Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday's Finest (11)

Friday's Finest is a new meme hosted by Steff & Justine from A Bookful of Thoughts.

Rules:
~Post a quote that really stuck to you after reading it in a book.
~Make sure it isn't a spoiler!
~If you'd like, expand on what you think it means and why you chose it.
**

Taken from one of my favourite reads this year, The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta (released in March 2011). I'm going to reread it before writing a review that will hopefully do the book justice. By knowing that Melina Marchetta is the author, you better bet the quotes are amazing.

Book: The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

Quote:
She's beautiful and God he loves the fact that she still wears a ponytail and looks like a kid her age. She's running to him and there's nothing graceful about Anabel because the Finch women aren't really that graceful. They're just beautiful and smart and fierce and ridiculously uncool. A bit like Tara.

**
(Anabel is Tom's sister)

Their relationship reminds me of Phoebe and Holden in Catcher in the Rye, Tom really is a better person because of her. Anabel brings out the best in him, and this quote just speaks about how much I love the writing. You can barely even tell it's from a 3rd person POV.

And this won't be the last appearance of Melina Marchetta's book for my Friday's Finest favourite quotes! Look forward to more :)

Did you like the quote? I loved the "ridiculously uncool" part.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

i never should have fallen for the girl from outer space...

I read it in the daily mail,

So I think it might be true,

They’re working on a spaceship that can carry me to you,

It’s seven meters long, it travels at the speed of light,

And using laser headlights you can drive it through the night...


-"Spaceship" by Jonas and Plunkett


It's a song day! For those amazing readers that haven't been around my blog since the beginning, I used to love to post some of my favourite songs at the moment. For example, I totally posted "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum before it became a huge hit... I swear. It was back in November.

Anyways, this time I discovered this song when I visited Maggie Stiefvater's (author of Shiver, Lament, Ballad) blog. She is creating a playlist for Linger, and this one was it and when I listened to it I immediately fell in love. I think it's cute, meaningful, and just has a great melody and fantastic lyrics.

If you want the complete lyrics, you can email me (I couldn't find them online so I wrote a copy for myself). Visit Maggie's post here if you'd like. Thank you Maggie for showing me such a beautiful song.

Here is the youtube video of this. If the video doesn't work, the link is here.



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday's 3 Couples (6)

Wednesday's 3 Couples is a post/meme I created to help me regulate posts. It is biweekly, and usually has a theme! It lets me share my love of YA lit couples with others.
**

Aahh, and I had a much better one planned this week but it's 12:30am Wednesday morning, and I haven't even gotten around to this, so this one is kinda... half-assed. I just didn't want to go another day without posting because I'm stressing about a math test, reviewing, and trying to stay away from the TV!!!

**This post includes minor SPOILERS for: Vampire Academy series, Jellicoe Road, and Scarlett Fever**

This week's theme: I WISH
This one's kind of vague (and thought up on the spot) and it just means couples I wished were together. This can mean that in the book, it is hinted (but never concrete), or just two characters I thought would go fabulously together but never really..couple-lized. It can also be from a incomplete series.

In no particular order:


1. Rose and Adrian - Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

-Okay, I know I am in in the minority here, but I really really liked Adrian in Blood Promise (Dimitri, not so much... I wonder why? lol)
-I think that Adrian changed for Rose, and can continue to change for the better
**And I know probably by the end of Spirit Bound, I'm back on Team Dimitri, haha



2. Raffy and Chaz - On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

-Uhm, first, it's Melina Marchetta... all her books rule (and this is apparently completely unrelated)
-both are amazing friends to Taylor and Griggs, and are wickedly good supporting characters.
-It's hinted at, and I could see the lingering ex-ish-best-friendship between the two, they have awesome chemistry
-Ben put it the best: (said to Chaz after he sees Raffy talking with some guys)
"You should be worried," Ben says. "Because you're going out with that chick and Raff will go out with some guy and you'll spend the whole time with this 'thing' hovering between you, and then you'll get married ot other people and one day when you're middle aged in your thirties, while both your kids are going to the same school, you're going to have this affair because of all the pent-up attraction and ruin the lives of everyone in the P and F."


3. Scarlett and Max - Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson

-I'm Team Max! I just think he's completely made of awesome, and is nice but kind of not-nice, if you get what I mean. I healthy combination of both, I think
-I don't like Eric because he's a cheater and I generally don't like cheaters.
-Max is a musician, and is awesome at piano... sweet
-They both have curly hair!! cute :)

**
So what do you think? Any books that have some minor characters that you think would just go awesome together? Or how about some couples that you just wish would finally get together!! (I'm thinking of Booth and Brennan from Bones... anyone watch that TV show?)

Next time's theme.... KICK ASS
Stay tuned!

Oh, and before I forget, I just wanted to recommend you ALL to read this post by Steph Su (if you haven't already, it's really circling the blogosphere lately.) What's Missing in YA Contemporary Lit? It's fantastic!

Monday, April 26, 2010

BR: Before I Fall

by Lauren Oliver

So I was so extremely excited to read this book, I have been for so long and when I saw the library finally got it, I almost screamed. I'll link to some positively wonderful reviews at the bottom so you can get some different opinions. If you check out my Kiss and Tell post, you can see what my predictions for this book would be.

Summary (from Goodreads):

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

**
My Expectations: Very high. I’m pretty sure everyone’s been somehow affected by the hype surrounding this book. I expect nothing less than getting my mind blown.

Delivery: pretty well, it didn’t meet my exceedingly high expectations but a very strong effort. Mind blowing…unfortunately didn’t occur.

Put-down-ability: LOW! I read this almost all in one sitting (like 5 hours!) so a 2/10, with a 10 being “get it away” and a 1 being “gimme right NOW”.
**

My Thoughts:
I know that in my Kiss and Tell meme post, I covered this book. I thought it would be a hit-or-miss, I would side with a side and avoid the happy middle…yeah, I guess I was wrong. This book is pretty solidly in the happy middle of my book enjoyment section.

I liked this book, there’s no doubt about that. It explored the concepts of death, the connections between actions, redemption, and life in general. It was thoughtful, sad, heartbreaking, snappy, and also hopeful and uplifting, which is a very difficult combination to pull off, so kudos to Oliver.

The thing that kept the book from getting a full-on gush review was the pacing and plot. While some people thought the middle days were slower, I actually enjoyed them mostly because Oliver didn’t just change a couple tiny things to see the domino effect. Each day it seemed like Sam had a different outlook, a different way to go about things which kept the plot interesting.

It was just that after the fifth day, I was getting bored. I know, that’s never really a good sign. I was just itching for the “meaningful eureka moment” to happen, I was like “hurry up, already!” throughout the later days. That being said, each day was still special and affect Sam.

While the repeated days moved smoothly along, I’m not sure I cared for some of the stuff that happened during the day that Sam needed to change. For example, I was indifferent to the Anna thing, and didn’t see its point. Some events were unrelated that left me confused. It felt like the author bit of a bit more than she could chew, trying to balance Sam, her friends, her parents, her sister, boyfriend, love interest, enemies, random girls she barely knows, and the other girl (Juliet) to a point where it all became a bit too much. For example, that whole day with the Pugs just showed up, and then in the following days they were never mentioned.

So did I like Sam? Some people think she was an unlikable character, but I personally thought she was strong, well written and very, very well rounded character. I cared about what happened to her, even at the beginning. I disliked her friends though, to be honest. I hated Rob but liked Kent, but disliked the first days of Sam’s attitude towards him.

**MINOR SPOILERS**



I actually thought that the point of her ‘meaningful eureka moment’ was that she should ditch her bitchy friends and go hang out with the people she hurt…I know. I’m a clichéd person, what can I say. Did I like how the author handled the friendship at the end? I’m not sure, because to me the things sometimes didn’t really add up. If I had a friend like Lindsay…I wouldn’t have a friend like Lindsay. I wouldn’t be able to be friends with such a frequently-mean person, it would just stress me out :P


**END SPOILERS*

I felt if her friends were so important, they deserved to be fleshed out more. I got Elody and Ally mixed up, like even right now I can’t really distinguish them in my head. What I mean by fleshing them out isn’t revealing their deep dark secrets, just that they could have had more ‘screen time’. At the end though, you can tell why these friends are friends, and they show actual "friend qualities"... so I might have to take back my "I disliked her friends" comment, ya know?

I thought the whole concept related to Juliet (haha, you’ll have to read the book to find out what I mean!) had a strong delivery.

Lastly, the writing was flawless. It was fluid, kept me hooked, mirrored the thoughts of Sam perfectly without going overboard, just a stunning debut effort by Lauren Oliver. Here is an example of a quote I loved:
“And then, just at that moment, when I’m no longer sure if I’m dreaming or awake or walking some valley in between where everything you wish for comes true, I feel the flutter of his lips on mine, and it’s too late, I’m slipping, I’m gone, he’s gone, and the moment curls away and back on itself like a flower folding up for the night.”
-page 341 (Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver)

Isn’t that just a gorgeous simile?

8.2/10 – because I thought the book had a great premise, strong (likable? Probably not) characters, impeccable writing, and a good plot. Was it a masterpiece? Ehh, to me, not really. The plot’s pacing towards the end started dragging out, though I appreciated the author’s effort to tackle seven repeating days with twists in each one, I thought the overload of characters and minor storylines did detract from the ‘main thing’ that Sam was learning though. Themes are well represented, and Before I Fall is a thoughtful, entrancing, and gripping book.

I would recommend it to people who enjoy contemporary fiction with a not-so-typical protagonist, wickedly awesome writing, and unique storyline. And a cute boy who draws comics, can’t go wrong there ;) An 8.2/10 is a solid B.






PS- However, if you want to read some reviews that gush about the book, so you can be further convinced to read it (I do recommend you all to read it, because I'm pretty sure my opinion is in the minority) check these very positive Book Reviews out:

Sarah at The Hiding Spot
Robby at Once Upon a Book Blog
Lauren at I was a teenage book geek
Steph at Steph Su Reads
Adele at Persnickey Snark

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kiss and Tell (1)

This is a fun new meme started by the very awesome Aly from Fantasy4Eva. It is kind of like predicting how much you like a book before you read it, and Aly-I'm so sorry for taking so long on this! :/

You can go HERE to find out more about Kiss and Tell. If you check out her links, you can sign up with the Mr. Linky and participate in your own meme! Even if you don't want to do the meme, still check out her blog, it's very pretty :)

Alright, so without futher ado...

Book: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver

Source: Library!

Synopsis (from goodreads):
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life? Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

Kiss and Tells: Either 9 or 7

Praise-
Uhm.. everywhere? Who hasn't heard the praise? I was probably most hyped up about this because of the endorsements from Sharon at Sharon Loves Books and Cats, and from author Jay Asher.


My Thoughts:
I already know that this one is probably a hit-or-miss type of book. I'm either gonna love it and gush all about it, or dislike it because of pacing or characters. I've read a wide array of reviews for this, and I will probably side with one of them instead of falling into the happy middle. I do hope I really like the book though!


And here's something random ;) -
I woke up at 9:15 this morning because I thought the clock read 10:15. It saddened me because I missed out on some very valuable sleeping in time. And, sleeping in is probably up there with reading as one of my favourite hobbies.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Book Trailer: The Karma Club

by Jessica Brody

Summary (from goodreads):

"Personally, I’m tired of waiting for the universe to get off its butt and start fixing stuff. I don’t want to wait around for Mason to get what’s coming to him. Or Heather Campbell, for that matter . . . I want to be there to see it happen."

Madison Kasparkova always thought she understood how Karma works. It’s that mysterious, powerful force that brings harmony to the universe. You know—do good things and you will be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what’s coming to you. A sort of cosmic balancing act.

But when Mason Brooks, Maddy’s boyfriend of two years, gets caught tongue-wrestling with Miss Perfect Body Heather Campbell, and absolutely nothing happens to either of them—except that they wind up the hot new couple of Colonial High School, it seems like Karma has officially left Maddy in the lurch. That’s why Maddy and her best friends, Angie and Jade, decide to start the Karma Club—a secret, members-only organization whose sole purpose is to clean up the messes that the universe has been leaving behind. Whether they’re modifying Heather Campbell’s acne cream as part of “Operation Butterface,” or righting a few wrongs when it comes to Angie and Jade’s own slimy exes, they know they’re just doing what Karma should have done in the first place. They’re taking care of one another.

Sometimes, though, it isn’t wise to meddle with the universe. Because it turns out, when you mess with Karma, Karma messes back. Now Maddy must find a way to balance her life for good, even as everything around her seems to be toppling to the ground.

** The Karma Club is released April 27**

-&-
Doesn't the book sound so cool? And there is a book trailer for the novel, and I have to say, it makes the book so much more full of awesome! I love the way it seems like a movie trailer at first, and you can definitely see there was a ton of effort put into it.

Check it out!



You can find out more about Jessica Brody at her website, and if you clicky the site link, it will get me referral points to win a FLIP camera :) So I'd love you a little extra if you would check out her site =D

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday's Finest (10)

Friday's Finest is a new meme hosted by Steff & Justine from A Bookful of Thoughts.

Rules:
~Post a quote that really stuck to you after reading it in a book.
~Make sure it isn't a spoiler!
~If you'd like, expand on what you think it means and why you chose it.
**

Wow, it feels like I haven't done this in a long time! I couldn't find a super-memorable quote in a book I read this week, Beautiful Creatures, so I made sure to pay a bit more attention when I read Fang, and looked for a quote in that book.

Book: Fang (Maximum Ride #6)

Quote:

"Someday we might have only a few seconds to figure out the meaning of life."


-&-
I like this quote, I think it unveils the endless mysteries and possibilities of the future. Is it true? Maybe. What do you think?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday TBR


So, I kind of ran out of draft posts, you know, the ones where you finish off a review or a meme or something, then you schedule a post sometimes during the week. It really helps keep my blog updated regularly, but...I'm out of them! haha

Sometimes, I have a couple reviews lined up, but I've already posted reviews of all the books I've read recently, plust I have some stuff scheduled for Friday. It's just that I missed Tuesday and Wednesday, and skipping another day just seems... sad because I've worked really hard to even out my blog posts!

So, I decided to just write a quick note/meme of books that I've borrowed recently, won from contests, or received for review. You can expect reviews for the majority of these books that I promise I'll read soon!

  • Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by AR Shickman (my very first book received for review from Earthshaker books)
  • Zan-Gah adn the Beautiful Country by AR Shickman (second book received for review ever, from Earthsaker books)
  • The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta (received for review from Penguin AU)
  • Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (library)
  • Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb (won in a contest from Brizmus)
  • Anne of Avonlea by LM Montgomery (library, Anne Shirley #2)
  • House Rules by Jodi Picoult (library, it's a long book so maybe a review, maybe not)

I really hope I can read these books soon! Expect a review of Zan-Gah sometime this weekend, or early next week, I'm using it for a challenge as well which makes me happy :D Also, I'm participating in a really fun meme at Fantasy4Eva, which I'll pick a couple of these books to use for it! Can't wait, I really need to start organizing that post.

So what's on your "to be read" list?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BR: Scarlett Fever


by Maureen Johnson

This is the sequel to Suite Scarlett, I was so happy when the library finally got it! And I love the cover, it's really cute :)

Summary (from amazon.com, part of the School Library Journal's summary):

Fifteen-year-old Scarlett Martin and her unconventional hotel-dwelling family are back. Following the success of her brother's theater troupe's staging of Hamlet at a run-down Manhattan hotel in Suite Scarlett, Scarlett continues her work with socialite talent agent Mrs. Amberson to find her brother work as an actor and to secure the agency's second client. As Scarlett and Mrs. Amberson woo Chelsea, the teenaged star of a bad Broadway musical, Scarlett attempts to get over a failed romance; reluctantly befriends Chelsea's brother; and handles family crises involving her brother's sudden semi-stardom and her sister's return to her former (and very wealthy) fame.

**
My Expectations: so-so, kind of in the middle type of book. I expected something similar to Suite Scarlett (which I thought was around average)

Delivery: above my expectations! I liked it more than the first, and was even more fun than I thought it would be.

Put-down-ability: LOW! I read it non-stop :) probably a 3/10

**
My Thoughts:

I’m not sure if this would be the right comparison, but Scarlett Fever was everything I wished Coffeehouse Angel would be. It was fun, charming, light, funny, and had an awesome protagonist and a cast of strong supporting characters.

I loved Scarlett, she is a perfect mixture between the people pleaser pushover, and the strong and witty girl. I mean, you can’t be strong and witty all the time. I enjoyed this book more than the first, and felt that the plot was interesting and the writing was laudable.

Maureen Johnson has her signature unique prose in the book, with just a fluent and funny style. I do wish it was more in a first person POV, because sometimes the third person got distracting. The writing is refreshing, and extremely enjoyable.

The plot itself was a bit all over the place, but I think it works for this book. There are just so many side plots of the Martin family that it all fuses together around Scarlett really well. From Lola and her beau, to Spencer’s evil villain job, to Marlene’s sudden behaviour change, to Ms. Amberson’s non-behavior-change (still demanding as always) it was all just so chaotic but smooth at the same time.

The way Scarlett is caught in the middle of so many things, along with dealing with boy problems of her own made the book exciting, and never boring. It could easily have felt like too much- and a couple times it did, but overall it was a great plot. I felt Scarlett’s personal character growth was well done, and I just loved seeing more of Spencer! I do wish there was more Spencer-Scarlett moments! I felt that midway through the book, Ms. Amberson kind of disappeared until the end-ish, and I was a bit confused by it; there were just a ton of other stuff going on I guess.


8.7/10 – Because it was just a charming read. I loved Scarlett, her family, the writing style, and Max (not Eric!). I can let the third person POV slide, although it can be distracting, but the fact that the plot was everywhere could have been tidied up a bit more. Seriously, I swear there are more that 5 side plots that basically add up to become the main plot.
This is definitely a recommended read if you enjoyed Suite Scarlett or other Maureen Johnson books, and if you’re looking for a fun read with an admirable protagonist and a crazy family! Go dysfunctional families! xp

I think letter grades are more acceptable than star ratings, so an 8.7 will be a solid A-. Don’t worry, I’ll go change my rating system thingy sometime soon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

BR: Anne of Green Gables


by L.M. Montgomery

I know, it has taken me a long time to finally getting around to read this, plus it's really not the kind of book I usually read. It's such a famous classic set in Canada though, how could I not try it?

Summary (by me):

How do I describe Anne of Green Gables? It’s a classic, no doubt. The charming, imaginative, and talkative eleven year old “kindred spirit,” Anne Shirley, is adopted by Marilla Cuthbert and her brother Matthew, who had originally requested a boy. However, they grow to love Anne and her delightful ways, laughter, loving heart, imagination and even her dramatics. The story follows Anne through her fantastical adventures, mishaps, mistakes, and undeniable growth into an intelligent young woman.
**

My expectations: high. It is a novel beloved by Melina Marchetta, need I say more?

Delivery: I was decently pleased.

Put-down-ability: 7/10 (where 10 is I put down whenever I want, and 1 is OMG READ NOW NOW NOW)

**
My Thoughts:

I thought this book was, in one word, charming. It was beautiful and pleasant, funny, light, and very loveable. Anne is such a dynamic character with endless charisma and imagination, I fell in love with her the moment she named the Lake of Shining Waters. Her attitude in life is just remarkable, and I admired her endless energy, talent, and drive. Marilla and Matthew’s quiet love for Anne was well written. I wish there was more Gilbert Blythe though xp

The writing is what I would expect from a “classic/older book”. I swear nine-tenths of the book is nothing except for Anne blabbering about anything and everything, her day, her adventures, her friends and teachers. She is such a precocious young girl with a big vocabulary and a love a fluffy-long words. So, the prose is somewhat flowery and pretty different from modern books. You know what I mean by “classic writing”, right?

I will admit, the thing that made the book easy to set down is a lack of a driving plot. It is a lot more of Anne’s day-to-day, or month to month adventures, and how she affects everyone around her. The book starts when she is eleven, and ends when she is sixteen. There isn’t the expected rising action, climax, anticlimax etc. I think while it worked for the book, it made it less captivating.

The novel is set in Prince Edward Island in Canada, and Avonlea (the town) is just described so beautifully. I loved the descriptions and names that Anne called different places, like the Haunted Woods. It really does sound like a place I would love to live or visit one day.

Favourite Scene: Anne, Gilbert, and the slate. Your right, Ms. Marchetta, a wonderful scene indeed.

8/10- I think you can tell by the way I described everything, my favourite part was Anne. I thought she was just a fantastic character that I really wished I was more like. Her carefree imagination coupled with a strong character made her just…awesome. The plot could have been better, and while I felt the writing was a bit harder to understand, it still worked well.

This is a book any girl who loves books should read, and I promise you will fall in love with Anne Shirley of Green Gables. It is a timeless children's classic.

This is the first in the Anne Shirley series. There are 7 books in the series, along with some other novels by Montgomery based in Avonlea :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

BR: Fang- A Maximum Ride Novel

by James Patterson

This is the sixth book in the Maximum Ride series, so of course there will be minor spoilers because, come on, its a review of book #6... You can read my reviews on the previous books in the series here, and here.

Summary (from goodreads):

Being a kid with wings--constantly on the run--has never been easy, and Max and her flock are getting tenser than ever. First, on a trip to Africa, they meet a mysterious billionaire whose intense scrutiny of the Flock makes her fear the worst. Then, a cryptic message from a young girl arrives, warning them "The sky will fall." And as if an impending apocalypse weren't bad enough, canny birdkid Angel makes a dire prophecy about Max's soul mate: Fang will be the first to die. Max's desperate desire to protect Fang brings the two closer than ever. But can the team weather the storm, or will the turmoil rip them apart for the last time?

**
My Expectations: not really high, Max Ride #4 and 5 weren't anything special. I haven't read reviews for this book yet, so not much hype affected me.

Delivery: kind of what I expected, I was maybe a bit disappointed that I was right.

Put-down-ability: I read it all in a day, so that says something. I think maybe 5/10, with 1 being "OMG READ NOW" and 10 being "get it away from me!"

**
My Thoughts:

First, I feel I should comment on what all you people (who have read Max Ride series already) are thinking about the whole Fang deal. I, like most, don't want him to die. The ending is so-so for me, at least it adds some plot. He was definitely more central in the novel, which I liked.

Now...
Fang (the book) was a mix of good and bad, of cheesy and kinda-cool, of ridiculous and plausible. There were loads of tiny tidbits that aggravated me to no end, but then there were parts of it that reminded me why I keep reading this series.

This is the first book where I thought everything I “judge” a book on (characters, writing, plot) was pretty weak. For one, the Angel’s sudden turn to the dark side was just out of the blue, out of character, and just not a very good idea. The way she and Max are all fine and dandy at the end was just random. You don’t go from angelic to egotistical leader to follower to bad guy, then to good guy again. It’s just all over the place.

I don’t know why, but I’m not in the majority of the Max-Fang constant romance. I’m sorry, but I like Max-leader, not Max-swooner. Plus, compared to some really good YA romance books I’ve read, this one falls short on the swoon-o-meter.

I wished there was more focus on other flock members like Gassy, Iggy, and Nudge. They were all just really flat, lacking character growth (which you should really come to expect by book #6) and much depth in general. It was just: Iggy cooks, Gassy farts/blows things up, Nudge…uhm… doesn’t do much really. She doesn’t even talk much :o It was definitely more focused on Max/Fang/Angel.

The writing is predictable: not very strong. Patterson has his cake and eats it too, by churning out another bestselling novel with writing that lacks sophistication and depth. He jumps so many POV, from Max’s first person, to third person, to some other random flock member, it’s again, all over the place.

Lastly, the plot felt like a broken record. Try and save world. Quit. Attack. Bad guys! Flock trouble? Max-Fang-kiss-kiss. Huh, new guy! Fighting! Drama! The end.

Nothing really surprised me (except “the Other Epilogue”) apart from psychotic-not-in-character Angel. Even the bad guy was just another Max Ride Bad Guy from the cupboard of stock villains.

Specific things I disliked: At the beginning, Max is given a house by CSM (Coalition to Stop the Madness, an organization trying to help the world). Uhmm, if I donated to a charity like that, I definitely would NOT want my money going to the Flock’s house and food. A charity like that would lose its integrity faster than I eat ice cream.

And the thing that killed a bit of the book for me? The fact that James Patterson has the nerve to use the words “WTH?” and “’Kkthxbye!”... Are you kidding me?? Just a personal pet peeve of mine, but unless the book is called “TTYL”, slang words definitely unnecessary and extremely un-hip. And I don't think any teenager thinks 'W-T-H' in their heads. Next thing you know, Book #7 will have Max 'Lol-ing'.

Something I did like? It was quick read, there was action, and there were some funny parts. It had the ‘essential’ Max Ride stuff, but it does get kind of old. And I was happy that Patterson didn’t stuff the problems of Chad, Africa down our throats. At the beginning, I was afraid he might, I won’t lie.

7.2/10 – Because it wasn’t that great. I think I touched on the things I disliked: stock villains, lack of dynamic characters, out of character-ness, romance portrayed averagely, average writing, predictable plot. Younger audiences (tween boys) will snap this up because it has all the stuff that is likable about the first 5 books.
Recommended to fans of the Max Ride series, or if you want a quick action-y read about bird kids.

If you check out my Rating System in the Tabs at the top, the ‘star’ equivalent rating would be 2.2/5 Stars.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

BR: Beautiful Creatures


By Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

I know, I know. About time I read this book! But blame the library, it took them forever to order it and get it in =p

**This is used as part of my "Take Another Chance Book Challenge" for #2- Blogroll Roulette; I used The Story Siren's blogroll (#15), and got Bloody Bookaholic**

Summary: Who doesn’t know the summary? Ethan Wate is stuck in the small town of Gatlin surrounded by the nosy community where secrets can’t be kept. Until he meets a new girl who he is—of course—drawn to, only to discover she is keeping some huge secrets of her own. With a looming deadline, Ethan and Lena (the new girl) must overcome more obstacles than imaginable, discover the realities of their history, and race against time to unveil the ultimate mystery.
**

My expectations: very high. I was on Amazon’s top YA books of the year, so many reviews when it was first released, the hype was incredible around December for this book. So many bloggers I admire had only good things to say about it, on so many of those “Best Books of 2009” lists… you get the picture.

Delivery:
Didn’t measure up to the hype.

Put-down-ability:
Pretty darn high, it was just dragging throughout most of the book.

**
My Thoughts: *warning, minor-ish spoilers*

I think my thoughts could probably be summed up in four words: it was too long. I’m okay with long books, but this one just kept dragging on with a mixture of unrelateable characters and cheesy scenes. I didn’t love Ethan’s voice, I am usually very fond of the (very few) YA novels that feature a male POV, and this one couldn’t really compare. He was just so unrealistic.

I don’t know about you, but how many boys do you know can just break apart from everything he’s known for a girl he just met? Ethan’s too nice about everything, too committed to the girl he met a couple weeks prior, and I can’t see a teenage boy with the pressures of the town on him being able to do what he did and extracting himself from his friends and old “life”. For the (oh-so-common) undefined reason he is attracted to the weird and pretty new girl, ditches all (but one) of his friends without a second thought, and runs off to be her knight in shining armor.

A thing I disliked was Ethan’s relationship with Amma. One second she’s his mom-like figure who he trusts explicitly, next she is just an obstacle between Lena (the girl) and him. Sure, I can understand why he would be so fascinated with Lena, but doesn’t mean I liked it. I’m not sure I liked the absentee father, but it worked relatively well. Characters I did enjoy were the secondary ones, like Link, Uncle Macon, Ridley, and Lena’s family. Also, I liked Lena more than Ethan, I think had the book been written from her point of view, the internal conflict could really have been fleshed out well.

I’m not sure if I connected with the setting very well, the gothic descriptions of a small town was vivid and refreshingly-weary. However, after a point it got repetitive, and I didn’t care much about the whole Civil War enactment thing at the end, and it felt like it was just “there” with not much connection to what was happening in the story.

As I mentioned before, the book was long. I was thinking about my book reviews, I thought I might want to add a category like “How long it took to get hooked” etc, and if I applied it to Beautiful Creatures, the answer would be along the lines of 300 or so pages. That’s a helluva long time. It might be because the plot wasn’t particularly eventful (apart from the stereotypical cheerleader who hates the new girl, basketball which was basically abruptly cut out, Lena, and bad things that happen which make Ethan lurv Lena more) in the first two thirds of the book.

As the mystery builds to the climax, I kind of got sick of Ethan and his “We can fix this, everything will be okay”. I’m not sure what I wanted him to do, but reassuring Lena over and over again wasn’t it.

The premise of the novel itself, with the Casters and the Duchanne secrets were actually pretty well presented. I enjoyed the different aspect of it (yay, no vamps or werewolves!) and was especially intrigued with Uncle Macon (and Boo Radley!) Which reminds me, I really enjoyed the references to To Kill a Mockingbird. The plot was somewhat redeeming, yet paced pretty slowly that I felt it was a serious struggle to just keep reading and to finish it. The climax was well written and exciting though, and answered some questions but raise some more.

The “we love each other but can’t be together” deal between Ethan and Lena was clichéd, and I’m glad it didn’t carry on through the entirety of the novel

Lastly, I felt the writing was just a bit out of place for a teenage boys’ point of view. He described Lena pretty often, and what clothes she was wearing, and what shoes which doesn’t seem boy-ish to me. Boyish to me is “wow, she looked gorgeous”, not “wow, the way her hair cascaded down her back, the way her clothes showed off her curves, and her green eyes shone like the moon was awe-inspiring.” I completely made up the cringe-worthy second part, but it is a tiny bit like how Ethan described Lena.

8/10 – which surprises me too. At the end, when I thought back about it, I thought there were enough redeeming parts in the plot and the uniqueness to overrule the questionable prose. The “ditch friends for girl syndrome” did aggravate me a bit, and the pacing didn’t really work for me, but when all was said and done, I thought about it and I still enjoyed it. Sometimes this stuff happens :o There were a lot of other parts I wanted to mention in the review, but couldn't really fit it in.
Am I gonna read the sequel? Yeah, probably. Will I buy it? Most likely not. (this book came from the library, btw)

I would recommend this to people who want to read a paranormal novel with a male protagonist and a quaint setting.

If you check out my Rating System (which is subtract 5 from the score and make it out of 5, this book would get 3/5 “stars”).






PS- do you like the section below the summary? (Expectations, Delivery, etc?) Should I include it for future reviews?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Trailer: Marvelous World Saga

Marvelous World is a saga by author Troy CLE.

A few days ago, I was sent the book trailer for this series, and it looks really great! Described as a: mega-dramatic, remarkably true, super action fantasy, it automatically goes into my good books.

There are two books in the saga so far, The Marvelous Effect and Oblivions Favorites.

And here is the Marvelous World trailer!



Doesn't it look cool? Find out more about the book by visiting the website and the blog!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

BR: Coffeehouse Angel

by Suzanne Selfors

Coffeehouse Angel has been on my wishlist since I first started blogging last June, and saw it around the blogosphere (so long ago, I know!) So you can understand how excited I was when I found out my school finally got it even though my public library hadn’t. So excited.

Summary: Hard-working Katrina isn’t really good at anything. That is, except trying to keep her grandmother’s Scandanavian coffee shop afloat and warding off the arrogant Mr. Darling who runs a ‘hipper’ coffee shop right next door. When she selflessly gives food to a ‘homeless’ she finds in the alley, little does she know that the hobo was actually a messenger angel, Malcolm. He grants her wishes as a ‘reward’, but not everything goes as smoothly as she wants, and she finds herself tangled in a fight with one of her best friends. The angel, the coffeehouse, her friends, and her grandmother all just make her life a bit crazier.


Review: I had some high hopes for this. I thought I would love a fun, light read with a feel-good story, it was just what I wanted during a hectic school week. Was I disappointed? Yeah, I was. Like I’ve said, this book has been on my wishlist for so long, it just didn’t really measure up.

I’m trying to make my reviews more thoughtful and less “the characters this, the plot this, the writing this.” But that doesn’t mean I won’t touch on these subjects.

Everything in this novel just feels a bit lukewarm. I did really like Katrina; I thought she was portrayed quite realistically, being jealous over her best friend hanging out with other people and worrying about the coffeehouse. Secondary characters had their quirks, but I never felt they were as fleshed out as they could have been. I felt the connection between Katrina and Irmgaard could have been better, and again, could have been fleshed out more. It was like “hallelujah, revelation! Let’s move on!”

Malcolm had potential to be swoon worthy, but fell short because the story wasn’t as focused on romance. I’m not sure if I liked this more or less, but I did wish there could have been a bit more Malcolm.

Katrina’s personal growth was a pretty obvious, but I won’t say it was written perfectly. When reading it, it just seemed more like telling than showing, despite some strong and positive ‘messages’. Some scenes or places felt awkward and forced.

The plot was enjoyable, but not perfect. It focused a lot on Katrina’s rivalry with the neighbour coffeehouse, which is completely understandable. I wish there could have been a bit more drama though, either with Mr. Darling, or even with Heidi. Drama with Vincent (her friend who she’s fighting with) was interesting and I thought her feelings about it were realistic.

I disliked the whole Ratcatcher phenomenom. Seemed just a bit too out there for me, and I wish the story could have stayed a bit more grounded.

The ending was a bit perfect, a bit unlikely, and predictable.

*BIG SPOILERS*

I am glad, however, that she didn’t end up with Vincent, because if she did I would of complained about how out of the blue it seemed, especially at the beginning with the “this isn’t a story about me falling in love with a best friend” bit. Horribly quoted by the way. It would have been clichéd and corny and just predictable.

*End SPOILERS*


7.9/10
– because I felt let down by the book, I really wanted it to be the kind of book I thought was fun, fluffy and fantastic. Unfortunately, it was just average for me, with a fun plot with a dash of drama. Writing was choppy at places, but the plot was pretty solid and the characters were likable. Katrina’s indecisiveness with her future and her life kind of reflects mine, and I was definitely rooting for her to pull through.
Recommended for readers who would like a light read about a courageous, sympathetic heroine. And a pretty cute angel.

Go HERE to see my "updated" explanation of my weird rating system (warning: includes math!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's 3 Couples (5)

Wednesday's 3 Couples is a post/meme I created for myself to help me regulate posts. It is biweekly, and usually has a theme! It lets me share my love of YA lit couples with others.

This weeks theme: CUTE! Which is self explanatory, those couples (excluding almost every Dessen couple, because lets face it, they usually steal the cake) that make you smile and your heart warm because they are just too adorable.


*SPOILERS INCLUDED!!*


1. Terra and Jacob - North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
-Goth Asian with insecure girl? I never woulda thought it, but it works.
-Will admit, this couple makes the list mostly because of Jacob. I want my own Jacob, because honestly, he is caring, thoughtful, and perfect. And I can overlook the fact that he wears more make-up than me for a whole segment of the book.
-He helps Terra learn who she really is. Awwww.




2. Guy and Willow - Willow by Julia Hoban
-Willow is like a horrible puddle of sadness, and Guy is there to dry her off.
-Basically, he's there for her, and for everything, and he stays on the phone for hours just listening to her breathing, and he helps her change, and he is just perrfect.
-Reading about Willow makes my heart break, but when Guy comes around and she slowly starts healing herself, I smile.




3. Tobin and The Duke - "A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle" from Let it Snow by John Green + others
-First, Tobin is the guy and The Duke is the girl, and for those of you who have read the book, you know how John Green expertly navigates a friendship and the humour and strong bond between these two is undeniably amazing. And it's a short story too!!
-How The Duke is so fricken witty it makes me insanely jealous.
-The ending when she confesses her feelings is too endearing, not necessarily "cute" but sooooo good. But by the end, they are cutie pa-tooties.



Final Thoughts:

Okay, I realize that most relationships are made "cute" because of a fantastically amazing, unrealistic (it makes me sad to say this, but I doubt there is every gonna be a single Jacob out there D:, a Guy might be easier to find though...I dunno though..) and thoughtful boy, and a damsel in distress (it also pains me to say this, because I generally don't like weak female characters, but I think these "damsels" are just distressed and not "weak"). This applies more to #1 and #2.

So, I included #3, with Tobin and the Duke, becuase personally, I think it is the Duke that makes this relationship so full of awesome. How much she cares for her friends, her reasoning behind going to the Waffle House, how she tells Tobin how she feels at the end... I want to be her friend. And she was hilarious too.



What are your favourite couples? Couples you find so cute you kind of want to gag? Couples with relationships that makes you depressed that you don't have your own "knight in shining armour"? (sorry to those feminists, I know we shouldn't need to be rescued by men!) Leave a comment tell me!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

because I am a Bandwagoner: My Thoughts On: Top 100 YA Books

So, like the title states, I've seen this topic around the blogosphere after the very awesome April from Good Books & Wine created the list. List was voted on by us bloggers, and I (shamelessly copying Chick Loves Lit, Sharon Loves books and Cats, and Reading Angel) wanted to maybe add a few comments to what I thought of the list.

In bold are books I've read. In italics are my comments :)

100. Hate List by Jennifer Brown (should be higher. definitely higher than Among the Hidden...)
99. Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
98. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
97. Among The Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix (not my cup of YA tea, maybe Grade 7 tea...)
96. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Claus (I honestly don't remember this one, just remember that I've read it)
95. Forever by Judy Blume
94. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
93. Tithe by Holly Black
92. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
91. Wings by Aprillynne Pike
90. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (#90? blasphemous!)
89. Angus, Thongs And Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
88. Marked by PC And Kristin Cast
87. Maximum Ride series by James Patterson (fun series, I guess. #4 was atrocious though.)
86. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
85. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (Actually, I only read half o it. Which means that I don't think it should be ahead of Katherines!)
84. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak (should be wayy higher. less than 50 for sure just b/c Zusak is amazing)
83. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (haha, good times in Grade 6! disliked it though.)
82. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
81. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (cute book!)
80. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (not a cute book...)
79. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
78. Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen (and this one is cute! Could have been ranked higher but then all those Dessen books kind of meld together. I think a collection of Dessen books should be all considered same-ish, and somewhere around #30)
77. Evernight by Claudia Gray
76. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (and this one's sad... should be higher)
75. Life As We Knew It series by Susan Beth Pfeffer (interesting dystopian, very unique and real-ish)
74. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
73. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (on my TBR!)
72. Alana: The First Adventure series by Tamora Pierce (OMG, how is this not higher?! It like, defines fantasy for me... has everything: heroine, swords, fights, mystery, monsters, good lookin thieves...)
71. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
70. Unwind by Neil Shusterman (yay! glad it made the list)
69. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
68. Paper Towns by John Green (nerdfighters, I am VERY disappointed in you... this is terrible! The completely biased me thinks this should be higher, top 40.)
67. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (um, on scale of likability/swoonability, this is higher. but on a scale of "Top Books", I think this was more average-ish romancey book.)
66. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
65. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (not my style)
64. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon (on my TBR)
63. The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (wow, how old is this book?! I think I read it in grade 7, and even then it was super worn and battered. Don't remember it o: )
62. Blue Bloods series by Melissa De La Cruz (nuh-uh. Perfect Schuyler can take her blood sucking series elsewhere! just kidding, but that aside, would have probably ranked it lower)
61. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (didn't connect much with this book, but however, in a "Top Books" list, it could be higher)
60. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (funny and insightful!! A recommended read and should be bumped up!)
59. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (fluff-fest, what is it doing in top 60?)
58. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (yay, my favourite Dessen book :D )
57. Eragon by Christopher Paoloni (liked this one quite a bit, good storytelling that is veering off as the saga continues)
56. Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine
55. The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith
54. Fallen by Lauren Kate
53. The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot (I read the first book. #52? maybe a bit high)
51. Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke (great series. ranked pretty well)
50. Number The Stars by Lois Lowry (could be higher, Lowry is a fantastic author)
49. Lord Of The Flies by William Golding (woo, allegory ftw! I was, one of the few people in my calss, who actually liked the book)
48. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Exciting read! ahead of LOTF? mehh, probs not)
47. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares (good ol' fluff, one of the defining books of my Grade 6-7 year... c'mon we all had a "sisterhood" right?)
46. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (heard soo many good things about it!)
45. The Summoning series by Kelley Armstrong (ranked too high, I think. but it is a 'gripping' series, I must say. Can't wait to read #3)
44. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (LOVED this book! WAY too LOW! I'm a jay Asher fangirl :P)
43. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (Ahh, one of the best books I read last summer!! Too low!)
42. Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card
41. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
40. Wake series by Lisa McMann (not really my favourite series... too high, I think)
39. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
38. Are You There Good? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume (sure, why not? Awesome book for tween girls!)
37. Looking For Alaska by John Green (Yay John Green! Woot! Paper Towns is still my favourite though)
36. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (read this when I was a lot younger... great book)
35. A Great And Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray (awesome, fantastical historical fiction! what's not to love? Pretty perfect placing, I must say)
34. His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman (very good series. Voted pretty well, I think)
33. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
32. Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare
31. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
30. Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr (I disliked #1, haven't read the others, so of course I would conclude this is a bit high)
29. Forest of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan (uhm, considering the books it is ahead of, it might have been ranked a bit high. Those zombie lovers did their job though :D)
28. Holes by Louis Sacher (liked it.. in like grade 6. Love it even more how Melina Marchetta used it as an idea for Jellicoe. brownie points!)
27. The Outsiders by SE Hinton (OMG this should be TOP 10!! AMAZING BOOK)
26. The Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger (TOP 20! Or even top 10, this book is excellent. I know, I'm sorry but I usually like the books assigned by teachers!)
25. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
24. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Top 10 worthy. One of my favourite books ever)
23. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank (uhmm, in a Top Books list, it is placed very well, I think. Personal tastes, maybe a bit high)
22.Uglies series by Scott Westerfield (Couldn't finish Pretties tbh. But Uglies was enjoyable, and I thought Westerfeld's idea was very cool)
21. Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia (I'm actually reading this right now!)
20. Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder (take out the "series", I would whole-heartedly agree. #1 = hyperventilatingly awesome. #2-3, not for me)
19. Book Thief by Markus Zusak (OMG TOP 5!!! MAYBE EVEN #1!! BLASPHEMY!)
18. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carlson Levine (how is this ahead of The Book Thief?!?!)
17. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead (enjoyability = high. Rose is a kick-ass protagonist)
16. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Uhmm, no. No. Maybe around Top 50-100)
15. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (TBR)
14. Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery (TBR)
13. The Giver by Lois Lowry (I can see how it placed this high, a great "Top Book" book. I personally didn't like it though)
12. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (the ending of Book 1 made me not read the other books. Those of you who read it, you know what I'm talking about. And by now, I already know what happens :/)
11. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (too high. way too high, disliked the romance--which was like, everything for this book)
10. Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (only read #2 LW&W. Pretty awesome, but ranked too high. It wasn't that special imo)
9. A Wrinkle In Time series by Madeline L'engle (Another conflicting good "top Book"/not enjoyed novel for me)
8. Graceling series by Kristin Cashore (WOOO loved it!)
7. Percy Jackson And The Olympians by Rick Riordan (Hurray! Excellent series, perhaps ranked a bit high though)
6. Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (uhm, am I reading this right? It was a great book, I will say, but #6? Really??)
5. Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen (Yeah, baby. Where's my Mr. Darcy?)
4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Should be #1/2. Glad it got ranked high though. If it was like, #55 I would be upset)
3. Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer (NO. I can see how people voted it though, very wide fan base)
2. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (HOW IS THIS #2?!?!??! NOOOOOO! This book is my childhood. I'm not even kidding, it is the best series EVAR. EVAR)
1. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (I can see how it was voted #1. Disagree, though. I personally feel it's the hype... I did love the book though.)


STATS:

I've read 18 of the Top 20.

42 of the Top 50.

69 of the Top 100.
I'm impressed with myself, not to toot my own horn or something :D

My Thoughts:

I think there's a fine line when voting on something like "Top 100 Book" lists. There's the line between (I'm really hesitant to say this,) quality and likability. Between hype and timelessness. I can't see some of these Top 20 books not withstanding the test of time, yet I can see a book like The Book Thief being around for ages. The hype (as you can tell by the results of The Hunger Games being #1) makes the list a tad less credible, and this is in NO WAY a dig at April. She is awesome and amazing, and thank you so much for compiling the list!

For example, Ke$ha isn't gonna be around in 10 years (I will bet money on this) but she is popular right now. I do think Hunger Games will be around for a long time, but it will fall short to a Beyonce (like The Book Thief). Get it? kind of? okay, okay, sorry for the horrendous analogy.

Lastly... I AM INSANELY UPSET THAT JELLICOE ROAD BY MELINA MARCHETTA WASN'T ON THE LIST *cries*

Some books were too high, some books were too low. Again, my comments are MY OWN OPINIONS on the book. NO OFFENSE was intended.

Monday, April 12, 2010

BR: Feed


by M.T. Anderson

I picked this book up as part of my "Take Another Chance Challenge". For #3 it was choose a book from a booklist. I thought this book was on the "2009 list of best YA novels"..yeah, it wasn't.

My bad. Either way, I have wanted to read this for awhile because I've heard some good things about it.

Summary (from goodreads): In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.

What a great summary, eh? The computer implants in their head is called the "Feed" and are constantly bombarded with advertisement.


Review:

I don’t exactly know what to think of this book. On one hand, I thought Titus was interesting and could be somewhat original. I thought he would be the boy who might change everything, who might fight for the girl he claims to love. On the other hand, he was a douchebag.

A douchebag made by technology, maybe. He’s self-proclaimed “stupid” and he is (to me) another product of the feed. When Violet really needed him, he bailed. Which made him pretty uncool on my cool-o-meter. I thought he was a jerk, was selfish, and stupid.

I will connect the writing bit to the characters, because while I disliked Titus’ character, I thought he was written averagely as well. The slangs in the book were too much, too often, and I still don’t understand what is with “Unit”, was that a swear word? Anybody who knows, leave a comment below.

I never really connected much with Titus, but I could understand him. Do you know what I mean by that? I could understand why he did all the stupid things he did, I get that he didn’t want to change and never really cared for much of the world. That didn’t mean I liked it though. It’s this type of stuff that makes me confused.

I did really like Violet though. She’s an admirable heroine but with her own faults. For example, while she wants to fight the feed, there are times where she gives in to it and “lives”. Can’t have the cake and eat it too. The thing/problem with Violet (I’m trying not to be a spoiler) was really well fleshed out, especially the last couple scenes. I liked her more because of how different she was, and how conflicted but real she seemed.

She isn’t rich like Titus’ friends, but she is much better spoken, and to the reader living in the 21st century, much more “right”. Then again, if you put yourself in Titus’ shoes, you might think she is weird. Oh god, I don’t want to go into a whole philosophical discussion.

I think Feed is characterized as “futuristic-satire” and don’t get me wrong, it is both. It’s an extended metaphor of today’s society that is so involved with internet and technology. It’s funny in a dark way, funny like “the world is dying and nobody cares, har har” type of funny, but not as dramatic or distressing. The feed tries to “understand” you, what you like so it can advertise better, so eventually everything becomes dumber and dumber. This doesn’t really makes sense as I’m writing this review, but if you read the book you’d understand.

I enjoyed the plot, while it isn’t the most original thing out there, it is still fascinating. I loved reading about adventures to the moon, or to Jupiter, or whatever ridiculous things the Feed would tell Titus. I thought that the way it was narrated (First person POV from Titus) limited the reader for gaining information about the world because let’s face it: apart from brief moments, Titus doesn’t really care for his deteriorating world. From small segments, you learn that the world has been falling apart, on the brink of a war, and basically ‘going down’.

For example (don’t worry, I’m gonna end this review soon), the lesions people get on their skin, people are manipulated into thinking they are the next “big thing”, not a serious concern. They learn to “accessorize their legions!”

7.5/10 – because I couldn’t connect with the characters or the writing. I understood Titus’ motives, but disliked him in general. Violet and her role was a bright side to a somewhat-depressing novel. I have already proved I can adapt to different writing styles (anyone who read The Knife of Never Letting Go? Wayy different) yet this book just didn’t do it for me. The “slang” way of prose wasn’t working for me. The plot was redeemable, and again, made me sad because, “what if this is what we end up being? Products of Feed, or of technology?”

I would recommend it to people who would like a somewhat-thoughtful book about a futuristic society controlled by technology. Sorry for being so specific :P

Also, this novel has that silver sticker for “National Book Award” so I guess it must be good. I can appreciate that it’s a good novel, just maybe not as enjoyable for me.

-&-

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? And do you like dystopic/futuristic novels in general?

Winner!!

The "movies In My week" contest winner for Paper Towns by John Green is....

Lisa!

Congratulations!!!!!

I have just sent you an email, please reply within 72 hours with your address so I can ship the book to you!

And I'd like to give a shout out to Lindsay, who had 25 entries and amazing movie blog posts! Please go visit her site and leave some love =D because she's awesome.

Before this is over, just saying, Blogoversary is in June.... stay tuned!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Thoughts On: dramatic Relationships


First off, I was gonna write a movie week wrap-up post but never got around to it. It should be out later this week though, but I just wanted to update something!


I’ve noticed something weird (at least, I think it is. You guys tell me if I’m wrong..) about myself when watching the occasional episode of Gossip Girl. Okay, okay, don’t judge me. It was one episode after “quitting” the current season. It was the episode on April 5, where Blair and Chuck supposedly broke up because Chuck was being a douche. And when watching this, it made me happier and generally more interested.

Why do I always want something to go wrong in a relationship (in non-real life, I mean)? I dislike relationships that coast along with a couple bumps. I want a fight, I want screaming, slapping, and a huge break up with lots of drama. Then (of course) the couple will get back together. Is this kind of twisted? I love it when a relationship takes a wrong turn, and someone does something terribly wrong (though I don’t like it if one of them cheats) and it all blows up.

Even when I’m reading, and there is a romance sub-plot, it’s as if I’m just waiting for stuff to fall apart. I think I’m a true believer of the Marilyn Monroe quote, “Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together.” I seriously apply this quote to everything…it’s kind of odd.

For example:

  • Going too Far. The freak out? Loved it. The getting back together? even better.
  • Basically every Dessen book: Couple breaks up? Oooh, this is interesting. Back together? Too cute!
  • The Ask and the Answer: the climax? So. Good. (like the part where Viola is prisoner) Aftermath? So. So. Good.
  • Vampire Academy: Climax of Shadow Kiss, yay or nay? A bit of both. But this just sets up for a more amazing and mysterious ending.
Other example:

  • Glee. Did I want something bad to happen to Quinn and Puck? Mmhmm. Do I want them back together sometime in the distant future after tons of tension? Yep.

--I will add that this usually only applies to books more romance-centered (like Going too Far). If it’s all action, I’m usually satisfied with the happy romance presented.

It’s just this part of me that just consistently wants something to go wrong and add to the drama, and let me tell you, in real life, I am so anti-drama it’s not even funny. Maybe books are the ways I satisfy my sadistic desire for drama =p

-&-

What do you think? Do you like relationships that are generally all happy and smooth? Or do you like it to blow up only to piece back together better than before? Or would you prefer one with just a few bumps in the road?

Friday, April 9, 2010

"movies In My brain": Awesome Actors and Actresses Acting Awesomely


movies In My brain is a week-long shin-dig hosted by me where awesome book bloggers post movie-related stuff! It runs from Apr 5-9, and ANYONE can participate. If you post a movie-related post, leave a comment and I will link it here!
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I was gonna have the Top 10 Songs from Movies be the last post of the week, but I just had to include a list last minute! Enjoy :)

As you can tell by that minor spell of alliteration, this post will be about actresses and actors that can seriously act! Their performances steal the scenes, their lines are made memorable, and their whole persona is made of awesome… Well, in a role. Because even amazing actors can flop.

I am including the specific movies in which I found them awesome in as well, because some actors have off days too! I’ll try and keep this sort-of short. And these actors are mostly semi-recent, because I’m just not such a big ‘classics’ movie fan. And I really really need to watch the Godfather =p

Actors

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean
-Is a comment required? He steals every scene in this movie. Jack Sparrow is one of the greatest characters ever.

Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
-Life is like a box of chocolates. The movie was made awesome by Mr. Hanks.

Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs



Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker
-excellent. Exceedingly excellent.


Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond
-All around, strong acting that made the movie better.


Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
-Why. So. Serious?


Matt Damon in The Bourne trilogy, and the Oceans trilogy
-as Bourne: he can act, he can fight, he looks good doing it (I know I’m shallow)
-in Oceans: I love his role, like the little kid looking up to the big bad guys.


Golum/Smeagol in Lord of the Rings
-my prreciousssssssssssss


Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man
-“Slappin da bass, man” "Totes Magotes." He’s hilarious. And he also rules as Mike Hannigan in Friends.


Sasha Baron Cohen in Borat and Bruno
-does this even need an explanation? Crude, disgusting, provocative, but funny.



Actresses

Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde *gasp* what?? Haha, throw in Walk the Line as well
-“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” I still remember that, she was awesome.


Ellen Page in Juno
- “You should've gone to China, you know, 'cause I hear they give away babies like free iPods. You know, they pretty much just put them in those t-shirt guns and shoot them out at sporting events.”


Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice and Pirates of the Caribbean
-mostly because she had a nice accent, and I loved the movie in general. Even Mr. Darcy. (but I love the book more!)
-she was fantastic in Pirates too. Way to break the woman-in-that-time stereotype!


Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia (plus a ton of other ones)
-no wonder why she gets so many Oscar nominations. A terrific actress in many genres.


Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta
-I thought the scenes where she was in captivity were awesome. She’s so pretty too!


Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side and The Proposal
-She can do serious. She can do funny. She is amazing. Logical? I think so!

-&-

Yes, I know there was an overuse of awesome in this post =p just conveying my thoughts!

Thank you all for participating in my Movie Week!! It's been tons of fun, and I hope you check out my other posts (found in the top right sidebar) and other blogs' posts! You can expect a small wrap-up post tomorrow!