Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Humble Return

I love how I start a book blog and then become MIA after only two reviews, but I am happy to say that I am returning! I have read some books in my period of absence but I don't feel that I am still equipped to review them (if you're interested in small quips and my opinion on these books feel free to check out my Goodreads page). As such, some of my future reviews will most likely be sequels. Because of this, I will set up a page dedicated to sequel reviews, just in case one has not read the first and does not wish to be spoiled. Anywho, my next review should be coming in a few days and I am very excited to revamp my young blog!
Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Inside Flap: 430 Pages
Love can be a dangerous thing....
Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.
But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

First person. Hanna aka main character extraordinaire.

Okay first off let me just say that I really wanted to like this book. I really did. It sounded quirky and crazy and fantastic, but at the end of the day, it was a hot mess.

What I Liked:                                                                                                          
I really liked the concept of this book:
Crazy girl+ Crazy town+ Letting the madness ensue= My cup of hot peppermint tea

Hanna visits the town of Portero, Texas in search of her mother -a cold woman who Hanna had never before met. However, Portero is a town full of crazy stuff that her mother fears is a less than safe town for her manic depressive daughter.

Portero itself is a truly fascinating place. Invisible doors litter the whole town and only those marked with a special symbol -a group of people called the Mortmaine- can see and enter them. These people go around trying to keep anything unholy and disgusting from reaking havoc on the Portero civilians.
I also really liked Hanna's father, or the ghost of him. He had died before the beginning of the book and would show up announced as a figment of her imagination. (Or is he?...Please tell me...'cause I wasn't really sure...)


I loved this concept, and the first 4th of the book. I thought it was different and crazy and I really liked it...

However, to my great dismay, all good things must come to an end.

What I Didn't Like:

First off, let it be known that there is a HUGE difference between crazy and random, and a hot pot of crazy and random things melted together into a big glop of crandom. That's right, crandom. This book was so crandom it make my brain itch.

As I mentioned earlier, the concept for this book was fantastic. Unfortunately, the world/town is not developed. At all. Hanna is thrown into it and we, as the readers, are given scarce amounts of information, or at least the info we are given cannot keep up with the stuff being thrown in our faces.

Hanna is a manic depressive (something I have just recently learned about) so, that said, some of her bipolar-ness and sexual promiscuity is forgiven. But not really, for the main fact that her mental issues WERE BARELY MENTIONED. Once in a while her pills would be referenced or blurbs of manic depression would be scattered here and there, but it wasn't enough to defend all that was wrong with Hanna.

1) She got angry so quickly and randomly.
*"I love you Hanna."
 "I love you too!"
 "But this task is not safe for someone with no previous experience."
 "OH HELLLL NO. I HATE YOU NOW." *Storms off in a cliche fit of rage*
Yeah, it's that bad. And it happens CONSTANTLY. I wanted to strangle her.

2) Wayyy to promiscuous. I mean seriously. This book was not romance, it was sex.

3) BIGGEST. MARY-SUE. EVER. Girl comes to new town, at first people shun her, then she does something heroic and gains the adoration of all. Plus she seemed to have a bit of an obsession with how absolutaly gorgeous she was. Please excuse me while I barf into a purple and glittery trashcan.

4) The romance between Hanna and Wyatt, or should I say lack of. It was boy meets girl, they hang for a day, have tons of sex, and are instantly in love. (Plus girl can't seem to fathom that her boyfriend might not be over/still cares for his ex). I felt nothing for them, and in the end could have cared less if they ended up together.

The biggest issue I had with the book was the end. Now, this review is all smiles and is spoiler-free, so let's just say this:


All in all this book had so much potential but just kinda fell flat. It did have it's moments, but at the end of the day, Hanna should have never left that mental institution.

2.5/5 or a Dandelion

*Note that this quote is from my own brain and not Bleeding Violet itself.
PS: The book smells purple. I swear, it's bizarre.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Inside Flap:
I had a life anyone would kill for.
Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.
Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

Narrator:                                                                                                                  307 Pages

This story is told from one of the few forms of first person that I like: A character telling the story of someone else, yet refering to themselves as "I" once in a while. Sutton, the narrator, is dead (the cause of which is a key element in the story) and is attached to her living sister twin Emma and tells Emma's story, having new ghostly insight on a girl she had never before met, as such.

What I liked:
What I love, and continue to love, about Sara Shepard's books (besides their unique plots and constant mystery and unpredictability) is her writing. It's quick and to the point, yet dwells in the lovely land of description just long enough for visuals to bloom in your head. What I also adore is her attention to detail -including, but not limited to, the precise designer labels attached to many articles of clothing and room decor that the characters possess. Thus, SHOWING the characters wealth instead of TELLING the reader about it
"She had an expensive purse" as opposed to "she had a Gucci purse"
"She was rich" or "She owned a purple porche and ten pairs of pink prada pumps."
(Note that none of these are quotes from the text)

I devoured the whole dead-twin-watches-as-living-twin-takes-over-her-life thing. A lot. What makes this even greater is that it's believable. There's no throw-twin-into-other-twin's-life-and-watch-as-a-series-of-hilarious-yet-unrealistic-events-occur going on here. The characters do and act -for the most part- just like I would if I were thrown into the same situation.

I love Sara Shephard's characters. They are so realistic and relatable. I can see Emma, Sutton, and the rest of the players in this novel being real people, and I sympathise and feel for them. Ethan is the kind of awkward-esque guy that I LOVE.

The minute amount of romance that there was in this book was NOT RUSHED AND THEREFORE MAKES MY HEART FLUTTER, which is just too fantastic for words.

The mystery and intrigue in this book -though a bit slow in the beggining- really speeds up and the end. I actually ordered the next book -Never Have I Ever- the moment I read the last word. (Cheers for impulsive book buying!)

What I didn't like:
The pacing. This book starts a bit fast, then slows, then speeds up, then returns to an average speed. This only became an issue when I had to force myself to read a few of the middle chapters, and then felt like way too much was happening at once.

As I said earlier, the book really gets interesting near the end -remaining a bit obsolete in the middle. A few odd events occur, as well, that I had to reread at least once because I was not sure if they actually happened, or were just some kind of weird dream.

All in all, The Lying Game by Sara Shepard is definitely a book I would recommend. It is a story full of twists that I definitely did not see a-comin, and an ending that leaces a plethora of unanswered questions, making the enxt book, Never Have I Ever, I definite must-have.

This book does contain some inferred sexual content, mild language, and some teen alcohol/drug use.

I give this book a 4.5/5 or a Lily

PS: If you are a fan of the TV show, as I am, just know that it is NOTHING LIKE THE BOOK AT ALL. LIKE, AT ALL.

Introductions are Only Fun Once

Before I begin to review the many books I have sitting on my bookshelf, extreme looks of anticipation in their invisible eyes, waiting to be rated and dissected by yours truly, I think a few pre-blogging introductions are in order.
Hi, I'm juliana, and I am a book addict.
Yes, there is my confession. I read, and I buy stories and novels of all sorts, generally the latter faster than the first. As a result I have books upon books waiting to be read and waiting for my opinions to be smeared across their bindings.
So this is where Mocha and a Book of Flowers comes in.
What better way to read and review books faster than creating a blog? The answer? No way. And the title, you curious darlings may ask, simply refers to my love of mocha coffee (oh sweet deliciousness) and how books in their own right are as beautiful as a bushel of flowers that flourish in your garden. Or, perhaps on that rare (or sometimes not-so-rare) occasion, a bouquet of old and foul smelling flowers that really just need to be thrown away.
The majority of books I read are YA, but I do read some adult books here and there.
So, without any further a-do, let's fire up the ol' coffeemaker, rip of the top of a can of cocoa powder, and crack open the pages of a good flower.