Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Imagine that it is many years into the future and  a deadly plague with no cure is taking over the world. Cinder, a cyborg who lives in New Beijing with her evil stepmother and stepsisters (except one sister isn't evil), doesn't remember her past and lives an unfair life slaving for her stepmother and doing various mechanicary. One day, Prince Kai visits her and asks her to fix one of his androids. Soon after, her beloved sister comes down with the plague and is sent to be hospilitized. Cinder's stepmother blames Cinder for her daughter's death and volunteers Cinder to be part of the plague research. In other words, they'll inject her with antibodies and she'll die. Instead, something out of the ordinary happens. Cinder is faced with discovering her past and the secrets that the people around her are keeping. Meanwhile, Prince Kai is faced with his own problems regarding the Lunar people and what is best for the country.

I've read contemporary fairy tale retellings, but never a futuristic one. Cinder did not dissapoint me. I want to say that it's dystopian, but it's probably more towards science fiction. The world this story takes place in is amazing. Though there is death and scary Lunar people (moon colony people! omg!) and not a whole lot of happiness, it's still fascinating. I loved reading about how earth ends up and how androids and cyborgs live among humans.

The characters are realistic and likeable. Cinder is a promising protagonist and Kai and Iko were equally enjoyable. The plot is quick paced and very interesting. The imagery was very desriptive and I felt like I had a really clear picture of the futuristic world. There was definitely a romance aspect, but it wasn't overpowering and didn't take away from the story. There's definitely cliffhanger at the end, but it's not totally horrible like in some books (I'm talking about you, Bumped...) that you don't want to read the other ones. And I had totally predicted it from like page 50... I'm just that good lol.

I liked how the author retold Cinderella. There were a million things different about the story, but she kept close to the original tale. I like how there was still a ball and the author didn't mutilate the story so that it was completely different.

I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. Supposedly they're supposed to be about different fairy tales, so we'll see! I really enjoyed Cinder, and I recommend it to anyone who's interested in a new series! 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola's life is pretty much great. She love to dress up in costume and spend time with her wonderful boyfriend, Max. The only problem is that he two protective, gay dads don't like him. And since he's 22, and a musician, I suppose they have reason not to. Everything changes when the Bell twins move back in next door. Lola finds herself talking to Cricket, her childhood through 9th grade love, and having to reconsider all the relationships in her life.

Overall, this was a surprisingly good book. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. There were so many different aspects to it, such as family, friendship, and individuality. There were also many, many humorous parts in it! Lola is very lovable, but she does have her flaws. But doesn't everyone? The dialogue was so real and I could totally imagine it happening in real life. While some parts of Lola had me rolling my eyes because they were just silly, there were also tons of great parts. I admire Lola's style and confidence to wear just about anything. I liked all the other characters as well.

The only thing that made me a little upset was Max. He really seems like a sweet character and the author does a 360. Oh well...

I was only about 3/4ths done with Lola when I realized that I was reading a sequel.... lol. The good thing about it is that it's a different set of characters, so you're not missing a whole lot if you didn't read the first. I enjoyed Lola, so now it's time to go back and read Anna and the French Kiss haha.

I recommend this to anyone who hasn't forgotten their first love or anyone who wants a light, humorous, one-day read. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help

Aibileen has worked her whole life as a maid in Jackson, Mississippi. She had never thought too much of it and lived a simple life. But ever since her son was killed and treated poorly by white men, the "bitter seed was planted". Skeeter is a white woman who recently graduated college. She wants to be a writer, but she hasn't gotten the right opportunities. Inspired by her past life as well as her old maid Constantine, she decides to write a book that is filled with stories of colored women working for white families. The only problem is that she is going to need maids' stories. Aibileen eventually agrees to help, because she feels that it will help change the world. Writing a book like this is dangerous, and many maids are scared and believe it isn't worth the risk. Along with Minnie, Aibileen's best friend, the three begin to work on their project. Their actions will be life changing.

When I heard about the Help, I had no intentions of reading it. When I heard it was being turned into a movie, I still had no intentions of reading it. Even after I say the movie, I still didn't want to read it. I watched the bonus clips on the disk, and finally decided to read it. I'm glad that I did, because this was a truly wonderful book.

The characters were extremely well-developed, realistic, and lovable. They all had distinguishable voices that came through very well. I'm glad that I had seen the movie before reading the book because it helped me understand it better. The writing is absolutely beautiful. It makes me feel angry, sad, dissapointed, happy, scared, and proud. Only a wonderful book can make you feel all those emotions.

Even though this type of literature isn't my favorite, I still found myself enjoying the Help a lot. I liked the story, the characters, and how the story was told. I would recommend this one  even if you think it doesn't interest you. It's a fantastic story than anyone can enjoy. 5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Hudson Avery is best known as the Cupcake Queen of Watonka. She spends most of her time inventing new cupcake recipes, watching after her brother, and helping out her mother at their diner. She’s always had a passion for ice-skating, but when she discovered her father was cheating on her mom, she threw the competition and gave up on her dream. Years later, she’s invited to compete in a skating competition that could change her life. A super cute hockey guy offers to get her rink time if she helps the hockey team (who have had a killer losing streak) and teaches them some of her tricks.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I love making cupcakes (and various other deserts), so I personally adored the little cupcake descriptions at the beginning of each chapter. There were a lot of good ideas and I plan on writing them down to recreate! But anyway… back to the book.
The characters were all very likable and realistic. I liked the idea of the story and how there were so many different aspects to it. It was really cute and had many humorous parts. I liked the setting and the messages ad everything in general!
The only thing that I found to be strange was Hudson’s relationship with Kara. First of all, it’s Hudson’s fault they stopped being friends. It’s understandable that Kara would hate Hudson, but for Hudson to hate Kara? That doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think she’s justified in being mean, because Kara didn’t do anything.
The only reason it's not 5 stars is Hudson’s love interest. I wish that more would have happened. And the competition…. Seriously….
The cover is gorgeous, but I think there should have been a cupcake!!! It would have been way cuter.
Sarah Ockler is a wonderful writer (Twenty Boy Summer was better) and Bittersweet doesn’t disappoint. It shows more of a playful edge of the writer. I recommend this one for anyone who wants a sweet, wintery romance/self-discovery story. 4 out of 5 stars.