Friday, May 31, 2013

We have a Tumblr!

Chima Books is now on Tumblr! With another blog we're hoping to do more memes, giveaways, and more! On our Tumblr you'll be able to see more book-related photos/photosets and much more than just reviews. We would appreciate it if those with a Tumblr followed us! Thank you! :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

Summary: Before Sex and the City, Carrie was a small-town girl who knew she wanted more. She's ready for real life to start, but first she must navigate her senior year of high school.

Up until now, Carrie and her friends have been inseparable. Then Sebastian Kydd comes into the picture, and a friend's betrayal makes her question everything.

Kim's Review: I absolutely love the TV adaptation of The Carrie Diaries. It was one of my favorite shows last season, so I had high expectations for the book. To be honest, I was disappointed. This is one of the rare occasions where the show is actually better than the book. A few important/major parts of the book seemed like they were just tossed in there, and then the author forgot about it until near the end. An example of this is Carrie's feminism. It's a pretty big part of her character in the novel, and in her "diary," or inner thoughts, she mentions it quite a lot. However, when Sebastian starts treating her like crap and turns out to be a huge asshole to her, she doesn't say anything to him and just lets it slide. As soon as an opportunity comes to let Carrie express her thoughts that she wrote a few chapters ago, Carrie (or the author) doesn't take it, and it seemed like if Carrie had just spoken her thoughts to Sebastian this novel could have been a hundred pages shorter.

All in all, this book disappointed me. I'm still going to read the sequel, but now I know to lower my expectations. I'll most likely end up selling both books back to the bookstore.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Summary: Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

Kim's Review: (I've been reading all day and I'm writing this past my bedtime, so please forgive me if this review is all over the place.)

I liked this book, but didn't love it. The plot didn't move me as much as I expected it to; I didn't really begin to feel that bad for Lia until the last few pages. While the writing was nothing special, the format was different and made it an easier/faster read. I liked the characters, but we never discovered the real reasons behind Lia and Cassie's anorexia and obsession with their weight. However, I feel like Anderson's portrayal of a teenager like Lia was very realistic. Some of her emotions and thoughts were so spot-on and relatable.

Given the subject of the book, I can't say I enjoyed reading it, but it certainly was interesting to read Lia's thoughts throughout her battle with herself and her own body. I am giving it three stars because the writing is nothing more than "okay" and I wish the characters had more of a backstory, but Anderson at least partially redeemed herself in the last chapters of the novel. But, as the subject matter could be extremely triggering, I definitely would not recommend this book to anyone who has a past with eating disorders.

Review: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
Some spoilers in this review! 

The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Pages: 568 (Collector's First Edition)
Published: March 19th, 2013
PublisherMargaret K. McElderry Books

Reviewer: Charlotte

I kind of want to give it four stars, but the first 300ish pages dragged on slowly and I think they could have been condensed a little better. The second half picked up well and had me reading almost nonstop. 

Throughout this entire series, I have liked the side characters a whole lot better than the main ones. While that didn't change (the side characters were marvelous in this book) Clockwork Princess gave me a better understanding of the main three: Jem, Tessa, and Will. I've never been a fan of love triangles, but this trilogy was the exception. It's easy to understand why Tessa loves each boy equally, and it would have been impossible to pull off without the addition of parabatai. It really is a love triangle with love going in every direction. 

I loved how every character ended up, even the tragic endings like Henry's. It would be like Henry to invent himself a wheelchair. This book was the rare occasion where I actually liked every single character. The epilogue was great, and I like how it tied in with The Mortal Instruments. I hope we'll see more of the surviving characters in City of Heavenly Fire! 

Out of this trilogy, Clockwork Prince was my favorite. Clockwork Princess was my second favorite, and if you read my other review of Clockwork Angel -- that one was nowhere near  being a favorite. If you love the world of Shadowhunters, give it a try! I appreciated this series a lot more after finishing TMI.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Summary: A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years, from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding, that puts the violence, fear, hope and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives, the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness, are inextricable from the history playing out around them.
Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heartwrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love, a stunning accomplishment.
Kim's Review: My grandma loaned me this book, telling me that I absolutely had to read it. To be honest, I wasn't that excited about it, because, you know, Grandma books. However, I still took the book because I didn't want to disappoint her.

Emotionally speaking, this is a very heavy book. In a 380-page book, I can't name more than one or two light-hearted moments. But the story is truly inspiring. The two main characters are Mariam and Laila. Mariam is about 20 years older than Laila, and both are forced to marry a man named Rasheed, who is significantly older than both of them. He is physically and emotionally abusive to them, favoring Laila but criticizing them for every little mistake. The violent descriptions Hosseini uses are horrifying. I wanted to slap/yell at/punch Rasheed so badly!

Mariam and Laila are such inspiring characters. Their emotions and thoughts are captured so perfectly, it is almost hard to believe that this book was written by a man. These two women are also incredibly strong and independent. The things they did to protect those they care about were captivating and kept me wanting to read more. I have no idea what I'd have done if I were in their position; I certainly would not have the bravery and willpower to even attempt what they did. It was really nice to see two fine examples of strong, female main characters in a novel. 

I am giving this book four stars. The one missing star is due to the fact that a few important parts of the plot seemed rushed, and a few quirks in the writing annoyed me. But those are basically the only flaws I were able to find in this book, and they're clearly outweighed by the pros. Since I normally review YA books, I should stress that this is an adult book - there are multiple vivid, violent scenes that made me squirm in my seat. The story is powerful, though, and you're constantly begging to know what will happen next. I would recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns to anyone who is able to stomach a few gut-wrenching scenes to follow the journey of two powerful, inspiring women.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Perfect by Ellen Hopkins

Summary: Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they’d rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there. Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood.

Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?

Kim's Review: This is probably the fifth Ellen Hopkins book I have reviewed, and they all basically say the same thing: Ellen Hopkins is a writing goddess. Her writing and characterization never fail to impress me; she continuously finds a way to make her characters interesting and believable without being too dramatic or over-the-top. It has been a year or so since I read Impulse, the first book of this series, but I didn't feel lost because the reader is subtly reminded of what happened in the previous novel. I loved being able to see what was happening in Conner's family while he was away and how him being gone affected those around him. There were also a few new characters that interacted well with the older ones. I liked this book even better than the first one, and sequels like that are hard to come by. This is another amazing book by Ellen Hopkins, and if you haven't read at least one of her books already, you're sure missing out!

Note: Like Fallout, Perfect is the sequel to another one of Hopkins's books titled Impulse, but it can be read alone as well.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Summary: The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920's.

Kim's Review: Ah, another book that I'm one of the last people to read! I really liked this book, although it took a while to get used to the writing style since I rarely read classics. However, the plot was interesting and there were quite a few twists, which I enjoyed, but I did have to refer to Wikipedia a few times to clear things up. I also liked how there weren't a lot of characters in the book, maybe twenty at most (including minor ones). I could have gotten super confused very quickly because of the old-fashioned writing, but the fact that there weren't too many names to keep straight made it a bit easier.

I'm giving it four stars only because, while the plot and characters are great (no pun intended), it didn't have that "wow" factor that really made it stand out. It sort of reminded me of the novel Fahrenheit 451 in that there's not a lot of action and the plot-moving is really subtle. The best scenes aren't until the last thirty pages or so, but all in all it's a really good read (and a fast one as well)!

I'm seeing the movie tomorrow and I'm so excited. I'm glad I was able to read the book first; I just hope it can live up to my expectations!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth


Summary: One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Kim's Review: Ho. ly. Crap. This book is FANTASTIC. I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to my expectations, but it was just as good as Divergent. The plot and twists and everything about it was just perfect. My only complaint is that Tobias and Tris annoyed me a bit with them constantly keeping secrets from each other. I just wanted to scream at them sometimes! However, their less angsty, adorable scenes made up for it. 

Even after everything she had been through, Veronica Roth continued to make Tris strong and not pathetic. I mean, she easily could have spent the whole novel wallowing and feeling sorry for herself, but instead she took action (even if her decisions were sometimes irrational) and made herself useful. 

Another thing I love about Divergent and Insurgent that I hadn't even realized until I saw someone else's review is that, for what seems like the first time in YA trilogy history, THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE. And the story is still fascinating, and even better because of it. I loved having more action-y scenes instead of the main female character dramatically trying to decide between two guys. Bless you, Veronica Roth (and please don't mess it up in the Allegiant - I'm trusting you).

And the ending. THE ENDING. I had to reread the last page or two at least twice after I finished because I couldn't even comprehend it. It's so strange and creepy but PERFECT. I would give this book 6/5 stars if I could.

I love these two books so much. I haven't felt this way toward a book since I read The Hunger Games. What am I supposed to do until Allegiant/the Divergent movie comes out?!