Monday, January 23, 2012

Daily Dose #7...I wish I were British

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Publisher: Firebird (September 6,
Pages: 480
Stars: 4/5
Finn has escaped Incarceron, but Keiro and Attia are still Inside. Outside, things are not at all what Finn expected - and both Finn's and Claudia's very lives hang on Finn convincing the Court that he is the lost prince. Back Inside, Keiro and Attia are on the hunt for Sapphique's glove, which legend says he used to escape. In order to find it, they must battle the prison itself. Incarceron has built itself a body and it wants to go Outside - just like Sapphique, the only prisoner Incarceron ever loved. [Book Description from]
            I have to admit, I had preconceived expectations for this book. After being completely blown away by Incarceron, I was expecting Sapphique to be just as amazing. No, actually, I was expecting it to be more amazing. Because that’s what sequels are supposed to be, right? The grand finale, the big finish, the one that takes your breath away.  
Sapphique didn’t leave me breathless. It wasn’t amazing. Well, parts of it were amazing. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the actually story was great and well written, just like Incarceron, but the ending left me unsatisfied. It was kind of strange, to be honest. Mrs. Fisher’s writing style has the ability to dazzle you because it’s like poetry- it’s enchanting. On the other hand, it leaves you thinking, “That was beautiful. But I have no idea what just happened.”
The Good:
The beginning was great! I loved the whole magic show act with Rix and Attia, and I loved how Mrs. Fisher deceived us (that’s all I’m saying- no spoilers!). I think the beginning gripped me more than Incarceron did; it had me hooked faster and surer. It’s too bad the whole book wasn’t as good as the beginning.  
The Bad:
Some parts were kind of tacky, I thought. Too cliché for Catherine Fisher’s style. I can’t recall which specific parts were tasteless, but I do remember that I didn’t like Rix’s reference to the story of Adam and Eve. The glove was supposed to represent the apple. I remember thinking, “Mrs. Fisher has woven this amazing tale that is unlike any other; why did she have to steal a Bible story?!” I just thought that maybe she could have been more original, or left the reference out altogether. Some people might find it enchanting, but I thought it was corny.
The Ugly:  
The. Ending. Was. Awful. I felt really discontent with how everything was resolved. But I can’t say that I have a better idea of how it could have ended. Just not like that. Other people might be fine with it; but I didn’t like it. That’s just me, though. Yep, just me complaining. Changing the subject now…
Like I said in my review for Incarceron, this book is very dark. It’s very well written, which means it has the ability to drag you into the story, into the Realm, into Incarceron itself. Which pretty much means that you feel like you have a dark cloud hanging over your head the whole time. I’ll be blunt: parts are just downright depressing. I seriously felt so depressed and heavy when I was reading this book that I had to put it away for a week and read something lighter. Some people might not have a problem with it, but I did. So just as a warning: you might want to have some anti-depressants on hand when you dive into Sapphique. J
To conclude, Sapphique was an incredible read aside from some cheesy parts and its overall dark mood. I think a mature reader would really enjoy it without having too many issue with it. It has a good message of how we try and ignore our problems and flaws, and the disaster that can cause.
Quick Content Review-
Language: Mild (three b-words and three h-words).
Sexual: None
Violence: Moderate- Heavy (It was pretty much the same as it was in Incarceron; not too bad for a mature reader, but I wouldn’t recommend it to the squeamish.)
And just for fun, here's my all-time favorite quote from page 380:
Casper: "Who are you?"
Keiro: "Your worst nightmare."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cool Beans by Erynn Mangum

Publisher: NavPress (April 1, 2010)
Pages: 304
Stars: 5/5

Everything seems to be going perfectly for Maya Davis: She has a great job at a coffee shop, gets along with her parents, and is happily single. That is until her best friend unknowingly starts dating Maya’s high school sweetheart, her annoyingly perfect brother moves back to town, and her co-worker starts showing interest in her. What is God trying to teach her about life, love, and commiserating over coffee? [Back cover]
I. Love. This. Book.
This is the fourth book I’ve read by Erynn Mangum. I read her other chick-lit trilogy, The Lauren Holbrook series, a couple years back, and I’m STILL in love with it. Cool Beans had the same effect on me that the Lauren Holbrook series did- it got me laughing. I was cackling at something on every other page. If it wasn’t Maya (though it was Maya, most of the time), it was Jack and his annoying parrot. Or Calvin and his quirks. I swear, I even laughed at Mrs. Mitchell. It’s apparent that Erynn has this incredible talent to make anything and everything hilarious. Which is exactly what us girls need sometimes- a different, more hilarious perspective on life. Maya didn’t have it easy. She had difficulties and bouts of depression, I’m sure (I mean, she’s female- let’s be realistic here). But she didn’t curl up in her bed and cry about it. She laughed it off, kept up her cheerful spirit, drank 11 cups of coffee at work, and when she got home at the end of the day, she curled up on the couch with a bowl of ice cream! *As a side note, don’t ever try and consume the amount of sugar or caffeine that Maya consumed…I’m pretty sure it’s life threatening.*
I loved Maya’s quirks (like how she was so addicted to coffee, she would seriously not be able to function properly without it) and her detestation of health food (I can totally relate). We can all learn something from her child-like approach to walking with God. (And I just have to say, even though it was apparent to me that Jack + Maya = heart by page 22, it didn’t bother me that it was obvious how it would turn out. J Some early-on spoilers are just plain ok, especially when we see it coming but the girl doesn’t. If that makes any sense…)
Anyways, to wrap up, Cool Beans was a wonderful read. It’s very light, fun, and puts you in a happy mood. You’ll find yourself giggling- at the dinner table, at school, during church- over something you read, and it’s pretty hard to stop. It’s one of those books that you want to read out of a little each day, just to make your day a little brighter. J I love all of Erynn Mangum’s books, and will read anything she writes! And get this: I don’t even like coffee. This book MADE me want to like coffee. I highly suggest Cool Beans (and its two follow-up, which will be ordered and shipped to me in the near future) to any and all young women who just need a laugh.

Quick Content Review:
Language: None
Sexual: None
Violence: None