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Books And Beautiful World

A book lover's blog...

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie, Ellen Forney
Progress: 220/229 pages

Review//How To Lead A Life Of Crime by Kristin Miller

How to Lead a Life of Crime - Kirsten Miller

Ten-Second Review: A thrilling novel that blew my mind. It has a great group of characters, great writing, great plotting. Just great, great, great.


More-Than-Ten-Second Review:


How to Lead a Life of Crime is a book that is chock-full of complete and utter kick butt. Reading this book made for one heck of a ride, and I loved all the layers of the story. Kirsten’s Miller’s novel is violent, thrilling, and contains some pretty controversial stuff, but it can also be really warming to the heart– the story subtly shows the importance of friendship, family, and many other things.


I experienced so, so many feelings awhile I read How to Lead a Life of Crime. I felt pumped up from the thrills, frustrated and angry when things seemed bleak, happy and smiley when something sweet and heartwarming happened, and flabbergasted when something insanely awesome happened. If you want to lead a life of feels for a short time, read this book. (Did you see what I did there?)


The plot of the story is extremely compelling and addictive. Boring moments don’t exist in this book, guys. From the very first page, nothing but entertainment is present. Another amazing this about this book’s story is the conspiracy behind Mandel Academy, a place that turns kids into vicious, cruel people. It was beautifully done and, I dare say, Miller actually makes it believable and possible. She fits the academy with bad intentions right in with the real world. It sort of blows my mind.


Miller focuses a lot on social issues. And these social issues are made an integral part of her novel and are, I believe, written well. I think it’s really great that Miller is taking on so many social issues and presenting them in a YA novel. It makes How to Lead a Life of Crime something that is very new to me.


Flick is a character that I would say is perfect because of his imperfections. Miller did a brilliant job at writing the boy whose bent on revenge’s flaws and internal conflicts and, at the same time, showing that, even though he is broken, he is a genuinely good person. In the very end, Flick isn’t just a character that seeks revenge, he’s more than that. So, so much more than that. Really, Flick has so much depth to his character…


I might have not agreed with Flick’s actions, but I still rooted for him and felt for him. Oh, and his voice… His voice is very clear, intelligent, compelling, and snarky– his dark humor is guaranteed to make you laugh.


And Joi, Flick’s old flame, is so great. When she makes her way back into the story after the beginning, she is just full of unexpected things. She’s kick butt and has the leadership skills and confidence in her peers that Flick lacks. She knows how to handle a situation and can rely on herself. Strong doesn’t even begin to describe her.


I also loved that every other character had a purpose. The side characters, such as the people at Mandel Academy that still have their hearts, play a big role in the story, rather than being introduced and then thrown away. The author puts every character to use and I loved that.


How to Lead a Life of Crime is one of my favorite books, and I loved reading it. It has a lot of cool-factor and has a plot that made for a very intense ride. And it’s intelligently written, which is great. Highly recommended.

Review// The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey

Ten-Second Review: Predictable,a little bit ridiculous, and had an annoying insta-love romance, but oh so addictive and intense.


More-Than-Ten-Second Review:


The hype that The 5th Wave has received was so strong that it even reached me, a person who wasn’t even subscribed to any of the newsletters that bookstores send out. Since I am me, I excitedly purchased the hyped up book and began reading it right when I got home. And wow. Just wow.


I am absolutely amazed at how addictive and intense The 5th Wave managed to be. Yeah, it could be predictable and even a little ridiculous, but Rick Yancey really knows how to pull you in and keep you turning the pages!


Aliens are slowly killing off humanity, making more lives go out as they set off wave after wave. Only the strong are surviving and the rule of ‘trust no one’ is now the only rule in the torn up world that used to be where humans thrived. It is in this torn up world where the stories of Cassie, Zombie, and Sammy are told.


Yancey’s story is full of moments that will make your heart pound and have your fingers tightening around the book in excitement. The 5th Wave‘s plot is really intense and keeps you excited. And, surprisingly, this alien invasion story was thought-provoking and did make me think about what would happen and how we would react if humans did take over the world.


The alien invasion, which is what The 5th Wave is all about, was very interesting and even a little scary, and I loved learning more about how it happened and its affects on humanity. However, I do admit that the way that the aliens took over the world was shakily written. The aliens’ big plan that was revealed toward the end didn’t make much sense.


Another ridiculous thing was the romance. It was totally unneeded, weird, and was built on nothing but insta-love. I don’t mind a bit of romance but when it isn’t needed and is practically shoved in, I’m not exactly happy about it.


Now let’s get back to the good :) The characters were absolutely great. Cassie was just as kick butt as I expected her to be and I really admired her bravery and strong will. And her voice is filled with incredible snark that I liked quite a bit. Zombie was a character that I quickly warmed up to and I loved reading the chapters in his POV. Sammy was just adorable.


The side characters, like Ringer and Evan, also had me interested in their characters. I would even say that if the second book was just about them, I would pick it up in a heartbeat. Yancey did a great job with his prose, especially when an action scene came around.


The 5th Wave is the perfect novel if you are looking for excitement and will definitely appeal to fans of alien stories. You will have to make sure you can stand some ridiculousness, though, or else your enjoyment may be damaged.

Source: http://booksandbeautifulworld.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/reviewthe-5th-wave-by-rick-yancey

Review//The Theory Of Everything by Kari Luna

The Theory of Everything - Kari Luna

Ten-Second Review: The cuteness of pandas + adorable characters +geekiness =The Theory of Everything


More-Than-Ten-Second Review:


When the cuteness of pandas, adorable characters, and geekiness is mixed together, a book is created. That has always been my theory, and The Theory of Everything has just proven that theory this year. (Beat that, Einstein.) This theory is obviously completely true… Okay, it isn’t.


But, really, The Theory of Everything was extremely adorable and very whimsical. I couldn’t even read a few pages without getting a huge smile on my face. You could say that The Theory of Everything was like a huge bag of jellybeans and I was like the person with a huge sweet tooth devouring them all.


Sophie Sophia, a girl with a big love for music from the late eighties, was a fun character. Her wacky and weird episodes were incredibly fun to read about, not to mention that her just going with them most of the time made it even more fun. Whether Sophie is hanging out with a panda marching band or surviving a book storm, it’s always quirky and fun.

Another thing that I liked about Sophie was that she was good at keeping control of a situation. Even after stage-diving onto a cafeteria table during an episode doesn’t stop the girl. I really felt for her and the feelings she had about her absent father, whose mix of spontaneity and genius was what drove the family apart.


Finny, Sophia’s best friend, was my favorite character in the book. He was absolutely adorkable and his colorful personality immediately won me over. His obsession with physics was super endearing and I have got to say that he is a fantastic friend. He was the one who became Sophie’s friend when she didn’t have one and accepted her for who she was.


There was one teensy thing about Finny’s character that bothered me, though. While I read more of the book, I started to notice that Finny shared some of the same traits as the stereotypical gay person. I don’t think that Kari Luna dehumanized Finny in any way (in fact, I adored the guy), but I’m just bothered because I know some people might feel a offended.


Oh, and the geekiness of The Theory of Everything only made me love the book even more. String theory, M-theory, theoretical physics. Yup, this book talks about them. A lot. And because I have always been intrigued by string theory, I found that pretty nifty. Luna does add a little bit of her own flare to theoretical physics, of course.


The Theory of Everything was a nice and fun contemporary that I enjoyed reading. It has a shaman panda in it, for Pete’s sake! I can’t not enjoy a book with a shaman panda! Who doesn’t fancy the idea of having a shaman panda to help you along your path? Crazy people, that’s who.

Source: http://booksandbeautifulworld.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/reviewthe-theory-of-everything-by-kari-luna

Review//Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered - A.G. Howard

Ten-Second Review: A creative, beautiful retelling of Alice in Wonderland that has it’s own vivid Wonderland and fascinating plot. Only flaw is that one of the characters was so annoying that I wanted him to get eaten by a Jabberwocky.

More-Than-Ten-Second Review:


Wonderland. A curious world made by Lewis Carrol that has inspired many to make their own and retell the story of Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole. A.G. Howard is one of the many who were inspired. And she did a beautiful job at retelling the classic tale with Splintered, turning the story of Alice’s fun romp through Wonderland more twisted. Howard’s story is unique, creative, and ultimately, is very strange and curious.

Howard’s Wonderland is a stunning, vivid, and wonderfully-written world. It’s vibrant, strange, mad, and intriguing. The author seemed to have an endless fountain of creativity. The way she made Wonderland and twisted things up from the original Alice in Wonderland was absolutely breathtaking.


Alyssa Gardner, the Alice of this tale, can hear the voices of bugs and flowers, just like her mother, who is currently living in a mental asylum. Alyssa being able to hear bugs and flowers’ whispers is all because of a family curse, a curse that goes all the way back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the inspiration of Lewis Carrol. Alyssa has been able to keep herself together, even though she believes herself to be a little crazy.

But, when Alyssa’s mother’s mental health starts to worsen, Alyssa realizes that the fictional world of Wonderland might not be fiction, but actually very, very real and very, very grotesque and dark. And, in Wonderland, Alyssa must pass a number of tests and fix Alice’s mistakes.


The plot of Splintered was never boring. How could it be when almost every page is filled with dark and twisted strangeness? Splintered has perfect pacing and I didn’t want to put the book down. Howard had a lot of fascinating ideas and wrote them out so well. She truly did capture the essence of Alice in Wonderland, all awhile keeping Splintered her own story.


“I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.”


I really did like Alyssa. She was endearing and her quirks made her an interesting character. And I have to say that she had quite a bit of Alice in her. She tried to move forward, even when all sorts of mad things were happening around her. This girl might have not been the most incredible protagonist I have ever read, but she is an undeniably good one.


Morpheus, who is based off of the Caterpillar, is another character I liked. He’s suspicious, dark, and cryptic, and could possibly be called the “bad boy” of the story, but I thought him to be intriguing and I always loved it when he walked into the scene. Jeb… Well, he was another story. Jeb is a truly annoying character. In fact, I kept wishing that a Jabberwocky would swoop down and swallow him whole. I don’t like it when a love interest is dismissive towards the main character. I don’t like it at all when that happens.


The prose is gorgeous. The descriptions of Wonderland were vivid and came alive as I read them. I really felt as if I was in Howard’s Wonderland, rather than in my cozy room. Even the actual printed words were pretty to look at, as they were in the color of violet.


I love retellings of Alice in Wonderland, but I have always found it hard to find ones that interested me and actually built upon their inspiration. So I am so, so glad that I found Splintered. It’s a gorgeous and captivating book and I can not wait for the sequel!

Source: http://booksandbeautifulworld.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/reviewsplintered-by-a-g-howard

Review//Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson

Ten-Second Review: A sweet contemporary that contains love, friendship, roads, scrapbook pages, and lighthearted fun.



Because this is my first review, I decided that I should start with a book that has been much-loved by me. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour was a book in which I read the first page and thought I think me and this book were meant to be. Yes, I am pretty darn sure that Morgan Matson wrote this book just for me. Okay, fine, she might have not wrote it just for me. But she was probably thinking of me. Maybe. Anyways. I just really, really loved this book.


This is a story filled with friendship, love, roads, sweetness, and scrapbook pages. This is a story about two people coming together, going on a journey across the country, and finding themselves. With just the right amount of emotion and lightheartedness, Morgan Matson has created an absolutely wonderful story that has stayed in my memory for a very long time.


Morgan Matson’s thoughtfully tells her story with good writing and great pacing. All the places that Roger and Amy go and the different people they meet during their time driving around the country were fascinating, and I actually had to keep the pretty book out of my sight in order to get things done.


I appreciated the flashbacks she included in her story, because they told so much about Amy, her family, and the accident that effected them all. I also loved that pages from Amy’s scrapbook (which were adorable) was shown. Those pages really allowed me to become more absorbed into the story and feel as if I was actually on the road with Amy and Roger.

Amy and Roger are beautifully-made characters. They are both so, so endearing and made me smile a heck of a lot. I really felt for Amy and loved seeing her grow and find herself during her journey. And Roger… Oh, Roger was fantastic. Adorkable would be a good word to describe him. The relationship between these two was so sweet– I loved that they started off as friends and slowly progressed into becoming a couple. (These two are actually on my Top Couples list.)


Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour made me smile, laugh, and even made my eyes water. The book has a lovely story and great characters that have always stayed with me. I would never hesitate to drop this book onto someone else’s lap and recommend it to them.

Source: http://booksandbeautifulworld.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/reviewamy-rogers-epic-detour-by-morgan-matson