Friday, February 7, 2014

Characterize It is hosted by Em @ The YA Book Butterfly.
This week's theme is: Regular Old Gall - You know how some characters in books are so unrealistic? Can you come up with a really realistic character?
A lot of characters came to mind, and it was hard to choose between them all! But I finally settled on Amanda from The Jane Austen Diaries: Persuaded.
First off, The Jane Austen Diaries are fantastic retellings of classic Jane Austen novels that are set in modern times. Amanda was my favorite character out of all of them. She gave into peer pressure and refused to go out with a boy she really liked just because her friends thought he was a loser. She realized that she had made a mistake and swore to never turn Gregory down again if he asked her. But Gregory is still deeply hurt and doesn't want to take the chance of getting his heart broken again. Amanda became the sweetest girl ever and I loved that she took charge of her own life instead of letting her friends run it for her. Definitely give this book a try.
Who do you think the most realistic character is?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Ignite Me

Title: Ignite Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 4th 2014
Pages: 352
Genre: YA
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 4 Starfish

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.-
Summary and cover image from Goodreads

First things first: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the book yet, then please skip this review.

Secondly: I took notes while reading Ignite Me and my thoughts ended up jumbled all over the place. So I’m apologizing in advance for my chaotic writing. And my review is pretty long, so bear with me.

Thirdly: I love Tahereh Mafi and I am in no way trying to make her look bad or say bad things about her. I think she is a wonderful author, but I have issues with the book and I will state them.

Okay? Okay.

It took me all day Tuesday to read the book, and after I put it down, I was like “okay, that was good. I’m happy about this. What a great way to end the story”. But then I woke up Wednesday morning, and I was like, “I’m not okay with it”. I loved Aaron in the first book because he was kind of like the tortured soul. He was obsessed and psychotically in love with the heroine, but he couldn’t have her because he was the antagonist. Juliette was a scared little girl; her mind was everywhere. Adam was like the knight in shining armor coming in to rescue her, and the whole time I was reading, I was like, “This love triangle is insanely awesome”.  In the second book, Aaron spent a lot of time in the spotlight and Adam was pushed to the back. This was fair though, because Adam had a lot of air time in Shatter Me and so then it was Aaron’s turn. Destroy me was also great. Getting to learn more about Warner’s psychotic nature was awesome. He was still the tortured soul, in love with a girl he couldn’t have, and it was tragic. But then fracture me happened…… why? Why did you do it Tahereh? Adam was so weird acting in Fracture Me. He did a complete 180 without any good reason why. At first I just thought that his weirdness would dissipate once he was reunited with Juliette again. Nope. Not even close to that.

Adam reacted unbelievably in the third book. It was way too dramatic and over-the-top, and completely unrealistic because that was not who Adam was at all. It was almost like Tahereh was making him so ridiculous, that it gave Juliette no choice but to turn to Aaron. I wanted Aaron and Juliette to be together from the beginning. I was always team Warner. But I didn’t like how they got together in Ignite Me. I didn’t feel good about it and I still don’t. Adam gave up so easily on Juliette and she gave up so easily on Adam, and then she turns around and she’s like, “Oh look, there’s Aaron. He’s been here all along”. I feel like if Adam hadn’t of reacted the way that he did, then Juliette would have still been conflicted and torn between the two of them.

Shatter Me starts off with Adam and Juliette in the cell together and she and him have all this history, and there’s an intense attraction between the two of them. I can’t believe all of that was just thrown away and forgotten. He was her first friend, her first everything. And then Aaron comes in, and all she says about him is that he’s beautiful, but she HATES HIM. How can that change? How can you hate someone so absolutely and then love them so absolutely in such a short amount of time, when your other option is acting uncharacteristically weird? That makes no sense to me. I feel like nothing changed too drastically until after Adam was being weird. But Adam shouldn’t have been weird because that’s NOT ADAM. Sure I can see him losing interest in Juliette and giving up on her, but I can’t see him reacting as dramatically as he did (except for around Kenji, but Kenji has a tendency to be a big pain). I mean, I LOVE Aaron. I love that he finally told her everything so she didn’t go on thinking that he was a heartless monster. But it’s still so unfair! There’s so much Adam in the first book and suddenly he’s written out and Warner is put up on a pedestal. Like I said, it really isn’t fair. And even though I can’t stand Adam, I hate when things are unfair. Adam and Juliette have such a strong connection and it’s broken so easily. How, how, HOW did it come to this?!? Juliette broke, (do you hear me?), BROKE omega point just because Adam was in pain and suddenly that’s just all stopped? I get during chapter 62, where she says Adam’s name and she lied to Warner’s face, that she wanted him more than Adam at that moment, but Juliette and Aaron weren’t put together properly. I don’t understand and I just feel bad for readers because it wasn’t what it should have been. I swear, no author can get it right.               

I liked Juliette a lot in this book! She really changed and became a strong, kick-butt character, and I loved that she wasn’t afraid anymore. I basically wanted to stand up and applaud at the end of every chapter because she was just that awesome! I liked that she started seeing Aaron as a decent person, and they had a lot of cute moments that had me tearing up. But…. the whole her and Adam thing….it was so stupid. Not fair at all to Adam, and I can’t believe that I’m defending him, but it’s not fair to Aaron either and it just wasn’t done right. And something else that I noticed that started bugging me: Suddenly Aaron can kick Adam’s butt, when in the first book Aaron’s butt got kicked by Adam. It seems to me like maybe the book is too warner-centric. And maybe that killed it for me because there was just too much of him everywhere.  

Kenji’s the only character who stayed consistent throughout all three books. Kenji is the one thing that I am 100 percent happy and good and have all sorts of wonderful feels about. He was the funniest he’s ever been. His relationship with Juliette was totally adorable, and I loved watching it grow over time. He was the perfect best friend. I liked how nothing was awkward with them and they could talk about anything.  I love friendships more than I love romances, so I was really attracted to what these two had. Shoot, maybe I am team Kenji. Or maybe I just didn’t want Juliette to end up with anyone. I don’t know.

The wrap up, and Aaron and Juliette finally being together left me feeling very unsatisfied. I would have preferred it differently. Maybe the books should have been longer than a trilogy. And have I mentioned that I hate dystopians? I think I’ll swear them off from now on. They can never truly fix themselves, and I don’t believe that one person can change the entire world. I think that’s pretty far-fetched, even as tough as Juliette is. I’m not happy about the way the book ended and I’m not happy about how things played out; I’m conflicted. My feelings are somewhere in the middle, and being in the middle REALLY sucks. Gah! I can’t decide what my feelings are trying to tell me!!!

The character development was insane and I liked it, but at the same time I didn’t. Maybe I’m not going to be 100 percent either way. I think I will probably always feel half and half about these books. Some of it was too forced maybe? A little too ridiculous? Maybe that’s what’s getting me is the fact that it’s all pretty unrealistic and unbelievable. The story was also too short. The plot felt rushed at certain parts and then it dragged where it shouldn’t have dragged. Anderson died way too easily and the ending was too quick. Then the book was just done, and it left some things hanging. I’m pretty sure this book will bug me for all eternity.

 I do want to add one more thing concerning the wrap up: I never found out what Aaron did to prove that he was worthy of being in command (Maybe I just missed it, but I don’t think it ever came up). I was really looking forward to that secret being revealed. Again, this is where it didn’t wrap up as well as I had hoped. I thought it would be…..I don’t know what I thought. I just expected it to be better, but frankly I am very disappointed. Shatter me should have just been a standalone.

Okay, I think I have it, so here it goes. I have been team Aaron since the first book. I wanted her to be with Aaron. But the only reason she ended up with him, was because Adam was being a huge jerk. I think my problem is that Adam was written out so much and Aaron was idolized so much, that it just wasn’t fair when Juliette chose Aaron because she was choosing him by default in a way. I wanted Aaron to win the girl fairly and squarely, and what happened to Adam wasn’t fair, THERFORE, her choosing Aaron doesn’t feel right. Aaron and Adam should have been equal the entire time, so then when she chose one, it would have been real. Because one of her prospects slacked off, she obviously went with the other and that’s not right. That’s not right at all! Aaron should have won differently. But I think that’s it, I think that’s what I’m so upset about.

Sorry if my thoughts were all over the place. I usually try to clean up my reviews, but I figured I would leave this one how it is. I’ve never been so emotionally attached to a book trilogy before, and even though it didn’t end how I wanted it to, I would still recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting read.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Blog Schedule

Hello everyone! I finally sat down and came up with a schedule for my blog. From now on, I'm going to post at least two reviews a week, but I'll try and shoot for more than that. I also LOVE memes and will be posting those as well. So check back here frequently for new posts. Have a great week!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Review: Unravel Me

Title: Unravel Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 5th 2013
Pages: 461
Genre: YA
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 5 Starfish

it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life. -
Summary and cover image from Goodreads

Oh, my feels. Ms. Mafi has done it yet again! This book literally took my breath away. The prose throughout are stunning, as usual. I love that there’s less of this, and more of a normal style of writing because it shows how strong Juliette’s becoming.

Plot: The plot was strong and consistent throughout. There was a set problem and a set goal that was resolved by the end. The conflict between the characters was real and exciting. A lot of plot twists kept me on my toes, leaving me wanting more. It’s an easy storyline to follow along with. The only issue I had with the plot was that it seemed rushed towards the middle half. A lot of information was shoved into a couple of chapters, so this could have been done differently to make it better.

Setting: First off, dystopias rock. Secondly, this dystopian world is one of my favorites. The Reestablishment is a corrupt, government organization trying to take over the world.  A small band of rebels gathers together to take them down and thus begins a war between the two. Juliette and a vast majority of the rebels have special “powers” that can’t really be explained. Juliette’s abilities are especially lethal, and the Reestablishment wants her on their side. I found the setting to be very realistic, well thought out and planned. There aren’t any gaps or things that seem to be too far-fetched.

Shock Factors: The thing that makes Tahereh Mafi such a good author is the fact that she can cause so many emotions to rage inside of you with just a simple sentence at the end of a chapter. Most of the surprises came from learning more about each character than from anything else.

Warner: Warner, Warner, Warner… what can I possibly say about you without turning into a gushing mess all over the floor? Warner is, by far, the most complex and interesting character. He’s also my favorite, for many reasons; but first and foremost, I have to talk about the sexiest scene in the book: Chapter 62! The thing about Warner is that he never lets anyone get past the walls he’s built up. He never trusts anyone, doesn’t fully tell the truth, and he keeps pieces of himself hidden, which is unfortunate considering that those pieces are his best qualities. Anyway, if you haven’t guessed, the central theme is a love triangle, and Warner is, of course, part of it. He is crazy in love with the heroine and in chapter 62, he opens up to her and it’s all awesome and steamy and things are going great, until...... this thing happens. But no spoilers! To sum it all up, vulnerable Warner is the best Warner. You’re interested now, aren’t ya?

Juliette: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, she’s not one of my favorite heroines. She is super whiny at the beginning of the book. But as the story progresses, she gains more confidence in herself and more control over her abilities. She stops moping and pulls herself together and proceeds to kick some butt. All in all, she gets more likeable towards the end.

Adam: Adam was put on the backburner for the majority of this book. The focus was primarily on Warner and Juliette’s relationship, where as in the first book, the focus was on Adam and Juliette. I still find him to be a bit bland for my taste, but he’s not a bad character.

Secondary Characters: Kenji was the funniest he’s ever been! I was laughing so hard throughout the beginning of the book. Having him around really helped to lighten the mood. James was also his sweet self. He and Juliette had a touching moment, but not much happened with him in the story. However, a little surprise was revealed about him, which now prompts me to suspect that a few other surprises may be lurking around the corner…

Strengths: I would consider the whole book to be a strength. I thought it was just as good as the first one, if not better.

Weaknesses: The plot being rushed at parts is the only bad thing I have to say about it.

For the love of all books, just go and buy the Shatter Me trilogy so we can all fangirl together.