Wednesday, 11 April 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: A Kiss in Time

This is part of my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge for more info on it click here 

Hey, guys its the holidays now, meaning I actually have time to review things (and read more). 

Book Number: 13
Title: A Kiss in Time
Author: Alex Flinn
Date of Completion: 19/1/2012
Rating: 4 stars

Why I Read it: Well I have had no previous experience with Alex Flinn (heck, I didn't even realise she was a female until a week or two after I read this) but my internet searchings have led me to believe that Beastly is quite good (and its based on Beauty and the Beast :3) so I was at this bookstore yes, and then I saw that this mysterious Alex Flinn character also had other books which also happen to be fairytale retellings (I love fairytale/myth retellings! unless they are horrible) so I picked up this and I could tell it was Sleeping beauty - the blurb was like: something something.. Talia something something..kiss Hey, this has got to be Sleeping Beauty...something something... sleeping for centuries yep definitely Sleeping Beauty retelling of Sleeping Beauty I knew it. Personally I wasn't a fan of Sleeping Beauty, it was just a bit too boring, but it is a retelling so they might add something fresh to it (another reason why I adore retellings) and you can't judge an authors merit by 1 book, so if she was a good author this as well as Beastly would be good. So I picked it up. 

Summary: Jack wasn't looking for anything when he stumbles a kingdom with all its members in comatose.  With a kiss he wakes up Talia, and her entire kingdom who has been asleep for 300 years. Now Jack is stuck with a spoilt princess, in a world completely different to the one she left. All this because of a curse and a kiss.

The Characters 
Jack - Average-ish kinda guy, he wasn't really to note-worthy but I guess that was the point. To have some average guys life turned around by this one action. He was nice, likable, funny and pretty realistic. But he has the qualities that good characters should have (motivations, descriptions, relationships, talent, weaknesses etc.). It's sweet how he takes responsibility for Talia even though he doesn't have to and could have just left her there. 

Talia - Was just a nice and thoughtful as a Disney fan would expect of their princesses. So basically she wakes up 300 yrs past her time, so you would expect her to need someone else's help and frankly if she did her own thing she could get into trouble (so all you super-feminists can be quiet about the meaning of Alex Flinn creating a semi-but-totally-justified-damsel-in-distress and how everything is sooo sexist), so what, she needed help and she got it. She genuinely tries to help her people as well as those who have helped her and always sees the best in people and I really felt sorry for her. Also, she couldn't help touching the spindle, it was in the spell, and its kind of annoying how the readers as well as the townspeople blame her for it. I also liked how it kept both the traditional fairytale's names for Beauty in (Talia is the most common, but a lot of versions call her Aurora) but her other 3 middle names are pretty funny, Ludwiga, seriously? 

Malvolia - Well I liked the backstory for her a lot better than the original tale's. I mean seriously, she doesn't get invited to little beauty's christening so she goes and curses her in revenge, to touch a spindle and die, extreme much? Yeah, thought so too. Whereas in this she has a real reason to have revenge on the royal family of Euphrasia. It's also creepy how she spies on Talia as a flower and all. 

Others - Jack's dad and sister were interesting, they didn't get along too well with Jack but they still looked out for him and wanted what was best for him. I also found the commentary on beauty today from a modelling perspective today to be interesting: Talia is pretty much the image of beauty but they'd rather take the sister (forgot the name sorry) who is tall, thin and not curvy at all, although she is plain looking. I also relate to Talia's disgust at the slutty girls who hit on Jack. 

The Plot: 
Was much more deep than in the original story, like I said I like Malvolia's backstory it makes things so much better. The changed curse makes things a whole lot more complicated, and the fact that it took 300 years for her true love to come does as well. Really its the nice fairy's (forgot the name) fault that the kingdom is in such a rut. The death of a princess would be sad, but the kingdom could go through it, but being forgotten waking up 300 yrs into the future is pretty disastrous. I also like that never-ending hill part. And this was definitely much better then the old rape unconscious girl, get her pregnant with twins, she gives birth to twins in sleep version - much better. 

The Writing: 
Was relateable, easy to understand, funny and realistic. It helps explain why Jack kisses some random unconscious girl, which I never got in the original versions. If you hate 1st person, then this probably isn't the book for you.

Recommendation: For anyone who loves fairytale retellings, and doesn't mind 1st person. Or fans of Alex Flinn's other stuff.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: Lola and the Boy Next Door

This is part of my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge, for more info on that veiw here.

Well after the amazingness that was Anna and the French Kiss I just had to pick up this. And it was good, not great like Anna was, but still. I'm still looking forward to Isla and the Happily Ever After Lola's a real personality and ain't Cricket just such a sweetheart. Sorry for the huge delays but I had College which takes priority (but it's the holidays now so i should be able to up my reading and reviewing speed) and also it gets hard to review books when you've read so many others more recently. 

Why I Read It: Because I adored Anna and the French Kiss.

Summary: Lola is a budding designer, she doesn't believe in fashion but costume, the more expressive the better. Everything is going fine until her life is turned around when the Bell twins return to town and Cricket steps out of his sisters shadow, and back into Lola's life.

The Characters:
Lola - Is a budding designer who believes in costume rather than fashion and is never seen in the same costume twice. A lot of people are saying that people like Lola simply do not exist, I beg to differ. There a lot of girls who aim to not wear the same outfit twice, a lot of girls who would love to wear a ballgown to their prom, a lot of people are very into costuming (I know I fit in with the latter two) and Lola is like a combination and exaggeration of these not-rare traits. It's great to have a heroine with a unique personality, I mean even the fantastic heroines seem pretty much the same so it was good to have someone like Lola, who although she was not strong had a great unique personality and believable weaknesses. 

Cricket - Ain't he just so sweet? So pretty much he is the boy who's always been under the shadow of his twin sister's ice-skating talent, and his whole life has been shaped by that. He and Lola used to be best buddies until his sister got jealous and kind of broke them up, and know the two have got confusing feelings for eachother. It's way cute how he has liked Lola for ages, and it's also cute how he made her all these presents with his engineering talent. Some people are complaining about his name bur seriously, Cricket Bell has a nice ring to it, and I think it's adorkable (and the fact that cricket is also a type of bug isn't really off-putting for me). I also like how he feels that he can't be a proper inventor, despite his obvious talent for it, because his ancestor (Alexander Graham Bell) stole other peoples inventions. Before I had read this book, it sounded like Cricket was going to take over as my new book boyfriend (which is still Hale from Heist Society series), but he hasn't.

Max - Well my douchebag senses were tingling from the get-go for this guy - I mean, hot rocker boyfriend, age-difference (which wouldn't have been a big deal if Lola wasn't a teen and he an adult), the fact that he is good and considerate because he doesn't smoke pot and cigarettes before he gets to see her parents, puh-lease, of course this guy is not an awesome boyfriend unless he undergoes some sort of transformation. I also get what others are saying about him being villain-ised through out this novel, but I reckon he was that way all along, but he just hid it from Lola, but when Cricket came along he just couldn't hide that side of him.

Others - Lola's parents the gay couple were pretty cool, I mean they were gay but they didn't go and flaunt their gayness and act all special and different because of it (which is good because gays are just any other people, so they shouldn't act different because of it). Calliope was also realistic and she had weaknesses and good qualities like all characters should have (some more minor characters tend to miss out on them).It's cool how we get to see how Anna and Etienne are doing now but I have to agree with most people, Etienne is acting differently.

The Plot:
The plot was not too special, pretty basic really (with some quirkier characters) but it was carried quite well with realistic emotions and actions. People are saying its just the same Anna and the French Kiss except with Etienne as the main character and female, and fine, if you want to go into the real basics it is. But books are more than just that,and this is saying that Max is like Ellie (who was for all intents and purposes nice, while Max was not) and Cricket is like Anna (when Cricket has been part of Lola's life a lot longer, and frankly Anna is more interesting) and the friends and families of Lola and Etienne are entirely different. Also, the title totally gives away the outcome of the book, that is my main (and one of very few) problem with Stephanie Perkins' books, the titles, even though they aren't really her fault they are still majorly off-putting.

The Writing: 
Was pretty similar to the writing style of Anna and the French Kiss, ie. funny, fresh, enjoyable, teen-talk-ish, but still descriptive and not-lacking in techniques. Btw, this is in 1st person but it is done well, I don't know some people find all 1st person sloppy (even the good stuff). 

Recommendation: For all fans of Anna and the French Kiss, which you should probably read first (see my review of it for the recommendation. Warning, this is a bit different. 

Quote: Ok, this one is an essay of a quote but it's just so dang romantic that I had to stick it in. 
Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to the moon. And she was mysterious and she was perfect, in that way that girls who talk to moons are. In the house next door, there lived a boy. And the boy watched the girl grow more and more perfect, more and more beautiful with each passing year. He watched her watch the moon. And he began to wonder if the moon would help him unravel the mystery of the beautiful girl. So the boy looked into the sky. But he couldn't concentrate on the moon. He was too distracted by the stars. And it didn't matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated. 

One day, the boy had to move away. He couldn't bring the girl with him, so he brought the stars. When he'd look out his window at night, he would start with one. One star. And the boy would make a wish on it, and the wish would be her name. 

At the sound of her name, a second star would appear. And then he'd wish her name again, and the stars would double into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, in the greatest mathematical equation the universe had ever seen. And by the time an hour had passed, the sky would be filled with so many stars that it would wake the neighbors. People wondered who'd turned on the floodlights. 
The boy did. By thinking about the girl.” -Cricket Bell, Lola and the Boy Next Door