Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

Title: Gates of Thread and Stone
Author: Lori M. Lee
Series: Gates of Thread and Stone, Book 1
Pages: 333
Genre: Fantasy
Method of acquirement: Library
Publisher: Skyscape
My rating: 4.5-5 stars
 
Summary:
Kai has the power to manipulate time. In the city of Ninurta, this is a dangerous secret. Only Kahl Ninu, the city’s leader, is allowed to have magic. So, at the instruction of her “brother” Reev, Kai struggles keeps her power a secret. When Reev suddenly goes missing, Kai becomes very worried and investigates his disappearance. In doing so, she is told that the “Black Rider” has taken him. Joined by her friend, Avan, Kai decides to make the dangerous journey across the Outlands toward the Void where the Rider is rumoured to live.
My thoughts:
I enjoyed reading Gates of Thread and Stone very much. A few weeks ago, I entered a contest to win it and the sequel (The Infinite) on audiobook from the author. Sadly, I did not win, but I decided that I needed to read GoTaS right away, so I put my other books on hold and ordered it from my library. I’m really glad I did!
I found Kai to be a very realistic and believable character. Her feelings and fears were very real and I felt as though I could connect with her through them. When going to search for Reev, her friend, Avan, offers to go with her on the journey. Kai does not want to be selfish and take Avan away from his home to accompany her, nor does she wish to put him in danger. Yet she knows that she cannot do it alone, even though she wishes she could. She is afraid of refusing his help, but she is also afraid of accepting it in case that is not what is best for him.
The romance between Kai and Avan isn’t the instant “falling in love at first sight” that most books seem to have. They have been friends for a very long time, and the quest to find Reev brings them much closer. Kai is unsure of her feelings for Avan and is a bit confused about the whole thing.
The relationship between Kai and G-10 was quite confusing. I definitely don’t like them together romantically.
**SPOILER** When Irra announced that he was Famine, I thought that maybe he was one of the four Riders of the apocalypse, especially when Death and Conquest were also mentioned. However, they are Infinites, an immortal group of which there are 70 members. This cleared up the confusion of whether they were the Riders, but I am unsure of why there are 70 and how the author will choose to explain or use this information. 70 seems to be quite a lot of immortals that each have their own specific power. **End spoiler**
That being said, I am very interested to see how the lore continues to play out. I am also looking forward to the development of Kai and Avan’s relationship after the events at the end of the book.
**SPOILER** Kai’s true identity was very predictable, though Avan’s role was a total surprise to me. **End Spoiler**
Again, I enjoyed reading Gates of Thread and Stone very much. It is a story about real loyalty, family and humanity, and has wonderful potential with world building and lore.
Language:
The author made up a word for the world of the book (“drek”), which was used a bunch of times; about 3 uses of “a**”
Sexual content:
The town where Kai lives has many prostitutes, many of which seem very keen on getting to know her brother. However, Kai spends the majority of the book out of her town, so this is only in the beginning of the book.
Kai and Avan sleep very close together when there is no room in the cave they are hiding in
On multiple occasions, Kai thinks about kissing Avan
Kai briefly admires Avan’s butt when he’s in his training uniform
G-10 jokes about hoping Kai was trying to make a sexual request
Kai wishes she and Avan could sleep in the same bed (nothing sexual about it is implied, though)
Kai thinks about bathing with Avan
A boy kisses/tries to kiss Avan
Avan says he “doesn’t care about gender”, implying he is bisexual
Kai and Avan kiss passionately a couple times
More information:
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Series: N/A
Pages: 550
Genre: Historical
Method of acquirement: Summer book sale
My Rating: 4 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
 


My thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is not at all my usual style of book...not the writing or the genre, but I still loved it. The style was very unconventional, which was hard to get used to at first.
Stories of the Holocaust are always difficult, and while The Book Thief is written about a young girl and has a bit more of a playful feel, this book is really no exception. 

Perhaps the most interesting thing about The Book Thief is that it is narrated by Death.

I did cry during this book. I cried at the end for Liesel and everyone in her town. Though I am not sure how much of my tears were actually for the story, or if it was mainly because I was returning to school...

    Language: There was quite a bit. No f-bomb, though, and the most common was an insult in German, which was used very often - usually in a playful manner.
    Sexual content: Rudy keeps asking Liesel for a kiss. [Something else I can't remember right now]

More information:


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ACID by Emma Pass

Acid


My review: (4 Stars)
Overall, this was a great book. The twists and turns of the plot kept me hooked and the fact that Jenna didn't even know everything about her past or even her present was very intriguing.
The copy that I read from was an ARC, so there were a few typos, but they weren't terrible and were easily overlooked since the story was so good.
The only thing that really bothered me was the line at the end of the book "And best of all, we know that no one's going to walk in on us when we're kissing on my bed and he's got his hands under my shirt, or when I've got mine under his." Ugh...seriously? That does not help the story in the least...
Also, as a friend on Goodreads mentioned, this is a dystopian novel, but set OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES. So...that's unusual and refreshing.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Golden Daughter comes out today!

I really loved the first four books that I got to read in this series and I really hope to get a chance to read the rest very soon.
Golden Daughter's cover is soo beautiful! If you'd like to buy it, here is the link to amazon.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Dangerous by Shannon Hale



Rating: Umm, less that one Star? This book was awful, and I only read 7 chapters.

I got the sample of this book on my Nook, thinking that it would be cool, but wanting to test it first. I liked Shannon Hale's other books, and the idea of a sci-fi space story by the same author sounded really interesting.
I was definitely wrong. This book-the first 48 pages-was absolutely terrible. I did expect a romance sub-plot. But...that's not what I got. It seems that this is a teen romance book with some occasional science fiction things. If you are lucky.
Maisie loves science, and has always dreamed of being an astronaut and going to space. When she entres a contest to go to space camp and then wins, she is very excited. So she leaves her home and her best friend behind.
Problems I had with this book:
-Possible romance with her best friend, Luther. (And at that moment, I was hoping that would be the extent of the romance. I also kind of liked Luther's character...)
-Even though Maisie and Luther obviously grew up together, and, from what it seems, they only have each other as friends, they are incredibly awkward...Luther was surprised he was her best friend and felt strange giving her a hug when she left.
-Space Camp was in Texas. Look. This is a sci-fi novel. Can't space camp be...oh idk...in SPACE?
-What kind of space stuff do they do? Well...treasure hunting? (Right after the camp instructors insisted that this was serious stuff for older kids, not babies)
-Maisie's attraction to Wilder. Look, you just met him a day or two ago. AND you seemed to like your friend back at home. But now you are in love with this guy?!

"Had he noticed that I watched him in the cafeteria? Had he guessed that I re-read his file? That some nights when I closed my eyes, I saw his?" (umm...what??)

-Maisie is definitely an idiot when it comes to responding to creepy guys...
-On their first "date," Maisie and Wilder kiss about 8 times...and its not just innocent kissing, either.
-And then Maisie memorizes how long each one was, exactly, and replays it every time she sleeps...
-Wilder is overly possessive of Maisie after this (even though later on, it is made clear he really doesn't care about her)
-In case I haven't said it before, Wilder is a creep.

"Wilder traced my lower lip with his finger. "I like your mouth."
"I'm not that girl," I reminded him, but I wondered if maybe I was."

""Let's skip the next session," he whispered, his hand finding my lower back. "We could find an empty room and talk about microscopes.""

"Wilder kept holding my hand, rubbing my fingernails over his lip."

-And in spite of all this garbage that seems to border on sexual content, in the first 7 chapters, it seems to be made clear that the author has no intention of using any swear words. I might be able to honestly say that I would rather read a book filled with swear words than read a book with this stuff in it. It's not even outright, explicit sexual content, but seriously...
If I was in a situation like that, the guy would be dead.

I definitely did not expect this type of story...from the sci-fi genre description, or from the author. I probably won't be reading any other new books by Shannon Hale.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hello again!

I have been SO busy lately with school that I have not had the time to post at all. (Except for the last post about "Love at First Sight". Sorry about that) Also, because of school, I have not had much of a chance to read much.

However, I did just recently finish Cinder by Marissa Meyer, which was awesome and you should all go check it out, along with the rest of the Lunar Chronicles.

I have started a sort of "personal essay" type blog here, where I will probably be writing in-depth discussions about different things. So far, there are a few movie reviews for a class I am taking, and the most recent post-an analysis of the INTJ personality, which is my result from the Myers-Briggs test. Soon, I expect to have a post about POTC: On Stranger Tides and also my view on dating (because of another school assignment).

I really hope I can post here more, but for now with school, I will probably be absent still.
But please don't hesitate to comment on things; I love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Do you believe in love at first sight?"

No, I do not.
Let’s look at this two different ways:
  • One
"Love at first sight" first sight. sight.
Taking the phrase in a literal sense, it would mean falling in love with someone the moment you see them, based on the way they look. Studies show that looks are deceiving and something as simple as the story of Beauty and the Beast can show that.
But not only should you be careful about judging by outward appearance, looks are not what you should be basing your interest on. If you “fall in love” with someone because they are good looking or “hot”, then you don’t really love the person. You love the way they look. It’s not love, it’s desire to possess something you think is beautiful. (Which is kind of creepy now that I think about it. People aren’t objects to be possessed. I never thought of this before…)
So, concluding point number one: Attraction to outward appearance is not love, and love should never be based on such attraction, either. (But it is probably a good thing, in general, if you find the person you love to be attractive.)
  • Two
Perhaps when people use this phrase, they don’t always mean it in the literal sense that implies all you care about are physical features.
Maybe it means you see how they treat you, and since you are pleased by what you have observed, you “fall in love” with them.
This is definitely makes a bit more sense than the previous idea, and I would have an easier time believing it. However…
A few minutes is NOT enough time to get to know someone well enough to decide if you love them. That short amount of time was probably a good time for them. But what about the rest of the time? What about how they treat other people and act around them? And how would you know if they will treat you that way all the time?
Frozen’s example of Anna and Hans is too obvious not to mention. Anna met Hans and instantly liked him. After another meeting, she decided she loved him and wanted to marry him as soon as possible. What she should have done is waited a while, getting to know him first. Then maybe she would have seen how he really was.
In conclusion of point number two, you really need to get to know someone first. Hang out with them. Become their close friend. And then once you know who they really are, you can decide if you really like them.
So, again, I do not believe in “love at first sight.” And I have told you why.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl--Review

Title: Dragonwitch
Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Series: Tales of Goldstone Wood-Book 5
Pages: 425
Publisher: Bethany House
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 2 stars

Summary:
WHO WILL DARE FACE THE DRAGONWITCH?

Submissive to her father's will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet the future kind of the North Country and a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves.

But within the walls of his castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta's tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the entire nation.

    And far away in a hidden kingdom, a flame burns atop the Citadel of the Living Fire. Acolytes and priestesses serve the goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice...and for the hero who can wield it.

My thoughts:
    I hate to give this book such a low rating, as I love fantasy and I really like Anne Elisabeth Stengl, but I do have my reasons...
    First, this series started out with Heartless, the story of Princess Una. The second and third books I also enjoyed, but they were someone else's story, not Una's. Then with the fourth book, Starflower, the story went back thousands of years to tell yet another person's story. She definitely had something to do with history that was important to the world that the author had created, but I am not sure how she was connected to what had happened before. I don't even remember her being mentioned that much. Yes, perhaps in future novels in this series, everything will come together perfectly, but....after 5 books of this jumping around...who knows what will happen or how long it will take? I'm not even sure where Dragonwitch fits in at all with the others (besides something to do with dragons...).
    The summary of the book talks about Lady Leta and Lord Alistair as though they are the main characters, but throughout a lot of the book, it doesn't seem that is the case. Most of the time, it is more the Chronicler who is the "main character". (I don't have anything against that, but it just makes it confusing)

More information:

I was given this book by Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ratatouille

It has been a week or so since we finished watching Ratatouille in CrossNCulture class. Now I must write my reflections and thoughts. So, without further ado..
A quick summary:
    Remy is a young rat who desires more than just the garbage food that everyone else in his family is satisfied with. He kept going back to the kitchen in the human's house to get nicer food, and found a cookbook. But when the lady who owns the house finds all the rats, she drives them out and Remy gets separated. Eventually, he starts helping Linguini, a young worker at Gusteu's restaurant. Because he had a passion for cooking, he was able to excel at it, and help out the restaurant, as well as bring out the truth with Linguini.

------------------------------------------------------------------

     "Anyone can cook"

    With this motivational message from Auguste Gusteau, Remy is sure that he can be much more than every other rat is. Everyone keeps telling him that he is a rat, and rats only eat garbage, but when one person encourages him, his dreams come closer to becoming real. He does not let everyone get him down, and one person believing in him is enough to get him to his goal.
    In the same way, the world tells us that we cannot do certain things and have to stick to the "status quo", but as Christians, we need to know that we are different.

"You can't change nature."

    After finding out about his job in the kitchen, Remy's father takes him to a rat poison store to show him what normally happens to rats who do not know their place. He says that rats will always be considered filthy pests, and humans will always hate them. Remy is horrified at what he sees, yet he does not believe that things always have to be that way. To his father's dismay and confusion, Remy turns around and returns to the kitchen of Gusteau's restaurant.
    A lot of people think that once someone has an identity, they cannot change. People can change, though, just not on their own. We need God's grace and forgiveness to help us. In the same way, Remy and the people in the kitchen cannot change by themselves. They need each other's help to see what each different group is like.

"The world belongs to the enemy"

    Remy's father tells this to Remy at the rat poison shop, hoping to make it clear that the humans are in charge of the world, and the rats need to stay hidden.
    This is true for us, too. The world (or many things of the world, at least) belongs to the enemy, Satan. We need to be careful not to let the enemy get ahold of us.

------------------------------------------------------------------
 
There are a handful main messages in Ratatouille, some of them being positive and a few being not so positive.
 
Negative themes:
-Defying the rules is okay, as long as you think you are doing good.

Remy knows that his family's rules are to stay together and only do what rats normally do. And definitely do not entre the house. But Remy does what he is not supposed to do anyway, because he wants to learn how to cook and be a great chef. While being a really awesome cook is not evil, the way Remy defied his father's rules was not the way to do so.
-People cannot change (beginning of the movie, Remy's father)
Remy's father believed that people cannot change their nature, but we know that they can, with the help of God.

Positive themes:
-People can change (end of the movie)
By the end of the movie, it is made clear that people really can change how they think and act.
-Anyone can be great
All people have potential, and if they work hard, they can do great things, and be even greater with the help of God.
-Family
Remy learns that he needs his family. While it is important to learn how to be independent, it is really important to stick with your family and help each other out.

Biblical Elements:
-Don't let people limit you because of where you come from
-Do not focus on the past

Art:
-The animation was very realistic. Rats were real-looking (but also cute)
-Gas mask lady in the beginning had great potential for nightmares (don't ask...)
-The food was very realistic and some people claimed that it made them seem hungry

Symbolic Names:
-Linguini=long, skinny, easily broken pasta. In the movie, Linguini was a tall, skinny boy who did not have much authority.
-Gusteau=large. Gusteau was a large/fat chef, and his business was also very large and popular
-Ego. Only thought about himself and how he feels about things.

Other things:
-Food
At first, Remy does not eat with his family, but then he does. (fellowship)
-Tired of pretending
Remy is tired of pretending to only be a normal rat

=Where is your identity?=


Note: I wrote this for my CrossNCulture/Bible class to publish on this blog.
 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fortress of Mist by Sigmund Brouwer--Book Review

 
Title: Fortress of Mist
Author: Sigmund Brouwer
Series: Merlin's Immortals - Book 2
Pages: 217
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars
 
Summary: [from the back of the book]
 The throne is redeemed, but the battle is just beginning.
 
In the dark corners of an ancient land, evil lurks in the shadows. Powerful druids haunt the spaces of their lost territory. Double-minded noblemen fight for domain and influence. Invaders from the North threaten the kingdom of Magnus.
 
 
My thoughts: Overall, I thought this was a very good book. It continued the story from where book one left off-right before Thomas became the new king of Magnus. It was pretty well written, though a bit shorter than books I am used to reading for YA sometimes.
Also, I found it incredibly confusing trying to remember which girl was who, and if Katherine and Isabelle were on Thomas' side. And if they were still alive or being impersonated. I DO like mysteries in a plot line, but I feel as though this time, it really took away from my enjoyment of the book.
 
More information:
 
 
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. (Thank you!)