Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Into the Still Blue

Well, the week from hell is over. I wrote so much for school last week that I have no desire to write for a good long time. Which is unfortunate since I have writing due for next week. But I digress. My reward for working hard all week was reading Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi, the final installment in the Under the Never Sky trilogy which I started reading a couple years ago. I received it as a lovely Valentine's Day gift from my mom, who also included Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. So excited!

Retrieved from Goodreads
They need to get to the Still Blue, and fast. The aether storms are getting much worse, and it's only a matter of time before they're constant. Trapped in a cave, the hundreds of Dwellers and Outsiders desperately want a solution. But Sable and Hess took Cinder, the key to getting to the Still Blue. And Roar is mad with grief. To salvage the situation and their lives, Aria and Perry take an unlikely team to infiltrate Hess and Sable's operations and rescue Cinder. But they only have days before the Aether storm makes outside travel impossible. They need to be fast, and nothing can go wrong.

I did read this book in one sitting, so that should give you some indication of my thoughts on it. I definitely liked it! I liked how twisted Sable was, and how Roar had been stricken with grief with the loss of Liv. I liked how Aria and Perry's romance took a backseat in this book to the demands of trying to get to the Still Blue. Things that didn't work for me though...there were some of those as well. The science was bad. The waterfall of aether separating them from the Still Blue? Cool in fantasy, silly in dystopia. The showdown in the centipede truck thing between Hess's forces and Sable's forces made no sense to me. I was so busy trying to figure out what was going on that there was no tension for me. And the introduction of Aria's father after all this time felt...not as powerful as it should have been. But all in all, this book left me happy, and I like Rossi's writing style so I think I'd read more of her books in the future.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Friday, February 13, 2015

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

It's been a tough two weeks. I've had a lot of school work to do and I've been getting over a virus that left me exhausted and I've been stressed out in general. But I've also been slowly working through To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. It's been slow going for reasons I'll get into later, but I finished it today while procrastinating on writing a short story about a hoarder whose son discovers she's been keeping the remains of his dead father in the house for years. Cheery stuff, ya know. Well, here we go!

Retrieved from Goodreads
Lara Jean has been in love five times. And every time she wrote the boy a letter, sealed it up, put it in her hatbox, and got over it. Now her sister Margot is going off to college in Scotland and she's going to have to take care of the household because her dad's always at work. And Margot is leaving behind Josh, her ex-boyfriend and the boy next door to whom one of Lara Jean's letters is addressed. Then one day, somehow, the letters get sent, and Josh knows, and so do all the rest. To make Josh think she's over him, Lara Jean teams up with Peter Kavinsky, an old crush, in a fake relationship. But then those fake moments with Peter start to seem real, and she's not sure what she feels anymore.

Well I'm very glad this book was on sale when I got it for my Kindle. It sounded cute, and I haven't read a ton of YA contemporary and I've been trying to fix that lately with installments like Panic by Lauren Oliver and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I thought I could have a nice, light read during a really tough week at school. And I think I would have liked this book a lot more if the voice hadn't been wrong for this story. Lara Jean didn't sound sixteen going on seventeen. She sounded more like twelve going on thirteen, that's how young her voice was. So it was sort of creepy when she talked about sex. And I didn't like that the thing she wanted most in the world was to belong to someone. Or that she was required to be a mother and a housekeeper to her family when they could clearly have afforded a once a week maid or something. It always makes me mad when children are made to take care of the household including mothering their siblings, but it works as long as the book is aware that it's happening. This book treated it more like Lara Jean was playing house and sometimes it went wrong and she was sad. I just...this book dragged on for me. There wasn't any real action until the last chapter, and the ending totally didn't resolve it satisfactorily, and I didn't understand why Lara Jean ended up liking Peter when they had basically nothing in common. The one thing I will say in this book's favor is that it made me hungry a lot. Lots of food porn. Oh, and there were good specific details about characters that, if the tone of the book had been older, would have made me think they were nicely individual instead of childish teenagers.

Goodreads Rating: 2 Stars
Up next: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Monday, February 2, 2015

Eleanor & Park

I think I've developed a good system for reading: I have had a paperback book and a Kindle book going at the same time and it seems to help me read as much as I want. I think this is part of why I've had such a nice spate of reading the past couple weeks. I finished Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell last week, but I thought I'd review Fairest by Marissa Meyer first. I don't read a ton of contemporary YA, preferring to stick with fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian, but I'd heard so many great things about this book and it was on sale on Kindle and I really should read more contemporary books. So I picked it up and gave it a go.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Eleanor is the new girl on the bus. Everyone's seats were determined at the beginning of the year, and no one wants this weird girl sitting next to them. But Park lets her sit by him. At first they don't speak, or even look at each other. But then she starts to read his comics over his shoulder, and he has her listen to a song. Suddenly they are battling the bullies at school and their own families to try to be together. Everything is against them, and something is sure to tear them apart. But for now they'll read Watchmen and listen to the Smiths.

So my description is much different than the one on Goodreads. Partly because I felt it didn't tell you much about the plot of the story, and I try to put plot into my little descriptions of the book. But in the main this is a character novel. The plot of life keeping these two people apart is there, but the pace is not fast, and it more examines these people's lives. I enjoyed this book, although I didn't like how it ended. I had a ball of stress in my stomach waiting for Eleanor's abusive stepfather to find out she was dating Park. The fact that this book made me stressed I have to give Rowell credit for. It's harder to do that these days. And the setting was pretty cool (1986). I did take issue with Tina, who was a very average "mean to be mean" high school girl. I thought she could have used more complexity considering her role in the story. Overall, a good read.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch