Friday, July 31, 2009

last Post for July!

Moving day...moving day...moving day!! Gosh, yesterday was moving day (in case you guys couldn't tell) and it was freaking 35 degree weather, so we were all drenched in sweat. Thanks mom...for not hiring movers... geezus.

But seriously, it was so hot out, and I had to run up and down stairs for the boxes and boxes, while my brother packed his room (he's the expert procrastinator here), while pigging out on popcicles and pop the whole day, no joke. This has been the messiest move (third move this year, again, not joking) and all the furniture and stuff are piled in the living room. My mom wanted to remodel the grubby bathroom, so while the contractors are working, we can't move furniture...thus the pileup. And the house smells funky because the previous owners had a dog who apparently peed everywhere, and I mean everywhere. We are loading up on febreeze and air fresheners, yes we are.

Most of my stuff is in my room though, and I am stealing *ahem*borrowing* the neighbors internet... thank God for wireless on laptops, not that it's a big deal or anything... IT IS!! I read a book since I was sick of unpacking and moving and all that crap, books was called Carpe Diem, by Autumn Cornwell. I'll write a review for it tomorrow (hopefully), it was pretty good.

I really want to spend my day at the library tomorrow, especially since there's no toilet here, and no airconditioning. Maybe catch a movie with a friend or something. Dunno, because all this moving crap is not making me a "happy camper". And the windows have to be fitted with screens, so flies are everywhere *shudder*.

Hope you guys are enjoying life more than I am atm, one more month of summer!

--AyC

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

yes!!!! awwll DONE!

Hurray!!! Summer school is *unofficially* finished!! I just have to go tomorrow to pick up report cards, but I just finished the final exam!!!

I'm so happy, I can't believe I managed to wake up every morning at like 7... A feat in itself along with doing well in a subject I was sure I would suck at. I didn't really hate the course (to my surprise) but I did a lot of extra work to make sure I understood concepts and such. I'm happy with the way I worked this summer, and I felt the extra effort paid off. Very pleased with my soon-to-be final mark.

Now it's time to pack because we're moving. Right now, I live 2 minutes away from my school, but we're moving to a place thats a bit too far to walk, but a bit too close to drive, you know what I mean? Transportation is gonna be really retarded next year, especially if my mom decides to be lazy and forces me to walk :(

Also, I'm not excited to move. Moving itself sucks, plus, my new room is gonna be quite small, something I'm not really used to. And the house smells funky. Generally, I'm not really an optimist, and this is no different. I have perrtyy low standards for the next 6 or so years my motha plans to live there (she has this whole plan for it...)

Oh well, I'm still ecstatic that I'm finished summer school, so I guess it's time to partayy!!! jk. I don't party. I'm a social failure. haha, that's a bit extreme, but I don't party and get hammered or stoned and all the bad stuff. Congrats me. And halfway through summer. The one thing I'm looking forward to at the end of summer is the release of the Vampire Academy 4th novel, Blood Promise. I know, I didn't realize I liked it so much either. You guys should read it, it may surprise you too.

--AyC (who is happy atm)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

everything Sounds Better (in your Pants)

I was on youtube, looking at John Green's vlog (vlogbrothers) and he was talking about how books all sound better if you add "in your pants" to the title. Looking at the books I've read recently (or have checked out), I have to say I agree. It reminds me of something I read somewhere where you add "in bed" to something. I know, not vague at all, but seriously; I don't remember. Oh, and it's kind of a twisted humor, not excatly har-har, but a funny in that "sexual" kind of way...

So here are some recent titles I've read, adding in that funny line:

  • The Awakening in Your Pants *
  • An Abundance of Katherines in Your Pants
  • The Chosen One in Your Pants
  • Frostbite in Your Pants *
  • How I Live Now in Your Pants *
  • Life As We Knew It in Your Pants
  • Lock and Key in Your Pants
  • Looking for Alaska in Your Pants *
  • Shadow Kiss in Your Pants
  • Ten Cents a Dance in Your Pants
  • Unwind in Your Pants *
  • The Truth about Forever in Your Pants

* = especially funny to me XD

Haha, funny, right? And these novels aren't even chosen because they're funny. They make up practicaly my entire book review archive (link here).

Check out John Green's video here, there something about helping out a book organization as well. What's the funniest book title if you add "in your pants" after?

--AyC

Friday, July 24, 2009

BR: The Awakening (2nd Darkest Powers novel)


by Kelley Armstrong

I looked all over the internet for this book (because, of course, I'm impatient as heck), and then I found it at one of the most 'obvious' websites to look for ebooks. Completely legal, too easy, but I still missed it... my bad.

Well, this is the second installment of the Darkest Powers trilogy, following The Summoning (read my review here). I'll try not to include that many spoilers in this review. And because of that, this review will be exceptionally short.
The Awakening takes place immediately after the end of the first novel, so I felt as if I didn't really miss a thing. Chloe isn't sure of her powers, and the extent of her control over them, so she gets some unpleasant surprises throughout the novel relating to the dead people she may have accidentally summoned. Chloe, Simon, and Derek are joined unexpectedly on their escape.

That has to be the lamest summary I have ever written, because I feel if I include other stuff, it will spoil the first book for people who haven't read it. Anyways, apart from a despicable summary, I have lots of good things to say about the book. For one, I felt it was fast-paced, and a great follow-up novel. Chloe was as 'realistic' as a necromancer could be, and I liked all of the character developments. Especially Derek, since he could completely annoy me at one time, but surprise me the next. The plot was interesting, and not plain at all.

The ending was great, another nice action scene that I feel will start off the last book very well. I liked this book, but I didn't really love it. I took countless breaks from reading it, but I'm not sure why. I wish there was a bit more "discovery" and a bit less "running". I'm not sure how Kelley Armstrong is gonna be able to tie up all the loose ends in just one more novel.

8.5/10 - because even though I enjoyed reading it, I wasn't "captivated" by it, and couldn't read it continuously. There could have been a bit more character development, especially with the minor characters. I'm interested about Chloe's romance storyline will go next novel ;) If you read The Summoning, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy this one as well. I think people who enjoy supernatural novels will enjoy this series.

Since my own summary and review is so bad, here's a link to another review at Bookworm4life: The Awakening Review. Check it out!

--AyC

Sunday, July 19, 2009

BR: Lock and Key



by Sarah Dessen

I know what you're thinking, "another Sarah Dessen book?!?" I'm sorry guys, but i'm kind of obsessed with her books this summer... oh well. here's another review, I read this one as an e-book, since again, I'm too impatient to wait in line at the library.

Lock and Key is about Ruby, a not so innocent 17-year-old whose mother had abandoned her. She is sent to live with her rich sister, Cora, who she hasn't seen in 10 years, and struggles to adjust to the life her sister offers. Always taught- and sometimes forced- to be independant, Ruby doesn't doens't want to accept the help offered to her by her well-meaning new family, or her incredibly nice neighbor, Nate. At first, all she wants to do is get out of there and find her own way, but eventually, she learns to interact more and appreciate her new life.

Ruby grows incredibly throughout this novel, which isn't based on romance, but rather Ruby's change. So many people give her the benefit of the doubt, and she is completely new to a life where people are constantly providing for her. She has the key to her old, yellow house/slum where Ruby and her mother used to live, and it keeps as a reminder of her old life. Throughout the novel, she learns to let go of her old beliefs of going through life on her own and move on, reach out and accept help, and finally understand the concept of family.

I really enjoyed this novel, but most of all because I loved Ruby. She's such a different character, with all her issues and her past, but she grows so much and changes with the help of others. At first, she's indifferent, and hates her new life and new priveleges, but her sister and new brother-in-law helps her realize that she doesn't have to live with the debt/indebt system, and sometimes she can accept help "just because". I felt the neglect Ruby experienced most her life added to her character, and there were some moments in the novel that made me tear up. I know, right? I guess I was quite emotionally invested into Ruby's 'journey'.

I loved Cora and her husbund, Jamie too. They were a bit 'perfect', but maybe that's what Ruby really needed in her life, a caring, loving, and generous people willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I liked their relationship with Ruby a lot. And Jamie and his pond, and Cora and how she takes care of Ruby, even after Ruby messes up.

The other characters, and the romance in the novel were interesting, especially Nate who has his own issues. He isn't the perfect neighbor, despite how he acts, and he has his own family troubles. Gervain and Olivia were great minor characters, and I liked Harriet, Ruby's employer, as well. Her over-controlling nature and fear of risks were all really realistic.

9/10- because I really liked the book. Like almost-loved it. It had issues, it had the characters, it had the development, and I could see it as somewhat realistic. I loved Ruby, and how she changes throughout the novel, and the novel has some great themes. I hoped there might have been some ending concerning Ruby and her mother, or Ruby and Nate, but I think Dessen ended them well anyhow. I would recommend it to people who have also enjoyed previous Dessen books, or want to read some YA books that aren't romance-based.

--AyC

PS- I'm listening to "Peacemaker", by Green Day (off their new album). It's really cool, kind of different, not the traditional 'rock' or whatever they call themselves. I won't sit here pretending I'm some kind of music expert, but I just wanted to tell you that I'm liking the song.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

BR: Shadow Kiss (3rd Vampire Academy novel)


by: Richelle Mead

Whew, it sure didn't take me long to get the third book. I read it in PDF format on the computer, so I didn't really get the "whole package" of reading it, plus I had an inkling of the ending, so it did take me a bit away from the whole experience

But that aside, I still liked the third installment of the Vampire Academy series. I just hope I won't spoil anything in the summary, so I have to leave it kind of vague. Shadow Kiss takes place closer to Rose's graduation from the Academy, after the second novel's big incident (you guys who read the novel konw what I mean). She's now practicing being a guardian (like a field assignment before graduating) around the school, protecting her assigned charge. A couple incidents cause Rose and most people around her to believe she is going crazy (I know, that's not vague at all...).

Also, Victor from the first installment makes an appearance for his trial, and Rose and Dimitri's "relationship" also further develops. All the while, there is the constant threat of a Strigoi "coven" that may attack the school. I'm not sure what else to write since I don't want to give anything away ;).

Sucky summary aside, I thought this novel was pretty good. It wasn't as good as the first two IMO, because I felt the plot kind of dragged quite a bit in places. Like 300 pages in, I was getting kind of impatient for some intense action. Also, I didn't really feel Rose's character was developed as much as it could have, especially during the first couple hundred pages. She did grow and mature more, but not as much as I would have liked.

However, there were lots of things I really liked about the novel, and that included Mead's characters. I loved Christian, like dude, that boy is a badass/softie at heart... I really liked Eddie, Adrian, and Lissa. I can't leave out Dimitri in that description either :0. I really liked how Rose and Dimitri's relationship evolved. *hint hint*.

Another thing I really like about the series and Shadow Kiss is Rose. She had to face really tough situations regarding her life, and is faced with one of the most difficult choices she will ever make at the end of the novel. She also has to deal with her bond with Lissa, which can affect her negatively at times.

I know, I know, I have to deal with the ending as well. All I can say is "Shite-O, didn't see that one coming" (except I did, because of spoilers, but you won't). The twist was amazing, and it made me so sad, and I felt horrible for Rose. Like seriously, Mead, I'd be watching out for crazy fan-girls who want to murder yo ass. Gosh, people may cry, you have been warned. It really sets up some great follow-up novels now.

8.8/10- because I'm a bit biased about the ending (sue me, I got emotionally attached), and I felt the plot may have been lacking throughout a lot of the novel. Trust me though, the last 100 or so pages are crazy good and worth the wait. Just had to read through the first 300... But I also loved the story, where the story is going, and how it sucked me in once again. Read it all afternoon, and it was great. Recommend it to all of you, except you guys should read the first two novels first.

I seriously cannot wait for the fourth book, Blood Promise, that comes out Aug. 25. I seriously might have to dish out some money to actually buy it! That's how badly I want to read it. There have been 3 confirmed novels after Shadow Kiss, so I'll be pretty sad by the end of it. I am definitlely keeping two eyes out on this series.

--AyC

Friday, July 17, 2009

my Take on various Novels/authors.. and movies/tV Too

Since I read books like Harry Potter and Twilight a while ago, I wasn't gonna do any book reviews on them. For this post, I just thought I would give some input on books that I see are somewhat popular right now.

Books

Harry Potter

Okay, I absolutely love this series. I know everything about everything (okay, that's exaggerating a bit) but seriously, I'm a huge fan. I read HP fanfics, and wrote one myself (still at the beginning though). Maybe I'll give you a link if I want to one day. I love the magical world created by JK Rowling, and the characters are all amazing. I have nothing but good things to say. I loved every book (can't decide which one's my fave- 3, 6, or 7) and the only thing that was a bit iffy was the DH epilogue. Meh, it tied things up a bit too nicely, and I felt that Harry's kids' names were sooo unoriginal... Oh well. I just wanted to say I adore Harry Potter. Probably my favourite book/series ever, and I don't think it's because the writing itself is great, it's just that I get so caught up in the story and the world that takes me away from RL. Super imaginative, super duper great. I've reread all of them more than I can count :)

Twilight Saga

Okay, I know there's like twenty million different opinions on this book, and quite frankly, it's one of those books that I loved when I first read it, but the more I thought about it, the more I disliked it. I mean, the plot in Twilight is weak. And I hated Breaking Dawn. Absolutely hated it to a point where Jacob's POV (I was team Edward) was my favourite part. Hated Renesmee, hated Bella, hated Edward throughout the entire novel. OMG, so much perfection, so much focus on beauty, so much Mary-Sue going on I feel like I'm drowning in perfection. Bella got everything. Hated it hated it hated it. Oh, and the climax was so pathetic I had to reread it to make sure Smeyer actually ruined it, and it wasn't some misreading by me. I read all four books, btw. My favourite was Eclipse, because it somewhat had some action. And I am no longer team Edward, or team Bella. I'm Germany, and I want to destroy them all.

Blue Bloods

Ya, I know, these books aren't exactly "popular", but I just wanted to say I don't like them at all. Why? Because Schuyler (I think that's how her name is spelled) is the epitome of Mary-Sue: she's gorgeous, she special, she's got a great body, her name's cool, she's got some sort of troubled past, and all these other great things about her that makes her unique/super. She is so much more talented than everyone else, gets the popular boy, and just too damn perfect/better than everyone else. Sorry, not the character for me. I'm sorry if I don't want to read another book about Bella--wait, I meant Mary Sue.

The Book Thief

I read this book last year, and I see so many high ratings for it on various websites. I felt Zusak, the author, really wrote it uniquely (is that a word?) from Death's point of view, and his view of an innocent girl growing up in Nazi Germany. I adored Liesel and Rudy, and I felt the book was very emotional at times, and amazingly well written. This is the type of novel in which I think I liked the writing just as much as I enjoyed the plot. Not really a surprise why it won a Printz. It's not my absolute favourite book, but I just wanted to comment on the writing (not that I'm an expert or anything).

Inheritance Cycle

Okay, its' books like this that get me so caught up in the Fantasy genre. However, I did have a few nitpicks. I love Eragon, semi-loved Eldest, and only semi-liked Brisingr. This might be because I read Brisinger like 2 years after Eldest, and because the plot was dragging quite a bit in books 2 and 3. I think Paolini had some great ideas, fusing dragons with magic, and different creatures like elves and dwarves, so he creates a unique world of Alagaesia. People say he was influenced too much by HP and LOTR, but since I've never read LOTR, I can't say for sure. I just hope the fourth book will make me love it again, because I'm kind of on the edge, especially since there are so many loose ends to tie up. He better not leave it vague like some series (*ahem* Series of Unfortunate Events) in which I was completely lost by the last book... I have high hopes though, and feel the author has some really creative ideas.


Authors:

Sarah Dessen

Probably my favourite author at the moment, I love all her novels because of how her protagonists are flawed, yet they grow and evolve through the novel. I feel she depicts people realistically, and she makes me fall in love with her characters. They are so much more than they first appear. So many of her books I just want to reread over and over again. They're all so great that it's hard to rank them... well here goes nothing.
  1. Just Listen (9.4)
  2. Along For the Ride (9.3)
  3. The Truth About Forever (9.2)
  4. Someone Like You (9)
  5. This Lullaby (9)
  6. Lock and Key (9)
  7. Keeping the Moon (8.8)
  8. (I haven't read Dreamland or That Summer)

Jodi Picoult

Again, one of the authors I really like, because of her unique writing style. The flipping POVs that define her novels give insight to different characters, not just from a third-person POV. I also like how she deals with realistic themes that are important and relevant today. Her characters are almost always well-drawn out, and never flat.

John Green

Yep, I follow him on Twitter, and I'm interested in what he has to say. His novels are both thought-provoking and humorous, which I greatly enjoyed. Sure, he doesn't really tie up the loose ends, and leaves it up to the reader (something I both detest and like at the same time). Sometimes I wish he would just tell us what happens after the novel. His writing style is superb, and I love his 3-D characters, who have depth and are realistic. I enjoyed all his novels.

Dan Brown

Okay, he's faced a lot of criticism, but frankly, I love his books because they're fast paced and action-packed. I don't care if he referenced copyrighted books, all I care about is the story, and he weaves and exceptional story. Basically, I just love the action, and he makes me believe what he's writing (for the longest time, I thought everything in Da Vinci Code was real...). Kind of thought-provoking (like in the "let's doubt things we believe" kind of way), to be honest. Really enjoyed his novels, fave is Angels & Demons.

Movies

I think I'm just gonna talk about my favourite ones, since I don't really want to post some kind of review. Okay, my absolute favourite movie is LOTR Return of the King. I know. How unoriginal, but seriously? I love it, it's escapism at the finest. Favourite series? Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. I don't like the Harry Potter movies because they kind of suck... well, they skip too much of books actually.

I should mention I don't like horror movies. Well, not the horror, per say, since I can usually squint my way through gory stuff. I just hate suspense, and the feeling of "unknowing". I also don't like superhero movies (apart from Dark Knight). Hate Spiderman, Superman, The Hulk and all that stuff.

I love comedies, and enjoy those romantic-comedy-chick-flicks most of the time. I like slapstick humor... that makes me feel shallow. Some favourite comedies: Hitch, Anchorman, Superbad... I really really want to watch the Monty Python stuff (I feel deprived). The Notebook and A Walk to Remember were great/sad too.

Favourite genre for me would be action though. Like non-stop, blow-it-wide-open action. It varies, like from stuff like Gladiator, Braveheart, and those sword-fighting times, to movies about war: Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down. It can also just be one of those action-action explosion films, like Transformers (I liked that so-so), and Dark Knight (Yes!). Is I Am Legend part of that group? I liked Bad Boys when I was younger, and I might also mention I used to be obsessed with Rush Hour 2... not anymore though. Whew.

TV Shows

Favourite comedy? 'Friends'. I'm learning to enjoy 'Seinfeld' though, since they play so many reruns. One of my fave comedies that is "current" is 'The Big Bang Theory'. Like OMG-- hysterical! Well, they make me giggle, and I love the whole cast and their personalities... especially Sheldon. I also like 'Family Guy' (don't judge :P) and 'South Park'. Hate 'The Simpsons' though.

Shows I also watch (usually regularly if I can) are '24' (my favourite one this year), 'Survivor', 'American Idol', 'So You Think You Can Dance', 'Gossip Girl', 'Desperate Housewives', and 'Brothers&Sisters'. I know, I spend wayy too much time watching TV; like I said, my time management skills are questionable.

----

*I might add to this post later on when I read some fantastic novels by fantastic authors, who knows? I'm thinking of writing another post that gives more information/facts about myself... what do you think? And what are your opinions on the novels and authors I mentioned in the post? Favourite movies/TV shows? Are there any things you want me to write a post about?

--AyC

BR: Life As We Knew It


by: Susan Beth Pfeffer

Second book I read today, aren't you guys happy it's not as hot out that I can actually write some reviews now? I know, you guys don't care, since you guys don't exist... *sniff*

Life As We Knew It is a science-fiction novel set in the future, when an asteroid hits the moon and causes the moon to get "messed up". The moon's gravitational pull on Earth changes greatly, causing all sorts of natural disasters such as floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and more diseases that the world definitely wasn't prepared for.

16 year old Miranda and her family have to survive the new, chaotic weather (like 100 degrees in July, frost in August), while living on canned goods they stockpiled when the asteroid first struck. At the beginning, everyone thinks that the conditions will only improve, and things will be back to normal, but they learn that this is not the case. With many countries already wiped out completely, and horrible climates across the United States, many people are moving, hoping for some luck or better conditions. Miranda and her family stay put in Pennsylvania, and the novel is basically Miranda's diary, depicting her day-to-day struggles, having to adjust to her new environment. She lives on only two meals a day, fasting, or eating every-other-day, while worrying about her brothers and mother. Sure, it's unfair, but Miranda is strong and brave enough to tough it out, sacrificing for her family.

I liked this novel, because it made me "think". Like not as in the philosophy thinking and stuff, but it made me wonder what it would be like today if everything suddenly changed, with no electricity, phones, internet, or natural gas. I can see the rush and frenzy to stockpile goods from the supermarket, and after reading, I really really appreciated food. And all the other stuff that I (and I think a lot of people) take for granted. Reading about how Miranda struggles to deal with these "essentials" suddenly taken away makes me think whether or not I would survive in her place.

I loved Miranda. Shes brave, caring, strong, and realistic. She willingly cuts down on her food intake in hopes the family will live longer, and she loves her family very much. She's a survivor.

I also liked Miranda's family, from her mother, who only eats one meal a day and constanly worries, to her baseball-obsessed brother who matures and takes responsibility. Her older brother also takes care of the family by working himself to exhaustion every day.

8/10 - because I'm never really one for science fiction novels, but I managed to enjoy this one. I didn't love it, and it wasn't "captivating" to me, but I think it holds a lot of appeal to different people. I know people who would probably gobble this up. I liked the characters, and I felt the diary entries were interesting and thought-provoking. I honestly don't think I would be able to survive the conditions Miranda's family did, and I greatly admire Miranda's strength. I would recommend this to people who like science-fiction, or end-of-worlders (EOW, from Truth about Forever =P)

The novel is part of a trilogy, I believe, and the next book is called "The Dead & The Gone". Do you think you would survive if your world got turned upside-down, kind of literally, kind of figuratively?

--AyC


BR: Frostbite (2nd Vampire Academy novel)


by: Richelle Mead

I read two thirds of this in the nice, air-conditioned library. Good times, good times.
Again, I was surprised by how much I liked it (I guess I didn't think it would follow up already-low expectations of the first novel). If you haven't read the first novel, I'm warning you that there might be some spoilers (I'll try and keep them supremely mild). Also, this review may be confusing, since I don't feel like recapping Moroi, Dhampirs, and Strigois, so you're on your own.

Well, this summary is gonna suck really badly. Basically, Rose is back at St. Vladimir's training to become a guardian still, when a string of attacks by Strigois endangers the students, and the royal Moroi families. She finds out that these Strigois are working in a group (which is rare), and are attacking different royal families, and Rose is concerned for her best friend Lissa, a princess. All the while, she deals with her attraction to her mentor, Dimitri, and her mother (a guardian) who returns to St. Vlads to help guard the school. Since Rose's mother was practically non-existent her whole life, there is some resentment there.

Yep, I know. Shame on me for such a horrid summary, grotesque, really. Well, I really have very little negative things to say about the book, and I really enjoyed many aspects of it. I really liked Rose's growth as a character and as a person, she learns to be less reckless, deal with her mother, deal with Dimitri (and other boys), all the while doing her best to protect Lissa. There was definitely less Lissa in the novel, something I kind of didn't like, and there was only an okay-amount of Dimitri. I liked Rose's response to her mother, and how determined she is to become a Guardian.

Usually, I fawn over the boy in the novel (like Wes, Eli, and all those other yummy love-interests), but I think in Frostbite, I liked Rose's story more than I was interested in Dimitri's good looks. I know, it surprised me too. I felt the author really did a good job depicting Rose, and her struggles and problems in her life. I really liked the Rose-Dimitri scenes, and the Rose-Rose's mom scenes.

9/10- because I definitely enjoyed it, and couldn't put it down. It was a great follow-up to the first novel, and now I can't wait for the third. Once again, Mead crafted an unique story, a great protagonist, and interesting situations. I would advise you guys to read the first installment first though, but if you enjoyed Vampire Academy, Frostbite won't let you down.
--AyC


Sunday, July 12, 2009

BR: Along for the Ride


by Sarah Dessen

Four books in two days..whew, call me slacker. Today is all homework after this review.

Well, this is the last of my recently-bought books, but there are still tons of library books just lying around in my room. My brother steps on them all the time.

Along for the Ride is a Dessen novel, and I say this because Dessen's novels usually have some kind of special formula that makes it unique but similar at the same time. Auden is a total nerd and social failure, getting stood up by Jason (remember him? Mr. Perfect boyfriend from Truth) at prom, getting into one of the best universities, and lacking a childhood. After her parents divorced, she developed insomnia (inability to sleep), and spend her nights driving around, or at the 24/7 diner. Deciding she needed some sort of change in scenery, she visits her newly married father and newly born step (or half?) sister for the summer.

When she arrives at Colby (the same place where Keeping the Moon was set, with the Last Chance Diner), she finds she actually likes her stepmom, Heidi, while she watches her father shut himself in his office, working, letting Heidi take complete care of the new baby. Heidi is constantly exhausted, and Auden's father's lack of support is evident, and leads to trouble. Meanwhile, Auden, in her night-time wanderings, meets Eli, a boy who is haunted by a tragic accident. They spend their nights together, on a "quest" to redeem Auden's childhood, doing anything from bowling and visitng clubs, to food fights. Auden also takes up a job at Heidi's boutique, where she meets outgoing girls, and eventually becomes their friend. Socially awkward, she initially doesn't want the company, but learns to appreciate friendship and the codependence. It's also a novel about second chances.

Many of Dessen's books revolve around the romance, but the narrator usually has her issues and stuff. This book is no different, but I felt it revolved more around Auden, and how she grows as a person ("blossomed", as her wildchild brother calls it) and how she learns to make friends and deal with a demanding mother. She learns to like Heidi, deal with how her father behaves, and of course, there's her and Eli. I wished there was more scenes with her and Eli, and their adventures, but instead, I think the novel focused more on Auden's growth as a person.

Anyways, I loved the book. I'm not sure if it's because I'm way biased towards Sarah Dessen, or because the book is actually 'mine', but I enjoyed it immensly, staying up really late to finish it. I know, I spent my Saturday reading... I loved Auden, how she changes, how she acts, and how she dealt with her struggles. I loved Eli, who has to overcome an accident in his past, and has quit biking because of it. I even grew to love Auden's new friends, who are way more than meets the eye. Heidi was a great character and very realistic, being a new mom with little support, I felt bad for her. I didn't like her dad (at all), who was beyond selfish, and always had is his way, but I think in every book, there has to be some kind of character you dislike.

Apart from wanting more Eli/Auden scenes, I really liked their relationship, both with their own issues, and wandering the streets till 5 in the morning. It was a great idea. Auden's insistence that the night-time changed how people acted was nice.

I thought the last part of the novel may have been similar to other of Dessen's books, but it's okay, because I still adored it. I have nothing bad to say, except I wished it was a bit more unique.

9.2/10- because I loved the concept, the characters (Auden especially), and how the author tied in the setting of Colby from her previous books (we see characters from that book too). Auden's situation was realistic, and I loved watching her navigate though newly-formed friendships, determined not to quit, and learning life lessons from her friends. Excellent novel, and I would recommend to anyone, especially as a "summer read".

Wow, I've been reading a bunch of great novels recently. All with like 9s. I gave this 9.2, because I liked it more than Vampire Academy, but not as much as Truth about Forever. Maybe I should be a bit less generous..but it seems that I'm so spoiled with great books. Very content yesterday and the day before, just curling up and reading (my bro doesn't believe how people can curl up and read, but I actually do). Thanks for reading, please comment!

8/14 EDIT: I'm changing this rating to 9.3 (yes, I can do that! I make up my own rules!) because since I own both the Sarah Dessen books mentioned (AftR and TtAF) I reread them, and I find I somehow enjoyed Auden's story more than Macy this time around!

--AyC

Saturday, July 11, 2009

BR: Vampire Academy


by Richelle Mead

Wow, two book reviews in a day! I'm spoiling my non-existent readers, aren't I? And I would like to apologize in advance for the horrific summary, since (for those who read it, you know) it is so different. This is the first novel of the Vampire Academy series, and there are three books out right now, with more on the way.

Okay, first there's the Moroi (Lissa), who are royal, like a prince, and are vampires and drink blood. They can do magic, control elements, etc. Second, there's the Dhampir (Rose, main character). They are half-human, half-vamp, and usually become a Guardian. Guardians guard the Moroi from Strigoi, and are usually really skilled at their job...protecting. These are the good guys. The bad guys are the Strigoi, who are evil vampires that go around killing Moroi.

Well, Rose and Lissa return to St. Vladimir's Academy (where other vampire children live) after being caught (they ran away for two years), and have to deal with all the "high school/boarding school" politics. They deal with hostile students, love-struck ex-boyfriends, new crushes, and the social ladder in which they are unsure if they want to climb or not. Meanwhile, Rose is crushing on her mentor who helps her train (Rose is training to become Lissa's Guardian), and dealing with rumors and nasty gossip about her. Oh, and I should also mention, Lissa and Rose have a bond, which allows Rose to feel emotions Lissa is feeling, and occasionally get into her head. However, it seems something or someone is out to get Lissa, and Rose will do anything she can do to prevent it.

I hope that summary was okay, and I'll try and dig up some other summaries from other blogs, since mine kind of sucks.

Well, I would like to say how pleasantly surprised I was with how much I enjoyed this book. I was going more for a light read, something fluffy and stupid before reading the last of my recently-purchased books. I'm so glad I did though, since I enjoyed this immensely.

What did I like about it? Well, most of all, I liked Rose, the narrator and protagonist. She is hell-bent on protecting her best friend Lissa, a Moroi, and does her best to keep Lissa out of trouble. She also has to deal with confusing feelings regarding her mentor who is seven years her senior. She's a smart-ass, with sarcastic and witty comments at her disposal, but also backs that up by being tough, building a reputation. She's good-looking, and attracts the attention of a lot of boys. There's a part of me that kind of dislikes her, because of her obvious Mary-Sue qualities, like seriously-- no flaws. I really wished Mead could have included something that was negative about her, rather than just "oh no, boys like me!" or "students hate me and/or are jealous of me and my sexiness!". Thank god she doesn't have the perfect boy, or I might start confusing her with Bella, that is, minus the whiney stuff. Bella isn't as kick-ass as Rose. Yay.

Also, I really really liked the world that Mead created. The different "creatures" (there not really creatures, just like special humans/vampirish things), like Moroi, Strigoi, and Dhampir, are all unique, but I may have gotten a bit confused at the beginning. The back (where they have the blurbs) is just as confusing, trust me. Anyways, once I got around to understanding all this, I thought it was really different and well crafted. It isn't like these royal Moroi are sent into high school, instead, they are surrounded by other Morois/dhampirs, all struggling with the usually social politics. I also liked the bond between Rose and Lissa, and how Rose will give anything to protect her. Very cool. The writing is really engaging, read this all in one sitting. Very hard to put down, which is always a plus.

I would like to mention, that I picked up (just barely, like a sliver) of the foreshadowing, so I kind of knew what would happen maybe 5 pages before the final event.

9.1/10- because like I said, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. The plot was great, and wasn't too predictable, and I liked the characters involved, despite how "great (as in perfect)" they are. The vampires created by Mead is great as well. I'm really excited to read the sequel, and I hope it doesn't dissapoint. Many reviews say its great though, so I have high hopes. Recommend this to people who like vamp books, I guess. Twilight-lovers will probably enjoy it.

Okay, this part is unrelated to the review...
I feel stupid and don't like myself right now because right after I read this, I checked up on Mead's website, wondering about the sequels (Frostbite, Shadow Kiss) and accidentally read the summary of the fourth book coming out late summer. Grr, if you don't wanna get spoilers, don't read it! I did, and am very upset that I did. Wish I didn't. Gosh, I just spoil things for myself... I wish I could obliviate myself. Note the Harry Potter reference... hee hee. Anyways, rant over. Please comment!

--AyC

BR: Ten Cents a Dance


by: Christine Fletcher


Ten Cents a Dance is set in Chicago, 1941, where taxi-dancers are women who dance with men for money. Desperate to get out of working at the packinghouse, Ruby joins Starlight, a "Dance Academy" which is basically a place where men pay ten cents a dance. Of course, it's not as simple as that. Men can buy all your dances for the rest of the night, and take you out on the town, to clubs, restaurants, and hotels.

15 year old Ruby has to support her mother and sister after her father dies, and with a suggestion from bad-boy Paulie Suelze, she enters the world of taxi-dancing. Earning more money than before, along with tips and "gifts" from the men, she also learns the art of "fishing", which is manipulating men into giving her jewelry and money. She is also in a rocky relationship with Paulie, who she is completely in love with. The 1940's Chicago setting is written fantastically, from the dresses Ruby wears, to the hot-spots around town. The segregation in the dance hall, and across town, along with the upcoming WWII is also written in. Eventually, she realizes she's in too deep, and the only one who can save her is herself.

I really, really enjoyed this novel, for many reasons. First, I loved the setting (as mentioned earlier). I could see the places in my head, the girls dressed up in evening gowns, the cheap chop-suey joints.

Another thing I loved was Ruby's characterization. I didn't love Ruby, I just liked the way she was portrayed. She is completely realistic, and I could definetly see a girl like that doing the stuff she does. She falls for the bad-boy, Paulie (the name reminds me of Paulie Bleeker from Juno, not a bad- boy who killed a man over a girl), and is completely devoted to him, neglecting the fact that he constantly pressures her for sex. She keeps going back to him after their arguments, and he complains she is a 'tease' since she has morals. Second, I could understand how she would deal with her money she is earning. With her mother thinking she is earning 18 dollars a week as a telephone operator, she has a lot of extra money, to either save or spend as she pleases. While she hopes to get her family out of the dump they live in, she can't resist buying pretty gowns, jewelry, and make up for herself. At the very beginning, she is loaned some money from a customer, but she goes off and spends it all, rather than helping her family. Selfish move, but again, realistic for a girl in her position (she was just starting the job with an ugly dress). Ruby also ruined many of her relationships with her family and friends after starting the job. She would argue with her mother, ignore her sister, and just stopped talking to her best friend. She could be naive and stupid, which really got on my nerves, but also strong and brave.

I would also like to mention that I really liked Ozzie, the negro trumpet player at Starlight who is an absolutely amazing musician. I thought he was written well, especially with the racist themes in the novel. I also loved the way the story was centered around dancing, with so many references to "old dances" like the jitterbug, fox trot, waltzes, and lindy hop.

Basically, I thought the story was tied together really really well. The dancing, the people, the clothes, the setting, and the pressures Ruby was under all went excellently together. The world of a taxi-dancer (which I didn't know anything about before) was explored and navigated by a 15 year old girl with issues and dreams.

8.9/10- because like I mentioned, I liked the realistic characters and Ruby's misadaventures, the taxi-dancing aspect, and most of all, the setting. It really interests me how times were back then, and I felt Fletcher either really did her research, or is an excellent storyteller. It's a wonderful novel, explores themes that I usually don't read about, and gives insight to a girl who is just trying to get by, a bit self-centered, but brave. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and I'm really pleased I bought it.

-AyC

Friday, July 10, 2009

BR: The Chosen One

by Carol Lynch Williams

Okay, two books later, and a bit calmer, I've decided to write this book review.

The novel is about a 13 year old girl, Kyra, who lives on a compound where polygamy (multiple wives for a man, etc) is practiced. Informed she is to marry her 60 year old abusive uncle, Kyra is devastated. She tries her best to get out of it, and the book illustrates her struggles involving her life, and her family which she loves. She fights and wonders about her beliefs and way of life as well.

During the story, Kyra has developed different relationships, from Jonathan, her crush, to Patrick, the mobile-library man which she secretly borrows books from.

I'm not sure what else to write as a summary, but it's basically about Kyra's struggle with her beliefs and how she wants to live her life. Marrying your 60+ year old uncle who is known to "break in" his wives isn't very appealing either.

One thing I liked was the writing style Williams used. Since Kyra is narrating, and since she isn't very well educated, the writing really reflects her. Sentence fragments, thoughts, worries, and struggles are written very well through a mind of a 13 year old girl, dealing with 'her world', and the 'real world'.

I also liked Kyra, the protagonist, because she is a strong, brave character. She's willing to fight against something she believes is wrong, or something that she refuses to do. She won't just give in because the "Prophet" told her to. She risks a great deal for herself, including getting her crush and father into trouble. I could definitely sympathize (not understand, because I obviously have never been in her situation) with how she couldn't decide whether to throw her own life away to save her family from punishment, or save herself.

I'm not sure why, but I didn't love this book, it was just okay. The themes of polygamy was different from things I usually read, and the writing style was pretty good too. Maybe it was because I was in a bad mood at the time, I kind of regret buying it.

7/10- because I don't know why, but it was just averagish for me. Didn't love it, but liked the character and writing style. There wasn't that many other things to like, but the conflict was unique and drove the story.

Also, I apologize for this not-so-good review, I just don't have much to say. I just finished another book, and will review it tomorrow, I think I'll have lots to say on that one. Again, any comments would be nice :)

--AyC

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Author Interview Archives

This is my very tiny archive of Author Interviews conducted on my blog. The date the interview was posted is in the parentheses, and the list will be in alphabetical order by first name.


Carol Lynch Williams (4.23.11)

Courtney Summers (6.19.12)

Gayle Forman (4.6.11)

Siobhan Vivian (2.17.11)




Tuesday, July 7, 2009

BR: The Truth About Forever


by Sarah Dessen

Oh my gosh, it's here! I was so excited when my brother texted me when I was in school that my books have finally arrived... Yes, it doesn't take much for me to get excited.

Anyways, I've been waiting forever to read this book, and I was sick of being 20th in line at the library, so I dished out a couple months' allowance to buy several books. I read this one first, because there's been a lot (I mean tons) of positive reviews on this, and I also adored all of the other books by the author. Okay, time for the review.

The Truth About Forever is a YA book, and is about Macy, a perfectionist, and her struggles to move on after witnessing her father's death a year prior. She "shuts down" after his death, and becomes a control freak, always wanting to be 6 steps ahead, have every detail planned, while hanging out with her braniac Perfect boyfriend, who's self-centered and goal-oriented. She feels constantly under pressure to be the perfect student, the perfect daughter, and the perfect person to deal with her grief. All the while having to deal with a work-a-holic mother who refuses to acknowledge or remember her father. Macy impulsively joins a chaotic catering service and works with a group of fun-loving people, and meets Wes. Time to sa-woooon. Macy opens up to Wes about her past in a game called "Truth", and with her newly-found friends, she learns to overcome her past and live life, instead of planning every second.

Meh, that was a bad summary, but don't worry, the book is awsome! I liked so many things about it, but I loved the characters the most. Macy strives so hard to be perfect, only to learn that she no longer wants to be. I loved reading about how she changes with the help of some friends. She's realistic, well-written, and eventually understands her flaws. Another character I adored was Wes, the sa-woon worthy love interest who's a tad out of bounds because of Macy's current conditions with the boyfriend. Wes really helped Macy grow as a person, acting as a catalyst for her understanding that Perfect wasn't ideal. I only wished that there was more Wes in the story, since the novel revolves more around Macy and how she deals with herself and her family, rather than a romance.

I also loved the minor characters, who played a huge part. Kristy, the impulsive, outgoing friend brings Macy out of her shell, while "monotone" Monica is so interesting, speaking dully with three phrases. I loved how Dessen incorporated such a unique, weird character. I liked Bert too, who is Wes' brother with an unatural obsession with Armageddon. Really cool.

Her family was really complex, especially Macy's mother. The family all has its own issues, and Macy constantly struggles on whether to leave her mom alone, or tell her how she really feels.

I also wanted to mention that I loved the ending. Don't worry, no spoilers.

9.3/10- because if you can't tell, I absolutely love this novel. The plot was great, and the characters were really well written. It reminds me a bit of Sarah Dessen's other books (and I think most people would agree), but her writing style is nevertheless effective. I read it as soon as I got home, and didn't stop for 5 hours or so. It's not really dark or depressing, and I would recommend it more to girls than guys. Try it; it is definitely worth it.

8/14 EDIT: I'm changing this rating to 9.2 (yes, I can do that! I make up my own rules!) because since I own both the Sarah Dessen books mentioned (AftR and TtAF) I reread them, and I find I somehow enjoyed Auden's story more than Macy this time around, so I changed these to match my more 'recent' feelings :) This way, Along for the Ride has a higher rating since I enjoyed it more the second time around.

--AyC

Sunday, July 5, 2009

BR: Unwind

by Neal Shusterman

Unwind is a futuristic novel about a time when there is a law called the "Bill of Life". The Bill of Life was the result of the Second Civil War, and deals with opposing issues regarding reproductive rights. Unwinding is the process where a person's organs (like every single part of their body) is "cut up" and transplanted to someone who needs it. This way, people comfort themselves in thinking that the kids don't really die, they are just living "separately". A child age 1-13 cannot be unwound, but between 13 and 17, the kid's parents can choose to have him or her unwound if parenting gets too tough. If the child is a ward of State (like an orphan), the ward can also have children unwound. When the child is 18, they become an adult, and are safe from unwinding-so those kids who are sentenced struggle to live till that age.

Connor, a troublemaker, has been sentenced to be unwound. Risa, a talented pianist as well, and Lev, who is a tithe (someone who is born to be unwound to 'help' others) also awaits unwinding. However, all three don't want it, so they escape the police, and go into hiding. Along the way, Lev is separated, and the two 'groups' begin their own adventure and escape for their lives.

This novel was excellent, and I stayed up late finishing it. It was fast-paced, but flips between 'focuses' (not POV, since it is in third-person; just concentrates on one person in particular), so I would be left to eagerly wait for Connor's story while I am reading Lev's. I felt the author had some really original ideas, which deals with serious issues that can relate to arguments today. Sides must be taken in a war driven by opposing opinions, and the solution is far from perfect or ideal. Unwinding is basically abortion, except at a later age, and I can really sympathize for the characters who have been sentenced by their parents to this fate, with no say of their own.

Also, I absolutely loved Connor and Risa. I don't know why, but I love the image the Connor exhibits, with the quick-tempered, tough attitude and not taking any crap from anyone. He gets into quite a few fights, but I felt that that just makes him a stronger character. Risa, who has never really had anyone every love her since she is from a State Home is strong, quick, and smart. I admire these qualities about her, and how strong her will is to survive.

I also liked the novel's minor characters, who have their own stories to tell, which I enjoyed reading. An example is an Unwind, Hayden, who's parents are divorcing, and they cannot stand the idea of Hayden going to the other parent, so they agree they would rather have him unwound than with the other. Spiteful much?

However, I did have some nitpicks about the book. First, the ending for me was kind of rushed, and a tad confusing, like during the Chop Shop scene (but maybe that's because it was 1 in the morning). Also, the flipping focuses could be a bit distracting, especially when I am so caught up in another character's story, but maybe that's just me. ***spoiler below***

**spoiler**

I also felt that Connor and Risa's romance wasn't developed very well. They have good chemistry, but they never really talk or spend that much time together, especially at the Graveyard. Sure, they're desperate to live and all that, and their scenes together were great, but I felt more could have happened to them together.

**end spoiler**


9.1/10- because I really liked this novel, with the original plot and realistic characters. It makes me think about the issues discussed, and is written quite well. It reminds me a bit of Jodi Picoult books, with the different chapters flipping to different 'focuses', but the chapters are quite short, and just tell what is going on.

I would recommend this book to all readers. It can be used for school if you want to write a paper concerning issues raised in the book. Excellent plot, decent writing. The ending is a bit vague, but really leaves it up to the reader's imagination and thoughts. Not concrete, but enough to have an inkling of what might have happened. I really like the issues it was based on, with the Unwinding, choices, life, and 'death'.

--AyC

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

happy CANADA day!!


WOOT for Canadians!!! I can't believe I almost forgot what day it was. I'm a Canadian immigrant since I was three, and I absolutely LOVE it here!
Happy Canada Day to all y'all Canadians out there.
And, I find I say 'huh' a lot more than 'eh?', if you know what I mean.
I would also note for the record, that I am NOT one of those kids who use this holiday as an excuse to get hammered. I'm a good kid :). That's me.
Oh! And I found a clever John Green (wrote novels like Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines) quote in a novel, and then on the web. It deals with nerds, which is undoubtably the category I will usually fall into, despite my protests that I am just a hard-working person.
"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50
Cent, and he's done all right for himself."
-John Green (vlogbrothers on youtube)
Yes, I giggled a bit when I read that too. Yay for intelligent people! And for Canada! SQUEEE!
*I know this post is utterly pointless and really badly written with short fragments an pointless content. Sue me.
--AyC

BR: The Summoning

by Kelley Armstrong

Like the cover? I did. Very alluring, IMO.

The Summoning is a supernatural novel, with the protagonist, Chloe, seeing and communicating with dead people. After a 'breakdown' at school, she is sent to a 'crazy group home' called the Lyle House. At first, the doctors tell her she has schizophrenia, but she later realizes that the whole House is a lie. She teams up with some other 'patients' who are also supernaturals, and try and discover the truth.

The Summoning is the first book of a trilogy by Kelley Armstrong, and the second book, The Awakening, is already availbe. The third book, to be titled The Reckoning is not out yet. I can't wait to get my hands on the second book, but unfortunately, I am 92 in line on the Request List at my public library.

I actually really really liked this novel. At the beginning, I was a bit creeped out (because I was reading about melting dead people at one in the morning, and I'm a bit of a chicken-yes, I squint my way through gory/suspense films), but it really drew me in and was so hard to put down. The author's writing captured my attention, and the plot was great. Although it may seem un-action-packed with the majority of the book taking place inside the Lyle House, Armstrong really managed to make her characters believable and different. Take Derek, a huge boy with loads of acne. Armstrong develops his unique character and past really well. Chloe is a bit naive, and previously attended an art school. However, she still tries to find the truth instead of letting doctors brainwash her.

8/10- because I liked the plot, the characters, and especially the writing. It was dark, mysterious, and suspenseful at parts, and really kept me hooked. I liked both the conventional and unconventional characters, and the supernatural theme (like not literary theme, but just the 'idea') of the book.
I would recommend this to both boys and girls, probably someone over the age of 12 though. The plot isn't confusing at all, and I hope that all the mystery can be solved by the end of this. It is definitely part of a trilogy, because you can tell by the ending that it isn't finished, unlike another novel like The Hunger Games where most ends are tied up. The ending is just the beginning of another adventure, which I cant WAIT to read.

--AyC