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


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