Book Review – Sever by Lauren DeStefano

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain. –Goodreads Synopsis

There is nothing quite as wonderful as the relief I feel when I finish a book series. And I had been waiting a long time to finish this one. It took three years of my life, but it is done! Anyway, onto the actual review.

Much as I liked the book, I feel like the author had more to say. The book went strong with new conflict until maybe the last 75 pages.  Then I felt like it was quickly wrapped up and it was just too sudden for me. The story was really good before that point. New characters were introduced (and they were awesome), old scary characters returned, secrets were revealed, and it seemed like things were coming together. And then the rug was pulled out from under me and I put into my glass case of emotion. (If you understand that reference, I applaud your awesomeness. If not, educate yourself.)  I wouldn’t say that questions were left unanswered, but I feel like some points from the series could have been illuminated further. Onward to what the characters were up to…

Rhine

It is a miracle! Rhine is finally not running from Linden! Instead, she just runs from everyone else! I think I am kind of horrible, but I don’t think Linden is a bad guy. At least he tries to be good. He is just somewhat clueless, but I will talk about him later. Rhine’s brother has become a terrorist, and she thinks that the best course of action is to chase him around. Probably not my first choice, but it worked for her. I wasn’t very attached to her in this novel. I was honestly more interested in Linden/Cecily’s story. A lot of this novel felt like Rhine just hanging around waiting for something to happen. For the story to work, I understand why she had to be hanging around healing, meeting new characters, thinking, cleaning, etc. But she was missing something for me. I still really liked Rhine, I just liked her more in Wither and Fever.

Linden

Poor Linden. He is the classic nice guy who can’t win. He tried really hard to make everyone happy. (Not to spoil anything, but that really didn’t work out well for him in the end.) I think he just has no idea what to think in general. But then again, who would have time to contemplate the universe while worrying about his four wives, dangerously eccentric uncle, and kind of insane father. Like Cecily, he finally tried to grow a backbone and spent most of the novel staying away from his father. I did feel like I got to know him a lot better in this novel, so I really liked learning more about his perspective/past. His habit of people pleasing drove me insane, but it was honestly just part of who he was. Linden is one of the things I will miss from this series.

Cecily

I absolutely love the character development on Cecily’s part. At times, it was hard to tell that she was a 14-year old sister wife with 1.5 kids. She definitely handles her life better than I could have. Kudos to Cecily for being a better housewife at 14 than I could be at 23. But really, her character has come so far. I remember reading her in the first book, and wishing she would just disappear. Her spineless/blasé attitude drove me insane. Seriously…if I was kidnapped, witness to the murder of the other kidnapping victims, forced into marriage and motherhood, and followed around by my creepy father in law, I would be mad enough to spit nails. However, in this novel her innocence is whittled away until you are left with a mean little sister with a chip on her shoulder the size of Snookie’s pre-baby poof. I personally wouldn’t want to her meet in a dark alley. Not that she would necessarily physically be able to hurt me…I am more worried about my mental well being. Anyway, she actually realizes that she can’t trust anyone and actually starts thinking. Yay for using your brain!

Overall Rating: 3/5 Stars

Overall Impression:

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18 Things I Learned from Boy Meets World

I love 90’s sitcoms. In my opinion, they are very clever compared to most modern TV shows and they did actually deal with realistic situations. Boy Meets World was my absolute favorite growing up. It did deal with a lot of real issues, as well as some off the wall situations. (Ex. Cory and Topanga moving to an island to carve coconut figurines for a living.) But I did learn a lot from Boy Meets World, and here it is!

1. When you know, you know.

2. Relationships take work.  Persistence pays people!

3. One good teacher can change everything.

4. It is never too early to name your children.

5. Be yourself.

6. To avoid disappointment, don’t expect perfection from your partner.

7. Looks aren’t everything. Unless you are just outrageously attractive.

8. Makeup is hard.

9. A lot of people don’t read. At all.

10. If at first you can’t make someone like you, pester them relentlessly until they can’t even remember how to pronounce their name correctly. They will break eventually.

11. Life’s tough.

12. No matter how well you think you know someone, you never actually know them until you are roommates.

13. Dancing can get you out of any situation.giphy (2)
14. If dancing doesn’t work, just casually run away.


15. Boy fights are way more funny than girl fights.Cory-Shawn-cory-and-shawn-31997900-245-170
16. You only live once. Eat the pizza.


17. Don’t stay up too late.


 
18. And last, but not least, siblings are the best.

Book Review – The Elite by Kiera Cass

The-EliteThirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

-Synopsis from Goodreads

I am a fan of the Selection series, but I am ready to move past girl fights and find out who America is actually going to choose. I won’t be too disappointed if in the end, she decides to ride into the sunset on horseback with a lifetime supply of Ben and Jerry’s instead of one of the boys. But anyway, onward to the actual review.

As usual, Kiera Cass does not disappoint. I enjoyed this book very much. It has a nice pace and was a fairly quick read. The love triangle between America, Maxon, and Aspen continues, and continues to pull in all different directions. In addition, it is a pretty clean read that I would recommend to my teens 13 and up. I didn’t really notice any bad language or behavior that would prevent me from recommending it. I was satisfied with the Elite, and I can’t wait to read the One!

 

Here is what went on with the main characters in the story:

Me too America, me too.

America

America did have some really tough times in this story. From her best friend being taken from the Elite and publicly (and violently) abused to seeing other sides of Maxon and continually flip flopping about Aspen. It felt like America really wanted to be with Maxon and be the queen, but I felt like she was being held back by childish fantasies of being with her first love, Aspen. She did take a stand for her best friend, which honestly took some guts and nearly got her taken out herself. So I am really glad that she stepped up and showed some backbone.

 

The Elite were also required to do some academic tasks and future queen tasks, which were interesting. The dynamic between America and the other Elite also shifted in this novel. The true characters of the other Elite are beginning to show, and it is adding to the story in a good way. In happy news, the Elite are all reunited with their families, which I thought was one of the happiest times of the book. That is until, it was interrupted by a torture sequence, but I won’t spoil all the fun for those of you who haven’t read it yet.

 

You can’t love everyone, Maxon. Pick one!

Maxon

Oh Maxon…I don’t know how to feel about you. For the first half of the novel, I was really charmed by him and thought he would be perfect for America. Until he turned into Mr. Scary McCreepy-Pants. He kind of made my skin crawl at a few points. I’m not sure what he thinks he is doing, but having six girlfriends at a time is a horrible idea. Just ask any redneck who has ever been on a Hardee’s commercial. (If you don’t know what I mean, this is it.) Don’t do it! Although he does try to redeem himself, I’m not sure if the damage he has done is reversible. America may forgive him, but I’m not so sure myself. I personally would be happy to stomp on his big toe, pack my bags and call it a day. But, I think that America is a little more rational about the situation.

 

Don’t be an Aspen.

Aspen

Let me just say, this is how I felt about Apsen for most of the novel. Please move on and get it together. You dumped your girlfriend, figured out you made a mistake, and want to steal her back from a prince. Let her be with the prince and stop confusing her. Seriously, if you dump your true love, and want to make it right, let her marry the rich prince who can take care of her forever. Sorry, that was totally unromantic. Ahem, what I mean is, Aspen, please consider what would be best for America.

 

 

Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars

Overall Impression:

Come on May 6, 2014!

Read…Or Else!

I have been super busy with summer reading programs in addition to scrambling around to plan fall/winter at the library. Sadly, this means that reading and writing have been put on the back burner. Which is honestly kind of sad seeing as it is my job to keep up with all of this, but I digress. I think the reading/writing universe is out to get me because of my slacking–and it is using spoilers, general confusion, and writer’s amnesia to do so.

Example #1

The Vampire Diaries

Recently, I have become a Vampire Diaries fangirl. Which is super embarrassing, since I am 23 years old, married, and should be way past my CW shows phase. Even worse, I haven’t read the books yet. But anyway…I had stopped watching for a while, despite my irrational desire to sit down and watch all three seasons on Netflix in one sitting. So I was actually showing self restraint…and then I tried to be productive. Big mistake. I was working on my YA book trivia, and the Vampire Diaries was one of the books that I was going to use. I only needed three questions from the book, so I thought I was safe to look for a basic Vampire Diaries trivia quiz. How wrong I was. I was looking for questions along the lines of “What is the main characters name?” Instead, I got super detailed information about how which characters turned into which supernatural creatures and whose fault it was. So there I was on the desk at work, with this expression on my face.

Lesson Learned – Don’t do trivia on a TV show if you haven’t read the books.

Example #2

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (Audio Book)

Since I haven’t had a lot of time to just sit down and read, I thought I would try an audio book. I hadn’t really done it before, so now seemed like a good time to try since I have been running around a lot. Note to self–pay attention when listening to audio books. I had been listening to it before bed, and I was really enjoying myself. I like this series, and couldn’t wait to find out what happened. But apparently I forgot to set the sleep timer on my phone. So I fell asleep, but the story didn’t. So today, I went back to listening while I was running an errand for work. And it was a totally different story than the one I had been listening to the night before.

Thirty minutes later, I realized that I had missed nine chapters. So I can tell you what happens in chapter seventeen, but don’t ask me what happened to lead up to it. And now I am disappointed because I don’t want to go back and read/listen to the missed chapters because I want to move forward. But I’m confused.

Lesson Learned – Audio books are evil. Just kidding! I am just audio book unsavvy.

Example #3

Me: I have a great idea!

The Universe: Obliviate!

I have been having a really good idea week as far as my novel goes. Unfortunately, there is a big difference between a good writing week and a good idea week. A good idea week, for me, consists of having awesome novel ideas that actually make sense and can be tied throughout the story. A good writing week consists of actually putting it on paper. Ideas only came to me this week while I was programming, running around, cleaning, or doing other not fun grown up stuff. Each time I sat down in my writing room, I had a Gandalf moment…and not one of the happy, “let’s go on an adventure” moments.

My poor writing room has been neglected. It needs some love…and possibly a new piece of mermaid art!

Lesson learned – Write everything down as soon as it comes. Because Dori’s short term memory is more impressive than mine right now.

To add insult to injury, I was looking at GIF’s while typing this, and another Vampire Diaries spoiler came up…missorted with the funny GIF’s. It wasn’t funny, it was a spoiler. A big one. Point being, I know more about the Vampire Diaries now than when I started typing. Ouch universe, that wasn’t nice.

So now that summer reading is wrapping up and I’ve done my programming for the fall/winter, I am getting back into reading mode! And hopefully crafting mode as well! Hopefully I will actually remember to post some of my programs here, since most of them have gone really well for summer.

I know I digress from the point, but here it is–read and write…or the universe will get you.

Thanks for reading!

Movie Review – Beastly (or Rich Kid with Tattoos Falls for Ex-Disney Princess)

I would like to start by saying that I love film adaptations of books. I give them a lot of wiggle room as far as straying from the story and changing characters. I even bought all of the Twilight movies for crying out loud.

That being said, Beastly is the worst film adaptation…possibly the worst film period…that I have ever had the bad fortune to come upon. My husband had never read the book. His manly beard and extreme dislike of romance novels typically protects him from the horrors that come with a lot of young adult love stories. But he was a good sport and decided to watch the movie with me…a mistake he will never make again.

This was him for 83 minutes.

No joke. And if you ever read this Justin, I am really sorry that I used Justin Bieber as you.

On the other side of the couch, this was me for 83 minutes.

Seriously. I am so lucky he didn’t run out of the house screaming/crying.

Now that I have gotten most of my irrational emotions out, I will actually get to the review.  The acting itself was not that bad, the film honestly lacked good writing. At times, Kyle (AKA the Beast) was actually charming and likable, but then would have a terrible line and it ruined the moment. My biggest complaint would have to be the discrepancies between the movie and the book. Very few things were the same–basically, they have the same title. So if that bothers you, just stay away. The appearance of both the main characters were completely different, Kendra (the witch) was Mary Kate Olsen (therefore pretty and non-scary), Lindy and the Beast didn’t come together the same way, there was no magic mirror, the time frame was cut in half…and this is just the first 15-20 minutes. The list goes on and on. In addition to the changes from the novel, the plot seemed thrown together and erratic. It jumped around a lot. Since I had read the book, I knew what was going on. Justin, on the other hand, thought the whole movie was a confusing mess.

Although we had different feelings during the movie, we did share the same emotion at the end.

I’m sorry for ranting, but I promise, that will be the last mad movie review…unless something else really terrible comes along.

Book Review – Beastly by Alex Flinn

9780545340946_xlgBeastly is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in the modern world. Kyle is popular, handsome, and most of all…a jerk. He is the son of a famous newscaster. He meets a girl named Kendra, and agrees to take her to the school dance. But it turns out that he is just a creep who takes another girl and leaves her at the door. Unfortunately for him, Kendra is a witch and he has just gotten on her bad side.

So next thing you know, he is a hairy man-beast. His own father is too embarrassed to be near him and buys him a townhouse where he lives with his tutor and housekeeper. He spends all of his time moping and pruning roses until he has the opportunity to have a girl move in, and possibly break the spell.

This retelling follows the original story pretty closely. I thought it was a good interpretation, but I wasn’t completely blown away. Structurally, it was written well and every idea that was introduced was used at some point during the novel.

I think the main thing that bothered me about this book was the cover. The version I read had the movie cover (like the one I posted). I am not a huge fan of movie covers, and this is one of the reasons why. Looking at this cover, I expected a non-hairy, tattooed beast to fall in love with a dark haired, pretty girl….not the case in the novel. The beast is very hairy and animal-like in the novel, and his “Belle” is a red-haired book nerd. Not exactly what the cover portrays. But that is more of an issue with the cover, not the actual book itself. Anyway, I’m done ranting about movie book covers.

3/5 Stars

Overall Impression: