Mundie Moms

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Book Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

By: Lauren Oliver
Published by: Harper Teen
Released on: March 5th, 2013
Source: arc from publisher to review
Series: Delirium #3
4 Stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge

What would you choose? Getting the cure or being free? One of the things I liked about the way Lauren Oliver wrote Requiem, is we got to see both sides of the story. One point of view from Lena and the resistance, and the other from Hana, who's part of the "cured". I really liked how Lauren Oliver paralleled both girl's struggles, and their will power to do what it takes to survive, and support what they believe in. It was interesting for me to see how both sides of this war, if you will, had similar consequences and choices to be made. We've seen what it's like being apart of the resistance. It's no walk in the park, and every day it feels like it all winds down to survival of the fittest, and the smartest. Though Lena and those she's with are free, there is a lot they have to deal with, and a lot at stake for them. With Hana she too has a lot to lose, naming herself, and she also has some tough choices to make, which could also lead to disastrous consequences. It was interesting to see just how trapped she really is on that side of the walls.

The other thing I liked about Requiem is the sense of urgency I felt while reading this book. Everything is winding down to a few key events that take place or are planned for the end of the book. Both Lena and Hana find themselves in similar situations, as each one of them has to deal with the choices they've made in the past, and figure out how they're going to allow those choices to effect them now. There were times both girls irked me a little bit in this story, but at the same time, I liked that they were characters who were learning and trying to figure out who they are now, and where their place is at with all that's going on around them. They both have guilt, and they make choices that will effect not only themselves, but those around them. 

Let's talk about the romance for a moment. If you're going to write a love triangle complicated relationship, this is how you do it. Because this Alex, Lena, Julian relationship is not a love triangle, like at all. It's clear on who has feelings for who, and it's painfully obvious that two characters are trying to come to terms with hurt, and broken hearts and hence two other well written characters are brought into the mix. While I ended up liking all four characters involved, I totally wanted to pair them all off, and keep them paired up, but we all know characters make their own choices, and well, sometimes it takes others longer to figure out how to make things work. The way these relationships were written was well done, though I wanted another kissy scene or two *coughs* What? I'm just saying. 

Over all I really enjoyed the book. There are a lot of things that happen in this book. The dangers are far greater, survival is that much more vital, and given the two there is more action, and violence. This book has a bit of a darker tone to it than the previous two books have had, which fits perfectly given the fact that things that have building over the past two books are about to happen. In the mix of the fighting, and the plotting there is a betrayal or two, and a shocking twist that I didn't even see coming. Requiem had it all, and I liked how Lauren kept the same feel through out the entire series, but with each book I felt like she amped up the danger, the urgency, and the drama that you'd except to find in a storyline as complicated and exciting as this series. 

Now that I've told you all that I liked about this book, there is one thing I had an issue with, the ending. I want to be clear that I obviously didn't hate the book, I gave it 4 stars, because I really enjoyed it. Everything up to this point was great and things started to get even more exiting, and heart pounding towards the very end, and as a reader I'm starting to wonder how things are going to get wrapped up, because there are very few pages left, and things get thrown together quickly and then it ends. I'm going, "Wait, what? No! I need a few more pages of this excitingness. It can't end there!" I did read the ARC, so maybe there's a little bit more that got added to the published book, but arc wise I felt it the ending got a bit rushed, and ended a little abruptly. Specifically I felt there needed to be a bit more dragged out with the last two pages. I felt it went from that one discovery (which I won't name because of spoilers, but I might have got a little giddy over) to the end. Like the end, end. Don't get me wrong, I did like the verbiage that ended the book, but I just needed more, like something else needed to fill a bit of the gap in order for me to feel like it was a complete ending for the series. Like something more between some characters or an epilogue or something.

Did the ending ruin the series or the book for me? Not at all. Would I still recommend the book to others? Absolutely. The ending is not a WTH kind of ending, it's one the clears a few things up, but it also leaves other things open ended and hopeful. I didn't feel like Lauren leaves her fans hanging. Many thing get wrapped up, and other things we get the general idea of where things are going. Sometimes those kind of endings really work for me, but with how much I have enjoyed this series, and the exciting things that happen at the very, very end, I wanted it to be dragged out a little more than it was. Maybe that's just me being a selfish reader and wanting more from Lauren's characters, whom I've really enjoyed reading about. 

Win Two Tickets to Cassie's Bay Area Event at Kepler's

I think both Katie and I have mentioned how excited we are for Cassie's Clockwork Princess Bus Tour, and that we will both be at the Kepler's tour stop in Atherton, CA.

Have we told you that although we've known each other for five years, we've never met in real life before? Also that one of us is firmly Team Will while the other one's logically Team Jem? No? Well, you can join in our fun and excitement because the wonderful people at Kepler's have provided us with a giveaway just for Bay Area Mundie Moms (or those like us who can travel to the Bay Area):

- TWO, free tickets to the Kepler's event on March 23, 2013 at 7 p.m. at Menlo-Atherton High School Performing Arts Center, Atherton, CA

- TWO, front row, reserved seats at the event

So what do you have to do to win? Well, fill out the form below, of course! Beacause we want to get the word out, you will get more points if you tweet, post on facebook and/or post on your blog.

Katie and I are looking forward to seeing you guys there on the 23rd. If you want to make sure you get tickets, here's the link to do so. Can you all believe this event is only 13 days away?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Clockwork Prince Read Along Day #19: Chapter 18

Only 9 more days till Clockwork Princess is out!

Welcome to Day 19 of the Clockwork Prince Read Along. You can follow the entire read-a-long and find each of the day's posts here. Remember there's no right or wrong way to participate. Your comments can be as long or a short as you'd like them to be. You can answer 1 or each of the questions asked, it's totally up to you, BUT, in order to be entered into the CP giveaway (which you also had to sign up to win), you do need to be actively participating in the read-a-long. 

Today's discussion is about: Chapter 18
  • AN ENGAGEMENT!!!! *sigh* Okay as happy as I am for Jem and Tessa, my heart is breaking for Will.... do you think he's too late? Did you see Jem's proposal coming? I thought it was, but I didn't think it would be this soon. I love what he said about the strength of love. Do you think their love could cure Jem?
  • I loved the scene with Charlotte and Henry. I can't believe the two of them felt similar in they didn't feel the other one really loved the other. Where you surprised to find out that they both felt that way?
  • Do you think Sophie will forgive Tessa for warning her about the Lightwoods? Do you fault Tessa for saying what she does to Sophie? 
Please DO NOT POST SPOILERS. There's some fans who are joining the read-a-long who are reading Clockwork Prince for the first time. 

Book Review: The Paparazzi Project by Kristina Springer

Author: Kristina Springer
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: December 10, 2012
Source: Author provided e-book
Purchase: amazon (currently $0.99, go grab it!)
The Paparazzi Project

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - I really liked it!

Synopsis: Livvie Peterson thought taking Interpersonal Communications her junior year would be an easy A. But when the first assignment is given, her world flips upside down. Here’s the deal: the class is assigned a six-week project and is split into three groups— Paparazzi, Tabloid, and Celebrities. The Paparazzi follow around the Celebrities taking pictures and grabbing any kind of quotes they can. The Celebrities try to navigate being tailed on a daily basis. And the Tabloid receives all the information collected by the Paparazzi and decides what makes the weekly summary report. Sounds harmless…and it’s all just pretend anyway, right?

Livvie is assigned as Paparazzi and when she is matched up with the über-cute Chas Montgomery as her Tabloid boss she’s pretty sure things couldn’t get much better. Livvie’s uncanny ability to capture the Celebrities in compromising photos matched with Chas’s skill of exaggerating captions and editing the photos make them an unstoppable team. And the long hours working side by side with Chas aren’t a bad bonus.

Livvie simultaneously launches an anonymous blog, leaking the class’ photos and stories on the Internet. Her rising follower number quickly becomes addicting and she possibly spills too much information online. Once she finds her own celebrity will she be able to give it back? And will Chas be gone before she ever has the chance to find out?

I can't remember a time when I read a book that focused on a class assignment, and in the case of The Paparazzi Project this plot device was definitely an element that kept me reading. Interpersonal Communications -- what a a fascinating class. We are so very obsessed with celebrities these days that we even make celebrities out of people who really shouldn't be ones (i.e. celebutantes). But before this turns into a thesis on "Kardashians, Why Do We Care", let me just say that Kristina picked an excellent topic. My daughters and I spent a few days in Los Angeles this summer and our hotel had news crews and paparazzi camped out in front of it. It was a small boutique hotel in West Hollywood and they were very discreet. We had no idea who was staying there, but that didn't make us any less curious.

I liked Livvie from the start. She was very much an average student, not the usual kind of smartypants girl I'd expect in this type of plot. This made her more refreshing, especially in her perspective of wanting to try something new. I loved the way she noticed little things in people -- like the style of shoes Chas wore. It's what made her a good photographer. I also liked how she struggled with doing the right thing like when it came to continuing the blog. Boy, did that stir up a lot of controversy and once again, it reflected right back on our own celeb curious society.

My favorite part of the story was the unfolding romance between Chas and Livvie. Those moments of awkward firsts were captured beautifully as was the sting of betrayal when people began to suspect and uncover things. The story made me think back to high school and all the drama and gossip. What if it was documented and blown out of proportion? What if it was blogged about, and everyone in the world could see it? This story accurately reflects all those what ifs.

While the book looks like a fast, light, fun read, it has an unexpected depth in its comment on our culture. Don't get me wrong, it was definitely well paced and parts of it contained a sweetness that was fun to read. But, there was also more to it (which I loved). It played with the very question I asked my daughters as we walked past the paparazzi outside that hotel -- "Why do we care who they're waiting to photograph?"

The Clockwork Princess Chapter Titles

We have the Clockwork Princess chapter titles! Cassie posted them a few hours ago here.

Below: the chapter titles for Clockwork Princess. If you are enormously spoilerphobic, skip!
1) A Dreadful Row
2) The Conqueror Worm
3) To the Last Hour
4) To Be Wise and Love
5) A Heart Divided
6) Let Darkness
7) Dare to Wish
8) That Fire of Fire
9) Graven in Metal
10) Like Water Upon Sand
11) Fearful of the Night
12) Ghosts on the Road
13) The Mind Has Mountains
14) Parabatai
15) Stars, Hide Your Fires*
*A lot of people think this is a Mumford and Sons reference, but they’re actually referencing Macbeth: “Stars, hide your fires/let not light see my black and deep desires.”
16) Only Noble to be Good
17) To Lie and Burn
18) The Infernal Devices
19) Burning Gold
20) Thunder in the Trumpet
21) Than Any Evil
22) The Measure of Love
Epilogue: Present Day.

TMI Movie News!

Mortal Instruments Movie revealed a new movie image recently. I'm loving the letting and the rune as the o is the word of. 

Cassie shared these two pictures taken from the British magazine, Empire Magazine, which features The City of Bones movie & movie set. I'm thinking I need to find a way to get my hands on this magazine. 

For all you movie goers... be on the look out for the first look of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Cassie announced this will be played before movies till March 12!