Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (!!!!)

hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
**

I AM SO STOKED I CAN’T EVEN OMG. I had a small heart attack when I saw the cover on inkcrush (love that blog!).

Froi of the Exiles

by Melina Marchetta
Lumatere Chronicles #2 (sequel to Finnikin of the Rock)

Summary (source)

Three years after Lumatere is united, Froi has adopted the ways of his new homeland, dividing his days between rebuilding the kingdom and training with the Queen’s Guard. Until a mysterious man arrives with a promise that he can grant a young assassin access into the palace of Lumatere’s enemy: to kill the King of Charyn.

But once inside the secretive kingdom of stone, Froi is forced to protect the half mad Princess Quintana and her unborn child who will be the first babe born to Charyn in eighteen years. And in breaking his bond to his beloved Queen Isaboe and Finnikin, Froi may just be the one to bring peace between two kingdoms and find out the truth to his past.

Froi of the Exiles is released October 3, 2011 in Australia (omg I am such a jealous panda right now) by Penguin Australia.

**

EEEEP I CAN’T WAIT. Finnikin of the Rock is a simply gorgeous fantasy epic, so if you like that genre, don’t miss out :)

*flails*

And wow, what a cover. I just want to spin in circles-- MM does that to me.







this book on Goodreads
author website

PS- the cover is the Aussie cover, they'll probably have a different one for US/Canada. Also, I don't know if you can tell or not but I'm a bit of a HUGE Melina Marchetta fangirl ;)

Monday, May 30, 2011

we Want what Everybody Wants... or do We?

*waves* Hope you guys are doing swell. Here's another brain-spew.

While I have a lot of thoughts on book hype, most are common opinions shared by most bloggers (as in *squee* I want that book!)... but I guess today I'm rambling about overhype. Yeah, I just might name books *gasp*


So... The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

Okay. I feel like now is the time to shut the computer window and go back to studying, but hey, I'm not called a professional procrastinator for nothing.

I was so stoked for this book-- way back in, I dunno, June of last year? Before the cover, I stumbled across Michelle's blog and the title just stuck with me and I've kept an eye out for it ever since.

Then the cover-splosion*. Then the widget-splosion. The twitter-avatar-splosion. And suddenly the ARC is the hottest commodity and I found myself starting to think "hey, I don't want this anymore."

And then I tilt my head and do that whole confused head-scratching thing. WHY? It looks awesome! Why am I not salivating after it like I am with LOLA?? (plug for Anna and the French Kiss zomg)

And honestly, I don't know. It might be because everybody wants it. It probably is. *shrugs* It doesn't mean that it's not a great book-- it probably is. It's just that this time around, I guess the hype just didn't do it for me. Too much too soon? Maybe. On the other hand, I've bought into the hype of other books a LOT (aha Wither, anybody?).

I'd love to hear your thoughts on book hype, but if you're thinking "uhmmmm, I'm too lazy to write a long comment" how about you let me know if this has ever happened to you and if you'd like, I'm interested to know which books.







*Hey, I posted about the cover too!

Bonus! if you like Game of Thrones (TV show) or Harry Potter, you might like this picture :p Clicky

Sunday, May 29, 2011

BR: Beauty Queens

by Libba Bray

Have you read the Gemma Doyle series by this author? If not, shame on you. I was sooo excited to read Beauty Queens, I knew I was in for a treat ;)

Summary (goodreads)

From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

**
My Expectations: Pretty freaking high! I mean, it just looks so amazing.
Delivery: ahhh, I laughed the whole way through, I think :p
Put-down-ability: I could have been more emotionally invested, 8/10
**

My Thoughts

With an unforgettable entrance of a group of “Teen Dreamer” beauty queens who land on an uninhabited island after a plane crash, you could imagine what ensues, right? Not really. Not if you know Libba Bray. Because she takes readers on a whirlwind escapade through her bizarre brain-- I can’t even describe how made of awesome her brain (and this book) is.

Also, there are footnotes*. Win.

I wish I could quote everything in this book, because it’s hard to describe how different the writing is. There’s humour in the writing, it’s not writing with humour. Do you know what I mean? You have to read it to believe it, seriously. The Writing (capital W, guys). Genius.

I adored pretty much all of the characters because of how original, yet relatable they were. Beneath the ~sparkly~ exterior, Bray manages to portray honest emotions of teenage girls, whether dealing with sexuality, insecurity, crushes, etc. The supporting characters of the pirates, MoMo and even Ladybird Hope all shined as well; entertaining and ridiculous-- a fantastic combination, don't you agree?

Expansive and comprehensive character development can be tricky with a large ensemble cast but I felt the number of weak characters was held to a minimum. True, the story is not devoid of two-dimensional characters or characters who pop in and out randomly, but the focus is controlled enough to carry several storylines to a satisfying degree. The overall plot arc did take a slight hit; I felt there were times where I was thinking “what the heck is going on” as things got sloppy, but well—I enjoyed every second of it.

Beauty Queens is not a novel you should take too seriously on the surface, but at its heart, it’s an insightful, intelligent and satirical look on today’s society’s focus on beauty. It’s a book that FISTPUMPS for female empowerment, and yep, it's outrageous, hysterical, witty, and did I mention funny as hell?

Rating HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: huuugely recommended for girls, fans of quirky books, contemporary YA fans, people who want to laugh.
Acknowledgements: Libba, why are you good at everything?? Even thanking people made me laugh, 5/5

8.9/10 – because it was fantastic and I loved it. I loved the themes, the writing, the wildly exciting characters, and above all, I loved Ladybird Hope. Just kidding, my heart belongs to Sinjin St. Sinjin, one of the pirates of Captains Bodacious IV: Badder and More Bodaciouser! (I’m not even making this up). Actually, I can’t choose a favourite, they’re just too wonderful. Anyways, the only drawbacks were that I was never completely emotionally committed and the plot was slightly overdone, but overall… I can’t recommend this book enough.

A quote:
When you looked up to the sky and cried “Why?” sometimes the sky shrugged. Yet other times it answered with the warm assurance of linked hands, “Sorry,” it whispered on the wind. “Sorry for all the pain and loneliness and disappointment. But there is this, too.”

It was enough.

Footnote #29:
Stud Muffin Body Spray for Guys: Get your stud on with Stud Muffin Body Spray for Guys, the only body spray made with beer and man sweat and guaranteed to make girls frolic with you in a hot tub.*

*Results may vary. It could also make your dog hump your leg and have your grandma asking you if you’ve sneaked a cold one into the retirement village for her.







*footnotes are pretty much automatic win. I mean, John Green and Libba Bray? Bi-winning.

source: publisher
author twitter / website / blog
Beauty Queens author video

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

trailers, books & Soundtracks

Hopefully this post won’t take too long.. I’m currently taking a break from studying stupid physics :( Here are some interesting things I’ve found in the last little bit.

Teaser trailer: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi



~book trailers are hit and miss for me, and usually if they have people, they’re a miss. I am just saying (but there are lots of exceptions!) This one really embodies the name “teaser”, eh? Whatcha think?


FREE E-BOOKS! Sandra Brannan’s novel, In The Belly Of Jonah AND her second novel, Lot's Return To Sodom, will be FREE from Amazon the first week of June to celebrate her second novel’s release! It looks fantastic, don’t miss out!! ;)



Movie Soundtracks (Instrumental)

So hey, I love music of all sorts but one think that’s always been interesting to me were movie soundtracks*. I’ll admit, I’m a junkie for those big-name composers (Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Howard Shore, etc) and I love the role music plays in movies. It sets the atmosphere and the mood, it gets your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping. It can make you cry, make you scream, make you curl up into a ball waiting for the shark to jump out of the water…

I just thought I’d share a few that have been on my mind. I’m especially inclined to those ‘epic’-style soundtracks with lots of strings and lots of awesomeness. I hope you like!

Black Hawk Down (Hans Zimmer) [compilation]


Inception (Hans Zimmer) [the Dream is Collapsing]



Braveheart (James Horner) [Wallace Courts Murron]



~LOVE the Celtic flare to this one. I can’t dance, but it makes me want to… tap my toes.
**

Anyways, if you like these, maybe I’ll post about movie soundtracks again next time. Again, huge apologies for the lack of book posts this week, I’ve just been swamped.

Question of the Day: What are your favourite movie soundtracks? And what are your thoughts on book trailers? :)










*a fantastic non-instrumental soundtrack I adore is the one from Up in the Air. Also, the main song from Crazy Heart, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist rocks as well. Also, see this post.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

filler + Videos

Hey lovelies :) I dunno, this is just a brain-spew of all the boring stuff going on, filled with lame excuses and hopefully (more importantly) explanations.

For school, there's a due date for tests and stuff, and that is Wednesday, so I've gotta take 3 unit tests in two days, so well, I should be studying. Should being the operative word, because well, it's been 1.5 days into this 4 day long weekend and here is my list of accomplishments:

-start and finish Supernatural season 1
-ate a ton of junk food
-catch up on sleep

Yeah, I had a Supernatural marathon with my friend, and I overdosed a bit. But now I'm addicted to that show!! Dean + Sam zomggggggg. so. pretty.



So that's why I haven't been posting much. Sorry guys, you'll just have to deal with my dramatics and tv addictions and short attention span for a while longer. And unfortunately, it'll continue for another week or so, I just don't have time to read or really do anything blog-related.

So basically, school is kicking my butt but I'll be back hopefully soonish. I'll be away from Twitter too, so my lovely twitter friends, I will miss you!


I hope you guys are having a much less stressed weekend, with this gorgeous weather! Here are two adorable videos :)







A vlogbrothers vid:

~DFTBA


A video that pretty much sums up my to-do list.


~I have de-bookmarked all the blog-related sites on Firefox, yet I can't stay away. Ahhh.


And an old(ish) song I recently heard on Glee that's been on repeat for my iTunes. :)



Have a great weekend everybody, hope to see you later this week. In the meantime, happy reading :)

xoxo,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Award Winning Reads Challenge

Hey lovelies! I signed up for another challenge, because it's a great idea! You might know i've been doing my own personal 2010 Printz Challenge (4 for 5 so far!) but this is kind of 'official' so I'm like, why not? I love trying these books with shiny stickers on them to see just how good they are.




Award Winning Reads Challenge


Hosted by Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing and The Reading Housewives.




button1


Rules:
The challenge will run from Memorial Day to Labor Day- May 30th until September 5th.

There will be 4 levels of participation-

Level 1- Underachiever: Read 3 books

Level 2- Nerd: Read 6 books (My goal!)

Level 3- Brainiac: Read 9 books

Level 4- Teacher's Pet: Read 12 books

No matter which level you chose to participate in, you must read at least one book from each of the award lists. You can focus primarily on one or the other, but there must be at least one Printz honor/award and one Newbery honor/award.

**

If you're interested, click HERE to sign up! Plus, there will be giveaways and all that jazz. I'm just l iking the idea of a challenge :) Thank you Ashley and Jacinda for hosting! If you're interested, three of my absolute favourite YA books, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderston and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak are Printz books :) You should read them.

I definitely want to try to read:The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Revolver (only 2010 Printz I haven't read)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Tender Morsels
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (Ohmigosh, want to read this so bad!)



My Official Book List (TBD):
1. The Disreputable History o f Frankie Landau-Banks by E.Lockhart
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
**

This week’s pick has been featured quite a bit around the blogosphere, but it’s still one that’s pretty near the top of my wishlist

Every You, Every Me
by David Levithan

Summary (goodreads)

In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he's been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan's starting to believe it's Ariel that's behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself.

**
Eep! Can’t wait, I think David Levithan has some unmatched prose. What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

do you miss It?


Do you miss the feeling of walking into the bookstore and being overwhelmed by the sheer number of all the books around you? The feeling of seeing rows upon rows of unread books with unknown synopsises and unfamiliar characters? The feeling of running your hands down the spines and not recognizing any titles but still loving the idea of all the books?

I do.

I miss not knowing what books are about and buying them because they have compelling covers. I miss buying books without reading a gazillion reviews beforehand, I miss opening books with absolutely no idea what to expect, and without the pressure to form coherent thoughts I’m supposed to translate onto the screen later on.

When I walk into a book store, I know what books I’m looking for, which titles ring a bell, which genres to be wary of. I recognize hundreds of titles and authors, and recall the many reviews of books I’ve read in order to gauge which purchase will most benefit my happiness.

I think this is the one thing that book blogging has taken away, and while the pros outweigh the cons by a long shot, it’s these few moments where I miss not knowing anything YA related; seeing a book, even one like Twilight, featured as a floor display and just reading it to see why the heck it was placed there in the first place. To be shocked or to fall in love with a book and not know that hundreds of people have done the same before me, to be absolutely unaware of all things YA related and just enjoying these random novels found in the “teen zone.”

Yeah. My little nostalgic moment of the week.


Monday, May 16, 2011

fictional characters I'd name my Sons After


I had this post a few weeks ago ago about characters I'd name my daughter after, and you lovelies responded very positively! Yay! So I had tons of fun pondering what I'd name my son after...


BOY NAMES



Adam
from If I Stay/Where She Went and Shatter Me. I LOVE THESE TWO ADAMS OMG OMG OMG. Currently my favourite name, seriously. It's hard to decide which one I love more, they're both so. freaking. awesome. *flails*
Also, will it be weird to name my son after characters I lust after so publicly? hands off, ladies, these boys are mine.

Thomas
from The Piper's Son, I love this boy. He is mine. See? That's something I can say to my kid! (and hey, if a Thomas Mackee comes in a husband form, I will take him! Nic, Missie, and any others can be a bridesmaid at our wedding :P)

Will
from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and Saving Francesca by MM. I think this name actually has huge potential to be future-child-namesake.. it's kind of understated but still classic and very lovely. Love it!

Liam
from Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert, I think I've said this before but there's something special about this amazing character that I just want to give him a huge hug. He's so far from perfect, but still... :)
~if you haven't read this book, you are seriously missing out.

Clay
from 13 Reasons Why. It's an odd kind of name, but after rolling it around my tongue a few times, I actually like it. Doesn't hurt that this book is amazeballs. Plus, Markus Zusak's new book is called The Bridge of Clay... I am sure I will love it xD

Eli
from Along for the Ride. Mysterious loner boy! I adore Eli in this book, he's just.. le swoon. Plus the name! I like the simplicity of three letters (well, short for Elijah) but anyways...

Archer
from Fire by Kristin Cashore.. okay, hear me out. I LOVE THIS NAME. That is all. Actually-- can I just swoon over it a bit more? I don't even know why I love it so much.. it's just... hot.

Severus
from Harry Potter. Oh I am so funny, I'm kidding :p I'd go with something less ostentatious... like Xenophilius.


**


Honourable Mentions (aka fantastic characters, not so much the name): Jonah, Etienne, Virgil, Puck, Four (ahaha.. imagine that), Po, Gabriel, Jacob (from North of Beautiful, not Twilight!)

--Okay, I notice these boy names I chose are all, well, love interest names. I wish there were more leading-character boys I'd name my kid after... something like Quentin (Paper Towns), Todd (Chaos Walking), or Ethan (Beautiful Creatures). Ahh well, I love me some swoony boys.

So.. what do you think? Names you like? Dislike? And which male characters would YOU name your sons after??







in case you skipped the beginning: female characters I'd name my daughter after. Check it!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, inspired by Alea :)
**

I was gonna do a vlog, but my computer is not cooperating. *sigh*. I want a Mac! Anyways, these are the books I got these past TWO weeks, I'm very excited! Links go to Goodreads.

In My Mailbox:





Library
Split by Swati Avasthi
Grace by Elizabeth Scott
Small Steps by Louis Sachar (Holes has a companion novel? Awesome!)
The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty (I adore this series and Moriarty)






For Review
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (hilario. seriously. libba bray is a friggen genius)
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne
Facing Fire by KC Dyer



Bought
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd (!!!!!!!)
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen


Won
The Odds Get Even by Natale Ghent (thank you Book Junkies!)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (!!!!)


***

I have a lot of reading to do, I promise to read and review as many as I can. I'll be holding off from other books until I get through this very awesome pile. What did you get this week?? :) Leave a link and I'll drop by!



Friday, May 13, 2011

BR: Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow

by Nathan Bransford
Jacob Wonderbar series; book I

I enjoy reading Nathan Bransford’s crazily popular blog and I was pretty excited to see he had a book coming out. I dunno, it’s not often I ‘discover,’ for lack of a better term, someone before they are published.

Summary (goodreads):

Jacob Wonderbar is used to detentions, but when a spaceship crashes near his house, he finds himself in a whole new level of trouble. After swapping a corn dog for the ship, he and his two best friends, Sarah Daisy and Dexter, take off on a madcap adventure. They accidentally cause an epic explosion, get kidnapped by a space pirate, and are marooned on planets like Numonia and Paisley, where the air smells like burp breath and revenge-hungry substitute teachers rule. And that's only the beginning . . . It turns out that there's an entire colony of space humans, and Jacob's long-lost father just might be one of them.

**
My Expectations: I don't read much MG, so I just hoped I wouldn't dislike this one.
Delivery: Ooh, enjoyable fun-ness!
Put-down-ability: short chapters made it easier to return to homework, 6/10
**

My Thoughts

Jacob Wonderbar. I feel that should be in all caps: JACOB WONDERBAR! I can subconsciously associate a lot of things with this, and I think just the title says a lot. It’s extravagant, fun, quirky and entertaining.

I don’t read much Middle Grade fiction, in fact, I rarely wander out of my YA bubble but every once in a while I notice something and read it for kicks—like in this case. Jacob Wonderbar didn’t blow me away, but it was a welcome distraction from homework. Guys. It takes place in OUTER SPACE. Win.

I thought the writing read easily, but it could be slightly awkward at times. A combination of third person narrative, flipping characters, and strange word choices, there might have been some missing poetic quality but honestly? At the end of the day, it didn’t really matter. It’s something I think fits really well with younger audiences.

The stand-out of Bransford’s novel is the plot; I’m grinning madly just thinking about it. There’s no confinement to this imaginative adventure as everything from corn dogs to a planet named after paisley is involved. The pacing remains consistently fun, with the short chapters and quirky plot keeping readers hooked and eager to finish. The characters are well rounded and lovable, even the villains. Can I count the spaceships as characters too? Because they are very not-boring.

Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow is an amusing tale that offers a combination of humour, action, entertainment and heart.

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable / Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: Boys! All middle grade readers :)
Acknowledgements: that last one is like, the perfect corny line ever, just for that, 5/5!

8/10 – because I really enjoyed this one. It’s not bam-bam-bam action, but it is a great blend of plot and characters and giggle-worthy moments. It pushes the boundaries of believability in a manner that YA just can’t pull off, and I commend Bransford for this inventive and original novel.







source: publisher
author blog / website

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
**

First, sorry I haven't been around commenting around or updating... There's a lot of school work to be done so I'm just trying my best to have posts at least once every 2 days. I am a sad stressed panda.

Aah, does this book need an introduction? The Maze Runner series is an adventurous, very awesome series that I would seriously recommend. Boy-friendly, lots of action, mysterious settings... what more could you want. This week's pick is for book 3.

The Death Cure
by James Dashner
The Maze Runner trilogy, book III

Summary (goodreads):

Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.

What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.

Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

The Death Cure is released October 11, 2011 from Delacorte.
**

Who else is waiting on this one? Have you tried this series? Your thoughts?

Have a great day everyone!







author blog / twitter / website
my review of book 2: The Scorch Trials
Another Cover

Monday, May 9, 2011

BR: What Happened to Goodbye

by Sarah Dessen

There really isn't anything that can beat reading a new book from Sarah Dessen, many people try to copy her style, but honestly... gah, I just love her. And I was tres excited to read this.

Summary (goodreads)

Another town. Another school. Another Mclean. Ever since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her father have been fleeing their unhappy past. And Mclean's become a pro at reinventing herself with each move. But in Lakeview, Mclean finds herself putting down roots and making friends—in part, thanks to Dave, the most real person Mclean's ever met. Dave just may be falling in love with her, but can he see the person she really is? Does Mclean herself know?

**
My Expectations: Ginormously high. No explanation needed, right?
Delivery: excellence =)
Put-down-ability: stayed till 3am reading it, then finished the next morning, 2/10
**

My Thoughts

There’s this unfair double standard*, wait, more like expectation, that I hold for Sarah Dessen novels. It is no secret that I absolutely adore her novels, I’ve read every single one of them (they all rock). I consider her the queen of feel-good contemporary YA, so I expected nothing less than love for her newest book, What Happened to Goodbye.

Riding on such high expectations, I can easily say that I loved it, albeit it was on a milder side of love. What Happened to Goodbye doesn't stray far from her usual style, the fluid narration of Mclean easily carried the story and kept me flipping pages well into the night. She brings back her signature quirky, well-rounded characters (Deb, ilysfm. Jason, woah! You're back!) to spice things up, then tosses in some sticky situations and a lovely dose of swoon.

While some readers may be tragically upset with the dip in romantic content, I won’t deny it’s still done with refreshing style. Dave may not compare to Wes and Eli but he is a well-worthy Dessen boy, but I thought his relationship with Mclean was well developed and cute to the max. ;-)

The thing that secured this novel in my favourites pile would be the themes that Dessen chose to tackle this time around. Mclean has some very obvious issues with her parents’ messy divorce, and Dessen manages to create an intricate journey for our protagonist to navigate. Once again, she masterfully puppeteers the unbalanced dynamics of family with honesty and grace, I never fail to be surprised by her talent.

Reading this novel was one of the rarer times when I felt emotionally connected at a much deeper level when reading a novel; I found myself relating and identifying with Mclean constantly, despite our different circumstances. Her thoughts and actions were one I found myself familiar with, particularly her feelings toward one of her parents (haha, let's not go there). I think if I wasn't so in tune with the emotions of this book, I would like it less.

What Happened to Goodbye isn’t perfect, there are definitely more than a few shady areas that could have been more polished but I feel as an overall package, I loved it. It spoke to me at a personal level yet it still brought humour and fun, romantic tinglings and angst, engaging writing and a beautiful story. I might advise a different Dessen novel if you haven’t read her books before (GET ON IT) but old fans will love this one.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: All YA contemporary fans, Sarah Dessen fans.
Acknowledgements: Gotta love the babysitters ;) 3.5/5

9/10 – because it’s another novel I loved. I can’t compliment Dessen enough; she retains her throne atop YA and delivers another contemporary romance that will undoubtedly appeal to the masses of YA readers. Her signature style is written all over the book, and while some may hate it, I can’t help but smile as I read her latest work. Characters, writing, romance, depth, emotions.. yes to everything.

What Happened to Goodbye is released May 10, 2011 (tomorrow!)







*[edit 5/10/11] - I feel I need to clarify when I say 'double standard'. I hold Dessen books at a HIGHER standard than regular books because I love her work and I expect a lot from it. So no, it is not at a 'lower standard' where I 'go easy on the book' because I love the author. Does that make sense?

source: publisher
author website / fansite / twitter / blog / livejournal

Saturday, May 7, 2011

BR: God is in the Pancakes

by Robin Epstein

I picked this one up solely based on this review at one of my favourite Aussie blogs, Inkcrush. How could I resist?

Summary (goodreads)

Fifteen-year-old Grace Manning is a candy striper in a nursing home, and Mr. Sands is the one patient who makes the job bearable. He keeps up with her sarcasm, teaches her to play poker . . . and one day cheerfully asks her to help him die. At first Grace says no way, but as Mr. Sands’s disease progresses, she’s not so sure. Grace tries to avoid the wrenching decision by praying for a miracle, stuffing herself with pancakes, and running away from all feelings, including the new ones she has for her best friend Eric. But Mr. Sands is getting worse, and she can’t avoid him forever.

**
My Expectations: Having never heard of this book before the review, I was just hoping Nomes would be right.
Delivery: I was surprised by how enjoyable it was, I guess my expectations weren't too high ;)
Put-down-ablity: This is one of those books where the story flows so smoothly it's basically impossible to put down. 2.5/10
**

My Thoughts

I’m so glad I found out about book blogs, because I think this is the biggest, most obvious reason why I love it. I discover books. Plain and simple, because this seems like one of those books I would never think to pick up, but after seeing a glowing review at Inkcrush, I borrowed it and ended up loving it!

Easily the most enjoyable aspect of God is in the Pancakes (man, what a title!) is the beautiful narration. It’s not beautiful in that poetic style, it is beautiful in its simplicity and conversational tone that made the reading experience feel like a dream. I never realized I was flipping pages because Grace’s voice flows incredibly well, not to mention she’s an extremely relatable character. I was surprised by how true that statement was; I empathized with her high school experiences, but more importantly, to her teenage feelings of self-doubt, identity, insecurity, and slightly (but not too much) rebellious attitude.

The plot was what I would think as “perfectly structured”. It’s not predictable by any means, but I felt that everything had its own place in the story—a good thing! There’s no WTF moments, or those “Why is that even relevant” scenes, everything played some sort of role, whether it was Grace’s family, love interest, or Frank Sands. The questions and moralities raised with Mr. Sands’ request for euthanasia had me thinking, but thank goodness, it never felt preachy.

Sometimes books are only as good as their secondary characters and may I say the supporting cast is excellent. My favourite parts of the book involved Grace and her family, they feel so alive. Her sister… gah, she is exactly how I would picture my sister: stubborn, self-righteous, annoying, but still at the end of the day, lovable. An amazing portrayal of family and effects divorce in my mind. I also highly enjoyed the fact that this is Grace's story, not some love story or some family story, and the author never lost sight of that.

God is in the Pancakes is a charming, witty, and still emotionally sincere read that definitely deserves more attention.


Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: ALL YA contemporary fans, those looking for one of those milder (but still wonderful), coming-of-age reads
Acknowledgements: 3/5

8.3/10 - because it's the type of book that reminds me why I read Young Adult. It doesn't have the oppressing dystopian government, but it does have the realistic portrayal of those nuanced teenage emotions that I could relate to all too well. It both witty and heartwarming, Grace's voice feels authentic, and the plot is commendable. I find writing this review a few days later, it's not the most memorable book; but I can still remember how I felt when I was reading it-- I was just happy to be immersed. If you got the chance, try this one :)







source: library
author blog

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guest Post: HARRY POTTER (Eden from Pass the Chiclets)

Today... I've got an amazing guest post for you guys. It's from a very awesome blogger at Pass the Chiclets, and well... see for yourself. Welcome, Eden!



***

A week or two ago, Audrey asked the question: “Which HP book is your favourite?” And to my horror, once I viewed the results, I saw that a large percentage of you haven’t read Harry Potter at all.

CARDINAL SIN.

It’s been called a “brilliantly imagined fantasy” (Kirkus Reviews), “a feat of which only a superior imagination is capable” by Steven King and a “satisfying, death-filled, torture-happy, magnificent read” by School Library Journal with “exquisitely evocative writing” (Publishers Weekly). English teachers are going to start adding it to the curriculum. It’s the classic of the decade, right along there with Lois Lowry’s The Giver.

But enough talk from the big guys. Hear out what I, your regular reader, have to say.



First, the small but important details: the books are British. This means splendid names like Hermione and wicked expressions like “blimey”, and all the movies subsequently are filled with delectable British accents. Harry’s also probably the only hero out there who wears glasses. I don’t know, I guess glasses make a protag seem less kick-butt or something, but I do know that this makes him all the more unique.

Now, onto the major stuff.

J K Rowling knows how to write a fantasy — her world-building is just spectacular. Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic, the Quidditch World Cup, the Weasleys’ Burrow… each aspect of of the worlds of wizards and Muggles (that’s non-wizard for you noobs) is alive and potent.

A medicinal ingredient over which Snape and Harry have their first altercation in The Philosopher’s Stone (book #1) ends up saving Ron’s life in The Half-Blood Prince (book #6). A mysterious locket in The Order of the Phoenix (book #5), just an item on a list of objects turned out for spring-cleaning, turns out to be an item of extreme importance in The Deathly Hallows (book #7). Backstore secrets unwind and untangle throughout the whole tapestry, from Sirius Black’s true role in The Prisoner of Azkaban (book #3) to the stunning revelation about Snape in the final book.

And the sweeping scope of the content. Oh, gosh, I think I’m going to have to devote a whole paragraph to the theme of love itself.

No, it’s not girl-boy love, although that does show up in the later books. It’s the idea that love can conquer evil. That sounds cheesy, I know, but when it’s Harry’s only protection, only weapon against Lord Voldemort’s evil, and JKR shows us just how he manages it, it’s awe-inspiring. Especially concerning Snape at the end of The Deathly Hallows… it makes me teary thinking about it.

Every novel in the Harry Potter series reads like an episode, almost like they don’t have much to do with each other… but then all the pieces come together and it’s just BRILLIANT.

Brilliant, yo.

Seriously now. Why haven’t you read Harry Potter yet?








http://passthechiclets.blogspot.com




#1 - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
#2 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
#3 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
#4 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
#5 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
#6 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
#7 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

***

Leave pretty thoughts in the comments for Eden, will you? =) Also, hmmm... who is your favourite Harry Potter character??

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =]
**

Following a rather spirited conversation about some main character named Cas and a boy closet stocked with food and TV, well, I guess I have a new book I'm dying to read! With, might I say.. one of the BEST titles this year, and an even better 'tagline'!

Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake

Summary (goodreads)

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.


**
I don't really read much horror or ghost stories, but this looks so wicked. And this is the tagline (which DUDE, should totally be on the cover!!):


Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story…


Anna Dressed in Blood is released August 30, 2011 from Tor Teen.








author twitter / livejournal / website -- with an awesome header xD
book trailer

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BR: Divergent

by Veronica Roth
Divergent trilogy; book I

Book of the Month for May

My lovelies, I don't think this needs an introduction. One of the most hotly anticipated debuts books of 2011... I have been dying to read this, especially after all the praise it's gotten. Hav

Summary (goodreads):

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

**
My Expectations: Aly really loved this, so going in, I had some incredibly high expectations.
Delivery: Man, see review below. Loved it.
Put-down-ability: low! 2/10, because it's kind of long but sooo addicting.
**

My Thoughts

Divergent… Wow. I was quite simply, blown away. Entertainment-wise, this is the best book I’ve read this year, hands down. A 500 page beast.

However... as I finished the novel, I just had this feeling like something was missing. It took me a while and a lot of pondering when it clicked: I was never emotionally invested enough. To me, it was all very suface-y, it was a mile wide and an inch deep. At the surface, I loved it. I was head over heels. I could not put down the book and I loved everything about it.

But below the surface, I couldn’t connect with the characters. I liked Tris—a lot—and I think she’s Katniss material, I loved her character, but not her. I know I’m inching into crazy territory, but I don’t know how else to put it. Despite all the unpredictable plot twists, I was nowhere near shedding tears for any character deaths. There were a few jarring instances that kept me glued to the pages, but not ripping up my heart, especially at the very end.

In relation back to my thoughts on Wither, I thought the world-building was exceptional (I’m serious. I can’t even scrape my jaw off the floor) but the premise, the logic behind it all failed me. I love the idea of the five factions.. but my main thought was WHY? Why is any of this necessary? How is separating the entire population into five characteristics the logical way to run a city? The aptitude tests at the beginning were, simply put, perplexing. Does the entire city depend on a series of 5 or so tests to determine what 16 year olds (teenagers!) will be for the rest of their lives? It’s so black and white and unrealistic, which left me feeling lost.

But these misgivings aside, I can’t compliment this novel enough. There is no love triangle! Yay! There is romance, violence, action, mystery, and all in all-- it’s freaking exhilarating, it’s addicting, it’s an adrenaline-filled ride and based on that alone, I can say I loved it.

Book in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: Everyone! Well, unless you hate dystopian books with cool stuff going on. Which is nobody.
Acknowledgements: none in ARC :(

9.1/10 - because I don't feel I can change this rating because of just how much I enjoyed this book. While thinking back, there are definitely some issues with the premise of Divergent and how I could have been more emotionally connected. Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that I loved the reading experience, and I will leave it at that. =)







source: won in contest from Writing Jewels (thank you!)
author twitter / blog
series fansite
BrowseInside: Read the first 100 Pages!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dear Authors,

Canada is a friendly, kind, caring, enthusiastic, high-energy, chill, low-maintenance, happy, upbeat, and overall wonderful country. We are the true north strong and free. We don't actually ride polar bears to school, and no, unfortunately only a minuscule percent of our population live in igloos. Sure, the weather might be crappy but it's just a bit of rain.. or snow. But who cares!

Amazingly nice people line our streets (well, most of them). You know what? YOU SHOULD VISIT MORE.

Pretty please? And NOT JUST TORONTO. Sheesh, that place is OVERRATED (though I will probably be going there in September, and in that case, I take it back). COME TO VANCOUVER-ish area. WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU.


Sincerely,

Audrey

~a teen who has never met an author in person before... I know. Blasphemous.


ps~ new favourite word... awktopus. bahahahahaha
pps~ Divergent by Veronica Roth is out tomorrow. It is excellent. You should get it.

ppps~ I am VERY stressed at the moment with school @_@ which means: more random, short posts like this, or no posts at all. Sorry :/

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Poetry Slam Sunday (10)


P
oetry 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’s been a while since I’ve done this feature, so to you who are new to this blog or have just stumbled upon it… PLEASE STAY. Don’t close the page yet.

Recently there was a Poetry Slam at my school where students—students
created their own slam and performed it to a huge crowd. Some were amazing, and I’m so glad my friend had recorded the audio because I think it’s something that should be shared. This anonymous person is in grade 12, and he’s an incredible writer. And his poem reminded me of why I love reading and… words.

Title: Words





*
I included the 'lyrics' to his poem in the video, so you can read along. Please watch it.
*

Wow, right? As I was listening, I was thinking “Markus Zusak would really approve of this”. It takes me back to The Book Thief, and the power of words.

Also: I think anyone who loves words – authors, readers, writers, librarians, bloggers, teens, adults, poets.. everyone can take something from this. I know this poem isn't exactly about books but.. still. Words. hehe, or maybe I'm the only one who feels this way :P

**I rarely ask you to do this, but I would love it if you would spread the word about this. Retweet it, link it on your blogs... I dunno. I think it's something a lot of people will enjoy, and I feel strongly about it. Thank you.

Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi4_YhnNi0I
This post's URL: http://goo.gl/UWXXT

I hope you enjoyed it, and if you'd like, leave a comment telling me what you think :)







disclaimer: the poem is not mine. at all.

PS- a few of you have told me how this feature has 'introduced' you to Slam Poetry, and it makes me so happy :) Click here to see other poems featured on this blog.