Saturday, April 30, 2011

April, lookin' back

Aaaand, another month has passed. A month and a half until I graduate from high school :/ I won't dump my stress on ya'll, I'll just leave you with lots of links today! This was another month where I didn't get to read as many books as I hoped.. but what can you do. I'm not going to make reading a chore.

this is April in Review at holes In My brain

Book Reviews (7)

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Random by Lesley Choyce


Thoughts

It was a pretty decent reading month, I did read a few other books that I haven't reviewed yet. As a whole, I think most books I read were pretty enjoyable, and I'm having a tough time picking a "book of the month"!

Book of the Month

Where She Went by Gayle Forman (9.3/10). I debated whether I would have ARCs for future months be BotM, but I decided, Book fo the Month is only for book I reviewed that month. Easily, I adored Where She Went to bits. Read my review :)


Honourable Mentions
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro left me breathless...
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King is definitely one of my favourites as well, both of these books are stand-outs and hugely recommended!

Also this month, I...
*
Hosted movies In My brain! This post will have pretty much all the details, it was tons of fun! Lots of movie things... yay!

*
Did a VLOG for In My Mailbox.. if you're interested to see what type of alien person I look like.
*
Interviewed Gayle Forman, author of Where She Went! Perhaps the highlight of my blogging career, I'm not even kidding. It's like one of those crazy things that you never imagine will happen, then it does.
*
Interviewed Carol Lynch Williams, author of Miles from Ordinary. I am liking this author interview thing, it is fun.
*
Posted about books I wish I could rename. I like lists.
*
Also posted about female characters I'd name my daughter after.
*
Another Cover featuring Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien
*
Another Cover featuring The Death Cure by James Dashner
*
Started having polls on my blog -- see right sidebar :)
*


Parting Thoughts
I think I was happy with what happened this month, sure, I did a bit of scrambling for mIMb, but it turned out all right :) Thanks again to all the people who guest posted!! I also read some great books (reviews to come!) which I'm so excited for. I think May will be a fantasic reading month as well.. I mean look at all the new releases!

Looking Ahead
It's May... oh god. I have so much school stuff, so if there's days where I don't blog.. I'm sorry :( I have a feeling I might go on a mini-hiatus, either in May or June to catch up on school without any blogging distractions. Unfortunately, this probably means I won't read as many books either! As always, I will try my best though. I hope you guys are less stressed out than I am!

Friday, April 29, 2011

BR: Wither

by Lauren DeStefano
The Chemical Garden trilogy; book I

Oh, the cover. Shiny. Oh, the praise. Gushing. Oh, the premise. Promising. Gimme gimme gimme.

Summary (goodreads):

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

**
My Expecations: Uhmm have you heard? This is supposed to be one of the best books of the year. I had pretty sky-high expectations.
Delivery: It didn't result in mind-blowing, but I wasn't sorely disappointed. Definitely enjoyed it.
Put-down-ability: I spent a day at school reading this... 2/10
**

My Thoughts

With a plethora of recent futuristic novels, it’s not hard to figure out how this book has stood out against its peers, DeStefano’s prose is simply gorgeous and perfectly captures Rhine’s voice. It’s incredible how smoothly the entire book flows, it is definitely one of those reads where you don’t even notice yourself flipping the pages until you need to pee and realize you’re halfway done the book. Oh you know what I mean.

Wow, the characters are just wonderful. Rhine is a likable protagonist fully armed to the teeth with personality, motivation, strength, and intelligence. The vibrant cast of supporting characters made the book come alive, especially Rhine’s sister wives, Cecily and Jenna. The way their relationship developed in such a different environment was explored extremely well. Although they had different views on being Linden’s wife(s), I loved the way they gradually learned to trust and love each other.

And hello, Gabriel. I like you. And you there, Vaughn. I don’t like you. Oh, and Linden? Agghhh why are you so naïve???

I did had a few misgivings about the book, I feel like I was often questioning the logic behind everything. I felt this glaring question of "WHY?" as I was reading, why was the world set up the way it was? Not the science, but the society. I know that Linds has already mentioned this, and I agree—if I’m only going to live till 20 or 25, my focus wouldn’t really be having lots of babies that I know will be left motherless before they’re 10ish. Parts of the premise just seem so far-fetched.. I mean like the 'first generation' old guys and the young kids who will never live past 20/25?...okay... Having kids is such a big deal but I found it hard to wrap my head around it. Other times, I’d be so caught up in the story I wouldn’t ponder such silly ideas!

My only other major ‘ehh’ moment is the ending, it was too neat for me. I’m not looking for a Delirium-esque finale (which, let's be honest here, would have been wicked), and I’m not even upset that it’s left open-ended for the sequel. I just feel that with so much anticipation building up to this, it felt anticlimactic, rushed, and convenient.

Even with these nitpicks, there were many parts to love as well. I found the sister-wife thing strangely fascinating and loved the uniquely-crafted relationships between each character. The futuristic world wasn’t shoved into my face, it was slowly revealed with a deft hand and carefully-inserted shockers. Something as simple like 'first wives' just adds those little finishing polishes to this society. Lovely. Wanna know another lovely thing? The writing. *melts*

The praise for Wither is definitely well-deserved. Lauren DeStefano has created a vivid futuristic world that encompasses a fascinating storyline and brilliant characters.

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable/Exceeds Expectations*
Recommended for: All YA fans, especially dystopian and sci-fi fans!
Acknowledgements: 4/5, plus an extra point because that dedication is amongst my favourites.

8.6/10 – because I definitely enjoyed this book. Despite a seemingly slower pace, DeStefano has no trouble keeping the story going as Rhine learns to navigate this new, trapped life. I had a few issues with the shaky premise, but the futuristic world** is definitely a memorable one—because these days a corrupt government and dastardly living conditions just won’t cut it, right? With the right amount of mystery, romance, and action, Wither is a great debut novel that will appeal to fans of all YA genres.









*Only because my expectations were originally really high, and well, they weren’t really “exceeded”.

**I feel I should clarify, I personally think of the premise and the world-building as two entirely different things. One is the 'foundation' itself, the other is how the foundation is written/explored.


source: won in a contest from Libraries and Young Adults (thank you!)
author website / blog / twitter
series fansite

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another Cover (6) ; the death cure

I'm so excited for this... this is the first time I've "templated" an Another Cover post, which means I got it all set up... just waiting for the big reveal! I really enjoyed the first two books of the series, I can only hope the ending is... wicked (I'm so punny, thanks for noticing.) It was released here.


Title: The Death Cure
series: The Maze Runner #3
Author: James Dashner
Genre
: Dystopian/Futuristic/action



Summary: none, so far :(

Books 1 & 2



Initially: What's this?

Stop and Stare? Yes! But to figure out what's going on, to be honest!

Image: It's pretty good, i feel it is kind of busy with the trees on the side, but I actually quite like that weird building thing. The whole cover has this sense of mystery and chaos, probably what they were looking for.

Font: As expected :) Matches the other ones in the series. Bold and bright, I think.

Colours: I think I like it! I had expected something a bit darker (since it's book 3 and all) but I like the greens and blues (it's definitely growing on me).

HP Rating: Exceeds Expectations

Will I read? You bet :) I'm really interested to see how this series ends!

**

Alright, now the anticipation is over! What do you guys think of the cover? I think for this series, they're not the absolute strongest covers, however, I really like the fact that they're all adventurous, and boy-friendly.







this book on Goodreads
author website / blog / twitter

ps~ Reading Away the Days is featuring Being by TR Mousner from Apr 28-30, if you want to check it out :) Review, interview and giveaway!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine :)
**

Browsing through Goodreads is always so much fun, right? Actually, not so much because there's so many awesome-looking ones that just (unfortunately) have such cliched summaries I feel bad adding them to my 'to-read' list. Like seriously. Anyways, in search of a WoW for this week (and wanting to avoid the more obvious picks like Lola and the Boy Next Door-- which trust me, I am dying to read) I stumbled across this one which made me go "hmm, sounds good". It's a boy-ish book, and I don't think I've read many of those lately.

Stick
by Andrew Smith

Summary (goodreads):

Stark McClellan (“Stick”) hears the world in a different way. He is surrounded by cruelty and ugliness, but holds on to a powerful sense of wonder, faith, and love for his best friend, Emily, and the most important person in Stick’s world -- his older brother, Bosten, who happens to be gay.

When the boys’ father throws Bosten out of their home, Stick steals a car and takes off on a three-state odyssey to find and rescue him.
**

Hmm, perhaps not the most incredibly original sounding, but still looks pretty good. Plus there's a boy named Bosten, which is amazing. Also, Andrew Smith is the author of The Marbury Lens, which I've been meaning to read!

Stick is released October 11, 2011 from Fiewel & Friends.

What are you waiting on this week?







author blog / website

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

fictional characters i'd Name my Daughters after

So... I'm very slow on the uptake*. I was browsing through Bibliophile Brouhaha and found an awesome Top Ten Tuesday post about, well, duh (see title). Anyways, that TTT is a few weeks (months?) old, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but I really liked the idea so HAHA I SHALL STEAL IT. Yeah, so please know I didn't think of the idea myself.


GIRL NAMES (next time I shall do boy names! Yay!)


Elizabeth
Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, obviously!! Does this need an explanation? Love her to death, and this book.

Taylor
Taylor Markham from Jellicoe Road. I was initially just ehh on the name, but it's grown on me. Maybe one day I can email Melina Marchetta and tell her I named my kid after one of her characters (won't that be a pleasant surprise?) xD

Liesel
Liesel from The Book Thief. I adore, no, I am in love with this book. Liesel is one of my favourite literary characters.. I have no words. If you haven't read this, you are seriously missing out!!

Piper
Piper from How I Live Now. I love the name, and she's such a fantastic character in the book! Also, it alludes to The Piper's Son, but shhhh!

Auden
Auden from Along for the Ride. I wish I were more into literature, or maybe I'll study it so I have a legit reason for having Auden as my kid's namesake. However, for now, I shall just be content with the fact that it starts with "aud" like Audrey, and it's unique and awesome.

Mandarin
Mandarin Remey from Like Mandarin. Too many Mandarin's stuck together. I just looove the name, seriously, it just speaks to me. It's exotic and different and beautiful! Gahh. I even have my Tumblr header/name quoted from this book :)

Luna
Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. Do I need to really tell you why? I love that character so friggen much.

Vera
Vera from Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Frist, I want a father like Ken Dietz. Second, I can't help but tip my hat to the spunky protag of this amazing book. She's definitely one of the more memorable characters for me this year.

Eddie
Eddie Reeves from Fall for Anything. To be honest, I just like the name :) Eddie Reeves is kind of ~emotional xD

**


Honourable Mentions (aka fantastic character, not so much the name): Francesca, Katsa, Katniss, Viola, Mia, Rose, Hermione


Okie, I'm out of ideas and it's time for bed. Easy question to you guys: Which female characters would you name your daughters after?







*speaking of Slow on the Uptake, since when was Selena Gomez cast as Hannah for 13 Reasons Why?!??! How did I not know this?!

Monday, April 25, 2011

BR: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

by A.S. King

I was actually really eager to read this one, even before I found out it was a Printz Honour (I am now 4 for 5!) I just had a feeling about it ;)

Summary (goodreads)

Vera's spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

**
My Expectations: I expected nothing less than the best. Although I had never read King's other works, I had a gut feeling this one would be remarkable.
Delivery: Oh, it was wonderful.
Put-down-ability: 4/10
**

My Thoughts

Since I finished the book, I have been pondering with exactly what I wanted to say. I had a few metaphors floating around in my head, but I think this one describes it best: Please Ignore Vera Dietz is like a boyfriend. Okay... let me explain. There is so much to love about this boyfriend. It's alike a whirlwind romance, but then this boyfriend goes out and does something and you just want to tear your hair out and sob for days, but there’s still that unconditional love for him. That's my feelings about this book in a nutshell.

There is no doubt that this book is great. It has a (as it is quite a popular term) “spunky” protagonist, Vera, who has a mountain of issues and is driving full throttle through it. I loved her character and more specifically, the amazing relationships she had with others, whether it was the broken one with Charlie or the weird one with her father (oh hey Ken Dietz, you kind of rock). I thought all aspects of her various connections with other characters were extremely well developed and definitely helped me commit emotionally to her story.

I bet you’re wondering what I’m talking about with the ‘tear your hair out and sob for days’, right? Well.. it’s Charlie, the dead kid. I had a funny relationship with this book because he’s such an important piece to the story but it was like he was toying with my heartstrings. We’re basically in the honeymoon phase when Vera narrates the various flashbacks, but then I learn he’s done crappy things to hurt Vera (tear my hair out). When I found out the truth about him and how he died... well (sob for days).

Even though it’s ‘just a book’, I felt like shaking a fist and screaming “WHYYYYY, he’s got so much life ahead of him, why?? *sniff*” Then I went to anger: "God Charlie, why were you so stupid?!" So take this as a good sign because I was whipped, so to teen-speak.

The writing style and narration quickly sucked me into the story and as I was plunked down right in the middle of Vera’s disarrayed life, I was fascinated. I mean, she’s a pizza delivery technician (driver) with some pretty ohemgee horror stories (seriously). And she’s a smart girl. I like smart people in books.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations / Outstanding
Recommended for: All YA fans, though especially to contemp fans looking for some more mature YA
Acknowledgements: 3/5

8.9/10 – oh, because I really loved it but there were just those little argh-inducing-Charlie-moments that made me sad and left me conflicted. Vera Dietz has climbed up my list of favourite female characters of 2011, and I thought she made mistakes and searched for redemption, along with trying to figure out her true path in life. I found myself relating to her (surprisingly) because I feel the insecurities and emotions were incredibly well done. The writing is impeccable (not really surprised, seeing it’s a Printz) and also, there are slightly-switchy POVs* which I loved (oh hey there, Pagoda, am I littering?).

Please Ignore Vera Dietz
is what I wish more contemporary YA novels are: emotionally honest, well written, and contains characters who deserve to tell their stories.







*sometimes the switching POVs work, sometimes they don't. This one definitely did :)

source: won in a contest from Steph Su
author twitter / blog

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (1) -- VLOG!

I'm finally doing one! Welcome to my first In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, inspired by Alea.
**

After some serious cyber-peer-pressure from the lovely Aly and Yahong, I decided to figure out how to make my video work and do a vlog for you guys. So yeah.. nice to meet you... enjoy? These are what I got in my mailbox these past 3 weeks.

I know it's low quality, but that was because I just don't want to spend a lot of time waiting for it to upload*. Sorry I'm impatient :( If you know a better way, please let me know!




Books Mentioned

Library:
God is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein
Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin
Tales of Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

Bought:
Jane Eyre by Charotte Bronte
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Graceling by Kristin Cashore

For Review:
Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach
Jacob Wonderbar and the Comic Space Kapow by Nathan Bransford
Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess

Contest:
Libraries and Young Adults:
Wither
by Lauren DeStefano

Writing Jewels:
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Book Harbinger:
The Lover's Dictionary
by David Levithan

Steph Su Reads:
The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
Vixen by Jillian Larkin
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Vampire Crush by A.M. Robinson
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

So what did you get this week?? Also, what do you think of the vlog? :)







*I use Windows Movie Maker, then I "published" it as the "Low Bandwith" then upload to Youtube. Is there an easier way for a better quality video?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Author Interview: Carol Lynch Williams

Carol Lynch Williams is the author of such YA books like The Chosen One, Glimpse, and Miles from Ordinary. I'm so happy to feature her on my blog today!


**

1. What impressed me about Miles from Ordinary was the way you explored so many emotions in such a short time frame. Is it easier to write about the dark, haunting and scary emotions or the lighter, more naive ones?

For me, it's easiest to write whatever I feel truly invested in at the time. So if I want to write a funny book, and I'm really feeling like a funny book is what wants to come out, that's the easiest book to write. That said, I have to admit it's easier to be happy when writing a happy book! Whenever I write sad stories I feel sort of down. In fact, after writing two or three dark novels in a row, I always feel the need to write something lighter, just so I, myself, felt happier. I've been feeling that way for a while--gotta write something funny!


2. Another aspect I loved about your book was the way you created such tense and chilling moods and atmospheres. What is your secret? What do you think is the most important thing for writers to remember when trying to create such scenes?

This is such a wonderful compliment! Thank you! Every character I write I can kind of see in my head. I often ask myself how I would feel in a particular situation--and write that way for the character. As well, I know what's it's like to feel frightened, or to feel alone at home or at school. I borrow emotions from one incident (like when I heard my daughter's friend had been killed) and use that borrowed emotion in a situation that would call for grief.


3. The various emotionally-charged relationships presented in this book definitely stood out to me, whether it was the tentative one between Lacey and Aaron or the intense one between Lacey and her mother. Do you start writing with these relationships in mind, or do they develop as you write?

Absolutely, everything develops as I write. I rarely know the end of a book--and certainly not the middle. I write to find out what will happen to a character. In this book I knew about John and Mr. Dewey because they were at my local library. I also knew I wanted the book to take place in less than a day. I knew there would be an uncomfortable situation with some kind of mental disturbance but I had no idea what. I'm not a plotter. I'm a searcher, a finder.


4. How did you decide on the title "Miles from Ordinary"? I read in an earlier interview the project was tentatively called "Lost in Peace", what made you change it?

My wonderful editor came up with that title. In the more than 20 books I've written, only a few have not had a title change. I'm just not very good with titles, I guess.


5. Lacey is 14 in this book and in The Chosen One, Kyra is 13. Why did you write about younger characters (on the YA spectrum) dealing with such serious issues, as opposed having an older protagonist? In your opinion, how relevant is the age of the characters?

I believe my true voice is about 11-13-ish. Before my first young adult novel was published, I wrote middle grade novels. But the topics have become more intense as you mentioned. If I write up, older, my characters sound like they are way too young. That's because my natural voice is younger. And kids are going through tough, tough things, hard times.


6. Lacey and Kyra get to hang out for a day (let's pretend it is a care-free kind of day for both of them). Where would they go and what would they do?

They'd probably get something yummy to eat at Applebee's. Then Lacey would teach Kyra to dance (Yes, I think she's a dancer--to some good hard rock stuff!) and Kyra might teach Lacey how to play a bit of Schubert's Serenade. They would stay up all night long laughing and talking about boys. And probably Laura would be invited to hang out with them!


7. I still remember the first lines in The Chosen One: "If I was going to kill the Prophet," I say, not keeping my voice low, "I'd do it in Africa.". It is definitely up there with my favourites. Could you share some of your own favourite opening sentences?

Well, no one can ever leave out M. T. Anderson's Feed. "We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." I also LOVE the beginning of Thirsty. Gorgeous! Then there's Louise Plummer's first line in A Dance for Three: "Milo wasn't the first boy to kiss me but he was the first one to bite me." "Me, I get fixated on something and I can't help myself." That's Robert Cormier in Tenderness. Gosh, I could go on and on. But I won't!


8. Oh, I just LOVE those lines! Lastly, could you tell us which 2011 YA novels you would recommend the most, or which ones you are excited to read?

What ever Jandy Nelson's next book will be--I can't wait to get my hands on that. I'd love to read Emily Wing Smith's newest When You Were Easier to Love and Holly Black's Red Glove and Kathleen Duey's third book in A Resurrection of Magic series. I'm hoping Martine Leavitt has something coming out soon. Also, Alane Ferguson is working on something really terrific and I can't WAIT to see that!


**

Thank you so much for the interview, Carol. I loved your answers. "No one can get inside the head and heart of a 13-year-old girl better than Carol Lynch Williams, and I mean no one."-- I so agree :) If you haven't read her books, I'd definitely recommend that you do!

Links
Author website
Buy* Miles from Ordinary: Amazon.com / Book Depository / Barnes & Noble / Indiebound / Indigo.ca


Miles from Ordinary

Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control....







*I get no profit from the links
My review of Miles from Ordinary, The Chosen One

Friday, April 22, 2011

BR: The Demon Trapper's Daughter

by Jana Oliver
The Demon Trappers series; book I

*UK Title: Forsaken

So one day I was in the mood for a paranormal (one of those rare moods) and this one seemed like just what I was looking for. I've also heard some pretty good things about it.

Summary (goodreads):

Riley has always wanted to be a Demon Trapper like her father, and she's already following in his footsteps as one of the best. But it's tough being the only girl in an all-guy world, especially when three of those guys start making her life more complicated: Simon, the angelic apprentice who has heaven on his side; Beck, the tough trapper who thinks he's God's gift, and Ori, the strikingly sexy stranger who keeps turning up to save her ass. One thing's for sure - if she doesn't keep her wits about her there'll be hell to pay...

**
My Expectations: I hoped it would impress me, but there hasn't really been much hype. I loved the summary though.
Delivery: It didn't really disappoint me because I liked it while I was reading, and that's all I wanted.
Put-down-ability: 4/10
**

My Thoughts

So.. this book was overwhelmingly average. It’s one of those books that is an enjoyable reading experience (as in I never got annoyed, things flowed well, there was enough action, mystery, romance, etc) but when I turned the last page, I go… “ehh, alrighty”.

Personally, I found The Demon Trapper’s Daughter unmemorable. I’d like to say that the premise of the world and the history of the demons were interesting, but honestly, thinking back, I can’t remember much about them apart from the fact that demons are classified in levels. I did really like the idea of demon trappers vs. hunters, and all those cool gadgets they use.

Our protagonist, Riley, is a likable enough, she had the typical qualities of a kick-butt heroine: bravery, smarts, and actiony-goodness. I remember the scenes after her father died and me wishing the grief thing was more… elegantly done (from a writing perspective, not in the ‘she should be more sophisticated’ perspective). I think I've read a lot of those grief novels (The Sky is Everywhere, Hold Still) that I just expected a bit more. Also, I should mention that there is, I swear, a potential love SQUARE. I mean.. really?

I wasn't rabidly flipping the pages mostly because I couldn't find Riley's motivations particularly inspiring. The plot was shaky as well, for example, there was the whole part about the circle and the necromancers which just… went away halfway through. There is some switching third person POVs, which is a personal pet peeve although it is done pretty well. While I could have survived without knowing Beck’s thoughts, it was nice, I guess.

This novel is a solid paranormal that was an enjoyable read throughout.

Rating: Acceptable
Recommended for: paranormal YA fans
Acknowledgements: 3.5/5

7/10 – because it was a good book. There’s a difference between dislike and indifference, and this is the latter. Not much I can say about it, if you want a fun paranormal read, I’d say go for it, there really isn’t anything wrong with it (though I will dock points for a love SQUARE). I was in the mood for a paranormal read and this one did the trick just fine.







source: won in contest from Steph Su (thank you!)
author website / blog
series website

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"movies In My brain" Giveaway Winners!

Aaaah, first, huge apologies for taking so long to getting this post up!!

Second, thanks to everyone , again, who participated. In the end there were 173 entries, made up of comments, guest posts, and posts you did yourselves. I put all the names into a list (some of you guys had like, 10 or more entries! yay!) and then fed it into Random.org. This is the result:


So... Megan, congrats, you've won one book under $15 from The Book Depository!

YA Yeah Yeah, you've won a $10 iTunes Gift Card!

Congrats!!! I will contact you guys shortly, unless you see this first, then email me at holesinmybrain[at]hotmail[dot]com.

I wish I could have more things to give away :( , you guys all deserve it for making movie week tons of fun. Congrats again, winners :)

Another Cover (5) ; prized

Oh… you book bloggers are ready to chuck a mental. I think. It's one of those much-talked-about "changing-covers-halfway-through-to-match-the-paperback" debates. Today’s Another Cover I discovered via Twitter (oh the joys of twitter) and is revealed here on the author’s blog.

Title: Prized
series: Birthmarked trilogy #2
Author: Caragh M. O’Brien
Genre: dystopian


Summary:

In the thrilling follow up to Birthmarked, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone has fled from the Enclave and now must fight for her baby sister’s survival in the matriarchal society of Sylum.

Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, 16-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

Hardcover vs Paperback for Birthmarked


Initially: Erm.. what?

Stop and Stare? Kind of, just to figure out what is going on honestly :p

Image: I both like and dislike this.. for one I really have no idea what is being pictured here… the effects are kind of cool but it looks a bit generic. I hope it ties into the story somehow, but I kind of like the 'feel' of it, it's all mysterious...

Font: Luuurve, except maybe a tad hard to read at first. It’s that ‘r’, I hate cursive ‘r’s in general haha. But overall, it's what draws me in at first glance.

Colors: I think it’s pretty similar to book #1 of hardcover, but strays from book #1 paperback. I like it, but I do kinda wish it was a bit darker because that was the tone I got from the story.

HP Rating: Average

Will I Read? Not based on the cover, but yes because I loved the first book.
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What do YOU think of this cover? Don't hesitate to tell me you love it and I'm completely wrong! =)







this book on goodreads
author twitter / website

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =]
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This week's pick was really easy! I haven't done a WoW in a while so I've got some titles stocked up to use... this one is a book I'm sooo excited about!

Legend
by Marie Lu

Summary (goodreads):

The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America's two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history....

Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it.

Born to an elite family in Los Angeles' wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country's highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital.

Only one person could be responsible.

Day.

And now it's June's mission to hunt him down.

The truth they'll uncover will become legend

**

Aaaaah, dystopian! Politics! Child prodigies! Criminals! Murder! Shiny cover! Seriously excited ;) What do you guys think?

Legend is released November 29, 2011 from Penguin.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BR: The Gathering

by Kelley Armstrong
Darkness Rising series; book I

I am a huge fan of the Darkest Powers trilogy, and finding out Armstrong was coming out with a series set in the same world, I knew it was one I couldn’t miss.

Summary (goodreads)

Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.

**
My Expectations: not too high, I was slightly worried it would feel like a second-rate spin-off
Delivery: Ooh impressed me! In fact, it never felt as though it was leaning on the success of Darkest Powers, it could definitely stand its own ground.
Put-down-ability: despite a slow start, things picked up, 4/10
**

My Thoughts

With an abrupt, surprising ending, you’ve gotta be wondering… is the journey worth it? My answer? Yes! The Gathering is the first in a new series by Kelley Armstrong, based in the same world as her Darkest Powers trilogy (which is awesome) with a couple overlapping characters. It has the first-in-a-series syndrome, which means there was a lot of backstory and character development. But don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean there isn’t action—there is! It was a great blend of the two, albeit I wished more for the latter.

It took me about 80 pages to get hooked, I was personally drawn in when Rafe, the mysterious bad boy was introduced* but it was a relief for me because I was initially bored with this novel. There were just too many introductions, history, etc, in the beginning. However, from then on, I was sucked in and the rest of the novel just flew by. The only thing I didn’t like was the Daniel-Maya-Rafe thing going on… it’s pretty clichéd so I wasn’t completely convinced the sparks. Or maybe just because I liked Daniel more =)

The plot itself was great, and I think Armstrong really enhanced the blanket of secrecy and mystery by using such a secluded setting like Salmon Creek. I was constantly wondering what was really going on, although the ‘medical research’ was dimmed in comparison to finding the truth behind Maya’s pawprint birthmark and Serena's death. I kind of wish this wasn’t the case because I’m a ‘grand scheme of things’ kind of person, but alas, it’s very necessary.

Maya’s character is very likable and I never found times when I wanted to smack her, unless it came to Daniel… but that’s a story for another day. Like Chloe from Darkest Powers, she’s definitely a strong-willed, brave heroine who will definitely grow into her awesome-ness in later books… which I can’t wait for! Oh, and I can’t forget, this novel is set in the gorgeous Vancouver Island, which I loved because Armstrong included lots of Canadian-esque tidbits that I recognized… Nanaimo bars!!

The Gathering is a great set-up novel for what I can predict will be a fantastic series. Likable characters, distinct settings, and intriguing mysteries are all introduced in this instalment, and with a cliffhanger ending, readers won’t be able to get enough.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: heavily rec for fans of Armstrong’s other works, Paranormal YA fans
Acknowledgements: none in ARC

8.5/10 – because I thought it was very enjoyable despite a few flaws. At a romance angle, it will definitely appeal to the masses although it didn’t particularly work for me, but at a plot angle it shined. It didn’t move too slowly and as Maya searched for clues and answers, I was dying to know what was going on as well. It’s easy to be emotionally invested in this novel, which I believe is a great compliment. With characters I can easily care for, there’s no doubt I will be sticking around for the rest of the books. And I really want to know what happens next!!!







*I didn’t think I’d be saying that either, hehe

source: publisher
author website / twitter
book trailer

Monday, April 18, 2011

book Catch-up

Hello lovelies! Aaaand we're back. Whew, that was quite a week (if you don't know what I'm talking about... I'm sad), and we're back to books! There's been some great book-stuff last week I'd love to share.

First... have you seen the trailer for ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre?? Eeek, it's pretty sick!! I love the fact that it looks so much like a movie trailer. And it's scary-ish.



Also guys... it has over 172,000 views. I think you should see it. Seriously.


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Second, Daniel A. Cohen, author of The Ancillary's Mark has a new book deal, congrats! Here is the cover of Book #1, MASTERS OF THE VEIL!



Summary:

Life can’t get much better for Sam Lock. Popular, good-looking, and with a future as a professional football player… every guy at Stanton High School wishes he were Sam. That is, until his championship football game, when Sam accidentally links with an ancient source of energy known as the Veil and reveals his potential to become a powerful sorcerer.

Sam’s dreams are crushed as he is whisked off to Atlas Crown, a community of sorcerers who utilize the Veil as a part of everyday life. Once there, he trains beside a mute boy who speaks through music, an eternal sage who is the eyes and ears of the Veil, and a beautiful girl who's pretty sure Sam's an idiot.

As it becomes clear that Sam is meant for power magic—the most feared and misunderstood form of sorcery—people beyond Atlas Crown learn of his dangerous potential. An exiled group of power sorcerers are eager to recruit Sam, believing that he is destined to help them achieve their long-held goal. If they succeed, they could bring about the downfall of not only Atlas Crown… but all of humankind.

Masters of the Veil is released March 1, 2012 from Spencer Hill Press.

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There was also the release by an author who writes supernatural books I enjoy! If you've read the Darkest Powers series, you will probably love this.

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong was released April 12!


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Lastly, before I can let go of movie week, I have a fun picture for you, because this movie rocks. It doesn't even matter that it was made over 20 years ago.



... Alex Pettyfer... WHO?
This movie is called The Princess Bride, and I loved it! It's, as we high schoolers like to say, sew funny xD

Sunday, April 17, 2011

movies In My brain: Conclusion

Well….seems like movies In My brain is over! I’ll open up the commenting giveaway (see here) for another day, so it ends TONIGHT (4/17). Comment on each of the mIMb for an entry (the linky is now closed though). The winner will be announced either tomorrow or the day after.

I’ve got some very important things to do in this wind-up.. first, a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated! Whether it is by commenting, creating a post, or guest posting here, you guys are all awesome!

Second, thank you all for your wonderful movie recommendations, I actually watched 2 movies this week – The Princess Bride and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Needless to say, I loved them both! I would recommend these to anyone.. they’re very funny ;)

Third, here’s a final directory:

Guest Posts



Movie Reviews





Other Posts


So check out those links!!


Fourth, I’ve added a prize for the giveaway! Second place will get a $10 iTunes gift card (US dollars) where they can buy song (or movies, hopefully!) from the itunes store. Yay! :)

So that’s it! Thank you again for making this week so much of fun, I really hope you enjoyed it! If I do this next year, I have some tweaks I’d do… and if you’re hosting a theme week lemme know, I very much like theme weeks =)

... now that the Movie takeover is finished... back to books!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Guest Post: Book to Movie Adaptations

movies In My brain is a week-long movie event where all book-related posts are put on hold and movies reign supreme! It runs from April 10 to 16, and click here to find more movie posts and learn how to participate.
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Oh my gosh! movies In My brain is coming to an end, it's been a busy week, eh? Last post before the wrap-up! This one I've been saving until the end because I think it totally brings us full-circle... back to books! My fellow movie lovers, please welcome Rebecca from Rebecca-Books!!


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Hello blogosphere *waves excitedly*. I'm Rebecca and I run a book blog, Rebecca-Books. One thing I love (and sometimes hate) about reading books is that now, in the movie world, they can easily be turned into movies/TV series which give you an idea of them in real life, not just in your head.

Some of my favourite adaptations are 'The Diary of Anne Frank' (TV - 2009), 'Ballet Shoes' (TV - 2009), 'Pride and Prejudice' - Both the Colin Firth (Series - 1995) and the Keira Knightley movie (Film - 2005) and 'The Devil Wears Prada' (Film - 2006).

Anyway. There are many book adaptations that are in the pipeline this year so here is some of the most anticipated books to be released in the remainder of this year:


1. Red Riding Hood - 15th April - starring Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!), Shiloh Fernandez (Jericho)

This is loosely based on the fairytale but adds a more Dark Romance feel to the traditional story. Here, Valerie played by Amanda Seyfried lives in a village haunted by a werewolf and is starting to fall in love with the mysterious orphaned woodcutter, despite her family's displeasure of the match.

I like how they've played more on the romance of the Woodcutter and Red Riding Hood, normally just focused on the Wolf and eating the Grandmother etc. The main bulk of the story. This does seem to have the whole 'Twilight' theme going on which is hardly surprising as the director is Catherine Hardwicke - the director of Twilight. I've seen the trailer and looks like a very beautifully shot film as they've made the red cape stand out constantly.



2. Something Borrowed - 6th May - starring Kate Hudson (Bride Wars), Ginnifer Goodwin (A Single Man), Colin Egglesfield (All My Children)

You always have those 'Chick Flicks' of the year such as Bride Wars, Mean Girls, St Trinians - this seems like this could be a contender for the one of 2011. This movie, based on the book on the same name by Emily Giffin, features two best friends Darcy and Rachel whose relationship is tested when Rachel falls for Dex, Darcy's fiance. Kate Hudson, who I personally really like, is always hilarious in roles like this and for me especially in Bride Wars. This looks like a feel-good film to go with your girlfriends one rainy afternoon. Could be really good...or really bad.


3. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part II - 15th July - starring Daniel Radcliffe (December Boys), Emma Watson (Ballet Shoes), Rupert Grint (Thunderpants)

Yes...this is the last and final Harry Potter film ever. The last one in the long running series francise. I would think this is one of the most anticipated at least on this side of the Atlantic (in England) especially as they are primarily filmed over here and have mostly English actors.

This continues straight after the last one with Harry Potter's quest to find the Horcruxes to finally defeat Voldm- sorry, He Who Must Not Be Named. I must admit, I am not a massive Harry Potter fan myself but I think I shall be sad to see the series go as I've grown up with the books and the films as have the young actors who play the main characters. This should be the best yet, hopefully. And I hope they end it on a good note, much like the book.

It will be nice to see Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson go on to do different roles.



4. Jane Eyre - 9th September - starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland), Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot)

This is another adaptation of the Charlotte Bronte novel, however, it is being made for the big screen i.e. the cinema and by most reports, is staying more true to the novel unlike the last version made of it in 1996 which alters the second half of the film.

Jane Eyre follows the life of a young girl, Jane and the events that happened in her life as she grew up and then, her employment where she meets Mr Rochester who is in a loveless marriage until he meets the new governess which is of course, Jane. To me, this story reminds me of 'Pride and Prejudice' and other Jane Austen novels, although written at a different time period.

Lovely period costumes, impressive to-die-for houses and of course, the wonderful (hopefully handsome) Mr Rochester are all musts for this film - all things a historical fiction reader should love. This is probably going to be the Historical Movie of the Year.



5. The Three Musketeers - 14th October - starring Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief), Ray Stevenson (King Arthur), Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice)

What I find interesting about the casting is there is Logan Lerman, who is 19, then, Ray Stevenson, who is 46, and then Matthew Macfadyen, who is 36 - so a bit of an age gap. Not sure how that will work but oh well, I love a bit of Logan Lerman and Matthew Macfadyen *thinks dreamily of Pride and Prejudice* ahh.

Anyway, this looks interesting and this is the first adaptation of the millenium of this classic. My other favourite is the Disney version of this story with Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck as the Three Musketeers....Great.

This story is basically about three servants in the palace helping out their Princess, played by Milla Jovovich in this version, and learn to become Musketeers and about friendship and teamwork with one another.

And a plus for this one: IT'S GOING TO BE IN 3D. Yes, that is right, I am looking forward to this one...



6. Adventures of Tin Tin - 26th October - starring Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Daniel Craig (James Bond), Nick Frost (Paul), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot)


TIN TIN IS BACK! The young boy and his little dog were last seen in 1992 in the TV series adaptation of the books. Now they are back with a star studded cast and is going to be directed by....Steven Spielburg (War of the Worlds) and is also written by Doctor Who writer, Steven Moffat so this should be a good one. With the likes of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost added in, this should be a funny, enlightening movie which for some should re-live their childhood of the Tin Tin adventures.

Tintin and his friends discover directions to a sunken ship commanded by Captain Haddock's ancestor and go off on a treasure hunt. This sounds to me like the first movie in maybe another series of them, so there might be more on the way! Even though, I'm probably too young to remember Tin Tin, I'm looking forward to this one.



7. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part I - 18th November - starring Kristen Stewart (Speak), Robert Pattinson (Remember Me)


*WARNING* I hate Twilight with a vengence so I'm pretty negative about how I thought I only had to live through one more movie, and then found out that it's doing a Harry Potter and spliting the last book in half. Great. Woop Woop.

Anyway, for those who are big fans of Twilight, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner haven't left completely yet. For those who have been living in a cave for the last 3 years, Twilight follows the story of Bella and Edward and their relationship with one another. Edward is a vampire and comes from a family of them but while Bella doesn't mind this, other people do and are out to threaten their relationship including Jacob, Bella's friend, who is also hiding a secret. Breaking Dawn is the last in the series of books by Stephanie Meyer (Thank God). This is probably one of the most anticipated books for teenagers both in a good way and a bad way. The last ever one *sniff sniff* is being released some time next year.



8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 26th December - starring Daniel Craig (James Bond), Stellan Skarsgard (Mamma Mia), Rooney Mara (The Social Network)

Now before you think, 'But there's already a movie of this book!'. That was the Swedish version. They are doing an English version of it and this is it. I think it could be interesting to see what it's like compared to the original movie which received a BAFTA for Foreign Language film. This follows a journalist in search for a woman who has been missing -- or dead -- for forty years and is aided by a young female hacker.

This certainly sounds like one of those more 'different' films and if I remember, is quite violent and disturbing at an 18. With the names in it though, I would guess they'll try and make it more suitable for a wider audience which could be interesting to see while still trying to stay true to the original.

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There are also rumoured adaptations of some YA books either being released later this year or start filming this year for a 2012 release date:
- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.
- Hunger Games - this is happening and the casting process is happening at the moment
- If I Stay - The Twilight director was supposed to be helping with filming but apparently isn't. There are rumours of Dakota Fanning playing the lead, Mia.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower - this is definitely happening and is being released next year and so far featuring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman.


* Dates are ones that I have found on Internet so might be US or UK release dates, depending on where film is made.

So there you are - some of the summer/winter releases of 2011! These all look like they could be award winning movies for next year's Oscars or BAFTA's. Hope you enjoy the rest of movies In My Brain and thank you so much to Audrey for allowing me to guest post. She's amazing! :)

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Oh, what an awesome list!! I thought I would highlight some awesome bits: Logan Lerman. and HARRY POTTER. And everything else. I want to thank Rebecca again for dropping by and writing a fantastic guest post! Don't forget to stop by her blog, and the question to you: Which book to movie adaptations (YA or otherwise) are YOU looking forward to most??