Thursday, July 21, 2011

The People of Sparks

And now, book #5! This one is the next Book of Ember.



Title: The People of Sparks
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Year Published: 2004
Synopsis: The People of Sparks picks up where The City of Ember leaves off. Lina and Doon have emerged from the underground city to the exciting new world above, and it isn’t long before they are followed by the other inhabitants of Ember. The Emberites soon come across a town where they are welcomed, fed, and given places to sleep. But the town’s resources are limited and it isn’t long before resentment begins to grow between the two groups. When anonymous acts of vandalism push them toward violence, it’s up to Lina and Doon to discover who’s behind the vandalism and why, before it’s too late. 

Why?: I recently finished reading The City of Ember, which is the prequel to this novel. I enjoyed the story, and since it left off with a cliffhanger, I kind of had to read this one next. The City of Ember was a very easy read, so I figure this one won't take very long to read before I start the beast of a book that is Wizard's First Rule.

Expectations: Like I said before, I don't expect this book to be a difficult read at all. I expect it to be very similar to The City of Ember in that it has a nice plot, but is written for a younger age group. I feel like The People of Sparks will have basically the same storyline, but will just take place above ground and with some additional characters. Since it's a post-apocalyptic world, I'm sure that food and shelter and everything will be an issue. Hopefully this book doesn't get terribly boring and cliche.

Judging a book by its cover: The cover of this one is a night sky with a plant in the shape of an S. I assume that to mean that plants are important, and that the night will play a pretty big role. Or maybe the people of Ember are just confused by night and all of the new plants. The S is most likely because of the town being called Sparks, so I don't think that has much more significance than that.


I'm just going to keep reading all of these random books until I get Sisters Red from Paul. :)


And, of course, I'll try to write a blog about halfway through... but obviously I'm not promising anything. Since I've failed every other time I've tried to do that.



--Ashley

People find a way through just about anything.



I finished The City of Ember! And I would have written you a blog in the middle of the book, but I finished it at the beach so that wasn't really possible. Sorry about that.

[There are some spoilers below, so don't read this if you don't want too many spoilers!]

This book pretty much met all of my expectations. The story was nice, and it was definitely directed at a younger audience. The concept of Ember itself is interesting, and something that could maybe sometime happen in the future. I mean, if mankind did pretty much destroy itself, there would be those people who would want to save it, and would go to great lengths to do so. Even if it meant creating an underground city.

The idea of a corrupted government is definitely not a new one, but it is one that always makes a story more interesting. If the one mayor hadn't been corrupt and hadn't thrown the box with "The Instructions for Egress" into a closet after he couldn't open it himself, then the book wouldn't even exist because the people of Ember would have escaped when they were supposed to. And of course, the current mayor and his Guard must also be corrupt.

While reading this book, I kept forgetting that Lina and Doon (the main characters) are only supposed to be 12 years old, and whenever I realized that it kind of annoyed me since they aren't constructed as 12 year olds. They act and speak like they're about 18, and even though children in Ember grow up much more quickly than children in this world, I feel like the author could have made them more like 12 year olds and less like adults. More like Lizzie, maybe. 

Overall, I think it was a nice read. I would probably recommend it to a middle school aged crowd though instead of a high school/young adult group. It did catch my attention enough that I'll read the rest of the series and watch the movie though, so props to the author on that one. 


--Ashley

Sisters Red (Review)

I have finally finished "Sisters Red"!
Here are links to my last two blog posts about this book:
Before Reading
Halfway


I enjoyed this book. It was a nice take on a classic fairy-tale. Pearce added mythology and character to a bland story about staying on the path. My mother teaches preschool and uses the Little Red Riding Hood story at the beginning of the year to get her 3-year-olds to stay in line. This novel addresses each person's path, but not necessarily how to stay on them but to question them. Scarlett has her path of hunting and Rosie comes to terms with her feelings toward the hunting lifestyle. Pearce did a wonderful job of portraying both sisters' perspectives. 


SPOILERS (Ashley, you don't read anymore until you have finished this novel)


I really liked how the traditionally helpless Little Red Riding Hood wields the ax. The ending was unfortunately happy. I guess I am fine with everyone surviving, but the way Pearce wrote it I was not sure if there would be a happy ending until the church bells rang. I enjoyed the use of Plato's cave throughout the novel. Silas did end up being the Potentail, just as I initially suspected. 


Overall, I liked this book and will probably read more of Jackson Pearce's works. Her videos are amazing! Here is a link to her youtube channel: JacksonAPearce .


-PAUL

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The City of Ember!

Well, I started this book before I posted about it... So I'm going to apologize for that. But here it is anyway! And since this one is more than 100 pages, I'll try to write about it somewhere in the middle as well, instead of just waiting until I finish lol.





Title: The City of EmberAuthor: Jeanne DuPrau
Year Published: 2003
Synopsis: This City of Ember is a city hidden underground; way beneath the earth. The city's only sources of light are slowly beginning to fade. Now it all depends on two children, Lina and Doon. They know they must find an elusive exit to the city, but how? Where? If they fail, the whole city will be shrouded in darkness. The courageous children persevere in this disastrous situation. Will they find a way out? Can they save what's most important of all?

Why?: I stole it out of Paul's room when I was in Melbourne and started reading it, and figure I should probably finish it lol. Plus, it sounds like an interesting concept.

Expectations: Well, since I've already started reading it, my expectations are a little skewed. I'm expecting an interesting story, but one that's written for an age group slightly younger than what I'm used to reading. I'd say this book is directed at a middle school aged audience, instead of the older part of the "Young Adult" genre.

Judging a book by its cover: The cover has a lightbulb with the filament spelling out "ember," which makes me think that the majority of this book will have to deal with light, or the lack thereof. Lightbulbs will probably also play a big role in the whole light theme.


And here goes book #4! Not quite a library yet, Paul, but I'm getting there ;)


--Ashley

Sisters Red (Halfway)

So, Ashley is a cheetah when it comes to reading and I have been pretty tortoise-like recently.


I have finally reached the halfway mark of Sisters Red.


From this point on I'm going to just discuss a few things about the book where I am at right now. So Ashley, you don't read the following until you have read half the book which will probably take you 5 minutes once you get a hold of it.


I haven't read much "paranormal romance" and so far there's only a small romance plot. It took me a little while to get into this book, but I think I'm there now. I like how the book is narrated by both sisters, alternating each chapter. I enjoy the Rosie chapters more, but really like how Pearce made them actually feel like two different people.


The Rosie-Silas love story has just reached the part where she admits her love. It will be interesting to see where it goes. She is younger than him, but it's nothing like Aria and Ezra (Pretty Little Liars). 


Before this chapter, I was thinking that Silas may be the Potential. But now I'm thinking it might be someone Rosie meets at one of her classes. 


I like the little funny quirks Pearce throws in there that remind me of her youtube videos.


I'm looking forward to continuing to read. Hopefully I'll finish it before Ashley reads a whole library.


-PAUL

"Enemies are the price of honour."

Finished Debt of Bones today!


Although it starts out kind of slow, the novella picks up fairly quickly once the main character (Abby) is introduced and somewhat established. Taking place in the midst of war and before the birth of Richard, Kahlan, and Darken Rahl, the story reveals to readers of the "Sword of Truth" series how the boundaries between the Midlands, D'Hara, and Westland. It also serves to give a picture of Zedd as a young man, and to give further insight into his life.

I had fairly high expectations of Debt of Bones before reading it, and I'd say it lived up to most of them (once it got going). Although not action packed, the characters are well-defined and quickly developed. Especially for a novella.


And now on to the next book, before Paul can finish his first!


--Ashley




Friday, July 15, 2011

Willy nilly silly ole bear.

"When you wake up in the morning. Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
"It's the same thing," he said.
-A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Winnie the Pooh!

In celebration of the new Winnie the Pooh movie opening tomorrow (and in lieu of going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2), I am going to re-read this book. And also watch Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin. If Harry Potter wasn't consuming every single theatre in the country tonight, I would be trying to see the Winnie the Pooh movie at midnight. But, alas, Harry Potter is obviously more important...


Title: Winnie-the-Pooh
Author: A. A. Milne (with decorations by Ernest H. Shepard)
Year Published: 1926 (yeah, that's right. Winnie the Pooh has been around for ALMOST A CENTURY)
Synopsis: Pooh and friends go adventuring. Seriously, I'm not giving you a full synopsis. This book has been around since 1926, if you don't know the synopsis by now, shame on you.

Why?: Because Winnie-the-Pooh is awesome, the movie comes out tomorrow, and because I'm protesting Harry Potter.

Expectations: I've already read it, I don't have any new expectations lol

Judging a book by its cover: Pooh and friends are on the cover. It's going to be awesome. Again.


And yes, I am a rebel. Forget Harry Potter and "the end of an era", Winnie-the-Pooh is timeless.


--Ashley


From Pooh's Grand Adventure:

 Pooh: You are just in time for the best part of the day! 
Christopher Robin: What part is that? 
Pooh: The part where you and me, become we!




Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Debt of Bones

Second book! This one is additional reading, not one that Paul is going to have to read/comment on :)




Title: Debt of BonesAuthor: Terry Goodkind
Year Published: 2001
Synopsis: Debt of Bones is the story of young Abby's struggle to win the aid of the wizard Zedd Zorander, the most important man alive. Abby is trapped, not only between both sides of the war, but in a mortal conflict between two powerful men. For Zedd, who commands power most men can only imagine, granting Abby's request would mean forsaking his sacred duty. With the storm of the final battle about to break, both Abby and Zedd are caught in a desperate fight to save the life of a child...but neither can escape the shadow of an ancient betrayal. With time running out, their only choice may be a debt of bones. The world-for Zedd, for Abby, for everyone-will never again be the same.

Why?: I recently watched the TV series "Legend of the Seeker" on Netflix, and became very interested in reading the books. I was going to start with Wizard's First Rule, the first novel in the "Sword of Truth" series, but realized I had this book as well. Since it's the prequel to the series, I figured I should start with it.

Expectations: I've got pretty high expectations for this novella - even though it comes before the events in "Legend of the Seeker", I'm hoping it's just as good. And usually the books are better than the TV show/movie, right?

Judging a book by its cover: On the front, a man and woman are looking at a skull... I'm assuming the man is Zedd, and the woman is Abby. Hopefully the book is more exciting than them looking at things. And I hope there's no soliloquies given to skulls... To be or not to be?


I'll try to write more as I read this time, instead of after I finish the whole thing! It's not very long though, since it's only a novella, so no promises.


--Ashley

Thursday, July 7, 2011

amor deliria nervosa

So... I am obviously no good at writing/keeping up with a blog. Especially when it's supposed to coincide with reading a book.

In other words... I finished my book...like a week ago... and didn't write a single thing about it. I'll try to do better next time. But at least I actually read my book, unlike someone else... :)

Anyway, the book. As a quick refresher, my first book was Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I'll try to review it without giving away too many spoilers, but we'll see how that goes...

As a whole, Delirium more than exceeded my expectations. Not knowing anything about the author or the book before diving head first into it, I wasn't really expecting much. Just a nice YA story about some girl in a dystopian society beating the system. However, this wasn't your typical "girl is happy in society, girl meets boy, girl realizes society is bad, girl falls in love with boy, girl and boy run away together" story. There's much more depth to the characters without making them too complex, and the descriptions of the society and how it ended up the way it is are concise and to the point. Not much time is wasted in describing the scenery or anything, and the story flows well.

To the people of Lena's world, love is a disease - "amor deliria nervosa" - and is one of the most deadly diseases. It is "the deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't." (p. 4). Lena believes this, and what she has been taught, and cannot wait to have the procedure to make her immune to this illness. However, like every teenager, Lena gets caught up in a rebellious streak and ends up wanting to fight the system because she begins to doubt it. The book chronicles her journey from unthinking teenager who believes everything she's told to a thinking individual capable of making her own decisision and fighting for her right to love (after falling in love herself, of course).

The ending of the book is not entirely predictable either, which is nice. And definitely not common in a YA novel. It's also interesting that, although Delirium is the first of a trilogy, the novel could also be a standalone. I definitely want to read the next two books in the series when they come out, but had Lauren Oliver decided to not write the other two, I'd also be ok with that.

I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys YA novels, but wants to read something a little different from the typical ones that are out there right now.



And now, onto the next book!

--Ashley




Friday, July 1, 2011

Sisters Red



Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Year Published: 2010
Synopsis: 
For Scarlett and Rosie March, the world is not what it seems. Werewolves, called Fenris, live among them in the form of good-looking men who prey on pretty young girls. When a Fenris attacked the March girls, it killed their grandmother and left them emotionally and, for Scarlett, physically scarred. Since then, they have taken action and revenge. With the help of a friend, Silas, the girls are on a mission—to destroy as many Fenris as they can. This goal becomes more complicated when they try to unravel the mystery behind the pack and prevent the next "Potential" from transforming fully into a soulless, evil monster. 

Why?:
Although this will be my first Jackson Pearce novel, I have followed her on youtube for the past few months and she is hilarious! She is awesome on many levels, from taking circus classes to controlling an army of talking manatees. I just hope her humor translates well into her writing.
 
Expectations: I expect  to laugh. I also expect this to not be a lovey dovey YA romance. It is about werewolves, and this does worry me. I have not read any of the Twilight
 books or seen any of the movies. So much YA recently has turned into love triangles and it sounds like there is only one potential love interest from the synopsis, so hopefully the story will be filled with interesting well formed characters. I am also interested in how she will portray the sisterly bond. It seems like it will be a big part of this novel and I am an only child. Maybe Ashley will connect with that aspect more when she reads this. 


Judging a book by its cover: I really like the colors on the cover. There are three characters present: the two sisters and a werewolf. The black-haired sister is blended with the werewolf so maybe she becomes a werewolf, is killed by a werewolf, or falls in love with a werewolf. This is a book I would pick up and look at because of the bold colors. 


-PAUL

Delirium!

Ok, here goes, first book!




Title:
Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Year Published: 2011
Synopsis:
Lena Haloway is content in her safe, government-managed society. She feels (mostly) relaxed about the future in which her husband and career will be decided, and looks forward to turning 18, when she’ll be cured of deliria, a.k.a. love. She tries not to think about her mother’s suicide (her last words to Lena were a forbidden “I love you”) or the supposed “Invalid” community made up of the uncured just beyond her Portland, Maine, border. There’s no real point—she believes her government knows how to best protect its people, and should do so at any cost. But 95 days before her cure, Lena meets Alex, a confident and mysterious young man who makes her heart flutter and her skin turn red-hot. As their romance blossoms, Lena begins to doubt the intentions of those in power, and fears that her world will turn gray should she submit to the procedure.

Why?: I'm
all about YA dystopian novels, and this seems like a typical one. It's interesting that love is thought of as something that should be cured (like AIDS or cancer), and it's set in the US instead of on some distant planet in a parallel universe. Maybe not the most original of ideas or plot lines, but hopefully it proves to be a well written book with a different take on your typical YA love story.


Expectations: Not many expectations for this one, I haven't read anything else by this author and I haven't read many reviews about the book. Plus, it just came out like last month, so I haven't encountered anyone else who has read it or even heard of it (except Paul, of course).
Judging a book by its cover: The cover is, at first glance, pretty unassuming. Just the author and the title. Until you look at it closer... then you can see the girl's face in the letters. Oh, and when you take off the jacket, there's some girl just looking downwards. I'm hoping the book isn't as creepy as that. At least it's not something stupid like two hands holding an apple though...


Here goes nothing!
-Ashley