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Monday, December 19, 2011

“The Iron Knight” by Julie Kagawa (The Iron Fey, #4)

(ATTENTION: This review is for the fourth book in the Iron Fey series. There will probably (read: definitely) be some spoilers from the other books. Especially regarding the Iron Kingdom, because it’s not something I can (or particularly want to) avoid in the review. Please beware. If you haven’t read the first three books or the two novellas, I encourage you to check those out: The Iron King,
The Iron Daughter, Winter’s Passage, The Iron Queen, and Summer’s Crossing. YOU ARE WARNED.)

First thing: this book, the conclusion to the epic adventure that is the Iron Fey novels, which those who have read them have mostly become rather attached to, will make you cry. Seriously. There will probably be water works. Regardless of your being team Ash or team Puck or team ‘why don’t they both just give up on that crazy Meghan iron fey chick’, you will probably still cry, if you’re the type of person to ever cry during books.

Ash. *sniffle*

Anyway. As the conclusion to this series which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed so far, as well as the first and only book in the Iron Fey series to be from Ash’s perspective rather than Meghan’s, I was almost concerned that I wouldn’t like it as much as the others.

That was naïve of me, I should’ve considered that it was: a) Ash. and b) Julie Kagawa, epic author extraordinaire, wrote it!

It was awesome. Action packed, emotion filled, and beautifully written. I really can’t say more in this review. I want to, but I don’t want to spoil the whole thing which would be awful for everyone else. All I can say is thanks. Thank you, Julie Kagawa, for this awesome series that totally changed my mind about ‘stupid faeries’ and for the crazy roller coaster ride that it was and its epic conclusion. P.S.. thanks for geeking out about My Chemical Romance like twice. Haha!

Friday, December 16, 2011

“Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi

“Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. “-goodreads

I read “Shatter Me” in about 2 & ½ hours when I probably should’ve been doing schoolwork. I thought I’d start the book and read a chapter during a break in math homework and go back to what I was doing. That didn’t work out so well… I started Shatter Me and was immediately enraptured with the thoughtful, possibly crazy, progressively awesome heroine, Juliette, as well as the deceptively dark (or not as much as it seems? You‘ll see. Read it!) dystopian world she resides in. It was absolutely psychological, considering being locked up in a cell in contact with no other people for so long in desolate conditions, all while stewing over the fact that you do awful things to people by simply touching them– whether she wants to or not.

The writing was another thing entirely. It was amazing. It kept me right inside the story until the end. It was also just really pretty. Then, there was the whole thing with Juliette’s thoughts and her confusion of a contradicting thought process with the whole words crossed out thing in thoughts…

I’ve seen Shatter Me referred to as a dystopian, a thriller, a paranormal, a romance combined with any of those things, and I’ll just say it’s all of those. Dystopian, for the world– though I wouldn’t say that’s quite the main focus like in some other novels, there’s other things! Paranormal, because she can hurt people with only a touch ‘for no reason’. Romance, because there is another incredibly complex main character, Adam, and I think you can just guess that there’s going to be something between them (and their relationship, the lack there-of, and the general tension? Stunning.). Thriller, because I kept turning pages and found that I was literally gripping the edge of my seat at the climax and some other parts. Psychological, because inside Juliette’s head is a scary, twisted, traumatic place to be in a psychologically fascinating kind of way. And really? The other genre I’d put it in, and as number one: genre Awesome. Awesome in a real sense of the world. In an awe-inspiring writing, complex and likeable character filled, complicated and deceptive plot, dark and controlled world, sort-of-way.

Needless to say, (but I’ll say them anyway) two things: I cannot wait for the sequel, Tahereh Mafi is awesome. On that note, I’ll end this with the surprise third thing: the cover is epic sparkly.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Things!

Hey guys.

So, you probably noticed that in November I said I would be ‘back’ to my routine of posting more often here at Books4Hearts. I got caught up in some other stuff, and planned to actually, like, legit, be back December 1st. However, I ended up spending quite some time kind of helping to re-do another project in the book blogger universe. I’m psyched to say I’m the new co-blogger-person at Young Bloggers Unite
with Austin from Reading Teen. If you’ve never heard of YBU, it’s a community centered blog sort of thing started a few months ago for the young book bloggers of the blogging community, originally by Melina from Reading Vacation and HD from Reading Writing Breathing. Shortly after, Austin joined them. HD and Melina decided they no longer had time for YBU, and so they stepped down and Austin stepped up, and he asked me to join the team! YBU has just come back from a while ‘off the air’ which he and I spent re-thinking YBU, re-making the schedule, and re-designing the blog, which took a lot of work– now that it’s set up, I promise I’m back, ha. I recommend that you check out YBU if you’re a young blogger who wants to connect with the others, with discussions (ex… Today we’re debating: Twilight vs. Harry Potter), guest posts, and more.

I have been preoccupied with other things as well, but I’m not trying to make excuses, everyone’s busy! I just had finals and homework has been consuming my life and there’s been some family stuff and all that.. The holidays are fast approaching as well! But ANYWAY. I didn’t just make this post to talk about YBU or to tell y’all why I haven’t been posting. I also meant to make a post about Google Friend Connect. 70 people follow this blog using GFC, and google recently announced that GFC was no longer going to be available for non-blogger blogs. Books4Hearts *is* a blogger blog, however it’s been hinted at and would kind of make sense that google might eliminate GFC for all blogs eventually and it’s their right to do it at any time. SO in light of this I suggest, to make it so that your review-reading is not interrupted that you either:
1) Follow the blog via email. To the right of this post under the GFC following widget there’s a place to enter your email address to follow the blog via email.
2) Like Books4Hearts on Facebook, if you don’t already.
3) Follow @Books4Hearts on Twitter, if you don’t already. I realize that I’m not always good about posting/tweeting every time someone posts at B4H but I’ll certainly try to be more attentive about that!

Anyway. I hope everyone has a Happy Holidays! And I’d like to thank everyone that reads Books4Hearts and follows and comments even when there aren’t a lot of new posts and when there are– I appreciate it! I’d also like to thank Angela and SEP for being awesome blogmates even if they can’t necessarily post often, but I for one enjoy when they do and also, more importantly, they’re great friends– seriously, it sounds chees-y but it’s true, they’re seriously amazing people! 😀

Just, again: HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! Whatever you celebrate, haha… May your Christmas be white, may the light of your menorah be bright, etc…) 🙂

Saturday, November 19, 2011

“Crossed” (Matched, #2) by Ally Condie

*Note: I want to apologize for not personally being as active in book blogging as I usually try to be. (If anyone even noticed!) I know for a while there, I was posting reviews and such every day/2 days/even 3 days. I would like to get back to that but I’m also very busy at the moment (if it tells you anything, after I finish typing this, I’m going to go do a mountain of french homework). Additionally, I seem to have like a reviewing writer’s block. But regardless, I hope to try to get back to ‘business-as-usual’. Anyway, basically, just thank you people for visiting the blog and all that business even though it isn’t quite as busy as usual, haha!*
(“Crossed” is the sequel to “Matched”. If you haven’t read “Matched” you may want to check out that review instead so as to avoid any spoilers in this one! You are warned.)

“Crossed” was a good book. The writing, one of my favorite elements of “Matched” with its poetry and flow were impeccable, again. The poems at the beginning were good, too– the actual poetry. They enriched the story. Problematically though– it wasn’t awesome. It was good. I was a little bit disappointed that I wasn’t totally blown away after being so excited for it. While I didn’t expect an incredibly adventurous book filled with violence and suspense or anything like that, I was expecting a little bit more adventure– the ending of the first set up for some grand endeavor to the end of the Society, and I expected that to a be a little bit more exciting that it was. There was a journey, a long one, a hard one, throughout the Society and outside it. However, sometimes it seemed to drag.

Also, I really liked Cassia, the heroine, in the first book. But in “Crossed” I didn’t like her nearly as much, because I felt she was so absorbed in thoughts of Xander and/or Ky rather than what was going on and the bigger picture or even her family. It was like in parts of “Catching Fire” or “Mockingjay” when I started to get (super) annoyed with Katniss for being caught up between Gale and Peeta rather than, you know, EVERYTHING ELSE. *slight exaggeration.* I did still like Xander and Ky, and am less convinced about being ‘team Xander’ like before. It’s harder now. Ha! 

The bottom line: “Crossed” was good book and I liked it, just not as much as I expected.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

“The Falcon” by Jackie French Koller

“Sure.” I heard Jim’s pen scribbling again. “Our time’s about up anyway. Just one more question, though. Do you have any idea why so many unusual things happen to you?”
“Yeah,” I snarled. “God hates me.”

Luke Carver is a 17 year old who can’t seem to help getting in trouble. Every time he goes anywhere, he seems to get in trouble. He messes up so many times that it sure seems like God hates him. After all, how else would he get into such wacky, horrible situations?

Luke has secrets, though. There are things he hasn’t told anyone. He hasn’t even told his journal the full truth. After all, if it isn’t his fault, why does he have to tell anyone?

“Yes,” I said quietly. “I’m fine.” Then I closed my eyes and leaned my head back against the seat. I was tired, too. So, so tired…
Just like I am now.

This was one of the shortest books I think I’ve read. It was, strangely, also one of the most interesting. It was one of those books where you think that it’s not going to be that gripping, but then you find yourself wondering, throughout the day, what’s going to happen next.

I really liked the way that the author pulled out the mystery of what happened to Luke before the book started. It was really interesting, even though it wasn’t as “dark” as they made it out to seem. It was interesting, though.

I would actually recommend this book to anyone who really liked The Catcher in the Rye, mostly because the writing style seemed quite similar to me, and it’s about the same sort of aged guy.

All in all- pretty good of a book.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

“The Witch’s Brat” by Rosemary Sutcliff (guest reviewer Runningfree)

“From the moment I picked up The Witch’s Brat, I was hooked. Sutcliff follows the journey of a deformed, quiet, boy with the gift of healing in his hands, a head for herbs and their uses, a heart of kindness. One shoulder is hunched and his leg is crooked, leaving even the simple manner of walking to be a painful and arduous task. One day, on his way back from errands, he stops and watches the neighbor’s cow who has, over the past three days, been growing extremely thin. Lovel believes the cow ate something that is causing her to lose so much weight so rapidly and is concerned. The neighbors raise a fuss, saying he’s cast the Evil Eye upon their milking cow and Lovel is the reason the cow is sick. The neighbors create such a ruckus that a mob starts and soon stones are thrown at Lovel, driving him out and away into the wide, unknown world.
In less than 200 pages, I grew to admire Lovel and his tenacity, watched him grow in confidence as he discovered his gift for healing, and cheered him on when he doubted himself and his purpose.
Sutcliff’s writing is so rich and hearty, I love her storytelling prowess, her ability to weave in so much without bogging you down. I can’t say that I adore her characters like I’ve adored other characters but I admire them, I want to be like them, they are real, down to earth, dust covered, people that bleed, cry, and struggle through years of adversity.
Lovel, though he has been beaten by men, still has the capacity to forgive and care for them when they are ailing, old, weak and tired. He heals them, much as he heals himself.
I’d HIGHLY recommend this book no matter your age. For those of you who don’t read any witchcraft, don’t let the name throw you off. There is no sorcery whatsoever.”

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