Book List 2014, Reviews

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars, #1)The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well Marshmallows, we got another continuation of the Veronica Mars universe. And it was great.

I absolutely loved this book, and devoured it, searching for the easter eggs for those who had been huge fans of the show. But more than that I also tried to read this book as though I’d never heard of Veronica.

The dialogue, as it always is with Veronica, was snappy and witty, dare I say it even snarky. Mac is back, and she is as reliable and loveable as ever. Dick is the unwitting hero. Wallace is steadfast, and is responsible for one of my favourite moments in the book.

There were things, no spoilers here, that I was actually completely shocked at and that had me flipping and reading as fast as I possibly could.

At its heart though, I’m not sure anyone whose not read the show will get how shocking certain moments are, or appreciate the resurgence of certain characters

But me? I can’t wait for the next one.

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Book List 2014

Extras by Scott Westerfeld

Extras (Uglies, #4)Extras by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Slight Spoilers

If the previous books were about the world’s obsession with looks, not being invisible and the need to be something you’re not in order to feel special than this book is about the obsession with reality TV and the need to expose everything of ourselves in the effort to get some attention.

New characters abound and while Aya’s naiveté was understood I often found myself annoyed with the way in which she acted, which I suspect was the intention. She cares more about being famous, than being trusted but there is a delightful evolution from the girl she is in the beginning of the book and who she comes by the end.

This is truly an interesting novel, and shows how the world can become corrupt even when there is a perceived freedom.

I really enjoyed this novel, despite what I felt was a slow beginning and the action and pacing of it toward the middle and end was what made it for me.

I would encourage almost everyone to read this series.

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Book List 2014

Specials by Scott Westerfeld

Specials (Uglies, #3)Specials by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was the one I had the hardest time getting into out of the series thus far but yet the end was fantastic. The development and growth of Tally after the degradation of yet another manipulation was supremely well done.

The thought of invisibility, and being unknown to those around you had me nodding my head in a few parts.

But it was in the thought of how brutality man can be that really had me frightened about the implications of a world like this, where people push into the wild to take what they want and take no prisoners while doing so. But the almost triumphant ending had me quite content.

The slang fell away slightly in this novel to some glorious descriptive explanations of what was going on that allowed me to close my eyes and really picture the world as it burned down around them.

It’s an interesting commentary on the direction the world is currently heading in and there are few characters with whom I could not sympathize with during this book.

Anyone who likes dystopian reflected in a way that is engrained with messages of where our current “Utopia” is heading this is definitely the book for you. It shows us the direction of lives and people who have not heeded the warning messages inherent in nature.

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Book List 2014

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld (Very Bubbly Making, short spoilers)

Pretties (Uglies, #2)Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is totally bubbly making.

And now that I’ve gotten my one, and hopefully only use of the slang out of this book…Here are my thoughts.

I don’t know what I expected to happen in this book but this was definitely not it and I’m not complaining about that. The thought of losing ones identity so much just to be what the world wants you to be is terrifying. But then to have it all come rushing back and realizing the circumstances behind you losing yourself are even worse.

The science behind these books is fascinating and I wish that it was explained a little more in depth though I’m certain it will be within the next couple of books.

Tally is still as interesting a character to me as she was in the first book, perhaps even more so because despite being pretty she inadvertently cures herself, most likely due to a placebo effect and believing that she was cured.

David wasn’t in this book a lot but when he was he ended up being as kind of a character as he could be given the circumstances.

This was a very solid second book in a series, and with the way it ended I’m actually quite excited to move onto the third.

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Catching Fire: Brutal, Action Packed and a World Apart

Spoilers Abound

Two movie reviews in one day? It might be the start of something new here.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see this movie in theatres, which is something I do regret because I feel like I missed out on a lot of experience by not doing so. I will however admit my reason for not doing so was that I didn’t really love the first movie.

This one however, was good on a much more eye catching, visceral level for me. The actors, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson especially were more into their roles it seemed. And the stakes seem so much higher.

There were parts of the movie that had me gasping for breath, when Liam Hemsworth’s Gale was whipped in the square I ached, and when the baboons attacked I marvelled at the wonder of how far CGI has come.

The stand out scene for me, was in District 11. The salute, the families of fallen tributes and Jennifer Lawrence screaming as Katniss and struggling against those who wish to take her away.

Elizabeth Bank, is, as she was in the first movie pitch perfect in her role as Effie, a catch in her throat as she thinks of losing her victors. And they are very much hers, dramatic and performing to the best of their abilities in a world gone wrong with promises broken.

Jennifer Lawrence is good as Katniss, often dramatic and reckless just as she is in the books and as she was in the first movie.

There are moments that seem a little over the top, and not in the best way, such as her scenes with Gale, but I am unsure if that was the acting or the writing.

In terms of what is missing from the book I have decided to take this as simply a film, apart from it’s source material because it is that well done. However once again there is some issues with the restrictions of how the descriptive brutality of the book would be on screen, and would effectively ruin the PG-13 rating which does soften the blow of what could be a truly horrific book.

All in all this movie is gorgeous, it is well acted and I can’t wait for the next one.

Book List 2014

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies (Uglies, #1)Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was not a book I looked forward to reading but one I felt I needed to have on my list. I’m not really sure why but when I opened it I did not expect what I got.

And what I got was beyond my wildest imagination.

The beauty in this book is in the details of the world around them in the beginning. The way everyone is watched, but especially it seems the “uglies” those who have unique features and faces and aren’t yet up to snuff in society.

The beauty in the continuation of the book is the realization in that there is nothing wrong with being unique, and nothing wrong with being who you are but knowing that sometimes masks have to be worn in order to survive and triumph over that pigeonhole society is trying to fit you into.

The characters in this are very human, in their concerns, in their want and need to be pretty, or their rejection of all that is considered beautiful by the mainstream.

It was a very fulfilling novel and I’m certain Pretties will be the same.

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Book List 2014

The Death Cure by James Dashner

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)The Death Cure by James Dashner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Slight Spoilers
This book was the hardest out of the three to read for me, largely because I was exhausted and this book which is so detail heavy was hard for me to focus on.

The most interesting part of this for me was the evolution of the characters, or in some cases the de-evolution.

Thomas has remained relatively steady, and staunch in his beliefs and unlike some I don’t believe he needed to regain his memories in order to be the person he needed to be in the end. In fact I think he needed to remain without them, keeping his main personality characteristics and building off an almost blank slate. It was great to see him struggle though considering how stuck he’s seemed in a certain mindset as he realizes that sometimes he needs to make sacrifices and that he really can’t save everyone.

This book wasn’t perfect, but the ending was what blew me away, and when a friend told me I just needed to make it to the end suddenly it was like I was motivated by curiosity to finish. I blew through the end of the book, watching conflict unfold with a growing sense of dread.

But the ending? It made so much sense to me. In fact it made perfect sense. All in all this book left me feeling very fulfilled.

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Book List 2014

Omens: The Cainsville Series by Kelley Armstrong

Omens: The Cainsville SeriesOmens: The Cainsville Series by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book began with a sense of anticipation for me, and even though parts of it were slow I can’t ever say that I regretted one moment spent reading it.

Everyone has a sense of history built into their sense of self, and I found it very interesting to see what happened when Olivia realized that her family history wasn’t really hers. The horror she felt at learning what her real parents might’ve done and were convicted of doing was palpable and very real. The realization that this was why the relationship between her and her mother was the way it was was heart breaking.

This book is interesting because it edges on the supernatural but never quite touches it in a way that is enticing. I would recommend it to anyone who likes mystery novels and even those who don’t.

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