Archive | January, 2013

Hysteria – Megan Miranda (Review)

23 Jan

Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: February 14th 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published February 5th 2013)

 

Description

Mallory’s life is falling apart.

Her boyfriend was stabbed. He bled to death in her kitchen. Mallory was the one who stabbed him. But she can’t remember what happened that night. She only remembers the fear…

When Mallory’s parents send her away to a boarding school, she thinks she can escape the gossip and the threats. But someone, or something, has followed her. There’s the hand that touches her shoulder when she’s drifting off to sleep. A voice whispering her name. And everyone knows what happened. So when a pupil is found dead, Mallory’s name is on their lips.

Her past can be forgotten but it’s never gone. Can Mallory live with that?

My thoughts

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for sending me this e-book.

I was somehow disappointed with this book, not because it wasn’t good, but because I expected so much more from it. Seeing the cover and reading the description, I thought Hysteria was going to be a little bit creepy and full of suspense. Unfortunately, for the most part it was another “girl goes to another school, encounters some mean girls and falls in love with a nice boy” story. Don’t get me wrong, there were some suspenseful scenes and some mysteries that needed to be solved, but for me those weren’t enough. I think the plot should have been more focused on those aspects than on the teenage drama or romance.

Mallory is a 16-year-old girl who killed her boyfriend-Brian. Though she can’t remember what exactly happened, the evidence points to self-defense, so she is cleared from the accusations. Since her parents think that she is in danger because Brian’s mother is stalking her, they decide to send Mallory to a boarding school (I don’t really understand what they were thinking: that once she gets there she will forget everything and have a happy life?). Unfortunately her life doesn’t become easier. Everyone knows about the incident and is judging her, she is still haunted by the event and on top of that she thinks that someone is after her. Mallory has a sleeping disorder, every night she has the same nightmare and in the morning she finds bruises on her body. Even though she knows this is wrong, she never tells anyone about it, and she refuses to seek help. At the boarding school she also meets an old friend, Reid, who eventually becomes her boyfriend.

I liked the fact that we don’t know from the beginning why Mallory decided to kill Brian. Throughout the story there are some flashbacks about her past and little snippets that help us understand what happened that night. Then, there are the nightmares and the marks that appear every morning on her body. I am still a little bit confused about how she got them, but those two elements were actually what kept me interested in Hysteria and made me finish reading it in a few hours. Even though those were my favourite parts of the book, I still think they could have been more developed and that the author should have written more about the psychological aspect of the book instead of romance or teenage drama. I wanted the book to be more dark and more focused on Mallory’s struggle to fight Brian’s memory. Also, I found some things a little bit predictable (I am mostly talking about the person who was stalking the main character at the boarding school).

All in all, I think Hysteria was better in premise than execution, but I still recommend it. It is a good teen thriller.

I ran away. And only when I was a good ways past the diner and the gas station did I realize I was running toward something. No, not something. Someone.

You may not be able to outrun your past, but you can sure as hell try.

My ratingcute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

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Unwind – Neal Shusterman (Review)

11 Jan
Paperback, 335 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published November 6th 2007)

Description

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

My thoughts

After reading tons of positive reviews and watching a lot of Youtube videos in which people recommended this book, I finally decided to add this book on my “have to buy soon” list. Then, while browsing on BookDepository, I saw it and I couldn’t resist the impulse to click on the buy button. I’m glad I did. This book was GREAT, FANTASTIC, EXTRAORDINARY etc. but at the same time quite disturbing. I had high expectations for Unwind and I’m glad to say that they were not only met, but also exceeded.

The plot is set in the future, where parents can choose to have their children between ages of 13 and 18 unwound, or in the case of kids without parents, the orphanages take this decision just to cut the costs. After the unwinding process, all the parts of the body are used for transplants “needed” by other people (some of them just want new eyes or hair because they don’t like the color of theirs). As the doctors say, since 99.44% of the body is being reused, unwinds do not technically die, because the individual parts live on.

The story focuses on Connor, Risa and Lev- three children that are supposed to be unwound- and their efforts to survive. This is a third person narration told from different points of view (mainly Connor, Lev or Risa, but there are also some additional perspectives which helps the reader to see and understand the whole picture). All the characters, even the supporting ones are well developped, are three-dimensional, complex and have a special story.

I recommend this book to everyone, but I also want to warn you that Unwind is not an easy book, it’s quite disturbing (not in a graphic way) and it will leave you asking yourself a lot of questions.

P.S. I think the 61st chapter is the most shocking thing in the whole book. I still can’t get it out of my head!!!

“…One thing you learn when you’ve lived as long as I have-people aren’t all good, and people aren’t all bad. We move in and out of darkness and light all of our lives. Right now, I’m pleased to be in the light.”

“I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.”

My ratingcute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

First Love – Ivan Turgenev (Review)

10 Jan
Paperback, 112 pages
Published December 14th 1978 by Penguin Classics (first published 1860)

Description

When the down-at-heel Princess Zasyekin moves next door to the country estate of Vladimir Petrovich’s parents, he instantly and overwhelmingly falls in love with his new neighbour’s daughter, Zinaida. But the capricious young woman already has many admirers and as she plays her suitors against each other, Vladimir’s unrequited youthful passion soon turns to torment and despair – although he remains unaware of his true rival for Zinaida’s affections.

Set in the world of nineteenth-century Russia’s fading aristocracy, Turgenev’s story depicts a boy’s growth of knowledge and mastery over his own heart as he awakens to the complex nature of adult love.

My thoughts

The “First love” is a frame story, which starts with a party where the guests are challenged to recount the story of their first love. When Vladimir Petrovich’s turn comes, he tells the other men that he is going to write down his story. Now it’s our turn to read about his memory.

The main character is Vladimir, a 16-year-old boy, who falls in love with the daughter of a princess, who just moved next door. The young princess’s name is Zinaida, she’s 21 and has a lot of suitors. She is not in love with any of those men and she constantly misleads them, especially Vladimir. In the end we find out that her heart belongs to someone else, Vladimir’s father, which was a big shock only for the main character, not for me, since I anticipated that from the beginning.

My biggest problem with “First love” were the characters and I must admit that I didn’t like any of them:
-Vladimir is only 16 but he acts and speaks in a more mature way, but since the book was written in 1860, maybe that’s how all the boys behaved. When he finds out that his father not only cheated on his wife, but he cheated on her with Zinaida, he has no reaction and acts like there wasn’t a big deal.
-We find out that Pyotr married his wife only because she was rich, not because he loved her. He doesn’t act like a father to his child, but like a stranger and there are only a few times when he seems to get closer to him.
-Zinainda was just a spoiled woman, she was quite difficult and I couldn’t understand what she wanted.

There were only a few moments that I really enjoyed reading about, including the ending which I thought was pretty solidly built.

I burnt as in a fire in her presence … but what did I care to know what the fire was in which I burned and melted–it was enough that it was sweet to burn and melt.

…and I would sit and gaze and listen, and would be filled with a nameless sensation which had everything in it; sorrow and joy, a premonition of the future, and desire, and fear of life.

My rating cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

They Do It With Mirrors / Jocuri De Oglinzi – Agatha Christie (Review)

7 Jan

Paperback, 224 pages
First published in 1952

 

Description

Miss Marple senses danger when she visits a friend living in Stoneygates, a rehabilitation center for delinquents. Her fears are confirmed when someone shoots at the administrator. Although he is not injured, a mysterious visitor is less fortunate—shot dead simultaneously in another part of the building.

Pure coincidence? Miss Marple thinks not, and must use all her cunning to solve the riddle of the stranger’s visit … and his murder.

My thoughts

I started reading this book two and a half months ago and I’m happy that I finally managed to finish it. It took me that much because I not only didn’t have much time to read or wasn’t really in the mood for it, but also because I didn’t find “They do it with mirrors” as interesting as other books written by Agatha Christie. I also think that I like Hercule Poirot more than Miss Marple, even though he tends to be arrogant sometimes. So far I prefered the books with the famous detective because he is more present in the story than Jane is.

I didn’t hate this book, but I just expected it to be a little different, to be more focused on the “delinquent boys”. Unfortunately only two of them played a somewhat important role in discovering the mystery. Speaking of the mystery of the murderer, it wasn’t that big…I managed to guess who the culprit was, but it was still fun to read about his motives and how the murder was exactly executed. There were a few surprises as well.

All in all, I still enjoyed this book, even though it wasn’t my favourite out of the nine Agatha Christie books I read so far.

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Numar pagini: 250

Carte publicata de editura Rao, 2012

 

Descriere

Jane Marple e coplesita de un sentiment de rau augur cand merge sa-si viziteze o veche prietena, Carrie Louise, la conacul victorian unde aceasta locuieste impreuna cu familia. Cladirea este folosita si ca un centru de reabilitare pentru tineri delincventi. Temerile lui Miss Marple sunt confirmate cand Lewis Serrocold, sotul lui Louise si totodats administratorul centrului, este agresat de unul dintre „protejatii“ sai, iar un vizitator inopinat este impuscat mortal intr-o alta aripa a casei. Nimic nu poate scapa insa mintii iscoditoare a lui Miss Marple, care intrevede un joc al iluziilor in spatele celor doua atacuri concomitente.

Parerea mea

Am inceput sa citesc aceasta carte acum doua luni si jumatate si sunt fericita ca in sfarsit am terminat-o. Mi-a luat atat de mult pentru ca nu prea am avut timp/chef de citit, dar si pentru ca “Jocuri de oglinzi” nu mi s-a parut la fel de interesanta ca alte carti scrise de Agatha Christie. De asemenea, cred ca imi place mai mult Hercule Poirot decat Miss Marple, chiar daca el este cam arogant cateodata. Pana acum mi-au placut mai mult cartile ce l-au avut in prim-plan pe faimosul detectiv deoarece, dupa parerea mea, este mult mai prezent in poveste si are o contributie mai mare la rezolvarea cazurilor.

Nu mi-a displacut aceasta carte, dar am avut asteptari mari de la ea. Am crezut ca o sa fie un pic diferita, ca povestea se va axa mai mult pe “tinerii delicventi”, insa, din pacate, doar doi dintre acestia au avut un rol cat de cat important in rezolvarea misterului. Vorbind despre misterul ucigasului, nu a fost atat de surprinzator pentru mine, deoarece am reusit sa ghicesc vinovatul inainte de final, insa tot a fost interesant sa citesc despre motivul si modul in care acesta a comis crima. De asemenea, au mai fost dezvaluite si cateva surprize.

In concluzie, pot spune ca mi-a placut cartea, chiar daca mi s-au parut mai bune celelalte opt carti scrise de Agatha Christie pe care le-am citit pana acum.

My rating/ Punctaj cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

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The Rory Gilmore Book Challenge

6 Jan

Rory is one of the main characters from a show called “Gilmore Girls”, one of my favourite TV shows of all time. 😀 In case you’ve never heard of it before (which I believe is quite impossible) I will leave you links to watch the intro and a funny video. Rory is an avid reader, so a lot of books were mentioned/seen during the 7 seasons of the show. Some awesome people made a list of all the titles presented and that’s how this challenge was “born”. There is just one problem: there seem to be several different lists (some with 200 books, some with more or less than that) but I decided to choose the longest one, which is 340 books long. (I found the list here)

Since I find this challange fun, I plan to read this year a few books from the list and maybe in a couple of years I’ll manage to complete this challange…yeah, sure, who am I kidding?!

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Rory este unul dintre personajele principale ale serialului “Fetele Gilmore”, unul dintre serialele mele preferate. In cazul in care nu ati mai auzit de el pana acum, va voi lasa un link cu intro-ul serialului si un filmulet amuzant. Rory este un avid cititor si de aceea o multime de carti au fost prezentate pe parcursul a celor 7 sezoane ale serialului. Cateva persoane au realizat o lista cu toate titlurile mentionate si astfel a aparut aceasta provocare, insa exista o problema: pe Internet apar mai multe variante ale acestei liste si am decis sa o aleg pe cea care cuprinde 340 de carti, gandindu-ma ca este cea completa.

Imi place aceasta provocare si am decis ca anul acesta sa citesc cateva din cartile prezente pe lista si poate ca in urmatorii ani voi reusi sa bifez ca si “citit” toate titlurile.

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Here is the list/ Iata lista (I marked with red the books which I’ve already read. / Am marcat cu rosu titlurile deja citite.): Continue reading

Top 10 Books read in 2012

3 Jan

I hate doing Top 10 because it’s hard to chose just 10 books from the 57 that I  read last year, but in the end I was able to select the ones which I really loved. So here is my list ( the books are in no particular order):

                           

Special mentions: