Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and parrkTitle: Eleanor & Park

Series: Standalone

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Summary: Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. -Goodreads

Review:

**Spoiler free!

*Deep breaths*

What just happened?  Like… what just happened?

Eleanor & Park is the second book by Rainbow Rowell that I’ve read.  I first read Fangirl and thought it was amazing.  But Fangirl was a much lighter read than Eleanor & Park, so if you were looking for a cutesy contemporary, this probably isn’t the right choice.  There’s so much stuff that happens in this book, I just need to unleash the feels on all of you.

I started E&P yesterday after eight hours of studying.  But when I picked it up, it was un-put-downable.  Seriously.  And every time I put it down, I would think to myself, “Man, I really wish I could read Eleanor & Park right now.”  That’s when you know you’re reading a great book.

The book was told in both Eleanor’s and Park’s points of views.  They were both told in third person, which kept you slightly detached from the character, but that actually seemed to work with this book.  The way it was written made you feel like you were in the characters’ minds, even if it was written in third person.  The writing was also really choppy, which also worked for this particular story.  The writing style was more than simplistic (as Rowell was writing from the minds of two teenagers XD), but she wasn’t trying to be overly poetic.  It wasn’t poetic.  It wasn’t philosophical.

My favorite POV to read in was Eleanor’s.  She just had so much going on and it was heartbreaking the situation she was in.  But this is the kind of main character I love.  Different.  Quirky.  Not average.  Imperfect.  She was a fabulous main character.  She actually reminded me of Danielle Levine, the main character from OCD, The Dude, and Me (which I FINALLY got today!!!).

Don’t get me wrong, Park was great, too, and I really loved his family.  Park also wasn’t super perfect, or super muscly.  He was unique, too.  These characters are all so unique.  And despite Park’s family problems, they were still tightly-knit.

Eleanor & Park is set in the 80s, which was one of my favorite parts of the book.  They had so many discussions about music, and there was one point when Eleanor was describing a song, and it was great for me because I actually knew exactly what she was talking about!  There were records and mixtapes and MTV and music and it was fan-freaking-tastic. 

I was on the edge of my seat while reading this so many times.  There was a plot twist that I had kind of assumed, but I hadn’t really expected my prediction to be correct (it had been -.-).  I finished the book in about a day, which shows just how much I enjoyed the book.  I never finish books in one day.

I feel like the quote, “We accept the love we think we deserve” (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) fits perfectly with Eleanor’s mindset.

Rainbow Rowell is one of those authors who’s been getting a lot of attention lately.  You all know my thoughts on hype, but after giving Fangirl a try (and thoroughly loving it), I was more open to reading more of her books.  And so far, I haven’t been disappointed.  She absolutely deserves the hype she’s been receiving.

5/5 stars, and I can’t wait to read more Rainbow Rowell!

“I am the son and the heir
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
I am the son and heir
Of nothing in particular…”
-The Smiths

“Love, love will tear us apart again.” -Joy Division

Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and BoneTitle: Shadow and Bone

Series: The Grisha, #1

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Summary: The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance. -Goodreads

Review:

**No spoilers!

Shadow and Bone was recommended to me by a fellow internet person who told me that she loved it.  So I immediately got it from my library and began to read. :D

I got it about a month ago, at the end of July/beginning of August period, and I finished it not too long ago.  It took me a while to read it because that time usually gets busy for me.  Also, because it’s a fantasy read, you have to take into account that it’s a whole new world that you’re being submerged in, so it might take you a while to become in sync with the book.  There might be some confusion here and there, as there was for me.  Mainly, I think that was because I’m not familiar with this author or her writing style.  The concept also might be confusing to you, but there’s a lot to be explained, so just hang in there!  But once you get past that, it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there, and that’s when all the fun starts. :D

Let me just address this really quick: I liked the Darkling.

Like, a lot.

I’m not going to talk too much about the Darkling, though, because I don’t want to give anything away, so I’m just going to leave you with this: he will sweep you off your feet.  Maybe even literally. XD

I’m not sure how I felt about the pacing of the book.  Sometimes it was super fast-paced, keeping me at the edge of my seat, but other times it dragged with really long descriptions.

I made a few predictions while reading, and I actually got some of them right.  Again, I’m not going to talk about those predictions, because, spoilers. >.< But it’s always nice to be right in a prediction, as long as the story isn’t too predictable.

I also liked Baghra a lot for some reason.  She was kind of scary, but kind of cool…?  I don’t know.

My notes say that I was reminded of The Hunger Games, but I can’t remember how.  All I know is that both in the beginning and at the end of Shadow and Bone, I had feelings of THG.

Let’s talk about Alina.  Now, I have this weird condition where I pretty much hate every main protagonist I encounter.  I don’t know why, they just get on my nerves.  I didn’t really like Tris (Divergent), or Clary (The Mortal Instruments), or Bella (Twilight), or June (Legend), or Sydney (Bloodlines), not really a big fan of Rose (Vampire Academy).  Main characters get on my nerves.

Anyway, Alina fell into this category (it’s kind of rare when a main character doesn’t fall into this category for me >.<).  I can’t really explain why I feel this way about her, or any of the other main characters I listed.

But I loved Mal and the Darkling. XD And I liked Genya as well, but after reading the book, I’m not completely sure about her.  Hmm.

Anyway, I think I’ve covered everything on Shadow and Bone.  In the end, it was an awesome read with many action-y parts, and swoon-worthy dudes, and plot twists, and all that good stuff. ^-^ 4/5 stars for this book, and the only reason I deducted a star was because of my initial confusion about the premise of the story.

Have you read Shadow and Bone?  Did you like it?  Or no?  Let me know down below, and if you’ve reviewed it, I’d love to read your reviews!

 

Harry Potter Spell Book Tag

I was tagged for the Harry Potter Spell Book Tag by Cook’s Reviews!  I love anything to do with Harry Potter, so I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to do this tag.  I was tagged a little while ago, and I’m so sorry I’m only getting to it now.  School started for me a few days ago, and it’s been kind of crazy.  But I’m back, and hopefully I can blog at least twice a week. :D

Also, a fellow book blogger over at Bookish nominated me for the Liebster Award!  Thank you so much!  I love participating with these blog awards, but the posts take a really long time to put together.  I’m not sure if I’ll have time to make a full-on post about it, but I did want to thank my nominator. :D

Alright, let’s begin this tag!

1. Expecto Patronum — A childhood book connected to good memories.

The babysitters clubProbably any Baby-Sitters Club books by Ann M. Martin.  I haven’t read them all, but I’ve read quite a few of them.  I used to bring my copies to school and stuff them in my locker that I shared with another classmate, and she and I would read them during class (sometimes before we were finished with whatever work we were assigned—how bad xD).  Good times!

2. Expelliarmus — A book that took you by surprise.

Obsidian 4You may not have known this, because I talk about this series all the time, but I did not expect Obsidian to be awesome sauce.  I’d seen this book displayed on a couple bloggers’ websites, but come on, aliens?  Uh, no.  I don’t read about aliens.

But then I happened to see Jennifer L. Armentrout’s little section on the shelves at the library and noticed that this was there, too.  I checked on Goodreads really quick to make sure this was the first book, and then got it immediately.

The cover was horrible, I’d never read about aliens, and the whole thing was such a foreign experience.

It was the best foreign experience ever, and one of the best reading choices I’ve ever made.  Jennifer L. Armentrout is an incredible author, and just… feels.

3. Prior Incantato — The last book you read.

Shadow and BoneThe last book I read was Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, and I’m hoping that either tonight or tomorrow I can get a review up.

This book was actually recommended to me by an internet friend who said she loved the book and that I should check it out.  I love getting recommendations, so I decided to get it from the library ASAP and read it.

It was wonderful.  Like, amazing.  The new world takes a bit of getting used to, and I did take a while to read it, but I was super busy and stuff. D: But it was a great book!  I don’t know when I’ll be able to get the second book, but hopefully I can get it soon!

4. Alohomora — A book that introduced you to a genre you wouldn’t have considered before.

Notes on a near-life experienceThis was really tricky, but I think Notes on a Near-Life Experience by Olivia Birdsall is one of the first contemporary reads I can remember.  I actually remember sitting in my room, like, a year ago, on my bed, reading this!  I had to ransack my Goodreads “read” page so I could find one of the first contemporaries I read.  There were a few others, but I don’t actually remember reading them. :/

A few honorable mentions for books that got me into contemporary are The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman, All’s Fair In Love, War, and High School by Janette Rallison (actually, I think this was my first contemporary read—I read it years ago!), and Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr.

(Going through the last pages of my GR “read” page made me remember all of the great books I read back in early 2013.  Good times!)

5. Riddikulus — A funny book you read.

OCD the dude and me

This book was hilarious!  I’m actually reading Eleanor & Park right now, and Eleanor kind of reminds me of Danielle from this book. ^-^ I’m definitely going to have to reread this sometime soon, because I remember having such a fun time in this story.

6. Sonorus — A book that you think everyone should know about.

Bones of faerieI admit, I can’t remember much of what went on in Bones of Faerie, as I read it more than a year ago, back when I was a YA/Fantasy newbie, but I remember being really excited about continuing the trilogy, and it was fantastic.  I remember the last book, but not much of the first and second books.  I’ve actually read four of this author’s (Janni Lee Simner) books, the fourth being Thief Eyes, which I do remember.  You guys should check out this author, you might like her. :D

7. Obliviate — A book you wish you never read.

the infinite moment of usus

This was, unfortunately, a no-brainer.  I think I started The Infinite Moment of Us (Lauren Myracle) in June or July, and I didn’t actually finish it, but I’d read enough.  I guess I was judging a book by its author (something another blogger wrote about), and I definitely had higher expectations for a Lauren Myracle book, considering I loved the other nine books by her that I’ve read.

8. Imperio — A book you had to read for school.

To kill a mockingbirdddTo Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I didn’t expect to like it, but the story was fantastic.  See, sometimes you have good luck with classics. XD

9. Crucio — A book that was painful to read.

SpeakThis book was actually really good, and after reading the book, I watched the movie (I thought Kristen Stewart was really good in this movie).  It wasn’t painful to read because it was bad, but because of the main character’s struggles and what she was going through.  The knowledge she carried around for such a long time.  It was a great book, though, and I’m curious to see what else Laurie Halse Anderson has out there.

10. Avada Kedavra — A book that could kill.

The darkest mindss…Kill you with feels?  This is the book for you, then.  This book was BRILLIANT.  I loved it so much, and I had long nights during the few days it took me to finish this book.  This author is fantastic at making her characters strong but vulnerable.  Amazing but flawed.  It was just fantastic.

I Tag…

Nirvana @ Nirvana’s Pocketful
Ashley @ wordsweheart
Erin @ The In-Between Place
Holly @ NutFreeNerd

I’m sorry if you guys have already participated in this tag, and don’t feel any obligation to do so if you don’t feel like it. :D Also, I tag anyone else who might stumble across this post.  If you’ve already done something like this, leave me a link to your post, because I’d love to see your answers!

Until next time,

-littleonion

 

Bookshelf Tag + Brief Dusting off the Shelf Wrap-Up

First off, whoaaaa!  What happened to WordPress?  Not that I mind, it looks fab.  It was just a surprise to see it so different. 

But, hey everyone!  As you may or may not know, I participated in Emily’s Dusting off the Shelf two-week long read-a-thon.  Unfortunately, I didn’t read all of the books on my TBR… in fact, I only read one book on my TBR, which was Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.  The reason I didn’t read much was because the read-a-thon started right when things usually get busy for me, in August.  I didn’t enjoy this read as much as I thought I would.  You can click the title of the book to see my non-spoilery review and my overall feels for the story. 

I did, however, read another book during that read-a-thon, and though it wasn’t part of my set TBR, I couldn’t put it off for much longer: Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout, whose books I am officially obsessed with.  You can find my very spoilery review by clicking the title. :D

A quick note about Opposition: if you’ve finished the book, Jennifer L. Armentrout wrote a little peek into the lives of some of the characters from the book as celebration for the Lux series landing #4 on the New York Times YA Series list!  You can find her little story (it’s very short!) here.  I thought it was amazing, and I got all the feels. :D  I’m warning you that if you haven’t read Opposition, you will be spoiled if you proceed to read this!

And now, on to the tag!


Nirvana @ Nirvana’s Pocketful tagged me for the Bookshelf Tag.  It looked super fun, and I feel like I haven’t done a tag in forever, so I decided to participate. :D  You can find Nirvana’s original post here.  Let’s get started!

Rules:

Answer the following questions about books on your book and then tag five other bloggers. You can answer the questions any way you want, whether it’s on your blog, in a video, or a combination of the two. Then remember to let whoever tagged you know when your post is up so they can read it.

1. Is there a book that you really want to read but haven’t because you know that it’ll make you cry?

Looking at my bookshelf, I see Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (read my uncomfortable yet laughable story on how I obtained E&P, here), and I’ve heard that it’s a pretty sad book.  I’m not sure if I’ll cry, but hey, who knows?  Knowing that it’s a sad book isn’t really keeping me from reading it.  I just have so much other stuff to read!  But I’ll probably get the sad feels when I do end up reading it… Fingers crossed for a review soon? :D

Eleanor & park

2. Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre. 

I don’t have this on my shelf (unfortunately), but Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins really opened me up to the contemporary genre.  I had read contemporaries before reading Anna, but I feel like I’m more open to contemporary now.  The last book, Isla and the Happily Ever After was just released, and it is on my shelf, just waiting to be read (I wonder when that’ll be…).

Anna

3. Find a book that you want to reread.

Fangirl.  Fangirl.  Fangirl.  Fangirl.  The book, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  Le sigh.  This book is simply amazing.  It is so relatable, to a very weird degree, but good weird.  I feel like so many people can relate to Cath.  I read one post by a fellow blogger, Chiara, who wrote a letter just expressing how much this book related to her, and her situation.  She wrote this post in April.  I still remember it.  Because this book touched so many people, including myself.  And I would love, love, love to reread this book more than anything else right now.

Fangirly

4. Is there a book series you read but wish that you hadn’t?

Are you going to be surprised when I don’t say Twilight?  Because, honestly, I liked Twilight (at least, I liked the first book).  Yeah, it had a lot, and I mean a lot of major flaws, but it’s a very easy read with a simple plot that anyone can follow.  The series I am choosing is probably Fallen by Lauren Kate, which was my first Lauren Kate book (I guess this is being turned into a movie…?).  I found the main character in this book to be sometimes worse than Bella Swan.  Plus, I found the plot terribly cliché and just… meh.  I didn’t finish that series, but I did try out another LK series, Teardrop, which I’m really liking. 

Fallenn

5. If your house was burning and all of your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back inside to save?

AS MANY BOOKS AS POSSIBLE.  Logically speaking, it wouldn’t be smart to, y’know, run inside a burning home that could collapse at any given moment.  But this is purely hypothetical (though I’d still probably try and pack a suitcase with as many books possible if this were a real scenario), and I love my books.  I don’t think it’s something that non-readers can understand.  But you know.

You know. 

6. Is there one book on your bookshelf that brings back fond memories?

There are so many books on my bookshelf that bring back incredible memories.  I think I’m going with The Celestial Globe by Marie Rutkoski, which is actually the second book in her Kronos Chronicles series.  The first book is the book that brings back the memories, The Cabinet of Wonders, but I sadly don’t own that book, just the last two books in the series. :( But it’s such a great series, middle-grade, and amazing.  I loved it.  ^-^ Great memories.  An honorable mention includes Goosebumps by R.L. Stine, because I was obsessed with that series when I was younger.   

The cabinet of wonders

7. Find a book that has inspired you the most. 

It’s probably a tie between Harry Potter and The Winnie Years, and really any series that I read when I was a bit younger.  The characters have inspired me (I really relate to Winnie) and some of the situations they went through were similar to lots of situations that I went through, so… just good books. :D  I can’t really give a proper answer to this question because so many books have inspired me so much

8. Do you have any autographed books?

Indeed, I do!  I own Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, which I got signed at a signing.  Ms. Funke was so lovely. :D  I also have a pre-signed copy of Champion by Marie Lu (thanks, Target!), and this other book, and it’s actually a children’s book that a family member had signed for me.  I just came back from digging around looking for it, but to no avail, I can’t seem to find it.  It was about this caterpillar and a… centipede?  Gah, I don’t remember!  But I love that book, and I really hope I can find it!

9. Find the book that you have owned the longest.

That would probably be one of my Judy Blume books (they have that old book smell… it’s not exactly, uh, pleasant…) or my New Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley series.  I read them when I was younger, okay? XD

10. Is there a book by an author you never imagined you would read and enjoy?

I read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, going into it thinking it would be mediocre.  Man, I was so wrong.  That book was brilliant!  So much wit and action and romance and—it’s just wonderful.  I actually got the whole trilogy in paperback (I’m really liking paperback these days…) over the weekend from B&N, and I totally had to rearrange my shelves to accommodate the series. O.o But I love it!  I can’t wait to read the last one!

Hex  

 I Tag…

And you, of course. :D  If you haven’t been tagged but still want to participate, go ahead and do it!  Leave me your links below if you’ve already done this tag, because I’d love to check them out. 

That’s all for now, and I’ll have a review of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo up soon (hopefully XD)!  I just finished that book, and wow

-littleonion

 

Book Review: Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Opposition2Title: Opposition

Series: Lux, #5

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Summary: Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can’t believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing. -Goodreads

Review

**Warning: This rambling review will contain spoilers.  It may also be jumbled, because I literally just finished the book.  Mah feelz, man.**

I knew I would love this series when I read the first book, Obsidian.  I read the book in about a day, as it was during a time when my internet access was very limited.  But, man, that was a good book.  And so were the books that came to follow.

I’ve been waiting for Opposition for a pretty long time.  I was lucky enough to read the series when the first four books had been released, but I’ve been waiting since February for Opposition.  That’s a long wait for a Jennifer L. Armentrout book.

Finding the book early, though?  That just made me so freaking happy.  So happy.  Let’s just cut to the chase, though.  This’ll be a gif-y review, which I haven’t done in a while…

Before I started reading the book, I decided to read the last chapter of Origin to refresh my memory on what had happened.  And oh boy, was it chaos.

We were reminded of the deaths from the previous book, which was pretty hard to think about.  We lost quite a few great characters.  Gahh.

full house

Beth reminded me of Bella from Breaking Dawn, all pregnant and scary.  If you’ve read (or seen) Breaking Dawn, you know what I’m talking about.  You know.  That can’t go unseen.  *shudder*  Actually, I think JLA might have made a Breaking Dawn reference on page 345, which is toward the end of the book.  I’m not sure, though, so check it out, and let me know.  Beth and Dawson named their child after Ash, which was just incredible.  I loved that.  She kind of had Renesme qualities, so maybe it had been a BD reference.

Is it bad that I was kind of shipping Archer and Katy for a second?  Don’t answer that, I know it was bad.  I love Daemon, don’t get me wrong, but Archer and Katy are so freaking hilarious.

This is probably literally the only thing that annoys me about Armentrout’s writing: the constant description about how someone’s eyelashes lowered or lifted, rather than saying, “she looked up at me,” she would say, “her thick lashes lifted.”  And that’s cool, nothing wrong with that.  Unless you’re using the lashes thing throughout the entire series.

eyeroll

“Leighton’s thick lashes rolled…” I can’t even. xD

Something similar went on every time there was a description of Daemon smirking or something.  “The corner of his lips kicked up,” or something similar to that description.

Okay, when Katy found Dawson, thinking he was Daemon, and then he attacked her, I was like, “OMG, WHAT’S GOING ON, WHAT DID HE DO TO HER, IS SHE DEAD?”

That last one was illogical, but this is why I needed to reread a bit of Origin, because I’d kind of forgotten some details.

I knew I didn’t like Sadi the sadist, and Rolland the moment we met them.  Especially when Sadi was all over Daemon.

When Daemon found Katy for the first time since leaving her… THE FEELS.  And he was healing her and everything.  *dreamy sigh*

KATY IS THE QUEEN OF COMEBACKS, I SWEAR, I WISH I HAD HER MOUTH.

sassy

I couldn’t believe what had happened to Dee.  She was, like, taunting Katy about Sadi the sadist and Daemon, and I was like, “Nooo, what happened?!”  But, when Katy and Dee were full on having a girl-fight, and Katy kept trying to talk to Dee (she made Harry Potter references, too—”Jesus.  It’s like I’m a muggle to your pure-blood or something.”) and Dee snapped out of her evil trance, it was just so… so heartbreaking because of the way Dee felt, but Katy was such an amazing friend to put her life at risk so Daemon didn’t have to hurt his own sister, and so she could hopefully remind Dee of who she was.  Amazing.  (You can find this scene on pages 260-261.)

And when Katy called out to Daemon in the meeting room… and he ignored her.  Like, no.  Just—no.

So when Sadi the sadist had her hands all over Daemon, Katy was like, “Get your hands off him,” even though Daemon had “rejected” her seconds before.  Okay, that was really heartbreaking, I don’t know about you…

I was so shocked when we found out that Sadi the sadist was an origin.  Like, what?

Okay, so when Katy was in the limo with Sadi and Rolland, and she realized that her thoughts were being read… the twerking thing… I DIED. XD

When Luc (he was one of my favorite characters) said Nancy Husher had to tell Daemon and Katy something, I thought it was going to be that Katy might be pregnant, because there had been some speculation about that, especially since we found out that Beth was pregnant.  But it turned out that instead of Katy dying when Daemon died (or vice versa), I think it was that even if one of them died, the other would still live.  I’m not sure if I got that right though, as there were a few moments during the book when I was a bit confused.

I loved the squabbling that went on between Daemon and Archer.  Daemon was obviously jealous of Archer (though he’d be jealous if Katy hugged a tree—’cause he’s needy like that. xD), but their conversations were so hilarious.  They argued about The Walking Dead and all sorts of random stuff, and I loved it.  Even Katy said Daemon and Archer had a bromance that would end all bromances (p. 269)!  It totally lightened the mood of the book, despite the fact that their situation was grave.  The book actually kind of reminded me of Angelfall, though Opposition isn’t futuristic.  Throughout the book, it feels apocalyptic, but in the end, the conclusion I came to was that it wasn’t apocalyptic.  It was like… the anti-apocalypse.

**Spoilers for The Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks… and a rant alert should be inserted here…*

“If we really are safe here, you’d leave this to go into a nest of vipers to get my sister out?”

“Do you really have to ask that question?  You know I would.”

Daemon walked to where I sat.  “I wouldn’t want you to put yourself in danger.”

“I’m sure as hell not staying behind if you run off to go find her.”

One side of his lips kicked up, and it was amazing how a simple half smile could twist my insides.  “I didn’t think you would, and I wouldn’t leave you here.  Where I go, you go, and vice versa.  You’re not getting rid of me for any length of time that easily.”

“Glad we actually agree on that.”  Not too long ago, Daemon would’ve tried to shelter me, but I think he’d learned that didn’t work out very well. -p. 141-142, Katy’s POV

In my review of Of Neptune, I talked about how I didn’t like the relationship between the main characters Emma and Galen.  There are some similarities between that relationship and Katy and Daemon’s.  The girls are very sassy (though I think Katy’s sassier), sarcastic, don’t take crap, etc.  The guys are more on the possessive side.  There are even some similarities about the characters in general: Emma and Katy both lost their fathers, Galen and Daemon are apart of entirely different races (to put it simply, fish and alien, respectively), and in the end, there’s a bit of hesitation about whose side they should stand on when the war comes along: their own people’s, or beside the girl they love.

Both Emma and Katy believe themselves to be “rare.”  They’re not totally a different species, but they’re not entirely human, either.  They both think they’re one of the few people like them, when in reality, there are a lot more than they think.

The difference between the romantic relationships of Emma and Galen and Katy and Daemon is that Galen saw and treated Emma like a “damsel in distress,” like she couldn’t take care of herself.  This went on throughout the series.

Daemon did this, too, but he backed off tremendously as the series progressed.  There are several times when Katy is fighting and Daemon stands back (or is doing his thing while fighting) in awe, Daemon is impressed, he recognizes that Katy is fully capable of doing a lot.

I appreciate that.

“You’re not weak, Kitten.  You’ve never been weak, before or after the mutation. -p. 143

**End of spoilers for The Syrena Legacy**

LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT WHOLE SCENE WITH THE ARUM.  THAT WAS FREAKING AWFUL.

Katy, Daemon, and Archer sought help to defeat the Luxen from the Arum leader, Lotho.  He agreed to help, if he could feed on Katy.  This is when Daemon got super possessive, and Katy wouldn’t have it.  She wanted to save the world, and she was going to do nearly everything it took to get the Arums’ help.

So she was going to let Lotho feed on her.  In the end, he didn’t actually do it, because apparently, he only feeds on Luxen, and Katy was just a hybrid.  BUT THEN HE KISSED HER, AND I WAS LIKE, WHAT?

??

???

And then Katy was Fifty Shades of Freaking Disturbed.

disturbed

And then literally right after that, they find out that Nancy went missing.  UGH, WHEN DOES IT END?!  But, in the end, Nancy was killed, THANK THE GODS… (**Spoilers for Allegiant by Veronica Roth**) but she did manage to get a shot a Daemon with a gun, and after Allegiant, when a main character gets shot, I FREAKING WORRY, MAN.  But Daemon was okay, and I was okay, and everyone was okay. (**End of Allegiant spoilers**)

When Katy and Daemon went back to Katy’s house, and she saw the Amazon boxes with books… that hurt.  But the mom thing… gods, that was just awful.  So much emotion in the characters in this story.  I was already sad when she was reunited with her mom, but then to find out she’d been assimilated… Geez, I hadn’t seen that coming.  I mean, I had the awful feeling that her mom was going to die, which did, in fact, happen, but I didn’t actually think it would happen.  It had been a passing thought in my mind, and for the first time, my assumption for a book was right.  Kat had a total breakdown, and I just had to read it several times to let it sink in.

I felt like the final battle was a bit rushed… though that may have been because I stopped reading the book literally just before the battle began.  I didn’t pick up the book for a few days because I didn’t want these books to end.  We do get an epilogue, though, which was amazingderful and bittersweet and just—gah, so good.

In the end, Katy re-launched her book blog, which meant so much to her, just like my blog means a lot to me.  I feel like a lot of bloggers can relate to this (especially if you’re a book blogger).  I just love Katy’s character.  She is like, the character for us book bloggers.  Fantastic.  Just awesome. :D  I was very happy.

Happy


This book gets 5/5 stars, and I knew it would be awesome.  It’s been ten days since it was released, though I was able to get it three days early.  This series has been an amazing journey, and I wish I’d picked it up sooner, but I always seem to be late on the really good series bandwagon (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, all that good stuff).  I’m just so glad to have read it and been part of the excitement.

I’ve not read the prequel novella yet, though it’s included in the back of my copy of Opposition.  I think I just need some time to think.  I need a cutsey contemporary (and Isla was released yesterday, so yay!  Definitely getting my copy this Saturday!!) to read just to calm the feels.

I’m also sorry if this review was all mixed up and confusing.  At one point, I had so much on my mind about this book, that I just started taking notes on my laptop in a WordPress post, which is this review.  I figured, just type out what you want to say.  It’ll take less time than writing it out with a pen.

This isn’t really a review, but it’s more of a way for me to release my feels, which is why it’s so long.  Thank you for sticking around to read this, though, if you’ve come this far (if you skimmed, that’s cool too XD).  Link me to your reviews of this book, because I want to know your thoughts!

Started series: November 16, 2013
Ended series: August 15, 2014

It’s been a long ride.

My Other Lux Reviews:

Obsidian (Lux, #1)
Onyx (Lux, 2)
Opal (Lux, 3)
Origin (Lux, 4)

P.S., I have a lot of favorite quotes, so I might just do a separate post for that, because my word count is, like… 2309 words, and still counting.  Oookay, then.  Bye, now!

IMG_2611[1]

Dystopian Themes In Music

Recently on Spotify, I listened to the commentary for Black Veil Brides’ last album, Wretched and Divine.  The commentary is told by Andy Biersack, the lead singer of the band.

Wretched and divineIn the commentary, Biersack talks about each song on the album, and I found it really interesting.  I actually listened to it twice.  He spoke of dystopian themes that ran through the tracks not once, but several times during the commentary.

Throughout the album there are these short speech-like things that made it feel like we were hearing what the characters in the story, the music, were hearing from their leaders, if that makes any sense.  Here’s a quote from “F.E.A.R. Transmission 1: Stay Close,” one of the tracks on the album:

“We expect a battle for humanity is about to begin.  Within each uprising, a vague sense of safety will ignite in you, an unseen shadowy sliver of doubt, towards those who protect and defend you.  Let the thoughts slip away, and remain calm.  Stay close to fear, only we can protect.”

This reminded me of one of the Mockingjay – Part 1 teaser trailers, the one with President Snow talking.

It made me think of other artists that may have sung potentially dystopic (is that a word?) lyrics.  Here are some examples of songs that made me think, “Ooh, this is very dystopian.”

“It’s a beautiful lie / It’s a perfect denial / Such a beautiful lie to believe in…” -30 Seconds To Mars, “A Beautiful Lie

I’ve found that with the dystopian societies in the books we read, we can categorize them into two categories (maybe even subcategories): There are the dystopian societies that want to make its inhabitants believe that everything is being run smoothly, that everything is perfect the way it is and they have nothing to question, and the main characters in these books don’t question anything and they believe what their rulers are telling them.  Books with that kind of society are Matched, Divergent, Delirium, Uglies.  In these books, everyone lives a relatively fair lifestyle.  Divergent may be somewhere in between this first example and my next example, though, the societies that have a sort of caste system in place, something that determines the rank of each citizen.  Books that feature this kind of society include The Hunger Games, Legend, The Selection.  The main characters in these stories know that the world they live in is a pretty screwed up place.

The song “A Beautiful Lie” reminded me of my first example, because the main characters are believing in mere lies that their leaders have ingrained in them.  Then they might meet someone (probably a guy), who tells them that the world they’re living in isn’t the perfect place they believe it to be.  In comes the “denial” part, because the characters want to hold onto everything they’ve known.  But, like all dystopian books, the proverbial rug is pulled from beneath our main character’s feet, and their world explodes into chaos.

“Hold on to the world we all remember fighting for / There’s some strength in us yet / Hold on to the world we all remember dying for / There’s some hope left in it yet.” -Flyleaf, “Arise

In my copy of Divergent, Veronica Roth actually talked about how this song provided some inspiration for the book.  And if you think about these lyrics, and then the series as a whole, you’ll realize that it does explain the books a little.  I think this applies to pretty much all dystopian books.  There’s an overall pattern with the genre.  The main character happens to ask a question or does something that leads to the unraveling of his/her perfect image of their society, there’s a war, an uprising, whatever you’d like to call it, and in the end, one side wins, the other loses.

“Oh, I hate your static pace / You ask no questions, let things be.” -Icon For Hire, “Nerves

There are several lyrics in this song that I could use in place of this particular line.  I actually feel like Icon For Hire sings about themes similar to this in quite a few of their songs.

In these futuristic societies, we are shown that what sparks the “uprising” is when someone questions the rules, or when someone does something against the “norm.”  Gale from The Hunger Games, for example, is a very, very outspoken character.  We see this in the beginning of the book, when he’s ranting about the Capitol.  *Spoilers for THG: At the end of THG, to get around the rules set in place for the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta decide that they were going to swallow those berries (nightlock, was it?) in order to get a sympathetic reaction from the capital.  Their plans work, obviously, because they ended up staying alive by the end of the book. End of Spoilers*

I feel like it’s occurrences like these that spark the rebellion.

Other lyrics that I’ll mention but not delve into completely are,

“Tell me how has it taken so long for me to open up my eyes? / How has it taken so long for me to finally realize? / And when they all turn against you, you better be prepared to fight…” -Sleeping With Sirens, “Four Corners and Two Sides

“They’re gonna clean up your looks with all the lies in the books to make a citizen out of you / Because they sleep with a gun, and keep an eye on you, son, so they can watch all the things you do.” -My Chemical Romance, “Teenagers


I hope this post was somewhat insightful and got you thinking. :D What are your thoughts on this?  I found it really interesting.  Keep in mind that these are just my interpretations, and I could have totally missed the mark.

This post turned out much longer than I’d originally anticipated, and I’m definitely going to have to proofread this a few times, because I’m so sleep-deprived.  Hopefully I don’t miss any half-written sentences that make no sense because I was trying to be fancy, haha.  But this topic popped into my head, and I suddenly got in a blogging mood.

If you don’t have a Spotify account and don’t have access to Wretched and Divine, but are curious to hear it, you can find it here on YouTube, and in the description bar below the video, you can find a list of all the tracks and their times so you can skip around and listen to the songs however you please.

Also, I’m sorry if you’re sick of the word “society” after this jumble of weird thoughts I’ve just thrown at you.  Believe me, I am, too.  I really should have pulled out a thesaurus…

That’s all for now,

-littleonion

Book Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Ruby redTitle: Ruby Red

Series: Precious Stone Trilogy, #1

Author: Kerstin Gier

Summary:

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust. -Goodreads

Review

I’m a horrible person.  I know. D:  I haven’t been keeping up with my updates for the Dusting off the Shelf read-a-thon, and I’m SO SORRY!!!  Things have really kicked up into gear, especially with school coming back into session (not looking forward to that, but what can ya do?).  But I have been reading!  And hopefully I’ll get a lot more reading done next week, as I’ll have some more spare time.

But for now, let’s discuss Ruby Red, the first book I chose to read for this read-a-thon.  As I’ve said before, I love books based in England, and I love books about time travel.  However, though the book met the criteria, it fell flat for me.  I wasn’t fond of the characters, nor did I connect with any of them.  It was disappointing, especially since I’d heard such great things about this book.  I purchased it sometime last year, so it definitely qualified for this read-a-thon.

The only character I really liked was Lesley, the main character Gwen’s best friend, and even she was a bit on the annoying side.  It seemed like, despite all of this new information being thrown at the main character, she was really optimistic.  Which isn’t a bad thing.  Gwen expressed her unhappiness with the situation, but she still seemed… not that upset.

It may have been the writing style, which I noticed included a lot of exclamation marks in the narrative, and I’m not used to that.

Aside from all of this, the characters didn’t have a lot of personality, in my opinion.  There were no witty remarks, which I missed.  The book was funny at times, I’ll give it that.

I’m also glad that after Gwen finds out it’s her who’s the time traveler, Lesley wasn’t just left behind.  She didn’t drop her friends and family for this, so point to Gwen.

I was also thinking that if they were to make a movie of this, Maggie Smith should play Lady Arista.  All I could see was Downton Abbey. XD

Toward the end, Gwen began to get on my nerves, but the last 30 pages of the book is when a lot of the excitement happened.  Kinda like Shiver.

Overall, this book was okay.  There were some pros and cons, but I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of this series.  This book wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out.  Tell me what you thought of Ruby Red—did you like it?  Or were your feelings along the same lines of mine?  Let me know!

2/5 stars.