Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)

The second novel in the Delirium is well suited for it's name. Pandemonium. It's chaotic characters and actions in a chaotic world, where order is falling apart. The resistance is rising, and the danger gets darker. While Delirium is full of the hope love brings, Pandemonium is full of the hurt and the healing, the aftermath of love. Because there must be an aftermath for there to be another beginning.

The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

It's true; the old Lena, the Lena of Delirium is dead. She dies in the Wilds, and experiences rebirth as an Invalid, a resister, a fighter. She's fierce, strong, tough. The first "then" chapter is terrifically described as Lena's run through the Wilds, a run through herself. Sadly to say, I found the first half of the book stronger than the second. And the "then" parts a lot more interesting and descriptive than the "now" parts. I didn't want to know about Julian and the Scavengers. I wanted to know about Lena's survival and her new family. Raven, Tack, Sarah, Blue, Hunter. I think it would have been awesome to have part of this book told in Raven's perspective or in Julian's.

I'm having a hard time writing this review, because I have so much I want to say, just havin' a hard time sayin' it. I remember when I read reviews of Delirium that said it reminded them of the Hunger Games, and I though "no way." But I see Pandemonium as being  more closer to the Hunger Games. It also reminds me of Crossed by Ally Condie, similar stories and similar worlds. Katniss, Cassia, and Lena have to make two ultimate choices: who they are going to be and who they are going to be with. Lena never thought she would have to live without Alex, the boy who made her choose to live in the Wilds, leaving behind her family and her way of life.

Then, Lena falls in love again. In New York. A new city, a new family, a new identity, a new mission. And a new boy. Julian. He is the son of Thomas Fineman who runs the DFA (Deliria Free America) and wants his son to get the cure ASAP. His other son, unheard of and unknown, died as a resister of the cure. Julian, by circumstances outside of his control, is going to be like his brother. Is going to refuse the cure. After he meets and falls in love with Lena (while they are with the Scavengers).

All I have to say about Julian is that he is not like Alex, Lena's first love. But it is easy to see how Lena and Julian end up falling in love. Part of me wants to scream at her, "No, don't be in love with him. Don't forget your on opposite sides!" But Lena has been through enough to make her own choices. She rescues him from death with Raven's help. Raven, who is courageous and bold, Lena's role model and mentor. She has a lot of good wisdom, especially about life and choices.

As for the ending, DON'T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK, I didn't want a love triangle. When I read the last word I thought, "No, no, Lena's been through enough." We all saw Alex die so Lena could live free. I couldn't believe that he had come back on the last page. My final thought is that it's not meant to be that way, it's not right. Lena, poor and broken Lena, her heart should not have to choose.

Some quotes from Pandemonium:

“Grief is like sinking, like being buried. I am in water the tawny color of kicked-up dirt. Every breath is full of choking. There is nothing to hold on to, no sides, no way to claw myself up. There is nothing to do but let go.
Let go. Feel the weight all around you, feel the squeezing of your lungs, the slow, low pressure. Let yourself go deeper. There is nothing but bottom. There is nothing but the taste of metal, and the echoes of old things, and the days that look like darkness.”

“In approved places, every story serves a purpose. But forbidden books are so much more. Some of them are webs; you can feel your way along their threads, but just barely, into strange and dark corners. Some of them are balloons bobbing up through the sky: totally self-contained, and unreachable, but beautiful to watch.
And some of them- the best ones- are doors.”

“We can never understand. We can only try, fumbling our way through the tunneled places, reaching for light.”  
“People themselves are full of tunnels: winding, dark spaces and caverns; impossible to know all the places inside of them. Impossible even to imagine.” 

 “In a world without love, this is what people are too each other: values, benefits, and liabilities, numbers, and data. We weigh, and the soul is ground to dust.” 

“Through wind, and tempest, storm, and rain; The calm shall be buried inside of me; A warm stone, heavy and dry; The root, the source, a weapon against pain” 

“If you’re smart, you care. And if you care, you love. That's the thing: We didn't really care. A world without love is also a world without stakes.”

Quotes are from GoodReads, where there are ever more quotes , and where this review is also posted.

Other covers:

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)            Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)
(Personally I REALLY liked these two covers, almost more than the one up top even though it is gorgeous)

A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks

A Bend in the Road

Summary from GoodReads is at

It's the story of how Miles Ryan and Sarah Anderson fell in love. But really it's the story of Missy Ryan's tragic hit-and-run death and the person who killed her and never confessed to the crime. It's about grief and small-town living and family and secrets and forgiveness and letting go and everything else that's in between. It's about how the world is not meant to be what it is. And how tragically beautiful humans are.

I thought the plot was very excellent, as Sparks' books normally are. I'm glad the book had a happy ending! (Sorry if I ruined it for you). It's like the Rescue in that way, but where the events in the Rescue were random and bizarre, what happens in ABITR is realistic. What I didn't like was how the killer narrated parts of the book. It was just hard to get a sense of him, and I wanted that. I liked how the characters developed--they show the fierce strength and determination of the human spirit. I liked the ghost story and how Sarah and Miles fell in love. And Jonah was as darlin' as ever. Plus the novel was set in New Bern, North Carolina. The place seems like somewhere perfect. Somewhere perfect.

I don't really have much more to say. The cover is perfect for the plot (can't leave that detail out!) So I'll leave it off with this: It's a pretty darn good read.

“Where does a story truly begin? In life, there are seldom clear-cut beginnings, those moments when we can, in looking back, say that everything started. Yet there are moments when fate intersects with our daily lives, setting in motion a sequence of events whose outcome we could never have foreseen.”  --from ABITR

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Follow Friday--May 19, 2012

Gain New Blog Followers

Hosted at Alison Can Read at To participate follow her and the features. For more rules click the button or go to the website.

Q: Summer Break is upon us! What would be the perfect vacation spot for you to catch up on your reading & relax?

A: Well I don't know if I really have much of a summer break,  because I'm going to be in college for the next 4 weeks and I just graduated from high school. Then I'll hopefully be working as long as they don't let me go for missing so much time. Even if that happens hopefully I'll get a job SOMEWHERE. Then I'll be going to Camp Barnabas and to Colorado with my youth group in July. And somewhere in the summer I'm going to Chicago and maybe I'll spend some more time in Colorado because my yiya lives there.
As for a perfect vacation spot I'd love to go to the UK and read on the cliffs or in the grassy fields or by the oceans or sitting on top of barrels of hay in the farmlands. I'm happiest by the ocean. I haven't been reading a lot because I've just been SO SO SO busy.

Post your own links below and your twitter handles, because I follow back on twitter. Have a great Friday and a great weekend. Love, Rachel

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuney Tuesday--May 15, 2012

Hosted by JAYA and Eileen at their blogs. Click the button to see all the rules, details. Basically, you just post a song, write a response, then link up.

My song: Eyes Open--Taylor Swift
Everybody's waiting
Everybody's watching
Even when you're sleeping
Keep your ey-eyes open

The tricky thing
Is yesterday we were just children
Playing soldiers
Just pretending
Dreaming dreams with happy endings
In backyards, winning battles with our wooden swords
But now we've stepped into a cruel world
Where everybody stands and keeps score

Keep your eyes open

Everybody's waiting for you to breakdown
Everybody's watching to see the fallout
Even when you're sleeping, sleeping
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open

So here you are, two steps ahead and staying on guard
Every lesson forms a new scar
They never thought you'd make it this far
But turn around (turn around), oh they've surrounded you
It's a showdown (showdown) and nobody comes to save you now
But you've got something they don't
Yeah you've got something they don't
You've just gotta keep your eyes open

Everybody's waiting for you to breakdown
Everybody's watching to see the fallout
Even when you're sleeping, sleeping
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes

Keep your feet ready
Heartbeat steady
Keep your eyes open
Keep your aim locked
The night goes dark
Keep your eyes open

(Keep your eyes open [4x])

Everybody's waiting for you to breakdown
Everybody's watching to see the fallout
Even when you're sleeping, sleeping

Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open

Response: I really like this song. I think Eileen did it last week or the last before and said that it just seemed perfect for the Hunger Games. I feel the same way, even though I haven't seen the movie yet! I know, I know, and yep it's killing me. To make this song even better, is that it's written and sung by Taylor Swift whom I absolutely love and want to meet one day. I really like  this part of the song: "So here you are, two steps ahead and staying on guard,  Every lesson forms a new scar, They never thought you'd make it this far." I also like the second stanza starting with "the tricky thing is just yesterday we were children..." It is, indeed, a tricky thing.

I also have a video link that I really liked, please watch:

Until There Was You, The Rescue, Marley and Me

Until There Was You

I don't have much time to review this one, so just some thoughts. Liam is not a bad boy biker. I love that Posey owns an architectural salvaging company and lives in a church with three cats and a great dane. The dog makes the cover complete. I love Shiloh! Gosh, yall have no idea how much I want a great dane now. URG!!! Posey and Liam make a cute couple. Posey becomes brave, go girl! Liam is such a devoted father, and I loved that quality. I thought the Meadows and the town were beautiful places. I also loved the whole bell story :)

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog

I don't have much to say about this book, but I did really like it. My dog just died several months ago, and she was a lab so I understand Grogan. I watched the movie when it first came out (twice) and cried both times. That's why I wanted to read the book. I guess what I learned is that we have limited time so we have try to love best we can. I also might be going to school in Miami so it was nice to get all the cultural references. The movie is very close to the book, so good work on that producers. I also might be getting another dog in a couple months. It's going to be a girl, and I'm going to get to name her.

The Rescue

This is one of the few Nicholas Sparks' books with a happy ending. Little did I know, because I didn't expect it. And in a way it was disappointing, the star-crossed lovers losing to fate are the stories that define Sparks' writing. Part of me is glad that Denise and Taylor do get happily ever after--they deserved it, yet it is not as satisfying as the heart wrenching, desperate, beautiful ending of Dear John. In a way the ending, and the story is incomplete. For me it was not written the right way: the characters go through a lot of grief and pain in the beginning and then have peace and bliss. It's suppose to be the other way around. (Except in the case of the Last Song, but that's a book about teenagers and was written for Miley's acting career so that's understandable). Now that's I've said all that I'll say what I liked about the novel. Denise, her love for her son, Kyle, her fierce determination and love. Honestly, this book would be so much better if it were less about Taylor and more about Denise/Kyle. Taylor is a complicated character that I never really understood. Nor did I understand all of the accidents, not that I'll say more because I don't want to spoil The Rescue. Overall, the character descriptions and developement are better than the plot itself. The ending is not the worst thing ever. Something else happens that made me not like this novel so much. I wish I had liked it so I could have written a positive review! URGGGG, but let's leave with this: maybe if it becomes a movie, the movie will be good. That's a possibility.