Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Moved

Hey everyone, I moved my blog from this url.  If you want to keep following me click the link here
There will be no more posts on this site.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Unforgotten: Heart-pounding Sequel

Review*:
Title: Unforgotten
Series: Unremembered #2
Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: February 25th, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA; Sci-Fy; Romance

*The Following blurb and Review will contain spoilers for Unremembered


Blurb:
After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

My Thoughts and Reflections:
After initialing reading Unremembered I requested this from my local library.  Unremembered had left my craving more from the story, in a good way (not a cliff hanger sort of way).
We open the story in what should be a state of serenity and a dream come true; Zen and Serephina have made it to 1609, and they can finally be together.  Obviously things end up not going as planned, but I was surprised by the problems Sera and Zen were having even before Diotech and Zen's illness become present.  Sera struggles to hide her abilities when doing farm work, and also had troubles adjusting to Medieval times.
We see very little of Sera and Zen's romantic relationship in Unforgotten.  In the beginning there are implications of Zen wanting to "teach" Sear something that they haven't done before.  However, the majority of the book Sera is on a mission to save Zen, so there really isn't much time for "learning".
The plot of this book brought in new aspects that I wasn't expecting; Sera is sent on a literal  journey to uncover a secret in her mind that Diotech desperately needs.  A secret that Sera desperately needs too.  
There were other surprises along the way, but I felt like they challenged Sera's character in a nice way.   Sera comes across as an immature character at a first glance because she is so unaware of some any things.  Yet, if you pay close attention, you can watch her retain everything that happens around her.  She responds to each challenge and interaction along the way in a new, mature way.  
More secrets are uncovered in Unforgotten, but we never get all the answers.  A third book is on the horizon, to continue (or perhaps end?) the saga of Seraphina: The Lab Created "Perfect Girl"

Conclusion:
I really appreciated the direction Brody took the story in.  No clich├ęs, no disappointments.  Looking forward to an exciting third book.

Dust Jacket Ramblings:
I don't love this cover, but I don't think that it's bad for the book.  A kiss is a major plot point, and think that this cover sort of embodies that, but I think that there are possibly alternative ways to capture the story.


P.S. Sorry that my review was kind of short, I was trying to avoid spoilers!




Friday, August 8, 2014

Throne of Glass: My Cheeky Assassin Friend

Review:
Title: Throne of Glass
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Author: Sarah J. Mass
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: August 7th, 2012
Literary Awards: Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2015)
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA; Fantasy; Action; Romance



Blurb:
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. 
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. 
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

My Thoughts and Reflections:
I can't remember where I heard of this book, probably a list somewhere of great YA Fantasy books, but needless to say I  requested it from the library and read it over my vacation.
I feel like I should address the misleading blurb above.  In my opinion, Celaena's relationship with the crown prince is much more prominent than her relationship with Captain Westfall.  Despite the implications of a love triangle, (which really is a love square because of the presence of Lady Kaitlin), I never really got that vibe from these characters relationships.  Mostly because Celaena was never debating between the two of them, she never was pining over either of them at all.  She sort of just went along with her relationships in her own manner, hiding her emotions from her suitors and the reader.
Celaena was an interesting protagonist, and I mean that in the best way.  Her tendency to hide her thoughts and feelings added a layer of mystery to the story, because it was harder to grasp her perspective in certain situations, so the reader was forced to look at all angle to get an idea of what was going on.
Captain Westfall was my favorite character overall.  He was such a respectable man, and his inner struggle throughout the story is quite visible and fun as a reader to observe.  The Crown Prince, on the other hand, felt bland in comparison.  There was nothing significant about his personality, (of course he differed like all princes do from what their fathers say), except from his ability to hold out from Celaena for so long.  
The plot had a good, steady pace but the climax felt underrated as if there could have been more to it.  There were times when I thought certain things were going to happen, but the didn't.  However, those things would have fit better with the story.  Despite how bizarre the ending felt (and it was a tad bit rushed) I feel like it did stay true to Celaena's character.  I praise Mass' writing because it had a way of keeping my glued to the story, and when I was forced to pause the previous scene would linger in my mind for some time.  Mass also peppered in small instances where she implied that there was more story to come, which was great.  It was a perfect way to set up a series, because the reader knew that we didn't quite have all of the information.  To be honest, we don't really know Celaena that well at all.

Conclusion:
I absolutely adored this book.  Anyone who is a fan of Fantasy, Actiony books, and lots of feigned romance will love this.  I can't wait to read more; Sarah J. Mass has passed with flying colors.

Dust Jacket Ramblings:
This is the redesigned cover (I'm not even going to talk about the original).  I think that this cover captures the book in such a good manner and this is a perfect example of a time to use an illustration over a model.





Saturday, August 2, 2014

Monthly Recap: July 2014



Well, this is my second monthly recap ever, so I'll still be working out more kinks.  July was more of a relaxing month for me.  I went on vacation, had a ton of fun! 

Books/T.V./Movies/Music
  • I read 18 books in July, just two short of my goal.
  • I spent A LOT of time at the library
  • I became reacquainted and renewed my obsession for the Morning Glories comic books
  • I saw HTTYD2 and Dawn of The Planet of the Apes, both of which were absolutely amazing!!!
  • Favorite Book This Month:
  • T.V. wise, I have officially watched all of the seasons of Law & Order: SVU on Netflix (not all in one month though!!)
  • 8Tracks is seriously my life.  Lots of Arctic Monkeys and Portugal the Man this month
Blogging and Other Media:

My Blog Posts:


Other Posts I Enjoyed:

It's Way Past My Bedtime's Cover of Royals (This is sort of old, but I still like to listen to it)

July's Goals:

Ummm… this is going to be embarrassing:

  • Participate in Camp NaNoWrMo, my own way (I always feel pressured by NaNoWriMo and always give up halfway through because I struggle sticking with a longer story.  My goal for this Camp is to write around 1500 words daily, whether it be in poetry, short story, or the revisions of some of my past work). Yeah, this didn't happen at all.  I instead opted to try and respond to at least a prompt or two a day.
  • Finish my summer reading for school.  Ugh, I'm so close.  
  • 20 total books in July  Two books off
  • Starting knitting my friend and myself Weasly Sweaters No, BUT I did buy the yarn and needles and set up my lesson for this week, so this counts.
  • Everyone has been raving about Blogilates, so I figure, why not?Nope, not for me
  • I'm taking my first Bikram Yoga class on Wednesday, I hope to try to do more!  I missed that class and never got around to going to a different one, so no.
  • I also am making a commitment to go on runs with my dad every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Noooooo.
Wow, clearly that was just disappointing.  

Goals for August:
  • Make friends at my new school (Don't be so shy)
  • Start seriously planning my switch from Blogger to Wordpress
  • 20 total books in August
  • Make progress on my Weasly Sweaters
  • Make an Instagram for the blog and post book pictures
  • Make some $$$$
  • Write to a couple prompts a day
  • Start singing and playing piano again
  • Draw!!! (A Captain America doodle is still lurking in my mind)
  • Comment More on Other Blogs (Again, don't be so shy)
  • Post Some More Discussions

Hopefully I don't fail as much at these!  Where's the laughing-so-hard-you're-crying emoji when I need it?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Falling into Place


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where bloggers can showcase books that we are eagerly waiting for.


Blurb:
On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. 
Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? 

Why I'm Waiting:
Honestly, this is an amazing blurb.  I'm completely on the edge of my seat.  Also, I think that the cover is fantastic.




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Characters I'd Want With Me On a Deserted Island


Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten is "Top Ten Characters I'd Want With Me On a Deserted Island"

Link
1. Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter)
I don't think that Draco would actually be all that helpful on a deserted island.  He would argue with every decision that we made, but he would be the first to point out a mistake that could cost us our lives.

Link
2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
 I think that everyone knows why I want Hermione, and it's not for her know-it-all personality.  Hermione is an exceptional witch, and her memorization of numerous spells would be handy on a deserted island.

Link
3. Sherlock Holmes (BBC)
Sherlock is the most calculating character that I know, and I would immediately put him in charge.  Then eventually we'd have an election of some sort, but Sherlock would always be an advisor!

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4. Lihn Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)
Cinder's cleverness and mechanic background would prove useful as my team of characters would have to build a contraption to get us off that island (unless it turned out to be fun, then maybe we'd all stay and Cinder would invent us the internet or something).

Link
5. Carswell Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)
Thorne would probably have no actual usefulness, but his antics would be amusing and he'd be some wonderful eye candy.

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6.  The Doctor (BBC)
The Doctor has visited hundreds of planets and societies, and he certainly would give the best advice as to how to form our little utopia.

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7. Merlin (BBC)
Merlin's magic would be useful, and he is already trained as a servant.  I only want the best to serve me as Queen. (Lol, no.  Me as a queen would end up with the whole kingdom burned)

No fan art :(
8.  Bindy Mackenzie (The Ashbury/Brookfield Series)
I have a dream that Bindy would someday marry Sherlock (once she was much older!) so I thought that I should bring her along.  She's the only female character I've ever come across that I think could actually take Sherlock.


Link
9. Spider Man
I honestly just want his hotness along with us, but I suppose his webs could build some pretty cool tree houses.

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10. Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter)


Luna would literally be my best friend, so she just needs to be there for moral support.


Wow, umm, I watch a lot of BBC and apparently want every Harry Potter character to come with me! :)




Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Hype, Blurbs, and Skewed Reading

I've always been a firm believer in the power of recommendations.  A lot of my friends aren't particular book nerds and frequently enjoy a recommendation of something that I think would appeal to them.  Since becoming a member of the book blog and book reviewing communities, my view on reviews has changed a little.  Recommendations these days are pressured by hype; I've even heard myself say "I haven't read it, but I've heard it's good."  Funny, because I don't always LOVE hyped books the same way other do.  (For more on hyped books, read Grace's post here).  
Now as a reviewer, I've found that I don't like to read reviews as much before reading books, or after reading them and before reviewing them.  Other peoples reviews can influence my outlook on the book.  The last thing I want to do is be swayed by someone else's ideas.  I do like to read other peoples reviews after reviewing the same book, because it's always interesting and enlightening to be informed about what they took from the book, because it so often differs from my take away.  Reading other bloggers reviews reinforces my thoughts on what different bloggers think.  I must talk about this a lot on this blog, but it's obvious that bloggers most likely look for different things in books; we're all different people.  But those things skew reviews and ratings.  I may love a good mystery and inticrite descriptions, while other bloggers may hate that but love cheesy relationships and high school settings. Everyone has different preferences, and that's okay. 
I hate recommendations like "Oh my gosh this book is so good, you have to read it!"  Who has to read it?  What sort of demographic is it geared for?  What's the genre?  Pace?  Romance level?  There are so many different aspects of a book that "this is so good" just doesn't cover.  
I mentioned above that I like to recommend different books to my friends.  I always make a point to recommend things that  I think they would like based on what they've like in the past.
John Green is a perfect example of this.  I might really enjoy his writing style and ability to evoke emotions (I'm pointing to you Looking For Alaska), but one of my good friends hates romance and contemporary.  She likes vampires and horror, so I recommended her things like that. 
The book community often becomes obsessed with a certain series or author, and thinks that everyone must love them.  Yes, I adore Harry Potter and if we don't love it at the same capacity we probably can't be good friends, but not everyone likes fantasy, and that's cool.  A lot of people love The Hunger Games Trilogy, but I only like the first book.  
Sometimes I feel like the nerd community, particularly the book nerd community are hypocrites.  We pride ourselves by not enjoyed mainstream activities as much and by being nerds, but within our own community we don't always support authors and books that aren't popular or featured in the New York Times.  Some of my favorite books, The Probability of Miracles, Ultraviolet, Dark Mirror, The Girl With the Borrowed Wings, aren't as well known, and I've never met or read reviews from anyone else who has even read them, much less liked them as much as I did.  Booknerd community, we need to fix that!  There are so many gems that are hidden by the glare of hyped books.
My last note in this post is sort of a personal opinion.  I don't always like to read blurbs of books.  Actually, I prefer to not read the blurbs.  I adore going into a book blindly.  I feel like I'm more intune to the details (since the weren't already provided for me) and read more carefully, and overall enjoy the book more.  But Remy, how do you choose what books to read if you don't read blurbs?  Now don't get your panties in a twist, I do sometimes read reviews.  But I also have trusted authors, recommendations from friends or reviewers who have similar tastes as myself, series' that I haven't finished, and genre's that I tend to like.  This is just a personal thing, and I certainly think that blurbs are a positive thing.  I know that a lot of people enjoy using them to figure out what books they should read.

Wow, that was a fun post.  Sort of random, but I was feeling inspired.  Haha.