book review: linked

Linked (Linked #1)Linked by Imogen Howson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Linked was a fantastic story! Elissa has visions, glimpses when she sees with someone else’s eyes. And for the past few years, she’s been experiencing mysterious pain and bruising, which no doctors have ever been able to explain.

So when she’s offered the chance to have surgery on her brain that will make her normal again, she is at first excited. Then nervous. Then she makes an unexpected discovery about who and what her visions are linked to, and her whole world changes.

Elissa and Lin are interesting and well-written characters. I liked how in this futuristic world, where space travel is taken for granted, and a multitude of planets have been colonized, something as simple as the concept of twins has been lost for so long, that it seems scary and unreal. I found that the first half of the book, which explored the relationship between the two girls, was really thoughtfully written. Elissa has to constantly question both her own motives, and Lin’s, and it was interesting to read. I liked that the romantic aspect of the book doesn’t start until about two-thirds of the way through. For most of the book I actually thought it would just be Lin and Elissa’s story, and when the male crush showed up it actually surprised me. I like how the romance played out, though. It wasn’t over the top, and it was realistic.

The reveal at the end, where we discover what Spares are actually being used for, was heart-stopping. The visual reminded me of some scenes in science-fiction movies, and I thought it was really descriptively written. The end worked out a bit too easily for my liking, but I appreciate the author’s choice for writing it this way. The end also leaves a bit of open-ness for speculation, which I always enjoy.

Overall, this futuristic book is a thought-provoking look at the relationship between family, and the value of having an identity and a purpose. If you’re looking for a fairly quick-paced, smart adventure in space, give this a go!

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currently reading

Hello! I’m going through a bit of a phase with my reading… I can’t seem to stick to any book in particular, and it’s because they’re all so good!! Seriously I’m overwhelmed with my “to-be-read” list on GoodReads. And since discovering the free online reads on pulseit.com, in addition to the e-books NetGalley is providing me (I only requested so many because I didn’t think all the requests would be accepted!), there’s a plethora of stories demanding my attention. And here they are:

chantress

Chantress is the current free read on pulseit.com (’til May 12th).  It just came out in hardcover yesterday, so it’s pretty cool to get the chance to sneak a read so early on! It’s set in the 1600s, but seems to be in an alternate world where singing is outlawed (I think it’s a form of magic). Pros: a magical atmosphere/vibe that is engaging. Cons: the 1600s are typically a bit early for me. I prefer later time periods, but the language in this book is accessible and not stuffy. I’m only 6% in, so I can’t really say much more.

fatal likeness

A Fatal Likeness is available on NetGalley. It’s the second in a series, which I didn’t know when I requested it. But I’m almost halfway done and I haven’t had any issues with not knowing the backstory of Charles Maddox, the main character. The story is an imagining of possible events in the lives of Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron. I know next to nothing about any of them, other than knowing some of their works. I can’t say I’m a big fan of poetry and I never felt interested in Frankenstein. This book however is holding my attention. I’ve recently read, or started reading, some pretty cheesy and not-so-well-written young adult books, so this one is a breath of fresh air. The writing is meticulous and lovely, not a grammatical error to be found (a relief after some brutal ARCs). I love a good mystery, and this is impressive. The timeline shifts from present to past, and the events surrounding a possible murder are slowly unfolding. Loving it.

quicksilver

Quicksilver is legit. I mean, I bought this baby in hardcover the minute it came out. The companion to Ultraviolet, how am I not already done reading this?? Well, it’s kind of hard for me to rush through it. I read Ultraviolet in one day, in one sitting, last summer. I don’t want to accidentally read this one too quickly- I really want to savour it. So incredibly irked though: I got Ultraviolet signed IN PERSON when R.J. Anderson was at my local library. When I bought this one, I was like: aw man, too bad it’s not signed. About a week later, in the very same bookstore I just purchased my copy from, I saw a stack — A STACK — of autographed copies of this. I mean, what the? How did I grab a non-signed copy? Grr. Anyways, parts of the chapters in this are divided into sections by binary code. And there’s physics and engineering… loving it!!

whats left of me

What’s Left Of Me is making me think! It’s a dystopian set in an alternate world where every body contains two souls at birth, and by about age 5, one of the souls takes over and the other… disappears. This story is about what happens to someone when the second soul doesn’t disappear. How can the non-dominant one, the one that’s forced to hide in the background and has no control over their body or voice, survive?? It’s gripping so far, I’ll tell you. Reminiscent in a way of The Host, in that there’s a lot of internal battles. (But in this book, one of the two “minds” isn’t an alien…) I got this from the library in the town where I work. Because yes, I belong to the library there too now! Can there ever be enough access to free books?? No. Never.

What are you reading currently?

arc book review: thorn abbey

Thorn AbbeyThorn Abbey by Nancy Ohlin (publication date: May 7, 2013)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My favourite things about the book Rebecca are: the romance between Maxim and Mrs DeWinter, and the twist, shocking ending. Any retelling of the story would require both of those things, in addition to the eerie atmosphere and beautiful writing, to be considered a success in my opinion.

So, this book had thrilling amounts of potential- having just recently read New Girl, another Rebecca re-imagining in a modern boarding-school setting, I was pretty much game for anything. This book wasn’t written badly, but it just lacked the atmosphere and romance of the original. Max De Villiers wasn’t as super-sexy as the original Maxim, and although the relationship between Max and Tess was fairly realistic for highschool sophomores (I can clearly remember how quickly and easily I could develop a crush on someone at that age), it just lacked some spark.

The twist at the end of this book was completely different from the original story, which I really appreciated, actually. Starting with the strange Devon development (and Devon as a Mrs Danvers stand-in was pretty much the best thing in this book) and ending with, well, the end, the newly imagined ending was certainly a surprise. It all moved rather quickly after the whole diary-reading discovery, and I found that the change in pace didn’t flow well with the previous chapters.

We never really got the backstory behind the Devon/Becca relationship though! Having read Rebecca we know about Mrs Danvers/Rebecca, and their history, but this book never fully developed it, which was disappointing.

I found this to be a mixture of almost direct scene-for-scene replays of Rebecca, which I really like (who doesn’t enjoy re-reading an old favourite), and completely new scenarios. I think I would have enjoyed it more had it chosen to be either one or the other- a retelling, or a reimagining, and not a mixture of both.

Overall, I did like parts of the book. It was a very quick read, and if you have read and loved Rebecca, it’s worth giving this a try simply for interest’s sake, and to experience another person’s take on and inspiration from the wonderful original book.

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book review: let the sky fall

Let the Sky FallLet the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Got to read this online for free at pulseit.com (Simon & Schuster’s relaunched teen site)!

I enjoyed this, and would rate it 3.5 stars – the whole sylph idea was really unique and cool! I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this, but found it to be a quick and enjoyable light read. Though what the obsession was with making fun of Canadians (that seemed to be the only purpose for Hannah’s character) I don’t really get. For the record, I’ve never heard anyone pronounce “about” as “aboot”, but I’ll let it go.

The dual point of view fit the story well. There were a lot of sentence fragments, but once I got used to the choppy style it worked as well- most of the narrative is internal monologue, and when you think about it, most of the thoughts in your head are fragmented.

The plot is one where you have to suspend logic in order to be able to enjoy it. For instance, the way that Vane’s adoptive mom immediately reacts to the information that he’s a non-human windwalker is pretty convenient. But the story did keep dragging me in, and I wanted to find out what would happen to Audra and Vane. Audra was likeable, and I think her story can continue in interesting ways. It’s s fast-paced book, without a lot of extraneous descriptive detail.

I was a bit disappointed in the end, but I can see how it’s leaving more for future books, which is a good idea.

The love-story aspect of the book was pretty cute, as well.

Overall, I found this to be fun. And it was really cool to get the chance to read the entire book for free online!

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weekend loves

Hi there! Long time no post…

Just a quick little “currently” to catch up with you.

{Current reads}

let the sky fall drawing of the three the essence

Let The Sky Fall : I just started this, but have to finish before the 14th, because I’m reading it online for free! Check out this site – Simon & Schuster relaunched their teen reads site, and now adults can join. They post excerpts from new releases, and occasionally – like in the case of this book – they post a link where you can read the entire book for free, for a limited time!! Can’t really go wrong with that. And I love my teen fiction, heehee. So anyways, what’s it about? Wind elementals, a.k.a sylphs. Super cool, and very different. I’m enjoying it lots.

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three : Apparently I read Stephen King now! Haha, who knew? Well, I’m not going to rush out and pick up copies of, say, The Shining… (horror and I don’t mix) but actually, I’ve always been intrigued by what I’ve seen/heard regarding his fantasy series The Dark Tower. So I got the first book, The Gunslinger, from the library. And at first, I was unimpressed. I even considered stopping without finishing (this was in the first third of the book). It seemed like a weird western… not at all what I was expecting or hoping for.

But then! The book took a turn for the AMAZING, when it transitioned into an incredible epic story. I’m talking- there are parallel worlds, micro/macroscopic universes, and a far-future that is oddly similar to our medieval times. Yep. It hooked me! I’d say the last few chapters were incredible. So, upon finishing that one, I decided I’d keep going with the rest of the series. And- book 2, here we are!

This second one is completely different from the first so far, but I still like it. More Roland!

Oh, and PS- the postscript written by Stephen King was hilarious- he was writing about how most of the questions you have upon finishing the book don’t even have answers yet. Despite his odd, cat-like appearance, and the fact that he makes zillions of dollars from books that I feel may be mediocre (not having read them, I can’t completely judge, however… I do) I kind of get his appeal.

The Essence (The Pledge Book II) : I started this a while back, then had some eye issues when my focus was all messed up so I had a hard time reading books… so here we are. Somewhat disappointed that I purchased the hardcover of this, because since then my library has purchased a copy. I don’t own the first book, so why I did this still baffles me. Anyways, so far the second book isn’t as impressive as the first. Less romance, less excitement. A bit more intrigue, so I have hope. I want to finish this soon!

{Current music}

Still songza-ing it up and discovering more new indie bands. And in the car I’m listening to Mumford and Sons. My two favourite songs currently are: Winter Winds, and Roll Away Your Stone.

{Current food}

Nutella is haunting me. I managed to consume an entire jar in a week. However, despite this addiction, I’m also experimenting with this anti-inflammatory food pyramid. Seriously though? That is a lot of beans/legumes. My tub of hummus can only go so far. But interestingly, Himself and I have discovered a liking for basmati rice (the recommended rice!) Also, I haven’t yet quite figured out how to interpret “unlimited quantities of asian mushrooms”. Hah.

{Current wishlist}

I’ve been updating my pinterest style board with tons of coral, navy, and mint for spring. I covet this necklace like no tomorrow, however upon visiting the neiman marcus website I’ve discovered it is $2065.00 so…. unlikely. Haha. But I bet I could find something similar on etsy!

I’ve also still got my eye on a rose gold watch like this one, but am waiting for a super deal to come up. The batteries in my current watch seem to be operating whimsically (i.e. it can take 2 hours for 2 minutes to go by, according to the watch) so it may be time to just cash up and invest in a nice new one that will last. What do you think? Do you buy cheap watches every so often, or invest in one quality watch?

……

That’s about it for my currently. Work is going well – I love my new coworkers – and it’s refreshing to not be worrying about whether my hours will be reduced. We’re having super rainy weather right now, but it’s warming up. I love spring.

I’m off to do a bit more reading! xo