Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Manga Review: MeruPuri by Matsuri Hino - 5 Star Review!


Hi all!

It's been a month from my last manga review so here is another. I guess I will continue putting one up once in a month in the future as well.

With this review please excuse the tone and vocabulary for being to excited and fangirly, this is a review I wrote some time ago and needless to say I think this is the most adorable manga I've ever read and I'm not holding back on praise or my over-the-top feelings :) Although, not nearly as famous as the author's most known series Vampire Knight, MeruPuri is too cute to ignore. 

Also, be aware, there might be slight spoilers, but nothing major to worry about.




Title: MeruPuri
Author: Matsuri Hino
Release Period: 2005-2006
Volumes: 4
Reading Level: JUVENILE - Fairy Tale, Contemporary, Romance
Published by: VIZ Media
Pages: around 200 pages each volume
Availability: Should be widely available

Summary:

One her way to school one morning, Airi looses her mirror-one that had been passed down to her through generations-and suddenly finds herself in a bizarre situation. Never in her wildest dreams did she except Aram, a little boy from a magical kingdom, to have emerged from the mirror in the short time it took for her to track it down.

Review:

Are you aching for the sweetest, prettiest, cutest, most awwww-whorty fairy tale that just makes you squeal on basically every second page? Then look no further, MeruPuri is the only remedy you will ever find to suffice! I can’t hold back on praising this series to the skies, I loved loved loved this!

Although spanning only 4 volumes, the length is just perfect in the sense that there is no opportunity to become boring or stretched out with plot turns that were clearly stuffed in along the way. While, I would have been excited to have it continue longer, it was just the right amount to have me remain engrossed and stay fresh, especially, since the author manages to create and explore awesome characters with distinct personalities, utterly sweet and fun plot twists and storylines in such a short amount of pages.

While there are a million things I could focus on that I like about this series, my most favorite aspect about it is: Oh my, does the author know how to create and visualize in drawing some of the most squeal-worthy manga scenes I’ve ever come across! And, what’s more, there is an abundance of those and each made me more fangirly than the other. These parts and, honestly, the whole manga was just a fairy tail, shoujo, cuteness and romance overload combined wet dream.

Another feature I simply was mesmerized by was the gorgeous art. While it isn’t anything overly extraordinary compared to some other mangaka who have breathtaking detail and awesome visual – pure art in the highest form. What makes it gorgeous is how romantic, pretty and girly everything is drawn. The details of the clothes (the clothes in general actually), the beauty and time spent on the features of the characters - alone Aram’s hair curls so charmingly in every single frame – are all so exquisite. It’s just a joy to behold and it’s clear the author has put effort into her art and I as a girl can’t help but appreciate it.

Characters:

I think I’m a fan of all main characters, there is just too many to like and so little or nothing to dislike at all.

Airi – I greatly liked Airi as the heroine, why aren’t there more like her around? So sweet and idealistic, with such innocent and beautiful dreams for the future. Admirably, she wasn’t the type to sit and wait, she actually spent every day being polite, working hard, being punctual, etc, just to be deserving of the ideal future she desired to achieve, she had set to herself that you have to earn it and she followed that plan to perfection. Whiles that might come across annoying, I found that specific quirk extremely loveable. Airi might at first glance be clumsy and naïve, but she’s also strong, brave and goes after what she believes in to the extent that you can’t help but root for and feel for her all the way. Every time she feels sad you feel sad, when see is happy you are happy, when she’s in trouble you worry with her, Airi is just a total relatable sweetheart you simply have to adore.

Aram – Oh Aram, what you do to me?! He was really a dream prince, but with a lot more attitude, character, quirkiness and just full of awesome/win/total swoonworthyness! He’s just such a great hero and romantic interest. He displays his adult side whenever he’s dealing with Rei, Jeile and others, but the moment Airi is in the picture he acts all bratty, clingy and childish with an unquenchable enthusiasm for Sparkle Rangers, balloons and rice omelet. I guess I don’t even have to mention that the latter side of him makes me want to squeeze him and pinch is cheeks forever for being so adorable it’s a crime. Aram’s devotion to Airi is admirable and unwavering and once he makes the choice that Airi is his favored maiden, he stands by that decision and goes all the way to prove to her and everyone opposing that they belonged together. Another thing I loved about Aram was his relationship with his brother. Talk about opposites, Jeile’s enthusiasm and endless affection was only equal to Aram’s utter dislike and annoyance for him. An entertaining pair.

Aram and Airi’s romance:
It’s definitely one of my all time favorite love stories in manga and while, ok, there is a slight cradle robber factor in their relationship, amongst all the cuteness I didn’t mind in the least. I may be shallow, but I couldn’t help but act a total blushing fangirl every time Aram said something unbelievably innocently romantic to Airi. He acted more of an adult in his younger years than many males triple his age. Despite this, Airi felt conflicting feelings towards Aram quite often due to him technically still being a kid and considered her totally goody goody cute classmate on several occasions more appropriate for a love interest (which he would have actually been quite perfect for if it wasn’t for the existence of Aram), but all went into place in the end! Yahoooo! The world makes sense again!

Other characters:
Rei was an absolute meany and till the end I wasn’t able to completely figure him out. Ok, his job was to serve Aram and work in the best interest of his welfare and he seemed to do it with a passion, but was he really? Sometimes I doubted his intentions and not always only regarding Airi. But despite this, he was someone you love to hate and hate to love, snarky, aloof, intelligent and seemingly too serious for his own good.

Jeile – What a magnificent sparkling unicorn! I wish... he was entirely only interested in girls. Booooo! But he indeed was flamboyant, all over the place, a total imbecile (he did have a smart/serious side once in a blue moon), but you just couldn’t not laugh at his antics, expressions, monologues and his utter and total love for himself, a total egomaniac. Nevertheless, he was considerate, kind and loving when it mattered. What a hoot compared to Aram’s calm and collected.

While there were many more characters that deserve a mention I’ve spazzed enough, but I will say that Raz was even more wicked than Rei and even more difficult to love or hate.

Overall:

If you love shoujo, if you love fairy tales, if you want a cotton candy romance, then don’t wait any second to grab all 4 volumes of Merupuri asap!

5 stars!

Here are the other covers of the series:


  

                 
 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Review: Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Hi all!

It's been a while AGAIN :D




Title: Infamous
Release date: 13th of March 2012
Series: The Chronicles of Nick #3
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Published by: Atom
Pages: 358 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

The world has fallen in love with Nick Gautier and the Dark-Hunters. Now Nick's saga continues in the next eagerly anticipated volume...

Go to school. Get good grades. Stay out of trouble. That's the mandate for most kids. But Nick Gautier isn't the average teenager. He's a boy with a destiny not even he fully understands. And his first mandate is to stay alive while everyone, even his own father, tries to kill him. He's learned to raise the dead, divination and clairvoyance, so why is learning to drive and keep a girlfriend so hard?

But driving isn't the primary skill he has to master. Survival is. And in order to survive, his next lesson makes all the others pale in comparison. He is on the brink of becoming either the greatest hero mankind has ever known - or he'll be the one who ends the world. With enemies new and old gathering forces, he will have to call on every part of himself to fight or he'll lose everyone he cares about, even himself.

Review:

I liked this one less than the previous two, but overall, it’s still a solid series and despite me not enjoying this book as much doesn’t mean its level has dropped. There were many issues addressed that were long overdue and several developments I was quite fond of. My problems with this book were more to do with the incohesive plotlines and jumping from one aspect to another too fast without everything clicking together first. At times the book felt like a puzzle with the pieces looking like they vaguely match with one another, but in reality don’t. 

I’m just going to address some aspects that deserve to be highlighted:

Wow, how many times did Nick get severely injured in this book? I felt for the guy, he basically just left the hospital to come back the next moment. I still liked him as the hero though, he’s extremely likable, simple and serious, but a complete dork and your typical, or probably not, teenager.

I appreciate that we had some insight into Nick’s father and he was more prominent in this. Of course, he was set to cause trouble, but he’s been looming over Nick and the whole plot since the beginning so it was interesting to finally make his acquaintance on a more direct level.

It was unexpected yet intriguing to witness Nick in Malachai form and I was surprised by the bargain he made with one specific characters, wasn’t expecting that at all. I don’t really want to know when and how this will bite him in the butt. I’m also glad that the team of three – Nick, Kody and Caleb – was mentioned a lot working together as a well-established and well-functional group (albeit missing the trust and transparency factor still), I had glimpses of the awesomeness of Harry, Ron and Hermione, but much cooler, badass and good-looking.

I’m so incredibly glad that the some things regarding Nick’s mother were somewhat clarified, especially her attitude towards him. I’m slightly less annoyed with her, but she remains insufferable. She blames Nick, has no faith, trust or respect towards him, treats him like a child yet demands he be a responsible model citizen adult, is stubborn as a mule towards any help to her and the list goes on. I’m glad that Nick noticed the ill treatment from her and actually spoke out. Hopefully, she will open her eyes and see what a brat she is, I don’t see her as the angel everyone portrays her as.

Surprisingly, Kody wasn’t as bland and dull as before, I think I’m warming up to her, but I still don’t see any spark within her and when she’s with Nick. Luckily, she has time to change my mind since there are several books still coming out.

I wasn’t very satisfied with the main plot line which was introduced at the beginning since it seemed to fade into the background of all the new characters introduced and Nick getting beaten up. The plot goes in so many different places that the final solving of the original mystery and school folly seemed out of the blue, because I had already forgotten about that plot line. There was just so much going on and it jumped from one place/plot to another. Then again, I have to admit that it kept things moving and even exciting, because you had no idea what to expect in both the good and the bad way.

Overall:

Not my favorite, but a good addition to the series which had some necessary topics explored and highlighted to move the plot. This felt a little a like a filler book to lead and prepare the reader for bigger things to happen. Nevertheless, this remains a series I’m quite surprised I enjoy to the degree that I do. Great!

4 stars!

LIIS

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: Play by Kylie Scott

Hi all!

It's been a while again!




Author: Kylie Scott
Title: Play
Series: Stage Dive #2
Release date: 25th of March 2014
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Romance, Contemporary
Published by: Pan
Pages: 300 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast - at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. But he didn't count on exactly how much fun he could have being with the one right girl.

Anne Rollins has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a demented drummer was never going to be a good idea. No matter how hot he is. She's had her sights set on her male bestie, Reece, for years. And now that she's supposedly taken, he's finally paying attention. If only the chemistry between her and her rock star would stop hitting new heights . . . 

Review:

I loved the first book, it had great humor, sweet swoony moments and overall rocked the rocker romance trope in a way I haven’t yet come across – at the level which left everything else in the dust. This second book focusing now on the out-of-control yet lovable as a naughty puppy drummer and an ordinary yet relatable girl who managed to get the short end of the stick in many aspects of her life till she met the guy would mess up her world even more, but this time not in a bad way.

I most of all appreciated that this book kept up with the quality humor from the first. The dialogue flowed and was full of banter, sexual innuendos and there was more than its fair share of awkwardly hilarious to all-around lol-moments – it all made the book exciting to follow. From the ridiculous how-did-this-come-about moment of Mal and Anne moving in together to the epic bed breaking scene to the supposed pregnancy scenes to to to… the book was filled to the brim with great funny scenes and when adding a dash of angst, misunderstanding and sadness – you have another winner in the rocker romance genre.

Mal and Anne had great chemistry, they just clicked in this wrong but oh so right way, just like David and Evelyn with whom we can catch up in this book as well. But at the same time they weren’t the same recycled couple. Mal and Anne were unique together, but the main essence of a fun, young, sexy yet unlikely couple was there. I also liked how their attraction developed, there was this will-they-or-won’t-they element to it it.

The end got really serious all of a sudden, even though there were subtle hints from early on. The sad turn of events was beneficial in helping the characters grow, but I didn’t entirely like it because it changed the tone of the story, which I was quite fond of till then. It changed at least for me too drastically, but it all went on track again in the end.

Characters:

Mal was a refreshing hero, most definitely an alpha and extremely hot, but he was also so over-the-top, playful, all-over-the-place, a shameless flirt and simply shameless in everything. You couldn’t really fault him with anything or make him accountable for his crazy ways and for all the outrageous things he says and does. He was entirely likable despite being tactless, too careless and doing everything according to his unique pace and understanding, which might not always coincide with everyone else’s. Also, while his hyperactivity and mood changes made him colorful and the person who he was, it was obvious that he needed help, the psychological kind, and his mind wasn’t entirely in the happiest place or knew how to handle issues the least destructive way.

Anne was a sweet, simple and down on her luck. The way she handled Mal was exactly what he needed, gentle yet just and while she did let him let loose in his wacky ways, I loved that she set her foot down when it really mattered in the end with one specific questions at hand, that was awesome and educating all around.

Overall:

Another winner in the Stage Dive series. I’m really surprised and glad that I enjoyed it this much. Now I can more confidently recommend this to anyone interested in rocker romance. You won’t be disappointed! For me… nothing will stand in my way both physically and mentally to take on the third book. Bring it on!

4 stars!

LIIS

Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: See Me by Wendy Higgins

Hi all!

Something for the beginning of the week!




Author: Wendy Higgins
Title: See Me
Release date: 15th of March 2014
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Romance, YA
Published by: Wendy Higgins
Pages: 315 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

While most seventeen-year-old American girls would refuse to let their parents marry them off to a stranger, Robyn Mason dreams of the mysterious McKale in Ireland, wondering how he’ll look and imagining his Irish accent. Prearranged bindings are common for magical families like her own, however when she travels to the whimsical Emerald Isle she discovers there’s more to her betrothal and McKale’s clan than she'd been led to believe.

What starts as an obligatory pairing between Robyn and McKale morphs over time into something they both need. But one giant obstacle stands in the way of their budding romance: a seductive and deadly Fae princess accustomed to getting what she wants—and what she wants is McKale as her plaything. Love, desire, and jealousies collide as Robyn’s family and McKale’s clan must work together to outsmart the powerful Faeries and preserve the only hope left for their ancient bloodlines.

Review:

Hmmm, I don’t know if I would have taken up this book if I had known it was about Leprechauns, I don’t want to be prejudiced, but somehow they don’t really inspire swoony and exciting YA in my mind. But, as always, I should keep my nitpicky thoughts to myself, because who would have thought that Leprechauns can be more or less sexy, in a hippie nature loving and simplistic farm boy way, of course. And while the plot in general tended to veer into basic and slightly dull territory, the characters and romance made up for it.

I certainly applaud this book on being unique with its setting and choice of mythology. Has there been something written on this topic in YA? I can’t recall. Fairies on the other hand are quite common already I think and in regards to them, this book didn’t offer much new or fascinating not yet unexplored, but it’s completely fine since they weren’t the main focus either. I did, however, get heaps of insight into the world of Chaun’s and Irish mythology, but fortunately not too much to have it too technical or tiring. This little world and its tiny inhabitants were nicely showcased and… for some reason I got the image of the Shire when reading about the village and the people there. And that’s quite a lovely image to conjure.

As mentioned, I also liked the romance and the fact that Robyn was certainly the more dominant and forward moving side of this relationship. All due to McKale’s inexperience with women, especially 21st century independent and intelligent women, and his major complex regarding himself, but both of them were extremely endearing in their kind of nerdy and awkward way. The way they moved slowly yet managed to come together in a short time was believably depicted, especially since McKale was an introvert and not overly open with his emotions and Robyn had self-doubt and was insecure in McKale’s affections due to the fairy princess who was out to snag him for herself. I really thought they were a cute couple.

Aspects that didn’t work for me:

I’ve never and will ever like the arranged marriage trope, it’s just so suffocating and medieval, not that it didn’t work in the context of this book, but I still don’t need to like it.

The secondary romance I bet everyone will gobble up since it’s the opposite of Robyn and McKale – bad boy meets fun loving cheerful girl – but it totally rubbed me the wrong way. I won’t spoil anything, but I was deeply annoyed with Cassidy and how she acted (especially being so irresponsible – Rock too, of course). They were like children, it’s all fun and games without any sane thoughts till something goes wrong and then they start to think and act out.

It was also in a way quite a sexual book and I have zero against that, on the contrary, but something about the setting and the temporality of the situation (for Cassidy and Rock) took away from the hotness. Sexuality to that degree and the Leprechaun village didn’t mix well with me – it’s just personal preference here, because there is really nothing wrong with this combination overall.

Characters:

I was really fond of the main couple, both together and apart. Each had their issues, but they didn’t wallow in self-pity for too long a managed to pull themselves together for a sweet slow burn romance. A very likable couple and people.

I also liked Robyn’s parent, they seemed liked a great couple, plus they didn’t sit around and wait, but acted when their daughters were in need. They played a big part in the book, unlike many other YA stories.

Overall:

Never judge a YA by its theme, you can be pleasently surprised if you step out of your comfort zone and take up something different. A cute and fluffy story!

3 stars!

LIIS

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Review: The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Hi all!

Something for the weekend!




Title: The Shadow Throne
Release date: 6th of March 2014
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #3
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Historical, Adventure, Action
Published by: Scholastic
Pages: 352 in Paperback format 
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository 

Summary:

War has come to Jaron's kingdom.

When Jaron learns that Imogen has been kidnapped, he knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. 

With his friends flung far and wide across the land, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves.

But will Jaron still have his throne when the war is over?

Review:

This has been one of my top favorite series since book one and I’m quite picky with my favorites so not everything can reach such heights for me. I was quite exited for the conclusion for this amazing series, but to some degree I was let down. I mean, it’s a well-written book with lots of action, twists and revelations, yet some of the aspects that had me originally praise this series to the skies so much were kind of lost, lessened or took turns that I didn’t enjoy very much.

My main con: All the obstacles and dire situations Jaron found himself in seemed too easy and convenient, the odds weren’t always in his favor yet everything managed to fall in to place too smoothly. Yes, he was street smart and a great strategic thinker, plus reckless and not afraid to take risks – he was one hell of a combination – but still as a reader I knew that nothing overly bad will happen and, however unlikely, there will always be something that helps him out of any hassle he finds himself in. I found him being several steps ahead of others or being able to think up plans for escape or win too easily like it was nothing – and everything more or less worked out in the end. Maybe I’m babbling and talking nonsense, but I don’t know, there was something that bothered me regarding this topic, which is a paradox because this was something I absolutely loved about Jaron in the previous two books.

Another slight con: Jaron had genuinely grown into a noble, resilient and wise king in this book – it was a long journey for him. I appreciate the development from street rat to ruler, but I started to root for and adore him because he was this cunning underdog daredevil with sass and no manners, I just feel that he changed too much, well, in essence he was the same just more regal and aware of his responsibilities, but I wanted my basic and primitive street urchin back! As they say: it’s not you, it’s me. Also, how many beatings and torture can he take!? I was seriously afraid of him permanently and seriously being damaged by what he was forced to go through.

But, I don’t want to only highlight what didn’t work for me, because despite my whining and completely subjective opinion I really liked this book and I think it was an ideal conclusion to the series. All loose ties were wrapped up and I was really left satisfied when closing the book.

The pace of the story was fast, Jaron and the other main players were constantly on the move, here, there and everywhere. The book really flew by. I also liked some of the developments in relationships between the main characters, there were some interesting revelations and get-togethers, some resolved conflicts and final confrontations in the making since book one. 

Characters:

As I’ve already mentioned Jaron is the boss, despite him being too above everyone else intellectually in this book and physically getting too many beatings. He’s the perfect combination of smartass, smart, crazy and kind – a character you can’t help but root for and enjoy reading about. He’s still one of my favorite main characters in YA and I will think back fondly towards him and the series. 

Overall:

Although the least book is my least favorite, it was still a satisfying conclusion to the series. I also confidently recommend this series to everyone, you might be as surprised as I was on how good it actually is and you definitely won’t regret taking it up!

3 stars!

LIIS

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review and Giveaway! Four Friends by Robyn Carr!

Happy Thursday!

Welcome to my stop at Four Friends by Robyn Carr blog tour! This tour is organized by Little Bird Publicity and by the author. My stop includes the review of the book and a giveaway. Let's start with the review!

 
 
 
Title: Four Friends
Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publishing date: 25th of March 2014
Genre: Adult: Literary Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 352 pages
Source: From the Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
 
 


Summary:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr comes the story of four friends determined to find their stride. Ultimately, they'll discover what it means to be a wife, mother, lover, friend…and most important—your true self.  
Gerri can't decide what's more devastating: learning her rock-solid marriage has big cracks, or the anger she feels as she tries to repair them. Always the anchor for friends and her three angst-ridden teenagers, it's time to look carefully at herself. The journey is more than revealing—it's transforming.

Andy doesn't have a great track record with men, and she's come to believe that a lasting love is out of reach. When she finds herself attracted to her down-to-earth contractor—a man without any of the qualities that usually appeal to her—she questions everything she thought she wanted in life.

Sonja's lifelong pursuit of balance is shattered when her husband declares he's through with her New Age nonsense and walks out. There's no herbal tonic or cleansing ritual that can restore her serenity—or her sanity.

Miraculously, it's BJ, the reserved newcomer to Mill Valley, who steps into their circle and changes everything. The woman with dark secrets opens up to her neighbors, and together they get each other back on track, stronger as individuals and unfaltering as friends.



My review:

There are many reasons why I loved this book!
It's mature.
It deals with realistic conflicts.
It's well written and it is very engaging with characters who deal with problems that are common in real life. Therefore, also easily relatable.
It flows.
It's unoriginal. Yes, I loved it because the story is unoriginal and I will explain later what I mean with that. Bear with me and you won't be disappointed.
It's humorous, sharp and gut-wrenching.
(Just to name few reasons...)

Plot:

Four Friends by Robyn Carr deals with the lives of four friends: Gerri, Andy, Sonja and BJ.

Gerri, whose marriage has always been solid, accidentally finds out, that her husband had an affair for several years ago. She has always been sure on her husband and these news devastate her. She kicks out her husband Phil and besides dealing and explaining the situation to her kids, she also struggles with hormonal changes due to upcoming menopause and it doesn't help, that her friends are facing some serious issues. Gerri has been the anchor for her friends and the fact that she finds about her husband's affair, she suddenly has to learn how to put together the pieces.

Andy has had several relationships and usually with men who do not suit her. The last relationship was with the younger man and after breaking up with him, she founds out, that a man whom you can lean on, might come from a place you don't expect it to come from. She meets a middle-aged man who has average looks, who has not a lot of experience in the sexual explorations... and who yet is the man Andy has missed in her life. He is stable, seemingly boring, but sweet and reliable and very good in bed.

Sonja is a total flower-power-new-age-type of woman who believes in alternative medicine, healthy lifestyles and she takes them to an extreme. When her husband George leaves her from one day to another announcing that he is through with all this weirdness, she loses it... badly.

Likes:

As I mentioned in the beginning of my review, there was a lot to like.

First, I enjoyed tremendously, that Robyn Carr wrote about people who are mature, around 30-50 years old. It's a nice change to read about lives and issues of grown-ups. What made the reading even more compelling were the issues and topics the book dealt with. I have personal experiences with couple of topics touched in the book and I think the author did a great job with describing both the situations and the emotions.

Second, I mentioned, that I like that the plot is unoriginal. And when I say unoriginal, I mean that it deals with real issues of real people and there is nothing new in relationship problems, like cheating, breaking up, finding new love, solving problems, having a breaks-down and I think it was very well written. You recognize things from your own life and you cheer for the characters because you know and understand, what it means. The writing was really really good and the characters both lovable and relatable and that made the reading very engaging. Even thought there was no serious action, it was not a boring reading, it was awesome! It was beautiful, touching, gut-wrenching and funny! The writing absorbs you and makes Four Friends a page turner.

Characters:

Besides the writing, I loved the characters.

Gerri was by far my favorite, even though all 4 women were interesting. Gerri was a woman successful with her professional career, a loving and good friend and a nice person. I loved how the author developed Gerri who was split between the wish to forgive and her anger. I loved how she went extra miles for helping her friends. Gerri is a woman you would love to have as your own friend.

I also liked Gerri's husband Phil. I loved the dynamics between Gerri and Phil and it pained me that he cheated on her, even though it was years ago. I ADORED how Phil worked for getting Gerri back and loved his patience with Gerri. I think they suited, balanced and complimented each other very well.

I think Andy's and Bob's relationship was a cute one. When Gerri and Phil dealt with serious problems, then Andy's and Bob's story is really a cute one compared to the other story. It's a match which doesn't seem to work out, but it does and it does it surprisingly good.


Sonja was probably the character I could least relate to, at least in the beginning of the story. She was beyond weird for me and I could understand why George left her. And then as story developed, I realized how deep in denial Sonja was. I grew on her, a lot.

Generally:

I think the characters and the writing itself were the things which made this book so fascinating to me. Loved it!


5 Flowers!

5 stars.


Thanks goes to Little Bird Publicity for providing me with the review copy!



I will be giving away 1 copy of Four Friends.
Open US only.
Giveaway runs from today, April 3 until April 10.

To participate, please leave a comment by telling me what does the importance of friend mean to you.


Thanks for coming by!
Happy reading!

 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Movie Review: Divergent

Hi all!

A movie review for a change!




Title: Divergent
Director: Neil Burges
Writers: Evan Daugherty (screenplay), Vanessa Taylor (screenplay), Veronica Roth (based on the book Divergent by)
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet
Release date: 21th of March 2014 (USA)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Summary:

In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.

Review:

I haven’t read the story. Despite hearing so much positive regarding it, I’m still not interested in the plot (or anything dystopian for the matter) enough for me to take up the book. So, a movie is a great alternative for people like me who are curious, but not nearly enough to invest the time in reading. 

Well, I kind of liked the movie, it was more engaging than I though and I was more sucked into the plot than I expected. On the surface, this is a great coming of age tale with decent action, intrigue and plot twist of bigger and smaller size. I also liked the romance, the emphasis is of course on everything else, but I thought it worked well and was sweet, despite it having a somewhat of an insta love-like taste. 

BUT, from the negative side, the more I think about the plot and the whole basis for the fraction system and how incredibly flawed and how many holes there are, then my enjoyment level also decreases. But, I guess, if you don’t get too detailed and don’t want to go in too deep into this world and how it functions then I can’t deny that I had lots of fun watching this and others probably will as well.

Also, the beginning of the movie was somewhat boring, the typical training/fitting in/getting to know the characters period that isn’t anything new in YA, but can get somewhat stale after some time. Nevertheless, in the end when the pace picked up, then oh boy did it pick up. So many things started happening all at once and before I realized, the movie was over. From the other side, I appreciated the length of this movie and the initial detail oriented take, it enabled things to progress and the watcher to understand everything necessary to have the story reach its audience.

The movie didn’t feel rushed. My highlight? The soundtrack! I haven’t in a long time heard such an amazing score. All the songs are spot on with the content of the movie and actually really good songs. Some I already know and was pleasantly surprised to hear them included in this. Also, the way all the music was incorporated to the movie and what was heard in which scene was nicely put together. Everything fit and really enhanced the intended emotion in each scene. And by the time Ellie Goulding started singing in the end, I was more than sold.

Characters:

Needless to say there were some notable names acting in this: Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, etc. Each of them to me were successful in portraying their characters, but no one really stood out to a higher level (I guess there wasn't much opportunity either). But that’s not always a bad things, what’s important is that I bought them in those roles and that’s that.

I also have to admit that I liked Shailene Woodley and am glad that she was cast instead of some gorgeous skinny young Hollywood beauty. She is, of course, a good-looking girl, but not that conventional and I’d even say she is more cuter than beautiful and, honestly, I actually prefer that more. Tris was, however, slightly dull and your typical special girl in extraordinary circumstances who didn’t really seem all that exceptional – at least to me.

Overall:

I’m in-between giving this a three or four, leaning more towards four. But in the honor of the character Four, I’ll give this a higher rating. But, yes, it’s was a surprisingly good movie and I have to admit I enjoyed it more than The Hunger Games movie that this often gets compared to.

4 stars!

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