Thursday, December 30, 2010

Special Thank You

I want to say thank you to author Holly Schindler who sent me a lovely Christmas surprise.

I received it in the mail and was super happy. It's a note, a Playing Hurt button and a signed bookmark. EEP!

The Vampire Diaires (The Awakening) by L.J. Smith

Vampire Diaries (The Awakening)
Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he'd kill to possess her.

Collected here in one volume for the first time, volumes one and two of The Vampire Diaries, the tale of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them

At First Sight:
This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't seen the show, to be honest. But ever since I started watching it, I was intrigued to know more. So I've been wanting to get this one for a while and finally, I read the first book.

My Thoughts:
So I went into this both knowing that I had a pre-formed idea of the show and that it was very different from the show. Of course, I tried to separate myself from the show as much as possible because I didn't want my feelings for the show to influence my feelings for the literature itself.

Thankfully, the most resemblance to the book that the show has is the first episode, and not even that.

Elena at first is not very likable. She's the queen-bee-gotta-have-it-all girl that not many people like. But then you begin to enter into this character and you discover somethings that make her more...human and likable.

And then there's Stefan, dark and brooding. He's a gentleman in all senses possible and he truly does love Elena and Elena, inexplicably, loves him.

My favorite character (in the book) so far is Matt. Matt is the boy next door who is really nice and sweet. We kind of start feeling a bit sorry for him and although some may argue that he's not right for Elena, he really cares and loves her enough to respect the fact that they don't belong together anymore.

And of course, I LOVE DAMON! We really don't 'get to know him' in this first installment but I was trying to pick up some clues for the future and although I spoiled have to book to myself, I really hope that, in the end, she ends up with Damon.

I just love guys who are so messed up, what's wrong with me? Psychopath with no redeemable qualities? MY GUY!

Oh, and then I have to talk about the plot, naturally. Well, let me tell you, it's a pretty quick-paced book. I read it in about two days and I found it was pretty fun to read so I will definitely be reading the rest of the series. It has enough mystery to keep everyone intrigued for a long time.

In one sentence:
"DAMON! But that doesn't really count, right? I mean he doesn't 'appear' that much in this book." (That was more than one sentence, sorry!)

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Books for Christmas

So, of course, it was natural for me to get a bunch of books this Christmas, because, hello, right? So, I haven't taken pictures but here's the list of the books I got (between being actual gifts, or books that I bought with the gift cards).

01. Style by Lauren Conrad (I know, don't say anything, please? I love Lauren and her sense of fashion is amazing. I'm a fashion girl, what can I say?)
02. The Vampire Diaires Volume 1 by L.J. Smith (I'm obsessed with the show and I HAD to have this)
03. Envy (Luxe #3) by Anne Godbersen (I haven't finished the series but it's just scandalous so I had to buy this.
04. Under The Dome by Stephen King (Now, I haven't read a Stephen King book ever but this one has been in the back of my mind for a while so I took the chance. You know, because reading 1000+ pages to start out with an author isn't a big deal--whish me luck!)
05. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad (So I know, two Conrad books, right? But I like Lauren and I've been debating this one for a while and I couldn't put it off until much later.)

So you see, I'm finally reading the books that've been sitting in my TBR list for a while and hoping to dwindle those down. Of course, I have a bunch more that I'm dying to get but I'll keep you updated.

What did you get?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

I bought this book

At First Sight
I fell in love with this cover, even if the blurb didn't grip me right away, the cover is just absolutely fantastic. I literally couldn't get it off my mind for days. And then, when my daddy told me I could buy a book in my Kindle, there was no other choice but this one.

My Thoughts
If I was apprehensive of this book at first, that went away as fast as I can blink. The prose is so poetic, painful, and beautiful, almost like a drug, completely addictive. Andi was a hard character to sympathize with but once you get to know her, she's the sweetest most mature person ever. She has a hard time dealing with her brother's death and that's completely understandable.

Now, if you don't fall in love with Virgil, you have a cold heart. He was funny, artistic, poetic, and so real. The relationship between Andi and Virgil develops in a very natural way, unraveling itself as if it was meant to be.

I loved reading Alex's diary along with Andi. I felt the same thrill and curiosity every time the entries were narrated. Andi is a lot like me, very ambitious, a bit selfish, but she has her heart set on saving the boy who she loved, and that, is real loyalty.

The end has a great and amazing plot twist and I honestly won't spoil it for you but it was amazing.

In one sentence:
"Breathtakingly beautiful."

Plot: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Characters: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Monday, December 20, 2010

Elixir by Hilary Duff


Clea Raymond lives an extraordinary life. The daughter of renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC figure, she has been in the spotlight her entire life. Followed by the paparazzi, she resents the attention that is lavished on her for her looks alone because she has so much more to offer.p

Clea Raymond has a unique gift. A proficient photographer, in all her pictures, there is little something extra, and it's not just a result of her talented eye. There is always an extra photo that she didn't take. And, as she discovered at a young age, those photos always lead to a place where some tragedy is about to occur that Clea can prevent.p

Two years ago, her father disappeared while on a humanitarian mission and is presumed dead, but that doesn't stop Clea and her mother from continuing to do good throughout the world. On one such trip to Columbia, she meets Race, the guide for the trip. She feels a connection to him but cannot explain why. Was it something in their past or possibly in their past lives? Whatever has brought them together is threatning to tear them apart forever. As the mystery of her father's disappearance unravels, Clea discover that she has powers that are bigger than anything she could have anticipated.

At First Sight:
ANOTHER celebrity book? Are you kidding me? *looks at the back cover* Hm... It seems interesting enough but I wouldn't...I couldn't...Maybe...

My Thoughts:
So I did.

It was amazing how this book had a good plot line that didn't seem to base itself on the fabulous life of young starlets. Clea is a well-rounded character and the rest of this cast is so amazingly believable. My first thought was, "She couldn't have written THIS."

But whether or not Hilary Duff wrote the book, the person who did deserves good props. The book is well written and has a great mix of suspense, mystery, and romance. My favorite part? The historical 'flashbacks' and the paranormal hint of it. It was a unique plot and I like how the book just ended with a cliff hanger.

The least that I could say is that it caught me off guard and surprised me.

The most I could say?

It was amazing and I can't wait to read the next book. When is it coming out, anyways?

I usually read the acknowledgment page to get a good feel of the author and this one looked pretty legit and down to earth so I hope that Hilary Duff wrote this because if she did, she has a greater talent than singing and acting (and in my honest opinion, she seems like a nice person but not convincing in neither singing or acting).

I'll be getting the next book for sure.

Overall, I know I didn't say much about this book but it has some great plot twists that I don't want to give away. It's paranormal enough for paranormal fans and romantic enough for romance fans. I really liked it.

In one sentence:
"Surprisingly good!"

Plot: 5
Writing: 4
Characters: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 4.8 stars

Monday, December 6, 2010

Author Interview: Christine Schulze

Today, author Christine Schulze is stopping by to have a chat with us!

About the Author
Christine E. Schulze has been creating books since she was too young to even write them in words. The stories from Bloodmaiden: A Fantasy Anthology are only a small part of her vast twenty-seven book collection, The Amielian Legacy. She hopes to inspire readers throughout the world with these books by publishing in both traditional and electronic formats to make them available to all readers.

Christine has published several stories with Calliope and Kalkion magazines and is an active member of the WEbook online writing community. She has also published several Christian/fantasy books which are available at various online retailers, as well as publishing several eBooks via Writers-Exchange. Her latest and most exciting venture is landing a contract for her novel Bloodmaiden with Old Line Publishing.

Christine currently lives in Shiloh, Illinois with her Mom, three dogs and a rabbit.

1. What first got you into writing?

Honestly, I’ve been making books since I was too young to write them, when I was probably about three or four. Those books were just pictures, of course. When I was around four or five, I actually wrote my first book called Jonny to the Rescue, which has ultimately spawned the existence of one of my current series, The Legends of Surprisers.

I suppose then it’s just something I’ve always done. I consider it a God-given gift that I’m meant to do something great with someday. I love creating fantasy worlds, new races and creatures, deep characters with multiple story-lines all twisting together in an intricate and intriguing plot. I love painting rich imagery so readers can see and feel exactly what I do. I write for myself and hope others will like it too, and I write for my readers because, though I would write even if no one read my work, I have not done my part if no one ever reads my books. But, if at least one person reads and is inspired, I have done my part.

I just love everything about the craft and really hope to use my books to inspired readers around the world someday.

2. How is your typical writing routine like?

“Routine” is actually probably an awful word to use, at least compared to other writers. I’ve heard so many say that writing is to be this agonizing, toiling craft; so many writers are never satisfied with their craft, and it can be hard putting what they see in their head on the page. Many writers also have a set amount they must write everyday.

I’m not like these writers at all. I don’t box myself into a required quota, I don’t consider writing pain-staking, and I only write stories I’m really into, so I’m always pleased with my results! There’s been a couple times that a story really sucked, but I polished it up into something I loved. As for the writing itself, I write what I’m inspired to write, when God inspires me. It comes as naturally as breathing; if I force it, it doesn’t work. So, one day I might write a few chapters, the next day a single scene, the next day a brilliant sentence I came up with, and then might not pick up the book again until two weeks later.

Thus, I don’t write the book in order from start to finish either. I often have the beginning and end done before all the middle; I often like to have an idea of where the main plot is going, at least for the most part, before starting a new book—unless I have an idea for a really great scene that just must be written. Then, later, I might actually develop the book around that scene.

Moods are important too. If I am in the mood to write an action-packed chapter which doesn’t come until chapter 13, I’ll write that and wait until I’m in the mood to write romantic chapter 9.

So, while I am perhaps a very sporadic writer, it works, because when I AM inspired, I write fast. The only thing I usually have to make myself sit down and think about is when I’m trying to connect two story-lines or ideas which don’t seem to have to do with each other—I love doing this; it adds so much complexity and intricacy—or when I’m done with most of the book, all the important scenes, and just have to come up with what I call “filler”, the in-between bits which connect various scenes and make them flow into one another.

3. Can you describe BLOODMAIDEN in one sentence?

An honest answer would be “no”, actually. ^_^

This is the question I always cheat on (sorry, though thanks for not asking me to describe in three words; that one was definitely not going to happen); the best I can give is Bloodmaiden’s tagline, so without further ado:

Four dynasties. Four aria. One brilliant quest.

4. If BLOODMAIDEN were made into a movie, who would you cast?

I am SO thrilled you asked this question! I have always envisioned some of my books becoming movies someday and really, truly hope they do. When I get an idea for a scene, I see it so visually in my head, playing out like a cinematic experience, and then I transcribe what I see onto the page. Some writers have difficulty writing down what they see the way they see it, but God has thankfully blessed me so that I have never had a problem with this. Even as a kid, it came naturally, and many of my readers—especially those who have read Bloodmaiden—have commented that one thing they really enjoy about my books is the imagery, emotion, and my ability to really place the readers in whatever world I’ve created.

All that rabbit-trail completed, I think Bloodmaiden could make for a great film, between its lush worlds and moments of heart-pounding emotion—if done right. I’d want an expert like Peter Jackson on the sets, if possible. As far as actors, well, ever since I was a kid, I always said Elijah Wood had to be in one of my movies. This was when I was around twelve or so and created a character in his honor in my book Loz: Zephyr’s Islands. As for Bloodmaiden, he might do really well as Chalom since I know from Lord of the Rings that he looks adorable with curly hair. BUT, despite his eternal youthfulness, he might still be told for the role at this point. I think he might fair well as Brydon though, or another idea would be if the movie was animated. I always thought it might be cool for some of my movies to be 3-D anime, like in video games, such as Final Fantasy or my favorite Legend of Zelda. Then, Elijah Wood could do all the voice acting he liked...

If it was live cast though, besides Lij, I would need a very sweet, innocent, naive young girl to play Crisilin, as well as someone who displayed a wide array of emotions very well. A younger version of Liv Tyler would please me, if there was such a one. It’s difficult to say, because I always imagined Chalom and Crisilin as being thirteen; but Hollywood might deem that inappropriate and make them at least sixteen. Perhaps Emma Watson? She’s still very youthful and very gorgeous, but with a sweet look about her. She might also work well as Pan though; with her new haircut, she proves she would make an excellent pixie!

Some other possible good choices for Crisilin might include Saoirse Ronan, Sarah Bolger, Joey King, or Selena Gomez (if she could be blonde; she’s so cute!)

5. What advice do you have for young writers today?

Persevere and be patient!

Patience is killer, but very key. While Bloodmaiden is published by a small press, a lot of my other works are self-published. This has been a great and fn experience, and I consider them of just as high quality as Bloodmaiden, having had the chance to work with editors and thoroughly polish them. However, I still hope to get into a major publisher to help get my name out there, and that truly will take time and patience.

Also, keep learning and polishing your craft. Learn the market, learn “the game”, if you will, what it takes to write a successful query or proposal and how to really get your foot in the door. Even if you think you’re not the best out there, you have to market yourself as such, so confidence too is key. Having learned so much through self-publishing and publishing with smaller presses, I feel much more prepared in terms of writing a query and polishing a manuscript to present to an agent. You can always be educating yourself, practicing, and improving. With each new book I write, I find it amazing sometimes the progress and improvements my writing has made.

6. Finally, what are you currently working on?

It is surprising to say I’m really not working on a book right now. For those who know me well, they might ask to take my temperature at this point. Especially as a kid, I was always working on a slue of books at once. I did just finish up my first-ever fan fiction, Silent Hero, which is based on Nintendo’s epic Legend of Zelda games, my favorites, and which is available as a free ebook on sites such as Smashwords.

As for serious projects though, I’m trying not to write but instead work on promotion Bloodmaiden as well as my up-and-coming second release with Old Line Publishing, Tears of a Vampire Prince: the First Krystine. I have, however, just finished re-editting a middle grade fantasy of mine called The Last Star. In a few months, I should be ready to start submitting to agents. I have self-published and published with both small presses and ebooks. I’ve truly enjoyed the experience and learned so much from it; now, it’s finally time to use what I’ve learned to keep climbing up the ladder and hopefully obtain for myself an agent, a first step into the world of big publishing, probably the best way at this point to really get my name known and be taken seriously.

Here’s a blurb of The Last Star:

There were no Stars in Novalight that fateful night; they had all been extinguished save for one: and if Olette, THE LAST STAR, were to lose her Starfire too, then all the land would be consumed by Shadow—and the very world would come to an uncertain end.

Thankfully, the work of the Shadows goes yet unfinished. Hope remains solely in Olette, the tiny winged fox who flies into ten-year-old Christya’s bedroom that dark night. As a Backwards Star, Olette’s life source—her Starfire—cannot easily be snuffed out like all the others in Novalight. Being the smallest and youngest of the Stars, can Olette take up the position of Blue Star and unravel the mysteries of Star Appointment? Can she help Christya and her other new friends discover the truth behind their parents’ disappearances? Together, can they overcome the Shadows with their newfound powers before every last Star vanishes from the sky? Combining the magnificence of the heavens with the allure of magic to create a charming adventure, THE LAST STAR is more than an enchanting tale of light against darkness: it is a story of friendship and forgiveness, one that shows how even the smallest person can become a light of hope after all the others have gone out.

Thanks to Jonny for helping me craft an excellent blurb and query letter. ^_^

Well, that about wraps things up. Thanks so much to Patty for having me here; I truly enjoyed it and hope you will all take the chance sometimes to experience Bloodmaiden and other of my work.

God bless and happy reading!

We are glad to have had you, Christine, and we hope that you will stay in contact. The review for BLOODMAIDEN will be up soon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Challenge Update: November

01. Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire by J.K. Rowling *
02. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks *
03. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen *


Friday, November 26, 2010

Valiant by Holly Black

When seventeen-year-old Valerie runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.

But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends. And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her newfound affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

I borrowed this book.

At first sight
So I've been trying to get my hands on this book for a while. I'd read Tithe and while I enjoyed it and actually really liked it, I wasn't about to die if I didn't get the next book. But I kind of breathed a sigh of relief when I was able to get this book. I'll finish the series (or at least continue it) once and for all.

My Thoughts
Valiant is crude and quite hard to read. It has a shocking beginning, a boring middle, and an amazing end.

The thing with Valiant is that it's very underground stuff. Valerie runs off to New York to live on the streets and we see how these kids shoot up (and quite graphically). It's not my usual cup of tea.

But then, things seem to flow naturally for the characters. There's no forced romantic relationship, it simply happens. Which I think is a plus.

I didn't love any of the characters, really, except for Val's love interest. The whole book just kind of fell short for me. I really like Kaye on the previous book of the series so I'm sure to pick Ironside, which is the third book, at some point.

In one sentence:
"Nice beginning, boring middle, good end."

Plot: 3
Characters: 2
Writing: 4
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 2.7
Average: 3.3 stars

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

$80 CSN Certificate Winner

Finally, after a long time, Random.Org has selected Jessy as the winner. I've sent your email address to CSN and they'll be contacting you soon. Congrats!

2010 Debut Author Challenge

So I've been seeing the 2010 posts all over The Story Siren this year and I decided to go ahead and sign up for next year. Sure, I've been kind of lost to the world lately but I think this is a great way of getting back into the book blogging world, don't you think? Think you're up to the challenge? Go ahead and sign up over at The Story Siren.

So, I want to make a list so that at least I can be in the lookout for the titles. Here are at least 12 I'm planning to read:

01. Across The Universe by Beth Revis
02. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
03. Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
04. The Returning by Christine Hinwood
05. Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
06. Die for Me by Amy Plum
07. Hereafter by Tara Hudson
08. Vanished by Sheela Chari
09. Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
10. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
11. Legend by Marie Lu
12. A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

What will you be reading?

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Rules of Attraction

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

I borrowed this book.

At first sight: I was SO EXCITED! Because PERFECT CHEMISTRY was amazing and you know, great.

My thoughts:
It is hard to think that Simone Elkeles would surpass the greatness she was able to achieve with PERFECT CHEMISTRY, but she surprised me! Not only do I think that RULES OF ATTRACTION is better than PERFECT CHEMISTRY, but I also think it's one of the best YA books ever written. Here's why.

Both Kara and Carlos have struggles. They're not perfect and actually, they have stuff about them that would seem unattractive. But the way that, not only do they help each other, but are able to see past it, makes a convincing and exiting story.

Very much like Alex, Carlos is stubborn and a trouble maker, but we're able to see a much bigger range of emotions from him by the way he plays with Kara's little brother or the way he handles different situations.

Kara is surprisingly a strong young woman that I admired. She approaches everything with enthusiasm, without really caring what people think, and with an awkward but believalbe confidence.

May I say that I found Kara's and Carlos's relationship even hotter than Alex's and Brittany?

The supporting characters are equally 3-dimensional and interesting. I think this book has a stronger cast, too.

Overall, the book was amazing, believable and engaging. I devoured it in just two days.

In One Sentence:
"Sexy, deep, and hilarious all at once."

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

1984 by George Orwell: A Look Into A Classic


Portrays a terrifying vision of life in the future when a totalitarian government, considered a "Negative Utopia," watches over all citizens and directs all activities, becoming more powerful as time goes by.

This won't be a regular review, more like my general thoughts and why you should read it (wait, isn't that a review, anyways?).

The best I can say about 1984 is that it's thought provoking and it doesn't have a happy ending. I mean, why should it? The story starts, develops, and ends in a totalitarian government that controls everything. There's no real hope for the main character, we all know he's doom.

Yet we can't help but root for him. Maybe because we ourselves may find and understand the deep message that this book wants to bring. George Orwell's distinctive and controversial style is not lost. He wants us to know that we need to take action, but even when we do, we might lose, which is a risk we must be willing to take.

It's amazing how we see the plot in real life. If you're a very aware person and know about world-issues you might find yourself comparing this book to many real life government situations.

I love political books like this and so, while it is boring in most parts, I think it's a must read because it's eye-opening and thought-provoking.

I will not give a rating to this book but I hope that my little review/blurb/commentary will help you and convince you to read this book.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

I bought this book

I was so happy when I saw it in my local Costco because I've been dying to read it for so long and hardbacks are so expensive.

The book begins a bit slow. We're not sure what is happening and I got a bit confused. I had to read the description a couple of times (I use this sometimes to guide me) so that I could understand what was happening. Of course, Cassandra Clare returns with the same amazing plot twists that we loved in the Mortal Instruments.

Some already known characters and families make a reappearance so you might want to read The Mortal Instruments before you tackle this one.

I just have something to say: the boys get even better and better. We have James whose secret I'm not going to reveal and Will who is very much like Jace in The Mortal Instruments. It was so amazing to see how Tessa handled everything. I wanted to kick her a few times but that's what good characters make us do: care about them enough to not want them to make mistakes.

Oh, and that ending? SUPERB. Enough said.

In one sentence:
"Magical and enchanting."

Plot: 4
Characters: 5
Cover: 5
Writing: 5
Overall Feeling: 4
Average: 4.6 stars

Monday, November 1, 2010

Challenge Update: October

It has been an extremely busy month for me, therefore, not many books read:

1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
2. 1984 by George Orwell
3. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
4. Valiant by Holly Black
5. Percy Jackson and The Olympians: Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Letter to my followers

You have no idea how grateful I am to you. I think I've been neglecting this blog for a while and I finally decided I wanted to do something about it. So, starting right now, Yay! Reads will be transformed. Expect a bigger and better Yay! Reads than you've ever seen before.

This blog is dear to my heart and I don't want to give it up. Yes, I am extremely busy but I've realized how much I miss it and how much I'm missing out. So please make do me a favor and support me through this new phase that I'm about to start with Yay! Reads. I don't know exactly how far it would go (name change? Maybe) but be warned: You'll be in for a great ride.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Candor by Pam Bachorz


Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town
where his father brainwashes everyone, he's found a way
to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He's got them
all fooled: Oscar's the top student and the best-behaved
teen in town. Nobody knows he's made his own Messages
to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to
get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape
Candor, Florida before they're transformed into
cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor,
and Oscar's carefully-controlled world crumbles.

At First Sight:
I've wanted to read this one for a while. It reminded me a lot of The Giver, one of my favorite books. And of course, the synopsis intrigued me. So when I had the chance, I picked it up and started reading it.

My thoughts:
In one word, Candor was scary. It was frightening everything that went on: how people turned so perfect, how there were subliminal messages, how it was wrong to do so many things. Even if the book started just a bit slow, it was surprising and sort of like a cultural shock to see it being developed that way.

The way Nia and Oscar's relationship progresses is almost hard to witness. We know in the deep down part of our heart that something isn't going to turn out right. These two people are in the constant look out.

But then something happens (I won't tell what) that leaves the reader so shocked that at one point, I was ready to stop the book. Nevertheless, I wanted to know what would happen, even if it seemed that all was lost.

The end of the book is sickening and perfect. It answers enough questions but leaves speculation, too. It was shocking (I know I'm using this word too much already but it was) and I kept thinking about it for days.

In One Sentence:
"Amazing and surprising, a book that encompasses it all."

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gone by Lisa McMann


The third and final book in the paranormal teen series that includes The New York Times bestseller Wake and Fade.
Things should be great for Janie--she has graduated from high school and is spending her summer with Cabel, the guy she's totally in love with. But deep down she's panicking about how she's going to survive her future when getting sucked into other people's dreams is really starting to take its toll. Things get even more complicated when she meets her father for the very first time--and he's in a coma. As Janie uncovers his secret past, she begins to realize that the choice thought she had has more dire consequences than she ever imagined.

At First Sight:
I just love all the covers of this series. They are symbolic and yet simple. There's not too much that crowds the cover which is basically how I like them. I've read this series and I've fallen in love and learned to appreciate Lisa's style of writing.

My Thoughts:
I was afraid to know how this series will end but I think that it really tied up all the knots that were necessary. It left enough amibuity to let the reader imagine how Janie's future will be like.

This book was emotional, and sometimes hard to read. But it was Lisa's lyrical and poetic style of writing that made me stay reading the story. I really loved Janie's character and I thought that throughout the series, she's really grown to accept who she is and what she can do.

Overall, it was a good end to a series, it was not explosive like some thrillers are but it was peaceful and left a good feeling at the end.

In one sentence:

Plot: 5
Writing: 5
Characters: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green

The Secret Society of The Pink Crystal Ball

Smart and sexy-"smexy," as termed in the novel-Risa Green's fabulously original, warm, and funny teen debut follows a trio of best friends as they navigate love, lies, school, and family-with some unlikely supernatural help. Erin inherits a plastic crystal ball and a set of cryptic instructions from her free-spirited aunt. Erin and her two best friends laughingly give it a try and discover that this particular crystal ball has an uncanny knack for being accurate-but as with all magic, it comes with limits and a price.

Risa Green brings to vivid life friendships and romance-with the perfect supernatural twist.
Praise for Notes from the Underbelly:
"...uproariously tart..." -Entertainment Weekly
"Debut fiction that's a cut above the usual chick-lit fare."-Kirkus

Sent by the publisher.

At First Sight:
The cover is simply amazing. Also, even though the title is a mouthful, it's really catchy. The little premise caught my attention but I honestly didn't think too much about the book. I thought it was going to be simply okay. Boy was I wrong.

My thoughts:
SOTPCB (as I'm going to call it now) is fun, unique, and definitely MORE than okay.

Erin is a unique yet normal character. Her two best friends provide the best balance and really, they're a terrific trio. The characters were all amazingly real and relatable. I could definitely see myself in any of them. This, like you should know by now, it's the most important thing for me when reading a book. I'm looking for myself in these characters, it's what makes YA YA.

Erin's aunt is quirky and not the normal person. I like how her death is pretty ambiguous and nobody really knows what happened to her. Erin's struggle to come to term with herself and the death of a family member is real and resonates with the reader.

I was afraid that it would be too fluffy and to "tween" but I'm glad that it did't turn out that way at all! It's a cute story that could be set in any high school. This book has humour and great writing.

In one sentence:
"Cute and entertaining!"

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wings by Aprilynne Pike


Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

I borrowed this book.

At first sight:
I loved the cover since the first day I saw it. I also know that Miley will be doing Laurel for the movie and, some of you may hate me for this but, I love the diea. So I said, why not? And read the book.

My thoughts:
WINGS is very original. THe concept you have about faeries is very different in this book. I'm always a bit unsure when it comes to changing so much about mythical creatures but Pike did it with grace and good writing skills. And, of course, I really nice cast of characters.

My only real problem with this book is that I didn't quite believe the relationships. It all just seems a bit of cliched and not too realistic for me but I kept in mind that it is a fantasy book so that didn't stop me from reading.

Good thing, too. Because the plot is really unexpected and it's deeper than one might first guess. I really liked how it developed and I can't wait to get my hands on the second book, Spells.

In one sentence:
"Magical and enchanting, like your favorite fairy tale."

Plot: 4
Characters: 4
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 4
Average: 4.4 stars

Friday, October 1, 2010


Hi guys, I bring you here with another gift certificate to win from CSN Stores. Just fill out this form and enter your details.

Also, I want yo clarify that I have not forgotten to review. Economic times are harsh and therefore haven't been able to buy a lot of new books. Also, I'm in my junior year of high school which is really stressing me out and I haven't been able to read that much. Oh, and the blogaversary totally passed and I didn't even notice. I'm sorry.

Rest assured, though, that I have not forgotten about you guys and I'll post whenever I can, even if it is less frequently. Thanks!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Challenge Update: September

Books I've read this month:

1. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
2. Wings by Aprilynne Pikes
3. The Secret of Scarlet Stone by T.L. Clarke
4. Karma Bites by Stacey Karmer and Valerie Thomas
5. Gone by Lisa McMann
6. Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green
7. Candor by Pam Bachorz

Friday, September 24, 2010

CSN Stores $80 Certificate Giveaway Coming Soon

Hi guys! It's that time of the year where most college students are going back to well,, of course. So, I thought it'd be nice to host another CSN Stores $80 Certificate contest soon. It's perfect for students in need of dorm stuff like a coffee table and a few other things that you can find in any of the 200+ CSN Stores. So, stay tuned for the contest!

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.
In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.
At First Sight:

At first, I thought Perfect Chemistry was a completely predictable, too much hooking up book about two teenager. But then I kept hearing how amazing it really was and I said, well, why not? So I borrowed it from my friend and you know, the rest is history!

My thoughts:
You know I'm really bad at saying how much I love a certain book. But I'm going to try it: THIS BOOK WAS HOT!

Brittany Ellis and Alex Fuentes couldn't have been more different. They were born to be different and polar opposites of each other. But somehow, against all odds and standards, they manage to fall in love. The kind of love that lasts a lifetime and can never be broken. The kind of love that is so unique, few people experience it.

It was amazing, I loved how the relationship between the characters developed and how it wasn't perfect at all, instead, both characters are flooded with flaws. It was so believable. I get sick of books that have a typical story and becomes quite formula-y and plastic and totally not believable. But this book made me think that ANYTHING is possible.

It was amazing seeing Bittany's family and how it paralleled to Alex. Also, i can relate to Alex some way because I am Latina and I get the prejudices that Latinos get when they go to the States.

I loved this book because I laughed, I cried, I fell in love. All those are important when deciding if I really  love a book. This book has it and it made it into my favorite lists.

In One Sentence:
"Amazing, no words to describe it."

Plot: 5
Character: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Monday, September 20, 2010

Karma Bites by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

Karma Bites

Life seems to have it in for Franny Flanders.
Her best friends aren’t speaking, her parents just divorced, and her hippie grandmother has moved in. The only karma Franny’s got is bad karma.
Then Franny gets her hands on a box of magic recipes that could fix all of her problems. It could even change the world! Finally, life is looking up.
But Franny is about to learn that magic and karma aren’t to be played with. When you mess with the universe, it can bite back in unexpected ways.
Copy sent by the authors.

At first sight:
It's a MG book which might be a bit surprising to some since I don't really read MG books but I must say, I loved the cover of this and it sounded so cute, so I went right ahead and accepted to review it.

My thoughts:
Franny Flanders is just your typical Middle schooler with typical middle school drama. Except that she finds a not so typical magical box that changes everything.

Her two best friends, Kate and Joey, do NOT get along but with a little help from some magical recipes, Franny plans to get everything sorted out...and a few other problems, too.

Franny is a delightful narrator. She's funny, sarcastic, and a bit silly at times. She's really outgoing and true to her heart. She's motivated by love for her parents, friends, and family. Her actions are real and her fascination with the magical are true to her age.

All of the characters are believable, funny, and fun to read about. I really enjoyed this one more than I thought I would.

This book is fantastically written with a great cast of characters. I loved it and I think it's appropriate for anyone, whether you're 8 or 80.

In one sentence:
"Fun, magical, and!"

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Songs for A Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson

Songs For a Teenage Nomad
After living in twelve places in eight years with her drifting mother, fourteen-year-old Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Fearful of putting down roots anywhere, but armed with her song journal, she moves to her own sound track through a world that bounces her between the school drama crowd, a mysterious loner, and an unlikely boy who will become her first love. But it's the troubling truth she uncovers about her father that forces Calle to face the toughest choice of her young life.

I received this from the publisher.

Calle has lived on too many places in a little time but when she settles into Andreas Bay, she hopes that this would be the last place she'd ever have to move to. Calle has now to navigate through uncharted territory and find out the hard way, the truth about love, friendship, and family.

Calle is a wonderful narrator. She's very laid-back and likable. I also thought she was realistic at all times with her decisions and her way of handling things. I loved the fact that she had a song journal and the way she interacted with everyone.

All characters in this book are very well-crafted and dimensional. They all ring with the reader so that you can see a bit of you inside each one.

The love story is beautiful and realistic, if sometimes a bit painful. But Kim handles everything so well and detailed that you are left completely satisfied.

The writing is lyrical and amazing. The soundtrack is great and I couldn't help but imagine myself having my own song journal.

Overall, it was a great book and definitely one of my favorites of the year. It's that good.

In one sentence:
"Beautiful, lyrical, and heart-warming."

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Sunday, September 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (25)

IMM was started by The Story Siren and features the contents of my mailbox. This week I got:

For Review

  • Gone by Lisa McMann
  • Society of The Pink Crystal Ball
  • Risa Green
  • Arizona ( Beautiful Dead #2) by Eden McGuire
What did you get?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Secret of Scarlet Stone by T.L. Clarke

The Secret of the Scarlet Stone

Can You Help the Gabby Girls Solve the Clues?The Gabby Girls Adventure begins at the Vineswell Academy a very formal and strict elite all-girls school located just outside of upstate New York. The Gabby Girls, Gabrielle who is street-smart and very opinionated, Zora who is super-smart, Jessica who is painfully shy and a bit clumsy; and Rosalinda who is a diva and daddy's little-girl. They are drawn together by the only thing that they have in common, which is the mysterious scarlet pendant they each possess. But things seem even stranger when they find a clue that tempts them with the answer to the question they have longed to know. This unlikely bunch struggle to navigate through solving clue-after-clue. Each clue brings them closer to the key to unlocking their future and the answer to the mysterious deaths of their mothers. After all, Gabby Girls always stick together and everyday is an.........Gabby Girls Adventure! (edited by author)

Received from author.

Gabby Girls takes place in an elite all-girls school. Four girls, united by the secret of their pendants, get together to solve the mystery and discover their legacy.

The novel is more MG than YA literature. It's cute in some parts while in others, unfortunately, it's quite dull.

The good thing about this novel:
1) It has a good premise that catches the reader's attention.
2) It has a good ending, making the reader anticipate the second installment.

Now, to the bad things, which slightly outnumber and outweight the good things.
1) The book is flooded with adverbs. And I know this may not be major to some people, as a writer and avid reader, it bothered me. I couldhandle one or two in a page, but this novel had more than three in almost every sentence.

2) The dialog. The dialog was another problem for me. It was unreallistic and very cliched. It made me groan almost every time a girl said something because I just couldn't believe it.

3) The characters. While at times the characters do redeemed themselves, they didn't really pull it off for me. They're unrealistic and quite bratty and snotty. There's no way I could relate to the girls, especially when they were so mean and spoiled. I've read books where characters were spoiled before but those characters had a vulnerable side, too. These were just flat.

Overall, the writing didn't impress me at all, the characters made it unreadable sometimes and I thought about quitting it a few times, actually. The only thing that redeemed at least a bit was the ending which did leave me slightly interested in the next book.

In one sentence:
"Flat characters, a weak dialog and writing left me a bit annoyed with this book."

Plot: 3
Characters: 1.5
Writing: 2
Cover: 3
Overall Feeling: 1.5
Average: 2.2 stars

Saturday, September 4, 2010


OMGOSH! This is a really great prize and the lucky winner is........



I will be emailing CSN Sponsor with your email so that you will receive your gift card.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Challenge Update: August

Books I've read this month:

1. Emma and The Vampires by Jane Austen and Wayne Josephson
2. Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell
3. Songs for A Teenage Nomad
4. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K.Rowling
5. The People Of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The People of Sparks (Ember Series #2) by Jeanne DuPrau

The People of Sparks

The People of Sparks picks up where The City of Ember leaves off. Lina and Doon have emerged from the underground city to the exciting new world above, and it isn’t long before they are followed by the other inhabitants of Ember. The Emberites soon come across a town where they are welcomed, fed, and given places to sleep. But the town’s resources are limited and it isn’t long before resentment begins to grow between the two groups. When anonymous acts of vandalism push them toward violence, it’s up to Lina and Doon to discover who’s behind the vandalism and why, before it’s too late.

I borrowed this book

The People of Sparks is the sequel to The City Of Ember. It was a long time ago since I read the first book but I saw the oportunity to pick up the second so I did.

The People of sparks doesn't have the adventure and sense of danger that Ember did but the themes are a bit more mature and you can really see a struggling society trying to make it. There are some events that are quite surprising that I love how the author handled it (or the characters did, whatever).

Like before, Jeanne provides a simple yet flowing narrative. The characters are so relatable, they can be your best friends! I am now wishing for a Doon/Lina relationship but only just because I'm a sap for those kinds of things, I'll have to see.

This is a short review, the book doesn't have that fast paced action Ember did and it's quite a dull book throughout but I have many hopes for the future books and can't wait to see more of these amazing cast of characters.

In one sentence:
"A dull sequel but with promise."

Plot: 3
Characters: 4
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 4
Average: 4.2

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins *SPOILERS*


My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

This has been a journey. The Hunger Games has become one of my favorite book series that I have ever read. It has been a wild journey that I've experienced along Katniss Everdeen and it's so sad to see it come to an end.

Katniss is by far one of my favorite characters. One of the things that I admire most about her is that she's brave but not without fear. She can be deceitful, manipulative and a lot of other bad things but she's still her. Whenever she has to do something, she thinkgs about the best for others, especially her family.

I have to say that I loved and was surprised by the description of District 13. I didn't expect that at all! In fact, most of the book I was flabbergasted because I didn't expect half of it.

I know a lot of people are mad with the ending. I guess I was, too. But after sleeping on it and hearing other people's thoughts I've come to the conclusion that the book is about war with a strong romantic subplot. The realities of war is that there are a lot of casualties and people who don't deserve to die.

Katniss was so wounded and beat up that at times, it was a very hard book to read. The truth is that it was a nation at war and no life was safe. I have to congragulate Suzanne Collins because the book made you think and get your emotions in a way that it becomes unforgettable.

I was disappointed that there was no closure for Gale, though. As a Team Gale, I found myself rooting for him but after reareading the last few pages I understood finally why Katniss needed Peeta. Gale was too much like her, too strong, too destructive, too wounded. Peeta is calm, collected, and patient while Gale is blunt and rash. There's no denying how much Gale loves Katniss but in the end, Katniss chose that person who could provide her with stability and not strength per say.

It was heartbreaking seeing the people that die, die. I was mad at times, too. I found myself rooting for characters I didn't really care about before.

Some think that the epilogue is depressing but I find it to have a bit of hope. Katniss and Peeta both have been through so much and it's not surprising that they haven't completely healed those wounds but I feel that Katniss in the end, really believes she will be okay.

In the end:
The book was amazing. I didn't enjoy reading it per say because it was very hard and dark to read. It was a heavy book, that's for sure. But I think the story was amazing and just beautiful. Many people didn't like that Katniss wasn't awake for some scenes, where she wakes up after an important even. I would have preffered to have it described but I also think that that portrayal of emptiness is what Katniss was feeling.

Also, some hated the constant cliffhangers at the end of the chapters and I agree it became annoying for a bit but in the end, it kept me on my toes.

In one sentence:
"A great finale for an amazing series."

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

P.S. A discussion post (s) will follow soon so stay tuned!


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