Review: Wither (Chemical Garden, #1)

Title: Wither

Author: Lauren Destefano

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 358

Date Read: February 22, 2013

 

In the not-too-distant future, genetic engineering has turned every newborn into a ticking time bomb: Males die at age twenty-five, and females die at age twenty. While scientists seek a miracle antidote, young girls are routinely kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When sixteen-year-old Rhine is taken, she enters a world of wealth and privilege that both entices and terrifies her. She has everything she ever wanted– except freedom.

Soon it becomes clear that not everyone at her new husband’s home is how they appear. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to escape… before her time runs out.

 

Characters: 

Rhine- As the little blurb on the back says, Rhine is sixteen. She also happens to be a twin, and heterochromatic. For those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s when someone has two different color eyes. Rhine and her brother are orphans trying to live their short lives in peace in NYC. I think Rhine is awesome. She is extremely determined and always inquisitive. For her situation, being inquisitive is both a blessing and a curse. She loves without meaning to, and forms attachments with almost everyone she comes in contact with- whether she likes it or not.

Linden- Linden is Rhine’s new husband. He is an architect meant for another world. I say this because he doesn’t fit into this new world. He draws up plans for houses with pies in the windows, and tire swings hanging from the tree in the front yard- he’s a sensitive dreamer. This is all well and good, but it means that he is practically blind to what is happening right in front of him, and too naive to try and puzzle it out. This all sucks fro Rhine.

Vaughn- This guy is creep-tastic. And also Linden’s dad. Throughout the novel, we don’t know exactly how bad he is, but we just know he is baaaaaaaaaaad.

Cecily- This tiny red-head is one of Rhine’s sister wives. She is annoying, and meddlesome, and rarely pleasant to be around. However, she brings out a side of Rhine that is sort of motherly, and I think it helps her grow. Cecily also changes quite a bit, and she is the only sister wife that really wants to be a sister wife.

Jenna- In the world of Wither, there are things called scarlet districts. These are basically just whole districts of whore houses. It sucks, but this is where Jenna is from. She is sort of steely for a while, but she is a lot more friendly and ten times more complicated than she seems on the outside. She knows more than she lets on, and she helps Rhine hold onto who she is while also growing.

Gabriel- He is a servant in the house where Rhine now lives. The relationship between Rhine and Gabriel is founded on hope. They are both attached to what the world used to be, and because they are the only two that really think this way, they are drawn to one another. However, him being a servant and her being a sister wife throws a kink into the grand scheme of things.

Conflict: Rhine needs to get back to her brother. Beyond that, the conflict really just revolves around an antidote. I can’t really give away too much without giving away the whole book, but the conflict is good enough to keep the book going strong. I mean, I read it in a day. That’s how good this book is.

Things I Liked: Ummm, all of it? The book is great. I passed it quite a few times before I decided to actually buy it, and even then it was because I friend recommended it. I am so glad she did. It really is awesome. I loved the characters and the concept (this was the first arranged marriage type novel I have read), and it was a very enjoyable read.

Things I Didn’t Like: Let’s be realistic here, whatever I put here would just be me reaching anyway. Why don’t you read it and tell me what you didn’t like!

Cover Art: I really like the cover art, it is mysterious and slightly creepy.

Overall: Love. I would definitely recommend this to anyone. It was a nice read and it was complex enough to keep my attention for a few hours straight. It also isn’t just a big love fest like a lot of YA books these days.

Rating: 5 stars.

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Feeling The Love

I just wanted to thank you guys for showing my blog so much love these past few days. I guess people like to read your blog a little more when you actually post on it! I like interacting with my new blog friends, and making even more blog friends! I have learned that the book blogging community is a close-knit one, and it is my pleasure to be a part of it.

Also, I have finally found/created a theme that I really like and that seems to fit with the type of blog I have.

What do you guys think? Do you love this new theme as much as I do?

As I have also mentioned (I think), I am just about to dive in to Clockwork Princess. I was hoping to do that tonight, but I had to work until just a little bit ago and I am pretty sleepy as I type this. But, tomorrow is a new day- a day off even!- and it will be filled with books and Doctor Who. I kinda hope it rains just so I won’t feel guilty for staying in! 😉

New Books!

I love new books- who doesn’t? Recently, I have been getting most of my books on Amazon, because it’s much cheaper than Barnes and Noble, plus I have prime so I can get my books in a couple days! So, … Continue reading

So, Am I A Poet?

I posted a poem yesterday! If you didn’t see it, you should go check it out. I’m wondering what you guys thought/think of it. I kind of miss writing, and I think someday I might try to dive back into it. I’m just wondering what kind of thoughts you guys had when/if you read my poem, but you guys are a little shy when it comes to comments!

I give you permission to be honest.

In unrelated news, I cannot seem to find a theme for my blog that I love. There are a few that I like (including this one and my last one), but none that scream “Bookcasey!” to me. I would like to do something in yellow and gray, but I just can’t find anything that fits the vision in my head.

Have any of you had the same problem? Did you just suck it up and pick one, or are you still agonizing over it, like me?

Review: Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Title: Beautiful Creatures

Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Pages: 563

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps , and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Characters:

Ethan- When I first started reading this book, I though it was going to be from the point of view of Lena, not Ethan. So, when I finally figured out that it was a boy’s head I was in, I was a little excited. Not only do I hardly ever read books told from the point of view of a male, but I hardly ever read supernatural books from the point of view of the non-supernatural. So, I was pretty pumped for this! Reading from Ethan’s POV was nice since he knows the area. However, I was a little worried for a second that he was going to start talking with a deep Southern accent. I was worried that it was going to be like reading Huckleberry Finn in high school- I had to read most of that one out loud to myself so that I could understand the dialect. But, I was pleasantly surprised with this one, and they even gave an explanation as to why he doesn’t speak that way- his parents were both professors and were always correcting him when he dropped a “g.” I love that. Ethan is a gentleman and he isn’t an idiot, and he loves genuinely. And he is most of he reason that I liked this book.

Lena- I think that everyone has a certain section of the supernatural genre that they like the most- mine is witches. I love reading about witches. Maybe it stems from my deep connection with Hermione from Harry Potter, who knows, I just love reading about witches. Lena is pretty much a witch. Her formal title is Caster, but she is pretty much a witch. I liked that Lena was one of those characters that doesn’t try to fit in. She isn’t really defiant or angsty about it, she just does not change herself to suit others. I LOVE THAT. Too often I read books where the main character moves to a new school and spends most of her time trying really hard to fit in, or to not fit in. Lena just takes her own road. She is sometimes a little too moody for me, but if you read the book you will realize that she kind of has an excuse for all of her moodiness.

Amma- Amma is Ethan’s sort of live-in nanny/housekeeper. She has been around his whole life, and for most of his father’s, too. She seems to act as the mother figure for Ethan since his mother passed away, but I really like that she doesn’t try to be anything like his mother. She just keeps on being Amma- just a little bit stricter. But, Amma has some secrets. It’s nice when all of the secrets don’t fall to one main character, I think it makes the story a lot richer when you find out little secrets along the way that might change the way you feel about some of the characters. Amma is one of those people. At first she is just Amma, and then I was like “Oh, Amma is up to something!” and then I was mad at Amma for butting in, and then I was back to loving Amma. She’s a strong lady, and books need strong ladies.

Macon- Macon Melchizedek Ravenwood is the mysterious owner of Ravenwood Manor, which is believed to be cursed. Macon is also Lena’s uncle. He is also the one person in the world that Lena loves most, and for that reason, we have to love him. Because honestly, that guy is creeeeeepy for most of this book. You don’t know if he is some crazy magic man, or if he is just eccentric, and it takes a while to figure it out. However, I love when books have creepy parts every so often. If an author can creep you out or make you nervous, or give you butterflies just with words- then you’re reading the right book. Every book should do this to you at some point (hopefully several).

These are the main characters, but there are a couple important almost main characters but not quite minor characters:

Link- Wesley Jefferson Lincoln is Ethan’s best friend. His mother is the head of the DAR, and one of the biggest Lena haters in town. But, what I love about Link is his fierce loyalty. Every person deserves a friend as loyal as Link. Link is also really goofy and most of the time really annoying, but we can’t have everything!

Ridley- Ridley is Lena’s cousin, but she is a Dark Caster. She has the power of persuasion (she is a Siren) and she isn’t afraid to use it. Unfortunately, people with that power usually aren’t the most trustworthy.

Conflict: This book is pretty long, so naturally there is a lot of conflict. The initial conflict is just Ethan trying to figure out who Lena is and why she seems to be so important to him, and her being difficult and not letting him in. But a lot of the conflict surrounds Lena’s condition and how everyone in town is reacting to her. A lot of this makes you angry, because people can be really mean. I don’t mean insults mean, but we-hate-everything-that-isn’t-us mean. There are a lot of Caster issues, and an equal number of Mortal issues that plague these two.

Things I Liked: I was a big fan of the characters. I loved that they were imperfect, but believable. They have strong qualities, and weak qualities, but they aren’t shallow characters. You get to know these guys. I loved that parts of this gave me butterflies. I loved that it was told from a boy’s POV, and that that boy was smart. I also liked how intricate the conflict was, and that there were many unsuspecting people involved, and that those people were selfless and concerned.

Things I Didn’t Like: I didn’t like that the book took a little while to pick up. After reading the second one, I think it might be a recurring thing in this series. However, once they pick up, you’re hooked. I think that things are a little slow to start because there is so much that needs to be set up ahead of time for the conflict to be as intricate as it is. But, I’m alright with that.

Overall: Usually when I read a book and look back, I don’t like it quite as much as I did right after I finished it. This book was the opposite for me. As I am writing this review, I am remembering things that I really liked about it and I am not lingering on the stuff I didn’t like. It was a solid book and a great start to a series.

Cover Art: I usually like to get the original cover of the book, but this time I happened to pick up the movie-cover copy. I’m not always a big fan of the movie covers, but I think I like the mover cover better than the original cover for this book. It is more exciting, but I think only because the other is so plain.

Rating: 4 stars

I Wrote Some Stuff, Once.

So, did you guys know that I took a creative writing class? Well, I did. I took a class my senior and I really loved. I had a teacher that pushed me to work harder, and helped me reign in my slacker self. I was showing some of my poems to Chris (for those of you that don’t know, he’s my super-fancy-author husband of 6 months and a million more years), and I thought I would share one with you! I might even share a couple, but only one for now.

The objective for this one was that it had to rhyme, that’s it.

Point of View

How still the bells in the steeples stand,

When time is still as well.

I look at the picture in my hand,

And remember time before this hell.

A picture’s worth a thousand words,

But they’re worthless if you can’t speak them.

My words have flown, gone with the birds,

Where only she can hear them.

Maybe it was just time spent,

A way to fill the space.

I wasn’t sure what death meant,

But now I’ve stared it in the face.

My heart is more than such a matter

Of the life and death of you.

So I arose with no thought of the latter,

I’ve changed my point of view.

Keep in mind, I was a senior in high school when I wrote this. But I feel good about the fact that my teacher wrote “Bravo!” on my paper, and you can’t take that from me! 🙂 If you guys aren’t too mean to me, I might post another one. (You’ll get a couple if you’re nice enough.)

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Have any of you read this book? When I initially previewed it on Amazon, I was excited to read it and immediately added it to my Wish List. Then, around a month or so ago, I finally got around to ordering it. When it got here, I cracked it open, started reading, read two chapters, and put it down and I have not picked it up since. I am not usually the type to put a book down before I have at least gotten a quarter of the way through it, but this one just seems to predictable and did not catch my interest. I am disappointed, I really hoped it was going to be a good book. However, I know I will pick it up and attempt to read it again someday.

Have you had this experience before? If yes, what books? Has anyone read this particular book and can offer me any insight?

This Week’s Favorite Things

Hi! I think I might start doing a “This Week’s Favorite Things” spot on my blog. Today is obviously the first one, and it might become a thing! (We’ll see next week)

1. My new mug. I picked this gem up at a dollar store (or perhaps Big Lots?) when I was out perusing with a friend of mine. I drink my tea in it every morning (almost).

IMAG0914

2. My husband and I have been talking about getting these for a long time, but we finally took the plunge after we found them on 6pm.com for half the price they are everywhere else….Vibram Five Fingers. We both got the Bikila style, and I loooooovvveeee mine. People ask me all the time if they are weird to walk in, but they aren’t for me! They feel like a protected version of my normal barefoot feet. I haven’t run in them yet, they recommend that you go slowly when you transition from running in sneakers to running in these, because it is a lot different.

3. Doctor Who. I have been watching this for a little while now, and I am only on season 4, but I love it. I didn’t want to just jump on the bandwagon and start watching the new episodes, so I have been going chronologically. I’m glad I decided to do it that way, I really am loving it!

4. Wegman’s organic raspberry jam. DELICIOUS. Anyone outside of New York and select locations surrounding it will not be familiar with this wonderful jam because you don’t have Wegman’s, but it is SO GOOD. I have been eating it almost every day with an english muffin.

You guys are probably wondering why there aren’t any books on my list of favorite things for this week, but I am currently reading Beautiful Darkness (Beautiful Creatures, #2), and it has yet to really pull me in. But it hasn’t pushed me away either!

Review: Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)

Title: Forever

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic

Pages: 386

Date Read: February 13-17, 2013

then.

When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now.

That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

forever.

Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment–a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

Characters: Honestly, there are no new characters! The same characters as the last one.

Conflict: Remember how Tom Culpepper was always trying to kill the wolves? Well, yeah, he is actually going to do it this time. Like, really do it. This time it is organized, and Grace and Sam have exchanged places. WHOA.

Things I Liked: I liked that Sam and Grace were in different places. I fell in love with Sam when he described the books on the shelf in the bookstore, and it was nice to hear more things from his point of view. It was also nice to hear from a less calculated and obviously more animalistic Grace. Stiefvater really is a good writer, and I just like the way her words flow, but it’s always nice to toss up the characters and their roles every so often.

Things I Didn’t Like: Sometimes Cole doesn’t quite seem real. The stuff he feels and says aren’t like the personalities of any other characters I have ever read before, and I can’t always understand the feeling behind was he says. I don’t think this is always a bad thing, because it is nice to be introduced to different types of characters, but Cole just didn’t seem completely cohesive or believable to me.

Overall: I did like the book, I liked how heartfelt the ending was, and how emotionally invested the characters, and even some minor characters, were in the problem. Obviously it was a life-or-death kind of thing, but I enjoyed reading it.

Cover Art: I have said this about the previous covers, but I love this one too. The covers for this trilogy are simple, but telling and I love the elegance of it. I also really like that the color of the ink is the same as the color on the cover, but again, this is nothing I have not expressed before.

Rating: 4 stars