Friday, May 21, 2010

Through a Lens III: Aly

This week I've got Aly from Fantasy4Eva stopping by for a few quick questions. So let's get this feature going!

Do you have character crushes?

Well I do have a few: Jace from the Mortal Instruments series, Alex from Perfect Chemistry, and Damon from the Vampire Diaries.

If you could be any book character, who would you be?
Hmm, well I would say Hermione from Harry Potter... didn't see that one coming, did you? She's kind, intelligent, and just an overall lovely girl.

Is there a book/series that everyone seems to have read but you?
Rules of Attraction! Why, everyone, must you read the one book that I am in love with?!

Which book[s] make you cry?
Lol, I don't like confessing such things, but for you I'll make an exception! P.S. I Love You was the first book that brought me to tears, after I read that I really got into my tearjerkers. The next book, I believe, was Thirteen Reasons Why. I don't think any other book has made me want to physically make a difference like this book did...

Which book[s] make you laugh?
You know, I don't think I can remember any books that have made me laugh...

Have you ever been unable to finish a book?
Yes a few times actually, but best if I keep my mouth shut. If anyone wants to know, just email me and I'll tell you.

What books did you like when you were a kid?
I don't recall books from being young, but I remember these, they were called Biff and Chip and I loved them.

When is your favorite time to read? Favorite place?
I love to read at night. I don't know why, maybe because everybody is asleep, meaning I can read in peace. I'll normally have some tea and cookies beside me at the ready. My favorite place has always been my room, my little sanctuary but to be honest I haven't really experimented with a lot of places either. I would love to read at a beach, just somewhere peaceful with a lovely view.

If you could hang out with any author for a day, who would it be?
It would have to be Cassandra Clare, simply because I shall always be a fan of hers for introducing Jace and Clary to me. So yes she would make the author who would make my day.

If you could adapt a book/series into a movie, it would be...
I was going to say City of Bones, but since that's already in the works, I would say Thirteen Reasons Why. I know there are a lot of books out there that talk about suicide, but not a lot of them have people like Clay and Hannah. I know that a movie is hardly ever better than a book, but through a movie such as Thirteen Reasons Why I believe it can make a difference for the better.

What is your favorite word?
Can I pick two?! Hahaha "dopey" and "bonzo"! I say these words when I'm normally in a happy or hyper mood, or sometimes in an affectionate way.

Bestsellers -
Book Blog - Togetherness
Vampires - Smexy
Science fiction - Hmmm
Classics - Nope
Harry Potter - Dreams

If you could recommend one book to everyone, it would be...
I would recommend Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler. I don't think enough people are aware of it, it's magical, saddening and beautiful all wrapped up in one little box.

Thank you, Aly! I enjoyed having you :)

If you would like to be featured on Through a Lens, email me or leave your email address and I'll send you the questions!


Brightly Woven - Alexandra Bracken
Genre: YA Fantasy
# of pages: 368 (hb)
Publisher: Egmont
Amelia's Age-Level Recommendation: targeted @ teenagers, but good for the 12+ group too
Brightly Woven @ Parental Book Reviews
My Thoughts
This review is going to be very atypical, mainly because of the weird combination of 1) not liking it, and 2) recommending it to others

Simply put, Brightly Woven was a disappointment. There's definitely a dichotomy between this book and my previous read, Eyes Like Stars, and so that probably has a lot to do with why I didn't like this book. For me at least, there is a middle ground between "good" and "bad" when it comes to taste, and while I didn't find this book bad, it wasn't good, either.

My reasons? the characters. North was fascinating, I will admit. He is hands down my favorite character in the book, and I loved his scenes. He was great. However, he wasn't believable in his role. A wizard who is completely direction impaired and who relies on the map-skills of a girl who's never left her own village? Yeah right. Sydelle - the story's feisty MC - rotated between being occasionally entertaining and heartfelt and being for the most part an annoying, whiny and incredibly stupid narrator. Now I'm not usually the "yeah, girls are macho, too!" type, but it's one thing to scream independence, and it's another to just be an idiot. She whines about North being unfair and not trusting her and so forth, yet when she goes off and tries to do something on her own, she shows serious lack of hindsight, judgment or rationality. That's "realistic" to a certain extent, but I deal with enough frustrating people in real life---I don't want to have to read about a stupid character, either. I know, I'm sounding harsh--I'm sorry! And another quick thing: North is all of 18 years old, and yet he says things like "when I was a boy" or "in my youth" or whatever and talks like he's so old. Yeah, you're a real full moon away from your AARP card, dude.
What I liked: I liked the gradual relationship development between Sydnelle and North. They had some very poignant, well-written scenes and I do credit Bracken for making Brightly Woven enjoyable (in parts).

With regards to the plot, I am seriously not sure what to think. Parts of it were exciting and parts of it dragged. Bracken's writing really aggravated me, and that's more the reason I didn't like this than anything else. Her writing just seemed off. If Brightly Woven was an amusement park ride, I'd say it would be a wooden roller coaster: it's fun and exciting at times, but the ride is very bumpy, rickety, and you wonder how in the world the coaster got a license to operate in the first place.
Her magic, too, is somewhat interesting, but severely underdeveloped. I think that BW could/should have been optioned as a series, because there is so much information that is touched on but never truly explained, I felt like I was wading through really shallow waters. Like "oohh, good idea, but not quite there yet."

To speak frankly, I was expecting way more. A college senior publishing a debut novel is pretty uncommon, and so I was expecting brilliancy on a Christopher Paolini level, and to be frank some more, I didn't get it. But it did have likable moments, and I have a sneaking suspicion that (thanks to the loads of other 4-and-5-star reviews out there) my review might just be the "odd one out." And so would I recommend it to others? Yeah, probably. There are no content restrictions or anything, I do need to salute Alexandra Bracken for presenting a clean read that could be read and enjoyed by multiple age levels (you might even find yourself thinking of a certain wizard named Howl---I sure did!).

Final Rating:This is a pretty good book - don't expect much out of it, like I did, and you'll probably enjoy it more, and don't put it at the tippy-top of your TBR list. Read Eyes Like Stars or something first!
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