Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesdays (13)

Waiting On Wednesdays is a weekly meme, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights highly anticipated releases.
Title: Wither (Chemical Garden #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publishing Date: March 22, 2011

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left

My Thoughts: 
First of all, I love love the cover. It's absolutely breathtaking and combines a science feel with the circles, but the overlying theme is the emotional musings of a distraught girl. The model is absolutely beautiful in a distraught way and I loved how they portray her with the make up. But enough about the cover. I also am loving the plot and I cannot wait for this dystopian novel to come out soon. And the world the author creates seem unique in its own way :)

Anna and the French Kiss Review

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Published Date: December 2, 2010
Price: Amazon ($10.56)

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?


The magical and luxurious Paris, a scrumptious and sexy hot boy (with of course a British accent), and a sweet love story with flirtations exuding from the pages creates the perfect touch of a young adult chick romance novel, Anna and the French Kiss.

Anna Oliphant, a senior, is sent to School of America in Paris, losing her friends, her little brother, Seany, and the security of America. She expects to be a loner, teased for her minimal knowledge of French culture (consisting of oui). What she meets is a welcoming group of friends, which consists of the hottest guy, Étienne St. Claire, who’s not only kind and flirtatious with our narrator, but has a British accent. Anna and the French Kiss is their road to discovering what it means to not be alone and how to communicate love.

After finishing the book in one sitting, even at the cost of my homework, I felt so elated and excited. Maybe it was their constant flirtation that not only made Anna fall in love with St. Clair, but also myself. Or maybe it was the humorous relationship with her friends, Meredith, Rashami, and Josh who really shone in the spotlight, instead of being shunted to the sidelines. Maybe it was the journeys and the romantic aura of Paris (making me want to buy an airplane ticket to Paris and say au revoir, America high school). Or it could just be the simple fact I love British accents and with a sexy guy attached to it, who could resist?

What really makes Anna and the French Kiss distinctive of many YA chick romance novels that are becoming increasingly cliché is the sincerity in Anna’s and St. Claire’s love interest. The chemistry and love between them starts bubbling with the progression of their friendship, in which they comfort each other with their troubles and talk comfortably about their interests (Anna’s interest in film critiquing and St. Claire’s interest in art). And even though their relationship grows steadily, it goes on a roller coaster, as they both have to face their fears before realizing their love.

Plot: 5/5
Character: 5/5
Cover: 4/5

Simple, but gorgeous placement of the Eiffel Tower and the couple on the bench. I think the girl really looks like the Anna I imagined in my head, but I wish they could have bleached a part of her hair strand (or at least put some sort of hair extension) because that’s a characteristic that makes her stand out.

Overall: 5/5 

Stephanie Perkins does a fabulous job in bringing the cliché love story true, ringing with sincerity, giving readers the hope that they can find the perfect guy, sexy, kind, and loyal (maybe a British accent) in a true love story. Even though both Anna and Étienne have flaws, it’s constantly overshadowed by their humorous banters and romantic trips within Paris. You bloody hell should read this book, or you’re really missing out on true love. 

I also attached some pictures I took in Paris in my Europe trip, to help bring the Paris aura in America. I know, it's hard.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Illyria Review

Title: Illyria
Author: Elizabeth Hand
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Published Date: May 13, 2010
Price: Amazon ($11.87)

Madeleine and Rogan are first cousins, best friends, twinned souls, each other's first love. Even within their large, disorderly family—all descendants of a famous actress—their intensity and passion for theater sets them apart. It makes them a little dangerous. When they are cast in their school's production of Twelfth Night, they are forced to face their separate talents and futures, and their future together. This masterful short novel, winner of the World Fantasy Award, is magic on paper.


Elizabeth Hand, through her beautiful language, creates an intricate and alluring painting, with fantasy, magic, and love coloring it. Hand creates depth and meaning through very little words, the narration with Maddy reverberates with the passion she feels for Rogan and for theater.

Maddy lives in a closeted family, in which she was descended from a family of theater actresses. A forbidden love arises between Rogan and Maddy, who grow together and through their relationship and their school play, Twelfth Night, Maddy understands what glamour is and what talent is.
The love between Rogan and Maddy, for me personally, is a storm hidden under the twinkling lights of the magical theater they view together in the attic. The sincerity of their love and the passion isn’t expressed through wasted pages of Maddy feeling sad and depressed when Rogan flits around (cough cough, Twilight and other teenage romance novels). The characters were also well developed, Rogan, Maddy, and even Aunt Kate. Maddy, who loves Rogan and understands the limit of her talent, Rogan, the talented and wild boy who deeply cares for Maddy.

I personally loved Maddy’s journey to discover what talent and glamour is. For me, it is the biggest question I’ve been facing ever since I entered high school, envious of my genius friends in math or English, or the violin prodigies and virtuosos. Can glamour be learned? Can you achieve an equal level to one who has talent? That’s what Maddy hopes to find out not only through her acting in Twelfth Night, but also with her relation with Rogan.

The ending left a big hole. I loved the ending section, but the years that Maddy and the reader go through are squished into a paragraph. There was a lot of places to develop in Maddy’s realization of her Aunt Kate’s lesson about ‘glamour’ and her undying love with Rogan.

Plot: 3/5
Character: 4/5
Cover: 3/5

The cover's mysterious fog hiding both Rogan and Maddy was well done, portraying the forbidden part of their relationship. Also, the solitary figures in the dreary setting created a nice tone of their closeness and sincerity in their love.

Overall: 3/5

Illyira is a nice short and quick read, a little out of the ordinary with the relationship and how Hand pursues it. Most teen books usually spend at least half the book describing how they fall in love, but Hand starts right from it and goes with the action. I also really loved how Hand balances both Maddy's journey with Rogan and her search for a spotlight. There were some holes that were too big and untied strings left at the end, which sometimes made me want to skim through the book.


Related Posts with Thumbnails