Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pandemonium (Delirium Trilogy #2) by Lauren Oliver

Title: Pandemonium (Delirium Trilogy #2)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Format: Paperback, 400 pages.  
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame.
     In this electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller Delirium, Lauren Oliver sets Lena on a dangerous course that hurtles through the unregulated Wilds and into the heart of a growing resistance movement. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

My Rating: 3.5 stars ★1/2

My Thoughts: (This review is spoiler-free)

The over-arching plot of this book was extremely (I don't think I can emphasize that word enough) similar to that of other dystopian series, such as The Hunger Games and Matched. Thus, I found the majority of the book to be unexciting and, at least for me, most of the big "twists" were highly predictable.

That being said, I did manage to enjoy the book. As I've mentioned, the main plot lines are nothing to write home about, but the smaller, finer details are where the fresh ideas come in, and they are what really make this book worth reading. Subplots like the development of Blue's character and backstory, as well as the scene when Raven and Lena are hunting a rabbit, were extremely touching and complex. Other details, like Lena's inner dialogue while running, added a level of familiarity which helped me relate to Lena and kept me wanting to read more.

In this book Lena really comes into her own as a person. Delirium showed Lena opening her eyes to the world of the WIlds beyond her perfect structured walls; Pandemonium shows her deciding how she wants to go about it. She emerges as a strong female lead with a moral compass, not as much of a "follower" as she may have been before.

The book is narrated entirely from Lena's point of view as she alternates between the present and the past (with chapters titled "then" and "now") until the backstory catches up to the present time. At first I found this a little bit annoying and confusing, but overall it worked for the story; the story might not have been as successful if narrated straight through or in larger flashback chunks. 

In short, the main "skeleton" or basis of the book is a predictable second installment of a dystopian series; however, there are many interesting details or "redeeming qualities" that make this book worth reading. I plan to continue on to the third installment to see how everything resolves itself. 

Warnings: violence, death 

Other books you might like: Matched by Ally Condie; The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Audiobooks: Pros and Cons, a sub-branch of Amazon, is currently offering a free one-month trial and two credits (typically one audiobook = one credit) to all new users of the site. I had nothing to lose, so I decided to try it out. This was my first foray into audiobooks, so I also compiled a pro/con list of my experience:

  • I listen on my iPhone, so I have a book(s) with me everywhere I go without having to carry anything extra!
  • Great while doing mindless tasks that keep my hands busy: washing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning, knitting, etc. (This is a huge plus for me!!)
  • Celebrity readers, such as Tina Fey narrating her book Bossypants, often read the story with their own natural inflection. I get to hear things they way they imagined it sounding when they wrote it. 
  • Good during long commutes, especially on crowded subway trains where I wouldn't have space to hold open a book or eReader.
  • I don't always like the narrator's voice. I much prefer the imagined voice(s) I create in my head while reading. (this is something I got used to with time, as I got more engulfed in the plot of the book)
  • Sometimes it's hard to create a strong mental pictures because my eyes are distracted by what is *actually* in front of me, whereas when I'm reading a book, the only thing I'm looking at are the pages, so it's easy to imagine the scene I'm reading about.
  • Audiobooks can be expensive. 
  • I can probably read faster than the narrator speaks's also much easier to skim parts of a book than it would be to 'skim' through the audio.

Helps with pronunciation
Doesn’t help with spelling
Saves shelf space
No pretty book to display

Overall, I like audiobooks depending on circumstances. I would definitely prefer to hold and read a physical book or my eReader, but audiobooks seem like a nice options when I'm tired or don't have my hands free. 

I encourage anyone who hasn't tried audiobooks before to look into's free one-month trial, it's a great no-strings attached way to try out audiobooks without spending any money .... and for those of you who are already audiobook listeners, why not take advantage of the two free credits? Everyone loves free books, right? 

I'm also curious to know: what do you like/dislike about audiobooks?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (2)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews 
that features new books we've acquired 

This week I got four new books:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rachel Vincent Announces New Project!

One of my most favorite-est authors, Rachel Vincent, has just recently announced her newest adult project, Menagerie, a carnival themed paranormal series and I am SO UBER EXCITED that I cannot contain myself. You should all click that link and read the blurb she came up with, because really, it sounds super awesome and I can't wait! She never fails to come up with a fresh new paranormal world for each project. 

Not gonna lie, I usually cry and go into a mini book hangover/depression whenever I finish the last book in a series or really good standalone because I just don't want it to end *ever*, but then each new project announcement fills me with so much joyful anticipation that I become like this: 

and *almost* forget about that I was like this just a few months ago when I finished her last book:

And so the emotional roller coaster continues. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Authors: Carrie Ryan
Format: Paperback, 336 pages.
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
My Rating: 4 stars 
My Thoughts: Reading this book was a strange experience for me. This was really the first zombie-themed book that has ever caught my eye, and I had seen a lot of positive reviews for it, so I was excited to give it a try. Then as I started reading, I felt so bored and depressed by the dystopian world that the protagonist, Mary, finds herself trapped in... yet, next thing I know, I was staying up all night to finish the book!

After finishing the book, I initially told myself that I didn' really like it and was overall disappointed. Then, in the following days, I keep randomly thinking about the book and the events in it, until I came to realize that I actually quite enjoyed the book after all! In fact, I even wound up choosing this novel for a recent poem-writing challenge hosted by The Happy Booker, which you can read HERE.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish
Want to join in? Check out all the rules/details HERE

Top Ten Things 
that make my life as a reader/blogger easier

  • Paperback Swap
  • Even if I wanted to keep *every* physical book I've read, I would not have the space to accommodate it. PBS makes it easier to get rid of books I've finished, and get new books in return!

  • Shelfari
  • I know most bloggers like Goodreads, but I prefer keeping my TBR/Read piles organized on Shelfari. Visually, I think the layout/format of the site is really nice... I like the feel of seeing an actual bookshelf. Also, it's a sub-branch of Amazon, so I only have to remember one username/password combo for both sites. 

  • The New York Public Library
  • I feel so very lucky to live in a city that has such an extensive library system. I've saved so much money over the years borrowing books, and it's always fun to browse the shelves without pulling on the purse strings.... no guilt in trying a book you were hesitant to read when it doesn't cost a dime!

  • Amazon Prime's free 2 day shipping
  • For those times when I want to splurge and purchase a brand new book, I don't have to feel the pang of guilt that comes with paying for shipping instead of going to the bookstore AND it gets to my house within two business days!!

  • Rafflecopter
  • It seriously makes hosting giveaways so much easier than before! 

  • Twitter
  • A great way to network with other bloggers, advertise new posts on your blog, or hear about giveaways going on in the blogosphere. 

  • Strand Bookstore
  • This store always has shelves (many many shelves!) of sale books outside with prices as low as a dollar a book! I've found some gems there, whether it be a book from my wish list or an unexpected good read. 

  • My Nook eReader
  • There have been many a time when I've finished an *amazing* book and literally cannot wait to get the sequel, so I ordered it online, downloaded it to my Nook, and started reading immediately. 

  • Bookshelves!
  • This may seem like a silly one, but I'm serious! There was a period of my college years when I didn't have a bookshelf because one lovely frenemy of mine broke it and let me tell you, you really don't know what you have until it's gone. I had books everywhere - cluttering my desk, my floor, etc - and it was so hard to find the one I was looking for when I needed it. 

  • Sunday, August 18, 2013

    The Forest of Hands and Teeth Acrostic Poem

    The Happy Booker is currently hosting a giveaway challenging participants to come up with an acrostic poem (acrostic poem: fancy terminology for a poem in which the first letters of each line put together spell a word or words) featuring their favorite vampire or zombie book. 
    For my poem I chose The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, writing the poem from the point of view of the protagonist, Mary. In the novel, Mary keeps a photograph of a girl at the beach during pre-apocalyptic times, dreaming that one day she might also see the beach - I took inspiration from this :)

    Here in this sad small town, until
    Everything changed.

    Find me a way
    Out of this maze.
    Running and running.
    Twists and turns, lead me to the
    Foamy waters and salty air.

    Only a bit farther til

    Abandoning all that I know.
    No turning back.
    Driven by the image of a clear blue sea,

    Another day passes,
    No more paths to follow.
    Do I dare to open the gate?

    Tearing through the forest,
    Everything around me a vivid blur:
    Thrashing and tumbling,
    Hastening towards the sandy shore. 
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