25 March 2016

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Pages: 486
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 3/10

Summary (Goodreads. Da real MVP):
Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.

My Thoughts:

You cannot fathom the distance I would travel for you.

((you cannot fathom the distance i would travel to get the heck away from this book))

Alrighty.
If you haven't noted the extremely long timeline of my progression through this book, let me inform you that it is far too long, almost unnecessarily so. I could blame the overwhelming number of novels and things I've had to read for school for the reason as to why this took me so long to read, but I'm gonna be straight with you: this book was not gripping whatsoever.

At first, I thought the premise was extremely interesting and the first three to four chapters had so much potential. Throughout the novel, we get so many informational dumps, the plot was very jumpy, and there is still a lot of aspects of the world I do not understand. Again, the potential for the plot was and still is there, but I really don't think I'm going to be continuing with this series/trilogy/whatever. Also, it was so slow. So. Slow. So. Unbelievably slow. The basic plot was introduced to us 200 and some pages in. There was so much unnecessary writing that could have been easily scrapped. I feel like Alexandra Bracken tried so hard to make this world as intricate and deeply unique as humanly possible that it just left way too much underdeveloped or unexplained that I could not grasp any of it.

This is the first Alexandra Bracken book I have read, so this is the first time I have been acquainted with her writing. It was not the worst writing style I have ever experienced, but it certainly wasn't beautifully outstanding. I think the descriptions of many of the things was quite matter-of-factly and the novel lacked artfully beautiful imagery that I love.

Not even the characters could salvage this story for me. I found Etta to be quite self-righteous and annoying, but I did like her "I don't need no man to protect me mentality." Even so, her thought processes had me questioning her judgment and I just could not connect with her in any way shape or form. As for Nicholas, I did like his character and I liked the way got into his mindset of living in his time period as a person of colour that had to deal with things such as slavery, something I myself as a white person in this day in age has never had to personally go through. I also enjoyed the racially diverse characters other than Nicholas, like Hasan. Honestly, Hasan was my favourite character in the book, which kind of sucks because he was introduced like 350 pages in. Still, he was refreshing and new and I loved his sarcastic comments about Nicholas to Etta and his loyalties.

Other than that, I can't say much more about this book because I quickly lost interest in it. There were many information dumps that I could not grasp, Etta was boring and unrelatable, and I just completely lost interest in the book and had no care in the world to continue, but stubbornness won out and I finished anyway. I can see the potential and why some people would really like this book, but it just was not for me.

23 March 2016

Review: Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Alan Cumyn
Format: ARC - thanks Simon & Schuster CA! 
Pages: 304
My Rating: 6/10

Summary (thanks Goodreads): Prepare to be blown away—or rather, carried away on huge muscular wings—by this blissfully outlandish, bracingly-smart, tour de force about a teen who has to come to terms with relinquishing control for the first time as she falls for the hot new…pterodactyl…at school. After all, everybody wants him!

Sheils is very pleased with her perfectly controlled life (controlling others while she’s at it). She’s smart, powerful, the Student Body Chair, and she even has a loving boyfriend. What more could a girl ask for?

But everything changes when the first-ever interspecies transfer student, a pterodactyl named Pyke, enrolls at her school. There’s something about him—something primal—that causes the students to lose control whenever he’s around. Even Sheils, the seemingly perfect self-confident girl that she is, can’t keep her mind off of him, despite her doting boyfriend and despite the fact that Pyke immediately starts dating Jocelyn, the school’s fastest runner who Sheils has always discounted as a nobody.

Pyke, hugely popular in a school whose motto is to embrace differences, is asked to join a band, and when his band plays at the Autumn Whirl dance, his preternatural shrieking music sends everyone into a literal frenzy. No one can remember what happened the next day, but Shiels learns that she danced far too long with Pyke, her nose has turned purple, and she may have done something with her boyfriend that she shouldn’t have. Who’s in control now?

Hilarious and relatable (despite the dinosaur), Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is about a teen who must come to terms with not being in control of all things at all times, break free of her mundane life, discover who her true self is, and, oh, finding out that going primal isn’t always a bad thing

My Thoughts: Have you ever just sat back and wondered what you'd get if you took a little contemporary, and then threw in some dinosaurs? Like, maybe, you're reading Twilight, and you're just so annoyed with Bella (because, let's face it, she does annoying things), that you kinda really want a dinosaur to come in and mix things up? I mean, who doesn't? While Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend doesn't exactly fit that description, it definitely takes contemporary and takes some dinosaurs and creates this fantastically weird, and funny, novel. 

So, I think that one of my favourite things about this book is it's title. A) Because I finally learned how to spell Pterodactyl (I did that with my eyes closed but I'll never be able to prove it), and B) Who isn't going to immediately grab this book and go.... wait, what? Add that with the cover - which I love and it stands out so well on my book shelf - and you got yourself a winner at the book store. 

This definitely not a serious book - it's light, and funny, and a supremely quick read. I sat down to start reading, and I didn't stop until I was finished. It was one of those "I can't put this down because I have literally no idea where this story" is going type of deals.  The characters were funny enough, and definitely original. I particularly liked Sheils, I connected with her a weird amount (especially considering she falls in love... with you know... a literal dinosaur).
It held my interest the entire time, and even though I probably wouldn't re-read it, I'd recommend it to people with dry senses of humour. There's a lot of satirizing taking place, especially about the YA genre (their meeting gave me some Twilight feels), so if you're about that life, this is another good one to check out. 

Also, fellow Canadian's: this book is for you. It's one of those books that actually get the weird things us Canadian's say and do, and of course, there is a moose cameo. What more can you want? Dinosaurs and moose is all you need. 
Final Thoughts: Probably, no - definitely - the most original and unique book I've read this year. If you're intrigued by that description (and, I ask again, who isn't), definitely check this one out! 

Follow along with the rest of the tour here! 



*** Thanks again Simon & Schuster CA for having me be apart of this tour!*** 

7 March 2016

Review: The Time Traveler's Wife

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 528
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (I know we aren't supposed to do this half nonsense, sorry)

Summary (I use Goodreads all the time): Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, have known each other since Clare was 6 and Henry was 36, married when Clare 23 and Henry 31. Impossible but true. Because Henry unintentionally jumps in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity, past and future. His experiences can be harrowing or amusing.

What I Think: This story was as unique as it seems. Now, I watch Doctor Who, so I understood some of the issues with time travelling but this book still hurt my head at times. It made me think way too much about the concerns one would have if they were to time travel. Can the future be changed when you are in the past or has it already happened? Try not to think too hard about it or you will be mad at me. I spent the whole novel thinking about it and it was killing me.

I knew something big had to happen near the end to the story and, because the whole story was about time travel, if you pay attention, you are able to find little bits of foreshadowing throughout the whole book and sort of put it together. Of course, I wasn't able to figure out how sad it would make me. It hurt. It hurt a lot. I might have teared up a little bit...or a lot...I'll never admit it. Since we are on the subject, I have to admit to you that I was exceedingly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel. That sounds rude but I read it, almost, because it seemed like some cultural thing I had to take part in or something. I don't know but I didn't want to read it. I'm so glad I did. What an emotional rollercoaster.

Honestly, the only problem that I had with this novel, which is not the novel's fault at all, is that I'm too young to get all the cultural references. During the majority of when this novel takes place, I wasn't alive. Yet, since the novel is modern still, the author didn't feel the need to really explain most references (they would have been out of place anyway). I understand that it was a lose-lose but I still didn't understand some of the jokes (I assume that some of the references were meant to be funny). If I was like fifteen years older this might not have been an issue for me. It wasn't enough to make the novel suck, as seen by my high rating, but it still made me a little bit sad to be missing out on something. 

Anyway, here is another movie that I have to see and another book that I will probably reread in the future. This novel made me laugh and almost made me cry and it was just great. I think that maybe 35+ readers will get more out of it but I quite enjoyed it nonetheless. It's a great romance story and the time travel thing is pretty cool. Just make sure you pay attention to when the time is changing. I caught myself flipping back in order to figure out where in the time line I was reading. It was work but worth it. It's a great love story (just ignore that he knew her as a child because it gets really weird if you consider that too long...).
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