Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reasons I Love Jubilee Chase

I realized a while ago that I hadn't done a post like this in a while. And since I just finished off This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner, I figured I could talk about my liking for Jubilee Chase, hardened soldier on the war-torn planet of Avon.
  • She's tough as nails. The girl isn't called Stone-Faced Chase for nothing. She runs toward the fires to help people, she can shoot like nobody's business, she can take a hit or two or ten. She's is logical and calculating and I just love that.
  • She can read people. I really really wish I could read people the way Jubilee does. She notices the shifting of a leg, the twitch in the jaw, the slight dilation of pupils so she knows how to talk to people, how to make them angry, how to know what they're feeling. So jealous.
  • She doesn't do insta-love. By the end of the book she hasn't fallen hopelessly in love with Flynn. She just wants to have the chance to live on a planet where finding out if she could is possible. When she sees him he's gorgeous and strong and can keep up with her. But she doesn't fall head over heels and lose all brain function. It's nice.
  • She understands the limits of loyalty. When it comes to life and death situations, she knows that there are people who will follow you into the darkness, and people who won't. And she doesn't judge those who don't because she knows what it's like not to want to die. She sees that people are different (although her mind needs stretching about the rebels at first) and that each person has their own motivations. And she knows that at some point you need to not blindly follow just because you want to.
  • She is capable of changing her mind. See my comment about the rebels. She at first has a very militaristically painted view of the rebels on Avon. But once she gets to know Flynn and hear their side of the argument she starts to work toward a goal that is different than just maintaining the ceasefire for the military. She wants to bring the goals of both sides together because she knows that there's not just two sides to any argument.
As you can see, Jubilee is one tough cookie. She is flawed and she is tough and she made reading This Shattered World a pleasure. I'm adding her to my list of kickass heroines.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Perfect Lies

I'm seriously on a roll with the reading the last couple days. I've got another review coming up tomorrow for Stargazer. Today's review, however, is for Perfect Lies, the sequel to Kiersten White's Mind Games. I think it's the last one in the series, and it wrapped up most of the plot stuff, but I'm not sure. Anyway, as usual, spoiler alert!


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Annie is dead and Fia killed her. At least, that's what the Keanes need to think. Fia and her boyfriend James, the son of the head of the Institute for gifted girls, are planning on bringing the place down. But because they're surrounded by Feelers and Seers and Readers, they can't even think about a plan for fear of being discovered. Fia has to rely on her perfect instincts. At the same time, Annie thinks she's safe, but her visions are getting more and more disturbing, most of them involving her sister.

I liked Mind Games and how it played with the unreliability of the narrator, even when it's our internal narrator. Perfect Lies uses this too, although to a lesser extent. Also, the timelines for Fia and Annie's stories don't hook up until almost the end, which can get a bit confusing. I liked this book; it was a fast, nice read. I like how broken Fia is, and how she knows it. Annie was a little less interesting, but I liked how her character arc ended with her taking power when she hadn't before. That being said, there is almost no description of setting in this book, which I missed. I also felt some of the secondary characters such as James and Pixie could have been more fleshed out. And I still don't know how I feel about the ending. In some ways it felt too easy or unfinished. Anyway, I still like White and I want to read her book, Illusions of Fate at some point.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Stargazer

Monday, December 29, 2014

This Shattered World

It's been a couple lovely days of almost constant reading and watching Marvel movies. On the downside, the day after Christmas the water heater broke and I haven't been able to take a real shower in three days. Which sucks, since I really like my showers. But anyway, that's not the point. The point is that I have read four novellas and This Shattered World over the past couple days. This Shattered World is a companionesque sequel to These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner. Well, here we go!


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Jubilee Chase is a stone-cold soldier, a lifer on the planet of Avon. Avon is a giant swamp, and the terraforming hasn't been as successful as it should be, leaving the planet and its people without the independence that comes with being granted freedoms by the Galactic Council. The people are angry, but Flynn Cormac knows that all-out war against the military stationed there will only makes things worse. But his control is slipping. When he captures Jubilee with the hopes of her giving him information about a secret base that popped up overnight in the east, it could be the end of the ceasefire, or it could just provide the peace and answers Avon has needed for decades. If they can stand to work together.

Where These Broken Stars was a survival novel about two people stranded in the wilderness all on their own and falling in love, This Shattered World is a story about how war breaks you, and how the slightest spark can light a fire of violence. Jubilee and Flynn's relationship grows into respect and friendship, with the possibility of love. One of the best parts of this book I think is that it doesn't get too bogged down in having them fall in love. The groundwork is laid, but they know Avon is more important. There's a line in there where Jubilee says she doesn't know if she loves Flynn, but she'd like the chance to find out. And that's the important thing. It's imperative to stop the rebels and the military from breaking the ceasefire, to find out why off-worlders eventually go crazy on Avon, to save as many lives as possible. The pace lagged in a couple places, but I greatly enjoyed this second installment in the Starbound books.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
Up Next: Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

Friday, December 26, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Yup, it's that time of year again. For the past few Christmases I have picked a new book and read it in one long sitting. Well, this year I mixed things up a little, and read a book on Christmas Eve. Don't get me wrong, I also read on Christmas, but I didn't finish off that book. I'll have a review on that one probably tomorrow or the next day. But for today I'm here to talk to you about Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.


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Isla Martin has been in love with Josh Wasserstein since their first year at the boarding school in Paris. But she's never had the courage to strike up a conversation with him, much less profess her love until some pain meds for her wisdom teeth removal recovery prompt her to talk to him while they're home for the summer in New York. As their senior year at the School of America in Paris starts, it looks like romance could be on the horizon for the pair, if they can survive the drama of friends, family, and college applications.

I just love Perkins' works. My writing style in Balancing Act has been compared to it several times which is very flattering. I love how Perkins paints the insecurities of young girls and the over-analyzing. And what I truly love is how these characters have to evolve on their own, generally independently of their love interest, although the introspection might be prompted by them. They are strong girls who are vulnerable, who aren't perfect, and have no wish to be. I also love how each book paints a setting that is almost its own character in her books. In Anna and the French Kiss it was Paris, in Lola and the Boy Next Door it was SF. Isla breaks this mold with neither New York, Paris, or Rome taking the center stage. But I loved this, because Isla doesn't have a city that she loves most, that claims her. That would make her life and the choices she has to make in the book too simple. So I was pleased with that where I know it bothered other readers. Let's see. I greatly enjoyed seeing another side of Josh, and all the insecurities he carried. There were a few awkward bits that were so bad I had to put the book down and wince, so good on you, Perkins, that's hard to do! Overall I greatly enjoyed this last installment of Perkins' series.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
Up Next: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Monday, December 22, 2014

Reached

It's taken me like four years, but I've finally finished Allie Condie's Matched series. Part of the reason it took me so long is because it took an inordinate amount of time to finish was because it took longer than normal to come out in paperback. I'm sort of OCD, and unless a series makes me stay up all night to finish it, I won't break up the series in kindle/hardback/paperback. I know, I'm weird. So, I enjoyed Matched, even though it was a bit slow. I was not a huge fan of Crossed, though. It suffered greatly from Middle Book Syndrome. But anyways, on to Reached!


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Cassia is back in the Society, sorting by day and doing illegal trades with the Archivists by night. She's been told she'll play an integral role in the Rising, and she's happy to help. But at the same time she misses Ky, who was stationed in a different city to train as a pilot for the Rising. And then there's Xander, a physic in another city who is in on the ground floor of the Plague, another part of the Rising's plans. These three teenagers will play important roles in overthrowing the Society, but that won't solve who will win Cassia's heart.

Um, where to start with this book. There were things I liked and things I didn't like, as with most books. I guess I'll start with the likes. If I look at this book as being a standalone or separate from the other two, I liked it. I also liked Oker's snappiness and inability to let others be as important as him. I also appreciated Xander, who was kind and helpful and very imperfect as he didn't make connections that he should have and which hurt others. The book is also well-written. There weren't many times when my editor brain crossed out extra words.

But on the other hand, there were things I didn't like about this book. One, it felt completely different from the other two. A plague that basically makes the Rising able to take over in the first 50 pages? Weird. I thought the purpose of this series was to overthrow the Society, and it just sort of happened with no pomp or circumstance and then there were still 450 pages left. I need a climax, and this one didn't really deliver. Also the prose was not really my thing. I like poetic prose if it's done well (see my obsession with everything Maggie Stiefvater writes) and this did not strike me that way. I found myself skipping the poetic bits of Cassia's narrative, because they weren't important in the way they are in Stiefvater's novels. And Indie. Weird, flawed Indie. She deserved a better final arc than that. That's all I can think of for now.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Monday, December 15, 2014

Princess of the Silver Wood

Well I'm on break! I've been reading and sleeping and watching Merlin. It's been heavenly. I have big plans to see a ton of movies this break (Big Hero 6, The Hobbit, The Imitation Game). But for now, here's a review of Princess of the Silver Wood by Jessica Day George. This is the third book in the series about the 12 dancing princesses.


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Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor's twelve daughters, was only six when the spell that made her and her twelve sisters dance every night was broken. Now she's back from the royal exchange of princesses, and she's visiting an old friend on her estate. But she dreams of the princes Under Stone most nights. And the road she travels is littered with wolves, both two-legged and four-legged. But when she is taken captive by Oliver, a former earl, she discovers the wolves to be much kinder and intent on redistributing the wealth of the kingdom. When she is freed and arrives on the estate, she discovers that her enemies were not in the woods, but in the castle.

It's hard to describe this book. It is probably my least favorite of the 12 dancing princesses saga. Rose was so badass and Galen such a nice guy with his knitting. I liked the twist on Cinderella in Princess of Glass. This one...I didn't feel a connection between Oliver and Petunia. A lot of time was spent reiterating Oliver's problems to the reader when they already knew it. What I probably liked most was the connection between the 12 sisters and their desire to beat the King Under Stone. They were all fierce but vulnerable, and I liked that they were all trained with pistols. It's a fast read, and not a complicated one. Not the ending to the series I would have liked, but it was decent.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Freedom!

I can't believe it. The quarter is over. I have finished my last fall quarter of college. Next quarter, barring any unforseen circumstances, will be my last. My last quarter of college before graduating with degrees in history and creative writing.

It's been a crazy past couple weeks. I had to get stitches in my hairline because I banged my head (stupidly) on a cabinet. I also fractured my nose a little in another completely dumb way. I also cut my wrist on a microwave which wasn't horrible, just so dumb it warrants telling it. I also finished writing my fifth novel and at the same time polished off my 20-page research paper for my history class. I got an internship at a literary agency as well!

So it's been a lot of up and down for me. And now that the quarter is over I'm looking forward to editing and writing and reading and watching a ton of shows that have been piling up in my queue.

It's been a hard slog these past few weeks, and now I'm ready to party. *curls up to watch Agents of SHIELD*

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Poison Ivy Completed

Well, after I wrote the first half of it last year for Nano, I have completed Poison Ivy, my fifth novel since I first started writing full-length books 4, nearly 5 years ago. It seems so surreal. It's been a hard slog. I've had a tough time of it, getting over Entranced closing and my book going off the market. I've been blocked big time, and even when I had inspiration it generally fizzled out quickly.

But now I've done it! I used the powers of NaNoWriMo to finish Poison Ivy, my loose fantasy retelling of Romeo and Juliet. It's nowhere near being good. Nothing written in that short of a time is going to be. But I finished! I have my fifth book under my belt and it feels damn great.

Now I'm finishing up the quarter so I don't have time to edit, but I will definitely take a look at this story again once I don't have to worry about finals.

This is so fantastic guys. Writing this year reminded me why I love to write: that feeling of immersion you get when the story is flashing before your eyes and the words can't get on the page fast enough.

Hope you're all having a good week!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ruby Red

So the quarter is almost over! Crazy! And I finished writing my fifth novel, but I'll talk about that tomorrow. For today I want to talk about the book with the pretty dress on the cover, Ruby Red by Kerstin Grier. I read this over the Thanksgiving weekend in between Christmas movies and lots of eating. Well, here it is!


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Gwyneth Shepard has grown up her whole life knowing her cousin Charlotte was special. Charlotte had the coveted time travel gene and when she turned the right age she would travel into the past. But then Gwyenth disappears into the past. She's only a gone a little while, but that's enough. Now she's being taken to the secret society of time travelers and is told she's the final time traveler to complete the circle of twelve. But her mother tells her not to trust anyone, which is hard to do when she's sent into the past with the beautiful and charming Gideon, a fellow time traveler.

This book is very clearly the first in a series. It takes place over, I think, three days and has a pretty fast clip. Big ideas are introduced for the series and very few are answered by the end of the book. I liked reading about the fancy clothing, and I always like the concept of uncontrolled time travel. But some of the science was really glossed over where I thought it could use more, and I totally didn't believe that Gideon really came to like/love Gwyneth to the extent he did in such a short time. But it was a fun, fast read, and it was nice to read about London. I do miss it there. I'll be reading the sequel, but I wouldn't recommend it for people who like their time travel books complicated.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars