Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November, lookin' back

Don't you love how I write these monthly review posts randomly? November was good, I did feel at times a bit stressed about blogging and I decided that I'm not going to post every single day, I'm going to post when I have good material.

this is November in Review at holes In My brain.

Book Reviews (6) ~ I know, not that many reviews..

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Follow the Elephan
t by Beryl Young

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3, ARC) by Julie Kagawa

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Thoughts:
Oh my god, I actually read a lot of books I completely adored this month. It was definitely a happy reading month for me!!

My favourite November read:
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (9.4/10). My god, it was stunning, perhaps my favourite book of the year! Read my review here!

Honourable mention:
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (9.2/10). Read my review here

**Also this month I...
... didn't really do much.
*
Participated in the Green Books Campaign
*
Posted memes and features: Waiting on Wednesday, Poetry Slam Sunday
*
Featured the cover of the US version of The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
*

Parting Thoughts:
Looking at the previous category, I realize that I probably should have done a bit more with my blog this month, it took until now to realize it. It's just with time and lots of things going on it's tough to maintain a blog with tons of material (so those who do that, I applaud you!!!) But no excuses, I will try hard in December to make sure you'll find good stuff on my blog.
Also, Slam Sundays has been well received on my blog, so thank you all for supporting it! :)

Looking Ahead:
This has been on my mind a bit althought it's a really small change, I was thinking of adding something to my already-weird review system, a fill in the blanks kind of thing. "If this book was a ____ it would be a ____" Yeah. So you can look forward to that sometime soon, it does require some creative juices!

Haha, also, Christmas is coming soon!! I can't believe tomorrow is December! This year has flown by, it's been amazing. I might hold some fun contests so stay tuned :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Poetry Slam Sunday (7)


Slam Sunday is a new bi-weekly (and sometimes weekly) feature I'm having on my blog, basically every other Sunday I'll share a YouTube clip of awesome spoken poetry that you just can't miss.

Poetry Slam is a competition in which poets recite original work. I love it. Plain and simple, I love the way it combines words, rhythms and performance, the sounds blending together to bring attention to anything and everything. When done well, it has the power to accomplish great things.

**

It was Saturday, and I didn't know what poem I would share with you for this week's feature of PSS. So I turned quickly to YouTube and the first video that I clicked on, I just LOVED. It is amazing and totally speaks to Readers and Teens... us. I will include all the words this time (source: Missouri Scholars Academy**) because she speaks really fast at times and I REALLY don't think you should miss what she is saying. This girl is only sixteen!! I implore you to listen to this, it's amazing.

It's definitely one of my favourites.

Title: Well, Thank You
Poet: Taylor Phillips




When I found out there was going to be a slam,
I went straight to my dorm room, pen in hand
Ready to compose the next grand
Word symphony
To give each audience member a personal epiphany
To write a poem for everyone,

So I had censored before I’d even begun.
In a world where only 25% of adolescents read for fun
Who's going to listen to a 16 year old girl slam
And know enough to give a damn.
I wanna write a poem
that only the worthy can understand

I wanna write a poem for smart people.
For true knowledge comes from your heart people,
For the search for that truth is an art people
For finish what you start people.

I wanna write a poem for gifted kids
Teens with minds like Pringles lids,
Once you pop, the fun don’t stop,
I wanna speak for the cream of the crop

Geniuses of the 21st Century, this is for you

Because you know “Live long and prosper” was first said on Vulcan
And when you solve a rubix cube too slowly,
You don’t stop sulkin' until you win yet another chess match
In 17 moves flat
Or dip a tennis ball in a 3 liter vat of
Liquid nitrogen
Which we all know,
Is atomic #7.

I wanna write a poem for the scholastically driven
Who use their cerebellums to better the world we live in
And who didn’t have to look up cerebellum to know
That they’re seeing this thanks to their occipital lobe.

I wanna be the poet for the know-it-alls
Making metaphors from the trajectory of ping pong balls
Who knows that density is M over V
And the decimal of one third is point repeating three

I wanna write a poem for the literarily inclined
Who turn to Frost and Dickinson to find
The same drama as Desperate Housewives
Who make Styrofoam and saxophones pertain somehow to their lives

For those who say scintillating instead of double-plus-good
And irked instead of irritated
Enthralled instead of fascinated
Proclaimed in lieu of simply “stated”
Deplorable instead of hated
Opaque instead of shaded
The brilliant and jaded
And seldom celebrated for the selves that we’ve created
And the many,
No,
The PLETHORA,
Of lives that they will change.

I wanna write a poem for kids with good grammar.
Who know that if someone asks how you’re doing
How Y-O-U apostrophe R-E doing.
You say WELL, thank you
And can differentiate between whom and who
And lie and lay
And which and that
Who never ask the question “where are you AT?”
Because at’s a preposition, we don’t end sentences like that

I wanna write a poem for the kids at MSA
Who when I say BOOMBA
All yell HEY!
We’re going to rule the freaking world someday

It’s FUN to be brilliant
And schools make it a chore
And I'm not sure quite
Who’s being left behind anymore
So here is a poem for the future of our nation
The future shrinks, doctors and teachers of our nation
And actors and authors
And computer technicians
And judges and journalists
And pediatricians
Moms, dads and musicians

Reading is sexy and don’t you forget it
Mediocrity consumes, but we did not let it.
We’re nerds because we strive
Moving this world forward with our inner drive

So I wrote this poem, from my own fierce pride
For the youth, our world’s future, personified
because it’s scary, but it’s true
The future’s us, you guys






**I did edit a few of the phrases to better correspond with the words she is saying (just like switching words around, etc)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

BR: The Sky is Everywhere

by Jandy Nelson

Dear God, Thank you for giving us Jandy Nelson. When I wrote this post, I was itching with anticipation to read this. Thanks Aly and Nomes for the comments, you guys were so right—I totally adored it.

Summary (inside flap):

17-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends most of her time tucked safely in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulated to center stage of her own life - and despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his muscal talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

**
My Expectations: astonishingly high.

Delivery: I LOVED IT. One of my favourite reads THIS YEAR.

Put-down-ability: 3/10
**

My Thoughts

It’s scary when you pick up book with so much anticipation, it really is. After all the reviews, the glowing praise and enough '5 stars' to make up a galaxy you’re scared it doesn’t work out for you. You won’t connect. Distrustful words like underwhelming and over-hyped. Lucky me though, it was definitely not the case, I am head over heels in love with The Sky is Everywhere.

Ms. Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall, Delirium), you have competition. I love your writing, honestly, but Ms. Nelson in this corner is right up there with you. Nelson captures the very essence of Lennie with provocative and confident writing that draws comparison with the likes of Laurie Halse Anderson and dare I say it?... Markus Zusak. The prose is simply gorgeous (minus the occasional "WTF" which leaves me thinking… WTF—a personal pet peeve). It’s so poetic and quirky and good it hurts sometimes, but in a weirdly good way. I absolutely adored Nelson’s crazily unique diction; for example, here’s how Lennie would describe Sarah:

When Sarah gets excited, random animals pop into her speech like she has Old McDonald Had a Farm kind of Tourette syndrome.
Win. And her room:
I want to back in The Sanctum, full name: The Inner Pumpkin Sanctum, newly christened by me, when Bailey, a few months ago, persuaded me the walls of our bedroom just had to be orange, a blaringly unapologetic orange that had since made our room sunglasses optional.
Lennie’s voice shines with honesty and grace, the words work together as though they are strung together with ribbon. I couldn’t help but fall in love with just how teen she was, her speech rarely sounded unauthentic to me. Her development as a character following Bailey’s death is gradual and realistic, never leaving a reader feeling cheated. She struggles but ultimately finds her place out from Bailey's shadow. Both grief and hope mingle together as she follows her path for self-discovery: mistakes are made, hearts are broken, and ultimately, souls are healed.

Her indecision between the boys didn’t bother me at all (I did think it might be too love-triangle based), I’m so glad I was wrong because her convincing reactions to her own actions were genuine and believable. Oh also, I wanted to comment on how much I loved the way music and poetry was incorporated. Especially the poetry, man, it's indescribably awesome.

Secondary characters are in a league of their own, I’m beyond impressed with the way the author breathed life into each person, their quirks and personalities add both humour and heart. I had a strong sense for both Toby and Joe (omfg, I love that boy) which was nice. I felt the plot was impeccable for my unconventional tastes, it had steady pacing and was delightfully dramatic with sexy romance and tension. This novel is Lennie’s ballad, and the plot just ushered it along.

Breathtaking similes and metaphors coupled with fantastic symbolism prove that undermining YA literature is a mistake. But when it comes down to it, you can only look critically at a book so much: voice, character, plot, writing, etc. You can only analyze it and refer to evidence but a review shouldn’t consist of only this. No, it should include how this book made you feel. The Sky is Everywhere dug deep into my cynical heart and wiggled its fingers to make me smile, laugh, love, and cry. I can’t really explain it any other way: it’s a reading experience, and one that I will not forget anytime soon.

Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding. Obviously ;)
Recommended for : Everyone. Obviously ;)

9.4/10 – the highest rating I've given this year because The Sky is Everywhere is so much more than a book about grief. So much more than its label of hope and moving on, of contemporary fiction. It is a novel that delves into the inner workings of humanity and love, loss, belonging, heartbreak, and passion. But amidst the complexities of its themes, the author never fails to convey light and humour onto the page. There’s so much soul bundled up in 276 pages that you will be scared to miss even a single paragraph. A







source: library
author twitter / website / blog
book website / trailer

Thursday, November 25, 2010

i'm so excited!

...for this weekend!

This friday is 'cut-off' where it's the last day to do tests and hand work in for our report cards. I have a big physics test Friday... then I am home free. I am GIDDY. All caps lock INTENDED.

I have so many awesome books that i'I've been putting off reading because I need to study stupid stuff, but when all is said and done, well I'll get to cozy up by my fireplace and read 3 or 4 awesomely amazing books!!

And to keep this post at least somewhat on the topic of books, they are:

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
-you have NO IDEA how long I've wanted to read this for! It's definitely been on quite a few 'best books of 2010' etc lists, and I've had my eye on it forever! Definitely top of my stack.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
-movie is coming out sometime (why hello there, Alex Pettyfer), so I managed to get ahold of this copy! Can't wait to read it :D

Plain Kate by Erin Bow
-I wont this in a contest from Maybe Tomorrow.. it's been a while since I've read a fantasy book, so I'm excited to jump into a make-believe world... seeing how stressful this world is!

The Candidates by Inara Scott
-Won from Kristen, it's a paranormal and it sounds good :)

.. oh oh oh, I don't know why this makes me happy but did you guys notice there is One contemp, sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal? I dunno, I like variety!

Hope you Americans have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and since I never really wrote a post during the Canadian holiday, just wanted to thank all of you guys who read and support my blog, you guys are awesomesauce at the sauciest. I have no higher compliment. Have a wonderful weekend and if you guys are going shopping... good luck ;)

x's and o's to the MAX.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Dear Cliche,

Hello. Nice to see you. Did I see you over there? Yep. On that blog? Yep. On twitter? Yep. Well... it's okay, I'll still feature you.

Wolfsbane
by Andrea Cremer
Nightshade series; book II

Betrayal, loss, pain, fear. How many trials can love endure and still survive?
released July 12, 2011
Philomel

This gorgeous cover has been everywhere!! I really love the green, so fresh and different. I'm far from the first person to feature this book/cover on WoW, but it's okay; I enjoyed the first book, Nightshade, so this one is definitely on my to-read list! Read my review of Nightshade! :)







source: goodreads

Monday, November 22, 2010

BR: Nightshade

by Andrea Cremer
Nightshade series; book I

I felt so incredibly lucky to be reading this because my local library hasn’t gotten it and I’ve been dying to read it. Have you seen the marketing campaign for this book?? Without a doubt, in my opinion, the best yet, so original and cool.

Summary (goodreads):

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

**
My Expectations: I hoped it would be good but after finding about the love-centred-ness, I thought it might bug me a bit if it wasn’t handled the right way.

Delivery: The triangle wasn’t too big an issue, I had more issues with the characters. Other than that, it was a good book :)

Put-down-ability: low. One thing I can say, it was SO addictive! Two very very late nights (think 4am) finishing this baby. 1.5/10!
**

My Thoughts

Nightshade was in many ways a very solid book. It had strong sense of plot and characters, interesting mythology premise, conflict of various kinds, strong writing and plenty of romance. I loved the fact that I couldn’t put it down for no other reason than that I wanted to find out how it ended :)

I didn’t think I would buy into the idea of Guardians (werewolves) but to my surprise, I actually really enjoyed this element. The backstory of their origins with the Keepers and other fun stuff was well presented and believable; I haven’t read many paranormal books but this one was above average on my own scale.

However, when it came to characters I felt quite underwhelmed. Calla Tor is the alpha. She’s the leader. She’s betrothed to the alpha of another pack. I have reread this statement worded differently plenty times throughout the novel yet I can honestly only believe that 1/3 is true.

Throughout the whole novel, the fact that Calla is the alpha basically becomes the mantra, but it doesn’t show. At all. I don’t even understand how she can be considered strong, every time she is near either Ren or Shay (which is 90% of the book) she becomes a spineless hormonal teenage girl leading two boys on which is, of course, fine because it is… ‘realistic’ but it doesn’t work very well for me.

I also don’t feel she’s much of a leader. Why? Well, she doesn’t know anything about her precious pack; her brother knows more than she does and she’s supposed to be ‘the alpha’. She’s also stupidly naïve, I mean did she honestly not know who was gonna get together? I always wondered if her pack would still follow her if not for the traditions. Then in spite of all these faults, is it strange that I liked her? I liked the intense internal struggle she had to dealt with, her insecurities about the boys, and the doubt about her future destiny.

I guess the big question is Team Shay or Team Ren? For me, this choice is by default because there is no way I could ever favour Ren despite his attractive qualities. This is because of a single action of his that made me lose complete and utter respect for him. At a point in the novel, he gets answers from Calla using pain and brute force. No. Just no, no, no.

His “I had to do it” speech was total bullshit, there should NEVER be a time where a boy physically hurts a girl for his own stupid gains. It pisses me and I personally find it as unredeemable as domestic violence. The fact that Calla ended up being ‘okay’ about it and brushing it off made me lose some respect for her as well, she’s the strong alpha? Whatever. Go Shay!

My final comments are positive ones, the writing was very good and kept me engaged. I liked the way the plot unfolded although the ending twist was too easy, I wanted to be surprised but I figured out pretty much as early as I could even without the hints and clues. The twist in the middle totally took me by surprise though! Overall, one and a half thumbs up. xD

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: Paranormal YA fans, people looking for a good romance and action book, people who aren’t the biggest fans of paranormal might still like this one :)

8/10 – because there are many good parts about this novel and I loved being so enticed. I had character issues but I think the writing and the plot is quite strong. Shay’s character was original so I am quite pleased by the way the love triangle avoided clichés and such… It’s no surprise that this one has been a big hit, and I do think I will be reading the sequel, Wolfsbane!






source: publisher
author website / blog / twitter
Shay Doran YouTube / Nightshade website
Read Chapter 1 of Nightshade!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

BR: The Iron Queen

by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Fey series; book III

I wasn't sure when I would post my review for this book because it's so far away from release date still... but I honestly have no blog ideas whatsoever, so this is what you'll get. I will try my best to keep this review SPOILER FREE. That way, you can read my thoughts and make up your own mind on whether you would like to tackle this series…

Summary (marketing copy):
In less than twenty-four hours I’ll be seventeen.

Although, technically, I won’t actually be turning seventeen. I’ve been in the Nevernever too long. When you’re in Faery, you don’t age. So while a year has passed in the real world, agewise I’m probably only a few days older than when I went in.

In real life, I’ve changed so much I don’t even recognize myself.

MY NAME IS MEGHAN CHASE.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

THIS TIME,
THERE WILL BE NO TURNING BACK.

**
My Expectations: I won’t lie, book two, The Iron Daughter failed to impress me. I wasn’t really sure what I would think of the third one, but I wanted to continue this series because it has so much potential.

Delivery: Whoa. Did that just happen? It was amazing, so much above my expectations!!

Put-down-ability: even for an e-galley, it was hard to stop reading, 2/10
**

My Thoughts

The Iron King: Hmm, this an interesting concept, fun plot, decent characters…
The Iron Daughter: Great action plot… love triangle? No thanks.
The Iron Queen: Oh my god, where have you been all my life??

Suffice to say, I loved The Iron Queen. Readers of my blog know that I don’t love books often. They will know that many, many, many things annoy me. Even tiny minuscule, irrelevant things. So they should know that my standards are pretty high so any book I say I love must have impressed me pretty damn lots. And this book did.

I went into this third book of the Iron Fey series with a bit of apprehension, book two was a let-down for me (like I said, I’m nitpicky) and it’s been a while since I read it so nothing was super fresh in my mind. From the first page, however, everything slipped away as Kagawa sucked me back into the world of Meghan Chase. The novel picks up right where the predecessor left off and takes you for an addicting ride.

But the wonderful thing about this installment is that (not only is it better than the first two,) it has intensified the odds, explored new themes and forged a new storyline that fits well with the series without being too out-there.

In my effort not to spoil anything, I’ll just strip it down to the SIX essential facts.
  • True fact #1: Julie Kagawa’s writing has improved with each book. I found everything to flow smoothly, dialogue sounded natural and her descriptions were amazing!
  • True fact #2: The world building is unreal. Unreal! Nevernever was so vivid in my mind, the way she described both the characters and the setting were gorgeous.
  • True fact #3: The action was soooo good! One thing I love about this series is Kagawa’s take on action, Meghan isn’t the sheltered princess anymore, she gets her ass out there and kicks butt. The fighting scenes were among my favourites and I love how alive everything feels with all the commotion going on.
  • True fact #4: I started off Team Puck. I can’t really decide what I am anymore.
  • True fact #5: Team Ash will rejoice. I think.
  • True fact #6: The ending was… WOW. Only word for it, it’s that type of ending that is just perfect for the oddball gal like me. The gutsy, crazy thriller climax that takes bravery and confidence to pull off in such an effortless manner that will surely get readers to go wild: it was INSANE. I can’t even describe how much I loved it. Honestly probably one of my favourite book-endings this year (though I'm betting most people won't love it as much as I did...).

The reading experience was truly a delight. It’s hard to describe how a book can make you feel apart from your surface emotions, but this is the kind of book that just makes you feel cheerful and glowy inside for no reason other than the fact that it’s making you happy. Even when intense scenes were going on, I was just glad I was devouring everything the way I wish I could experience every book I read. I’m sorry I don’t really make sense, there’s only so much gushing I can do.

Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding!!!
Recommended for: Everyone! The Iron Fey series is skyrocketing up my favourites list, a must-read for faery and paranormal fans. You, yes YOU should read this book.

9.2/10 – because it was so good. I hope you haven’t gotten hurt in this gushing review because unless I didn’t enunciate myself well enough, I LOVED THIS BOOK. Kagawa has deftly navigates readers through her enchanting world of faeries, and since the ending is probably my favourite part, I think you should read every part of this series until you can see the type of that suits me perfectly. The Iron Queen will be released Jan 25 2011. Lastly:

Dear Julie,

You are crazy. I can’t believe you would leave us hanging like that.

xoxo,






source: netGalley
author twitter / website / blog
series website / Facebook
my review of Book 1 / Book 2

Thursday, November 18, 2010

my little nerd Heart just did a Dance...

Anyone here a fan of John Green?? If you say no, I won't believe you.

(EDIT: thanks to ladystorm, I realized I never really introduced him xD. John Green is the author of such fabulous books like Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska. He also co-wrote the Tiny Cooper musical.. Wait, I mean't Will Grayson, Will Grayson.)

Did you know John Green and his brother Hank are on YouTube? They're the vlogbrothers and they post awesome videos every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, they are the founders of Nerdfighters (woo!) and they NEVER forget to be awesome. In fact, if you're curious, when you comment my little message says "DFTBA". Don't forget to be Awesome. Yes, that's a nerdfighter thing :)

Anyways, Hank writes some pretty awesome songs on Wednesday (Song Wednesday!) and yesterday he wrote one about.... HARRY POTTER!!!

I just had to share it with you because he references a bunch of other YA lit which is just awesome. Listen to the lyrics, they are soo good! And did anyone else notice Mockingjay totes makes an appearance as 'percussion'? xD



You can read the lyrics/watch the original video on YouTube by clicking here and then clicking the bottom-bar.

And just curious, is the song true for you? Nothing you read will ever compare to Harry Potter? And if you are a nerdfighter, leave me a nerdfighter gang sign so we can be friends. jk, but srsly still, *high five*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

So, I'm sorry for not updating this blog like I want to, but I've just got a ton going on in school and I haven't really been reading much (I've started Nightshade so expect a review of that soon).

This week's pick is one that's pretty far away but I really enjoyed Book 1 which makes me excited for Book 2. Yay!

Red Glove
by Holly Black
The Curse Workers; book II

Released: April 5, 2011
Margaret K. McElderry

(no summary, sorry, but there's a description!)

The cons get twistier and the stakes get higher in Red Glove, the sequel to White Cat.
**

I love the main character and thet whole cons thing goin on in this series... I can't find a proper summary for it, but basically it's gonna be awesome. Yep.

What are you excited for this week?






read my review of White Cat

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Poetry Slam Sunday (6)


Slam Sunday is a new bi-weekly (and sometimes weekly) feature I'm having on my blog, basically every other Sunday I'll share a YouTube clip of awesome spoken poetry that you just can't miss.

Poetry Slam is a competition in which poets recite original work. I love it. Plain and simple, I love the way it combines words, rhythms and performance, the sounds blending together to bring attention to anything and everything. When done well, it has the power to accomplish great things.

**

I'm thinking of making this more of a three-times-a-month kind of thing because sometimes I find poems too awesome to withhold for two whole weeks! If you saw my last week's post, you would know that today I was going to feature a touching and emotionally heavy poem by Gabrielle Bouliane. However, when I went to search for it, it turns out the uploader had taken down the video so I can't show you (trust me, it was brilliant). If you want to hear it on mp3, email me and i'll send you the file.

Anyways, on twitter Justine from A Bookful of Thoughts sent me a link to a truly funny and cute piece. I loved it immediately, all the elements and metaphors the poet included, so adorably awesome!

And just to let you guys know, if you find any great pieces of Slam Poetry that you'd like me to feature, just tweet/email me and I'll try to do that :) Anything to spread the word of this amazing art.

Poet: Rudy Francisco
Title: Love Poem Medley



I'm gonna be honest.. I'm not really a love poet.
In fact, every time I try to write about love,
my hands cramp
just to show me how painful love can be.
And sometimes my pencils break,
just to prove to me that every now and then
love takes a little more work than you planned

Next Time: TBA

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday's Finest (27)

Friday's Finest is a 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.
**

As I'm writing this, I'm not yet finished this book. Also as a disclaimer, as I am writing this post I am still FULLY on Team PUCK. Yes, you heard me. Robin Goodfellow aka Puck has my heart in this very faery series.

Book: The Iron Queen
by Julie Kagawa
-Iron Fey series, book III

Quote:
"I plan to keep you, from everyone, for as long as I'm alive. That includes Puck, the false king, and anyone else who would take you away." One corner of [Ash's] mouth quirked as I struggled to catch my breath under his powerful scrutiny. "I guess I should've warned you that I have a slight possessive streak".
Okay, it's not the most remarkably insightful quote ever, but I will say... I laughed. Yes, I 'lol-ed'. I don't really know why, I just really like this quote despite the fact that it's coming from Ash. Slight possessive streaks just get me, I guess :P

Are you excited for this book or what?! And if you haven't read the series and you are looking to pick up something paranormal but not completely paranormal, let me suggest faeries :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Flanders Fields

On November 11, 1918, at 11 AM, the armistice was signed to end World War I. Take a moment and remember today, for our sake and their's.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.






source: here

The Piper's Son has a pretty US cover!

Exciting News is Exciting!!

I saw this cover at The Story Siren's "Books to Pine For"... it's the new cover for:

The Piper's Son
by Melina Marchetta

I read a copy that had the Aussie cover, but here's the North American one!!


I'm not the hugest fan of this one, I thought the Australian cover had more of a desolate feel that reflects Tom's state of mind at the beginning of the book. I don't think this one conveys the story and mood as well. Oh well, it's still awesome and... YOU WANT TO READ THIS BOOK.

You want to read ALL of Melina Marchetta's books. Yes you do. This one is a companian/sequel to Saving Francesca, but it's Tom Mackee's story this time.

Summary (from Candlewick Press):

Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again.

The award-winning author of Finnikin of the Rock and Jellicoe Road pens a raw, compelling novel about a family’s hard-won healing on the other side of trauma.
**

The book is released March 2011! Mark your calendars :)

And if you want to read my GUSH-FEST review, click here.

Also, because I love you guys so much, here's an ADORABLE video. Slow Loris want's you to want this book.



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Green Books Campaign; BR: Follow the Elephant

Plus a CONTEST at the end! =D

by Beryl Young

This review is part of the Green Books campaign.Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on "green" books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.

Follow the Elephant is printed on FSC certified paper-- 100% post-consumer waste, totally chlorine and acid free.

And I've got some wonderful circular reasoning for you on why environmentally friendly paper is important to me:

I live in Canada.
Canada has lots of trees.

I like Canada.

Therefore, I like trees.

And if I want to make sure I love Canada in the future, I will be hoping the trees will still be here, so here's to eco-friendly printing paper for those many million pages that hurt many million trees. I hope witht his post and over 200 others, we can help save trees and raise awareness for this fabulous cause.

Summary:
What thirteen-year-old boy wants to travel on a hopeless quest to India with his grandmother? Not Ben Leeson, whose anger about his father's recent death has led him to escape into the isolated world of computer games. But the ticket has already been bought and Ben finds himself in India on a mission to find Gran's long lost pen pal, Shanti. As they search for clues across the huge subcontinent, Ben finds himself strangesly drawn to the magnificent elephants and elephant boy-god Ganesh. in overcoming the challenges of the journey, Ben begins to see that real life can be more exciting than any computer game and that the dark mysteries of India may even help him come to terms with his father's death.
**

My Thoughts

I liked this one, it was a bit different from my usual style because I honestly do prefer YA novels with older narrators (this was from a 13 year old boy's POV) so this was a change. It's very much one of those coming-of-age ones that delivers a good message with an interesting premise. Follow the Elephant is primarily set in India following Ben after a traumatic incident.

The writing was solid except for sometimes I found it difficult staying engaged with everything. It wasn't difficult to put down the book and focus on homework rather than devouring it. The character growth was decent but I think the fact that I had trouble 'connecting' with Ben's character did impede my enjoyment of it.

I loved the aspect of elephants and the elephant god and the way the extended metaphor was set up. Overall, Follow the Elephant was an enjoyable read although a tad difficult to connect with characters. Writing is good and the characters had their little quirks and were interesting to read about. The plot was unique and I loved how it was set in a foreign country and the way India affected Ben.

7.5/10

Lastly, I'm going to give away my copy of Follow the Elephant! And I'd love it if you would either comment on this review or tweet (or both)... because you love me right? Actually, it's because I love you! Haha, but really, if I get a lot of comments/tweets etc I can enter the Green Books Campaign raffle for bloggers xD

Rules:
-US/Canada only.
-Ends Nov. 20
-one entry per person, Fill out the form below

-Contest CLOSED. Winner has been contacted, thanks for participating!-


Thank you for supporting the Green Books Campaign!








source: Ronsdale Press
author website
Green Books Campaign website / twitter / Facebook
Eco-Libris website

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =)

I totally raved about this series, it's absolutely one of my favourite urban fantasy series out there, and this is the third book of the trilogy! And finally, it's the Alan cover!! xD Presenting...

The Demon's Surrender
by Sarah Rees Brennan

Released: May 2011
Margaret K. McElderry


Since I can't find a proper summary, here is such a fantastically funny quote from chapter 1:

Alan’s T-shirt might as well have read ‘MY BROTHER IS JAILBAIT. IT’S MAKING ME ANXIOUS.’

You can read the first chapter of this book, it's from Sin's POV.

Yes, you want to read this book. As do I xD

Read my review of Book 2: The Demon's Covenant :)







source: goodreads
author blog / twitter

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Poetry Slam Sunday (5)


Slam Sunday
is a new bi-weekly feature I'm having on my blog, basically every other Sunday I'll share a YouTube clip of awesome spoken poetry that you just can't miss.

Poetry Slam is a competition in which poets recite original work. I love it. Plain and simple, I love the way it combines words, rhythms and performance, the sounds blending together to bring attention to anything and everything. When done well, it has the power to accomplish great things.
**

Okay, compared to the past 4 poems I've shared with you, this one isn't my absolute favourite, but it is still one I really like. I like the way Darby enunciates, the fantastic metaphors, and the grand idea behind it all. Everything meshes together pretty darned well. Enjoy =)

Title: Scratch & Dent Dreams
Poet: Eric Darby




Come on in.. I've got a sale on Scratch & Dent dreams,
old cases and imperfect ambitions,
stuff the idealist couldn't sell...
Yeah, I know, none of it's got price tags,
you decide how much it's worth.
And none of its got glossy coloured packaging,

but it all works just fine.

I got rainy day swing-sets,
good night kisses, and stationary stars still flying at the speed of light.

Next Time: Gabrielle Bouliane

Friday, November 5, 2010

BR: The DUFF

by Kody Keplinger

I won this book from the author with a microfiction :) Man, I was so excited! And, I started it at like 9pm and couldn't stop reading until 12:30 when I finished it :)

Summary (goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

**
My Expectations: I’ve read a lot of positive things but I didn’t really buy into the hype. I thought it would be so-so and I would have a lot of issues with it.

Delivery: I can overlook my issues because it was crazy addicting!

Put-down-ability: 1/10. Yes, I said it. It was one of those ‘don’t stop reading or you’ll melt’ type of books
**

My Thoughts

You know that wonderful feeling, and yes this is an annoying kind of wonderful, when you are reading a book and you stop because you need to do other things (like homework) but you just for the life of you can't stop reading? Yes. For me, that was The DUFF. And I loved it because of that.

The writing is one that I am immensely impressed with from Keplinger, and not just because she is a debut author because she is writing like an old pro. It kept my eyes figuratively glued to the page as I could barely stop reading to watch my scheduled TV shows. What is further laudable is the dialogue, which was top-notch. Sure, I have yet to meet such witty people in real life but it was entertaining and sounded (to me) authentic. Bravo =)

Bianca and Wesley’s ‘relationship’ was well written, it was sexy and steamy but I liked that there was some substance to it. I didn’t find the sexual activities off-putting but rather they added to her character’s complexities. Sure, it’s rare to see a YA novel dealing with issues in such a forward manner but that’s what made it refreshing. Keeping Bianca’s motives realistic was key and Keplinger executed that part well.

In addition, I liked B’s friendship with Casey and Jessica too, not very clichéd but realistic, I mean friends aren’t always the most perfect people; their bond was well written. I couldn’t really believe Wesley’s character development though; I felt like I could only see the surface of him, not really understand his depth. Oh well. And if you’re worried, the scenes are not overtly graphic.

However, as I continued my delightful reading experience, I did end up not really loving the ending. I hate to say it, but it did become a tad preachy and all moral and stuff. Another thing is that I felt Bianca’s problems really started piling up to a point where I thought it was a bit too much, as if she only had problems for the sake of making her more sympathetic. I can overlook some of this though because I admit to really really enjoying the novel.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: mature YA fans, people looking for a different YA romance, YA contemporary fans

9/10 – because usually I’d dock some points for parts I disliked (like the ending) but I found the fact that the novel so extremely engrossing was enough to boost up the rating. Writing and dialogue was great, plot was unique and the main character was snarkily wicked. It also dealt with themes like self-image and sexuality in a strong manner. The supporting cast could have been polished, as could the ending but all in all, it was addicting and awesome!! A






author blog / website / twitter

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =)

This week's pick is ohkay, fine, cliched. It's been everywhere, there's been so much freaking positivity from bloggers and authors alike, it's...

Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins

Released: December 2, 2010
Dutton

Summary:

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

**

But also let me say my intial gut reactions to this novel:
1) dislike the cover.
2) dislike the title....
and let me say I judge books A LOT on those two aspects. That's probably why I'm not as excited as I should be, but still, I want to read this simply based on the good reviews so far and the cool summary.







source: goodreads
author's website

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Winner of Minder!

Congrats to....

donnas

You've won either a copy of MINDER by Kate Kaynak or a wonderful Minder T-shirt (your choice)!! I will email you shortly, and I'll pass your email along to the author so she can contact you directly!

And if you didn't win but still want to read the book you can purchase it from: Amazon / The Book Depository / Barnes & Noble

Also.. I am planning another giveaway =D stay tuned!

BR: The Lost Hero

by Rick Riordan
The Heroes of Olympus; book I

The world of demigods and mythology returns with a new cast plus cool recurring past characters. Of course, I couldn't miss it... xD

Summary:
Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper. His best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids”, as Leo puts it. What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea — except that everything seems very wrong.

Piper has a secret. Her father, a famous actor, has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?

Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god.

**
I'm skipping this part (expectations/delivery/etc) but I'll say that The Lost Hero debuted at #1 on the Bestseller list (congrats!!)... And Riordan is gonna be cranking out 2 books a year (each like 400+ pages) for different series', which is very impressive!

**

My Thoughts

Come on, Rick, you’re getting lazy. There, I said it.

I’ll make a list because I can be lazy too.

General/writing:
-What on earth is with three different POVs, yet insisting on making all of them in third person? Oh yeah, it’s because I distinctly remember all your first person narratives sounding jarringly similar… ohkay. Fine...
-three different POVs, yet all the jokes and personalities blend together. All those one-liners that seem to have like, the exact same thought-process for each character. *sigh*
-Friendship triangle of cliché, hello to you too. Almost as bad as the love triangle of doom, this one is just predictable (and entertaining) but a bit unoriginal. You’ve got the heroic lead male, the smart-ass, brave, break-the-mold girl best friend, and basically the kind-of-third-wheel-but-not-really comical-relief-slash-kinda-cool third friend.
-I really really hope your characters grow up and the writing becomes a bit more mature later on, if this was less MG and more YA I would thoroughly love it I think.

Plot:
-excellent! Great job, it was entertaining throughout.
-liked the way Roman gods and goddesses were also carefully weaved into the story
-loved the mystery behind Jason and his amnesia, added to the tension (esp. regarding the Roman backgrounds and stuff)
-things could get a bit messy at times, too much going on and stuff…
-mythology inception gets another A-plus, loving it!
-CLIFFHANGER! You've been warned!

Characters:
-needs work
-more distinct characterization would be appreciated
-please have more flaws. Please. Please.
-favourite: Leo (funny, interesting)
-least favourite: Piper (too much of a ‘try-hard’ on Riordan’s part to make her brave and cool, if you get what I mean)
-I wish there was more of a connection/chemistry between the characters, I hope it’ll develop as the series continues!
-humour was utilized well
-definitely loved revisiting the characters from Percy Jackson... me likey; disliked the out-of-character-ness of some though... me no likey

Overall:

Pros:
-great plot
-fast paced
-awesome mythology (Greek & Roman!)
-cool mystery behind everything
-likable characters

Cons:
-mediocre writing
-3rd person POV from 3 different people was disheartening
-plot felt formulaic.. and repetitive at times
-had issues with consistency (both characters and plot)
-characters needed more faults

**

While it wasn’t the perfect book for me, I'm totally aware that many others will find it amazing so I'll definitely recommend it for: fans of Percy Jackson, boys, people who like mythology, action-packed books, and fun characters.

7.8/10

The sequel, The Son of Neptune, will be released Fall 2011!






author website / blog / twitter