Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks

At First SightAt First Sight
Nicholas Sparks
Adult contemporary romance

There are a few things Jeremy Marsh was sure he’d never do: he’d never leave New York City; never give his heart away after barely surviving one failed marriage; and never become a parent. Now Jeremy is living in the tiny town of Boone Creek, North Carolina, engaged to Lexie Darnell, the love of his life, and anticipating the start of their family. But just as his life seems to be settling into a blissful pattern, a mysterious and disturbing e-mail sets off a chain of events that will change the course of this young couple’s relationship. 

In comparison to the likes of The Notebook and Dear John, At First Sight wasn't one of Nicholas Sparks' masterpieces. I went through most of the book without being emotional and was starting to think the unbelievable- that Mr. Sparks had written a not-so-great novel. 

Needless to say, he got the last laugh. 

I was really heartbroken and heartwarmed by the time I reached the end - the usual with his books. I've read about 5 of them and they've all made me cry. I will never doubt him again. 

However, I stand by my first sentence- it wasn't one of his masterpieces. I say so because I did not love any of the characters (though I understand that there is another book that journals the beginning of Lexie and Jeremy's relationship- maybe reading that would've helped, but it stands on it's own therefore I'm judging it on it's own), nor was the plot anything amazing. Also, the love wasn't palpable to me- they SAID they loved each other but I didn't feel that much through the story. It was definitely there by the end, though. I just wish it would've been throughout the whole book too.

The end. Sigh. I cried. It was sad, but hopeful and sweet. By then I loved Jeremy and was feeling the love from the story as well. And I admit- this was the first book by this author in which the end completely threw me! I did not see that coming at all and was totally shocked (as opposed to not seeing something coming but when it does being like, 'Oh. That makes  sense' ). It gave the story a whole new purpose and I loved that aspect of it despite the tears.

  If you have yet to try out his work, I'd recommend you start with A Walk to Remember, or one of the other ones they made movies out of. They chose his bests for those.  But of course, Nicholas Sparks' writing is uncontested and in that this book was not lacking. 

Rating: 3.5 stars (I will make a half star. I will. Really)

Guess who got internet back?? MEEEE. I've missed you guys! Soon I'll be doing a post showing you all the books I've received over the last two weeks and I'm almost caught up on reviews(: Stay tuned and comment a lot!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: The Iron King

The Iron King 
Julie Kagawa
YA Paranormal, Fantasy 

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

I was soooooo sure I was gonna love this. I mean, look at the above! This is exactly the kinda thing I would adore! Sounds like Wicked Lovely, or the Mortal Instruments. Brooding hot guy, hilarious best friend, faery world- it's exactly my cup of tea. 

Except it wasn't. I was so excited but it fell flat. The characters were just so.... one-dimensional. Like, nothing they said or did showed any personality at all. If I didn't know who was speaking, I would never have been able to tell the voices apart. The only exception to this rule was Puck. Good God, I loved that boy! He made me laugh and and cry each in turn. He was the only redeeming person. Ash, much as I wanted to be obsessed with him, didn't charm me. He was nothing special, honestly. There was only one bit where he really talked, and even then it was just like reciting his personal history. It wasn't that he was devoid of feeling- he (and everyone else but Puck) were devoid of personality. (I don't know, does that make sense??)

The one thing I liked was the world and it's rules. I've seen a lot of different interpretations of the fey- In Apprilynne Pike's Wings, the faeries of the various of the differ seasons differ in power. In Wicked Lovely there are 4 courts. The Iron King's theme was similar to that, with two different courts (kingdoms) who thrive on the imagination of humans. I thought that was pretty great. The twist is this- humans are imagining new things now. Technology and development, therefore creating new fey- iron fey. Yay originality!! That was cool. 

I've decided to give the Iron Fey series the benefit of the doubt. I'm assuming the reason the characters didn't go anywhere was because the author was busy with world building. I feel like the series has a lot of potential and that the plot will thicken and the characters will develop and I'll be happy. Hopefully. 
Rating: 2.5 stars

Still no internet, still hanging at friends' houses to blog. Oh well.
Love, Esty

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Tina Fey
Nonfiction, autobiography

Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)

In general, this is not a book I would have picked up myself. Why? For the simple reason that I never watched anything with her in it. DON'T FREAK. I've heard of her. My mom likes her. But believe it or not, my generation doesn't watch SNL or 30 Rock.  Also, I don't live in the USA. 

So why did I read it anyway? A friend of mine who's a little older than me lent it to me a loooong time ago. It's been sitting in my TBR for like a year. And there's nothing I hate more than a book procrastinating on my shelf unread. So I read it. 

Eh. I've read the reviews and everyone thought it was hilarious. So did my friend. But what can I say, I just didn't get a lot of the jokes. And what I did get just wasn't that funny. However, I did find her story inspiring. In college you never would have known she'd make it big, by her description she actually sounded like a total loser. I liked her tale of the road to fame and the obstacles, motherhood, successes and failures. Also, the pictures in the book helped to illustrate her point. 

Title and cover comments: She uses the word bossy once in the beginning, therefore I thought it wasn't that great a title. Cover: ditto. What's the connection to the man's arms? Never explained. 

Rating: Ehhh.

Sorry again about my seriously spaced out posts! Still no internet at home, so blogging only when I have a computer at my dad's office... Not to worry! Should be taken care of next week. *puts hands together in prayer* have a great week!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review: Goliath (Spoiler free!)

Scott Westerfeld
alternate universe/ historical fiction

Alek and Deryn are abroad the Leviathan when the ship is ordered to pick up an unusual passenger. This brilliant/maniacal inventor claims to have a weapon called Goliath that can end the war. But whose side is he really on?

While on their top-secret mission, Alek finally discovers Deryn's deeply kept secret. Two, actually. Not only is Deryn a girl disguised as a guy...she has feelings for Alek.

The crown, true love with a commoner, and the destruction of a great city all hang on Alek's next--and final--move.

I'll start with an explanation on why I haven't blogged since Thursday- the internet at home is down and we won't have someone come until two weeks from now (!!!). I'll still be available on Twitter because of internet on my phone but will be blogging sporadically. Currently I'm at my dad's office. 

Anyhoooo, to business. 
Goliath is the third and final book in the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. You can read my reviews of Leviathan and Behemoth by clicking. 
Now that you've read them, you know I lurrrrrrvvveee this series. And Goliath did not disappoint!

This time the Leviathan's off to Siberia, and then to America! All the travel in these books makes for more adventures and exposure to really cool cultures. Also, no more secrets between Alek and Deryn. You know what that means..... *cue the applause and whoop whoops* 

The series always switches between Alek's and Deryn's POVS, and I absolutely love that. Through Alek's eyes, you fall in love with the Leviathan. Through Deryn's eyes, you fall in love with Alek. Brilliance. 

And speaking of the giant airship, it has officially been added to my top ten favorite settings. Almost like Hogwarts, I love the place, the people and creatures in it, the way it works. For that alone I hated to finish the trilogy. 

And the girls! While most of the characters are guys (we're talking war here, in the 1910's) the few girls in this book REPRESENT. Deryn kicks ass and Alek always admits that, not to mention Dr. Barlow who rocks the world. 

What else? Just pick up the nearest copy of Goliath (or whichever book you're on). It'll quickly become a fave. Rating: 


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book-to-Movie Review: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013) Poster
Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson #2)
Book by Rick Riordan

In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.

After the last disappointment we suffered four years ago with the release of The Lightning Thief movie, needless to say my expectations were low for this movie. Likewise, I had seen the negative reviews. 

I went anyway- how could I not? 

The plotline- ridiculous. Percy does and says a lot of unnecessary things. While they did more or less stick to the book, they had to do a lot of explaining about Kronos and stuff which they left out in the previous movie. While doing that, they even screwed up the mythology behind it. Really?? The book is one thing, but at least get the original Greek story right. 

So they finally remembered Annabeth is blond. Four years too late, buddy. 


The fight scene: Ok, besides the fact that they raised Kronos two books too early, it should take more than 1 sword thrust from Percy to take him down. At this point I didn't even bother to remark anything to my friends. I just rolled my eyes. 

The positives? 

There were some pretty funny lines, Tyson was was a really heartwarming character, you gotta love Logan Lerman. The hippocampi was cool too. Percabeth shippers will get some hugs to cheer for. Other than that- Go watch it, enjoy seeing your childhood brought to the big screen, and try not to get annoyed too much.

Rating: 2.5 stars


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Let Me Go Blog Tour- interview with LL Akers!

Let Me Go
New Adult
Release date: July 5th 2013
Publisher: SmArt Group Consulting, LLC
Purchase: Amazon

Hi everyone! This week I was privileged to take part in the Let Me Go tour hosted by  the lovely Shane at Itching for Books (link to tour post) Thank you Shane for the tour and LL Akers for your time! 
Book Description: 
A scarlet dragonfly tattoo—meant to be a beautiful, family mark of freedom, but instead becomes a prophetic brand for those who wear it, to forever be suffering. Wounded and broken, they find themselves flittering back into the cycle of abuse that relentlessly clings to their family, a reality they can never seem to escape. 

One mother and her daughters, bound by blood—torn apart by abuse. They begin their lives intertwined but are forced to fight for their survivals separately, struggling to hide their fear and undeserved shame from each other and the world. One of these women finds herself trapped—alone—and she battles to survive the terrifying darkness. With long hours of nothing to do but wait in fear, she grapples through her obscure dreams and memories of the past, sorting which memory belongs to whom: physically harmed, mentally damaged, raped, sexually abused, an unwanted pregnancy… and even the vivid memory of a dangerous dance with death in a last attempt to escape the shambles and horrors of a seemingly unchangeable situation.

Twin sisters, Gabriella and Olivia, dive blindly—and much too early—into adulthood. They are soon followed by their younger sister, Emma, all running from a not-so-idyllic past; chasing the happiness they believe they will find, by abandoning their childhoods to be “grown-up” and start their own lives. 

Deeply evocative, Let Me Go is a coming-of-age story: the struggles of one mother and her daughters trying to survive life—marred by abuse and misplaced blame—and their need to reach peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Interview with LL Akers, the author of Let Me Go:

 Can you give us a brief explanation about [your book title]?
The words in the book title, Let Me Go, are spun throughout the book. The reader will find it many times. Not only is it the underlying theme, whereas the young ladies are trying to evade their abusive situations, but correlates directly to the prologue where there is a girl in a box, screaming the words “Let me go!” as she is held captive, remembering her life and the lives of the other women in her family. Similar words are also used (“let her go…”) in a heated argument between Gabby and her mother at a pivotal moment in Gabby’s life when her twin sister is taking her first steps away from her, and into a serious relationship… which Gabby does not approve of, and again in discussing her little sister with her father.
What was the inspiration for Let Me Go?
The words ‘let me go’ are often used by victims of abuse... even if they are too afraid to say them aloud, you can bet they are thinking those words.
Are any of your characters based off of real people?
Gabby holds the attention throughout the majority of the book—and she and her storyare inspired by a real person.
 Who was your favorite character to write?
Uncle Jackson… I always wanted to say ‘the spittin’ end of my gun!’
What is the best piece of advice you would give new authors?
am a new author… but what I can tell other newbies is to be prepared for the marketing. The accomplishment of finishing the book and punching that publish button is an amazing feeling. But if you feel that was work… wait until you start the social networking, promoting and trying to get your book noticed out of over a million+ available books! I wish I had my own little army of techy-elves to help me. I’ve been blessed with a few successful authors giving great advice, both privately and on KBoards/Writer’s Café.
In comparison to cases like these in real life, do the girls in Let Me Go have it good or bad? 

In comparison... You can find 'real' stories just like these on dozens of Facebook Abuse Support sites; some situations are much worse, some not as bad, but even the mildest case of abuse is unacceptable.

What can be done to help people in abusive situations?

 To help people, once you know or think they are in an abusive situation, the best thing you can do is listen first. Don't doubt their stories. Be a part of their support net, and help them find a way out. Sometimes just having one person believe in you and encourage you, can give a victim all the encouragement they need to get away from their abuser.

Why do some victims' reactions to abuse differ so much? (i.e. Olivia thinks it's ok to marry at 16 because her parents did, Gabby sees it exactly the opposite) 

 Why do reactions differ? Because sometimes people who are raised in a dysfunctional family don't have any higher expectations for themselves. They see their mother or sister 'just deal with it,' and they accept it as the way it is. They cannot see the tree for the forest.
What is the last book that you read?
Pearl, by C.E. Weisman, and I loved it. I believe it was her debut book, also.
What is your biggest dream?
That my first novel will inspire other new adults to make better decisions when coming-of-age. But if they don’t… and they find themselves in abusive situations—get out! Don’t wait. Don’t take excuses. Be a survivor! Those years are too precious to spend cowering and wasting your life away unhappily—you can’t get them back!

About the Author:

L.L. Akers is a married mother of: one very intelligent and handsome tween, a chubby beagle who looks like a mini-cow, and a deranged terrier, as well as five very elegant Koi fish, a herd of tiny but boastful lizards and dozens of obnoxiously loud, but beautiful frogs. She left a twelve-year career in the human resource arena—and eventually dipped her toes into the world of writing: beginning with proofreading/beta-reading, and content-editing while contemplating writing her own novel. She has made huge efforts (and progress) at becoming a professional recluse; happy to hang out in her pajamas all day with just her laptop, iPad, Burt’s Bees lip balm and posse of creatures. Regardless of her recent self-isolation from the world, she can still be lured outside for brief moments by the scent of freshly mowed grass and a bowl full of cherries. Let Me Go is her first novel.

Hope you guys enjoy and follow the tour! And go ahead and enter to win copies of the books and this bracelet!


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