Sunday, 27 July 2014

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

Plot:

Cadence Sinclair returns to her family's beach house on her 17th Summer. There she recounts the family's history as well as a story that should've been left untold.


Review:

I wrote a short plot for a reason - We Were Liars is a book you want to go in with as limited knowledge as you can. It's what everyone recommended, and something I definitely agree it.

There's only one word to explain my reading experience: wow. We Were Liars is the type of book that will baffle your mind, and at the end blow it up into smithereens. I think not knowing what the plot is about right from the beginning really enhances this experience, because you start to make speculations and these speculations will grow, pushing you to keep reading.

This is definitely a mystery that's well-executed. The build up of intensity was on-point, done through Cadence's recounts of the previous summers and her ties to the beach house. I found the writing to be beautiful and haunting, flowing at a good pace and almost melodically. I think what worked the best though, was how Lockhart caught me off guard just as the mystery hits its resolution. I floated through the story unaware I would be given the answer. In fact, it really did pull at some of my emotions, and I was close (very close) to shedding a tear.

I did find though, that I developed no attachments to the characters, despite them having some depths.   They weren't entirely flat, but they were one-sided. If the character was suppose to be bad, there were only negative features about them - not enough redeeming qualities to make save their character - and vice versa. I didn't particularly enjoy Cadence as a character either, she was just the vehicle to drive the plot for me.

Initially, I gave We Were Liars a full five-star rating, because I was completely taken aback with the ending of the story. Except I've had time to mull over it, and there were some minor issues, like the plot being a little dull at times, and the group being called 'The Liars' without a full explanation to the name. Still, for a novel that short, it definitely left a large impact. I flew through it in about an hour, because it was that easy to read.

I definitely recommend this thrilling and intriguing read. I can actually see this being made into a movie, just because I think it is a perfect mystery plot for the screen.



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Friday, 25 July 2014

[Series Review] Matteo Alacran Series - Nancy Farmer



Plot:

Matt grows up to learn that he is the clone to drug lord 'El Patron'. He is exposed to a world that seems much more harsh and judgemental, unable to to adapt fast enough.

In The House of The Scorpion, it details Matt's developing years (0-5) and his coming of age story. The Lord of Opium leans more towards Matt's struggle to fit into his specified role and his own identity.

Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this series as a whole, with each having such strong themes. Check out my review below!

Rating: 5/5

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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Why We Broke Up - Daniel Handler

Plot: 

A box is sent to Ed filled with items that Min refer to as reasons why they broke up. This is the love story of Ed and Min, from how things started to when it ended. 

Review:

That is such a short plot line, but essentially that's what the entire novel is about. I mean the title for the novel is pretty self-explanatory. Before you cringe though, it's actually not a sappy, cry-fest. 

The writing style of this novel is very different, flowing more like a stream of consciousness. At first it was a little flat and hard to get into, but I was quickly swept into Min's thoughts and feelings. This really made the story a lot more believable because it seemed like Min was just trying to process her thoughts, not just a structured narrative. It really did flow quite well and Handler's writing was beautiful. However, despite it being easy to read, I just didn't find a connection with the plot or the character. 

The plot, itself, was solid. There was a point and it delivered, and the love story was actually believable. I didn't find it overly sweet or sappy, but that it developed much like any other teenage romance. Yet, it might be because of my lack of experience in the area of love, but I just found myself being a bystander to the relationship - curious but not really caring where they end off at. I know that sounds harsh, but I just couldn't develop any attachments. I actually started to become annoyed with Min, because the letter had this underlying tone of blame towards Ed. She made it seem like it was his fault the relationship didn't work out, when it was actually much more than that. 

I do feel though, that this book will give everyone a different reading experience, so I do recommend you guys pick up just to see how it'll affect you. I've heard that it really touched other readers.

Rating: 3.5/5


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Monday, 21 July 2014

TWO YEARS OLD

It's kind of insane but "PRINTEDWORDSAND" has reached two years. The actual 2 year date was yesterday - 20th of July - but I've been so busy trying to balance life.

If you guys weren't here from the beginning, let's go through a little history shall we. I started off this book blog in 2012, during my final year of high school as a hobby. It probably wasn't the best year to start, but at the same time it motivated me to read whilst studying. The first URL was "Bibliophilism101", but towards the end of last year I decided to start up a YouTube channel and renamed by blog to match the channel name. I'm not sure it's THE best name, but it's still a lot easier to remember than the original.

So here I am, a lot further than where I was and definitely not imagining it to turn out like this. I love blogging about a passion of mine, and I especially love knowing that reading has not died as the years have passed.

I haven't been as dedicated as I would like this year, but I'm 100% positive this is something I want to commit to. There is only so much I can do with a book blog, so I want to enlist your guys help in suggesting me some ideas to write about! This anniversary marks a whole new look (and new platform) to PrintedWordsAnd, and new and better content.

To celebrate though, I would like to thank you guys for the support, by hosting a giveaway! WOO! This is my first giveaway and I am so excited. Rather than limit your choice, my giveaway is going to be - a book of your choice! You get to select any book you want and I will ship it to you via The Book Depository. Keep in mind that the value of the book should be $15 or under and the site is actually available to ship to your country. Yes, this is an international giveaway!

Other than that, simply follow the prompts below and you're good to go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway is open for 3 weeks and the winner will be contacted a few days after. Good luck guys and keep reading! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE SUPPORT!
Nts: I've moved from Wordpress over to Blogger, just cause I think it'll be easier to expand my site (but also because I'm too incompetent with technology to use Wordpress.org).




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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

More Than This - Patrick Ness

I went into this with one thought and came out completely mind blown. Seriously, a recommended read.



Rating: 4.5/5

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Saturday, 5 July 2014

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1) - Danielle Paige

Plot: 

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero. (Goodreads)

Amy Gumms has always struggled in life. She lives in a caravan with her mum and falls victim to bullying in school. So when she finds herself swept, literally, away from Kansas and into Oz, she's unsure what it is she's here for or if it's even real.

Quickly Amy learns of the fate of the characters from The Wizard of Oz and the untold story after Dorothy leaves. Oz is now overrun by Dorothy, who came back and stole the throne, and it's slowly losing it's magic. Amy becomes embroiled in a plot to rescue Oz, labelled as the hero that has come.

Her mission - kill Dorothy.

Review:

One of my most anticipated novels for 2014, I was super excited to read this having been interested in "fairytale" retellings. Whilst Dorothy Must Die wasn't exactly what I wanted, it actually didn't disappoint either.

Danielle Paige did a great job in mirroring the exact tone that came from the movie The Wizard of Oz. I haven't actually read the novel so I'm not too sure about the tone there, but whilst reading DMD there was that whimsical, dreamlike mood to it but with an unsettling feeling as well. Usually with re-tellings I prefer that whilst the plot is different, the tone is similar enough to recreate the same feelings I had reading the original. It also didn't feel so absurd that Amy had landed herself (literally) in Oz, because gradually the characters begin to pinpoint her reason for arriving. Still, I did feel like she took the whole experience relatively calmly. I would've freaked out!

The uneasiness whilst reading was due to Paige's writing and her characters. The plot is suppose to be a lot more darker, but there some points when the violence got really intense and I was left feeling squeamish. Deaths that happened were grotesque and Paige wrote those moments in such a descriptive way I literally thought something was being stabbed in my guts. The characters were also modified so that they lost their original traits and became almost monster-like. It was really creepy, especially the Lion after knowing him as somewhat of a cuddly feline.

I'm not sure I love Amy just yet, but she does have great characteristics. She's pretty badass when it comes down to it and I can rely on her to uphold the plot. I prefer characters who have some depth, but aren't exaggerated or overly dramatic. Amy's got scars, but it's something that doesn't overtake the entire story but instead, helps build her character. What I find interesting is the uncertainty of who is "good" and who is "bad". There are definitely two sides painted, and it's been told that Dorothy & co. are "bad", but the people on the "good" side still carry question marks. In fact Amy is constantly reminded to not trust anyone but herself, which keeps the mystery and intensity on edge.

There was just one thing I wasn't a fan of, and that was the love line that developed. It was such a typical move done in a cliche way, but because it was a pretty minor part I kind of overlooked it. I do like her male counterpart but maybe if it was done in a more slow and progressive way it wouldn't have been as unbelievable or annoying.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this revised version of The Wizard of Oz. There's a lot of potential for it to become even better considering this is the first book of the series and I am so excited to keep reading!

Rating: 4.5/5


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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Legacy - Katherine Webb

 
Plot:

After the death of their grandmother, sisters Erica and Beth Calcott return to their childhood summer house - Storton Manor. Once a place full of happy memories, they are now haunted by their cousin Henry vanishing mysteriously one holiday. Erica cannot stop thinking back to that summer as she goes through her grandmother's belonging, but comes up with no answers.

There are too many family secrets, from generations before them, in which they must face in order to move past the events of the present. This is their legacy.

Review:

As much as the plot sounds overly dramatic, that is basically what The Legacy is about. It's a lengthy novel with twists and turns, and stories between stories before we get to the finale. I found though, that for all the complexity, Katherine Webb did a good job in unravelling all the mysterious ties to create an intriguing read.

I'm pretty much a sucker for family mysteries, which is probably why I decided to read this. I don't think I was disappointed with the whole web of secrets, but more the experience of reading it. Whilst Webb's writing was descriptive and engaging, I found myself zoning out in some moments. I think the problem was the pacing and tone of the writing. I could imagine the scenery and places mentioned while reading, but because Erica's voice is so sentimental and whimsical, it really set a slow and dull tone. At some points I had to work really hard to plod through what was happening. However, Webb also includes Erica and Beth's great grandmother's story, placed between present chapters. Caroline's voice is a lot different, and I was more fascinated with her story as opposed to what was actually occurring in the present. In fact, I actually looked forward to her chapters more and there was no problem in reading that perspective. It was great to see that Webb created two distinctive voices as well, so it was clear who's view I was reading from.

I'm not sure I loved all the characters, just because I felt like they were flat. Beth had scars and the story tried to unravel her fears, but even the revelation couldn't really rescue her character. Erica was more like a curious teenager than her actual age, of which I could not pinpoint. I think I preferred Caroline and the characters in her past because they were a lot more interesting to read about.

The plot wove such an intricate storyline though, that I kept wondering how Webb would unravel all the mysteries. She did eventually, and in a way that caught me by surprise. This definitely made up for most of my reading experience, as the writing caught up with the intensity and helped me power through till the end. It did take awhile to get there, but I think it was worth it. It made me feel as though the read was actually worth it, I really did not expect for the mystery to be resolved as so.

There were still some questions that I had and moments that didn't really make sense or wasn't really addressed, but I just overlooked it at the end. It was deep and sad at some moments, and a lesson that can be learnt but overall it just lacked a little impact. I do recommend though, if you like a good mystery, especially one that has complexities but fit together to perfect the puzzle.

Rating: 3.5/5


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