Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Good morning!

Hope everyone had a pleasant weekend. I spent mine working and reading. I'm almost done reading another book, Easy by Tammara Webber, but today we will be discussing Through the Ever Night, the sequel to Veronica Rossi's debut sensation Under the Never Sky. So here it goes.

Through the Ever Night begins right where Under the Never Sky left off. It's been months since Aria and Perry have seen each other, and they are dying to be in each other's arms. But things aren't going to be that easy. Now that Perry is Blood Lord of the Tides, he has to think of what is best for his people (especially with the tribe close to starving thanks to the rise in Aether storms), while Aria is scared that the tribe knowing he is in love with a half dweller will cause them to turn on him.

And it just gets better from there. Or should I say worse?

What I liked:

Veronica Rossi proved once again that she can deliver an amazingly crafted story.  The plot moves fluidly from one scene to the next and is paced to perfection. A lot of authors now are doing the alternating first person POV, and Rossi could teach them a thing or two. She shifts seamlessly between perspectives, and each voice is distinct and carries equal weight.

Aria is a much stronger character in this book than she was in Under the Never Sky. She is confident, calculating, and precise in her decision making and execution. She also has much stronger instincts and skills to match them. Yet, she is still equally caring, dedicated to her goals, and ready to help anyone who needs her, even if not saving them would save her a lot of heartache and headaches (i.e., Soren, who tried to kill her at the beginning of the first book). She is always prepared to do the right thing, whether it benefits her or not, especially when it comes to doing what is best for Perry.

Perry, on the other hand, grows increasingly vulnerable toward Aria, especially now that he is rendered to her, and realistically lacks confidence in himself as a leader. Even when he believes he is doing the right thing, he is continuously called out for his impulsiveness and loyalty to the wrong people (i.e. Aria). But he slowly grows into the leader the Tides need, rather than the one they believe they want, and he slowly earns their trust and respect. Perry is a well-rounded character (Aria, too), but I felt that he evolved much more in this novel than he did in the last. He is becoming a much wiser and mature character, and I can't wait to see what happens to him next.

My heart wanted to break for Roar. He just does not have good luck in this book. You'll, of course, have to read the book to know what I'm talking about.

Cinder is a great character, I just wish there was more of him in it. I do like how he slowly assimilates himself with the Tides, even finding first love. Aaaah. And of course, he saves the day with his weird Aether related superpowers. I imagine it looking something like this:

I liked the implantation of Kirra in this novel, as well. She had an interesting role to play. She is like the anti-Aria. She's everything Perry wanted at the beginning of the series--frisky, loyal, resilient, sexy, a Scire, and into Perry. She is the epitome of what he should want, the perfect mate to serve at his side, a mate who his tribe will approve of and look up to. One small glitch: she's not Aria. (cue the "Awwww"s)

Finally, we got a bit of insight as to what the Aether is, how it came to be, and a bit of how it works. I'm still curious as to what Cinder's connection to it is and more on how it works.

What I didn't like:

NOTHING. There is not one thing to dislike about this book! The connection between Aria and Perry is "sin"tilating and leaps off the page, the story is incredible and masterfully crafted, it tears at the heartstrings and makes you root for the characters. It's what every YA dystopian fantasy author should aspire to. This trilogy, alongside examples like The Hunger Games and Delirium, should be set aside as models on how dystopia is done right.

All that's missing is a bit more Cinder, but I digress.

Read Under the Never Sky and then read this book. If you've already read Under the Never Sky, please pass GO and collect your $200. Then read Through the Ever Night. It is guaranteed to be one of the best YA books of the year.

Overall Rating: 5 ESPRESSO SHOTS!

What will happen next? I guess we will find out when we cross Into the Still Blue!!! I'm already hot with edge of my seat anticipation. It can't come soon enough!

Have a good week, everyone!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book to Movie News!

Good evening, everyone!

I've been following news from Publisher's Weekly and some other blogs pretty closely the past few days, and I've come across some interesting news coming out (some is rumor, but let's hope it's true), mostly dealing with a few of my favorite books and the movie/television industry. It was just too good not to share!

1) David Fincher, the incredible director who brought us such gems as Fight Club, The Social Network, and the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is said to be in talks to direct a film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. This, I believe, is an interesting pairing, and I wouldn't trust many other directors to adapt a film like this. He's done fantastic adaptations in the past and he's one of the few that actually maintains the bones and integrity of a book. So this excites me. Especially since Gillian Flynn has been involved in adapting the book to a screenplay. The other interesting aspect to this news is that the rights to the film were purchased by 20th Century Fox and will be produced by Pacific Standard, the production company owned by Reese Witherspoon. So, I guess that means Reese will be playing Amy Elliott Dunne? I don't know if I can see this. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Reese Witherspoon. She's phenomenal and has played good crazy in the past. I just don't know if she is the right actress to play Amy. And who will they find to play Nick Dunne? May I suggest Gabriel Macht? Or perhaps Tom Hardy?

For more on this, check out this link:

2) Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln is in talks to become a film starring Tom Hanks. Again, not sure about this one.

3) They Royal Shakespeare Company has a stage adaptation of Hilary Mantel's novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies in the works for their 2013 winter season. They will reportedly be adapted into two parts, and will include unseen written material by the author herself. The play will run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon from December 2013 until March 2014. Don't know about you, but I seriously want to see this. BRING UP TO THE U.S.! SOON! PLEASE!


4) TCG is reportedly releasing a printed edition of the Lincoln screenplay. I think this will be a great gift for your writer friends who are also film buffs and history buffs. Don't forget to read the original work the screenplay was based off, Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals. And see the movie! Seriously, if Daniel Day Lewis doesn't win the Oscar for this role, he's being robbed.

5) This is absolutely exciting news to me! One of my favorite authors, Lauren Oliver, has announced that her Delirium trilogy will be adapted into a television show by Fox! Fox had originally purchased the film rights, but seeing as the trilogy has quite a few twists and subplots and depth, it would be better suited to go the way of The Vampire Diaries. So they purchased a pilot instead! I am sincerely looking forward to this. Now the question is: who will play Lena, Alex, and Hanna? I can wait on Julian. He probably won't show up until season 2 or 3 anyway. Who do you guys want to see in the Delirium cast? Just one more thing: doesn't this sound more like a CW/WB agenda than Fox?

Oh well...


That's all from me. Have a great night!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Good morning!

Today is a beautiful day, one that will live on in history and in our memories forever. That's because today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. I love days like these because they really portray what our country stands for, our democracy at work. It shows the optimism we have for the future and the hope we have as a nation in our equal chances to succeed. I feel so blessed to have been present for this moment. Congratulations to President Obama and Vice President Biden on their second Inauguration, and God Bless America!

Okay. Getting off my soap box now.

Let's get this party started! This is my first book review on this blog, so let me explain how this is going to work. As your resident barista and coffee addict, I decided that instead of stars or thumbs up, for each point that a book earns, I will give it an espresso shot, up to five shots. Just enough to keep anyone, even a seasoned coffee drinker, bouncing off the walls for a few hours (Trust me. I've done it.). So, at the end of my reviews, look for this symbol

for my overall assessment of my rating of the chosen book.

This week's review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Do you remember this guy? 
This is Scott Peterson. Ten years ago, he was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife Laci Peterson and their unborn child. When reading Gone Girl, this case came to mind a lot. It had a lot of parallels to the plot of Gillian Flynn's novel. Of course, if you've read this book, you know things end very differently. But this, like the Scott Peterson case, is the basic theme of the novel: Is the husband always the prime suspect? With the increase of technology, can anyone get a fair trial if everyone knows what's happening before the trial? Because of technology and the media, is there such a thing as an impartial jury? Does the court of public opinion decide your fate? Are we still innocent until proven guilty, or are we now guilty until proven innocent?

What I liked about this novel is that it carries these themes well and realistically. Neither of the main characters is particularly likeable, and I struggled to figure out who I wanted to root for. Ultimately I felt more sympathetic to one more than the other, but near the end I had to force myself to feel that sympathy.

The novel begins as Nick Dunne and his wife Amy Elliott Dunne prepare to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. Their marriage is on rocky ground, both are fed-up with the other person. After losing their jobs and moving to Missouri, neither is the person they were when they wed. Amy, once vivacious and rich (the heiress of her parents Amazing Amy children's book franchise wealth); Nick, the charming magazine journalist; now both are shadows. Then Amy goes missing. And everyone begins to think Nick had something to do with it, thanks mostly to a beautifully crafted cover up.

This is the first Gillian Flynn novel I've read, so I was skeptical going in due to all the hype the book was receiving. I don't like to give into hype, as the reality doesn't live up to the fantasy. I'm glad that I picked it up. Gillian Flynn has a firm grasp of language and diction. Her descriptions were strong, her plotting was done exceptionally well. The plot had a sense of predictable inevitability, but still maintained a large degree of suspense. I loved how easily she was able to switch back and forth between perspectives and maintain the distinct personalities and voices of both characters.

Where this book lost points was in the end. It was a good ending, it seemed inevitable that it would end the way it did. However, by the end I wanted to slap both characters for making all of the wrong decisions, no matter how realistic and inevitable they felt. I wanted to slap them both and shake them and yell "What are you doing?!"

Overall it was an amazing book. I am excited to read Gillian Flynn's other two books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places. I really enjoy her writing style and her voice, and I look forward to see what else she brings in the future. Read this book. I highly recommend it. You won't regret reading it.

Overall Rating: 4.5 espresso shots


Have a good week, everybody!


Update: Casting for the 2014-2015 film adaptation is underway for Gone Girl. Nick Dunne will be played by Oscar winner Ben Affleck, Amy Elliott Dunne by Pride and Prejudice actress Rosamunde Pike, and Desii Collins will be played by none other than.. Wait for it... NEIL PATRICK HARRIS! I am truly psyched about this casting, especially NPH as Desi. I know he will play the creeper I know Desi to be XD. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book News

Exciting book news this week! Doubleday announced this week that the newest Dan Brown book in the Robert Langdon series will be released this May. But more, I'd like to know when their going to film the next movie? When will we see Tom Hanks in "The Lost Symbol?" (Forgive the quotation marks. My phone doesn't do HTML formatting.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

The First Brew

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my blog. My name is Meg and I will be your barista, serving you book news and reviews, coffee binge rants, and the occasional political anecdote (hopefully there will be few, but seeing as I'm a bit of a politics junkie, I can't make any promises).

If there are two things in this world that I am addicted to and know a lot about, it's coffee and books (and like I said, politics). And you couldn't really blame me. I have spent the last five years completely immersed in both. I graduated in May 2011 with my Bachelors degree in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida (Shout out to my USF peeps! Go Bulls!) At the same time I was going back and forth between jobs at Books a Million (BAM peeps!) and Coffee Beanery (Coffee Beanery peeps!). And now, I work at a public library. See? Coffee and Books, Books and Coffee.The two complete each other, like Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire. I mean, why else would they put coffee shops in the middle of bookstores? (Damn you, Books a Million for switching to Yogurt Mountain!)

So now you know about my addictions. What are yours? Come on, don't be shy.

So some interesting things happened this week.

1) I turned 25 (Woot!). That is correct, I am a quarter century old. To celebrate, my close friends and I went to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. It was awesome and I came home with two new books, a Despicable Me minion (He's so fluffy!), a coffee mug with my coat of arms on it, and tons of awesome memories, pictures, and a video of my friend doing karaoke. So in a word...

2) I finished reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I will post my review soon. Just know that it will be good. Actually, more than good. Now, I'm reading Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi, which I expect to also give a rave review after reading it's predecessor, Under the Never Sky, which I LOVE!

3) We saw President Obama put forward common sense recommendations for gun regulation reform to the public, which I'm really excited about and fully support. We also saw a lot of outrage from heavy conservatives and the NRA, which was really distasteful. I have a lot of friends who are pro-gun and against regulating fire arms because of some notion that it will lead to tyranny and fascism or whatever (guess that's just life as a blue dot in a red state), but if that were true, wouldn't he have put forward more executive orders rather than putting the task on Congress? Not very tyrannical. 

Anyway, I know I could get deeper into this, but sleep is calling. Like nature, when sleep calls, you must answer. Or else...

Good night everyone! And have a good weekend!

Don't forget your coffee in the morning! (Using amaretto creamer from International Delight these days. HEAVEN!)