Tuesday, August 31, 2010

i won't be reviewing Mockingjay

It seems odd that a book blogger who cherishes words and novels doesn't want to review one of the most highly anticipated books of the year, doesn't it? But there's something special about this case that I can't put my finger on, maybe it is because I know I really won't be able to say what I want to say, maybe because so many others can write a review that is so much better than I could ever dream of, maybe because The Hunger Games trilogy just refuses to leave my heart and hop onto my blog.

Truthfully, I really don't know my own feelings toward the book. But in case you're curious, I did give it 5 stars on goodreads...

I won't be reviewing Mockingjay, I doubt I'll be reading people's reviews on it either. There's just a lot of feelings that I don't mind being bottled up inside of me that I don't think I'm able to put into words. I'll just leave it at this:

I think I loved it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Contest and Giveaways Around the Blogosphere!

Numbers in (parentheses) are the contest end dates! If you want to add your contest to this list, just leave a comment or shoot me an email :D

~Ends in November~

Like Mandarin ARC @ YA Highway (US/Can, 11/22)

BR: Rampant

by Diana Peterfreund
Killer Unicorns series; book I

I won a Rampant bookmark from Cecelia, and I was so so excited when she said that since Amazon had this book on sale, she would send me a copy as well! Thank you so much, and once again she is an example of the kindness and generosity book bloggers have :) I'd love it if you guys hopped over to her blog and tell her how awesome she is!!

Summary (goodreads): Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns...

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student ... an attraction that could jeopardize everything


**
My Expectations: You know when there's a book about a subject that is completely foreign but you've heard great stuff about it? Well, that's me, I thought it would be really good!

Delivery: It was a little below my expectations, I guess. I did really enjoy it thoughg.

Put-down-ability: I was hindered by time constraints, lots of places to go! Read it in little gaps (except I read the whole second half in one sitting... thank god for that break in traveling). 7/10
**

My Thoughts

Straight to the point: I liked it, but I also had some issues with it. Let's start with the things I thought were made of pretty wicked awesomesauce: the killer unicorns. I mean come on, I'm not a big fan of them in general, but the whole thought process behind it and their portrayal in the book was incredibly unique and made the whole premise fascinating. The idea of unicorn huntresses were cool as well.

I thought the overall plot was okay, it did feel like the pacing was shaky at times; also (I think this is just me), it felt like a bunch of shorter storylines joined together rather than a larger plot. The big climax scene was lacking a bit, whether it was in vividness or substance, it just wasn't the great big explosive bang I was hoping for.

I did really like Astrid's voice and the writing in this novel, but in general I wasn't that big a fan of Astrid. I thought her lack of backbone when dealing with her mother (disliked the psychotic mother as well, but can see her reasoning behind ridiculous actions) was annoying and not warrior-like, as she claims to be. Especially the part where her mother was insulting Phil, I was dumbstruck at Astrid's pathetic rebuttals. I also disliked Astrid's relationship with Giovanni through the first bit of their fling-or-whatever, it felt superficial, and apart from the knight-in-shining-armor moment, there was really little depth. I can't really see her attraction to him, is it just 'cause he's a hot a

I thought many of the characters were inconsistent, and some of their sudden actions seemed out of the blue. Astrid's whole opinion on being a virgin huntress got frustrating because she just has flip-flopping feelings that don’t result to any action. I really disliked how she fails to see the imperfections of her mother's and other people's plans, she just always ends up agreeing with them. Ethics and morality-induced scenes lacked conviction as well.

Astrid also makes some stupid decisions, and is a bit slow in piecing together rather obvious pieces which can be just a bit distracting for the reader. There were some parts of the novel which I found really predictable as well (her change-of-heart, for one). Bonegrinder? Awesome. Neil naming her Bonegrinder? *cue headscratching*.

Parting Thoughts: Will be reading the sequel, Ascendant, but most likely borrowing from the library. I think I'm still torn between unicorns and zombies though.
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable

8.2/10 - because I really loved the idea of killer unicorns Reemerging to kill us all :P. Also, thought the unique premise and enjoyable voice of the character added to the good-ness of the book. However, there were just some times where Astrid would get on my nerves, along with some predictability to the plot. I would recommend it to people who would like to jump onto the Unicorn Bandwagon, some action books with cool heroines, and YA book lovers looking for something new. B

Sunday, August 29, 2010

taiwan book Haul

First, if you're interested, here's a post about my thoughts on my summer camp/tour in Taiwan.
**

I'm not sure what should be classified as a "haul" but anyways, these are all the books that I bought this summer! Taiwan YA selection is quite poor (they have lots of If I Stay, Willow, WGWG, and The Fallen though... O.o) I was a bit starved for English books so... I think I mighta went a bit crazy. I know I already listed some, but whatever.

Please please please don't think I'm bragging or anything (I mean, I bought these myself), just think of it as a filler post by a weird child. I'm bored, I like lists, so bring it on!

Also, parts in italics are not my mini-reviews, they're just brief thoughts. You can expect actual reviews sometime in the future!

Total: 18 books
YA: 9 (+some crossover)
Softcover: 16 (I'm thrifty)
Part of a Series: 9


Read/Bought:

Millennium Trilogy: (by Stieg Larsson)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Girl who Played with Fire
  • The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
-intense, fast-paced action books with mystery and intrigue. addicting. disturbing.

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
-sweet, charming, beautiful. heartwarming. heartbreaking (Jo! how could you?)

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (UK Version!)
-perfect. the writing is absolute perfection.

  • Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
-cute, charming, theatric, mystical, unique.

  • House Rules by Jodi Picoult
-strong writing, but a bit meh on the characterization.

  • Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult
-I've read better, but it wasn't bad.

  • I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
-annoying romance, unblievable, meh protag, lacked the charm of Heist Society.

  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
-not bad, but honestly, I can't see the appeal of it.

  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
-intense, explosive, different. emotional. thoughts are still jumbled. i might have cried. sad the series is over.






Not Yet Read/Bought:
  • The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
-against my hatred of Miley Cyrus, I bought the book (don't judge). Kinda hoping for a tear-fest.

  • Take Me There by Carolee Dean
-*squee* seriously can't wait to read this one. got high expectations.

  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes; All Novels and 56 (56!!) Short Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
-I thought I would be really bored. a desperation buy. hope it's good. 2 volumes

  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
-gonna see if Captain Wentworth is the one for me...


For Review:
  • The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
-Ash or Puck? why do i feel shallow saying that?

  • The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller
-the cover is gorgeous (I love red!) hope it doesn't disappoint.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

BR: Castration Celebration

by Jake Wizner

I'm gonna ease into this whole blogging thing by posting some pre-hiatus reviews I wrote (plus, I'm still adjusting to being non-lazy!) I bought this one because it looked really funny, plus the title just added that cherry on top. I don’t think you can top the words “Castration Celebration”.

Summary (goodreads): Did you know that in imperial China, eunuchs had their testicles, penis and scrotum removed?

Olivia does. She's done the research--after walking in on her dad fooling around with one of his grad students. On her way to an arts summer camp at Yale University, she's decided to write a musial called Castration Celebration.

Max, on the other hand, is a big fan of the penis--intact. As an actor, he always has the right line, especially for the ladies. He's going to camp to hone his skills, both acting and otherwise. And when Olivia and Max meet...oh, the drama! Olivia and Max have their roles down pat. Before camp is over, they'll preform Olivia's musical onstage and in real life--though the ending may turn out different than either expects.

Peppered with original songs like "Horny," "I'm in Love with Dick," and the titular, "Castration Celebration," Jake Wizner's a whole new level in a bawdy uproarious romp that's laugh-out-loud funny.


**
My Expectations: I remember reading about this book on one of the ‘best of” lists, the title was awesomesauce as was the first page. Expected big things.

Delivery: Humour was definitely there but plot was only okay.

Put-down-ability: it was very funny, but not exactly captivating. 7/10
**

My Thoughts

Three words: perverted, crude, and hilarious. Honestly, this was one of the most twistedly funny books I’ve read in a while, the constant mentions of sex, drugs, alcohol, and other innuendo would definitely not be suitable for a younger audience. Frequent mentions of… you know.. that stuff is abundant and superfluous, I guess it’s a read at your own risk type of thing.

I don’t really know what to write apart from the paragraph above, it basically summed up my thoughts. I really enjoyed reading about Olivia’s musical, and thought her song lyrics were ridiculously great. Even the titles (they were pretty outrageous) made me chuckle. The jokes are those probably made by teen boys, full of vulgar fun.

Something this novel lacked a bit was chemistry and writing. I loved the rapport between Olivia and Max at the beginning but as the novel continued, it was hard to really believe their relationship. I wished there could have been more spark, but I did love the friendships and supporting cast. Also, I never really felt the character growth for any of them.

The writing was a lot of telling, not enough showing, I felt the third person narrative hindered the development, I think if the author switched narrations between Olivia and Max, the writing might have worked a bit better.

Parting Thoughts: bizarre but it made me laugh.. I wonder what that says about my character? Did wish it had a bit more substance though.
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable

8.5/10 – because it was funny! Well, to me anyways. It lacked in other departments but I think if you are able to not look into it that much, and have a more perverted sense of humour this book is gold. Outrageous, provocative, nasty, and a whole slew of other words. Not recommended for younger audiences and readers who are easily offended by vulgarity. B+

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'M BACK!!

Dear Lovelies...

I'm back in Canada!! The trip was (to my surprise) highly enjoyable, I saw some awesome places in China and Taiwan, and I met some fantastic people at the summer camp.

Updates for the blog should be gradually coming, I've been cut off from internet basically for 2 months which is ridiculous but maybe a bit like rehab.. but I'm going to try and get back into the motion of things. I hope you guys will stick by me :)

I've read some pretty great books, plus I've got some really exciting ones in my TBR pile... (Mockingjay!) so expect some spoiler-free reviews soon-ish!

xoxoxoxoxo

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Hiatus...

I'm going away for a summer camp for three weeks. I decided instead of pre-scheduled updates, I'm just going to take a complete break from blogging so I won't stress myself out trying to get posts together.

Any concerns, inquiries, or other questions can be emailed to me, I will most likely have some internet access while I'm away. You can probably find me on twitter occasionally as well ;) email: holesinmybrain@hotmail.com

I'll be back in Canada on August 28 (I've been counting down religiously) so I'll start up again then. Until then, hope you guys have a fantabulous August and read some marvelous books!

xoxo

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

BR: Eyes Like Stars

By Lisa Mantchev
Theatre Illuminata series; book I

I should read books more carefully. I learned that the hard way xD Anyways, I bought this one because this book has received generally positive reviews, and it has such a gorgeous cover!! Too bad I’m not more familiar with Shakespeare though :(

Summary
Bertie, our heroine, aided by 4 mischievous faeries must figure out a way to be an invaluable contributor to the theatre… and it doesn’t hurt that she’s got two very enticing boys to go along for the ride.

**
My Expectations: Like I said, it seemed to get a generally good reviews across the board. Thought it would be mediocre-ly good.

Delivery: Kind of like my expectations, I liked it!

Put-down-ability: I thought it was a fast-paced, fun read. 4/10
**

My Thoughts

Eyes Like Stars has a very mystically-magical atmosphere (similar to the title, which I love!), the idea behind the theatre, the Players and The Book were extremely unique and very fun to read about. However, I truly think it’s Bertie who steals the show, she is such an entertaining character who does both immature and noble things that she is nothing but endearing. Her actions might have been frustrating at times, as were her interactions with other people, but I think she did everything with a good heart.

Gotta talk about the love interests: honestly none of them really appealed to me (Ariel was a jerk, Nate had an… accent? Oh god, please don’t hate me for being unreasonable) so I never really cared about who Bertie liked more. My personal love interest(s)? The Faeries. Seriously, I haven’t giggled when reading in quite a long time, I just adored their little catty fights, absolutely pitch-perfect lines. Mustardseed, Cobweb, Moth, Peaseblossom...
[Bertie] “We’ve more important things to worry about right now than food.”

Mustardseed said reproachfully, “I’m certain you don’t mean that.”

“She’s under duress,” Peaseblossom said.

“I don’t care if she’s under duress, over it, or alongside it,” Moth said. “Nothing in this world supersedes cake.”

“Pie does,” Cobweb corrected.

Moth glared at him. “Are you under duress, too?”
I love food too… which is probably why I giggled when I read this. It’s just a taste of what these faeries have to offer.

The over plot of this was a bit wacky, there’s quite a bit of stuff going on that it could get a bit messy at places. I disliked the ending because it felt a bit forced, like “and here’s the final reveal, guys!” and I don’t know why but I was reminded of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke when reading some parts.

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable

8/10 – because it was an entertaining book with a fantastic heroine and an original premise. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy reading it, I might’ve just had a couple nitpicks (as usual) but overall, an enchanting novel that deserves a second glance. Recommended for most YA readers, fans of Shakespeare and theatre, people who like a quirky, strong heroine. B


contest winner!

Luckily for you chaps back on the wonderful island of North America (no offense to all the other wonderful islands out there!) but while I'm slogging my way in Taiwan, the time difference allows me to tally up the results at 3pm while it is midnight (cut-off) in Canada. Soo, I counted up all the entries + extras (191), threw them into the random number generator (which spat out #37) matched entry #37 with the entrant (#27) cross-referenced my spreadsheet for this lucky entrant, and *drumroll please*

The winner of The Iron King by Julie Kagawa and a $25 Visa Gift Card is...

Steph

Congrats! I have emailed you, please get back to me before the 5th.

And of course, I'll leave some lovely links you guy should all click on *jedimindtricksareworking*...

Julie's website / blog / twitter

Julie Kagawa's second book in the Iron Fey series, The Iron Daughter has been recently released!! If you want some quick links*, make sure you check it out on:



Synopsis: The Iron Daughter

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen.

As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish.

Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.







*I get no compensation if you click the links.. so click xD

Monday, August 2, 2010

Movie Thoughts: The Lovely Bones

Well, I finally got a chance to see this movie the other day, I'll start by saying I immensely enjoyed the novel by Alice Sebold so I wasn't sure what to expect from this adaptation.

Summary (IMDb):A 14-year-old girl from suburban Pennsylvania who is murdered by her neighbor. She tells the story from Heaven, showing the lives of the people around her and how they have changed all while attempting to get someone to find her lost body.

My Thoughts
I was disappointed. I will admit the camera/CGI work was very well handled, the in-between that Susie is caught in is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking, however this wasn't the crux of the novel. The novel dealt with the aftermath of such a tragic event and the changing family dynamics and relationships that followed. I felt the movie tried to grasp this theme several times but kept coming up short.

Abigail's absence, Lindsay's relationship, Ray and Ruth-- all of this felt half-assed, because they held such emotion during the book, yet did nothing for me during the film. Okay, I understand you can't really fit everything from book into movie, but I guess I'm just too nitpicky. I did love Mark Walhberg's acting as the father Jack Salmon, and Mr. Harvey was properly creepy.

Popcorn Review: An okay movie based on a very good book, some CGI parts and acting scenes were great but the overall emotion isn't comparable to the novel.

7/10

Contest Reminder!!

Just a reminder, the contest for The Iron King by Julie Kagawa plus a $25 Visa Gift Card ends tonight (August 2nd) at midnight!!!

Click Here to enter! Open to US/Canada :)