Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sam's Ramblings

Lately, I've been having trouble getting into some of the books I've bought, some that have been touted as AWESOME YA books, because they tend to get on the juvenile side. And this kind of worries me because the only genre I've ever stuck with is YA, but the only ones that I've been able to stomach lately have been exceptional.

For instance, coming off the high that was Anna and the French Kiss and Finikkin of the Rock, I read Across the Universe by Beth Revis. And even though it wasn't terrible by any means, I found myself unable to get into the characters because they acted so... young. Elder especially, although I know his naivety was part of his character. It just seemed very quaint to me and not in a bad way, just in a way that didn't suit my reading style. I think maybe my tastes must be maturing, which accounts for some lack of enthusiasm with blogging as of late.

I've been trying to read some more mature novels - I just finished Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris - and though I liked it, it wasn't any more so than most of the YA books I've been reading. So I don't know aht the problem is, exactly.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Page Count: 398 pages
Summary: A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Review: So, this book was totally not what I was expecting. I'm not quite sure exactly what it was that I was expecting, exactly, and it certainly didn't blow me away the way I'd anticipated, but it was definitely a good, solid read.

First of all, the whole Elder/Eldest thing threw me off. At times, it seemed really contrived and kind of stupid, not to mention that I totally got confused whenever they were in the same room together. Secondly, the person behind the killings was ridiculously obvious to me the entire time. I pretty much knew from the beginning. And while it's good to have little hints, it was practically GLARING at me.

Onto the good: Elder and Amy were absolutely adorable together. Elder was such a good character (almost too good, at times) that I just rooted for him in everything that he did. But in the parts where they were separate, I wasn't too compelled. I really wanted to get into the story because the premise had seemed so interesting and Beth Revis can definitely write a love story, but I just thought there should've been more focus on one or the other. I didn't think it all flowed well together, if I'm articulating myself correctly.

That is not to say that I didn't enjoy Across the Universe, because I definitely did. But I wasn't as into it as I thought I would be, mostly because a lot of the science fiction aspects seemed contrived and kind of overplayed. I really loved the descriptions of the getting put in the cryo chamber and almost drowning getting out of it - I thought those were wonderful.

Also, I'm not a huge fan of books that change perspective. It seems like lazy writing to me, honestly. While I wouldn't say that I liked that this did so, but it didn't take away from the story either.

Overall, I did like Across the Universe but the mystery of the murderer as well as the science fiction aspects of the book felt a little lacking. I would definitely recommend it, though - maybe you can articulate yourself better than I can?

Overall: 3.5/5 stars

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Title: Finnikin of the Rock
Author: Melina Marchetta
Page Count: 416 pages
Summary: At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the royal house of his homeland, Lumatere.

And so he stands on the rock of three wonders with his childhood friend Prince Balthazar and the prince's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood. And Lumatere is safe.

Until the 'five days of the unspeakable', when the King and Queen and their children are slaughtered in the palace. And an imposter king takes the throne.
And a curse is put on Lumatere, which traps those caught inside and forces thousands of others to roam the land as exiles, dying of fever and persecution in foreign camps.

But ten years later Finnikin is led to another rock to meet the young novice, Evanjalin. A girl plagued by dark dreams, who holds the key to their return to the Land of light...

Review: I loved this book so much. Like with Jellicoe Road, it took me a while to get into the story, especially since when I read fantasy, I hardly ever pay attention to the politics of it. But you definitely have to pay attention to the politics in this book, because it is without the epic magic you are used to in fantasy. But it grew on me and by the time I was done, I didn't want it to be over. I wanted to keep reading about Evanjalin and Finnikin - both of whom I loved as characters. I think that's one of Marchetta's strong points: the characters. They're just so deep and their motivations are so strong. Argh, I can't even put it into words.

The only thing I didn't love about this book - AND THIS IS A SPOILER - is that, at the end, when it is revealed who Evanjalin actually is, she becomes some kind of saint. I know it is because they hold her in th highest respect and because Finnikin is hopelessly in love with her, but it just seemed forced, because throughout the entire book, she has definitely had her flaws. It just seemed stupid to take that away.

Other than that, though, I loved Finnikin of the Rock. It's not one of those books that I could speed through and still get everything that I wanted out of it. It was like a flower - it slowly opens itself up to you, little by little, until you don't even realize how entranced you are by it.

I would definitely recommend this book.

Overall: 5/5 stars

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kitty from Where I Belong Interview!

Today, I have had the honor of interviewing a character from a novel I recently finished, Where I Belong! Kitty is Corrine's best friend, albeit she is befriended reluctantly, and one of the most awesome characters I've  come across in a while!

Corrinne Corcoran’s upscale Manhattan life is perfectly on track—until her father announces he’s been laid off and she’s shipped off to Broken Spoke, Texas, to live with her grandparents. All alone in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the glamorous life she’s supposed to be living. But as she grudgingly adjusts—making new friends and finding romance along the way—this city girl begins to realize that life without credit cards and shopping sprees may not be as bad as it seems.... 
In this sparkling debut that flawlessly balances romance and humor, readers will grow to love sharp and sassy Corrinne as she goes on her totally reluctant but completely irresistible journey of self-discovery.

1. You have such a positive outlook on life. What is your advice to people who get down sometimes?

I’m a cheerleader for the football team, but I also try to be a cheerleader for myself. It’s important to root for your own success too.

2. What was your first impression of Corrinne?

That we’d never be friends. She seemed way too glamorous to want to hang with a country girl like me.

3. When did you first start to notice a change in Corrinne once she moved to Broken Spoke?

When she was willing to pee cowgirl style.

4. Are you ever planning on leaving Broken Spoke?

Yes, I am looking into summer art programs in NYC.

5. Do you and Corrinne still keep in touch?

I might be from small town Texas, but we still have the internet, facebook and cell phones. I am constantly in touch with Corrinne.