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?

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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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Adventures of a Rookie Blogger

I’m a rookie blogger. 😦 

I decided to start my blog about four years ago. At first, this idea wasn’t quite appealing. Perhaps, it wasn’t alluring at the time because my idea of blogs consisted of only one type: personal dairies. A few friends and mentors advised me to get a personal journal instead.

Nonetheless, after checking out a few blogs and speaking to bloggers– I decided to start one. A blog, I thought, would give me the opportunity to practice my writing, improve my grammar and editing skills. (English is not my first). At the time, I also thought that it would give me the opportunities to write about the topics that interested me, such as education, women’s issues, writing, film, and books.

My first tries at blogging looked like this: Link.

These are embarrassing to read now. I look back and realized that my attempts were poor at best. Granted, I still think my attempts at blogging are poor. I don’t update often, and my topics are quite scattered. I’ve written attempts at film and book reviews, on trending news about women, and written personal observation on random topics. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was doing everything wrong. After doing some research, I learned that most popular blogs concentrate on one topic. These are often about specific music or books genres, travel journals/guides, writing, photography, etc. Sometimes blogging actually feels like writing a journal. I started to wonder if those friends I mentioned were right after all.

Regardless, here are the five things I learned from my adventures as a rookie blogger:

Grammar/Editing. As mentioned, English is not my first language. I started writing a blog to hone my writing and editing skills. Why? If I’m putting my writing online for the world to read, then this means I need to put more effort into my writing and editing.

It’s not a secret that grammar and editing are essential when it comes to blogging (writing anything actually). Communication is a great factor of our lives and our careers. It’s the way in which we engage with others and present ourselves to the world (in whichever language we speak). Readers might be put off by poor grammar. It’s essential to write as clearly as possible. After all, writing is rewriting, and practice is the only way to become skilled at those things.

Book Reviews.  In the beginning, writing reviews for me consisted on writing only positive reviews and withholding my negative opinions of what I read. My reluctance on writing negatively about books comes from the knowledge that writers put a lot of work into these books. My first reviews were short and badly edited. Although I have not mastered the skill of writing book reviews, I understand that these should not be mean, but honest. Readers like to read honest reviews. If they believe to share the same feelings about a book reviewed on my blog, these readers will likely come back for more reviews. This type of blogs are wonderful for avid readers. It’s also a great way to exercise critical thinking. Again, all of this is partly an observation.

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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: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (January 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595143998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595143990

“Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh–to build a home–on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

 But this new Earth isn’t the paradise Amy had hoped for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed’s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. And if they’re going to stay, they’ll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who–or what–else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been for nothing.

 FUELED BY LIES.

RULED BY CHAOS.

ALMOST HOME.”

Shades of Earth is the third and last installment of Beth Revis’ science fiction trilogy, Across the Universe. Revis brings her series to a conclusion. In my opinion, this book is more entertaining than the second book in the trilogy, A Million Suns. In which I found Amy’s withholding of information cowardly and inconvenient. I sympathized with the character, but I did not like her long silence on certain matters that could have saved a life.

This time, Amy’s actions are not controlled by fear or distrust. She and Elder embark in yet another journey, more dangerous than before, and this time outside the metal roof and walls of Godspeed. The ship sailed the galaxy for more than three hundred years, but time is running out for its surviving inhabitants.

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