Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sapphire Blue (Precious Stone Trilogy #2) : Review

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

Rating: ★★★★

Two weeks ago, I went on a road trip with my family. If you've never been on a road trip you should know that this involves a lot of sitting in the car while getting from one location to another. Of course, I had to pack books to keep myself busy. Actually, I probably spent more time trying to figure out which books I wanted to take than what clothes I needed to pack. Sapphire Blue was one of two that ultimately came on this trip with me.

I read the first book, Ruby Red, earlier in the year after hearing about it through multiple BookTube videos. It seemed like everyone was reading this series and loving it. So when I saw it at Half-Price Books, I made an impulse purchase and got to reading ASAP. To summarize, I enjoyed that read and was excited to continue the series.

Once I got into Sapphire Blue, the pages went by fast. Just like the first installment, this book was a quick read. Things were happening, the story was moving and I was always interested.

The book follows a girl named Gwyn who discovers that she has the time traveling gene (which runs in the family) that everyone thought her cousin would get. Now Gwyn is brought into this world in which she seems to play a big part in completing a mission that she doesn't really know anything about. While her cousin has been trained for this role her entire life, Gwyn is totally clueless. Her companion in her time traveling ventures is a boy named Gideon who is essentially Gwyn's counterpart, in the bigger scheme of things. 

Gideon and Gwyn from the movie. (Source)

Gwyn is the core of this book (as she was in the first one) and everything else is molded around her. Even the romance plays a supporting role in the story which felt very refreshing because so many of the books I read make the romance a companion to the main story line. It ends up being that the love story in the novel is just as big as the rest of the story. Not that I'm complaining, because I love to read these books, but it is nice to read something a little different every now and then. Surprisingly, I didn't even find myself wanting Gideon to be in every scene. Gwyn could hold her own in every single scene. She's independent, funny and smart. Who needs Gideon anyway?

In Sapphire Blue, Gwyn is trying to find answers to a multitude of questions. Who is the Count? What is secret of the time travelers? What does the prophecy of the Ruby (AKA Gwyn) mean? Why did Paul and Lucy steal the chronograph? Why can she see ghosts? What happens when the time travelers' circle is complete? Just to name a few. While she makes some developments on these fronts, there is still a lot that is unknown. She begins to feel more lost and is no longer sure who she should trust if anyone at all. As she is still kept in the dark about everything, she decides to use her time traveling ventures to figure out some answers on her own and it seems like the more she finds out the more questions that come up. Gwyn makes a new friend, named Xemerius, who is the ghost of a gargoyle. Xemerius proves to be a great asset while also providing hilarious commentary.

By the end of the book, I was left confused but in the best way possible. Everything that I thought was true is now in question. With the Count, with Gideon, with Lucy and Paul. I have no idea what is what anymore... and so I need to get my hands on Emerald Green. Fast.

Sapphire Blue continues the story of Gwyn and includes all the elements that made Ruby Red such a good read. It leaves the reader with much to ponder on and a desperate need for more.

Side note: There is a German Ruby Red movie (the series is originally German), called Rubinrot and a recently released Sapphire Blue (Saphirblau) movie! Watch the trailer for Sapphire Blue below.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Let's Talk : Divergent (Movie)

A couple days ago I watched Divergent (based on the book written by Veronica Roth). I know. I know. What kind of fan waits so long to watch the movie? And if I was waiting for the DVD becauseAllegiant (the third and final book in the series) right at the end of last year and that it really bummed me out.
I didn't want to watch it in the theater for whatever reason, why did I wait so long after the DVD release to watch it? These are questions that I don't have answers to. There is nothing I can say really other than that I wasn't that hyped about the movie to begin with and I'm sure that had a lot to do with the fact that I read

So maybe before I get into the movie I should talk a little about Allegiant.

Allegiant came out towards the end of October and, as excited as I was, I didn't get to it right away because of my never ending backlog of books that I NEED to read. It only took me just over a month to get to it though which is really saying something because I've had books like Cinder, Throne of Glass and Shatter Me on my TBR for years before I finally got around to reading them this year... but that's a whole another issue. So, I started reading Allegiant and it took me nearly 20 days to complete it. Normally, it takes me about a week max and that's if I'm having a busy week. Otherwise, I can finish a book in 2-3 days. Granted, I did have finals around that time but I just wasn't able to really get into the story. It just felt slow; it was lacking the excitement that made me love the first two books, and the ending completely bummed me out. I really wanted it to end in a "BANG", which I guess it did, but it wasn't the kind that I was hoping for. I was in denial of what happened at the end. I just didn't want to believe that that was how this story was going to end. After completing the book, I found myself very unsatisfied with the conclusion and Allegiant became another book on my list of disappointing series endings (there seemed to be lot of these in 2013).

**It should be noted that I don't mean to say that Allegiant is a bad book. It's a good book. I just didn't think it was a good series concluder.**

Coming off of Allegiant, I wasn't getting too excited about the Divergent movie. In the past, I've fangirled at trailers and clips and even obsessively watched tons of interview and promotional footage that comes out near the release date. This happened with all of the Twilight movies, the Hunger Games movies, The Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy, etc. but it didn't happen with Divergent. I watched the trailer and decided that the movie looked like it would be good. I watched a clip later on too but that was it. I wasn't super excited around the time the movie was coming out nor did I feel any need to go see it while it was playing in theaters. I just wasn't hyped up about Divergent. I was completely satisfied with waiting for the DVD which is exactly what I did.

"First jumper Tris" (Source)
So now we're back to the original topic of the post, the Divergent movie.

I watched it.

I really really liked it.

I fangirled at all the iconic scenes. I definitely did the 'rewind-play' thing many times so I could watch all those moments over and over again. I was so happy with the way they did all the scenes and the only thing I felt like it was lacking was Tris and Four scenes. Yup. The only thing I would change is adding more Tris and Four so that all of us can better appreciate the beauty of Fourtris. Although, I'm probably very biased so the movie is great just the way it is.

If we, YA fans, have learned anything from experience it is that when a book is turned into a movie, chances are there are going to be things that we aren't satisfied with. Missing scenes. Changed storyline. The entire movie. We've all lived through a lot of not-so-great YA movies. But every now and then, a movie is made from one of our favorite books and it's so good that we overlook all the deviations (or should I say divergences) and just appreciate it for what it is. Its rare, but it happens and Divergent is one such success story.

Now, I just hope that I'll end up liking Allegiant the movie better than I liked Allegiant the book.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blast from the Past : The Truth About Forever

I was trying to figure out a way to feature books that I read and loved before starting this blog and this is what I've come up with. "Blast from the Past". Yes, I know it's very original but it is what it is... because I couldn't come up with anything better. Hey, maybe it will catch on and 'blast from the past' will become a thing. It could happen.

Anyway, here's my first blast.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen came out back in 2004 when I was a wee 11 year old. I read this around that time, maybe a year or two later, and soon became obsessed with books and Young Adult Fiction in general. Of course, I'd read books before but not in the way that I started reading them around this time. I'm pretty sure that this isn't the first Sarah Dessen novel that I'd read but it was one of the first 2 or 3 and it played a huge part in my love for contemporary (I exclusively read contemporary at this point). I made it my mission to read all of Sarah Dessen's books because I had never felt about a book the way I did with Dessen's novels. Sarah Dessen kindled my love for YA and The Truth About Forever still remains among my favorites.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday {12}

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Publication Date : January 27th, 2015
The only books I've read by Gayle Forman are If I Stay and Where She Went, both of which I absolutely loved and both of which I gave five bold star reviews. (If you haven't read this duology, you should do so ASAP!) After reading these two books, actually after just the first one, I fell in love with Gayle Forman's storytelling.( I haven't read her other duology, Just One Day and Just One Year, but I definitely plan on getting to it, sooner rather than later.) So, when I found out that she had a new book coming out, I immediately added it to my TBR. At this point, it had no title, no cover, no synopsis. It was Untitled by Gayle Forman and I new I had to read it. As I am writing this, I can honestly that I still have not read the synopsis. Nonetheless, I am eagerly waiting on this book.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) : Review

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Rating: ★★★★

I picked up Angellfall solely based on recommendations and many 5-star reviews on Goodreads. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book and, in all honesty, I was a bit skeptical about how I was going to like it, if I was going to like it. As the name suggests, this story involves angels and my experience with this genre has been mediocre at best. I've read a few angels books before, all of which either fell flat or were very hit and miss. Because of that, or in spite of that, I went into this book without no expectations and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

The story follows a girl named Penryn who forms an alliance, an iffy one, with an angel named Raffe in order to save her sister from the rest of the angels who happen to reside in San Francisco. The thing is that humans have an anti-angel sentiment due to the mass amounts of destruction the angels have caused since their arrival and the angels have an anti-human sentiment for whatever, still  unknown reason. This, obviously, causes complications in the alliance and makes it difficult for Penryn to totally trust Raffe. On top of that, Raffe happens to be an exiled angel so he isn't exactly on good terms with the angel community that they are trying to infiltrate.

I really enjoyed this read. It was surprisingly fast-paced and to the point. Considering that this book is the first in a series of five, I would have expected there to be so much introductory information in this novel. I would have expected lots of setting up of the story, establishing the characters, introducing the main plot, etc. This novel cuts through all that fluff. It gives you the information you need in order to understand what is going on at the time and the rest comes in bits and pieces along the way as needed. I loved this about this novel. Not many books can do that. Not many books have done that. This one does it perfectly.

Throughout the course of the book we are introduced to several intersecting characters. Aside from Penryn and Raffe, of course, Penryn's mom is the one that fascinates me the most. She's a very strange character and I'm excited to see what role she plays in the remainder of the story. There are the twins, Deem and Dum, who are hilarious and almost seem superhuman when it comes to their spying abilities. (They kind of remind me of Fred and George Weasley)

The novel itself is a bit dark, particularly towards the end, but not in an overwhelming or overly-scary way. I liked the dark elements, especially because with the background story and with all that was happening in this world, those elements needed to exist for the sake of the story. The dark aspects were balanced with plenty of funny moments thanks to the quick-witted humor provided by many characters, mainly Raffe and Penryn. I was constantly smiling.

There is still a lot of unknown but that's to be expected. The next book will also, probably, introduce new subplots that won't be explained or resolved until later in the story line. I'm very excited about this series and will definitely be reading the sequel, World After(which I hear is even better than this one), and eagerly anticipating the rest of the books to come.

Angelfall is an exciting, fast-paced novel with well-developed characters and a captivating story line. It is a must-read for all fans of young adult fiction.