Thursday, May 31, 2012

Follow Friday - Matching making (across books!)

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: You are a matchmaker --your goal, hook up two characters from two of your favorite books. Who would it be? How do you think it would go?
As a matchmaker, my ultimate goal is the happiness of the characters.  I started with the question, "Who do I love that deserves to be happy?"  The answer: Megan from the Ruby Oliver books.  Megan is possibly the most underestimated character in this series.  She's the best friend Ruby has--loyal, loving and always there even when everyone else hates Ruby.  And at first Ruby doesn't even realize that they're friends.  Megan's a true romantic and wants to be in love more than anything else.

WARNING: These might be sorta spoilers for the Jacky Faber series. Nothing major unless you're completely unfamiliar with the series. 

Enter Jamie from the Bloody Jack series.  I know I know you're going to say that he's in love with Jacky.  As much as I loved the beginning of this series I've grown tired of the repetition.  Jamie wants to settle down, to have a family and Jacky wants to go on adventures.  Their life goals conflict.  It's not fair to force Jacky to settle down but it's also not fair for her to string Jamie along.  It's time for them to go their separate ways.

Megan wants to settle down and be in love.  She's beautiful, kind and loving.  I think Jamie deserves a stable relationship and the last few books of the Bloody Jack series have made it obvious that Jacky isn't ready for that.  Jamie deserves a chance to be happy which he's never going to get with Jacky.  Despite the genre hopping and potential time travel involved, I think these two could make it work. 

(I do realize that almost EVERY week I reference the Ruby Oliver books.  But that should tell you how much I love them)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Disreputable History of Frankie Banks-Landau

3.5 or 4/5 stars (indecisive me!)
This is a book that I might love more than I should.  Sometimes a book has flaws, but it's message and story just speak to you and you have trouble being bothered by those flaws.  That is how I feel about The Disreputable History of Franke Banks-Landau.

I can recognize that it's not as fun and fluffy as E. Lockhart's other offerings (Ruby Oliver, love love love that series) and that the first 1/3 can be tedious.  At times intelligent, calculating Frankie is even a little unlikable.

But I love the discussions of feminism and gender roles in this book.  Maybe at times it was a little more heavy handed than the Ruby Oliver books. But DANG IT I want teenage girls thinking about these things.    I like reading about these things and seeing a character realize her own potential.
"And being with him made Frankie feel squashed into a box--a box where she was expected to be sweet and sensitive (but not oversensitive); a box for young and pretty girls who were not as bright or powerful as their boyfriends. A box for people who were not forces to be reckoned with. Frankie wanted to be a force."   
I also like how it discussed that there weren't just expectations placed on women but expectations placed on men.  Often that's not mentioned in the conversation, at least not at the YA level.  It was an intelligent book narrated by a young woman just discovering her intellect and ambition.  That doesn't make for the most warm-fuzzy of heroines but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

So yes the start of the book is slow. Yes Frankie has her pricklier moments.  And yes I found the ending somewhat unsatisfactory (it was realistic but I'd liked a little more happy added in) but I still really really like this book.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (review)

3.5/5 stars
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is very atmospheric, intriguing but at times a little to slow.  I love the concept of using found photographs in the book.  However at times I felt like the execution was a little sloppy.  They over-described the photographs to make them relevant to the story.  The author would've been better served to include the photographs and allow the readers to make the connection themselves.

Overall this is a good book.  I love the setting on this tiny island that only has electricity until 10pm.  I can imagine tromping through the bogs, exploring the streets and finding the abandoned house on the other side of the island.  I liked all the "Peculiar" children that were fully fleshed out characters.  A few felt like they were inserted into the story just as an excuse to include the photos.  But the characters like Emma and Millard make up for that.

Despite the creepy storyline and atmosphere somehow this book felt young.  I never bought that the main character was a high school student.  But I did enjoy it and think I'll read the sequel, partially in hopes that the author has discovered a better way to integrate the photos into the story.  For a debut novel it was ambitious and quirky which is something I have to applaud.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ultraviolet (review)

4/5 Stars
I knew Ultraviolet was not what I expected before I event started reading.  When I initially saw the tagline "Everything You Believe Is Wrong" I scoffed and didn't think much about the book.  Taglines like that always annoy me because my reaction is "How do you know what I believe? And more importantly how do you know I'm wrong?" Then my friends started reviewing the book, and by reviewing I mean gushing.  So I put aside my annoyance at the marketing scheme and gave the book a chance.

Wow it is really good.  There are so many things that feel like they could go wrong with this book.  It moves slowly, the vast majority of it taking place in a mental institution.  Most of the revelations are through conversation not action.

But you know what? It works.  The author skillfully builds tension, dropping clues along the way.  You can feel the tension, and unlike most slow moving stories you can sense it going somewhere.  The mental institution is interesting, no vilified or glamorized but realistic.  The other patients aren't portrayed as crazies, just people with mental health problems. I appreciate the distinction.  The main character is hyper-aware of her surroundings. The synesthesia adds layers to the story (and is something I completely find fascinating) without being over-described and turning the prose purple.  Everything is always building the story then after moving slowly, methodically, it all starts hurting towards the conclusion.

I loved the ending.  I love how even at the end you're still not sure what just happened.  You'll probably think you know, but you'll still ask yourself, "Did that really just happen?"  And it doesn't feel unsatisfactory, or like the book is saying GOTCHA.  Normally I hate trickery, but in this book it feels right.

The only part of the book I had a problem with was the love story.  It just bothered me and felt unnecessary.  Anything more I say about that point would be a pretty big spoiler.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Follow Friday - Casting my current read

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Activity! Dream cast your current read.
Well darn it. Did you have to assign such a difficult task?  Well I just started The Disreputable History of Franke Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart but I have no real impression of the main characters yet.  So we're going to have to go with my audiobook--Hammered by Kevin Hearne.

This is equally hard.  It's hard to imagine an Atticus as sexy as the Atticus in my head.  This is one of my biggest fictional crushes.  I mean look at the cover model (His idenity is unknown.  All I've managed to learn is that he's not actually a red-head but a blonde. Sadness I know.).

Come on how am I suppose to top that?  I'm googling and googling for something remotely workable.  Most seem to be older or the goofy best friend type. Most of the attractive redheads I find are slightly too old.  Nevermind that Atticus is really ancient (no, really). He's supposed to look 21.  Though I've seen yummy redheaded men in real life apparently attractive redheaded men aren't the ones who get famous. So I'm not undercutting Atticus by choosing someone unworthy of being him.

However Granuaile I can cast easily.  Mainly because I am watching Dr. Who on Netflix and Karen Gilliam who plays Amy Pond is amazing.  I'm fairly certain even though Granuaile has Irish history (Karen is Scottish for the record) she'd need to master an American accent.  But cute, sexy, long-legs and the type of girl who gets great tips working at the local Irish pub.  Yep she can do that.

I think she's pretty much adorable. Picture from here.   Of coures i have to find a picture for potentially THE MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTER - Oberon the Irish Wolfhound.  He is one of my favorite talking dogs.  He's smarter than your average pup but totally distractible by sausage and french poodles.   Picture found on this tumblr where there is more adorableness.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A couple brief reviews

4/5 stars

Brilliant and poetic look at a girl descending into the pit of anorexia.  I have never read a more terrifying book  Horror doesn't scare me because I don't believe in ghosts/monsters.  Anorexia is much scarier than any fictional monster because I know that it is real.  Worth reading.  The narration is good but I think I'd read this rather than listen to it.  At times I was confused with the structure, which I guessing is written in more poem than prose form.

Every Little Thing in The World
3/5 stars

This was an issue book.  No getting around that.  I found the main character quite frustrating because she was so indecisive.  But she was self-aware of her tendency to let things happened to her and tried to work through that.  It was interesting to see Sydney struggle to deal with her pregnancy and struggle to make the huge decision about whether to have the baby or have an abortion.

I spent 4 years in college as a camp counselor.  I had believability issues with this camp.  They didn't really pay attention to all.  As a contemporary novel you have to at least attempt to create a summer camp that could feasibly exist without getting sued every summer.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Breaking up with Vampire Diaries

There are spoilers for this season of Vampire Diaries in this blog post.

Recently I've decided to end my relationship with the TV show The Vampire Diaries.  It's been a short but passionate affair.  I only discovered The Vampire Diaries (TVD) in October.  I had a cold and absolutely no motivation to do anything.  The only thing that could keep me entertained was Netflix.  So when I discovered TVD I fell in instaLOVE.   I watched 2 seasons in record time and caught up with season 3 on Hulu just as a quickly.

However Season 3 has been pretty disastrous for me.  We've spent most of it lingering in a place I call "Love Triangle Hell" kinda like the Bermuda triangle--mysterious, soul-sucking, never ending, but with the side effect of making me want to stab my TV.

I'm going to be honest. I can't really stand Stefan. He's self-righteous and boring.  When him in Elena are together it's like "YAWN.  Is this supposed to be sexy?"  They have no chemistry, nothing really in common and it's just dull as dirt.  Duller actually, because as a gardener I actually like dirt.

The writer's spent most of this season exploring the Damon option.  He's sexy! Exciting! And clearly wins the battle of the faces!  But every time Elena/Damon make any progress the writer's are like GOTCHA HAHAHAHA! Example: They kiss then Elena tells Damon she's not sure if she has feelings for him. Excuse me, didn't you just make-out? Maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't that normally mean something?  "Gotcha" type storylines to trick your viewers is not good writing. It's not clever, it's not funny and it ends in losing viewers.

This is Damon winning the battle of the faces.

I've never been sure why do I hate Stefan/Elena so much.  But thankfully in the season finale Elena explains it to me.  She met Stefan first and fell from him from the start. BAM! There it is.  Elena/Stefan have a bad case of instaLOVE which is the patented YA way to shove different characters into a relationship that doesn't actually make sense.  He saved her life and thus has earned her heart and free access to her lady-parts.  I'm sorry but no.

Damon/Elena had time to grow over the course of three season.  They're relationship progressed logically.  They got to know each other and then liked each other.  There was nothing instant about it.  And don't try to give me that crap about Stefan being safe.  They're both vampires that have killed lots and lots of people. Debating the morality of either Salvatore is a moot point.  Stefan is just as guilty as Damon.  He's just better at hiding it.

Am I the only one who finds Stefan's refusal to have an intelligent discussion with Elena demeaning? At least Damon tries to reason with her. 

Though I clearly have my favorite vampire, when a show becomes this entrenched in a love triangle there is no easy answer.  Whether Stefan/Elena or Damon/Elena is endgame somebody is always going to be unhappy.  So the writer's are forced to choose between the relationship that's spanned 3 season with no growth, or the relationship that has taken 3 seasons to start.

Aside from the love triangle, Vampire Diaries has gotten stuck in this stupid circular plot and started going downhill.  Elena instaLOVES Stefan, but Elena wants to make googley eyes at Damon.  The originals are terrifyingly SCARY, oh wait no their just lonely and misunderstood.  Look former big-baddie Klaus is drawing pony pictures for Carolyn!  And look at this dimples. Surely he can't really be evil.  The originals can't be killed!  Oh wait, they can--only through this obscure way. Oh wait that doesn't work! Oh wait here's a plan B. Oh wait...there are dreadful side-effects. OH WAIT we can get around that. Oh wait, nevermind.

There is just so much repetitiveness.  For example, look at how many times they've killed parental figures.  There needs to be another plotline.
  1. Elena's parents
  2. Elena's birthparents
  3. Elena's Aunt Jenna
  4. Elena's guardian Alaric
  5. Bonnie's Grandmother
  6. Bonnie's Mother
  7. Carolyn's Father
  8. Tyler's father
  9. Tyler's Cousin (big brother type)
  10. More - I had a longer list but forgot where I put it.
At some point in time the Vampire Diaries writers got stuck.  They have great actors and characters that we care about, but they can't seem to do anything with them.  There's only so long I can watch the same story be recycled over and over again.  This show has lost it's plot.

I know I'll probably watch the first episode (maybe even the second and third) of next season because I am really bad at break-ups.  I always want to give everyone a second chance.  But Vampire Diaries has become a sad shadow of the show it used to be.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Follow Friday - Reading vacation spot

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: Summer Break is upon us! What would be the perfect vacation spot for you to catch up on your reading & Relax?

To be honest, reading isn't why I go on vacation. I love reading, but I can read anywhere. For me, vacations are for hiking and being outdoors. It's nice when you find a place perfect for both reading and exploring.  Last summer I went to Blackwater Falls, West Virginia (see my vacation photos here) for my summer vacation.  During the daytime I hiked but in the evenings I read. They had the most glorious reading spot--lawn chairs behind the lodge overlooking the gorge.  There was even a chilly breeze (and during a heat wave in July that's amazing)

This year I won't be doing much reading on my vacation because I'm going to Montana with my best friend (to see our other best friend!)  While I am super excited that we're going to Montana together, I'm a little sad that I won't be able to read in the airport.  One of my favorite things about flying is all the reading time you get while waiting. Long-layover? With a book it's a long adventure.

At Blackwater Falls when you're done reading you can watch the sunset. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Month of Me - The freedom to read anything!

If you follow my blog you might've noticed a slight change this month. Or more likely you didn't.  Eventually you might notice that all the books I'm reviewing this month have already been published (most of them awhile ago).

Sometimes as a blogger I get galley-fatigue (and I don't even get that many galleys!). It's not because I don't love them.  I do! Without galleys I would never have discovered great books like Cinder or The Butterfly Clues.  The fatigue comes from looking at my "To-be-read" shelf over on goodreads.  I keep adding books and never finding the time to read them. Sometimes I put aside highly anticipated releases because I've overbooked myself with galleys.  Goliath by Scott Westerfeld sat on my shelf for over 6 months waiting for me!  I try to make time for one published book a month but for a bookworm that's not nearly enough.  Luckily because my job involves a lot of driving, audiobooks help fill the gap.

Starting back in the fall I formed a plan.  When I looked at my reading schedule (yes I keep a calendar of release dates. Don't judge me!) I realized that I didn't have anything scheduled for May.  My birthday is during May.  So I decided to do a month long birthday celebration where reading whatever I wanted was my present to myself.  There is no real organization.  They might be books from my TBR shelf. I might buy them at bookstores. They might be things that randomly catch my eye at the library.  There is no rhyme or reason, just complete freedom to read.

Sometimes I feel like that's exactly what every reader (be they blogger or student or overworked professional) needs the opportunity to take a moment to remind themselves why they love reading.  I remember reading Pride & Prejudice for a course on Romanticism during college.  It'd been months since I'd had time to read a book for fun.  Even though it was an assignment, I devoured it like a person starving for fiction.

So far I've read Stolen (review here), Ultraviolet (review coming), Goliath (reviewish thing here), Hexed and today I picked up 3 books from the library. It's been wonderful, glorious and relaxing experience.  I recommend it to every reader.  Heck if you want my hastily thrown together button modified for your birthstone (or month of choice) just leave me a comment and I'll make you one.  I feel that strongly that everyone should make time for the books that they really love.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Breakdown of a Heroine: Deryn Sharp

Please note that this post may contain minor spoilers for the Leviathan & Behemoth. Anything that is a spoiler for Goliath will be labeled beforehand. 

Who is Deryn?
Deryn Sharp, or Dylan Sharp as she like's to be called when she's in disguise, is a midshipman on Leviathan, an airship in Her Majesties Navy during the Great War.  Flying has always been her dream and she wants to serve her country, which requires pretending to be a boy.

Strength of Character?
Deryn is so many things I admire in a person.  She's brave enough to serve in the military and never shies away from danger.  She's loyal to her friends, keeping their secrets even when it goes against orders, particularly Prince Alex heir to the Austrian throne.  She manages to find the balance between her duty to her country and doing what's right for herself and her friends.

Deryn's Storyline
Deryn's story really gets underway in Leviathan when her airship crashes in the Swiss Alps.  It's there she encounters our other protagonist Alek (a hero in his own right) when he tries to save the airship's crew from starvation in the glacial wilderness.  From there they go on an adventure that spans the globe.  From helping start a revolution in the Ottoman empire, to trying to avoid intrepid reporters in America, to fighting the Germans-- Deryn does it all and bravely.

Romantic Entanglements
This series has one of my favorite YA romances.  For the most part it stays in the background.  There's a war to fight, assassination attempts to avoid and a revolution to start.  The characters don't ever forget what's important or their priorities.  At the same time the book doesn't ignore that your feelings affect your decisions, especially in life and death situations.

When everything finally comes to fruition in Goliath it's done perfectly.  The revelation that Dylan is actually a girl named Deryn is well done.  Often these things are drawn out and painful.  But Westerfeld created two intelligent main characters and allows them to figure it.  He doesn't need to bang the characters (and the reader) over the head with the truth before they accept it.  I don't think I've ever seen it done this well and I read a lot of girls pretending to be boys stories. For Alek and Deryn it always comes back to the friendship they've built, the loyalty and the trust.  It's a relationship based on being intellectual equals and mutual admiration.  They are both heroes and respect each other.

I feel like me and this series were meant to be together.  The story of an alternative steampunk WWI, a girl dressed in boy clothes and a global adventure is just my style.  This series is spectacular and highly recommended, especially if you like history.  Deryn is near the top of heroines I love.  She's brave, clever and such a loyal friend.  She's the type of girl anyone would be fortunate to know.

Right after I finished I tweeted about how I'd stayed up late to finish Goliath and that I loved it.  Scott Westerfeld tweeted me back a link to some bonus material. Trust me it's worth having a look.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Follow Friday - Mothers Day edition

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: This Sunday in the U.S. is Mother's Day, in celebration, what are some of your favorite books with strong mother/child relationships?
This question was a tough one for me.  Like many Disney movies, mothers are often absentee in YA books.  Either that or their evil, or controlling or in some way the bad guy.  YA doesn't do mothers very well most of the time. If you asked me to come up with a list of bad mothers that would be much simpler.

For me, one of my favorite would have to be Hex Hall.  Sophie's mother has been as supportive as a non-magical parent can be to her teenage witch daughter.  She learned everything she could about magic and raised Sophie by herself.  They banter, they support and eventually they fight evil side by side.

Another mother/daughter relationship that I enjoy is Ruby & Elaine Oliver.  It's not perfect.  Often it's messy, with Ruby's mom going for chapters without talking to her daughter.  But thoughout the series it's obvious that she loves her daughter very much.  Why else would she buy a great dane to live on their tiny houseboat? Why else would they send Ruby to a therapist despite meager incomes?  Elaine Oliver makes mistakes, a lot of them. But she loves her daughter.  I love how complicated and messy their relationship is because it feels more realistic.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Stolen (review)

3/5 stars

Stolen: A Letter to my Captor is the story of a girl kidnapped and whisked away to the Australian desert by a beautiful blue-eyed stranger.  The book is well written in beautiful poetic prose.  It's slow and thoughtful.  It took me awhile to decide on the rating because I felt that it's both intriguing and flawed.  After nearly a week of mulling I settled on three stars.  This isn't a book that I regret reading, but it's a book that makes me nervous.

In a way this book almost romanticized Gemma's kidnapping.  Ty thinks he's saving her, taking her away from the big mean city.  The problem is that Gemma somewhat believes him.  Some think it's an interesting look on Stockholms Syndrome. I, however, think it might be an attempt at that but it falls short.

The book fails to show the horrors of the kidnapping.  Ty is overall too nice and too gentle with Gemma. He drugs her, kidnaps her, then drags her across the dessert in the trunk of a car.  But all of that is told in retrospect from Ty himself. Gemma has no memory of the actual kidnapping. From the point where Gemma starts remembering, Ty doesn't do anything particularly cruel.  Instead he takes care of her and continues to rescue her whenever her escape attempts fail.  It makes escaping seem futile, like Gemma should just accept her role as a kidnapped victim.

In fact, Gemma doesn't ever save herself.  In the end, Ty becomes the hero of this novel. I feel like the book tries to pretend Gemma is a strong character, she does try to escape more than once, but causing her to fail every time undermines that.  She's a constant victim and needs Ty to survive.

That feels dangerous to me.  I'm not saying that this book is going to make girls get kidnapped or behave differently if kidnapped.  But I just don't like what it implies--that kidnappers aren't always monsters.  It takes away from the evil of what Ty did and takes away from what so many girls have gone through. Even though this book is well written and interesting, I can't say that I'm okay with what it's portraying.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why are you not watching this?

Book loving friends I wanted to share this with you. Before I spent loads of time on goodreads and hanging around book blogs I spent a lot of time on YouTube.  For me, it hasn't been the same since Lonelygirl15 ended.  Part of that is because I went through a long spell with an unreliable computer and internet connection that could not cope with YouTube.  I still watched Vlogbrothers and a few other things when I could get my computer to work well enough.  But I missed the simple vlog storytelling style of a cute funny girl talking to a webcam.

Then Hank Green and Bernie Su created this series.  It's Pride & Prejudice, only modern and told via YouTube.  I am completely enamored with this series.  I didn't even realize how much I was missing this style of show until I started watching.  So I am recommending it to everyone.

There are 9 episodes already on youtube so I recommend going and checking them out: Lizzie Bennet's youtube channel  Right now it's fun to see what changes in the modernization of the adaption.  I'm tempted to re-read Pride & Prejudice to follow along. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Be More Chill (review)

2/5 stars

Be More Chill follows the story of Jeremy Heere, a dorky theater-nerd who seems to spend all his time looking at porn and masturbating (yep that's your hero folks!).  After failing to woo his crush with chocolate, he hears rumors of a new technology called a "squip" a microcomputer that can make you cool or smarter or whatever you're lacking.  After selling some of his aunt's beloved beanie babies, Jeremy gets a blackmarket squip.

The squip changes his life--taking him from dud to stud in record time.  Except, as the reader his newfound coolness just never translated.

Be More Chill was a frustrating book to read.  It was like the borderline dorky kid who tried way too hard to be cool.  Sorry book you just aren't cool and trying this hard makes it even worse.   Unfortunately this book tried so hard to be hip that it's already outdated.  Written in 2004 with references to musicians and styles of the time.  Part of me never quite believed the coolness the squib gave.  Was an Eminem t-shirt really cool in 2004?

One of the biggest problems with this novel is even though it's science-fiction, I complete disbelieve its science.  Maybe I'm just clueless and a tiny consumable computer that speaks in your head is really technologically feasible.  But I don't know--a computer that you eat and then somehow lodges itself in your brain?  Is that really supposed to feel plausible?  Also the book occasionally made the mistake of giving the computer near-humanity.  At one point the computer actually apologized.  How can a computer feel regret or sorrow?

I know the author was young when he wrote this book.  Yet this book doesn't feel in-touch with teenagers.  It gets a little lifetime original movie at times.  There's drugs, sex, parties and hip-hop! Oh my!  The cool kids live such exciting and dangerous lives! Eh. I believe there's drinking and partying, but I think this book took it to an unnecessary melodramatic level.

I also need to note that I didn't enjoy the depiction of girls in this book.  They're never really developed.  The main characters actually refers to a group of girls as "The Hot Girls" and they're never developed beyond their hotness and as tools for the now-cool Jeremy to make out with.  I don't like it when stories use women as props to maneuver the main character around.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Follow Friday - What I'd say to fave author

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: What is the one thing you wish you could tell your favorite author?
Hmmmm.  I'd rather have a conversation with my favorite author than tell them something.  How many times can JK Rowling be told that she changed someone's life/reading habits/dreams with her books?  I'd rather talk to her about something else.  Maybe get some recommendation for good mythology books.  I'd also like to hear about some of the best hidden gems in Scotland.

I'd also like to talk to Melina Marchetta.  Anything I ever needed to say to her she's seen when she's visited my blog (My Froi Review & Melina Marchetta Around The World post).  I'd like to hear more about Australia, particularly the Italian-Aussie experience.  In America we're so ingrained in our own racial history that I feel like sometimes we forget that there are similar experiences around the world only for different cultures.  My knowledge of Australia is limited to knowing they have good books and a couple of people I volunteered with at Our Chalet (yep met lots of Australian's in Switzerland. Go figure).  I'd like to learn more about the Australia outside of the postcards I've received.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Peculiars (review)

2/5 stars

The Peculiars is what I would call "prematurely published". It's always very unfortunate when someone allows this to happen.  It's an interesting idea for a world but the author seems to lack an actual interesting story to put in the world.

Instead what you get is a book that spends nearly half of it's time preforming chores, another half repeating itself (how many times must it be re-iterated that the letter is pinned in her chemise????) and tries to throws together a flight and camping trip (the go to of ANY book nowadays) near the end.  The most interesting tidbits of this book happen off-screen while we find ourself watching Lena sort books or fiddle with her gloves.

I like the idea of a world where Peculiars may or may not exist.  A world where people with wings, goblinism or other traits disguise themselves against persecution.  What I don't like is watching a fairly unlikable main character stumble around this world cluelessly.

Lena is stuffy but thinks she is wild.  I'm not sure where she gets this idea except that her grandmother says she is.  She's a grown woman she should be able to figure that out herself.  She's rather judgmental and a bit clueless.  The largeness of her hands and feet is emphasized repeatedly, as well as the doctor's conclusion that she is half-Peculiar.  Yet she still finds herself cooperation with law enforcement AGAINST Peculiars without ever thinking about how this might affect her.  But we're supposed to think she's an intelligent main character anyways. Nope can't do it.

This book ambles onward with a heroine who thinks she's wild, a man who thinks she's smart and adventurous, and a reader who finds herself bored to tears.  Near the end there's finally some action but by that point I cared more about the percentage of the book finished than the characters.

(I meant to publish this a day ago but my internet has not been working. Apparently ATT wants to reinforce Kentucky stereotypes or it just hates my family. This was written on my lunch break at the public library because I am desperate).