Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Ratings

I've decided to include a rating on my reviews to help readers decide at a glance whether to consider reading a book.

So here's the legend for the numbers:

0- Burn it. It will be a way better use of your time than reading it!
1- Terrible. Just plain terrible.
2- Don't bother opening it; the cover is the best part.
3- Bleh. I wouldn't bother, but maybe you have more patience.
4- Could be good with a little work.
5- Pretty good, for the most part.
6- Good. Solidly good.
7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.
8- Holy Cow! This book rocks my socks off, but isn't the best book I've ever read.
9- Top 20 - this books tops the charts of my favorite books!

Sound good? I'll post the rating with each new review. Hope that helps!

"Pretties" & "Specials" by Scott Westerfeld

The remaining books in the Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld are equally as captivating and rife with adventure as the first novel (you can read my review of Uglies here).

Scott is a wordsmith who draws you into Tally's mis-adventures and who magically enspells you in the world that he's created. I won't write a detailed review as it would give too much away that you'll discover in the first book, Uglies, but I will mention that this is probably one of my favorite series that I've read in a long time.

At the same time that I sing Uglies' praises, I am sadly disappointed in the ending of this series. Scott builds up a specific relationship in the book which he then disperses with in a off-handed manner. He so casually ends this character's involvement in the book that you feel disappointed with the books in general. Sadly, while these may have been some of my favorite books of all time, I can hardly bring myself to continue to love and recommend them simply due to his dissatisfying ending.

Poo. I was really hoping to give the series a glowing review, but I'm simply still too frustrated with the ending to emotionally disconnect myself from it and recommend the book based on its incredible writing and intriguing storyline.

However, Scott has a chance to redeem himself with the fourth addition to the trilogoy (making it a quadrilogy??) - Extras. I'm somehow hoping for the impossible and wishing he'll bring back a character from the dead. It's been done before - anyone heard of vampires?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

"I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You" is adorable in that way-too-cheesy-but-makes-you-feel-good-anyway kind of way. Everything about this book is corny and yet still so adorable. Ally makes the book so fun that you just don't care that it's pages are filled with teenage love goo and dorky espionage.

ITYILYBTIHTKY [It's even a long name abbreviated!] is like those chick flicks that always end the same, but you watch them over and over again anyway because they just make you feel so girlie-giddy inside.

I, of course, loved this book and giggled the whole way through. However, if you don't have a girlie side and you can't appreciate cheesy romance, don't read this book. If you are a sucker for silliness and some good teenage drama with a little bit of kick butt espionage then this book will make your day.

If you liked this book, you might also like:

1. Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner

2. Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine

2. Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia Wrede

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Luxe, by Anna Godberson

Eeek! Too many books to write about and not enough time!

I just finished "The Luxe" by Anna Godberson and I don't really feel up to writing a long review about it because I'm just not sure that it is worth wasting the time informing you why you should or shouldn't read it. However, another book reviewer has contributed their opinion on the book and since I agree, I'll show you read what they have to say about it.

"...for a long time I didn't care about anybody in 'The Luxe'. The cast is numerous and largely unlikeable, from Henry the languid libertine to Lina the bitter servant-girl. (There are also a couple of bit players who are mentioned several times for no reason at all, and I'll eat my hat if they don't play prominent roles in a sequel.) Elizabeth's story left me alternately bored and frustrated, and I almost hoped for someone to kill her and get it over with. But the one bright spot is Elizabeth's feisty younger sister Diana, and it was her story, when it finally emerged, that kept me turning the pages. She has her flaws, too - at first I thought she would be insufferable - but for me she was the real heroine of the book. For her sake I warmed up to another character I initially loathed. For her sake, I'm even happy to say I quite enjoyed the book. ... Of course, the ending isn't really an ending at all - the mystery is solved, but nothing is resolved and all is set up for the sequel, already out and titled 'Rumors'. For Diana's sake, I might just end up reading it."  - Leena at http://keris.typepad.com/chicklet/2008/11/review-the-luxe.html

And, as Leena succintly stated, "for Diana's sake," I'll probably read the sequel as well.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

I love this book! I can hardly wait for the sequel to come in at the library on Tuesday!!!!

I might post a review about it later, but I loved the book and so should you. :)

If you liked this book, you might also like:

1. Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

2. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

3. 1984, by George Orwell

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Just the name of this book makes me feel excited. Doesn't dating on the dark side feel so intriguing?

Not to mention the cover completely captivated my attention - sexy red flowing dress and not-so-bad-looking vampire date... Although, I would have been intrigued simply by the red dress swirling around her legs.

As books goes, this was entertaining. Honestly, it might have made it to the status of 5 stars, if one important aspect of the book had been different.

Lucius - he is my problem with this book. He just doesn't make ME fall in love. And so when Ms. Jessica ends up with him, I'm disappointed. Sure - she loves him. Sure - it's the only really good ending to the book. And yet, I wish she didn't. I wish she had started a war between their clans or somehow found a way to move past him UNTIL he was worthy of her love. And yet, she chooses the guy who has treated her like a trash because she believes that beneath it all, he actually does love her more than he's showing.

Isn't that our problem as women? We keep hanging on and holding out because we believe, somewhere in our romantic mind, that he loves us despite the fact that he treats us with disrespect and condescension. We believe that the few glimpses of the good guy beneath the jerk are enough. We hold out hope and "hang in there" until he becomes who we want him to be.

But unlike this story, real jerks aren't going to become the hero and love you always dreamed of. Men do not become who you want them to be - they simply are who they are.

What is this book telling us as women? Allow yourself to belive that if a boy teases you, it means he likes you; if he pushes you down in the playground, it means he really cares; and if he's a complete a** hole, well, he must be in love.

I know the author was trying to make it seem like Lucius was in love with Jessica in a sacrificial way - that he'd make himself seem like a jerk in order to protect her from the harm that would come from loving him. And yet, he was just too convincing. I was convinced and it hurt me, as the reader, to watch Jessica killing her heart over a guy who acted like he didn't care just a little too well.

Despite all this, I still find I enjoyed the book thoroughly. While I think the best love stories are the ones where you actually fall in love with the characters, you can still enjoy a book where you simply like them. Just as it would be unwise to fall in love with everyone you meet, so it is with books. Some you fall madly in love with and some are relagated to the status of friends - which can happily be both deep and shallow relationships.

If this book were a friend, I'd go out to coffee with them on a bi-monthly basis, but they wouldn't become my best friend, my soul mate, or my family.

If you liked this book, you may also like:

1. The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

2. Impossible by Nancy Werlin

3. The Summoning by Kelly Armstrong

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I heart it. You should too.

Shelfari.com - Add me as a Friend!

Search for:
Elisha C (username)
Full Name: Elisha Catts

**Warning: Shelfari.com is addicting**

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On Compassion & Reading

During a lovely conversation with M.C. while discussing Ink Exchange and Mercy (by Jodi Piccoult), I suggested that reading has made me a less judgmental person. I'm finding that being in the mind of another forces me to analyze what decisions I would have made had I been placed in their situation. And more often than not, I can't say I would have chosen differently.

In books you discover "that there are plenty of examples of exquisitely sensitive torturers, discerning sadists, [and] perceptive tormentors." I find myself feeling compassion for these broken individuals who may have chosen evil paths. I cannot judge them, despite that I loathe their actions. When you live in the mind of another, you recognize another soul that has simply faced more difficult choices or who has more easily fallen prey to their emotions.

I cannot condone, but I do feel compassion.

At which point in our conversation, M.C. suggested that there is a correlation between reading literature and having compassion.

I wonder - is there a correlation between reading and having compassion? Or does reading simply exercise compassion that exists in the mind already? And if one lacks compassion initially, does reading fail to excite compassionate tendencies?

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

[Quote from: Republic of Readers? The Literary Turn in Political Thought and Analysis, by Simon Stowe; State University of New York Press; Page 49]

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul

Sad to say, despite an interesting title and a great potential storyline, this book isn't worth your time.

It makes me sad, and somewhat frustrated with the author, that she forces a christian worldview through metaphor to consume the storyline.

I certainly appreciate books and authors who can seamlessly weave metaphors that correlate to our relationship with Christ into the storyline (i.e. The Circle Trilogy [Black, Red, White] by Ted Dekker).

Unfortunately, not unlike Christians who force Christianity down the throat of non-believers, she shoves Christian metaphors into Dragonspell. I appreciate what I assume is her heart for this book - the creation of a fantasy novel that is clean for children and that reflects broader truths about our walk with Christ. However, it simply didn't work for her. There were pages that were enjoyable that were shortly after slaughtered with out of place "sermons" about Wulder (God) living in all things and through believers, about following Paladin's (Jesus) will for your life, and about resisting the Pretender's (Satan) convincing lies.

These are good truths that were badly turned into a metaphoric children's fantasy novel.

One word for this book: Ugh.

If you liked this book, you might also like:

1. Shoving Christianity in Your Face, by The Socially Awkward Christians Club
2. Good Fantasy Books Suck; Read Bad Ones, by People Who Don't Know Anything
3. Fooled Ya! Looked Good but Tasted Bad, by Bertie Bott's Jelly Beans

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ink Exchange, Part II

I finished Ink Exchange Friday night. It was miles different than the first book, but, as usual, Melissa's writing was creative and clever.

Initially, the second book appears to be similar to the first book (Wicked Lovely) which revolved around Aislinn's introduction to, and purposeful manipulation of, the faerie world. When the author introduces Leslie, Aislinn's best friend, as the main character of the second book, you make assumptions that this book will be about another girl discovering who she is while navigating the difficulties of being introduced to the faerie world.

However, while that presumption is somewhat accurate for the second book, Melissa cleverly deceives you. Ink Exchange isn't about the "main character" Leslie. Melissa simply uses Leslie's character and life to reveal more about the "real" main character(s) - Irial & Niall. It is a fascinating read because you honestly believe that the book is about Leslie for the first half of the story. However, as the story is woven and you still don't have any particular feelings of like/dislike towards the main character, you begin to wonder - what is the author doing here?

And then it comes together - the two men (faeries) who fall in love with Leslie are the true heart and soul of the book. Leslie is simply an accessory to show you the softer sides of two complicated men who are destined to the "Dark Court" of the faerie world. One evil - One who walked away from evil for good. And yet, they both are and aren't what they seem.

Should you read this book?

I would definitely recommend it if you tend to enjoy stories about sentient mythological beings in the modern world. Melissa weaves a crafty and intriguing story and creates characters who are, at once, both believable and imaginative. However, don't expect to fall in love with Leslie's character because she disappoints as the main character. However, prepare to enjoy the unexpected pleasure of the tender feelings that you'll develop towards a character who may not "deserve" your affection and a character who begins to earn your heart.

Buy online:
Ink Exchange, by Melissa Marr

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

I'm on the second book in the Wicked Lovely/Ink Exchange series. I'm a little sad that the second book doesn't follow the same characters as the first book, but I'm starting to develop some tender feelings towards these new characters anyway. So far Leslie's character is too conflicting to make me really believe in her, but I think Melissa may develop her character more as the book progresses. I'll keep you updated!

Cool cover, huh? I think I picked up the first book just because of the cover!

*Note: If you liked Ink Exchange, you might also like:

1. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (although you've probably all read it anyway)
2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
3. The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

The Beginning

Lately I've been frustrated because I can't remember the books that I've read recently. Even if I read it only 2 weeks ago - once it has been returned to the library, it disappears into the recesses of my memory!

Alas, I've decided the only way to solve this problem is to blog about books! I'm not promising the blog will be anything more than the name of the book and the author, but we might get a book review here and there.

This blog is not for you people in the inter-world, the blog is for my memory me. However, I'm a comment-whore and if people end up leaving me lots of comments, I'll probably be more inclined to write about the books I read. :D

So I'll write - You comment - Happy world.