Thursday, June 30, 2011

BR: The Demon's Surrender

by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Demon's Lexicon trilogy; book III

I LOVE THIS SERIES. Seriously! One of my favourites. Especially the characters... it's one of the few paranormal books that I absolutely adore, so seeing it come to an end... *sniff* A definite must-buy for me.

WARNING: Minor spoilers for books 1 & 2... you should go read those books instead of my review, methinks ;)

Summary (goodreads)

The Goblin Market has always been the centre of Sin's world. She's a dancer and a performer, secure in her place. But now the Market is at war with the magicians, and Sin's place is in danger. Keeping secrets from the market she loves, struggling with a friend who has become a rival, Sin is thrown together with the Ryves brothers, Nick and Alan - whom she's always despised. But Alan has been marked by a magician, to be tortured as the magician pleases, and as Sin watches Alan struggle to protect the demon brother he loves, she begins to see both brothers in a new light. But how far will brother go to save brother - and what will it cost them all?

My Expectations: I loved book 2 so much, and I expected nothing but a stellar ending.
Delivery: I'll admit... I was slightly disappointed. However, it still had a lot of the elements I loved from the series
Put-down-ability: 4/10

My Thoughts

You know, sometimes there’s books that you just really, really struggle with reviewing. It has nothing to do with enjoyment, but maybe it’s just summer brain-mush that makes me unable to put my thoughts into words. Therefore, I’m going to just go with bullet-form because my brain is not working!

The Demon’s Surrender

  • I can't believe this series is ending!!!! *sniff* I loved the first two books.
  • Sin as a narrator? Uhm, I hope this works out. I was surprised by how much I loved Mae’s POV in book 2, so hopefully I’ll have the same reaction to Sin in this installment.

  • It was really good, but at times, there was too much going on, too many sub-plots.
  • I liked the motivation behind getting the Pearl, but there wasn’t enough resolution.
  • The Aventurine Circle, magicians, demons… loved it.
  • Knives! Swords! Magic!
  • The rivalry between Mae and Sin for the Goblin Market = very well done.
  • The Romance (capital R)- oh this is just too good ;)

  • As an overall arc, I didn’t feel the pacing was... enough. I didn't get the desperation that I wanted, nor did I get the heart-working-overtime like I expected.
  • The action parts were done spectacularly, as were the transitions. It was never boring :)

Characters (and relationships)

  • I wanted a lot more of Nick and Alan. And Mae. And especially Jamie. They were the characters that I fell in love with in the first two books and at times it felt like Sin was too… random to be narrating this crucial last book.
  • Sin is a fantastic character though, confident, fierce, vulnerable, and protective. She’s basically caught in a craphole the entire book, whether it’s hanging out with demons, saving the Market, saving her family.. it get’s crazy and through it all she’s level-headed and just awesome. A true SRB kick-ass heroine.
  • Mae and Sin had the most interesting relationship in the book, they’re rivals to become leader of the Goblin Market, yet they admire and support each other as friends. I though Brennan really managed to explore this complex relationship, and made me hate Mae yet love Mae. 
  • Yes, there was a bit of Mae and Nick, but it’s something like this that made me slightly disappointed about Sin’s POV. I was so invested in Mae’s story after book 2, that the chances to further develop their relationship was hurt because Sin was mostly an outsider in regards to this.
  • ALAN. ALAN!!!! I can’t even. OMG. OMG. ALAN. Quoting Angie from Angieville My love for this boy is utterly indecent.”
  • At the core of this book is family. I’ve said it again and again, it’s books about family that just hit me in the gut, and the sibling love in this book is what made me initially fall in love with it. When Nick said “I missed you” to Alan, I swear I cried, true story. The fact that these siblings would do anything, anything for each other just makes me love them so freaking much.
  • Mae and Jamie were great, but like I mentioned before, MOAR JAMIE PLZ.
  • Nick and Jamie had the best lines ever! The times Jamie was present and not uber-creepy, it was like the whole scene lighted up.


  • YAY! It’s 3rd person, but I didn’t really mind. I really love Brennan’s writing style though, it has hilarious one-liners, it has fast paced action and lots of emotion. Awesomesauce.
  • I know it seems weird but this book is funny. The whole series is full of some top notch dialogue.
  • The writing allowed me to connect with the characters, which is more than I can ask for.

In Conclusion

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: fans of ... demons and supernatural and urban fantasy! And slightly paranormal.. also books about brothers-- I swear, the best books are always about brothers. And family.
Acknowledgements: 4/5

8/10 – because it wasn’t perfect for me, but I still liked it. I think I wanted different things than what I got; however, I was happy with the conclusion of this novel, the ending, and of course, the world of demons and magicians. The relationships between Sin and various characters were carried out beautifully, though I did wish I could have gotten more from the Ryves and Davies. I really wish I could have overly-gushed in this review but I can't :(

The themes, romance, writing, characters.. I’m heartbroken that this series has come to an end and I have to say goodbye to these characters... that’s the sign of a fabulous series, and let me tell you, this series is fabulous.

Some awesomesauce quotes:
“Your plan is always killing, Nicholas,” Alan said. “It worries me. I want you to have many goals”
~I can just imagine Alan saying this, can't you??

“Think about crack!” Jamie added, clearly struck by inspiration. “Yes! It’s like I’m a crack addict, and you’re my friend the drug dealer who gives me crack for free, and I know you’re just trying to be a good friend, but every time I think ‘Wow, this crack might be a little bit of a problem for me,’ you’re there to say, ‘Have some more delicious crack.’ Am I making sense?”

Nick stared. “Hardly ever in your entire life”

“Okay, well, it has to stop.”

“Fine,” Nick said, turning his face away.

“Not the friend thing,” Jamie told him, sounding a little anxious. “Just ease up on the magic crack.”

“You’re weird,” Nick grumbled, but he turned his face back to critically examine the new hand.

“You’re weird,” Jamie returned. “As soon as this whole magical war is over, I’m going to make us some friendship bracelets, and we will wear them everywhere because we are best friends.”

He gave Nick a beaming smile.
~oh Jamie. *hugs*

Jamie looked startled, and then grinned. “Oh my gosh, Nick. You’re not wearing a shirt! This must be one of those exciting days ending in Y.
~*flails* at the amazingness. Many of you would really like Nick. He has his shirt off often. Though I've completely converted to Alan.


source: bought
author website / livejournal / twitter

PS- I'm sorry for this really badly-written review :( I just can't get my thoughts straight. :(

Other reviews:
The Crooked Shelf
The Book Smugglers
Mundie Moms

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

giveaway reminders!!

Just a quick heads up for those who are oblivious to the going-ons of the blog, I have 3 giveaways ending in the next few days!!

All contests are open internationally.

TOMORROW night (June 30) at 11:59 PST, the giveaway for my 1000 Followers Contest ends. WIn a $15 GC to The Book Depository!

JULY 1 at 11:59, my 2 year blogoversary giveaway ends! Win one of my favourite YA Contemporary books!

you can win one of these! :)

JULY 2 (3 days from now!) my #namethatbook challenge + givewaway ends! There's a picture of 10 books and you have to guess which books they are! You guys have done pretty well :)

what book is this? :)

All winners wil be announced in early July.

So enter enter enter!!

Waiting on Wednesday

hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Firstly, Linds at bibliophile brouhaha is hosting a very awesome Create-a-Cover contest for 50 Cent (yes, 50 Cent)'s new YA book. Click here for more deets! :)

I saw this on Twitter on Monday, and I was like "dude, I am so waiting on that" so here I am.

The Disenchantments
by Nina Lacour

(no summary yet - I don't need one, do you? Just look at the cover!)

Add this book on Goodreads!

The Disenchantments is released February 16, 2012 from Dutton.


Quoting this tweet: "it involves a boy on tour with a small-time all-girl band. Heartbreak, motels, uncertainty." Oh my gosh, I want this now. I read and completely loved her first novel, Hold Still (read my review) which is probably why I'm super stoked for this one.

What are you waiting on? And your thoughts on the cover? And yeah, I probably should have waited for a summary before I featured this, but ah well, I just couldn't resist :)

author twitter / website

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

villains Or journeys?

It’s all about the journey… or is it?

Villains vs. Journeys

There are two types of books in YA; there are books about the journey, about a character thrown in a situation and experiencing personal growth until some sort of conclusion (Jellicoe Road). Then there are books where the heroes battle the villains (Harry Potter). Of course, there are always the books in the middle with bad guys disguising a book about personal growth (Blood Red Road), and personal growth disguising the good vs. evil battle (The Iron King).

Well, that’s how I would categorize things (as in super simplified).

And so I’ve been thinking... if you had to choose, which one do you prefer? Books about the personal journey of the character, or the epic battle against the villainous antagonist?

First, yes, you can say that the best books have the best of both worlds, and I would agree with you. But I'm just saying if you stripped it down and had to choose one or the other...

Perhaps the greatest work of YA fiction, Harry Potter (girl, don’t judge me) is a good versus evil battle. It’s the battle between love and hate, between the good guys, death eaters, and the people residing in the gray zones. It’s the experience of supporting Harry and his attempts to defeat the darkest wizard alive, thus creating a tense, thrilling and fantastic adventure spanning seven glorious books.

A thing I love about these battle books is the final showdown. I’ll call your bluff if you said your heart wasn’t racing and your palms weren’t sweaty when Harry walked into the Forbidden Forest and I’d be lying if I said my heart didn’t lurch every few pages when another scene broke my heart.

I find books with a central theme of good guys vs. bad guys are “large scale,” as in “go big or go home.” Just think of Vampire Academy, it’s the Guardians vs. the Strigoi. It has an epic, action movie feel to it as Rose and her friends fight tooth and nail to be victorious. It’s the adrenaline rush you feel with these types of reads and the ones where after the final page is over, you slump back and think “Wow”. Divergent? Tris vs. the big bad faction (-ish. I think Veronica Roth hates me for what I just wrote.)

So obviously there’s a lot, and I mean a lot, to love about these exhilarating battles, but what about the journey books?

I notice in reviews of books I love, I stress about the journey. I stress about how it’s the journey of the character that breathed life into the book, and it’s about the experiences and hardships that shapes the character and changes him or her from the first page to the last.

I also realize that these ‘journey’ books are much more common in contemporary YA (my favourite genre).. coincidence? I think not. Where She Went. The Piper's Son, Like Mandarin. books by Sarah Dessen, John Green... they're all books about characters.

Because for me, it’s the characters that give meaning to a book, it’s the characters that can redeem a bad plot and the voice that can push me past boring scenes. Between the pages, character growth is vital to a book and it occurs because of experiences that don’t necessarily have to do with a ‘bad guy’. So for me, I don’t need the villain— the antagonist— to be a person or cooperation. I’m happy with reading the internal struggles, motivations, and heart of a teenager just trying to figure out what the heck life is throwing at her.

I’ll always remember this quote and pretty much my inspiration for this post.
I remember asking, “What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?” and my father said, “Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand.” - On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I’m a journey kind of gal. What about you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

faves of 2011... so Far - the Characters

The extremely awesome Nomes from Inkcrush is doing this feature of our favourite books read in 2011... so far. Click HERE to find out more and check out her blog! Also, you can find all the other wonderful bloggers participating in this shin-dig (trust me, you get lots of recommendations this way).


1. best female POV
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- Anna, you are seriously amazing. FOR REAL.
Runner-up: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly- Andi’s narration left me breathless and I just want to give her a hug.

2. best male POV
Split by Swati Avasthi. I have seriously been lacking male POVs, so this one easily takes the cake. This book is made fantastic because of the brilliant chracters.

3. Best couple <3
This is too hard. WHY, Nomes WHY? Four and Tris from Divergent. I love kick-ass-ness.
Close, close second is Ryan and Carly from Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar. And Jack and Saba from Blood Red Road by Moira Young.

4. who i so want to be best friends with

dammit. Anna again :) from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

5. who i fell completely in love with (new literary crush)

Nomes, are you serious?? JUST ONE? Formal protest. Ryan from Raw Blue. Four from Divergent. Jack from Blood Red Road. Hale from Uncommon Criminals (HALE!). A bonus for good luck: Alan from The Demon's Surrender ;)
Oh man, Thomas Mackee and Adam Wilde are so angry at me right now, I wish I’ve read their books this year ;)

6. worst (best) villain
Why can’t I choose Mayor Prentiss? I’ll go with…Ladybird Hope from Beauty Queens. Because she’s hilarious and ridiculously well… ridiculous. I heard she was loosely based on Sarah Palin. I can’t think of a BAMF villain right now.

7. best character twist (who you loved then hated or vice versa)

I’m sorry, but I’ll have to steal Nomes’ choice of Christian from Split by Swati Avasthi. As soon as I saw that name on her list, I knew it was the absolute perfect choice. I really wasn’t a fan of him at the beginning, but loved him by the end.

8. best kick-arse female
Tris from Divergent. Actually… I think she’s tied with Saba from Blood Red Road, both of these heroines are pretty kick-ass.

9. best kick-arse male
Originally, I only had one name but thinking about it, I added about 10. Anyways, here's a few in no particular order. Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth. Alan (ALAN!) from The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan. Hale from Uncommon Criminals (He’s a thief. ‘nuff said.) Jack from Blood Red Road.

10. broke your heart the most
Charlie from Please Ignore Vera Dietz. This was a really tricky one, but if you’ve read the book, you’d know exactly what I’m talking about and why I chose this character.
Runner ups: Carly from Raw Blue, and Conor from A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

11. best/worst character names

Best: Andi (Revolution), Vera (Please Ignore Vera Dietz), Mandarin (Like Mandarin), Kat (Katarina- Heist Society)

Worst: Grace (ahh, sorry, I really don’t like the name, Like Mandarin), Nailer (Ship Breaker), Beatrice (thank god she changed it to Tris, Divergent), Four (or his real name. both are ew, Divergent), Leon (Birthmarked—okay, this is just terrible on any level)

On the fence: Mclean (What Happened to Goodbye), Rhine (Wither), Julliette (Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi), Sin (Cynthia- The Demon’s Surrender)

What about last names? I think authors usually do pretty well with last names. Here are some I really like:
Dietz (Vera Dietz), Ryves (Nick and Alan from The Demon’s Surrender), Hale (HALE! from Uncommon Criminals), St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss)

I would love to feature covers, but I just know my blogger will act funky and mess up the pictures. Here’s just a list then :(
5 Best Covers
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  • Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Not too many repeats, but definitely a lot of tough choices! Sorry for not being able to choose favourites :p

Anyways, I also have happy news! I got a MacBook Pro! I'm pretty insanely stoked about it, it's pretty freaking amazing (but I'm biased). It's so shiny! I'm calling it Leonard for now, but my friends make fun of me. But that name just.. fits ;p Enough rambling, happy reading!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

BR: Uncommon Criminals

by Ally Carter
Heist Society series; book II aka Ocean's 12 (jk)

This has been on my wishlist for ages, and it was perhaps my most eagerly anticipated June release. It's just that... feeling in my gut that's telling me YOU HAVE TO READ IT!

Summary (goodreads):

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

My Expectations: Not super high, but I definitely expected to be entertained like I was with book 1.
Delivery: It didn't blow me out of the water, but it's super fun and that's what I wanted.
Put-down-ability: 4/10

My Thoughts

You know what? I think I finally figured it out. This book is about a con, Katarina Bishop’s con.. but it’s also a con itself. It’s a con on the reader, me, in which Carter and Kat spin an elaborate plot that refuses to give in to any suspicions yet makes the reader fidget with anticipation. It’s a con that leaves me feeling as if I’ve been taken for a ride, yet I can barely get a grasp on what type of ride it is. It’s not simply a book telling a story, it’s an insanely fun, addicting and entertaining experience. I find I rather like being conned.

Uncommon Criminals is a sequel, but in some ways it feels like a second episode as opposed to a sequel with an overlapping plot arc from book 1. People and names are carried over, yet the heist is completely new. However, it’s when Carter brings back the old characters that I feel that I’ve finally slipped back into my favourite jeans. Kat, Gabrielle, Simon, Hale (HALE!)… they’re bright, quirky, completely lovable, and make the book come alive.

I adored the crew in book 1, and I’m not disappointed when Uncommon Criminals brings them back in full stride. The tension between Kat and Hale (HALE!) is dangerously good as something effortlessly hovers between them despite few words spoken. Love it. As much as I love the rest of the characters, I really wished they could have been developed better. On the surface, they’re gloriously interesting but there’s very little beneath the shiny exterior.

The plot is just as I hoped, it’s high-stakes and expansive, and it’s also very much about Kat. Events and people revolved around her, which I thought was interesting but also a bit too… centered. I wanted a bit more overall development, I guess. The book was very slightly predictable, but there’s enough twists to keep things different—along with a colourful cast to keep me engaged. It's the way that the story was told that I think made it like a 'con', readers are never given the full story, only bits and pieces in order to formulate theories, only to have another surprise pop up a few pages later.

I’ve never really been a fan of Carter’s writing, but it’s not something that really bothered me in this book so I won’t focus too much about it. Third person POV and felt a bit too repetitive is what I’ll say.

It’s hard to really sum up how I felt about it. On one hand I felt this book had flaws and plot holes that hurt my suspension of disbelief, but on the other hand I was completely entertained by the shin-digs of Kat and her crew. I thought the plot was very well done, and honestly, at the end of the day, this book made me happy.


Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: People looking for fun books! And I don't say this lightly, because this book really is fun. I would highly recommend this series :)
Acknowledgements: 2.5/5

8.5/10 – because it’s entertaining and kept a smile on my face. I love all the characters in this book, but wish they had a bit more depth to them. Hale remains one of my favourite fictional boys, and I’m loving the way Carter is handling the Kat’s well… life ;) Oceans 13? Bring it on! Great plot, likeable characters...a fabulous book with all the sparkle!

source: bought
author website / blog

Friday, June 24, 2011

faves of 2011... so Far - the Books

This really cool feature is hosted by the very awesome Nomes from Inkcrush! If you couldn't tell yet, I love her blog so you guys should go check it out. Also, I apologize for lack of more covers, I'm too lazy to figure out how to make them line up without wanting to incessantly *headdesk* because I'm pretty much blogger-dumb to figure stuff like that out. I only do left/right/center aligning for pictures... :P

This feature is a mini awards ceremony for our favourite books we've READ so far in 2011! Here it goes!


1. favourite book read so far in 2011

-nuhuh, not gonna answer that! It will give away my year-end list, I think (and yes, this will be the only question I won’t answer… probably) Don’t hate me! *cackles*

2. most powerful book

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar
-man, this book gave me chills. So good!!!

3. brilliantly funny

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray!
-No way I could give this award to any other book... serious lulz. My gosh, I wish I could read this 5 times, then quote from it endlessly the way I do with Friends. You guys know exactly what I mean.
-close runner-up is Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty-- brilliant and funny as well :)

4. best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I won’t even do the manly “nah, that’s water from the ceiling” crap, I totally cried. It's not outrageous-- it's subtle, beautiful, and quietly gorgeous.
So many runner-ups! There's Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King, spunky but definitly ache-y.
I so wish I could mention Where She Went by Gayle Forman, but I read it last year :(

5. most beautiful story

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Eeeep, I love this book SO HARD. It's full of all the angst and grief I love, lots of historical fiction woven in and the story is just so beautiful.
Super close runner-ups: Split by Swati Avasthi... an amazing story of brothers, redemption and family.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - because it's original, funny, and so awesome! I think I can find beauty in that :)

6. delicious rainy day comfort read

I bought and reread Graceling by Kristin Cashore, I think it’s a book that I will never get sick of... definitely for those rainy days.
Runner up (another buy + reread) is Heist Society by Ally Carter (MORE HALE PLZ) and another buy + reread is North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley (MORE JACOB PLZ). And Anna and the French Kiss (MORE ETIENNE PLZ)
.. I have a thing for fictional boys. Hi. Nice to meet you.

7. adrenalin-fuelled, unputdownable award

Divergent by Veronica Roth. I just want to do some mad fistpumping like one of those steroid monkeys because I just get excited when we talk about this book!

8. the beautiful prose award

Blood Red Road by Moira Young. Any time I compare anything to Patrick Ness… shoo-in.
Just missed out: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard.

9. most atmospheric and vivid setting

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
-ohh the Washokey wildwinds :) Gorgeous setting.

10. i-so-want-to-go-there award

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
—PARIS! Also: Revolution which also takes place in Paris, but lets face it: Anna knows Etienne, so if I go to her boarding school I could know him too. *swoon*
*starts packing*

11. most original and imaginative

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. This man is a freaking… I dunno… spider? As in the spiders that have those icky but pretty webs… okay I’ll stop now because I kind of hate spiders and I don’t hate Levithan… OKAY. Here’s the deal. His words are like spider webs because they are pretty and not gross at all. Why do I even try.

12. best under-appreciated, hidden gem book

Nothing by Janne Teller—the more I think about it, the more I like it. It's a freaking Printz book too!
Also, Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian- my friends, this YA contemporary is AWESOME. You are seriously missing out if you've skipped this.

13. i-had-no-idea-i-would-love this-so award

Blood Red Road by Moira Young- totally blew my mind. The writing, the setting, the characters… l-l-l-luuuuurved it.

14. most haunting story

A Monster Calls by Patrick ness. Oh the TEABS (thanks FYA ladies)
Oh so close: Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess... haunting is the perfect word for it.

15. outside my comfort zone but gosh how i loved it

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty- it’s hilarious, funny, heartwarming, honest… written in LETTER FORM (which is what I'm counting as out-of-comfort-zone)!
The more I think about it, the worse this choice is. I mean, it's contemporary YA which basically is my comfort zone! :P OHKAY I'll admit it, this isn't that much "out-there"... I should probably just pick a paranormal book since I really tend to stay away from them....
Oh, what about a Middle Grade? Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow by Nathan Bransford.. didn't love it but it fits the category 70%ish ;)

16. series that i’m loving

Blood Red Road (Dustlands trilogy) by Moira Young! Close runner up is Divergent :)

17. most memorable voice award

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. What made this book stand out is Anna's relatable-ness, and her endearing, endless charm (and St. Clair). All comes down to Perkin's genius writing!

18. completely awesome premise award

Wither Lauren DeStefano :) Sister wives are fascinating... admit it :p

19. would make the best movie

Beauty Queens
by Libba Bray *fistpumps* someone cast Sarah Palin stat!

20. want to re-read already

Blood Red Road by Moira Young. It's been a couple weeks, but I still can't get this book out of my head!

Ohkay, obviously I have a LOT of repeats here (Blood Red Road = 4)… I wish I read more books! I have so many awesome ones waiting on my nightstand, I think I’ll even do an IMM vlog this Sunday because I’m so excited! I love my library!

Also, I'M DONE SCHOOL. Like I've been saying that for weeks now, but seriously, all the exams are done (though the Chemistry one I did went tragically... *sigh* I have moped for around 5 hours, and I'm hopefully recovering by reading. I want some happy books-- any suggestions???)

And thanks Nomes for hosting this wonderful feature-list-thing! :) So much fun!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

BR: Split

by Swati Avasthi

Book of the Month for June =)

I read a really fantastic review at Inkcrush which convinced me to pick this one up. I've seen it around but I'm glad I finally got a chance to just sit down and read it.

Summary (goodreads):

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.

He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret.

At least so far.

Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again? Readers won’t be able to put this intense page-turner down.

My Expectations: Pretty high, but not too high. I thought it would be good.
Delivery: WOAH. A beautiful, memorable story full of brilliant characters.
Put-down-ability: I stayed up till 3:30AM finishing this, it's so engrossing. 2/10

My Thoughts

There’s usually two reactions I get after finishing a book. One is me racing off to write a review, eager to share my thoughts and put my opinions into words. The other is sitting back and thinking “how am I supposed to review this? How am I supposed to be putting what I’m thinking into words?” Split definitely belonged in the latter category.

Starting with one of the most captivating first chapters I’ve read in a long time, Split is narrated by Jace Witherspoon who has just been kicked out of his abusive home. Driving all the way to New Mexico in hopes of finding safety with his brother he hasn’t seen in years, Jace embarks on a journey of self-discovery, growth and redemption.

Man, I fell in love with the characters in Avasthi’s book. It’s incredible how defined and full they were, they had flaws, quirks, and a whole lot of heart. Jace and his brother Christian have solidified themselves on my “best brothers” list and reminds me why I love books about family so much.

Because Split is ultimately a book about family. It’s about the broken homes and broken hearts that splits young souls and traps old souls, it’s about the families that are there for you and the families that are not. It’s about mothers, fathers, and brothers, and it’s about the complex, imperfect, interwoven relationships between people tied together by blood. And this novel really hit it on the head with rich themes and even richer development. Ace.

The writing style was another huge bonus for me because it took me no time to sink comfortably into Jace’s mind. Told from a refreshingly smooth first person POV, the narration was engaging and authentic. Plus he plays soccer and jogs! Wow, characters who have hobbies surprise me every now and then. I loved this aspect of the book because as an athlete, I’m surprised by the lack of sports in books I read. I thought the romance was weak at first, but when I learned the underlying reasons for his actions, it felt much more real.

The plot itself was good, but ultimately it was the characters that carried the story. Jace’s fear of becoming his father and the strain it put on his actions, along with the burning desire to redeem himself after a disgusting act made him an incredibly sympathetic character. I don’t want to delve too much into domestic abuse despite it playing a huge role in the book—you should just read it for yourself. I thought it was very well done.

I thought the minor things (such as the chess queens, turkey dinner, photography, etc) tied together a story that could have gotten carried away as an ‘issue/abuse’ book. While pacing could have been a bit sharper (for example, sometimes I felt that too much was happening at once while at other times, weeks went by in sentences) but overall, Split was a beautiful book with brilliant characters.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: ALL YA Contemp fans, people who think books about brothers are the best.
Acknowledgements: 3/5

8.9/10 – because it was SO GOOD. I can’t gush enough about the strongly realized characters and the heartwrenching familial relationships. Everything was just a pleasure to read: the writing, the plot, the great development of characters. Highly, highly recommended!!

source: library
author website / blog / twitter

Winner of the 2010 Cybil Awards- YA

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

blogoversary Giveaway part II: #namethatbook

Welcome to day 2 of my silly little celebration :)

Today's contest idea was created by Erin Bowman (twitter, blog) and it's a TON of fun... even when we aren't competing against lightning fast typers :p Thanks Erin for letting me borrow your idea!

Prize: ANY one of the books below! They are good books, trust me.
Runner up: $5 Amazon Gift Card + extra pats on the back

-I will take a picture of a page from a book, and you will NAME THAT BOOK!
~ Fill out THIS FORM with your guesses. Please do not leave your answers in the comments, they will be deleted!
-winners chosen by random draw (each correct answer = 1 entry), winner is not based on the person who 'got the most' :)
-open Internationally, ends July 2nd


Simple, right?

There will be 10 pictures, and you just name as many as you can. These are all books I loved and I tried to include passages that would make it easier for you guys to figure it out. Some are a bit tougher than others ;)

If you have ANY questions, no matter how silly they may seem, leave them in the comments and I'll get back at you!

book 1

book 2

book 3

book 4

book 5

book 6

book 7

book 8

book 9

book 10 (this one might be tougher, so here's a hint. Author's initials = JD)

Also, you can come back and answer ones you missed, just make sure your name/email is the same and I'll just add your entries together!

Have fun. Play fair. Stay awesome.

Stay tuned for more fun stuff :) Click here for more contests!