Friday, May 25, 2018

The Jewel by Amy Ewing | Review

Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 2, 2014

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty-because in the Jewel, the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel's glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess's petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

I recently purchased this whole series from Book Outlet, because they were all so cheap. I had heard great things about it too, and the covers are gorgeous, so I thought, why not?

what i liked
  • Violet. She was a pretty badass character who was secretly rebellious from the start. I mean, the girl spent her Reckoning Day wearing pajamas because that's what she wanted to wear and it's what she felt comfiest in. She is a relatable character in that way. 
  • The world-building. I thought Ewing did an excellent job with her explanation of the world, and I bet that there will be even more to come in the future. I found the way that the world is set up to be so interesting too, with The Jewel (where the royals live) right in the center. 
  • The pacing. I never really felt like I was bored. There was always something that was keeping my interest, which is hard to find in a book nowadays. 
what i disliked
  • Ash. I loved him at first, I really did. But as I saw that an insta-love was beginning, I liked him less. He doesn't seem to have much meat to him either, like there isn't much to his character. I'm hoping that there will be more about him in the next book, but for now, I don't like him much. 
  • The ending!! I want to know what's going to happen next.
This was a pretty good first book in a trilogy, and overall, I'm excited to continue on. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab | Review

22055262Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: February 24, 2015

Kell is one of the last travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.
There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King--George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered--and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London--a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was a Black London. But no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and teacher lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.

Before I started this book, I knew that there was a lot of hype surrounding it. Everyone seems to love this book and the world that Schwab created. That's probably why I went into this book with really high expectations. Sadly, I was let down. I blame the hype.

what i liked
  • Kell's jacket. Who wouldn't want a multi-sided jacket that you could store like an infinite amount of things in??
  • The idea of multiple Londons. Schwab's world-building was literally great, and I couldn't get enough of it. 
  • Lila-she's such a badass character. I think she was actually my favorite character of the whole story. 
  • Schwab's writing style, which was so awesome. It was interesting, because I'm usually drawn to really lyrical writing, but I appreciated how Schwab didn't really fluff things up. 
what i didn't like
  • I found it... boring. I felt like nothing was really going on a lot of the time, which led me to have trouble pushing through the book. The pacing was just incredibly slow for me.
  • When events did happen, I knew they were going to happen before they did. That's right. I found the book predictable... which was sad. 
  • I didn't ship the possibility of a romance. I know that many people who have read this book ship Kell and Lila with all their hearts, but I didn't really care for the two of them together. 
So, overall, I didn't hate this book, but I didn't love it. So, 3 stars it is.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Being There by Jerzy Kosinski | Review

677877Title: Being There
Author: Jerzy Kosinski
Publisher: Grove Press
Release Date: September 15, 1999 (originally published January 1, 1970)

A modern classic now available from Grove Press, Being There is one of the most popular and significant works from a writer of international stature. It is the story of Chauncey Gardiner - Chance, an enigmatic but distinguished man who emerges from nowhere to become an heir to the throne of a Wall Street tycoon, a presidential policy adviser, and a media icon. Truly "a man without qualities," Chance's straightforward responses to popular concerns are heralded as visionary. But though everyone is quoting him, no one is sure what he's really saying. And filling in the blanks in his background proves impossible. Being There is a brilliantly satiric look at the unreality of American media culture that is, if anything, more trenchant now than ever. 
This was a book that I had to read for one of my classes at school. It was for a comm class, so of course the reading wasn't that bad. The story follows Chance, who basically spent his whole life in a garden. He soon becomes a national hit, after the man who lives in the garden's home dies.

This book, though it may not seem like it on the surface, is actually pretty funny. There are so many ridiculous things that happen that you can't help but laugh while you're reading it. My roommate took the class with me, and she read it before me. While she was reading it, she'd literally start laughing and tell me that insane things were happening in the book and that I'd understand more when I read it.

Being There is also a super short book, so you really fly through it when you're reading it. If you're looking for a quick, funny read this summer, then I'd definitely suggest picking this one up.