Monday, February 24, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Book Review: Inhuman

Title: Inhuman (Book 1 in the Fetch series)
Author: Kat Falls
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Fantasy, dystopian
Pages: 384
Age Rating: Readers over 13
My Opinion: 5/10

Hi, Readers!

       For this It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, hosted by Teach Mentor Texts, Book Journeys, and Unleashing Readers, I chose to review a book that you should not read.  I used to think that a book would be "good" because it has an interesting concept, but reading Inhuman, by Kat Falls, has shown me that writing style and characters are much more important.  Inhuman has a creative plot line, but that is its only saving grace. 

       Lane McEvoy lives peacefully on the safe side of an enormous wall that seperates civilization from the Feral Zone, filled with savagery and disease, and she has no interest in discovering why the wall was built in the first place.  However, when her father is discovered as a known criminal who has crossed the wall numerous times and survived, Lane is forced to take drastic action in order to clear her father's name.  She has to enter the Feral Zone in order to find her father,getting help from friends such as a thief, Rafe, and a soldier, Everson.  However, Lane is forced to confront the truth about what is actually in the Feral Zone, and her discoveries sure aren't pretty.

Never let them tame you
A standout quote from Inhuman
       When I started reading the book, I immediately became confused.  Lane was hanging out with friends that I figured would be other main characters, but then they completely disappear from the book after a couple of chapters.  Then, as soon as Lane crosses into the Feral Zone, she starts remembering these weird childhood stories that her father used to tell her, and the stories miraculously help her to survive.  It seems to me that Kat Falls threw the stories in as an afterthought, and they do not seem coherent.  Later, the author introduced these completely unexpected mutated humans that have somehow mixed their DNA with that of animals... The book's story line is very choppy and hard to follow until about halfway through.

       Frankly, the characters were not very pleasing, either.  Lane seems weak and she gets captured by the antagonist a number of times.  On top of that, she has to wait for Rafe and Everson to save her every time she is captured. Plus, Everson and Rafe are extremely stereotypical - the upstanding citizen-soldier and the bad boy thief.  Yawn.  On the other hand, the novel's antagonist, a human-tiger mutant named Chorda, is quite freaky and pops up in the most random of settings.

       Inhuman does have one thing going for it - Kat Falls is not afraid to take drastic measures such as killing off characters.  Most authors hesitate to kill off main characters so that readers are not upset, but I was pleased that Falls took the risk because it increased the suspense throughout the novel.  Also, I am happy with the ending of the book because, although it is the first in a series, almost all of the plot elements were wrapped up nicely.  
       To put it simply, Inhuman is not a book that you should spend your time reading unless you read as much as I do.  It was very choppy and incoherent, and the characters were obnoxious.  I'm actually disappointed that Inhuman wasn't well written because I've enjoyed other Kat Falls novels.  I did enjoy the story as a whole, but not enough to recommend Inhuman as more than a 5/10.  Needless to say, I will not be anxiously awaiting its sequel.

Happy reading and have a great Monday!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being a Blogger/Reader

Hi, Readers!

       Many of my friends at school are surprised to find out how much I love reading because a lot of teenagers have somehow contracted a "hatred of reading"... However, I absolutely LOVE to be around books, making this week's Top Ten Tuesday perfect for me - the Top Ten Reasons I Love Being a Blogger/Reader.  Top Ten Tuesday is a fantastic weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog.  I decided to do top five lists about both being a blogger and a reader.

Best Parts About Being a Blogger:
1. Connecting with people around the world
I've read blogs from other continents, such as Europe and South America, and I've received comments from readers in other countries.  Plus, being able to connect with authors is very exciting.

2. Weekly memes
My favorite weekly memes are Top Ten Tuesdays and It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? (Children's and YA edition).  These memes allow bloggers to link up and share thoughts with one another.

3. Reviews with personality
I am a HUGE fan of Cover Snark by A Reader of Fictions blog and other hilarious blog posts.  It is so fun to read honest reviews that are spiced up with jokes and gifs.

4. Reading reviews on books that I've already read
These reviews are entertaining because I can compare my point of view to that of other bloggers.  I especially enjoy reading POVs that I disagree with so I can be outraged about how they hate my favorite parts of books.

5. Discovering new books
My entire to-read list is determined by other bloggers' reviews.  Each time I see a cover that appeals to me, I take a quick skim through the description of the book and the blogger's review and then add it to my list of books to read.

Best Parts About Being a Reader:
1. Becoming somebody else
When I read, I transform into a wizard, a cancer patient, a secret agent, a child genius, a princess, or anybody else that I can dream of (and I'm never thrown into life-threatening situations, which is an added bonus).

2. Improving reading skills
Sure, it sounds lame, but I enjoy becoming a more proficient reader.  Thanks to my skill of speed reading, I can finish my English homework faster than all of my friends!

3. Book to movie experience
Seeing my favorite characters come to life on the big screen is definitely one of the high points about reading.  Plus, I can complain about all of the scenes from the book that the movie left out.

4. Laughing and crying
Books that can make the reader feel something are always the best.  It is amazing how pieces of paper can generate human emotions.

5. Visiting fantasy and dystopian settings
Let's be honest - everybody wants to go to Hogwarts and Narnia, but nobody would ever go to District 12 or the Dauntless Compound.  Because they will never exist, I will have to settle for reading about them 24-7.

       Clearly, I absolutely love to read and blog, and hopefully you do, too.  Feel free to comment below with a link to your TTT list for this week, and if you've enjoyed this post, please follow me on Google Friend Connect. 

Happy reading!

Monday, February 10, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Book Review: Unravel Me

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Unravel MeTitle: Unravel Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Fantasy, dystopian
Pages: 461
Age Rating: Readers over 13
My Opinion: 9/10

Hi, Readers!

       Usually, I am against trilogies and sequels, but... the Shatter Me trilogy, by Tahereh Mafi, has completely captured my attention, and I am sharing it with you for this week's It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?, a blogging meme hosted by Book Journey, Teach Mentor Texts, and Unleashing Readers.  I just finished reading Shatter Me (read my review here) a few weeks ago, and I had to get my hands on its sequel, Unravel Me, ASAP.  Thank you, public library!  Now that I've finished it, I am dying to read book three.  

I Heart Warner       Juliette is back in action, and she has joined a powerful movement at Omega Point to resist The Reestablishment, a communistic organization that has taken over the world.  However, her life is getting more complicated due to the fact that her touch is lethal and she is surrounded by more humans than she has seen in her entire life.  Juliette comes to the discovery that her touch is slowly draining the powers of her boyfriend, Adam, and she must decide between love and safety.  Also, the supreme leader of The Reestablishment is on a mission to capture Juliette in order to punish his own son, Warner, who has fallen in love with her.  As secrets come out and trust is broken, Juliette must learn to rely on her new Omega Point friends if she wants to survive a showdown with The Reestablishment.

       The best part of Unravel Me is that Juliette's friends are not afraid to tell her that she is acting like a jerk.  This made me extremely happy when I was reading because too many dystopian heroines end up acting in a self-centered and annoying way.  Juliette's friend, Kenji, tells it like it is - if Juliette doesn't complete her Omega Point missions, he is the first one to let her know that she needs to step it up.  I love the honesty of the characters throughout the novel.  Plus, another very pleasing aspect of Unravel Me is that author Tahereh Mafi is not afraid to include controversy in her writing.  I loved reading about Juliette's conflicted feelings about Adam and Warner and how she grew as a person throughout the novel.

       One downer about Unravel Me is that Tahereh Mafi sort of, well, forgot to include her ingenious writing style from Shatter Me.  In Shatter Me, Mafi used lines through words (like this) to show what Juliette was really thinking.  However, she only includes this interesting writing technique a couple of times in the whole novel, which was a little disappointing.  My only other complaint about the novel is that there seems to be a lot of description in the first few chapters, but once you get past the initial intro, the book is quite exciting.

The Shatter Me series
       Mafi's Unravel Me was a great deal more suspenceful and thrilling than Shatter Me, which is saying a lot.  I can honestly say that I cannot wait to read the final book in the trilogy, Ignite Me, which just came out on February 4.  I highly recommend the series to teen readers, especially females, who love dystopian and action-packed novels.

Happy reading!

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? The Fault In Our Stars

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?
Hi, Readers!

       It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a blogging meme that has been tailored to fit a younger audience (children's books to YA) by Teach Mentor Texts.   As a suggestion from my fantastic blogging mentor, Melanie Meehan from Two Reflective Teachers, I decided to give it a try!
      This week I finished reading The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green, and I can honestly say that this book touched me in a way that few books ever have before.  TFIOS is a realistic fiction novel about a girl named Hazel who is suffering from cancer.  She is forced by her parents to attend a support group in order to make friends, and it is there that she meets Gus Waters, a cancer survivor.  The two bond instantly and share a connection that is well beyond their years.  When one of them is threatened with a major cancer remission, Hazel and Gus try to hold on to the only thing that they can - hope.

The Fault In Our Stars
       John Green's writing style is so pure and unfiltered that everything Hazel says and does is portrayed like a movie in the reader's head.  Hazel is an astonishingly strong young lady, and although she personally does not feel as though she has any worth, she positively impacts everybody she encounters.  Also, her relationship with Gus is so strong that there is no doubt the two are perfect for one another; the only problem is that they have to fight cancer at the same time.  Lastly, I love Green's characterization of Gus's best friend, who loses his vision partway through the book.

       I can honestly say that I laughed and cried while reading this book.  Mostly I laughed because of Hazel and Gus's hilarious banters and discussions about life, but I was certainly moved to tears by the end of the novel.  TFIOS is a book that everybody should read, irregardless of age or gender.  It's relevant theme of cancer is put into a modern and realistic setting, and everybody can relate to the story in one way or another.  If you haven't yet read TFIOS, I highly recommend it.

       On a side note, I just saw the trailer for TFIOS's movie, coming out on June 6.  The trailer literally made me cry again while remembering the book, but it also brought a sense of warmth to me at how wonderful the movie is going to turn out.  The movie looks like it will stay true to the novel's story line, so if you want a sneak peak, here's the trailer:

       But seriously, not to sound like a TV ad, but READ THIS BOOK!  It is skyrocketing in popularity, and a number of bloggers are even saying it's better than Harry Potter.  TFIOS is definitely the perfect book for me to write about for my first It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?  If you've read TFIOS or have any book suggestions for me to read, please comment and let me know.

Happy reading!