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Book Review- Between Shades of Gray

betweenshades

This book blew my expectations out of the water! From the very first page I was captured, and read it in the space of about two days. It’s the kind of book that gives you a hunger for more, even after you finish reading it. When I first started it, I was in a nasty reading slump, but it pulled me out fast! It reminded me how much I really love reading stories of other times, other people, other events, and for that, I am grateful.

Lina Vilkas is a normal teenage girl in Lithuania; she loves to paint and draw, she crushes on boys and has high hopes for the future. But when Stalin invades Lithuania and deports thousands to working camps in Siberia, everything changes.

One thing I’ve learned from reading a lot of historical books is that it takes skill to write about a different time period than our own and make it simulatiously informative and entertaining. The line between informative and a history lesson is a difficult one, but this book successfully made a truly interesting period of history entertaining and enjoyable. Also, it was nice to read about a historical period I hadn’t heard about yet. I obviously knew about WWII and that it affected everything, everywhere, but I did not know about Lithuanians being deported to Siberia. I can’t even comprehend being forced out of my home to go work in Siberia. History unremembered is a terrible thing, and I’m glad this book is telling Lina’s story.

I thought it was insanely cool that Lina Vilkas actually existed. At the end, you find out that it was inspired by an actual diary and letters written by a Lina Vilkas. Also, even though the book ends in an unusual place and you don’t really know what happens to Lina, the letter tells you. Not to mention that the romance in the book (which was amazing, some of my favorite that I’ve read, actually, and that’s saying something) is based on Lina’s real life love, mentioned in the letter. I find this unbelievably cute.

Y’all know writing style is a huge thing for me. I have a strong affininty for books with brutal beauty in the words, such as with this one. It is concise enough not to bother people who dislike more floral writing styles, but still has the beauty of something that would normally be a bit more wordy. Also, the resonance of the title could not have been more perfect. It was worth reading just for the one sentence where it was explained. I want to quote it here so bad, but I feel like it would spoil a big secret, even though it isn’t one.

I highly, highly recommend this book, especially for anyone interested in the time period, looking to get out of a reading slump, or searching for a brutally honest YA romance.

Olivia

*This ARC was kindly given to me (from her personal stash, no less) by Jennifer of ARCycling. Thank you so much, Jennifer. I’ll treasure it.*

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Triple Book Review!

OK, so I was originally planning to make each of these reviews separate! Or, at least one single and one double review.  To summarize what happened: I was lazy, now I regret it, and am trying to get it all done in one big swoop so I can move on to the shiny new books I got from the library on Saturday!! 😀

Oh wow, I need to get on the ball with these reviews! I can hardly remember these. But I can do it! So, in case you didn’t know, Prized is the sequel to Birthmarked (WHICH WAS FANTASTIC). I have to say, I was a little disappointed. I liked the first one so much that the second one let me down. It continues Gaia’s journey, just like we knew it would, but Gaia ends up in a very strange colony called Sylum. Sylum is run by women, who have made unjust laws concerning the rights of men, which are drastically limited in their ‘country’. It is a very screwed up society, that is all I can tell you. Gaia decides to be stupid and start a love quadrangle (WHY GAIA, WHY) which I consider to be an overused author trick. And then Leon shows up and makes things even more complicated. People get arrested. People have more babies. People get all hormonal and stab other people in the back. Multiple times.

As much as these things irritated me, the end of the story is satisfying to me. Everything ends up ‘right’ again (right being a relative term) and things are changing. Gaia’s taking charge of her destiny, blah blah blah.For the most part, I enjoyed this book as a sequel to the first. Could it have been better? Yes,because it is one of those books that stresses you out reading it because it is so twisted, and the people who should be together refuse to make life simple. All in all, I am eagerly awaiting the 3rd and final book, and hoping it wraps up this series in a good way!

This book was the opposite of what I expected. I really, really wish I could tell you why. Seriously, it pains me. But this book is so much more than an American girl who goes to school in London, around the same time someone is killing people, Jack the Ripper style. I just want you to think about all of the different things a ‘Shade’ of London could be. I don’t want to be the one to say it. Google if you have to, it’s more obvious than you think. This book gets a little grisly in parts. It is Jack the Ripper, after all. Many times I had to close the book and get some fresh air… but I have a weak stomach. I had my nose glued in this for HOURS! And then, sadly, it was over. 😦

This book is a mystery, primarily, like no other I’ve ever read. There is just a wee bit of romance, very tolerable for anyone who doesn’t love it. I enjoyed this book, and the mystery, and the suspense very much!! I very badly want to read the next in the series (like Prized, I think I’ll pre-order this!) and if you enjoy English people (check), ‘Shades’ (check), and mystery (check) you will enjoy this book just as much as I did!!

I didn’t like this book. It was so disappointing, because I wanted to like it! When I finished it, I was so unsure of what I had just read!! Is is fiction? YA? modern fiction? romance? paranormal? dystopian?  I’m pretty sure even the actual book doesn’t know. The main character is practically going insane! She does all of these crazy things and sees crazy things and freaks out quite often. She takes and anti-psychotic prescribed by her therapist. And of course she meets this perfect rich, super hot, troubled, BRITISH guy who is also slightly insane. And they fall in love. I am all for cliche, but this is ridiculous.

The ending confused me so much! I was hooked when I got through a little, I’ll admit it. But towards the end, it just got freakier and freakier. I guess I’ll be reading the sequel, because I want to understand what the heck that ending was. But I will not be happy about it. 🙂

So, overall: HATE: 1 LOVE: 1 MEH: 1 😀

Hope you guys enjoyed this almost-monster of a triple review!!!

Olivia

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Book Review- Cinder

I finished Cinder by Marissa Meyer a few days ago! This was one of those books that you sit down with, and get up 7 hours later with it finished, not having moved at all since you started. It hooks you from the very beginning, and the end certainly doesn’t disappoint!

As you can probably tell (if you are a regular reader, that is) I like fairy tale re-tellings a lot! It is hard to imagine a more creative way of writing Cinderella than having her be a cyborg, if you ask me! This book is set in post- apocalyptic China, where a terrible plague somewhat reminiscent of the Black Plague is sweeping the world. Scientists are hard at work to find a cure, while the government (including the handsome Prince Kai) is working to stop war between Earth and the Lunars. The Lunars are magical people ruled by a vicious royal family intent on marrying Prince Kai and taking over the world. A little ambitious, right?

Marissa Meyer is a fantastic writer! I just have to say that first. She has a way with words, but still keeps it interesting to teens and adults. I found the pace to be a bit slow for my taste, but it wasn’t Wuthering Heights slow either. The story was recognizable as Cinderella with the basic elements, but other than the few key parts (i.e.-evil stepmother, handsome prince, “shoe” coming off after the ball, etc.) it couldn’t have been more different! Cinder was easy to identify with, because unlike the original Cinderella she wasn’t portrayed as perfect. She recognizes her faults and still works to change them, but refuses to compromise her values.

The ending is a HUGE shocker, if you saw this one coming you are psychic! I can’t believe we have to wait a few years (I’m pretty sure it’s at least 1 1/2 years) from now for the second to come out! The ending leaves you wanting to know more.

One little thing, though. I was surfing on Goodreads and it appears there are going to be four in the series. And each one will feature Cinder and another fairy tale character or princess in a different setting. I like the idea of this at first, but when I think more about it, I’m wondering if Meyer will continue to tie up the loose ends she left in this story. In the sequel’s summaries there is a visible lack of Prince Kai, and I am worrying if Cinder will EVER get her happy ending with him. Ever. Some stuff hits the fan at the end of Cinder, and it doesn’t look too good for the two of them together.

Overall, this book is a win! Recommended to everyone, appropriate for all age groups! Hope you guys enjoyed this, Happy Almost Wednesday! Up next (tomorrow) Fever by Lauren Stefano.

Olivia

P.S.  Book related hilarity courtesy of Figment.com!

Why does the protagonist of the Hunger Games frustrate firemen? – Because they hate to see a Kat stuck in a tree. And because she’s the girl on fire!

What can you say about the bumpiest witch? – she Hogswarts

If you told the author of Harry Potter a joke, what would happen? Rowling On The Floor, Laughing

I called every fan of these books I know and told them these. Seriously. I hope I made you laugh!

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Movie Review- The Hunger Games

I went to The Hunger Games yesterday with some of my friends! I was really excited to see it- even though I had heard mixed reviews. It seemed like I heard good things from friends, and semi- good things from the critics and reviewers. I tend to agree with the critics, myself.

New York Times review quote:

“For some fans of the three novels, the screen version will inevitably be disappointing, especially for those keeping inventory of the details, characters, grim thoughts and cynicism that have gone missing.”

Can I just say that I agree with this totally? I think if you are an avid lover of the books, then the liberties taken with this film will annoy you more than just a little. I did enjoy this movie, I really did! But the point is compared to the books, the movie really stinks.

If you haven’t read the books, these might spoilers. 😉 These are some things the movie changed that I wasn’t a fan of.

~ The mockingjay pin thing. In the book, Madge, the daughter of the Mayor(or something similar, I can’t remember) gives her the pin to keep her safe. In the movie, Katniss buys the pin for Prim, because Prim is scared to death getting chosen.

~Where were the helicopters that took the bodies away?

~ Why didn’t they even bring up the Avoxes? They were there, but they weren’t explained.

~ Why were the tributes wearing eyeliner and mascara in the arena?

~ Why did the tributes look fantastic when they were starving?

~ Most importantly, why did they get rid of the tribute part of the tribute-dog-monsters?! That was important!!

Besides those things, the movie was good. I have to say, the casting was very pleasing. You know it is good when you can’t imagine anyone else playing a certain character! Amandla Stenberg was perfect as Rue, and Josh Hutcherson was awesome as Peeta. Gale was probably the most handsome 😉 (well, all of the guys in this were, except for the old ones like Seneca Crane, etc.) but he was portrayed to be much more brooding and moody than I think he was in the book! The tributes, especially the more terrifying ones like Clove, Foxface, and Cato were wonderful as well! They were extremely bone-chilling. Jennifer Lawrence did a pretty good job of playing Katniss. I can’t really think of anything else to say about her performance.

Some people criticized how they added many scenes of Seneca Crane, Haymitch, and President Snow that weren’t in the book. I liked this! I think it added more political complexity to the movie, and more interest too!

There were some scenes I really liked, like the last scene in the arena, and the Tracker Jackers, and the scene where she blows up the supplies. There were even some funny scenes!

I recommend this movie IF you have read the book first! If you haven’t yet, then trust me, this movie will be in theaters long enough for you to read the book first! 🙂 It is slightly disappointing compared to the book, but still great and worthwhile to see!

😀 Olivia

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