Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Hardcover, 1st Edition, 387 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

(Provided by GoodReads)

A futuristic retelling of Cinderella where our heroine is a cyborg, sprinkled with dystopian and steampunk. There are so many places this story could have gone wrong. But it doesn't. It's actually a lovely, refreshing take on Cinderella.

Cinder's character is more abrasive than classic versions on Cinderella, which was a nice change of pace. Her side kick, Iko, is an android with a defective personality chip; she's quirky and adorable. Cinder's relationship with her step sisters and step mother also was very well done. They felt like real people. However, I feel it needs to be said that the relationship between Cinder and Prince Kai didn't feel as genuine as I would've hoped. 

My only real criticism, though, is that Cinder felt incomplete. With every novel being part of a series these days, it has become a bit of a trend to write a book that serves only as build up for the rest of the series. I'm not saying that Cinder felt like a prequel (most definitely, it did not), just that I wished the climax felt more... climatic. But maybe it's just me. Other than that, Marissa Meyer did a wonderful job of world building and putting a new twist on an old fairy tale.

Final Thought: 8 out of 10 toadstools

Review also available on GoodReads

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Bookish Survey

The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation, #1)Grabbed this survey from The Broke and the Bookish and did my own :)

1. The book I’m currently reading: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams.
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

2. The last book I finished: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Futuristic fairy tale = awesome.

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)

3. The next book I want to read: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. I have not gotten this excited about a series since... I don't know. A long time. I want to hold off a little on reading it though since Requiem comes out next year.
Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1)

4. The last book I bought: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini. I was really excited to see a Greek myth inspired novel NOT based on the Persephone story.
Paper Towns 

5. The last book I was given: Paper Towns by John Green. My mom got this for me for Christmas last year, thus introducing me to the world of Nerdfighteria.

Post your own or a link in the comments!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Hardcover, 370 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Simon Pulse

Fury (The Fury Trilogy #1)
Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...
Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.
On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.
In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay. 

Em and Chase have been chosen.

(provided by GoodReads

"Sometimes sorry isn't enough" would have been a better tagline if the actions and events in this novel were actually worth more than a heartfelt apology. That being said, however, the Furies of legend didn't always need a good reason to dish out death.

Anyway, I am not a big fan of the switching narrators trend, but when it is done well I can appreciate it. When done well, both narrators weave together the same story from each perspective, further deepening it. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater executed this flawlessly. Fury did not and, instead, created two mostly separate stories. They did occur at the same time and were somewhat affected by each other, but they didn't rely on each other. 

However, it was interesting to read a book where the main characters are intentionally unlikable. Em is selfish, mean, and a bit of a brat. She does have some redeeming qualities, which plays tug-of-war with the reader; "Oh I feel bad for her" and then "Wow. That was uncalled for." Chase, on the other hand, is simply a womanizing jerk, as with the rest of the male characters.

On to the writing! Part of my problem with this story was that it didn't seem to be able to decide whether it was a horror or a romance novel. With horror there should be this sense or urgency or eeriness lingering in the space between words, but there wasn't. With romance it shouldn't have elements of horror strewn throughout, but there was. There is a way to do romance in horror literature, and this isn't it. It honestly would have been a much better book in my opinion if it was simply focused on being a scary story.

Also, the author mainly told the story instead of "showing" it with imagery. Showing vs. telling makes the story come alive, which is where Fury fell flat. Even (or especially) at the climax(es), there was a lot of "This happened. Then this happened. And this is now going on." But then the next paragraph would be well written and I would be sitting there scratching my head.


Final Thought: 2 out of 5 toadstools
Review also available on GoodReads

Monday, August 20, 2012

End of the World

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors comes out tomorrow and I'm pretty excited for it. Like, maybe bouncing-in-my-seat-a-little excited. So I thought I'd make a little list of the releases that I'm most excited about that come out in the months before our supposed impending doom in December.

The Sweetest SpellEmmeline Thistle has always had a mysterious bond with cows, beginning on the night of her birth, when the local bovines saved the infant cast aside to die in the forest. But Emmeline was unaware that this bond has also given her a magical ability to transform milk into chocolate, a very valuable gift in a kingdom where chocolate is more rare and more precious than gold or jewels. Then one day Owen Oak, a dairyman’s son, teaches Emmeline to churn milk into butter—and instead she creates a delicious chocolate confection that immediately makes her a target for every greedy, power-hungry person in the kingdom of Anglund. Only Owen loves Emmeline for who she truly is, not her magical skill. But is his love enough to save her from the danger all around her?
In a departure from her contemporary teen romances, Suzanne Selfors crafts an irresistible re-imagined fairy tale that will tempt readers with a delicious story of love that is sweeter than the richest chocolate.

(provided by Barnes & Noble)

Seriously, who wouldn't be stoked about a book involving true love and chocolate? And look at that beautiful cover! Comes out tomorrow, Aug. 21, 2012.

The truth about Mara Dyer’s dangerous and mysterious abilities continues to unravel in this gripping sequel to the thrilling The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)One week after Mara walked into a police station in Miami at the close of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, she has been committed to psychiatric treatment for what her parents believe was a mental breakdown. But what seems like a hallucination to everyone else is a chilling reality for Mara. Someone from her past has discovered her strange, deeply disturbing secret and that someone wants her to pay. But when no one believes the truth, Mara is totally helpless. The only person on her side is Noah Shaw, as sexy and handsome as he is loyal and cunning. Noah is the only person who can help Mara—as long as he doesn’t get himself killed in the process.

(provided by Barnes & Noble)

The sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, which if you have not read, you really should. An urban fantasy set in Miami, Mara's story is exciting, unique, and intriguing. Comes out on Oct. 23, 2012 and also has a  really cool cover.

Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles, #1)Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

(provided by GoodReads)

Here we have some underwater creepiness that comes out on Nov. 13, 2012. Something about this book stood out to me, possibly the beautiful cover...I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy
Reached (Matched, #3)After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.
In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

Another Nov. 13, 2012 release! That will be an exciting day indeed. I have loved the Matched trilogy so far and I expect to love the third and final volume as well. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for good dystopian, and Ally Condie has not disappointed me. And apparently, I am a sucker for nice covers.

So there's my pre-end-of-the-world-most-excited-about-reading reading list. On the bright side, I get to read the ending of the Matched Trilogy. On the not so bright side, we all die. And there's a lot of books that are coming out in 2013 that I want to read, so here's hoping that the Mayans had a different reason for their calender ending. Are there any releases you're excited about before Dec? Be it a book, movie, game, whatever, let me know below!

Green Monkey Love

As I am knew to the whole reviewing books thing, I've been reading a lot of reviews on GoodReads. That last statement is a little deceiving though, because regardless of whether I just started reviewing books, I would still be reading reviews on GoodReads. I practically live on GoodReads.

Anyway, I've been trying to read a variety of reviews; reviews of established reviewers with blogs who receive ARCs from publishers to reviews from 14 year olds who want to throw their two cents in about their newest love in the book world. But what I'm finding sometimes is rather disappointing: a lot of reviewers give rather emotionally charged reviews which are neither informative or helpful. For example, reading a book about green monkeys when you only like reading about red monkeys, then reviewing with a bad score stating only that you didn't like that the author wrote about green monkeys. This does not tell me anything useful. It leaves me sitting at my desk wondering "Well what if I do like green monkeys?"

And why would you even pick up a book about green monkeys if you're prejudice against them? Poor green monkeys; I still love you.

Final Thought:  0 of 50 toadstools

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 16th 2012 by Dial Books

The Treachery of Beautiful ThingsA darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense from a new voice in teen fiction

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

(provide by GoodReads) 

It's not too often that when I stop to take a short break from reading, glancing at the cover as I close the book, that I actually think to myself "what an appropriately titled book." It is about just that: the treachery of beautiful things. That being said, this book also has couple things to one-up other faerie books: it is not corny and it starts immediately. No random and useless character development here. For example, Jenny introduces the reader to her parents within her own thoughts, but in a way where it develops her character (not the other way around). One thing I particularly liked was that the main character was not immune to getting hurt. Bad things happen to Jenny, giving the story an overall dark feel to it. I've read other books where the character ends up in faerie land, has something terrifying and awful happen, and then ends up with barely a scratch in the end. It's simply unrealistic.

That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind. There are two types of stories: ones that advance because of the characters and events that follow their actions, and those that are propelled by events with the characters adapting and reacting to these events. This book was the later. We are more used to character based stories, so this has a different (refreshing, for some) formula. However, with the characters constantly reacting, the romance part of the novel didn't feel as real. With them constantly reacting, where was there room for feelings to grow? I felt that aspect was under developed.

If you are looking for a great love story with happy faeries thrown into the mix, look elsewhere. But if  evil faeries are your thing (or you're not quite sure if they are) and you want a different kind of faerie tale (with some old English lore thrown in), this will be a great book for you.

Final Thought: 6 out of 8 toadstools
Review also available on GoodReads

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bacon Cupcake

Locally in metro Detroit (Mome Raths can be from metro Detroit), this weekend is a sort-of-holiday called the Dream Cruise. Of course Detroit has a car holiday (it is the Motor City). The entire purpose of this day is for old guys to bust out their old cars they've been working on and cruise down Woodward Ave. (Michigan Hwy 1, basically Detroit's Main Street). That's it. Really.

Normally, I rather despise the Dream Cruise. I usually have to work and being as that is my primary route of transportation, it gives me a bit of a headache. It also just seems like a giant waste of gas. I planned on locking my doors, staying inside to avoid traffic and maybe coming out later just to walk over for a quick look.

Bacon Cupcake Goodness
However, I had to run a couple of errands. The traffic is only going to get worse, so the hubby (Mome Raths can be married, he's a Tea Cup) and I ran out at about 11 am. Downtown Royal Oak seemed rather untouched by the business on Woodward (only a street away) and I got through my errand quickly. Strolling back to my car slowly to use up the extra time on my meter, I passed my favorite cupcake store, Taste Love Cupcakes. Their sign today had a car drawn on it and stated "Welcome Cruisers! Our specials today are Bacon and French Toast and something else that I didn't bother to read!" Wait. Hold the frickin' phone. Did you say bacon cupcake? I was so...confused?  The hubby and I shared a quick glance, walked in and bought four; one for each of us and our roommies.

So, maybe (just maybe) the Dream Cruise isn't ALL bad. Cool specials going on around town is kind of nice. There's also a little carnival going on for it. I also believe the demise of the Dream Cruise is inevitable; my generation doesn't seem to keen on keeping it going. It will probably die out within my lifetime, especially since Detroit is attempting to expand it's enterprise outside of just cars, inviting new and varied types of people. People who probably would see this holiday as almost barbaric.

Final Thought: Dream Cruise gets 3 out of 10 toadstools
                          Bacon Cupcake gets 3 out of 2 toadstools

Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Hardcover, Special Edition, 441 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2011)

Delirium (Delirium, #1)
Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe.

I wonder whether the procedure will hurt.

I want to get it over with.

It’s hard to be patient.

It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet.

Still, I worry.

They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness.

The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.
(provided by GoodReads)

Delirium is set in a dystopian world where love is regarded as a disease, amor deliria nervosa. Regarded and feared as the most dangerous disease, they have developed a cure and it is compulsory at age 18. Lena, our heroine, actually is happy about this predicament (as seen above).

I feel like giving away anymore of the story would be disservice to anyone simply wanting to know if this was not a good book. Therefore, this is a not a good book. This is an amazing book. Lena's development as a character was real and honest. Everything she felt, I felt.

For your enjoyment, an anecdote: I woke rather early in the morning considering I was up late reading the night before, and turned over to my night stand to finish the last 40-50 pages of the novel. Quickly, I zipped through the climax, falling action, resolution, afterword, interview with the author, and even the beginning to the next book (all provided in the book). But it wasn't enough; I was not okay. I needed more. I spent the rest of the morning pacing. What was awful was that I was more upset about this book than the fact I was attending my grandmother's funeral at noon. I felt terrible. I still feel terrible, but that won't change that while I was practicing the reading I was to do during mass (mome raths can be Catholic, but not necessarily am I), I could not focus. One second I'm reading aloud from the Book of Wisdom and the next I'm yelling "HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME LAUREN OLIVER."

I did manage to get a hold of  myself. Eventually. The point, though, is that I thoroughly loved this book. The world is built well, the prose was fluid, and the story enraptured me.

Final Thought: 36 out of 37 toadstools
Minus one toadstool for breaking my heart.

Review also available on GoodReads

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blog made Pretty

Image and background courtesy of Iktupilli of

Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

 Hourglass (Hourglass, #1)
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Egmont USA

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

(summary grabbed from GoodReads)

Since this is my first review, I should establish I am not a hard person to please. I can and have enjoyed most everything I have read in some shape or another. This has held true with Hourglass - I did enjoy the book. I found the story intruging, the ideas on time travel fairly original, and the book had a nice pace. I want to write a positive review, but there was very little that I loved. I can't say I have exceptionally strong feelings for Hourglass.

However, I can clearly list quite a few things that I did not like. Nothing that would be a deal breaker where I wouldn't even finish the book, but just things that irked me throughout. For example: I don't like the main character, Emerson Cole. She is in definite need of anger management and way too prone to putting up her fists. A lot of her actions seemed to me to be inappropriately violent.

The over-elaborate descriptions of every character's beauty were also a little much (seriously, every character had movie star looks). I also felt that the characters were just very shallow. I hate to sound like a negative Nancy with my complaining, especially since I did enjoy the book enough to pick up the sequel, Timepiece. It is a fun read with a trope not seen too often in YA literature. If you are looking for a thought provoking plot with intricate characters that will pull you in all directions and leave you needing more, this may not be the book for you. It was not that book for me. BUT! If you want a quick read for a rainy day, Hourglass may be what you're looking for.

Final Thought: 3 out of 5 toadstools

Review also availalbe on GoodReads

First Post

Isn't it always nerve wracking to do the first of anything? The first kiss of a relationship, the first line of a novel, the first time you get behind the wheel of a car; there's always that initial "I-can't-mess-this-up-because-it-sets-the-tone-of-the-future" feeling. So, I'll keep this short and sweet (I can't ruin it that way).
Welcome to Where the Mome Raths Outgrabe! I am your host, Momo the Mome Rath. I am indeed a Mome Rath; you can look it up. I plan to blog about my love of Young Adult literature and organize my thoughts regarding the books I read. This blog is intended for other Mome Raths and those who are not sure as to whether or not they are, indeed, a Mome Rath.