Legend (Legend, #1)

First Lines: My mother thinks I’m dead.  Obviously I’m not dead, but it’s safer for her to think so.

It seemed like a bad idea when I was at the library to pick up two dystopias at once.  Dystopias are intense and too many at once can be overwhelming.  But it turned out to be quite awesome.

The Republic (what was once known as the western United States) is constantly at war with The Colonies (its neighbors).  June was born into a wealthy family and became a military prodigy.  She’s incredibly smart, follows orders, and is passionate about her work.  Day was born in the slums and is now the country’s most wanted criminal.  These two have no reason to cross each other’s paths…not until June’s brother is killed and Day is the number one suspect.  Now June is out for revenge while Day is frantic to save his family.  Things begin to unravel and the truth begins to slip free.  What really brought Day and June together and at what length with enemies go to keep secrets hidden?

I hear it’s based off of Les Miserables, but I don’t know anything that story to know.  All I know is that it was a boss dystopia with amazing characters, action, and technology.

The action was constant.  It wasn’t exactly nonstop, but there was always a hint of it in the background.  As a criminal on the run, Day is surrounded by danger.  And June is being trained to become a great military leader.  Of course there’s lots of action.

I really liked the settings.  You could see them, even though you didn’t know what they were.  Buildings, streets, and homes were described in enough detail that you knew exactly what they were like.  It helps that Day and June both analytical by nature, so they scoped everything out.

The characters were great.  June and Day are so intelligent and that comes through.  June is driven and inquisitive where Day is fierce and clever.  It’s perfect.  I always looked forward to Day’s POV because it was more entertaining.  (Sorry June!)  Day had a little snark or spark about him that June didn’t quite have.  They were both great, admirable characters, but I liked Day better.

It’s a good read.  And fast.  I finished in 2 days.

Prelude To A Kiss

So, I watched this over the weekend when I found out movies would be disappearing from Netflix like cake disappears at a birthday party.  This is one I had been waiting to watch because I think early Meg Ryan stuff is amazing.  And I can respect Alec Baldwin, but he’s never been a favorite.

Peter and Rita fall in a love unlike either of them has ever known.  Pessimistic Rita falls quickly for the quiet, goofy Peter.  Within weeks of knowing each other, they get married.  It only takes an instant for things to change and the supernatural to mess things up.

I thought it was…really weird.  I kept watching it and asking my computer screen, “What is this?”  The plot was quite weird and when I say it’s weird…it’s weird.  It was almost antiplot too.  It was just…weird.  I keep saying that, but it’s true.

I was a little disappointed with Meg Ryan’s acting.  She had such a weird role to play and it just wasn’t right.  Her character is aloof, but it was almost too much.  I had nothing to relate to about her.  Baldwin, though, did an amazing job.  I saw that his role originated on the stage, so he had a very long time to get to know Peter inside and out.  That really helped him.  Plus, it’s probably the one and only time I can say that Alec Baldwin is eye candy.

See?  I mean, he’s not Ryan Gosling or Taylor Lautner, but damn.  In terms of the 90s, he’s pretty hot.  Those blue eyes and jet black hair…yeah, I’d hang a picture of that in my room.  He even wears these big nerd glasses and he still looks hot.

About halfway through the movie, once most of the weirdness has come to light, I decided I just had to laugh at what was happening.  It was too bizarre to do otherwise.  I don’t think it was intentionally funny, but it was.

And I get the underlying message: love is awesome.  Love endures through anything.  But I feel like something could have been changed so I didn’t feel all weirded out as I watched.

Guardians: The Girl

First Lines: Okay, it’s official: I’m a coward.

The author asked me to review this and gave me a free copy.  I just wanted to say a quick thanks and thanks for the patience.  (I forgot more than once that this was waiting in my queue.)

Emmy’s life gets turned upside down when she is attacked by dark angels trying to kidnap her.  She’s saved by a group of good angels known as Guardians.  Both sides need her for information that will either save the world or destroy it, depending on who gets the information first.  But the question is does Emmy even have the information they need?

There were parts of it I liked and parts I didn’t.  I liked the minor characters more than the main characters.  I liked some of the action, but I didn’t like all of it or the way the story was told.  Let me explain.

The main characters were really hard to like.  Emmy, as the minor characters said too much, had a “fire” inside her.  Yeah, she did, but it seemed to be mostly bluff.  And Marcus…well, that’s just a can of worms waiting to be opened.  The boy has so many problems, I don’t even know where to start.  He was hypocritical and critical and rude.  Not exactly qualities you expect in a head angel.  I was not a fan of him.

Some of the action that took place in the story seemed superfluous.  It was just action to be action.  It didn’t have a plot point.  Or if it did, its consequences were quickly forgotten.  Injuries seemed to magically disappear overnight or in an even shorter time span.

I also didn’t like the way the story was set up.  It’s broken into three parts.  Emmy, Marcus, Emmy.  The first Emmy and the Marcus are, I kid you not, mostly the same story.  It starts itself over again once we get to Marcus.  I didn’t realize it at first, so I’m reading it and then they start calling Emerson a boy again and I’m like, “What?  We’re starting OVER?  Ugh!”  There could have been a better way of integrating the two parts into the story chronologically.

I will say that it walked the fine line between being a story about angels and goodness and preaching to the readers.  A couple of times, it fell into the preaching category, but mostly it managed to stay in that safe zone that really won’t offend anyone.  Kudos for that.  It’s a thin line to walk.

Spotlight Friday (30)

It’s Friday!  Time to do a happy dance…all the way to the library!  What’s new, you ask?  Well, let’s take a look!  Of course, you’ll be waiting until April for these books, but you can wait patiently until then.  What am I saying?  Readers are never patient when it comes to new books.

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Release Date: April 10, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads)It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. 

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

What’s To Like: This story has everything.  There’s mystery, the supernatural, and a trip that takes her to Europe.  I’m really interested to see who is guilty and to see this scene where the attack happens.  Is that gruesome of me?  I blame years of CSI for that one.  It just sounds like there’s going to be a lot of action and a lot of questions to be answered.  I’ll be surprised if this remains a stand alone novel and not turned into a series.

The Calling (Darkness Rising, #2) by Kelley Armstrong

Release Date: April 10, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads): Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents. 

Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home. Plentiful action and romance in this second installment in the Darkness Rising series will keep readers enthralled to the very last page!

What’s To Like: Oh Kelley Armstrong, you keep creating series that I just can’t stop reading!  This is like a spin-off series of a series called Darkest Powers, but it’s not necessary to read it first.  There are always characters that can kick ass and a ton of action in these books.  I just love seeing how supernatural kids who are just coming into their abilities escape life-threatening situations.  Call it a weakness.

My review of The Calling.

The Vicious Deep (The Vicious Deep, #1) by Zoraida Cordova

Release Date: May 1, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads)When an unnatural riptide sweeps lifeguard Tristan Hart out to sea for three days and then dumps him back on the shore of Coney Island, it’s the start of the Sea Court claiming its own. Suddenly, Tristan’s girlfriend dramas and swimming championship seem like distant worries as he discovers the truth: he’s a Merman. Now Tristan must fight for his life, the lives of his friends, and his humanity (if he still wants it), while competing in a race for a throne as ancient as the gods. 

Seductive, duplicitous, and with an agenda of their own, these are not the mermaids you know.

What’s To Like: A tale about a Mer-dude!  Oh, that was full of so many bad puns right there.  Anyway, I’m excited because when we have stories about “mermaids”, it’s always girls!  But this is different.  And these are like “The Little Mermaid” mermaids either.  These sounds downright vicious.  Another bad pun.  I’m on a roll today apparently.  I’m quite excited to see what Tristan goes through in this.  Should be exciting to say the least.

My review of The Vicious Deep.

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

First Lines: There is only one mirror in my house.  It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.  Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.

I will start this review with what I thought at the end of the book.  This is something I don’t normally do, so here goes: #$&^#%@!  (that was my brain upon finishing this.)

Beatrice Prior has lived a life of selflessness in her faction, Abnegation.  There are four other factions with four other virtues: Candor (truth), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peace), and Erudite (intelligence).  Now that Beatrice is 16, she gets to choose whether or not she wants to remain in Abnegation or change to one of the other factions.  If she leaves, she must leave her family forever.  So she makes her choice.  During a wild initiation where Beatrice rechristens herself Tris, she struggles to figure out who she is and who her friends are…and what this really cute boy wants with her.  Tris must keep a secret, one that could get her killed.  And as war is threatened, Tris has to choose between the secret and the ones she loves…or she could lose everything.

The first 40 pages, the set up to the whole series, is sort of ho-hum.  It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the set up.  There’s really not much action going on.  It’s all information.  And we get to start seeing who Beatrice really is.

After that, though, the book is a rocket, taking off and shooting for the sky.  It got to the point where I was forcing myself to finish my homework before I got anywhere near the book or I wouldn’t be able to stop.

The setting itself is incredible.  I don’t say this often.  It’s set in almost apocalyptic Chicago and I didn’t pick up on that for about 100 pages, even though it’s clearly stated on the book jacket.  Yay me.  But the descriptions of not only the city but of the places Tris spends her time are amazing.  You could practically see everything.

And the characters!  My God.  I’m in love.  Not only with Tris, but with her boy as well, who shall remain nameless as to not ruin the surprise.  (I had no idea who she was going to fall for and that made reading this more fun.)  The characters were strong, but vulnerable.  They were completely relatable, 100%.  Tris is amazing.  I could go on for another hour about everyone and everything, but I don’t think you want to hear it.

It’s quite fabulous.  I had reservations at first because dystopias aren’t always my thing, but this was more about the characters and the new Chicago than a dystopia like The Hunger Games.  What I mean by that is there was so much wreckage and so much wrong in THG.  You knew it was bad.  But Divergent didn’t focus on that, exactly.  Oh, it was present, but it was more about what Tris was seeing and doing and feeling.  I liked that.

I loved it.  Through and through.  Are you happy, David?  (You know who you are.)

Patch Adams

Laughter is contagious.

Movie #2 of this weekend!  I was playing Just Dance 3 and randomly thought, “I haven’t seen Patch Adams in a long time.  I should watch that.”  So I did.  Lovely how my mind works sometimes.

Hunter “Patch” Adams is a man who desperately wants to be a doctor after he realizes how much he enjoys helping others.  He challenges the system that preaches distance from patients and makes connections with them.  Why should a doctor be just a man in a white coat?  Why can’t he a friend as well?

This movie is just so cute.  I like it because it has elements of a lot of movies in it.  Ok, not a lot, but more than just a comedy.  It makes me cry.  It’s so cute how he’s great with kids and other patients.  I wish my doctor was more like Patch.

This kind of captures my interest too because my boyfriend is a pre-med major and I hope he turns out like this.  I could go on for far too long about him, so let’s just sum it up in saying this is what I imagine his med school will be like.  All I really have are Scrubs and this to show me what med school is like.

The supporting characters in this are great too.  Truman is a favorite and weirdly so is Mitch.  I think it’s just because I respect Philip Seymour Hoffman as an actor.  But whatever.  Robin Williams kills this movie.  Oh, bad pun.

Billy Madison

A comedy about an overwhelming underachiever.

It’s just been a movie weekend, you know?  I’ve watched 2.5 movies in three days.  And that’s in between everything else I did this weekend!

After 17 years, most of us know the story of Billy Madison, right?  Billy is a slacker that wants to inherit his father’s company.  But because Billy really appears to have no ambition or drive, his father gives the company to another man.  Billy, to get the company back, agrees to go back to school and repeat every grade for two weeks.

I think this movie is so funny.  I’m a fan of the Sand-man, so this is one I like.  It’s wildly inappropriate at times (I’ll get to that more in a moment), but it’s so funny and smart at the same time.  It’s a delicate balance.

Most of the time when I watch this, it’s on TV.  This time, my brother and I watched it from Netflix.  Apparently, TV stations cut out a large chunk of the beginning because neither of us remembered it.  We looked at each other and went, “Have you seen this part before?”  And then we found out why.  Funny how that happens.

It’s so funny how I can go back now and watch it and catch little things I never caught before.  Now that I’m an English major, Billy’s answer at the end of the movie is definitely ridiculous.  I know enough now to see where he’s going with it, but it’s still really out there.  I don’t agree with the proctor, but still.

Funny movie.  Is it Sandler’s best?  No.  Not by a long shot.  But it’s funny early Sandler stuff.