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!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Today is the release of the long awaited finale to one of my favorite series on Earth.
What will happen? Stay tuned for my amazing very biased review soon!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell

Trickster's Girl

In the year 2098 America isn't so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, "secured" doesn't just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die.

The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying.

Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet. 

I was afraid that this book was going to be very preachy and although not overly so, it still contained to much preaching for me.

I guess the book itself is good. There's a roadtrip involved that certainly brings much fun and Raven is a likable character and sometimes even cute. But somehow, this book didn't really stick with me.

Kelsa is really just a character. She was an okay narrator and there were moments where I conected with her and others where she seemd just too distant.  She really doesn't stand out from other characters in the way I would have liked.

Also, I know this is supposed to be novel set in the future but I didn't get that feeling AT ALL. It just seemed like 2010 and I REALLY love future-set novels.

A bit further on the preaching, what bothered me is that I usually don't mind books that implant the idea or show to problems and let the reader figure out the solutions. But this book told you straight out that we were killing our planet. Now, I know that but a book that really effectively sends a message is supposed to give your reasons and impact. That's why I like the implementing (AHH INCEPTION !!!) idea more because it makes the reader figure it out, therefore spending more time afterwards thinking about the book.

I also expected romance but there wasn't any, really.  It disappointed me.

In one sentence:
"Enjoyable but moderate, a library read."

Plot: 4
Characters: 3
Writing: 4
Cover: 4
Overall Feeling: 3
Average: 3.6/5 stars

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. This week I'm combining this week and past week's IMM.

On Kindle:

  • The Secret of The Scarlet Stone by TL Clarke
  • Candor by Pam Bachorz
  • Valiant by Holly Black
  • Wings by Aprilynne Pike
  • Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
  • Ember Series 2-4 by Jeanne DuPrau
  • Under the Dome by Stephen King

Saturday, August 14, 2010

CSN Stores $80 Certificate Giveaway

As mentioned earlier this month, CSN stores is letting me host an $80 Gift Certificate giveaway!

1. US residents only
2. Ends September 1st, 2010

You must fill in THIS form. Any future posts you comment on from here until September 1st will award you +3 EXTRA ENTRIES. Good luck!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Emma And The Vampires by Jane Austen and Wayne Josephson

Emma And The Vampires
What better place than pale England to hide a secret society of gentlemen vampires?

In this hilarious retelling of Jane Austen's Emma, screenwriter Wayne Josephson casts Mr. Knightley as one of the most handsome and noble of the gentlemen village vampires. Blithely unaware of their presence, Emma, who imagines she has a special gift for matchmaking, attempts to arrange the affairs of her social circle with delightfully disastrous results. But when her dear friend Harriet Smith declares her love for Mr. Knightley, Emma realizes she's the one who wants to stay up all night with him. Fortunately, Mr. Knightley has been hiding a secret deep within his unbeating heart-his (literal) undying love for her... A brilliant mash-up of Jane Austen and the undead.

I was sent this ARC by the publicist.

This novel is witty and entertaining. It's funny and has such a great story. And the vampires are a great twist! The story begins a bit slowly but once it catches on, it's on a roll. This is a really addictive read with a classic twist. I am now almost wondering what the original book is like.

I loved Emma because I saw a lot of myself in her. She was real, independent, and assertive. She was able to think of others and not settle for something less than she deserves. She's a believable character and an entertaining narrator.

Mr. Knightley is so cool, too. He's down to earth but not perfect. He  is probably the only male character I ever truly liked and trusted. He seemed like the classic, timless man every women yearns for.

I particularly disliked Mr. and Mrs. Elton. They annoyed me quite a lot. Their attitudes were just puke-worthy but so amusing! Definitely not a flaw in the characterization. They are genious characters.

The characters are so well rounded and three dimensional. It's amazingly written and there's little to NOT like about this book. I'm big on character and often talk a lot about them and this book is filled with wonderful, memorable characters.

The prose is fantastic and really very true to the time period's language and dialogue. The plot catches up and the story becomes almost addicting and unputdownable. It's a MUST READ for everyone, classical nerdies or not.

In one sentence:
"The vampire classic that sinks in, literally!"

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

Monday, August 9, 2010

Top 5 Things I don't Like In A Book

I've always had some pet peeves regarding what I want/don't want in a book. So let's see the things that I DON'T like, and if you agree, give me a heads up, will ya? Let me know how you feel about that.

1. Cliches- Even though I'm guilty of writing these, there's nothing worse than reading millions of books with passages such as " fiber of my being," or "Sweet as a rose," or even "love of my life." You can seriously come up with better than that, right?

2. Whiny girlfriends *ahem* Bella *ahem*- I can't stand them in real life, so why should I put up with them in a book? I mean, seriously, can't you be independent and assertive and STILL love your boyfriend/husband/warewolf?

3. Why don't you don't- I've seen this so many times and not just this but common grammatical errors. Okay, we're humans, but when you are writing something you want it to be perfect and then it goes into gazillion rounds of editing only to come back with more errors than it first had. has anyone ever heard of spellcheck or something?

4. Mary/Gary Sus- No one can change their oppinions THAT fast so when characters do something well, out of character, it ticks me off. Be consistent or else how am I ever going to trust the character?

5. Too much drama, not enough character- I hate when the plot overtakes the characters. Characters to me are the most important part of a story but I don't connect to it, I won't like it. It can have the best premise, and the best plot in the world but If the characters are under-developed and distant, I won't like it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Passing Strange by Daniel Waters

Passing Strange

Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal (if pale) teenager; with her friends, with her family, and at school. Passing cost her the love of her life. And now that Karen’s dead, she’s still passing—this time, as alive. Karen DeSonne just happens to be an extremely human-like zombie. Meanwhile, Karen’s dead friends have been fingered in a high-profile murder, causing a new round of antizombie regulations that have forced them into hiding. Karen soon learns that the “murder” that destroyed their non-life was a hoax, staged by Pete Martinsburg and his bioist zealots. Obtaining enough evidence to expose the fraud and prove her friends’ innocence means doing the unthinkable: becoming Pete’s girlfriend. Karen’s only hope is that the enemy never realizes who she really is—because the consequences would be worse than death.

Passing Strange was sent to me to review by the publicist, so thank you!

The world of Generation Dead is quite interesting. Very unexpected and it is known that zombies do exist. This was my first Generation Dead novel but I found that I needn't read the others to get into this one as it works well as a stand-alone.

At first, I was very surprised with the changing of POV, it took me off balance and it was hard to get used to at first but once the novel progressed, I became accostumed to it.

Karen was a good character, if ever a bit distance. There were moments where I felt that I really knew her and then she pulled back and I wasn't so sure. Maybe this has to do with the POV change?

I really liked Pete's character, though. It was very three-dimensional and we see him change through the rest of the novel and come to terms with himself and the world he lives in.

Tak is another one I liked. He is a loyal friend who will do whatever with Karen.

Oh, and I didn't expect the end AT ALL. Which was really good. I did, though, wish that Pete wouldn't have found out about Karen until later but I was glad there was more to the story instead of just that.

In one sentence:
"A definitely unique read!"

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

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Writers Unplugged: Top 5 Tips For Writers

1. Find time to write- This is as simple as it sounds but is actually very hard for me to do this. I usually get involved with so much that, at the end of the day, I don't find time to write. Right now, I'm more focused on revising my novel and I don't want to submerge myself in another project but even writing things like this counts.

2. Listen to your heart. Your brian is alway correcting you. "This is wrong," or "That is stupid." Try to shut down your brain and just go wherever you feel like going. Listening to your brain too much will give you a big writer's block and you don't want that.

3. Don't rush. This is also one of my hard ones. I always but goals on myself but sometimes I feel like I'm preassuring myself to do something and the moment it becomes work, I hate it. When I want to take a break, I do, when I want to write I do. I know that you'll have to deal with deadlines when you're a published writer but get into the flow--like exercise. KNOW when your body just needs a break.

4. Small goals are better than big ones. Try to make small goals that will accomplish a bigger one. For example, want to write 50,000 words in a month? Don't think "Oh, my God, I have to write 50k in a month." Better rephrase that into, "I have to write 1,600" words a day. Seeing your goals in smaller scale will make it easier and faster to accomplish.

5. Finally, be true to yourself. We as writers are always looking for ways to better our skill but sometimes in the process, we lose ourselves. Try to find your own voice and put yourself in the position of your character's. What would you do? What would you say?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Tyger Tyger

Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.
Wow, this book literally left me breathless. First of all, the cover is fantastic. Very vivid and colorful.

Teagan is such a likable character. She's funny and it's natural, not forced in any way. She is also very realistic and doesn't believe she is super human. She knows her flaws and her limits but she's brave enough to surpass them. I found myself really realating to her.

Finn is so amazing, too. It's so weird having a character enter, leave, and then enter again totally different but Finn is just very three dimensional and has a million sides to him.

I absolutely LOVED Teagan's little brother, he is funny and very intelligent--many a times I thought he was actually older than he was.

Abby and the rest of the secondary characters felt like a family. Kersten did the character development wonderfully and vividly.

The plot and the premise, oh and the mythology is wonderful. I didn't expect a debut book like this be so rich and so well-researched. I applaud Kersten for that.

I do wish that the final 'battle' would have been more of a battle and I think the characters got off easy. But it sets the tone for the future books perfectly.

In one sentence:
"A striking book that you won't see it coming."

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

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Top 5 All Time Favorite Characters

I have read many many books that have contained many characters that I love or love to hate.These characters here belong to that list. These characters can be good, bad, or so bad they're good. Why don't you tell me who your all-time favorites are?

1. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins). Katniss is bad-ass yet she has a million flaws. Even if this novel is set in the future, dystopian America, she faces problem that we face today like social and political opression, relationship problems, and family problems. Katniss is a character I trust and her voice is always refreshing. She brings strong emotions (sometimes rash ones) to the book and the series.

2. Severus Snape (Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling). Snape is the perfect ambiguous character. You never know exactly if he's good or bad until the last book. He's an example that we're not all good or all bad, we're somewhat gray. I love SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER Snape's love toward Lily, despite everything else he has been through. It really proves that love can overtake anything. Plus, his witty and obnoxious remarks make me laugh.

3. Fire (Fire by Kristin Cashore). Like Katniss, Fire is strong and badass. Sometimes a bit manipulative but other than that, she's real. She faces real issues about identity and who she loves and can trust.

4. Clary (Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare). Clary makes mistakes, lots of them but she is still true to herself and to her family. She doesn't back down from a challenge, and like me, wants to be in on everything. She and Jace are perfect for each other but that doesn't mean their relationship is.

5. Princess Mia (Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot). Princess Mia is hilarious. She is the Ad for being a teen. She can be whiny, happy, difficult but she never ceases to be real. I think this is one of MC's best characters ever. I want to be just like her! No matter if you're a Princess or not, you can relate to Mia and her never ending obsessions.


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