Here are the books I was able to finish (or in one case not finish at all) for this week. I wish I could have gotten to more, but hopefully with my vacation coming up this week, I'll be able to do a lot more reading!
Eden's Root by Rachel Fisher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author to read and give an honest review. I also grabbed the book off of Smashwords when it was free (so I have both a hard copy and digital version). I will be honest from the get go and say that I got 58% through this book before I had to finally put it down and not read anymore of it. So it gets put on my DNF (did not finish) pile.
Blurb from Goodreads:
The year is 2033 and the world hovers on the edge of explosion as unexplained crop deaths lead to severe global food shortages. In the United States, the Sickness is taking lives slowly, creeping its way into every family. Fi Kelly has already faced the Sickness in her own family, toughening her beyond her years. But a shocking confession from her dying father will push her toughness to its absolute limits. Saddled with an impossible secret and the mission of saving her little sister, Fi sets out to transform herself into the warrior that she must become to survive the coming collapse. Along the way, she will discover that evil can be accidental and that love can be intentional
I have to say that what initially drew me to wanting to read this book was the cover. It really is just gorgeous. I love the color scheme and the layout. I also love the contrast of the world's presented right there in front of your eyes.
When I read the blurb for this book, my interest was immediately piqued. I love dystopian books. And with my views on GMOs at this time, this book really seemed to fit right up my ally. Once I started reading, the concept really took hold for me and I really wanted to see how the author incorporated a food shortage into creating a dystopian world.
The characters: I didn't connect with any of them at all. Fi, the main character, shows no personality at all. She is a 13 year old girl, but speaks like she's an adult. And, while I understand the need for her to grow up fast, she is quick to do things as an adult and barely makes the mistakes of a 13 year old. She easily transforms into this warrior as soon as her world starts to fall apart, which makes no sense to me. And her relationships with the people around her are disjointed and don't feel real. I can't feel her compassion for those who are sick, I can't feel her anger the the situation going on around her. Also, I find her to be way too trusting of just about anyone, even though she tells the reader she shouldn't be trusting others because everyone is out for themselves. Whenever she meets someone, she seems to have no fear that they will hurt her or take things from her. I just didn't understand how she could not be scared when the entire world was falling apart in front of her eyes. As with Fi, all the other characters just seem flat. In actuality, I had a hard time telling one from the other when they were speaking, unless it was directly noted that they were the ones saying the words. This was quite frustrating for me.
The story line itself was fairly interesting: the world experiences a food shortage due to the fact that foods were causing cancer. I thought for sure in many of the situations we would see a lot of action. Yet, for the first half of the book there were rarely an action scenes. And when there were, nothing really happened or they were resolved so peacefully. For a book set in a dystopian landscape, I was expected a bit more violence to show how much people were suffering. When the action did start around half way through, I got really excited. But once that scene was over, the story went back to dragging with Fi and the others walking through the landscape and nothing really happening. Often I expect a lot of background and world building in dystopian books, but there also has to be things that move the story along, which I didn't feel was happening at all.
There is a ton of narrative in this book. Which wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't been so repetitive. When there was dialogue, it was not interesting or witty and dragged almost as much as the narrative. And the exchanges between the characters seemed odd and out of place to me. There were some moments that were meant to be humorous but I just did not feel they were funny.
Finally I got a bit annoyed with the POV writing in this book. One of the characters who speaks is Asher, but I was totally lost as to where he fit in because we hear from him only very briefly in the beginning of the book. He does finally make an entrance again about half way through the book, which I assumed would eventually come or else why would the author have introduced him to the reader, but it just seemed out of place. I usually like POV novels, as I love to get the information from the varying views, but the way this one is laid out just caused more confusion for me than anything else.
All in all, I wish I could have gotten more into this book and finished it. I tried my hardest to push through it, thinking it would get better for me, but I just could not get into the way it was written. It did not grab me. While the theme is really something that could have pulled me in, the writing and the flow of the book just did not allow me to be captured.
2 out of 5 stars from me. Enlightenment for Nitwits: The Complete Guide to 2012 & Beyond! by Shepherd Hoodwin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was given this book as part of the blog tour to read and give an honest review.
I am not much for self-help books, to be honest. But this one was very cute. It approaches things in a light and funny way. I enjoyed reading the many scenarios the author gave to illustrate the points made in the book. The author asks that you look at life from more than one point of view. Instead of focusing what's lying ahead of you, look at what is all around you (in back, to the side, up in the sky). This way you get a complete picture of yourself and how you are living your life. This is the only way you can truly understand yourself.
There is much wit and satire in the book. Each chapter investigating different ideas and how you can approach your life in those ways.
The writing style is very random, and unique. But I liked the way it flowed. And I liked the way the author was not afraid to express ideas and thoughts. The writing will make you laugh at the author and at yourself, as well.
You need to have an open flexible mind to read this one. You can't go into this one taking life too seriously because I just don't think you will get it if you do. But if you are known for being light hearted and easy going, I think the humor and ideas will certainly pull you in. You will certainly laugh out loud and be able to related to many of the scenarios presented. It's full of lots of advice that will certainly help you to lead a happier more content life.
3 out of 5 stars from me.
Ember by Jessica Sorensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received an ARC ecopy of this book for participating in the blog tour this month. I will give an honest review which is in now way influenced by receiving a free copy of this book. I want to than Jessica and SupaGurl Tours for providing me with a copy.
I will be honest and say that I actually read the blurb for this one when I first added it to my TBR (which was way before I was asked to participate in the blog tour). I rarely read the blurb, but the cover just looked to good to pass up and I needed to know if it would be worth the read. It sounded really interesting, right up my ally actually with having loved Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and this having a similar theme, so I could not wait to read it once I found out I had a spot on the tour!
Blurb from Goodreads:
What if you knew when someone was going to die?
For seventeen-year-old Ember, life is death. With a simple touch, she knows when someone will die. It’s her curse and the reason she secludes herself from the world. The only person who knows her secret is her best friend Raven.
Then she meets Asher Morgan. He’s gorgeous, mysterious, and is the only person Ember can't sense death from. So when he pushes into her life, she doesn’t mind.
But when unexplained deaths start to haunt her town, Ember starts questioning why she can’t sense Asher's death and what he may be hiding
Let me start by saying that the cover of this book is just totally awesome. It is the perfect picture of how I felt Ember would look! And the color scheme is just beautiful. So who would not be immediately drawn to this book just by looking at the cover?
Next I need to discuss the characters.
First there's Ember. She is not at all what I would have thought she would be. As a Goth girl, I thought she would be a bit more morbid, a bit more depressed, but what do I know of Goth. She actually struck me as a very typical teenage girl who just liked to dress a bit funky. She's a longer for sure, although she does have one good friend who has seemed to stand by her side. Since she's "cursed" with "experiencing" anyone's death who touches her, it makes sense that she is a bit withdrawn from others and likes to kind of keep to herself. At the same time, she's this beautiful creature, who doesn't have a clue that she's pretty or that she might attract the attention of others for more reasons than her just being a little out of the ordinary. I love that Ember is strong and able to take care of herself, and her family when needed.
Next there's Raven, I don't get much from her. To me she certainly seems a bit self-centered, but you can see that she does care for Ember in her own way. Besides trying to figure out how she looks in my mind, I felt she was actually a bit flat. But I also realize that she's not a huge part of the story, so the focus certainly was not meant to be on her. I did feel like I couldn't trust Raven, like there was something she was holding back throughout the entire story. She even kind of mentions it at one point, but she never lets Ember know exactly what it is.
Then we meet Asher. Not your typical "hunky" teenage YA guy for sure. He's also this Goth kind of guy, with piercings and tattoos, dark hair and clothing to match. not normally my type of attraction, and yet I felt my self completely and totally pulled to him. He's very mysterious, keeping secrets from Ember and telling her that in time she will get to know him, when she's ready for that information. And the fact that he and Ember can touch makes their relationship that much more tantalizing as she finally gets to fell what it's like to not have someone's death omen thrown in her face every time she touches them.
And all of a sudden there is a love triangle thrown in in the form of Cameron. He's totally not Ember's type: blond, tanned, handsome, cocky, dresses like he's walked out of GQ magazine. And she certainly doesn't think he would be attracted to her, yet he is. But, like Asher, he exudes this mysteriousness that has her confused. And, lo and behold, like Asher, Cameron can also touch Ember, although we don't find this out until later as he seems to specifically avoid touching her directly for a long while.
The supporting characters give us a look into Ember's life, which is by no means perfect. Actually, it's so far from perfect you certainly feel total empathy for her and her "curse."
The storyline is like nothing I have ever read. Sure, you feel that there will be some kind of paranormal element, seeing as Ember sees death omens from people. But I certainly did not expect it to take the turn it took. I thought for sure anyone she would meet would just have the same power as her, more like Xmen than creatures you only read about in books. But it didn't take that turn, it took a turn to angels and grim reapers and things that I have not read about before. It has such a great creaptastic appeal, I was captivated.
Jessica's writing is outstanding. It flows so easily, without breaking anywhere at all. Each chapters seamlessly fits with the next, keeping you wanting more. I had a hard time finding a place to stop as I really did want to know what was going to happen next! Probably the reason it took me only one day to read it! Sorensen adequately lays out the dark life that is Ember's with her use of poetry and art. Her writing is gripping and fast paced, keeping you on the edge of your seat for sure.
I am excited this is series. The ending left things open, but wasn't enough of a cliffhanger to annoy me. I am really looking forward to reading what comes next for Ember.
5 out of 5 stars!