Thursday, 27 June 2013

Origin - Jessica Khoury

*4.5 stars* 

For a longest time, the book sat in my To-Be-Read shelf and finally out of boredom I decided to pick it up. And what a book it was! I so did not expect what the experience turned out to be.

I don't like calling books perfect, after all 'Perfect is as Perfect Does'. There is no such thing as perfect, as Pia learned the hard way, but this was pretty close call. It had wild speculations on future-that-could-be, the role of morality and our inner selves, of growing up and disappointment, and moreover, the inner purity and goodness that cannot be suppressed. The surroundings was well built and lively, the peace set well, not once did  have a feeling of growing tired. The characters were human, meaning life-like, not all-good.

We meet 17 year old Pia, who her whole life has spent in Little Cam, a hidden science camp in the middle of Amazon. As a result of decades of experiments Pia has reached the highest level oh human evolution, perfection, immortality. A girl, who with her perfect memory has grown up reading about genetics and solving math problems, has no connections to the outside world. But with new faces in the tightly guarded camp and coincidences, Pias whole world is turned upside down.

I loved how Pia was struggling with the question of immortality, morality and the biggest question of all, what does it mean to be a human? It felt real, seeing her dreams and understandings changing with her. The characters were well established, and I could follow the mental struggles between what you have known your whole life to be true and that little voice inside whispering there has to be more. We see the cold-blooded scientist ready for everything in the name of science. How it destroys lives or creates lives.

And I just couldn't pass on commenting the awesomeness that were the natives. I might be over-romanticizing the 'noble savage', but as a vivid admirer or anthropology, I have a soft spot for the "traditional" people. I do think it describes well our society, when so much could be saved by accepting the simple truths that have been known for the natives for generations. But it is degrading for a highly educated scientist to take the local myths and stories as truth. So, somehow it becomes widely accepted for the name of science doing things that in other contexts might be completely unheard of. Again. Where do you draw the line? Just how far can you push the limits in the name of a greater good?

In conclusion, this book touched me, assuring that once again there IS hope for the future, even if it happens to be fictional assurance - we don't need colorful explosions, violent passion or loud music and alcohol for a book to be good.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Daddy-Long-Legs - Jean Webster (Daddy-Long-Legs #1)

Wow, it has been a while. I have noticed my reading frenzies come in bursts. There are months when I spend virtually every minute awake glued to books (actually mostly to my laptops screen but the idea remains same) and then there are months I don't feel like picking up a book at all. Last three or four months have been like this for me. I have about 5 books I have started, and I will finish them, it's just, I don't feel the need to inhale hundreds of pages a day. I'm sure, the days of frenzy will return, but right now I'm just enjoying leisurely reading a chapter or two a day.

*3.5 stars*

Which leads me to an actual review, I know, I have almost forgotten how to write one, but here we go. Yesterday I stumbled upon this sweet book  of coming of age. It was my first epistolary novel, meaning the plot was completely conveyed through letters. And I loved it. It was very easy to read, I would even call it a page turner. Through the novel we follow 4 years of college life of Jerusha Abbott. Growing up and having spent all her 17 years in orphanage she is bewildered to find out that she has been picked out to receive anonymous donations from one of the orphanages beneficiaries. She starts addressing the man as a Daddy Long Legs, after a long legged shadow she once witnessed him cast from afar.

The plot is delivered to us through the eyes and letters of a teenage girl, first discovering the world and people she had no idea existed outside from her little bubble. It gives off a sense of "trueness". Even through written a hundred years ago, I can still relate to Judy. Her bubbly personality, urge to please her dear Daddy Long Legs and shine in her academic life mixed up with undeniable girly vanity of someone who grew up having nothing make Jerusha into a real girl. And even though the ways of life have changed drastically since then, it still stays charming for a modern mind.

Yet, hardly any book comes without flaws. Daddy Long Legs might just have as much good as there is of that, what made me cringe. The reason I gave it 3.5* is just that it could have been so much more.

Some slight spoilers ahead!

For a starter... calling your anonymous beneficiary slash romantic interest Daddy through a whole book, is slightly disconcerting... yet I can see how a girl might develop fatherly feelings for an imaginative figure who also is her only friend/family outside the college. Yet, neither of them should seem so comfortable with it. I really hope she isn't going to continue her letter to her loved one, starting them with "Dear Daddy!" Ugh! However, a much bigger problem for me lies in the end of the book.

When you find out the person you have become to think of as a father or family at least, and a man you have strong romantic feelings for turn out to be the same - ... A girl would be upset! Really. Especially one with Judys character. I just don't see her happily accepting it without a blink and just falling into his waiting arms. And then continuing sending letters to him in the same way! I just... can't.

End of the "spoilery" part :)

I also wish we could see at least some of the story through someone else... inevitably it stayed a bit too one dimensional. But I guess this must be the charm of the epistolary style. 

Overall. There were just so many issues with this book and the last chapters managed to tear everything even more apart, BUT the majority of the book was still enjoyable. Judy was a great character and watching her grow up and making her way in the world was very satisfactory. I do dare to recommend this book, just... don't expect the romance to blow you away, more then anything it's a coming of age story of a bright girl.

The book actually has a sequel called Dear Enemy, and even though I loved the first installment enough, I'm not sure I will be picking it up anytime soon.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #4

Feature and Follow Friday is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Every week they choose a featured blogger with questions to answer to everybody. A wonderful way to meet other bloggers and discover blogs! Share the love!

This weeks question:

When you step out of your USUAL genre what do you like to read? Best books in that genre?

For now, my usual genre would be Young Adult. However, that has only been so for about a year and half, I'd say. I used to really enjoy a good crime novel (anything by Agatha Christie, Rex Stout and Erle Stanley Gardner.) Also epic fantasy has always been my soft spot, I just usually prefer it in YA genre. But my current love is A Song of Ice and Fire series by G.R.R. Martin. Long live! And I have always loved historical fiction about Ancient Egypt, my personal favorites are Sinuhe the Egyptian by Mika Waltari and Ramses series by Christian Jaque. Such fond memories!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Betrayed - P.C and Kristin Cast (House Of Night #2)

*4.5 stars*

What I forgot to mention in the review of the Marked, is that I absolutely loved Zoes markings. I wish some talented artist would draw her mark and tattoos :) Delicate emerald net... I wish I could pull it off.

Plot continued to surprise me pleasantly (also sometimes not so pleasantly!) At times it did seem slower, than in Marked, but all the things started, get even more confusing twist and seem far from being over. Already the first third of the book made me see the already familiar character so differently, Neferet, Aphrodite. Wow. I can only hold my breath, eyes bulging out, of what could happen next.

What did irk me, was the constant que of guys around Zoe. And it always started with her thoughts, of how the guy is possibly the best looking male on the planet Earth. Seriously? Erik seemed like a ordinary nobody after that and I feel sorry for him. I still like him the best, but sometimes Zoe really made me doubt her, is she worth such a great guy? Apart from this "minor" character flaw, I still liked her. She did her best to stay true to her visions and I liked how she a had a strong sense of self, strong personality.

And hahaha at all of them trying to figure out how to make a bomb threat the most efficient way! Just who are you supposed to call and actually threaten? Hilarious! One of the best qualities of the House of Night series, is the relationship between Zoe and her circle. I just but collapsed, when Damien mouthed how he has just entered a cute-gay-guys heaven. I was so so happy for him. And of course, the twins. "Ditto Twin!" I really hope they will all stay together through all the series, this knowledge only would already make me finish it! On the Chosen!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Matched - Ally Condie (Matched #1)

*5 stars*

Finally! I've been waiting for such a long time to read it, I don't even know, what kept me so long.

For a starter, the only other Dystopian book I've ever read, was the Hunger Games, and let's just say they're vastly different. This world is designed to only undergo actions with maximized benefits for the society and through this, to individuals. For example, the amount of food you need to consume, in order to stay in your best possible physical state, is calculated and strictly observed. So is the amount of physical exercise and leisure time. You can't even go jogging if you want and your own time was non-existent.

The most fitting job for every individual is calculated and decided for them as is the person, you are to marry. All of it of course to assure an individuals maximal amount of happiness. Sounds blissful, doesn't it?
Yeah, right. Don't wear anything pretty in case your neighbors should feel jealous. I mean a world, were you can't even throw away your garbage in peace, everything will be recorded and all anomalies noted, sounds a bit paranoid. All the symbolism they had to use in order to not be discovered was a nice touch. It made them think outside the box and truly see things like they were.The way Kys story was revealed, piece by piece and through drawings was really sad.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #3

Feature and Follow Friday is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Every week they choose a featured blogger with questions to answer to everybody. A wonderful way to meet other bloggers and discover blogs! Share the love!

This weeks question:

What book do you think would make a great Halloween movie? (Please explain in graphic detail and goriness...)

Well... the only book (actually the whole series, to be more exact) in my read shelf I could come up with was the Saga of Darren Shan. And I know, that technically the first book(s) has already been made into a movie, but I feel the series was just awesome, creepy and gripping, that the should definitely go on with it, and hopefully start from the beginning again.
It's full of truly gruesome and horrific twists and turns. I usually see through the tricks, but here all the unexpected kept happening. The characters are creepy and just awesome. Overall, this series is phenomenal and would make an awesome Halloween read/movie!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Marked - P.C. and Kristin Cast (House of Night #1)

*5 stars*

After a really long time finally one paperback! I've gotten so used to ebooks I had forgotten exactly how good it felt! This book didn't make me fall face first into bed and giggle, but it kept me constantly focused with a weird smile on my face.

I have to say, it was really easy to get into this book. I liked Zoey, her humor and sarcasm made me laugh. Zoey reminded me a lot of myself. The ability to completely forget the most important appointment for the day and then conveniently remember it like 2 minutes before. "Oh, hell!" I so agree Zoey :D For once again this take of vampires was new to me. Apparently their existence was a public knowledge and they were even researched by scientists. I also liked the theory (or in that case, the lack of it) how the Trackers chose people and Marked.

The book gets a quick start and Zoey gets thrown in the middle of everything. I feel the need to point how pathetic her perfect family was. John was really a gigantic narrow-minded and hypocritical step-loser. I really liked, how they blew everything over the top and still keeping it believable. But I think that there are families out there like hers, and most definitely like Damiens. He was such a sweet guy, making fun of his own gayness, yet still being so incredibly alone. I really hope he finds someone! I liked Erik as well. It was fun reading everyone squirm every time he came close! Her whole "circle" was awesome! Their loyal and always behind her back ♥

I also really enjoyed how Nix played the central role in the whole story. How she has been the same for the beginning of times, just with different names, choosing special people to carry out assignments. And the Mystery of the Big Bad made me also twitch and want to read even quicker. I even enjoyed the descriptive parts with rituals and circle casting. I could really picture the rooms and Zoey in the midst.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Top Ten Tuesday ( #2) Books You'd Hand To Someone Who Doesn't Like To Read

Top Ten Books is an awesome weekly  meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week we were given a free pick from all the previous topics, which is really good, because I've missed out so much! I want to dedicate it to my little brother, who always says he hates reading and after a lot of grumbling and convincing ends up loving the books I choose. While choosing, I tried to pick books, which would make the reader enjoy it and want to read more. So without further ado, my choice for this weeks TTT:

Top Ten Books You'd Hand To Someone Who Says They Don't Like To Read:

  1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I think this series is an awesome way to get people reading. You couldn't really not like it. Every book is different and filled with myths combined with our everyday lives. It's funny, quick paced and just plain awesome!
  2. by Michael Scott. It's pretty much the same. A great series about completely ordinary brother and sister who are suddenly thrown into the midst of magic and long forgotten mythical creatures. 
  3. Pretty much any book by Terry Pratchett. He is just hilarious and as one of my favorite authors I recommend his books to everyone. I mostly end up laughing and clutching my stomach.
  4. Following the same track, I most definitely would recommend the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Strout. I still remember reading it for the first time, I though it was the best series in the world. There'shardly anything more amusing then a stuck up gin released from a bottle and a clumsy teenage boy.
  5. From the classics, depending on a person, but still, I'd recommend Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bront

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Little update + Half-Blood - Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant #1)

Hey guys!
I just wanted to let you know that  I'm sorry for the slow updates! I recently moved into my new university and all that packing and tons of paperwork has taken its toll. I miss reading so much :( But on the bright side, there's and awesome bookshop here, where I had my first book haul! I got Marked, #1 in the House of Night Series by Kristin Cast and The Nosferatu Scrolls by James Becker both for £1!! I already love it here.

*3.5 stars*

Yay! Another book by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Let s just say I m preeeety excited! - the first thought upon receiving the book.

Let's just say that only about half-way through the book did I get into the action. I felt like the plot was loose and everything felt a bit all over the place. One of the biggest distractions was that I did not like Alex. Instead of being quirky and funny, she came off as pointlessly reckless and just plain rude and ungrateful. I can see how she didn't know how to appreciate all that she has at first, but continuing on being as stupid knowing all the consequences... There wasn't much of a character improvement or development. She really stayed one-dimensional and childish.

On the other hand, I really liked both Caleb and Aiden. Caleb was one of those self denying friends, ready to do anything to make you feel happy if you're sad. The lasts scene was really really heartwarming. And Aiden? I admire his endless patience and willingness to babysit such an selfish troublemaker. I did like the relationship between Aiden and Alex, once again deliciously forbidden. The attraction was there and I could really feel it.

Both, the huge discovery and the character of Seth left me rather nonplussed. I can see how in the future it could be a great line for additional characters and relationships, yet still. Currently it all felt a little discarded.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Easy - Tammara Webber

*3.5 stars* Love the cover! For a change shows exactly, how I imagined the characters to look like.

A decent chick- lit ya novel. Nothing ground braking, but left me feeling warm inside. A rather typical novel of a naive girl leaving all behind and follows the boy of her dreams blah-blah. Of course, the fairytale doesn't last long. What I liked about this book, was the overall idea of teaching girls to take care and stand for themselves. You never know, where a potential threat may come from! Emphasis was on the developing and maturing, overcoming your inner demons and just being there for each other.

There really was no ohmygodwhathappensnow-feeling, but I was okay with it. It was easy to read and all the characters were very human. I even liked Kennedy. Of course he was a total nutsack xD, BUT at the same time, he felt so totally real. *sigh* Girls holding together and standing for each other was heart warming. There is always a chance of something happening, but what matters is how you deal with it. There's nothing like great friend in the time of need.

The ending was anticlimactic. It was obvious a mile away. I much more liked the slow pace of hidden past revealing itself. I also hope, that there will be no sequel. The story of Jacqueline and Lucas is finished. Anything more would only be unnecessary and empty drama.