Archive | December, 2012

What I mean when I say “Fluff Book”

28 Dec

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I am a variety reader. I have my favorite genres, of course, but I pride myself in not sticking to only one “type” of book. I try to love all books equally.

One of my favorite kinds of books are what I call “Fluff Books”. I’ve mentioned them a few times in passing in some of my previous posts but an explanation will clear all doubt as to what I mean.

The easiest way for me to fully describe what a fluff book is, is to give some examples and then find the common trends between them. Analyzing is always my favorite!

Top Three Favorite Fluff Books of 2012

Selection

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The Selection, The Luxe Series and Entwined are lovely sweet treats, dark chocolate mouthfuls filled with rich rosey love, glorious estrogen boosting stories filled with amazing dresses, handsome men, and lovable heroines. These are the books we adore on a purely feminine level. Our romance loving subconscious’s¬† ache for these beauts. Flowery, gorgeously written plots and 100% hands-off for men.

These fluff books are Jane Austen‘s descendants of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. They have enticing and adoring love interests like Mr. Darcy, feisty females like Elizabeth Bennett, and harrowing plights of Dashwood induced love follies. They also have Austen’s underlying themes of women’s morality, the injustices of societal norms, and they highlight the breathtaking ability of the “weaker” sex to adapt and overcome.

Looking at what I’ve just written and comparing the books I consider fluff, these are the basics of fluff books:

  1. Female Protag
  2. Swoon worthy love interest
  3. Epic romance
  4. A villain trying to corrupt our heroine
  5. Underlying ethical or moral questions
  6. A happy ending

The happy ending though, does not, and I repeat DOES NOT, always end up with ooey gooey love-shall-overcome BS. Some of the best fluff books end with the female lead giving a dainty middle finger wave and riding off into the sunset by herself (those are my favorite).

So there you have it my friends. Questions, concerns, comments? Send any awesome fluff my way. I can always go for some romance ūüėČ

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten” – G.K. Chesterton

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

27 Dec

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First Book in the Seraphina Series

Rating: Three out of Five Stars (I’m stretching the three stars status)

Seraphina came to me as a recommendation. And the fact that Christopher Paolini endorsed it by having a quote from him placed on the cover I was like “yeah buddy! Score zone!”

And then I started reading and I was all:

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My issue with this book was that the world wasn’t explained enough in the beginning so I felt like my mind was whirling around plot points without actually getting a hold of them. I like the concept, I can grasp the concept, but it was too much too soon. Where was the meat and potatoes of the world building in the first chapter? I was thrust into the world, that’s very surreal and different from my own, and wasn’t given the chance to acclimate. My WSOD was accosted.

The only time I was completely on board and ingrained in this story is when the characters were having conversations. The dialogue is fantastically written. Those scenes felt less like reading and more like watching a movie. So engaging! I just wish that the rest of the book was as fascinating and griping.

With the character’s being mediocre (although Seraphina finally grows some ladyballs in the end) I was really disappointed in this book. Maybe I put it on too high of a pedestal to begin with? I don’t know. I just wanted so much more from this book. I wanted action, romance, adventure! I wanted all the amazing things in Eragon that I loved so much but it never developed into anything. It was just fluttering on the edge decent. Sad day ūüė¶

My December

21 Dec

Happy Holidays everyone!

I am heading out for Christmas vacation and won’t be able to post for awhile so I wanted to send some quick love to all my wonderful readers! **HUGS**

Below are some amusing pictures that capture my Thanksgiving-now life. Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday! Shoot me some suggestion on great books you read over the holidays! Muah!

Wootie woot woot!

I reached my goal for book reading this year at the beginning of the month! Woot woot!

I <3 Books

 Some of my November and December reads.

I chose to take some inspiration from my Harry Potter Cook Book and create some sweet treats for Christmas presents!

Pumpkin Pasties

Pumpkin Pasties!

Rock Cakes

¬†Hagrid’s Rock Cakes – quite tastey and not at all hard as rocks!

Blancmange

Blancmange – pure yumminess. These are my favorite. And they jiggle which is awesome because I shaped them like bugs!

Moi

 Showing off my new footies, Penelope the Pot (my new teapot), and a very delicious bottle of wine!

 

The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

19 Dec

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Third Book in the Seven Realms Series

Rating: Five out of Five Stars

I can’t even put into words how much I feel for Cinda Williams Chima.¬† I am hovering around “obsessive love” and “complete infatuation”.

Be glad you aren’t in the room while I am writing this, otherwise you would hear my awful voice breaking out into heartfelt aria. Much like my previous reviews of the Seven Realms books (The Demon King, Book One and The Exiled Queen, Book 2) this is will be a lovesick gush fest about Chima.

Han – let’s get married and have babies. Raisa – let’s hang out and be BFFs. Please let there be a crack in reality so I can crawl into this world. I adore this book so much. I can’t write a review that can urge you enough to pick it up. If you like high fantasy AT ALL you need, must, are REQUIRED to read this series. Its beautifully written with a world so real that it the scenery has its own story and personality. I am having such a swoonfest over Han it’s embarrassing. He has become my new Mr. Darcy. And much like with Elizabeth, I want Raisa and Han to work out sooo bad my emotions are going haywire. Chima just taunts us and teases us with their relationship and makes it so tantalizing real, I feel like I am part of them.

I can even begin to explain my love for this series. It’s on par with Harry Potter by the infamous JK and the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore. Just amazingly written with characters that are so alive you forget that they are in a book.

Just do yourselves a favor and read it. For real. Read it. Please, for my sake. It will make your life so much better.

To-Read Tuesday – Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

18 Dec

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Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Series: Under the Never Sky Book Two

Previous Rating(s): Under the Never Sky, Book One: Four out of Five Stars

Release Date: January 8, 2013

Why I am Excited: I just finished reading Under the Never Sky last week (working on getting my review posted) and I am super pumped by the ending of this book. It was heart achingly lovely the way Rossi decided to finish up book one and made you crave the second book immediately. I’m super pumped I only have to wait a couple weeks for this one to be released, that NEVER happens! The reason why I am looking forward to this release is because by the end of book one, I was attached to both characters. I felt with them, I cried with them, I laughed with them. They are my friends and I miss my friends and want them back. Now.

What I Hope to See: *Contains Spoilers* If you haven’t read the previous books, LOOK AWAY! This is hard for me because like I said, I recently finished this book and haven’t had a whole lot of time to start speculating yet. At the end, Perry and Aria about to be reunited. I really hope is a steamy reunion! I want the passion that they had started to feel in Never Sky to really bloom in Ever Night. But I really hope that Rossi doesn’t make their romance the whole book. She has some really amazing independent characters and an insanely well built world. It’s real and tangible to me and I don’t want mushy love to distract from the basic foundation of the plot. Perry and Aria’s romance should be developed and main plot line of course, I just don’t want it to be the ONLY plot line.

My Predictions: In the final few chapters, there are a lot of twists and a lot plot developments thrown at us. Rossi almost gave us too much information at the end of the book, but I’ll discuss that when I get around to posting my review for Under the Never Sky. So, here we go:

  1. Obvi, Perry and Aria are ooey gooey in love. I think in book two though, they are really going to struggle with balancing their own internal desires and wants with love for each other. They come from extremely different backgrounds and their ultimate goals do not compliment each other. I think that Aria is going to end up leaving Perry and The Tides to fulfill her promise and get revenge for her mother’s death.
  2. That being said, I think Perry will struggle a lot. The synopsis hints at this but I think it will be a main plot line in the book. I think when Aria decides to leave, Perry will have to make the ultimate decision of Tides vs Aria. And I think he will choose Aria right when she doesn’t choose him.
  3. Roar and Liv have their own bridge story. (I can’t wait to read it!) So I think they HAVE to become an important piece in book two. Going off of the synopsis, I think Roar and Liv will be the untrustworthy friends and royally mess up Perry, Aria and the Tides relationship.

 

Bridge Books and Short Stories

17 Dec

In my last couple of reviews, I have been mentioning bridge books a lot. Bridge books are short stories that are written to enhance the overall series an author is writing. There are many different kinds of bridge books but the ones I read usually are written as an “in between book”, typically given a 1.5 or 2.5 designation, and bring in a different character’s perspective. I personally, loooove bridge books. They can develop and enrich your story in a magnificent way. You can be introduced to a new character, a new way of thinking. You can grasp or understand a concept you couldn’t in the full book. You can live a moment through different set of eyes. It’s an amazing aspect of writing that I wish every author would do.¬†Authors like Cassandra Clare and Lauren Oliver have fully grasped this concept. It also, and this pure selfishness on my part, can help ease the pain of having to wait for the next book to be released. I can’t tell you how many times I am uber bummed I have to wait a year until the next book comes out and then I find out that a bridge book will be released in 6 months and it makes my life so much better.

Below is a collection of a few different categories of bridge books/short stories I’ve read over the last year. Each one gives you an idea of what bridges and shorts can add to a story. You can read my full reviews of each by clicking on the links attached to the titles and it will take you to my Goodreads account. I highly encourage everyone to read the bridge books and short stories associated with series. It can make the books so much more enjoyable!

13013051Tortured by Caragh M. O’Brien,¬† Birthmarked 1.5

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

This book is the 1.5 book in the Birthmarked Series, a pretty decent dystopia trilogy with a female protag, and is probably my favorite bridge I’ve read thus far. I enjoyed the series with my ratings of each book fluttering between 3 and 4 stars. This bridge, however, added a HUGE piece of insight into the heroine’s love interest, Leon. He is narrating this bridge which is awesome because the entire series is told from Gaia’s point of view. It also connects how Leon ends up where he does in Book 2, Prized and in Book 3, Promised you wouldn’t understand the unique dynamics between Leon, Gaia and the prison cell unless you’ve read this bridge. It’s an amazing add on to the series.

15715106 The Audition by Rachel Hartman, Seraphina 0.5

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

This was a sweet and simply story and very enjoyable. It gave to quick insights into each character but didn’t give anything away, which is hard to do since, unlike most bridge books, it was actually written and PUBLISHED before the actual book, Seraphina, was released. Seraphina was set to be a huge sell this year and this was meant to be a teaser trailer by the author/publisher. It’s a nice little read to add some dynamics before you start Seraphina, even though I actually read it after I had already finished the book (review to come!)PS – it’s available for free online if you click the link on Goodreads!

15362992Endurance by Ann Aguirre, Razorland 1.5

Rating: undecided out of 5 stars

Pulling directly from my review I wrote after reading this, “I don’t think I can thoroughly comprehend my feelings towards this one until I read book two and three.” Well, I’ve read book two, Outpost, (read my review here) but I still don’t know how I feel. What’s makes me shifty about giving a solid rating is that this bridge introduces us to Thimble and Stone whom we barely knew in Encalve. Deuce refers to them constantly but I am hesitant to give my feelings to these two because if I don’t see them in book three, Hoarde, my poor little heart is going to be crushed. After I initially read this, I rated and reviewed it at 2 stars but I think now it’s just because I didn’t want to get attached to them if I wasn’t going to see them later. Ahhh Ann you manipulate my emotions so much in this short 70 page story! I love it!

12663646Hana by Lauren Oliver, Delirium 1.5

Rating: 3 our of 5 stars

Lauren Oliver does a lot of bridges and shorts. She has a o.5, 1.5 and a 2.5 in this series and omg does it add some depth to the plot. In this one, she actually retells the ENTIRE first book through a sub character’s view. It’s crazy intense viewing scenarios through Hana’s eyes, especially when interacting with Lena, who’s the main character throughout the rest of the series. The third book, Requiem is actually told through both their eyes so it was very smart, in my opinion, to introduce readers to Hana (and her questionable morals/actions) in a short. Read my review of Pandemonium, Book Two here and see what I want to see in Requiem here.

“Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.” Christopher Paolini, Eragon

Eve by Anna Carey

14 Dec

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Book One in the Eve Series

Rating: Two out of Five Stars (really more like 1.5 but I like to round up)

It has taken me awhile to actually write this review, mainly because I have such a hate-hate relationship with this book. But even though it made me want to stab myself in the eyeball, my addiction to reading and need to give second chances will most likely end up with me reading the rest of the series. Painful, but probable.

In short, I am not a fan. It was half formed ideas smeared together with mediocre writing. It makes me sad to give bad reviews because I hate/loathe/want-to-punch book bashers who write nasty reviews but I cannot say I would recommended this book to anyone. I am going to speak my peace, which is MY opinion, and then suggest things I wish I would have seen.

Here are a few of my main concerns:

1.) I disliked the main character, Eve, which is a recipe for disaster. Especially near the end when she showed how utterly weak and thoughtless she is, I was about to throw my poor baby Kindle through the wall. Eve is inconsistent, selfish, and fickle.I kept hoping for Eve to become self sufficient, I wanted Carey to make us hate Eve for her naivete and then journey with her through self discovery and we would come to love her because we understood the growth she went through, but it never happened. It fell completely flat.

2.) Insta-love has never been so extreme. Eve is TERRIFIED of men and three chapters later she’s hiding and cuddling with tons of dudes? And then BAM! “Omg I love you ever so much random boy! You give me a feeling no one ever has before and I cannot live without you!” Well, considering that you are not a lesbian, no shit the first boy you meet gives you the butterflies you dumb twat! Carey made the progression between the extremes so sudden which equals 100% unbelievable. The good ole quote “If you stand for nothing you’ll fall for everything” works well here. If you refuse to give your character morals and ideas, she becomes sloppy and unrelatable which leads to poorly written plots. It seems as though Carey didn’t spend enough time building her heroine so she needed to toss in a boy to stir things up.

3.) The post-apocalyptic theme was stretched. A lot. Like Stretch Armstrong craziness. I couldn’t grasp the dramatic plague concept. It wasn’t developed enough at the beginning and although it gets cleared up more toward the middle of the book, by then I had already made up my mind about it being too far fetched. Once again, I think Carey had good bones of the world, but didn’t spend enough time creating the world that we could live in. It felt more like a 5th grade clay diagram displayed in a shoe box.

I refuse to give this book One Star purely based on the fact that I can see potential in the next books. Because while I disliked almost everything about this book, I have strange desire to read the second one. And reading other reviews about Eve, most people feel the same way. Crazy huh? I hope Eve stops being a self-centered hoe-face and gets royally slapped by reality. If Carey can build more on her foundation, create a more realistic world and characters, she won’t have to rely on the YA Writing 101 basics. Because if you have a great character and a real world, you won’t need insane love stories to make your book awesome.

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