Review: Don’t Fall by Rachel Schieffelbein

19192780Title: Don’t Fall

Author: Rachel Schieffelbein

Genre: YA Romance

Story:

In this contemporary retelling of Rapunzel, seventeen-year-old Anya leads a secluded life in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother. She doesn’t go to public school, doesn’t even have a best friend. But Anya doesn’t seem to mind. She has her books, her photography, and her daydreams and would do anything to please her mom.

Until one day at the library, the only place Anya is allowed to go alone, she takes a picture of a beautiful boy. Before long she’s lying to her mom, and sneaking out to meet Zander. But Zander wants more than a secret romance. If Anya wants to be with the boy of her dreams, she’s going to have to risk her relationship with the only other person she’s ever cared about.
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Review

I have to be honest and say that the only thing that attracted me to the book was the cover and the claim that it is a modern retelling of Rapunzel. So I didn’t know what to expect when I received my ARC copy. You see I’m not usually a romance kind of reader. All my doubts vanished the moment I started reading.

I was instantaneously immersed in Anya’s world, a girl whose mother has kept her sheltered all her life and whose only allowed excursions are at the library. But in there, she meets Zander, a young college freshman who is enamored by her young presence. As a reader you read both their viewpoints in every chapter, which I found a smart structure. You don’t often get to see from the male’s perspective. Anya is a realistic, total bookworm. Zander is not as fully fledged as Anya, since I find that his interests and characteristics were overshadowed by his love for her. However, reading both their passages was a breeze and Shieffelbein managed to make me care for the couple and to create the urge to go on reading.

There are a few more interesting characters in the book, but the most important one would be Anya’s mother, whose strict rules are what raise the stakes in this quick read. I found her a tinny bit over the top, but overall, the entirety of her actions made sense.

The pacing is quite steady, with a few plot twists every now and then. It’s a quick read anyway, so it doesn’t bore or drag on for too long.

The most surprising revelation with this novel, however, and the fact that made me absolutely adore it, is the fact that this little treasure of a book made me see colors and this synesthesia of rainbows helped go through the characters’ journey and fall in love along with them. Don’t ask me how Rachel Schieffelbein did it, though. I tried to put it down to a certain technical feature the author uses, but came out with nil results. So I decided, it is magic. And magic just happens.

And that is why I couldn’t recommend this novel highly enough. It is just THAT good.

So go ahead and grab your copy on  Amazoncom button

That’s all for now, guys.

Until next time,

Rhys out xXx

 

***ARC copy was provided by YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest opinion. I was not compensated for my review.YA Bounk Tour Button

Blog Tour: Fruit of Misfortune (Creatura #2) by Nely Cab

FruitofMisCOVER

TITLE: Fruit of Misfortune

RELEASE: May 1, 2014

AUTHOR: Nely Cab

GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal

 

BLURB:

Isis and her boyfriend, David, are on the brink of a horrible transformation and they are eager to stop it. Together, they set out on a quest to Greece to find Isis’ biological father—the only person that may be able to help them. Their journey comes to an abrupt stop before it even begins when Isis falls ill, and Eros, David’s best friend, arrives in Athens, unannounced and curious…with a plan of his own.

The hunt for her father leads Isis on the turbulent path of deceit, death, and demons as she anticipates the dawning of the beast that stirs inside her.

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Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

ParanolmancyEvie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

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What a pleasant read!

Recommended to Buffy fans, although I never was one, this book is an original idea by Kiersten White.

A girl with special powers works for an international organisation that aims to tag all paranormal beings. What happens though when a stranger breaks in the base, an obsessive elf stalks the character and paranormal beings are found dead?

Paranormalcy! That’s what happens. All characters are beautifully shaped and evolve throughout the story. The plot is relatively quick paced, but never gets boring when it’s not. I was surprised by this good book for its original take on everything and how the author stayed unaffected by pop-lit and stayed truthful to her story.

Can’t wait to start on the second one in the Paranolmancy Trilogy

That’s it from me,

Rhys out xXx

Blood Past (Warriors of Ankh #2) by Samantha Young

Blood PastAll Eden wants is redemption… but the road to redemption is never an easy one.Travelling to Scotland to find her mother’s bloodline, Eden is soon embroiled in the politics and training of the Scottish Warriors of Neith. It is a world where some stand with open arms ready to welcome her as family, while others keep a wary distance, conspiring against her. Through it all Eden learns of love, friendship, and what it means to be a warrior. Her future has promise… that is until a man she thought was forever gone from her life returns to threaten it all. When the one person Eden loves above all else is endangered, she will have to make a choice. Him… or her? Life is such a bitch…but so is Eden when you don’t play nice.”

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The second instalment in the Warriors of Ankh series is the perfect return for the series. Character development; check! Story development; check! Romance development; check!
Eden has been taken to Edinburgh in order spare her off her soul-eating heritage. As Ankh she finds herself changed, but the drama in her life hasn’t. Her cousin Teagan is determined to be with her and he will do anything. Meanwhile, a traitor among the Warriors of Neith, sets everyone in alarm and while Eden is training to be a kick-ass slayer, her feelings for Noah won’t let her focus. Once again Eden is amidst a chaos.

In the first book “Blood Will Tell” I was breath-taken by the originality and the incredible storyline. In the second, I was brought back into the world of Eden and my love for her grew even bigger leaving me to crave for more.

Samantha Young’s prose reads like a successful tv series script playing on American television. She can be funny, serious and grim all at the same time. Her writing fits perfectly to the heroine and the mind of a teenager. It reads easily and joyfully.

This was a great book and the series is highly recommended.

That’s it from me,

Rhys out xXx

Crossed by Ally Condie

Crossed by Ally Condie

Screencap from Kindle for iPhone

The Society chooses everything.
The books you read.
The music you listen to.
The person you love.
Yet for Cassia the rules have changed. Ky has been taken and she will sacrifice everything to find him.
And when Cassia discovers Ky has escaped to the wild frontiers beyond the Society there is hope.
But on the edge of society nothing is as it seems…
A rebellion is rising.
And a tangled web of lies and double-crosses could destroy everything.”

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I read the first book in the Matched Trilogy a long time ago. Like very long ago. 2 years actually. You can find my review here. But it made such a lasting impact on me that as I begun to read Crossed, everything would come back, all the images, the feelings and emotions from the first book. I love this series because it’s about the emotional revolution and less about the actual one.

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Divergent – Movie Review

Divergent

In a dystopian Chicago, where you can only have one character attribute (either be intelligent, honest, kind, brave or selfless), Tris’s aptitude test proves that she is more than one, a Divergent. There’s only one problem. Divergents are dangerous for the Society and now Tris is in danger.

It is a book adaptation, that much is true. But it is good. Neil Burger brings Veronica Roth’s world to life in a 2-hour long flick. Burger, unlike his predecessors who have attempted at directing adaptations, decided to add to the book’s spectacular rather than take it apart and put it back together in a non-sensical narrative (see Beautiful Creatures). That alone gives him enough credit to go in the cinema with enough hope that you won’t leave as disappointed as with… let’s say, City of Bones. It has proven time and time again that using a book as guidance rather than adapting it for what it is and remaining faithful to it, destroys the film both in gross revenue and in critical reception. And unfortunately we’ve seen far too many failures this past year than successes (although this critic begs to differ. Please tell me when was the last time you saw an adaptation which faithfulness was its undoing? Uhm, can’t think of any? Exactly)

Casting-wise, the film showcases young talent, as well as harboring some established and respected thespians. Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn are among them. Winslet gives a tasty, yet punch-worthy villainess and Judd gives as her usual kick-ass, albeit a short one.

From the young talent, Shailene Woodley as Tris Prior is an astonishing choice for a lead. Although pretty, is not hot, but gives a charisma to her portrayal of this feminist heroine that is exactly what it needs. The world is full of sexy, hot women pretending to be high-schoolers and outcasts. For once we see a normal girl (turned even more normal with the help of make up an costume design) take the lead and take us on a thrilling ride of transformation and acceptance. She is what most young adult heroines in books look like, and it’s time we embraced that kind of appearance on the big screen as well. And when it comes to Woodley’s most important job on the film, she lends us her natural, raw talent and puts flesh on the bone of Roth’s baby. Continue reading

Divergent: The Book Review

Divergent

“Divergent” by the talented and young (I say this because to me that is important and I’ll tell you why later) Veronica Roth is the story of Tris, a girl who lives in a future where Chicago has changed and the fate of the rest of the world is unknown. In this Chicago, five factions exist. The Erudite, who value knowledge; the Candor, who value honesty; the Amity, who value compassion; the Dauntless, who value bravery; and the Abnegation, who value selflessness. When they reach the age of 16, teenagers have  to chose where they feel they belong according to an aptitude test which is supposed to tell them in which faction they are meant to spend the rest of their lives. When Tris takes the test, however, it cannot pin down one faction, but three. It is called Divergence, and the Society hunts them down. Now Tris has to decide not only who she is, but how to hide what she is.

I have been wanting to read this book for a long time, but always postponed it. I only started reading it so I could catch the movie (which is something I do lately, for some reason), but I was not disappointed. Roth has managed to create a world which seems quite superfluous and ambiguous on the surface, but when it gets down to the core, is believable and well-constructed.

Her narrative flows seamlessly throughout the different adventures of her young heroine and manages the story’s pacing tremendously.

Yet the best attribute of this book is its lead. Tris Prior is a young girl who has been taught to never think of herself and her needs and has to learn to be a warrior. Tris makes for a fantastic feminist heroine, something which we’ve only just started to see in modern literature and perhaps Tris is one to hold high on that list, next to Katniss and Hermione. Roth tells her story and her journey to adulthood and maturity without falling into too many cliches or bringing her out as an emotionless rock. She is a fighter in the making and that means that more than once, she comes face to face with her worst fears. She rarely relies on anyone for help, not that she doesn’t appreciate it, but she has an inner strength that no one else can see in her. She is truly a gem of a character and one every reader is bound to relate to.

Her romantic counterpart is as much of a gem as her. Four, a tough and often impenetrable young man, becomes as much trouble for Tris, as much as an ally and a hand of support. Behind his strong facade hides a man who is not afraid to admit to his fears and let a woman take the lead. He strikes a magical note among the array of fit and macho male leads of young adult fiction, who are not defeated by anything and all they can do is profess their endless, but tough as nails, love for their love interest. Four is definitely a realer man than any of them, so kudos to Miss Roth for his beautiful existence.

Talking of Roth, do you know how old she is? 25. Do you know how old she was when she published Divergent, her debut novel? 21! I say this because for most of us young authors, the majority of our colleagues that we look up to (in terms of success) are over 40, which when you’re newly of age and eager to start your life,  is not very promising. It tells you that you need to go through a lot of bad and unwanted jobs, have a family, have kids and only then will you manage to make your dream come true and that’s still a big if.  So having someone who is at the prime of their youth like Roth, or from the indie world, Samantha Young, is inspiring and hopeful for us budding authors. To have a few of them who are not only young, but also terrifically talented makes it uplifting.

Overall, Divergent is an amazing debut novel and a great opening to the trilogy. It is highly recommended!

That’s it from me. Stay tuned for my review of the film adaptation.

Until then,

Rhys out xXx

Under the Skin: A Chilling, Alternative, Yet Captivating Adaptation

Under the Skin

 

Jonathan Glazer is back with a feature film, after a long time of absence. This time with an adaptation of Michel Faber’s book of the same title, it tells the story of a beautiful, yet strange women who lures men into her lair, while getting acquainted with her own humanity.

The director, mostly known for his work on Sexy Beast and Birth decided long time ago to adapt the book and was working on the script for the better of a decade. What he delivers is a stripped to the bare bone version. His lead on the directorial side is strikingly influenced by Stanley Kubrick’s work, with the opening of the film reminiscent of the late director’s work on the iconic science fiction film “2001: Space Odyssey”. Glazer uses over and underexposure, flares, lengthy shots and the beautiful landscapes of the Scottish Highlands to portray a world alien to the lead character. Yet, his most compelling approach to the film was the candidness of Scarlett Johansson’s travails in the Glaswegian streets, with hidden cameras capturing everyday people, strangers lured by the actress’s beauty and seduction.

The music is complimentary to the film narration, since the lack of significant dialogue (in fact, there is next to none) is quite impactful to the storytelling. Mica Levi experiments with familiar and abnormal sounds to deliver a creepy soundtrack to an already peculiar adaptation.

Scarlett Johansson, the lead and one of the few actual actors of the film, shines in this film and gives a unique performance. One would expect of a Hollywood bred and fed actress to undermine or deteriorate an already odd film, yet her silence is as revealing as her nude scenes, which as frequent as they are, are also aesthetically correspondent to Glazer’s work.

It was definitely a different film to watch and not everyone will love it. In fact, my friend who I watched it with, wasn’t even sure if she liked it or not. And let me tell you. A few years ago I wouldn’t even have made it half-way through the film, before deeming it unwatchable, but seeing this film with my new-born directorial eyes it is a film I aspire to. Do not let the fact that it is based on a book keep you from watching it. With so many bad adaptations it is understandable, however Glazer’s vision sets him apart from all the rest and managed to create a film not for the mindless masses, but for the few and stoic.  Do not expect a joyful, hour and a half of a ride, but a disturbing journey into the human psyche and images that will stay with you for a long time.

Rhys out xXx

Frozen: Disney’s Future Is Looking Up

Frozen_Poster

 

Elsa was born with a secret and it is that secret that grows her and her sister, Anna apart. Elsa has the best intentions, but no control and her sister will do whatever it takes to undo the wrongs done by her sister.

Disney is back with another princess story based on the Andersen’s Snow Queen, only this time it’s not just about one princess, but two. Or to be more accurate, a princess and a queen. The story has twists and turns at every turn and just about when you think you know what is going to happen you are proven wrong.

Attention this review contains spoilers. LOTS OF THEM.

You have princess Anna, a clumsy character, whose loneliness has made her into a quirky person. Voiced by Kristen Bell, she has a fully-fledged personality, a deviation from the usual princess “stuck-ups” and at the same time a mockery of Disney’s past at the same time.

Elsa, voiced by the talented Idina Menzel, is serious and burdened with her natural gifts over snow and ice. Born different, her parents have forced her into solitude and suppression. Her life has no meaning and nothing to look up to.

With an array of talented voice actors, this movie takes a life of its own and, what a life that is! There are two men in this film. A prince and an ice merchant. One befriends Anna and the other becomes engaged to her. Disney uses their usual trope for their first act, introducing Anna’s Prince Charming, Hans (voice by Santino Fontana) and love at first sight. Only to be mocked by Kristoff (the charming Jonathan Groff) later on in the film. That’s right. Continue reading

Hunger Games: Catching Fire is On Fire

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After her stunt at the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss is on President Snow’s blacklist and he’ll do anything to stop her from becoming an idol of rebellion. Even sent her back to the arena that has scarred her for life.

As if the first film didn’t do a great job at staying faithful to the book, the second installment is a marvel on its own merit. Cinematically, now in the hands of the very talented Francis Lawrence, it excels and is nothing short of epic. Panem comes out fleshier than ever in all its glory and its misery, making a dystopian future that is relevant and relatable to today’s audience.

Oscar winning Jennifer Lawrence is given much more material to work with and demonstrates a bigger emotional range than in any of her movies, wrenching our hearts like a wrecking ball. She has managed to embed Katniss to the core of her performance and after re-watching the first film, it becomes blatantly obvious how Katniss has developed and changed from the happenings of the first installment. Katniss is traumatised, but also stronger and it shows in every inch of Lawrence’s movements, in the tinniest flinch of her face. Continue reading