Friday, May 29, 2015

The Road So Far

Hello!

Thank you for a great one and a half months. May has been really busy for me, so I wasn't able to post as much as I would have liked. Hopefully you found the THRONE OF GLASS reviews interesting and I introduced you to a few good YA novels!

I hope to do more MG reviews throughout June. The library's selection isn't very good, and that's been stopping me from reviewing MG books.

I look forward to another month of bookish fun!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: I AM NUMBER FOUR

Salutations! Today I'll be sharing a book I've had on my TBR list for a few months: I AM NUMBER FOUR is by Pittacus Lore. The cover doesn't say much about the book, but here it is:



A quick warning: I am in a little bit of a grouchy mood today, so this review may be a little harsher than I usually am on books. I did enjoy this book, but I just seem to be a little negative for some reason.

It's a pretty complicated storyline, so I don't know how well I can summarize it. But here's my best shot. I hope that you'll read both my summary and the Goodreads blurb to get a better idea of the plot.

My summary:

Four has never had a permanent home. He's never had a real friend. In fact, he's never kept the same name for more than a few months. Henri, his caretaker, and Four have been on the run, always hiding from the Mogadorian, a destructive alien race that seeks to kill the last of the Lorien race.

Four and Henri settle in Ohio. Four takes the name John, and for the first time, he's beginning to have a life with real friends. But it can't last. Three has been killed, just like One and Two. The Mogadorian are closing in. And only one thing is certain: Four is next.

Goodreads tell us:

In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. 

The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.


My review:

When I first picked this book up, I had no idea that they had made a movie. That changed quickly over the first twenty-four hours. Two people came up to me when I was reading it in a cafe and told me that it was a good book. A few coworkers who also saw me reading it also offered me their take on I AM NUMBER FOUR.

What really attracted my attention was the concept. The storyline instantly grabbed my attention. I have the paperback version, and the little blurb on the back was amazing. I AM NUMBER FOUR has such a cool concept, and I have a special place in my heart for teenagers-with-supernatural-powers books. It could have been perfect.

But it wasn't.

There were a few things that I didn't understand that ended up being important later in the story. I wish those points had been clarified. I also found some of the characters lacking, especially Mark. He changed too fast. I expected there to be something at some point, but nada.

There are also some major "surprises" that failed to amaze me. I figured them out before they even settled in Ohio, and the ending lost some of its power as a result.

Because of the content, I decided to label this book YA rather than MG, but I wasn't sure. The writing was very simple and did not have difficult language. However, the content does swing I AM NUMBER FOUR to the YA side. The characters utilize curse words often, and at one point the characters go to a high school party with alcohol and drugs. Romance also drives the story at one point, and the romance in I AM NUMBER FOUR is more YA than MG.

I was a little disappointed by this odd line this book walked. I usually like my YA with a more complex writing style and richer vocabulary.

HOWEVER...there are some good things about I AM NUMBER FOUR.

I did really enjoy the storyline. It was such an interesting concept. I wanted to learn more about the Lorien culture. Lore gets a sticker for his world building.

There are some really great moments between Henri and Four/John. I found myself emotional involved in I AM NUMBER FOUR, and the fact that it had me getting angry at Four/John in the I-care-about-you-and-I-only-want-what's-best-for-you way proves that Lore captured my emotions.

I think I would give it a 3.5 stars out of 5.

I'm not really sure if I'm going to continue the series. I AM NUMBER FOUR wasn't bad, but it didn't blow my socks off. I have a lot to read, so I'm not sure if I want to spend the itty-bitty time I do have on this series. I'm open to hearing your thoughts on the matter, so please let me know in the comments section below.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: HEIR OF FIRE

Hi! Hope everything is excellent! I must admit that I am a tad bit tired, so please excuse any mistakes.

Rather than doing a MMGM, I will be finishing up my chain of reviews on the THONE OF GLASS novels with HEIR OF FIRE, the third book in the series. My reviews for the first book and second book are also available, and I recommend reading them before you read this review.

Once again, I want to warn that there will be spoilers for THONE OF GLASS and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. I tried to keep this post pretty light on the HEIR OF FIRE spoilers, but as a sequel, it is impossible not to leak a few things from the first two books.

This is your final warning, as you are now entering THRONE OF GLASS and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT spoiler zone!


I'm going to skip the writing my own summary this time. I apologize for any inconvenience!

Goodreads tells us:

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

My review:

I must say, this is my favorite THRONE OF GLASS novel yet! In past books, Sarah Maas has focused on Celaena with a few smaller scenes focusing on Chaol and Dorian. HEIR OF FIRE is a little more epic in the way it has three very different viewpoints. We watch Celaena and Rowan as they train, Manon, a witch of the Blackbeak clan, as she receives her mount, and the going-ons at Rifthold. I really enjoyed seeing all the different points of view. It added a lot of tension, especially as I neared the end of the book. 

I would like to congratulate Sarah for not splitting up the scenes. Often, authors will end chapters on cliffhangers before switching to another view in order to keep readers engaged. This never fails to drive me crazy, and I want to send a giant THANK YOU to Sarah for not engaging in those tactics. 

There were lots of new characters in HEIR OF FIRE, and I loved them. They were so well-constructed and wonderful. I found that Sarah did a better job of making her very minor characters real. I look forward to seeing more of that realism in the fourth book!

I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but I can't help but praise Sarah for her phenomenal job making Celaena seem like a real person. Celaena had to come to terms with some very difficult things in HEIR OF FIRE, and I loved how Sarah continues to make her insecurities and demons part of her. Celaena has a lot of issues, and I am glad they weren't glossed over.

As for the plot, HEIR OF FIRE is a wild ride. So much is happening, especially with all the viewpoints, and Sarah does a good job of constructing each part of the story.

Awesome. Excellent. Superb. HEIR OF FIRE is all of those things. In fact, it is so good that I would read THRONE OF GLASS and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT just so I could get the full experience out of HEIR OF FIRE. After reading HEIR OF FIRE, my expectations for the fourth book are high, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Worthy of five stars out of five.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Checking In

Hi!

I just wanted to let you know that I am really busy right now and will be unable to post as often as I have been. I hope that the craziness and the flu (I'm still recovering) will soon pass, but I don't know when exactly it will end or when I'll be able to post more regularly. My goal is to post once a week so you know what is going on, and we'll see how that goes.

Thank you for checking in! I hope to see you back on The Reader's Perch soon.

Monday, May 11, 2015

MMGM fail

Hello! I'm sorry I don't have a book for you today! I've been hit with the most terrible flu virus, and I am going to be out of the picture a bit.

Thank you for checking, and I look forward to seeing you back here soon, as I should be posting more on The Reader's Perch soon!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The New Development

As I mentioned in my last post regarding my "library adventures", I discovered a few shelves of MG books I had not previously encountered. I now give you the next chapter in this story.

I suppose it started with a book I had put on hold. I was once again pleased by the library's speed regarding to holds, and I got a notice saying my book was ready to pick up less than 48 hours after I placed the hold. It was quite impressive. But a book on hold needs to get picked up, so to the library I went!

To be honest, the library branch nearby closes a little too early for my purposes. I would like to stop by after school, but it's usually closed by then. But I left a little early, and I was able to make it in fifteen minutes before closing.

After picking up my hold, I went through the shelves I had recently discovered. I was pleasantly surprised by the collection. I found a few shelves advertising "New Children's Fiction", which happened to be exactly what I was looking for.

After checking out the area, I ended up getting two books from the MG section to keep my hold company. On my way out, I was told by a volunteer that they have another MG area. However, it was closing time, and I was unable to look into it. That will just need to be the purpose of the next trip.

I have a few new MG books to read, and if they are good, I'll do posts on them. Until then, keep enjoying your fictional friends!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Independent Bookstore Day 2015

 Hello! Today I am doing a post on my Independent Bookstore Day acquisitions. This year I purchased a number of bookish trinkets.

Before I begin, I would like to apologize for the quality of the pictures. I'm not a photographer, and the camera on my phone isn't the most impressive piece of technology. I was also forced to find a new background for my pictures. I'm not sure how I feel about the wood, but hopefully you can see the items.

Here we go!


The "Sweet" tea towels are the only object I knew I was going to get. They both matched rooms in my house, and I loved the sayings. Here's a closer look at each towel:


My "library" at home has a purple theme to it (I'm not sure why), and the message and book-like print on this towel is a PERFECT addition to that room.


The powder room has an empty wall, and the decor would actually fit in quite well with this orange towel. 

After some careful consideration, I took a leap of faith and bought the "Salty" set as well. 


I try to keep the content on this blog pretty friendly, so I won't be posting a larger picture of the yellow towel. The yellow towel was the part of this set I wasn't really sure about. I don't feel comfortable posting something with that kind of language in my house. However, I loved the blue one too much not to get the set.


This is, unfortunately, an-all-too-accurate statement regarding my TBR pile. How could I pass it up? 

And last but not least...


I used the carpet as a background because the wood-artwork-on-wood-background didn't look right. Because I love writing and reading, I liked the message of this piece.

That's it for this year! I hope you enjoyed it. The rest of this year's items can be viewed here (you may need to scroll a bit). Have a great day!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Review: CROWN OF MIDNIGHT

Greetings! I do not have a MMGM book for you, but I do have a review for a YA book! Today I will be sharing CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, the second book in the THRONE OF GLASS series. I did a review on the first one a little while ago, and you can view it here.

Before we begin, I want to warn that there will be spoilers for THONE OF GLASS. As CROWN OF MIDNIGHT is the sequel, it is impossible not to spoil THRONE OF GLASS. Please be aware of this when reading this review.

You have been warned...


CROWN OF MIDNIGHT is the work of the amazing Sarah J. Maas!

My summary:

Celaena Sardothien, the king's Champion, knows she serves a man with a black heart, and she has been working against the king by secretly smuggling her targets to safety. But as she uncovers secrets hiding throughout the castle and within the hearts of the people around her, Celaena finds herself on thin ice. And after a succession of terrible events, she must confront the secrets that lurk in the shadows and decide exactly what her next move is.

Goodreads tells us:

"A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend."


From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.
 


My review:

Before I really start my review, I feel that I should come out and say it: of the three currently out, I must admit that CROWN OF MIDNIGHT is my least favorite. That does not mean it is a bad book. Rather, THRONE OF GLASS set the bar so high that I wanted to see CROWN OF MIDNIGHT do amazing things. To be fair, I was expecting to be able to give CROWN OF MIDNIGHT an above five rating. And although it was wonderful, it wasn't a five star book.

I think this may be, in part, because I already knew one of the big mysteries that drove the plot. I had guessed it the first time I had read THRONE OF GLASS a looooong time ago, and then I learned that I was correct when I told my friend who had read both THRONE OF GLASS and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT my suspicions.

One would also think that I would have learned from my experience with THRONE OF GLASS to read CROWN OF MIDNIGHT when I didn't have a few other things I was juggling. Unfortunately, I was not smart enough (or, more precisely, not patient enough) to wait until I could REALLY focus on CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. When I reread the series before the fourth book comes out in the fall, I may do another review on CROWN OF MIDNIGHT just to be a little more fair.

Now that I've educated you on my position, I will really review CROWN OF MIDNIGHT.

Once again, I loved the three-dimensional personality of Celaena. Sarah does such a great job making her a real person. We saw more of her insecurities in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. I think authors sometimes forget to add insecurities to a character if it isn't part of the immediate plot, so I was very glad to see that Sarah had made them part of Celaena.

I also saw a lot of growth in Prince Dorian, which may have been a result of a big change (I really can't say any more without spoiling it) that took place. I really liked seeing him as a larger part of the conflict because he didn't do a lot in THRONE OF GLASS.

Admittedly, I am not a huge Chaol fan. Because most of Chaol's part in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT was related to the the mystery I mentioned earlier, I was just kind of "meh" about him.

As for the very minor characters, I saw the same thing happen where they didn't get a lot of development. However, the minor-but-not-quite-as-small characters received more development in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT than I saw in THRONE OF GLASS.

Sarah Maas' writing style is still as brilliant and addicting as ever.

If I ignore the one mystery I uncovered, the plot was pretty surprising. However, that mystery was a big part of the story, so I don't know if I can really say that that the plot in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT was as stunning as THRONE OF GLASS's plot.

Because of, well, everything explained above, I think I feel like CROWN OF MIDNIGHT should get a 4.3 out of 5.

I will be reviewing HEIR OF FIRE, the third book in the THRONE OF GLASS series, on May 18th. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Happy Independent Bookstore Day!

May 2nd is independent bookstore day, so don't forget to visit your local store. All bookstores are great, and our lovely independent bookstores are no different!

I live in California, and independent bookstores will have some very special items that you can only buy today. You can see these special items here. I don't know what exciting bookish offerings other states have, but if you ask Google, I'm sure you can find more information regarding your state.

I'm planning on getting a few things, and I will do a post on it. Until then, go out and support your local independent bookstore!