Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In My Mailbox: January 28, 2014

Sorry for not posting a review this week, but I have been inexcusably slow with my reading lately! Next week for sure. ;)

In the meantime, I'm super excited to show you guys the book I got this week for only five bucks!

Summary: First published in French as a serial in 1909, "The Phantom of the Opera" is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine DaaƩ. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine's childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous 'ghost' of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster. Leroux's work, with characters ranging from the spoiled prima donna Carlotta to the mysterious Persian from Erik's past, has been immortalized by memorable adaptations. Despite this, it remains a remarkable piece of Gothic horror literature in and of itself, deeper and darker than any version that follows.

I cannot WAIT to read this! I just saw the musical a couple of weeks ago and I'm obsessed with it - in fact, I'm listening to it as I type this! I'm excited to get to know the original characters, without the revisions Andrew Lloyd Weber made with the musical.

Which reminds me, I should probably pick Les Miserables back up sometime...who am I kidding, I'm only about 20 (out of 1500) pages in!

Any other musical fans out there?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review: Timeless by Alexandra Monir


Timeless by Alexandra Monir
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Ember

When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance. 

Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

Timeless had an enticing set-up, but was poorly executed. 

The romance between Michele and Philip was instant and felt false. I felt nothing towards them as they struggled to remain together. I thought the beginning part of the book was the most interesting, but it was over quick.

Michele's elite family could've been so exciting to read about, but it didn't live up to its potential. Every time Michele went back in time and spooked one of her ancestors, they were like "Oh hey, I need you to do something and let's be best friends." Only one of them was actually distraught to see this kid, and for ulterior reasons. I felt like I was being treated like an eight year old while reading this.

The end left me a little curious, and maybe if I happen upon the second one in the library I'll read it. Otherwise, I don't recommend it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Currently Reading: The Diary of Anne Frank

School has left me with 0 reading time, which unfortunately means no review from me today...however, I would like to share with you the book I'm currently reading, The Diary of Anne Frank!

Chances are, you've already read this book, either as required reading or just for fun. I, on the other hand, am just getting around to it after leaving it on my shelf for the longest time. I'm not too far into it yet, but it's surprisingly not boring, which is kind of what I expected. I wish I had more free time to read it, but I'm hoping to finish it soon!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review: Unsouled by Neal Shusterman

Summary: The story that began with Unwind continues.

Connor and Lev are on the run after the destruction of the Graveyard, the last safe haven for AWOL Unwinds. But for the first time, they're not just running away from something. This time, they're running toward answers, in the form of a woman Proactive Citizenry has tried to erase from history itself. If they can find her, and learn why the shadowy figures behind unwinding are so afraid of her, they may discover the key to bringing down unwinding forever.

Cam, the rewound boy, is plotting to take down the organization that created him. Because he knows that if he can bring Proactive Citizenry to its knees, it will show Risa how he truly feels about her. And without Risa, Cam is having trouble remembering what it feels like to be human.

With the Juvenile Authority and vindictive parts pirates hunting them, the paths of Connor, Lev, Cam, and Risa will converge explosively and everyone will be changed.

Kim's Review: FINALLY I got to read this book! I have been dying to read it ever since I finished Unwholly, the second book in the Unwind dystology. With most book series, I've found that the plots and writing often lose their power after the first book or two, but Unwind is still going stronger than ever! There are so many things about this book that help make it the powerhouse it is. First off, the entire CONCEPT of unwinding and the society Shusterman has created is creepy as hell. Like, just thinking about it terrifies me. I can't imagine living in it. Shusterman is a skilled writer and makes everything sound believable, not only through his writing and explanations, but through this interesting, creative choice: he starts off each section of the book from a real news article from a valid source, such as the Huffington Post. These articles align with what's happening in the novel and helps show the reader how some of the things happening today are just uncommon or less extreme versions of what he describes in his story. It shows how our society today really is not that far off from the world of Connor and Risa.

Unsouled, as well as the entire dystology, switches point of views often and between many different characters, so you can see things through the eyes of both the "good guys" and the "bad guys." With all these POV changes, it seems like it would be easy to lose track of characters or feel like you don't really know some of them, but somehow Shusterman avoids this; there is little to no confusion.

There was a little love triangle in there somewhere, which I was mad at Shusterman for for a few minutes, but it was brief and wasn't the main plot, so I suppose I can forgive him. :) Another thing that kind of put me off was quite a few noticeable typos/grammar mistakes...I thought that since this series is pretty popular and with a good publisher, it would have been looked at more carefully. Oh well. These were only minor errors and didn't really detract from the overall quality of the novel.

One thing I love about this novel that was different from the other two was that we got more information on the history of unwinding. I loooved reading the flashbacks and how it connected to the ending. Perfect. And oh my god the ending is so...I literally do not have the words to describe it. The Unwind series is one of my favorites of all time, and I cannot recommend it enough. Read it.