Saturday, July 31, 2010

BR: House Rules

by Jodi Picoult

Okay, I actually sincerely promise this one will be short!! Promise!! I bought this one because it was only 11 dollars, and it looked really fascinating. Also, I loved some of Jodi Picoult's other books.

Summary (goodreads):
House Rules is about Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject – in his case, forensic analysis. He’s always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do…and he’s usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead, and the police come to question him. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger’s – not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate affect – can look a heck of a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel -- and suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder. House Rules looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way – but lousy for those who don’t.

My Expectations: Picoult has some really good books (My Sister’s Keeper, Nineteen Minutes) and some so-so ones (The Pact). This one looked pretty good, but my expectations were lukewarm.

Deliver: Ehh, I really loved some parts, others were okay.

Put-down-ability: a 500+ page book all read in one day. Says good things, a 2/10

My Thoughts

I don’t have any personal experience with autism or Aspergers so I don’t want to be one of those people who trash the author for getting symptoms and diagnosis wrong. However, Jacob’s "characterization" didn’t work for me.

In my promise of short and sweet, I’ll just give you this example: I thought David Levithan’s Will Grayson's sexuality did not define his person, but it added levels of depth to his characterization. In House Rules, I felt that the fact that Jacob had Aspergers was everything to him (it was like his one and only “level of depth”), and I didn’t like that. Every other page, his symptoms and actions would be spelled out repetitively, from his tantrums to his everyday quirks. It became mundane and just too much, I wish the author would have cut back on it. Yes, I understand he is autistic, no, I don’t need to read about it page after page.

That said, I personally think the author intended and purposely did this, which makes me not really love the book in general. However, I can’t deny that (as per Picoult’s signature style) each character is well fleshed out as usual, and my favourite character would be Theo (I can't help but love the underdogs, haha). Didn’t really feel Emma’s relationship, nor was I convinced by it.

Really enjoyed the forensic aspect, and guessed the mystery by page 150 (I swear! I was ecstatic to know I was right :p), these parts felt thoroughly researched. One thing I particularly enjoyed was the expertly portrayed family dynamics.

Parting Thoughts: I bought Perfect Match by Picoult as well, so I hope it will be better! (read it, it wasn't better D:)
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable

7.5/10 – because (do I really need to recap? It’s such a short review! Haha) I disliked the way Jacob’s character was handled, but liked the overall storyline. Alternating perspectives worked in the author’s favour and writing is excellent. B-

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday's Finest (21)

Friday's Finest is a meme hosted by Steff & Justine from A Bookful of Thoughts.

~Post a quote that really stuck to you after reading it in a book.
~Make sure it isn't a spoiler!
~If you'd like, expand on what you think it means and why you chose it.

I’ll admit, I dog-ear library books but I never have the heart to dog-ear my own precious novels I buy for myself. Okay, go ahead and judge me, I’m sorry! That’s why the books I read I can never really go back and easily find the quotes that spoke to me, the ones that made me laugh or cry. That’s when I turn to the internet xD

This week’s quote came from a book I recently finished, and I’ll say it was immensely enjoyable. Maybe expect a mini-review, but no promises, just know it's a worthwhile classic.

Book: Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.
I really really love that quote, I dunno, it’s just perfect. Like, tattoo-perfect, if you get what I mean. It's inspirational, but real with tiny life-lessons sewed into each letter. A really heart-warming story in general :)

Have you read the novel? Like or dislike?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Follow Friday

Well, since I've taken a break from Blog Hops I might as well jump on this bandwagon xD

You probably know this a bit better than I do, but go ahead to Parajunkee's blog to find out details! Happy Friday!!

Oh, if you're new, don't forget to enter my contest for The Iron King by Julie Kagawa + a $25 Visa Gift Card! (ends 8/2, open US/Can)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday's 3 Couples (12)

Wednesday's 3 Couples is a meme I created that let’s me share my love of YA lit couples with others.

-pick a theme (can be anything! A genre, an author, a series, etc) a
-pick three couples within this theme you have strong feelings about (love them? hate them?)
-expand a tiny bit on why you chose these three couples, or what makes them awesome!

Warning: Minor Spoilers for: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This Week's Theme: The Classics

I'll be first to say I haven't read that many classic books (by "classic", I mean stuff like Dickens, Austen, etc) so this list is pretty limited to the few books I've read. I'll bet you can guess them already...

1. Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy - Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
-Uhm... hello? This is one of the best literary couples because they are (for me) the original "cliche" of girl hates boy then falling in love with the boy.
-Doesn't hurt that the very disagreeable Darcy ends up so endearing
-I can't help but admire Elizabeth's wit and humour
-Aren't they pretty together? haha, movie-wise, I guess

2. Jo March and Teddy Laurence - Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
-I didn't say they had to be successful couples, did I? This one broke my heart :'( *sniff*
-How could you, Jo? And that old professor...
-"our boy Laurie" will always far exceed the "man Laurie", the whole thing made me sad, to see Jo kind of kill the boy-ish side of him
-Laurie + (the girl he ended up with) = too perfect, annoyingly so

3. Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe - Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
-I've only read book 1 in this series, but from that alone.. wait, scratch that. From the single scene of Anne and the slate, this couple had a place in my cynical heart
-Can't wait to see how they unfold, I just know that they would end up together, so I've got to read the rest of the series soon!! Especially because Madeleine likes it, and she has good taste xD

Anyways, I know this list is pretty limited, I'm trying to branch out and explore more classic lit. I actually can't think of that many more books in that genre that I've read! *sigh* I have an itching feeling that I've missed a blatantly obvious one too...

To You: What are your favourite "classic book" couples??

Monday, July 26, 2010

BR: The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

I borrowed this book from my friend ages ago and finally got around to reading it! It’s won like… every award out there so I just had to try it. Check out my Friday’s Finest quote as well.

Set in a tragic Post-Apocalyptic world, a father and his son travel towards the south along the road, fighting with every last breath to survive in the harsh and unforgiving conditions.

My Expectations: I thought it wasn’t that appealing to me, the concept wasn’t very magnificent, but since it won everything (Pulitzer Prize, tons of Magazines/Newspapers’ best book of the year… etc) I knew it must be something special.

Delivery: Something special indeed, I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. It left me with mixed feelings (is that good or bad? I don’t know)

Put-down-ability: so-so, I guess. 5/10

My Thoughts

So this is the type of book that really doesn’t have the most cross-over appeal for YA readers so I am going to try to keep this review short and sweet (I'm sorry I failed), that way you can quickly decide whether or not this book is for you.

There are so many different layers in this novel, but it was without a doubt a novel written very well. A warning though, this type of prose is not for everyone, the absence of commas and apostrophes, and the abundance of sentence fragments can be a hit-or-miss. I thought the (occasionally overused) style of language added a whole level of power behind the words, add emotion and mood to the reader.

An expansive vocabulary and impressive diction made the writing at times lyrical and poetic. Let’s just say it’s dark, haunting, and heartwrenching. Loved the setting created though, a world of gray rain, gray snow and ashes.

As a reader, I experienced so many different feelings, from desperation, grief, horror, fear, and depression to probably most importantly, hope. It’s unique that any novel can have such an effect on me so brownie points! There were also a few parts where I was a tad confused about the POV, the sudden usage of “you” was jarring and out of place for a paragraph or two.

The plot is also a hit-or-miss, it is very tedious and slow-moving, each action spelled out for you with a tinge of weariness and despair, this can obviously work for or against the book (again, according to you). There were certainly a few moments that I was honestly reeling in horror just staring wide-eyed at the gruesome and disturbing scenes described (so not suitable for younger readers unless you’ve got a strong stomach).

Lastly, the characters of the man and the boy were developed in their own right, however little character growth is exhibited because of mundane, continuous routines and little opportunity for development. However, that aside, each individual was characterized flawlessly, the father and son relationship is extremely strong. The boy’s constant state of fear and the father’s love and strength were really realistic.

Also, dialogue is… you’ll see. We’ll leave it at “lacking quotation marks”.

Parting Thoughts: It left me with a bunch of feelings, but I do think the theme of determination and hope left a big impact with me.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations

8.4/10 – because I thought the incredible writing is enough to overtake some of its shortcomings. Unique language and excellent uses of figurative language (some of those similes are exceptional!) made the book worthwhile and was honestly a bit reminiscent of The Book Thief (minus the somewhat amiable narrator). Plot was quite (very) slow and tedious but it was the author’s intention so I don’t think I can fault it. Overall? A really good read, recommended for older audiences, book clubs, people wanting to experience superb and odd prose without much plot. B+

PS- my "Rating in HP Terms" is not directly correlated with my rating, it is a personal opinion on what the book felt for me. So a 8.6/10 can get "acceptable" while a 8.4/10 can get "exceeds expectations". I know, my ratings are really messed up xD

Sunday, July 25, 2010

blog reVamp!

Quite honestly, I don't know what revamp is supposed to mean. I just see it around and I kind of relate it to like, a makeover or something. I should be googling this but I'm lazy.

Well, as you might notice when landed upon my little blog here is that it's... different! I got a new header, thanks to tresor at TDA, and I used the blog template designer to customize colours and backgrounds. That girl in the header isn't me, just to clarify xD

I'm not particularly fond of the BG I have right now, I'm still trying to decide on patterns/textures to make it simple, but not boring. Any ideas?

Also, I'm curious, are you able to see past the sidebars of the blog? Because the width is about 970px, but people's computer screens/resolution or whatever is different, so just wonderin'.

Lastly (and hugely unrelated) I'm addicted to PRISON BREAK!!! I finished the first season in 4 days!! Michael Scofield = cunning, dangerously-smart but still "good-at-heart". Awesomesauce combination.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

BR: The Second Trial

by Rosemarie Boll

I haven’t read a boyish novel in a while when I was asked to review a book so this one of course jumped out at me. It seemed both action-y and emotional. Also, two domestic abuse books back to back? Should I get my head checked?

Summary (paraphrased, goodreads):
What do you do when your father becomes the enemy of your family? A thirteen year-old boy must leave his home, his school, and everything he knows when he goes into hiding with his mother and sister to escape an abusive father. Thirteen-year-old Danny never knew that his father was abusing his mother, until the day his father almost killed her. Now he finds himself in court as his mother fights to have his father kept in jail to keep the family safe. But Danny can’t believe that he is a danger to them, cannot reconcile the father he looks up to with the man who almost took his mother’s life. When the limits of the justice system allow his father to be released, Danny’s mother decides that he and his little sister must accompany her into hiding. They will go to another city and begin a new life, with new identities. And so begins the second trial in Danny’s life

My Expectations: I thought it would good, but this is completely based on the summary. I was pretty excited to read this one.

Delivery: I didn’t find myself loving it, but I didn’t dislike it either. An in-the-middle type of book I guess.

Put-down-ability: pretty low, again, read in one sitting on the plane. 4/10

My Thoughts

There was quite a bit going on with the novel, there were the two trials, family tension, and Danny’s internal and external conflicts, but I thought most of this worked well together.

The pacing and the plot was a bit off for my tastes, I thought the “first trial” (the father’s conviction) was both a bit preachy and a bit slow. It took forever to get to the predictable verdict, and the jargon used could be odd at times. I think it was designed to act as a “set up” to the second trial, but it didn’t work as well as planned. It did sound very realistic and official though (from what I know from watching too much TV). One comparison would be it is very John Grisham-y.

I thought that the characterization of Danny and his family was very well done, his love for his father despite his shortcomings felt realistic, along with his resentment for his mother relocating them. It was very like a 13 year old boy to rebel like he did, especially for reasons he doesn’t fully understand yet. The sibling relationship was okay for me, but it was understandable because Danny was his father’s favourite, and his sister was just “there”, something that’s foreign to him.

The overall plot was solid, I thought the ‘witness protection’ thing, the family income troubles, and the other personal issues Danny had were well represented and portrayed. It was a very unique storyline that I was happy to read about.

However, Danny irked me at times, his rebellious attitude and descent into bad behaviour felt a bit off. Maybe it was just me, but I don’t see drinking parties during middle school, and Danny’s constant actions became annoying and frustrating because I did want him to have some character growth but it came way too late. The novel spent too much time going on about Danny’s downward spiral than his growth and healing as a person. I wished there could have been a bit more time dedicated to his turnaround. The people there to help him like Mr. Ishii and Papa Joe weren’t convincing, and I also couldn’t feel the spark between Danny and his love interest.

That said, it doesn't take away from the fact that Boll expertly unravels the horrors that a single abusive family member can cause have on a family; the fear and the hope molds into one as a courageous mother fights for her life and the lives of her children. I think that The Second Trial deals with tough, and extremely important issues with a sturdy hand, not afraid to shy away from difficult truths.

Rating in HP Terms:

- because I thought that although the plot being pretty strong, characterization got on my nerves along with the narration. There were some parts that I was really annoyed with, along with some really realistic parts. Overall, I enjoyed this type of novel which was reminiscent of a few John Grisham novels. I found Danny to be an okay character, I wanted a bit more from him though. B-
Would recommend to people who would like to read about a boy main character, legal-stuff (like Grisham for YA), social issues, and family and personal relations.

source: Second Story Press
author website

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday's Finest (20)

Friday's Finest is a new meme hosted by Steff & Justine from A Bookful of Thoughts.

~Post a quote that really stuck to you after reading it in a book.
~Make sure it isn't a spoiler!
~If you'd like, expand on what you think it means and why you chose it.

I'm totally unprepared this week so I'm just gonna choose a quote from the book I've read most recently.

Book: House Rules
by Jodi Picoult

When someone dies, it feels like the hole in your gum when a tooth falls out. You can chew, you can eat, you have plenty of other teeth, but your tongue keeps going back to that empty place, where all the nerves are still a little raw.
I thought the book was okay, not really stellar (I had a few problems with characters). However, this line just really shows the insight and talent of Jodi Picoult, who I think is an utterly fantastic author. Your thoughts?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

why I don't like YA movie adaptations...

I don't really know how this thought came to me*, but I thought I might as well run with it because YA movies are like all the rage recently. So why aren't I remotely excited for most prospective examples (Hunger Games, Wake, Paper Towns, etc)?

I'll give you the short and sweet answer: the acting isn't good enough.

Okay, don't flame me, I'll admit that I am the worst actress in the world, but something that ruins movies worse than cheesy lines is unconvincing acting chops. In a movie, I would always take stellar acting/weird plot over horrid acting/fantastic plot.

Oh, we like lists (these are more mainstream movies/novels):
  • Every word out of Jeremy Iron's Ed Speelers (thank you celi.a! my bad!) (Eragon) mouth sounds rehearsed and recited. Getting an "unknown actor" sure comes back and bites ya in the arse.
  • Robert Pattinson's attempt at making his character a tortured soul ends up with him looking eternally constipated. Kristen Stewart's Bella is a travesty.
  • Blake Lively might be good on Gossip Girl (my guilty pleasure) but she wasn't that talented (plus she ran really weirdly) in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
  • Anne Hathaway in Ella Enchanted grated my nerves.
  • Logan Lerman from Percy Jackson, while cute (okay... you can call me weird now...) said nothing that made him believable to be the embodiment of a widely appealing character.
  • I couldn't even finish watching Stormbreaker featuring (the insanely attractive) Alex Pettyfer because of a mix of both cringe-worthy lines (and delivery of said lines) and messed up plot.
  • And don't even get me started on Harry Potter (please don't hate me!). I don't not enjoy the movies because of the weird adapted plot, it's because I never believe the actors are the beloved characters.

All these things aren't meant to be a shot at the movie or the actors themseleves, but I personally think that with (quite) a few exceptions, teen actors just aren't as good at acting as adults (I'll say it again, my opinion).

I need an actor to be able to deliver his lines in a way that makes me, the audience, believe them. I need words to come from the heart, to be that much more real in order for me to enjoy a particular scene. If this isn't possible, suspension of disbelief is broken, and I am back to staring at the pimple (or the perfect face) on the actor's forhead. Not immersed in the movie.


Because in a movie about teens, I think it would be smart to cast teen (or younger adult) actors, not 25 year olds to play Katniss. Call me petty, but I think their performances while heartfelt, may not be the very best to what I am used to watching, thus leaving me just a bit nostalgic, wishing I had stayed away from the movie which just ruined a perfectly good book for me.

Just my two cents.

YA movies that weren't that bad: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, My Sister's Keeper (only because I was crying too much)... plus some other ones that I can't think of right now.

To You: What are your thoughts about these YA novels-turned-movies? Enter them with a feeling of dread? Itching with anticipation? Ignore them altogether and live in the peaceful bliss just knowing the book was perfect? I'd love to know!

*Disclaimer: I know everybody has posts like this but I promise I didn't steal any of your ideas. Anything we have in common is purely coincidental..

**please note that this is not an accurate representation of Edward, Bella, or me. Also, please do not be offended, it was not intended to be like that.

PS- I have the same pet peeves with child actors too. Being cute can only get you so far, but after that, your witty dialogue gets insanely anoying and forced. I'm looking at you, Jamie from
One Tree Hill. And that kid from Home Alone like 20 years ago.

PPS- looking back, my thoughts apply to teen movies in general, not specific to novels-turned-movies. But whatever xD

PPPS- Maybe later I'll write a post about how bringing my favourite characters to life makes me sad as well because they can never be what I imagined.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

BR: Because I Am Furniture

by Thalia Chaltas

I bought this one for the plane ride, and I found the summary intriguing. I also got a really happy book so I had a book for any mood.

Anke’s father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she’s just an invisible witness in a house of horrors, on the brink of disappearing altogether. Until she makes the volleyball team at school. At first just being exhausted after practice feels good, but as Anke becomes part of the team, her confidence builds. When she learns to yell “Mine!” to call a ball, she finds a voice she didn’t know existed. For the first time, Anke is seen and heard. Soon, she’s imagining a day that her voice will be loud enough to rescue everyone at home—including herself.

My Expectations: I bought this book (I swear, didn’t know it was verse) because the summary made it look like an emotional read. Yeah, I read those books.

Delivery: Didn’t love it, but I thought it was a fantastic experience and enjoyable in general. I ended up wishing there was more.

Put-down-ability: Actually a quicker read, and read it on the plane continuously. Maybe a 4/10

My Thoughts

I think the correct feeling I had when I finished this book is that I wished it was more. More emotional, more depth to the characters, more engaging to the reader. It was undoubtedly all of these things, but not to the point where I was a sobbing mess or screaming at the characters.

The abuse portrayed in this novel is described with the best mix of detached denial and up-close horror. Anke’s feelings about it is conflicted which both surprised me and was realistic. She hates her father for what he is doing to her siblings, but she feels worthless because he doesn’t pay the same ‘attention’ to her. It’s a twisted way to think, but when you consider a daughter’s longing for her father’s appreciation it is scarily probable.

I liked the way Anke and her siblings/mom interact, each knowing the terrible but unspeakable secret that tears their family apart was heart-wrenching and full of depth. Casual glances and the distance kept between them was well described with simplicity and power which added to my enjoyment of the novel

Another part I thought made the novel unique is the strong imagery that I wasn’t sure a verse novel could achieve. I loved the references to leaves and trees, along with the attached symbolism. Anke’s voice served her character well, both with the hints of fear and longing. I do wish I was more engaged with her character though, there were quite a few times I felt like I was “on the outside looking in” when I would rather, as a reader, be experiencing her emotions as well (you know what I mean?).

I did feel the secondary characters excluding her family were a bit weak. They felt mostly flat, especially the two love interests, Jed and Kyler. I wanted a bit more from Rona as well but I can understand Anke’s desire to keep her at arm’s length when regarding the personal issues. I loved the way volleyball was incorporated into the novel, kind of like the forbidden activity but something she can’t help but love.

Lastly, I thought the ending was only okay. I thought the way the abuse was resolved felt a bit clichéd, not to mention (just a tiny bit) reminiscent of the novel Speak. I wanted a bit more, and wished it could have been a bit less tidy. I also thought that throughout the majority of the novel Anke’s emotions are always strongly portrayed until the very end where it kind of fell short.

Parting Thoughts: Really liked it! Glad I bought the novel and the verse style was well done (time to tackle some Ellen Hopkins, I think)
Rating in HP Terms (OWLs): Acceptable

8.2/10 because I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It didn’t take long to get used to the verse style and it dealt with a tough subject with poise and directness. It never shied away or sugar-coated a very serious topic that deserves attention. Anke’s character is exceptionally written and the conflict portrayed in the novel is very strong. I wanted a bit more emotional attachment to Anke along with secondary characters with more depth. Figurative language is very well used (ugh, English teacher, go away!). B

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


hey! just a quick post to tell those stopping by and going "whaaaa?" that I'm playing around with my blog template and header, so if you just see a boring white background it's because I'm trying different edit styles and stuff.

thanks for understanding, and come back soon to see the finished product! (well, soon like in next week because I'm hopeless with HTML)

2010 YA Reading Challenge... COMPLETED!

This post is a bit overdue but... I'm done! I pledged to read 50 YA novels in 2010, and as of July, I'm done which makes me ecstatic! I wasn't sure if I could do it, but yay... I'll probably up the ante next year, and I'm going to try and read another 30 books this year (fingers crossed!)

To make it easier, I'll just copy and paste my booklist/ratings, sorry but no links. Only 2 DNFs, which is a good thing, I think.

1. Rebel Angels - Libba Bray (8.8)
2. The Sweet Far Thing - Libba Bray (8.8)
3. I Am The Messenger - Markus Zusak (8.9)
4. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie (9)
5. Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder (9.1)
6. Cut - Patricia McCormick (7.4)
7. Fade - Lisa McMann (8.2)
8. The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan (8)
9. When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead (7.9)
10. Magic Study - Maria V. Snyder (7.8)
11. Some Girls Are - Courtney Summers (9.2)
12. How They Met and Other Stories - David Levithan (7)
13. That Summer - Sarah Dessen (7.9) [I am officially done all of Dessen's books, hurrah!]
DNF (did not finish) Liar - Justine Larbalestier (5)
14. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (7.7)
15. Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters (7.9)
16. Percy Jackson: The Titan's Curse (8.2)
17. Percy Jackson: The Battle of the Labyrinth (8.5)
18. Percy Jackson: The Last Olympian (9)
DNF- Fire Study - Maria V. Snyder (4)
19. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness (9.3)
20. The Demigod Files - Rick Riordan (6)
21. The Maze Runner - James Dashner (8.9)
22. The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness (9)
23. Coraline - Neil Gaiman (7.5)
24. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side - Beth Fantaskey (8.7)
25. Feed - M.T. Anderson (7.5)
26. Coffeehouse Angel - Suzanne Selfors (7.9)
27. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (8)
28. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (8)
29. Fang (Maximum Ride #6) - James Patterson (7.2)
30. Scarlett Fever - Maureen Johnson (8.7)
31. The Piper's Son - Melina Marchetta (9.3)
32. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver (8.2)
33. Zan Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure - Allan Shickman (7)
34. Incarceron - Catherine Fisher (7.8)
35. Finnikin of the Rock - Melina Marchetta (8.9)
36. The Reckoning - Kelley Armstrong (8)
37. The Demon's Covenant - Sarah Rees Brennan (9.3)
38. Bloom - Elizabeth Scott (6)
39. Heist Society - Ally Carter (8.5)
40. The Body Finder - Kimberly Derting (8.7)
41. Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi (7.8)
42. A Match Made in High School - Kristin Walker (7)
43. Spirit Bound - Richelle Mead (7.9)
44. Zan Gah and the Beautiful Country - Allan Shickman (7.1)
45. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan (9)
46. The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan (8)
47. Because I Am Furniture - Thalia Chaltas (8.2)
48. The Second Trial - Rosemarie Boll (7.2)
49. Castration Celebration - Jake Wizner (8.5)
50. Rampant - Diana Peterfreund (8.2)
51. All Unquiet Things - Anna Jarzab (9)

You can expect a review for the last few books I've read, I just haven't posted it yet. If you want, check out my Archives to find my reviews.

Favourite Read: The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta (9.3/10)
*I know 2 other books got the same rating, but this is only if I was absolutely forced to pick the favourite. Another plug for MM :p I think I'm getting annoying with that so I promise I'll try to cut it down :s

I've just got 5 or so more challenges for the Take Another Chance challenge left :)

How are the challenges you signed up for this year coming along??

Blogoversary Winner!

First, as usual, I need to give an incredibly big thank you to all of you for making this such a success! I'm glad that even though I didn't require anyone to tweet or anything about this, some of you did out of awesomeness!! I had so many entries, so I'm kind of glad I kept the extras to just one. The winner, chosen by is....


I've emailed Emily already (she got back to me in like 10 minutes! haha, thanks!) and she chose Linger and Glimmerglass! Congratulations, and I hope you like them!!

I wish I had time to list some of my favourite answers to your weirdest food combinations, but I think I'll just choose one that made me laugh, cringe, then wonder.. does that taste good?

Darlyn said: smoked salmon with maple syrup and topped with vanilla ice-cream.

I dunno, I just thought it was so bizarre! Oh, and so many of you guys eat peanut butter with weird things! Like avocados, raisins, pickles, pumpkin puree, pizza, oreos, ice cubes, bananas... haha I guess we all like our PB different :p

Also, don't forget to enter my latest contest, a copy of The Iron King and a $25 Visa GC, open to US/Canada! Click here to enter!

PS- frosty + fries = win :D

Monday, July 19, 2010

CONTEST! The Iron King by Julie Kagawa + $25 Visa Giftcard

Woo, here's the surprise! *grins*

I was contacted to host this contest in lieu of the soon-to-be released book 2 of the Iron Fey series, The Iron Daughter. You haven't heard of it? Whaaa? I shall inform you that your rock you currently reside under is doing an excellent job :p Please don't be offended by that, it was a joke ;)

So, one lucky winner will win the novel, The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, and a $25 Visa Gift Card. Not sure if you wanna enter? Well... I'm pretty sure this will convince you.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Synopsis: In less than twenty-four hours Meghan Chase will be sixteen. Countless stories, songs and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset.

But Meghan suspects that it won’t be that way for her.

After all, Meghan has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined….

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and a pawn in a deadly war.

Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Click here to read Julie Kagawa's biography.. it's extremely entertaining!

And of course, don't forget to click here and enter the world of the Iron Fey ;)

Book Trailer:

Now, ready for the contest?? This one is easy peasy! No random entry-question, haha I know you're disappointed. And the extra entry is again, completly optional.

-open US/Canada (I'm sorry!)
-ends August 2nd, midnight PST (2 weeks)
-winner chosen by, announced the 8/4
-fill out the form below

Sunday, July 18, 2010

LAST DAY to enter Blogoversary Contest!!

Refer to title :D Just a small reminder, you can have a chance to win TWO really awesome books out of a selection of summer releases.

Ends tonight (7/18) at midnight!

If you haven't already, click HERE to enter!

thank you guys for your awesome entries :p those are some WEIRD food combinations! haha

Winner of this contest announced July 20th.

Ohh... and I've got an awesomesauce surprise for you guys tomorrow!! *cackles*... wth? cackles? oh gawd. How about just *grins*. yeahh... much better....

PS- I've changed my display name (the name that is shown when you comment on blogs) from Audrey; (AyC) to Audrey (holes In My brain). See the top left sidebar if you're confused. I dunno, the AyC initials thing kind of died out and I don't like it anymore. I might change it again but for now, I'm leaving it with a clue to my blog ;) Your thoughts?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

i bought (Non-ya) Books!

Okay, I know what your thinking... big deal, we are in a YA book blogosphere and everybody buys books!! Well, of course your right, but I'm still that girl who gets extrememly happy when I go to a bookstore and come back with some of my favourite objects in life.

I went to a bookstore in Taiwan (eslite) so of course, I was really disappointed to see their kinda small English YA section. They did have some cool titles that I've read before (If I Stay, WGWG, Willow, VA, Max Ride) but not enough. So, I decided that I might as well make the best of things and take this opportunity to buy some books kind of out of my genres.

I've stalked a bunch of blogs, and read a bunch of author interviews so I'm not really sure why but this time at the bookstore, I remembered some people writing about how they liked the love interest in Jane Austen's novel, Persuasion. So I got it ;) Actually, this is getting kind of long so let's list. And I only got 5 books, so it's not really a haul.
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson (too much hype to resist!)

  • Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult (I love her! Such a fab author)

  • House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Now my question to you is, would you read reviews for those books? Because I know my readers love YA, so I don't want to just review it for the heck of it when my audience isn't interested. I'll leave it anonymous and I would extremely appreciate it if you took 15 seconds and clicked a bit, I just want some very minor input xD

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday's Finest (19)

Friday's Finest is a meme hosted by Steff & Justine from A Bookful of Thoughts.

~Post a quote that really stuck to you after reading it in a book.
~Make sure it isn't a spoiler!
~If you'd like, expand on what you think it means and why you chose it.

Not much introduction for this one apart from the fact that this isn’t really a YA book, but one I really enjoyed. Review up soon.

Book: The Road
by Cormac McCarthy

The boy turned away. The man held him. Listen to me, he said.
When your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that never will be and you are happy again then you will have given up. Do you understand? And you can’t give up. I wont let you.


There’s something about that quote that stood out to me amongst a very quote-worthy book. This isn’t the best example of the writing in The Road, nor is it the best example of its substance and depth. It’s just something I liked and marked when I was reading it. True? Maybe. It keeps me thinking long after I finished the novel. Your thoughts?

Also, have you read the book? Did you like it?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

BR: All Unquiet Things

by Anna Jarzab

I picked this one up mainly because an author I really admire, Courtney Summers, absolutely raved about it. How could I resist? (plus add the fact that there is a character named Audrey, haha) I read it as I waited 4 hours when the plane was delayed. Also, sorry for such a long review xD


Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.

Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.

Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.

As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.

My Expectations: Despite the Summers’ stamp of approval, I’ve read some other more lukewarm reviews. I honestly thought it would only be so-so.

Delivery: Exceeded my expectations! Probably my favourite YA book I’ve read this summer, had a lot of different layers.

Put-down-ability: Low! I read it as I waited 4 hours when the plane was delayed, and it kept me very occupied. 3/10

My Thoughts

Despite the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of the novel, I’m just going to skip ahead to things I didn’t like, then go back and impersonate Ms. Positive xD. First, the alternating narrations of Neily and Audrey really didn’t work for me. It was difficult to feel distinct voices so Neily ended up sounding more feminine, and hard to differ from Audrey. It took me a while to get into Audrey’s character because more than once, during her narration, I thought she was Neily.

Second, I couldn’t really sympathize with Carly, the dead girl, because even though the majority of her actions could eventually be explained, I still thought she did some really cruel things. It would take a lot of heart to love her, but I think that’s why I ended up liking Neily. He’s the bitter, angry ex-boyfriend who puts all his efforts into hating her because he cared so much about her, making him a more complex and real character. I could feel the remorse and guilt he brings with him everywhere, and honestly, I thought he was an awesome protagonist.

I really loved the mystery aspect; I loved the fact that this is a decent YA mystery novel that doesn’t feel the need to be over-dramaticized and full of romance. It could just be what it is without adding the ‘what-the-heck, just add it in’ love interests (the ones that are there were well written). There weren’t moments where I was rolling my eyeballs at the predictability or the way characters acted which is always a plus.

I thought the way the pieces fell together, however, was a bit quick. However, I could justify it saying that the way it was written made sure that less people could fit together the pieces, making the ending a completely surprise (call me the slow one, but I never put it together, haha). The exciting climax was well-written, with just the touch of unravelling and desperation required to make it uncheesy (although it was a bit reminiscent of those crime dramas).

The flashbacks that each narrator (constantly) has could be disorienting because they hop to different times in different years, so read carefully! Also, although this note is kind of unrelated, I just wanted to say that I thought the epilogue was pretty solid, one of the better ones I’ve read recently.

Parting Thoughts: I can’t wait to read another Jarzab work, this YA mystery novel was excellent!
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations

9/10 – because I loved the mystery aspect, and the whole premise (let’s solve the mystery!) was a mix of unoriginal and original. I loved the relationship Neily and Audrey had with Carly, not perfect but very real. The switching narrations didn’t work very well, but it was a great technique to get into each character’s mind. I would love to learn the origin of the title, anyone know? A definite recommended read to YA lovers hoping to try a great contemporary mystery book. A

PS- I had a dream about Harry Potter that I don’t remember, but I’ve got a sudden urge to read HP now…. I shoulda brought it with me! I think I’m gonna reread the series again, lol.
PPS- I miss Canada :( and my books. I really want to reread some Melina Marchetta books to feel better… :(
source: random house publishing

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Guest Post: Sean McCartney

Hey guys! I have some very very exciting news!! I’m featuring the very first guest post on my blog, and I’m ecstatic about this. Please give a super big welcome hug to Sean (who will introduce himself (omg i feel so stupid, I'm sooo sorry!) a lot better than I will. still, I'm sure he will appreciate the hug!!.) Voila!

I first want to thank Audrey for allowing me to speak with you today.

My name is Sean McCartney and I am the author of the new YA action adventure series entitled THE TREASURE HUNTERS CLUB: SECRETS OF THE MAGICAL MEDALLIONS.

I wanted to talk with you about book trailers.

I love these. I think this is one of the greatest marketing moves writers can make. I read some articles about it and how much money they cost but truthfully you don’t need to spend a lot or any money to produce a well crafted book trailer.

On most computers is a program called imovie. If you don’t have it you can find one on line and download it for free.

Then you play around with it and start to feel your way about how to put together your own book trailer. There is a manual you can read but why do that? It is much more fun to do trial and error because if you don’t like it just delete it and start over.

I started with a Mother’s Day movie for my wife. Used pictures of the kids and put some titles in there and poof a movie. It caused tears so it must have worked.

The other nice thing is there are enough free pictures, movie clips and music on the Internet that you can really make some good stuff. I am going to have a four part trailer playing on a loop when I do my book signings in early August. I know when I played them for the students at a book talk in New York it made a better impression on them.
If you take your time and have a little patience you can create some wonderful material to use for anything you want to promote.

I want to thank you all again for your time and if you get a chance go and buy a copy of THE TREASURE HUNTERS CLUB: SECRETS OF THE MAGICAL MEDALLIONS at my web site, Barnes and Noble, Amazon or my publisher’s web site


Book Trailer:

***NOTE: I can't seem to get the links to work, even editing HTML! I'm soo sorry, please if you could just copy and paste it into your web browser :s

This is going to be an interactive guest post, so it would really really really mean ten cartons of Haagen-Dazs Coffee ice cream (aka "the world") to me if you guys left some thoughtful comments that Sean can reply to, whether it concerns his new novel, book trailer, or anything else you fancy to say! And again, thank you Sean for such a fun, thoughtful and informative post.

Monday, July 12, 2010

BR: The Red Pyramid

by Rick Riordan
Kane Chronicles #1

I was so excited to get to read this, it sounded awesome :) And Ancient Egypt! cool stuff, go grade 7 social studies...

Summary (goodreads):
Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

My Expectations: I really really enjoyed Percy Jackson series, so I expected more or less the same.

Delivery: A bit below my expectations, but (like PJ series) I think it will improve with each book.

Put-down-ability: Slow beginning, but definitely couldn’t put down the last 150 or so pages. 4/10

My Thoughts

If you follow my goodreads, you could kind of figure out my mindset as I sluggishly moved through the first bit. The plot moved rather slowly during the first 300 or so pages, it was difficult to stay engaged in the storyline. There was a ton of different things going on, along with explaining to the reader about Ancient Egyptian gods and traditions, and despite the fast-moving plot it just felt… slow.

It definitely picked up in the second half though, and I loved the different ideas woven into the storyline. That being said, I recognized a bunch of tidbits from other stories, such as Eragon, Percy Jackson, The Mummy, Max Ride, and even a bit of POTC. It may be because these genres are similar, or it might just be because the other novels/movies are based on the same research The Red Pyramid used, so I would hesitate before calling it a copycat. All in all, the plot was solidly good.

Sadie and Carter Kane themselves were so-so for me. I felt they were written to seriously appeal to a younger audience, probably tweens/early teens because of their extreme likability (almost to a fault) and of course, super-speshul godly powers. They were just a bit too… good. Not to mention they sounded and acted a lot more mature than 12 and 14.

I didn’t really feel distinct voices since the book is written in an alternating narration, I just felt maybe a bit of attitude in Sadie but the voices definitely aren’t comparable to another alt. nar, WGWG. I do think Riordan managed to incorporate some depth to them, but not enough to make them stand out. Also, the minor characters were hilarious (go Khufu!) yet a bit shallow. I liked the mystery of it all, trying to figure out what is going on and who is the bad guy (although honestly, quite reminiscent of Percy Jackson).

Parting Thoughts: Although it felt like a lot of different unoriginal ideas mashed together, still an enjoyable read (albeit long). Definitely going to read the second one!
Rating in HP terms: Acceptable

8/10 – because I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and the awesome dose of Ancient Egypt. It was fascinating to read about all these gods, but there were many (like many) times where I just get that niggling feeling that I’ve read/heard this idea before (for example, the name-power thing from Eragon). I thought the length might make it a bit less appealing, especially because it doesn’t really suck you into the story until the middle. Characters were a bit cookie-cutter, but still very likable. Overall, I liked it and would recommend it to: fans of Percy Jackson, Eragon, action books, books with cool twists, Ancient Egypt, magic… yeah. Read it! B

PS- 4 paragraph review! haha be impressed :P cutting down on that rambling


Okay, I’ve got a lot of news! First, a humongous thank you to all of you who’ve stuck with me and this weird blog through this odd July so far. Read this post (summer vacation one) to get an update. I know I haven’t updated in almost a week! And haven’t been around the blogosphere for way longer than that.

I know I scheduled 5 or so posts before I left, which is why this blog hasn’t been completely stark naked since the 28th, but if you’re curious, Blogger IS blocked in China (I’m in Taiwan right now) so I can’t write anything on-the-go, nor can I visit any of your blogs :(. Also, I guess this means (you’ve probably figured it out now…) no China Blog :(

Darn that dumb Great Firewall of China.

However, if you’re interested, I’m going to post some pictures and stuff about China on that blog, instead of a day-by-day recount of my visit. Be patient though, I’m still trying to sort through them.

I wanted to apologize about not being able to respond to your lovely comments, I will do my best to catch up right now. I do get email notification so I read them all and thank you! They make me so happy knowing that even though I’m not “there-there” you guys still care about what I write. *mwah*

A Blogoversary Giveaway update: Contest will end as planned (7/18) I was originally returning to Shanghai but plans got a bit messed up so all is fine. Speshul surprise on the 19th, and blogoversary winner will be announced on the 20th! I would also like to thank those of you who posted or tweeted about the contest out of aweseom-ness, you guys rock!!

What to Expect on the Blog: I read 5 or so books on the plane or while traveling and wrote down reviews for them, so I will spread them out over August maybe 1 or 2 a week so you can expect those. I will also be cram-writing blog posts during the days I’m in Taiwan, so you can expect regular and on-time memes like Friday’s Finest and Wednesday’s 3 Couples every week through August. All posts you see from now on are most likely pre-scheduled, so therefore formatting oddities aren’t my fault :(

But honestly, it's so nice to see blogger again.

To Recap (or for those too lazy to read through everything):
  • Blogoversary Giveaway end on time July 18th.
  • Sorry for not being able to visit your blogs!
  • Absent from twitter :(
  • Miss the YA Blogosphere :(
  • Will blog somewhat consistently until August 5th, after that it’s up in the air.
  • Will be Back August 28th!!!!! CAN’T WAIT, SRSLY!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday's 3 Couples (11)

Wednesday's 3 Couples is a feature/meme that was created to help me regulate posts and share my love of YA lit couples. It is biweekly, and usually has a theme.

Shoutout to The Golden Eagle and Salarsen who probably unknowingly inspired this week's theme. Remember, if you have any ideas make sure to leave a comment ;)

Theme: Adults/Parents in YA Lit

1. James and Lily Potter (Harry Potter series by JK Rowling)
-Okay, the flashback in OOTP was both sad (poor Snape) and so insightful to the blossoming (erm...) relationship between the two
-Just that scene makes me so insanely curious to know how they actually did end up falling in love
-When they came out of Voldemort's wand in Book 4 and spoke to Harry... *sniff*
-They gave their lives to save their son, nothing is more valuable than that.

2. Jamie and Cora (Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen)
-I liked how they seemed all perfect on the surface but Dessen added a level of depth to them with their own problems
-Loved how they took in treated Ruby, and generally how selfless they were
-Cora is just an amazing woman, I wish I knew one of her in real life
-Jamie is wickedly cool!

3. Mom and Dad (If I Stay by Gayle Forman)
-Yeah, I'm pretty sure those are their actual names! haha, just kidding, but honestly I don't know it, or their last names for the matter.
-I think I'm more in love with the idea of them, because let's face it, they're a bit too perfect and unrealistic.
-They're funny and quirky and have their own little thing going on and it rocks!
-They complement each other really well and are so supportive of Mia :)
-The book was fabulous.. and sad *sigh*

Which ones did I miss? I just have this niggling feeling that I'm missing a really obvious one :s I kind of wanted to include either Frankie or Tom's parents from MM books, but I decided these ones were a bit more well known. Your favourite YA parents?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Movie Thoughts: Leap Year

My Expectations: Kind of low, I thought I had the whole story figured out from the trailer. My friend told me it was a lot better though.

Delivery: Exceeds expectations, but it wasn’t like an amazing movie.

Leap Year is a romantic comedy about Anna who wants to propose to her perfect cardiologist boyfriend of four years, Jeremy, while following the Irish tradition and doing it on leap day. She enlists the help of Irishman Declan when her plane unexpectedly lands to help her get to Dublin in time for the 29th of February. Hilarious ensues as thing after thing goes wrong… you can predict the rest.

I don’t like to drag out my movie reviews because I ramble enough in my book reviews, so I always try to keep this stuff short and sweet.

I liked this movie and just wanted to see it for what it was: a cute romantic comedy that doesn’t require substance to engage the audience. The characters of Anna and Declan were clichéd, but the storyline itself was really kind of funny. The scenes designed to add depth to the two leads lacked convince-ability, but honestly, if you do watch it, don’t look too deep into it. Keep it shallow!

Also, always a bonus, it makes me want to marry an Irish bloke ;)

Popcorn Review: Watch it for a fun, light chick flick, in the sea of chick flicks, it is one of the more likable ones.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday's Finest (18)

Friday's Finest is a new meme hosted by Steff & Justine from A Bookful of Thoughts.

~Post a quote that really stuck to you after reading it in a book.
~Make sure it isn't a spoiler!
~If you'd like, expand on what you think it means and why you chose it.

Dog-eared this one :) Well... I thought it was funny.

Book: The Red Pyramid
by Rick Riordan

Before she could finish, a column of flame erupted in her face. I screamed, sure I'd done something horrible, but when the fire died Zia was still there, looking astonished, her eyebrows singed and her bangs smoldering.

"Oh god," I said. "Sorry, sorry. Do I die now?"
The speaker is Sadie, the younger sister.

...Haha? uhm.. a small chuckle? Grunt? okay... I'll just pretend it's a you had to be there line :P

What are your favourite quotes?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday TBR (2)


Another filler post! Well, this one is a tiny bit explanatory because it's just a list of books I'm planning on reading and reviewing while on vacation. I don't have access to a library, and I doubt there's a wide selection of YA lit... so how about a current list. (links to goodreads)

The Second Trial by Rosemarie Boll (review copy)- sounds great! I can't wait to start, probably a plane-read.

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab (review copy)- uhmm, heavily "endorsed" by Courtney Summers, how can I say no??

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund (won from Cecelia) Killer unicorns, be prepared...

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (won from Castergirls)- thought the first book was pretty good, time for more zombies!! (and then I can actually compare unicorns and zombies!)

Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner (bought)- read the first page, laughed, bought. Also saw this on one of those Top books of 2009 or something lists, can't wait to read it!

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas (bought)- the cover really caught my attentionm, plus the title and summary are really intriguing. I think I've heard of the title before but never really read a review. and OH WOW I just read the first page and it's in verse O.o Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad one... hahaha

... I'm going to have a book-lacking summer, which makes me sad :( What's on top of your TBR list?