Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody

Title: Obernewtyn
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Obernewtyn Chronicles #1
Genre: Fantasy/Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian
Source: Bought Ebook

GOODREADS

RATING: 5 STARS
                *****

In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. And for Elspeth Gordie, it is also dangerous. That's because Elspeth has a secret: she is a Misfit, born with mysterious mental abilities that she must keep hidden under threat of death. And her worries only multiply when she is exiled to the mountain compound known as Obernewtyn, where—for all her talents—Elspeth may finally and truly be out of her depth. Then she learns she’s not the only one concealing secrets at Obernewtyn.

~MY THOUGHTS~

Obernewtyn isn't a book that had been high on my TBR list. Quite frankly, I never expected to read it, let alone enjoy it. But thanks to Nic over at Biscuit & Books, and her recommending this one for one of the challenges for the Book Tube-A-Thon, I not only read it, but fell in love with the series! So, a HUGE thank you goes to her for getting me to read this book!

Obernewtyn has so many amazing qualities all woven together to form this great novel. I am having a hard time pinpointing exactly what made this a 5 star read for me, because there is just so many reasons! First of all, and this will come as a surprise to most (me included), but Obernewtyn has no real romance in it. There isn't a conventional love story that plays out alongside the plot/action. Nope, it's just pure world building and plot. And that at first worried me, because like most, I enjoy reading a love story progress. But it isn't needed here. I can't speak for the rest of the series, as there could be a romance that forms between a few of the characters, but in the first, it's just a story about some Misfits, and the stuff that happens to them and the mysteries of the place they live, Obernewtyn. And I loved it! I found that the lack of romance benefited this book. It gave the reader a chance to connect to all of the characters on an individual level, and not in conjunction to the character they are to 'be' with.

The characters were mostly all well-rounded characters. I felt that in the case of Elspeth, we really knew her. Not only did we see glimpses of her life before she went to Obernewtyn, we were also able to see her grow and develop while at Obernewtyn. I did have some qualms about the side/other main characters. I wanted to know more about them, like Matthew, Dameon, Rushton, Cameo, Selmar, even Madam Vega, Ariel, and Alexi. I just wanted to know all about who they were and why they did what they did, and just all of the information!! That had to be my only complaint, because even the bad characters just felt like we didn't know them. And to hate a character means you know them and know the bad things they have done. While we know who the good guys and the bad guys clearly are, I just would have liked more background on a few of the other characters other than Elspeth.

In Obernewtyn, we aren't just given a fantasy world, we are given a fantasy world that has been devastated by The Great White, and has developed a new political order to deal with and prosper. And it's a different type of dystopian, at least for me. The new government is an extremely strict religious group, who are afraid of those that are different, labeling them as Misfits, and exiling them to various locations and even sending them to their death. The world and government are fascinating, and I can't wait to learn more about The Great White, and the Herder faction, as well as the Council and just all of what goes on outside of Obernewtyn.

Without going into what happens in the book, I will say that there is a certain character that completely surprised me by the end of the book. And I just didn't see it coming, which made for a great and heartbreaking twist. Obernewtyn is filled with various elements that make a great story great, and I feel that even if fantasy isn't your thing, that this book will have something that appeals to you. I have personally fallen for the fantasy genre, and look forward to reading more. I will say this, and only because I have seen others say it is off putting, this book is written with a dialect that is unfamiliar to any that we are used to. I think it gives the voices of the characters a unique quality that makes the reading experience even more enjoyable. But for those who find it hard to understand, what with the weird pronunciations and apostrophes and stuff, just keep an open mind. It's hard to understand, but the context makes it easy to figure out what the characters are saying.

Obernewtyn seems to be an under-hyped book, and until now, save for indie published books, I haven't come across a book that I have loved so much that has little exposure. I hope that changes, because this is such a great and imaginative read, that I feel for those who are missing out by skipping over this! If you have read Obernewtyn, the first in the series, I would love to talk to you about the spoilers, so feel free to send me an email so we can discuss further. Or, if you just want to ask questions that I haven't covered in my review, again, feel free to drop me an email! I love discussing books, especially the ones I love! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Treesofreverie Read-A-Thon Update #5

This is where the reading sort of tapers off a bit. This update is for the 5th day of the read-a-thon, July 14th. I know I am still super behind in updating you all, but with work and trying to get at least some reading done, I haven't had a chance to do a huge mega post, plus I failed at keeping track for a few days, so I am having to go back into Goodreads and look at my progress updates! :)


I hope you all are having a great read-a-thon, and are able to get into some great books! I have discovered that these read-a-thons are an amazing thing! One thing, the challenges are forcing me to read outside of some of my comfort zones, and I am discovering some awesome books/authors.


So, now onto the 5th day of the read-a-thon, and the love of all things Obernewtyn!! :)


Da stats:


Pages Read: 55
Total Pages Read: 637
Books Completed: 2
Challenges Fulfilled: 2
           Read a book with pictures in it (The Graveyard Book)
           Finish an entire book in ONE day (Love Edy)
Feelings/Thoughts: This is the book that was chosen for me. Nic, over at Biscuit & Books chose this for me. I won't lie, I was terrified to start this. This is fantasy, and I don't read fantasy. Or, at least I didn't. Because the first 55 pages of this book had me so captured, that even though I had worked for 10+ hours, and was exhausted, I WANTED to keep reading. I ended up letting sleep win, because I had a lot to do the next day, but I loved the start of this book! So, another win for the challenges of the read-a-thon! :)

Hopefully I can figure out what I read for the next couple of days after this one, because this was the last day I kept track of...I will remember for next time to keep a notebook with the books that I am currently reading lol

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Treesofreverie Read-A-Thon Update #4

Sorry I am so far behind on all of my updates for this read-a-thon!! I have been super busy, and then haven't really been reading a whole heck of a lot lately!!


But anyway, this update is for July 13th, which would have been the 4th day of this read-a-thon! This day saw the completion of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which also introduced me to the world of middle grade novels, and my obsession for Neil Gaiman's writing!! I honestly haven't been this taken by an author's writing since Nick Hornby! When you just know that you will LOVE everything they write, that's my favorite type of author! :)

So, here is the update in stats!!

Pages Read: 251
Total Pages Read: 582
Books Completed: 2
Challenges Fulfilled: 2
           Read a book with pictures in it (The Graveyard Book)
           Finish an entire book in ONE day (Love Edy)
Feelings/Thoughts: All I can say is THANK YOU to whoever got rid of this book and allowed me to find it super cheap at a used bookstore, and also THANK YOU to the challenge of read a book with pictures in it, because without those two things coming together at the same time, I would have never picked up this book, and fallen for Neil Gaiman's wonderful writing, and realized that middle grade books are great too! So, I would have to say that day 4 has been a complete success!!! :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Treesofreverie Read-A-Thon Update #3


Today's update is a bit more exciting than yesterday's. I was able to finish a book, and mark off another challenge! YAY!! My page number in 3 days has exceeded what it has been for weeks. I am enjoying the urge these read-a-thons have put on my reading, and I hope that even once they are done, I continue to want to read like this. I have missed the pull of books, and I am glad that it is back!!

Pages Read: 270
Total Pages Read: 331
Books Completed: 1
Challenges Fulfilled: 2
          Read a book with pictures in it (The Graveyard Book)
          Finish an entire book in ONE day (Love Edy)
Feelings/Thoughts: I won't go too in depth on my feelings for this update, because I wrote an entire review on the book I finished. I just know that I haven't read this much in a long time, and I am loving it! The challenges are making me think about what book I am going to read next, and I am trying my hardest not to double up on any of the challenges with the same book, trying to make it a bit more challenging.

I hope everyone is having a great time reading and seeing everybody's updates! I know that I sure am!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Treesofreverie Read-A-Thon Update #2

So, day number two has come and gone, and my reading was not anything to be impressed by, I didn't finish a book on day two, or really read at all. I picked up my book literally in the last hour of the day, simply to have something to post on....


So, here is the pitiful update, which isn't much more of a page count than day 1, but for the sake of my records, here are the numbers for the second day (July 11th).


Pages Read: 26
Total Pages Read: 61
Books Completed: 0
Challenges Fulfilled: 1 (Read a book with pictures in it)
Feelings/Thoughts: This is still one of the best written books. I can literally imagine this graveyard and Bod's friends. LOVE it! I don't know why it has taken me so long to pick up a Neil Gaiman book, but I can tell you with complete certainty that 1) it won't be my last and 2) without this readathon, I still wouldn't have been graced with the writing wonders this man has!

Love Edy by Shewanda Pugh

Title: Love Edy
Author: Shewanda Pugh
Genre: Young Adult
Source: For Review by CM Book Tours

AMAZON
GOODREADS


Rating:  2 STARS
**


When Edy Phelps falls hard for her best friend, she knows nothing can come from it. Forget actual chemistry, or the fact that she cherishes his mother more than her own; centuries of tradition say that Hassan will grow up, marry the girl his parents pick, and forget his best friend: the dancer with the bursting smile. Except he can't. In a world erupting with possibilities for the boy with a body of steel and dreams of the NFL, everything seems promised while nothing at all is; when he's denied the girl he wants most.
Two hearts. Two families devoted through generations of friendship. Could Edy and Hassan really risk all that? And yet ... how could they not?


~MY THOUGHTS~


Okay, this review has been hard to formulate. I keep stopping and re-starting, and stopping again. One idea pops into my head, but it completely contradicts another that I just typed, so I am going to try this again. And hopefully I am successful in typing out my thoughts.

I have come to a decision on the rating, finally. I am going to give this a 2 star rating, and that is because, for reasons I will try and discuss, I thought this book was ok, but I had some issues with it. Before  I start, I want to state that I mean no disrespect to the author, this book simply wasn't for me. And I will go into that, but I also want to state that I did enjoy the writing, enough so that it was a one day read for me.

But here we go. So one of my main problems, and it is simply a case of the 'I'm the wrong audience', was the characters. They were extremely young, 14/15, and I had a really hard time getting into their heads throughout the story. This part was a huge player in my problem with the book. And that is why I have a hard time marking down, but in the end, I didn't feel a connection with the characters, so for my rating it has to be taken down stars.  I am sure that a young teenager will find this story more to their liking. And actually be able to relate to the feelings of Edy and Hassan and the other characters in the story. But for me and this review, I just couldn't.

Another problem, and I think I will end with this one and move on to what I liked, because at heart I am a really positive person, is the ending. I am all for twists and turns in books, it's what keeps us reading and in suspense, but I felt that this was just a bit too much. It starts out as a simple contemporary, these two kids are in love, but there are obstacles to overcome, misunderstandings and miscommunications to overlook and feelings to sort out. But at the end, and I am saying at the end because it was pretty much over, it takes a hugely dark twist. And I felt like it just kind of stopped. Like there might have been more, but it was cut off. The ending was too abrupt, and even for a cliffhanger, it was sudden.

All that aside, the writing was great. The imagery and the flow worked. I was able to sit down after work and just read this until I was finished. I thought that Shewanda did an excellent job at creating a story and making it come to life. Another wonderful part of this story is the diversity. The two main characters aren't what YA has made the normal, and I enjoyed that a lot. I was introduced to cultures and ideas that I hadn't yet read in books, especially YA, and that gained a lot of enjoyment from me. I wish more authors would venture into uncharted waters and give us unique stories, especially for younger readers.

I will end this review by saying that while the overall story/characters weren't for me, the writing and style was. I will most likely look into other books by this author, possibly ones that have an older MC, maybe keep my eyes peeled for a sequel to Edy and Hassan's story. I think it is unfinished, and would like to know where it goes. I know that I didn't focus on a lot of plot points and such, that is why I gave you the early warning. These reviews tend to be a bit scattered in thought for me, and it is hard to put it in a neat review. I hope this has been helpful, and I honestly think that this book is worth checking out. It has a great story arc that I think a lot of people will enjoy.

~AUTHOR LINKS~

 Website | Twitter

Friday, July 11, 2014

Treesofreverie Read-A-Thon Update #1

I didn't "officially" sign up to take part in this even, but I wanted to try and read as much as I can before my classes start up again in August. I am sort of combining this and the BookTube-A-Thon (the challenges) and seeing how much I can read by August 1st, which is the end of the Treesofreverie Read-A-Thon. I will explain/talk more about the BookTube-A-Thon if/when I read during that week.


Here is the link to the Tumblr page. I heard about this event from Jillian, over at bookishandnerdy , on YouTube. I thought this would be a fun way to update more, and hopefully get out of this extremely long (over 3 or more months) reading slump!

So, for the first day, which would have been yesterday (July 10th), I read the following:

Pages Read: 35
Books Completed: 0
Challenges Fulfilled: 1 (Read a book with pictures in it)
Feelings/Thoughts: This book is written SO well! I am able to completely envision the graveyard and the inhabitants. One of the darkest books I've read in a while, especially since this is a children's book. The illustrations in this book are absolutely stunning. I believe this will be one of the first children's books I've read sine being an actual child, so I am excited about exploring this genre more as an adult!

Overall, this was a productive first day, for me. Seeing as the most I was reading in one day at times was 2 or 3 pages while at work, so 35 is a huge leap for me, and I am actually feeling happy about reading again, so success.