104, which was the start of chapter 21!!!!!!!

The book was kind of quirky in an endearing way, using words like "higgledy-piggledy" and "bearnaise". But, and this might just be because of cultural differences, but there was this sentence:

"'Caramel, you have had a long day and tomorrow we will go to our cardamom harvest so you need to be fresh.'"

Uh.............. what?

And there was a part where(view spoiler) Uhhh. That was SO not convincing.

And then there was the (view spoiler). I got the feeling that that was supposed to be incredibly suspenseful or something, but all it was was really really fast paced and I couldn't understand a word of it. That totally took away from the whole "suspenseful" thing going on.

Also there was a bit where Micah, one of Caramel's friends, kept saying, "Haha, I know you know that it means _____ but you sounds so SINCERE!!!"

Uh. That was sooo annoying, because the whole time Caramel didn't know what it meant and she wasn't trying to be funny....

And the book was sooo full of coincidences, like the thing about (view spoiler).

At one point Kirra (another one of Caramel's friends) said "Hoh K". (sic)

Ummmmmmm what?!?!?!

Read the following sentence:
"This is why Isabel had to remove her brother and live in exile on her own planet."

You would think that Isabel was living in exile, right?! But according to the book, it's referring to her brother!! Uh...... someone call the grammar nazi.

And the character Sass didn't do anything for me. She was just there, but not in a particularly good or bad way...

So the bottom line is, this book was enjoyable but there were a lot of frustrating or confusing bits. It's a fast and light read, though, so I would probably recommend it.

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The Encyclopedia of Me, by Karen Rivers

Aug 18, 2013

The Encyclopedia of Me by Karen Rivers

One sentence review-summary:
I kinda hated this book. Two stars, because some parts were memorable, but the whole thing was frustrating as a whole.

This is the story of Tink’s summer leading up to her eighth-grade year. Written in the style of an encyclopedia and narrated by Tink, who writes it when she is grounded to have something to do, Tink reveals the complex emotions of a young teen.

This book takes place in the present day. The location is not specified.

Main Characters:
Tink Aaron-Martin, a biracial soon-to-be eighth grade girl.
Freddie Blue Anderson, Tink’s Swedish best friend.
Ruth Quayle, an unpopular girl who likes to skateboard and who turns out to be an unlikely friend for Tink.
Kai, the extremely cute boy with blue hair who lives next door to Tink and who skateboards as well.

The friendship between Tink and Freddie Blue is incredibly frustrating. Tink becomes concerned with what BFFs should feel and letting that dictate her emotions. “Freddie Blue is my BFF! I should be happy if she has a boyfriend first! I shouldn’t even care! But I do.” Definitely not a sign of a healthy friendship. Also, I think that Tink idealized Freddie Blue. Examples of this include Tink frequently saying, “Freddie Blue would never do that to me.”
Secondly, for goodness’s sake, Tink! You’re going into eighth grade. You sound like a fifth grader! Subject matter aside, if you add Tink’s personality with a childish love of paperdolls you could easily create a nine-year-old.
I think that Tink’s idea of her role in her household differs from her parents’ and in many ways Tink doesn’t like being labeled. I don’t think that she tried to defy the label but she openly disliked it. She couldn’t help being a Peacemaker. She wished her parents’ expectations were different.
Tink’s decision to switch to Isadora is ironic, in a way. When she was four, Tink probably begged to be called Tink, yet nine years later, she says, “You shouldn’t let a four year old choose her own name!” But she has a new identity now. That’s great. Obviously, frequent identity changes can be a problem (hint hint Mclean from “What Happened to Goodbye” by Sarah Dessen). But for Tink it’s actually healthy, like a breath of fresh air.
So while I had been very excited about reading this book initially, it fell flat for me.
Also the constant footnotes were SO annoying. Many times I would miss the note, only to find a parade of small text at the bottom, and the I would search and search for the note.
The whole “I’m writing an encyclopedia about my life so I can get famous” thing kinda failed to be honest. At times Tink says completely out of line things like “Don’t tell ___ I said that,” etc. If she actually plans on publishing it, which she constantly assures us of, then those people, like Lex or Freddie Blue, would probably know anyway.
I feel as if Rivers did not flesh out the characters much as far as appearances go; that, or she is under the false impression that soon to be eighth grade girls wouldn’t want to describe people. Quite the opposite! I am going into seventh grade but I know some people who are a grade older anyhow. I honestly don’t know what Freddie Blue looks like, besides that she is Swedish and has “expensive gold streaks in her hair.”
I don’t think Tink is like any other black girl I’ve known. If not for the parts where she talks about about her afro and her father, I would have thought she was a white girl. With all due respect, Ms. Rivers, you cannot just add an ‘interesting’ heritage to an otherwise Plain Jane character and just expect it to work! Tink has got to have a voice!
Besides having blue hair, what doe Kai look like? Even if Tink knew little about him, she would certainly be able to describe him, especially after mooning over him!
We don’t know much about Seb except that he has autism and therefore gets to do anything he likes. Tink is therefore understandably jealous.  Her jealousy may be understandable, but it definitely isn’t excusable, and he ‘he gets everything easy, why can’t I’ attitude just further proves how immature she is.


I would recommend this book to teen girls with a taste for drama.

Quickie Review: Dead Girls Don't Lie

Aug 17, 2013

Dead Girls Don't LieDead Girls Don't Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book!

This book was an honest-to-goodness, nail-biting thriller. It was very frightening in the descriptions of the gang activities. I felt that this book was very well-written. Although I myself am not an avid fan of thriller-mystery-suspense type books, I have wholeheartedly recommended this book to my friend, who loves that genre. I would recommend this book to fans of the Pretty Little Liars series. The friendship between Jaycee and Rachel was done well and realistically portrayed. All in all, I liked this book, although I would not read it again.

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Aug 7, 2013

This book is set in futuristic New Beijing, in the year 125 T.E., at time when humans, cyborgs, and androids all coexist.

Summary (no spoilers)
Prince Kai wants to get his android Nainsi fixed—by none other than the most gifted mechanic in New Beijing, Cinder! But while in the local junkyard looking for pieces of metal to use with her stepsister, Peony gets letumosis, or the plague as it’s known, a sickness that is spreading like wildfire across the Eastern Commonwealth. Adri sends Cinder to the cyborg draft, where scientists use cyborgs to test for cures for the plague. That’s when everything changes….

Cinder, the 16-year-old protagonist, is the most gifted mechanic in New Beijing, and an adopted cyborg from Europe with an ambiguous childhood.
Iko, Cinder’s android with a unique personality, is also Cinder’s best friend.
Peony is Cinder’s stepsister who is a victim of the plague. She is also the excuse that Adri has to get rid of Cinder.
Prince Kai is the prince of the Eastern Commonwealth, as well as being Cinder’s love interest.
Dr. Erland is the head researcher for the cyborg draft with a secret of his own.
Adri is Cinder’s stepmother who despises her cyborg stepdaughter.
Queen Levana, the Lunar Queen, who is an enemy of the Eastern Commonwealth.

This book is a modern retelling of Cinderella. As such, the plot at some points became a little bit predictable. However, I really liked how only one of Cinder’s stepsisters was mean, as opposed to both in the original Cinderella fairytale. Although I believe Cinder was a fantastic book, there were a few confusing parts. For example, once, Dr. Erland was explaining something to Cinder (I’m trying not to spoil too much), and Cinder just took a long time to process this information. Instead of coming off as being shocked speechless, however, Cinder just seemed a bit unresponsive.

Also, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. I understand why Marissa Meyer made it into a series (with this subject matter, who could resist?), but I still expected some sort of closure. And so the ‘cliffhanger’ ending became more like a marketing gimmick, instead of a literary prop. And if the next book in the Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet, stars a different fairytale main character (namely, Red Riding Hood), how will there ever be enough space for Meyer to tell Cinder’s ending AND Scarlet’s story?! With a series like this one, with each book starring a different protagonist (while, admittedly, the same antagonist), I would have expected there to be a fifth and final book explaining what happens when the four girls join forces (as in the juvenile fantasy series Sisters Eight). I guess I’ll just have to read the rest of the series—when it comes out—to find out!!