Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250012570
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250012579

(Minor Spoilers Alert)

Rainbow Rowell has become one of my favorite authors for young adult literature. Eleanor & Park is a heartwarming and entertaining book. The writing is clear and colorful. I enjoyed this book tremendously, becoming invested in the characters, rooting for them all the way to the end.

This is a real love story, young love without lust or infatuation. Well, maybe just a little infatuation. A slightly different take on Romeo and Juliet. Eleanor meets Park on her way to the start of her high school year. They were both misfits.

Rowell explores themes of race, gender, and social economic issues in this book. Elements that do not distract from the main story, but that enhance it, making it more realistic. It was easy for me to sympathize and/or relate to the characters’ and their struggles.

Eleanor returned to her mother’s house, where she has to deal with an abusive stepfather, a place she can hardly call home. She has to share a bedroom with her four siblings and shower in the middle of the kitchen. In contrast, Park comes from a mixed race, working class family. A fact that is very important him, his life, and the decisions he makes. As a minority, I love diversity in books because the real world is diverse. (Rainbow Rowell explains it clearly on here).

The story is well-paced. The writing is clear and emotive. I wanted a happy ending for this couple, and I wanted to see them succeed from the start. Rowell’s style is unique and fresh. I will read more of Rainbow Rowell’s books. I would recommend this book to fans of John Green. If you like his style, then I think you might like this book too. If you love contemporary novels and you want something quick and good to read, try this book. Let me know what you think.

Best,
Steph

Rainbow Rowell Related: Why is Park Korean? Is Eleanor actually fat?

Book Review: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

The Psy-Changeling is a series of  adult paranormal romance books about an alternative society, where three different races find themselves at war.

1. The Psy own gifts of the mind. They are able to use their minds for telepathy, telekinesis, to cure the injured/deceased, and even to stop or start wars. Recognizing the dangers of their own powers, the Psy conditioned emotion out of their lives.

2. The changelings are shape-shifter, half human and half animal. They belong to a variety of species, wolves, leopards, falcons, sharks, etc. The changelings’ lives depend strongly on emotions, family, and affection.

3. Humans are perhaps the weakest race, but they are the most influential race of the Psy-Changeling world.

Interested? Check out my earlier post “Best of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling Series,” where I explain why I love these books.

Now, let’s talk about the latest book, Heart of Obsidian.

Warning: This review may contain some minor spoilers.

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Book Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Roc Hardcover (March 5, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451464966
ISBN-13: 978-0451464965

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

At first, the premise of the story threw me off guard. The need to cut to induce prophecies is inconvenient, perhaps discomforting. I also didn’t think much about the background story (whole different topic of conversation). However, I found myself intrigued. Turns out, Meg’s has a lot to learn about her gift (about the cassandra sangue), the Others, and about the world in which she lives.

I couldn’t stop reading. Watching these characters grow (in my mind’s eye) was an enjoyable reading experience. The youngest member of the Wolfgard clan stole my heart. Meg is kind and brave. She quickly gains friends along the way (although, at times too quickly, I felt). Simon is intuitive and honest. In this book, they are off to a great friendship, and possibly something more. I liked them as characters.

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Movie Review: Warm Bodies

(NO SPOILERS)

Rated: PG-13
Comedy, Romance, and Horror
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Jonathan Levine and Isaac Marion (Novel)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that book adaptations are rarely better than (or as good as) the books. Therefore, in this review I will not compare the book, Warm Bodies, to its movie adaptation. In case you’re curious about book, check out Woodsiegirl’s book review.

Warm Bodies is the book adaptation of Isaac Marion’s novel, by the same title. Nicholas Hoult plays R, an unusual zombie who feels lonely among fellow zombie companions. R feels confined, limited by the restrictions of his own undead body. He yearns for conversation, affection, and warmth. R’s life changes the moment he meets Julie, and he finds himself attracted to a girl, alive and dangerous. R must make an emotional journey, from undead to becoming alive once again.

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Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

SHATTER ME is the story of Juliette, a seventeen years old girl locked in an asylum in complete isolation for over six months, exactly 264 days.  She has not touched anyone in over six years because no one wants to touch her skin. As an uprising develops, the Reestablishment plans to use her as a weapon.

The world does not care about her existence, not as long as she’s locked up. The planet is breaking, nature is dying, food is scarce, and people are dying in battle. She must thrive to survive in hopes for a future she thought she would never have.

I read a fair share of mixed reviews (like this one) before reading this book, and I decided to try it myself. After all, I love dystopian fiction. Recently, in the last two or three years the dystopian fiction genre has become popular, competing with the vampire genre in the Young Adult category. I’m guilty of reading a few of these books, including popular trilogies, titles such as Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games, and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium.

Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me is not one of my favorites, but I’m glad I tried it. At first, I tried listening to the audio book version, but I did not enjoy the first twenty minutes of it. I ended up returning it to audible. The narrator’s voice sounds too young for the sixteen years old girl described in this book. It’s nothing to do with her narrator. Listen to the audio sample before buying the audio book version of this book. I ended up buying an electronic copy.

Shatter Me has a distinctive and sometimes poetic writing style. Tahereh Mafi writes in Juliette’s perspective, making the reader feel as if reading from Juliette’s personal journal. The author uses strikethroughs in her writing to convey Juliette’s mental and emotional state. The character scratches words and sentences off from her mind, correcting herself. The sentences would read this way: “I’m not insane. I’m not insane. I’m not insane.”

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Kerstin Gier’s Trilogy

Great Book Review on Kerstins Gier’s trilogy.

SFF Book Reviews

I’ve been reviewing a lot of well-known books and series and some recent publications, so I thought it would be time to explore some maybe not so well-known books. Being a German native speaker, I’d like to introduce you to a YA trilogy that is everything a novel for young people should be. Fun, thoughtful, engaging and equipped with beautiful covers. (And for those of you who are wondering: The name is pronounced CARE-stin GEER)

The first teaser trailer is up and you can watch it HERE.

RUBY RED
by Kerstin Gier

original title: Rubinrot
published: Henry Holt and Co. 2009
ISBN:0805092528
pages: 324

my rating: 8/10
goodreads rating: 4,14/5

first sentence:I first felt it in the school canteen on Monday morning.

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who, in the middle…

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