Monday, February 28, 2011

February, lookin' back

Did ya'll watch the Oscars last night? Like/dislike? James Franco had me raising my eyebrows, and I'm wondering, for those who've seen The King's Speech, would you recommend? I really want to see it... okay, moving on.

Can I just start by saying February was a FABULOUS READING MONTH for me?!? I read so many amazing books, and I don't think I disliked even one! YAY. And trust me, this isn't me being 'easy' on books, I have picky standards and all these novels have been rocking my world.


This is February in Review at holes in my brain.

Book Reviews (8)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Delirium by Lauren Oliver


Thoughts

Oh my gosh, I think I immensely enjoyed every single book I read this month, they were all special in their own way. I finished quite a few books too which is nice because I've been crazy busy. I wanted to include books read as well, but alas, I guess you'll have to wait until reviews are posted.

Book of the Month

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (9.3/10)! It was a pretty tight race until this past weekend when I devoured this gem. Totally amazing. I hope you liked my review ;)

Honourable Mentions

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien - it was such a clever and thrilling dystopian. Also, The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan, ooh, you can expect gushing when I put out my review, simply exquisite.

Both these novels got 9.1/10 from me.

Also, this month I...
*
Had my first interview with an author! Siobhan Vivian, author of Not That Kind of Girl. Exciting!
*
Offered some tips on stopping your procrastination streak
*
Featured two covers on "Another Cover": Supernaturally and So Silver Bright
*
Made a list of Top 5 Reasons to Choose Book Boyfriends over Real Ones!
*
Gave my thoughts on the cutest movie, Despicable Me
*

Parting Thoughts

Very great reading month, not so much school-wise though. I'm stressed as ever and there's so much grad stuff coming up that I don't even want to think about to be honest. Anyways, here's to a less stressful March :) With books just as good. Also, I noticed on the "also, I" list I didn't have that many extras, I'll try to change that next month.

Looking Ahead

I know I said last month I was gonna get a new header, and yes, it will come soon sometime xD Also, in April, I'm posting an interview with the amazing Gayle Forman! Haha, I'm excited, and it's two months away. Also, I'm searching out some more Aussie YA which I am just loving, so I hope to have something after finishing up with Jaclyn Moriarty books. Also, spring break is coming up soon!!!!!!! *so insanely excited* except it means more due dates :(


Sunday, February 27, 2011

BR: Anna and the French Kiss

by Stephanie Perkins

Book of the Month for February =)

There was actually a ton of hype for this book following its release, with bloggers and authors alike just RAVING about it. However, the cover and the title brought some serious skepticism from me... but still, I was dying to read it because I wanted to see if it was as good as everyone said!

Summary (goodreads):

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

**
My Thoughts

So I could write a straight-forward review with gushing adjectives and hopefully well-formed senteces but screw it. I mean, this review is funner, right?


You will LOVE this book if you fulfill one or more of the following:
  • Have a heart
  • Are relatively emotionally stable
  • Have a brain
  • Are literate or have functioning ears
  • Own an imagination
  • Likes* to read
  • Are a female
  • Or maybe even a male
  • Dreams of perfect boys with beautiful hair and accents
  • Dreams of imperfect boys with height challenges and crooked teeth
  • Thinks the cover and title aren’t doing the book any favours
  • Likes Paris (or the idea of it)
  • Believes in love
  • Is cynical about love
  • Likes thin mints
  • Likes to feel happy occasionally
  • Likes to be constantly happy
  • Likes to grin while reading
  • Likes to swoon while reading
  • Likes endearing protagonists
  • Likes cheering in movies as that cute boy finally gets the courage to ask the main character out
  • Enjoys reading books with great writing
  • Likes my blog
  • Likes Harry Potter
  • Likes awesome authors like John Green, Sarah Dessen, and Maureen Johnson
  • Are a Nerdfighter (DFTBA)
  • Dislikes Nicholas Sparks, or whatever “non-romance-genre-but-who-are-you-kidding” books he writes or stands for

WHY you will love it:
  • The writing is amazing, it's witty and sharp and funny and ten type of lovely.
  • Anna is a relatable, flawed and completely endearing protagonist.
  • Étienne St. Clair is an imperfect yet perfect love interest. He used “pants” as a curse word.
  • The relationship development is developed, like holy crap it is
  • All characters are developed and evolve throughout the course of the book
  • It’s in Paris!
  • It's gourmet literature**.
  • It’s funny. And cute.
  • It will make you happy.
  • It will surprise you by how funny and cute it is. And you won’t understand why you’re grinning so much because it’s an understated type of funny and cute. Which I think is the best kind.


You will most likely NOT enjoy this book if you fulfill FOUR or more of the following characteristics:
  • You hate puppies
  • You hate sunshine and rainbows and the smell of spring and idea of Paris
  • You belong in a Satanic Cult that butchers books
  • You eat paper for fun
  • You feel you are above literature (gasp)

Rating in HP Terms:
baby, it's Outstanding.
Recommended for: Seriously?
Acknowledgements: This girl knows how to write her mercis, 5/5!

9.3/10 – because I loved it. I loved the characters and the way they were so well crafted, how they’re relatable and yes, I even loved their flaws. I loved the writing (only had a small grievance about the emphasis on St. Clair's beauty..), how there was both subtle and obvious humour caught between the pages. I loved the plot because it was both fun and serious, and interesting things happen. I loved how I could NOT put down the book. But above all, I loved how it didn’t disappoint me, especially when I thought I would be the black sheep who wouldn’t see what the big deal was. It feels nice to not be disappointed. Please read it and spread the word, because our world can use more books like Anna and the French Kiss.







*Please note that the use of “like” can range from slight enjoyment to OMG LOVE in all cases of its use in this post.
**It
will catch on

Source: bought
author website / blog / twitter

Saturday, February 26, 2011

anti-procrastination tips from an amateur

Remember way back when when I posted: Procrastination Tips from a Professional?? Well, today I am here to do quite the opposite... I know. You can pick those jaws off the floor now... yes, now. You look funny.

Here are some ANTI-Procrastination tips! And since I am pathetically bad at my own 'process', I deemed myself an amateur, perhaps one step up from a novice. So boo ya.



1. Think about all that work you should be doing. Guilt trip yourself. Yep, you heard me, don't avoid it. Think about it! Make yourself feel terrible about not doing anything! This obviously does not necessarily mean "actually do it" but hey, if you actually do do it, congratulations, you have passed.


2. Go get some food. Are you back? Alright, now before you put that delicious cookie, or that apple, or that New York style cheesecake with warm berry sauce and whipped cream.... oh sweet jesus. Where was I?

Oh right, so before you eat it, think about how that fine line between boredom and hunger seems to be fuzzy. You're not really hungry, are you? You're just bored. Which means you aren't doing anything!!! Awesome, now re-route to Step 1 immediately. Do not waste time contemplating your hunger any longer! GUILT TRIP away.


3. Open up Twitter*. Go check, do you have any @replies? What about the latest awesomesauce tweets from your favourite authors? Oh look! That debut author is on the NY Times Bestseller list! Tweet a "congratulations + uber-enthusiastic emoticon". Now... STOP. Shouldn't you be doing work? Close that window, now. Yes, now before you are sucked into the evil world of Tweetcrastination** Open up the Word document and then you can either:
  • Reroute to Step 1
  • Actually do your assignment

4. Refresh your blog page. And as you're refreshing it, think about all the work you could be doing as the screen flickers anew. Maybe you don't need to check if you have a new comment. Maybe you don't have to check if a blog on your blogroll has been updated. Yeah.. that sounds reasonable, huh? Now keep this in mind as you open your textbook and get down to studying!


5. Look over you plans from yesterday***. Is there something you should be doing?... Yes? So how about you try and block the ADD in your cerebellum and follow that amazing plan that will have you done all your homework in a few short hours****.


6. If these truly and honestly don't work, you can always just crack open a book and say it counts as literature enrichment*****.

##

Well there you have it! Straight from the horse's mouth, if you care to say. Please note that these methods have a 98% margin of error. And yes, I realize a lot of this has to do with guilt-tripping yourself to get yourself to do work, but hey, who says that quitting procrastination cold-turkey was easy?

You are very welcome.

If you'd like, this amateur would love some more anti-procrastination tips, so make sure you leave them in the comments below. Now stop reading this and do the work you're probably supposed to be doing this weekend.







*Yep, that was a shameless plug for my own twitter account. Wait, your not following it?? Well, do it now! @pinkcreamsoda
**yes, it's a word
***plans made as a by-product of procrastination, naturally
****ha ha ha... who are you kidding
*****in getting your parents off your back, this method has an 93% success rate with parents of regular kids and a 12% success rate with parents of bloggers. I say it like it is.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday's Finest (35)

Friday's Finest is hosted by Justine at A Bookful of Thoughts :)

Rules:
~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.
**

It's kind of nice to know for once exactly what I'm posting on this blog today, it's very much been in limbo for the last couple weeks and I've got lots of ideas floating around and such... Anyways, I knew exactly what book I would be taking the quote from.

Book: The Lover's Dictionary
by David Levithan

Quote:
reservation, n.

There are times when I worry that I've already lost myself. That is, that my self is so inseparable from being with you that if we were to separate, I would no longer be. I save this thought for when I feel the darkest discontent. I never meant to depend so much on someone else.

**

Honestly, I totally adored this book. All the 'dictionary entries' are so quotable that I pretty much flipped to a random page and picked it. I love the honestly and the mixed emotions portrayed in those mere pages. Expect a glowing review soon :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

BR: Feeling Sorry for Celia

by Jaclyn Moriarty
Ashbury/Brooksfield series; book I

I initially read The Year of Secret Assignments (book 2 of the series) and it didn't really make a difference (apart from sparking my interest in the author) because I never felt out of the loop for this one. It has a completley different set of characters, yet the style of letters and notes still remained, to my delight =]

Summary (goodreads):

"The Association of Teenagers" is coming down pretty hard on Elizabeth Clarry. What is she to do when her best friend Celia keeps disappearing, her absent father suddenly reappears, and her communication with her mother consists entirely of wacky notes left on the refrigerator? And now, because her English teacher wants to rekindle the "Joy of the Envelope" in the "Age of the Internet," a complete and utter stranger knows more about Elizabeth than anyone else.

But Elizabeth is on the verge of some big changes. She is about to outgrow a friend, discover a great new friend, kiss the sexiest guy alive, and run in a marathon. Who needs "The Association of Teenagers" anyway?!

Jaclyn Moriarty's hilariously candid novel shows that the roller coaster ride of being a teenager is every bit as fun as it is harrowing.
**

My Thoughts

Upon finishing Feeling Sorry for Celia there really isn’t any doubt in my mind that by the end of 2011, I will have read every one of Jaclyn Moriarty’s novels. I immensely enjoyed The Year of Secret Assignments and this time around I had more of an inkling of what to expect. And to stay with the Moriarty review theme, here is a list-format review :)

What I felt was just okay:

1. The plot. I found it was hard to carry on a plot that will keep me flipping pages just because of the format, although I will say I definitely kept flipping pages because the whole package was just so entertaining.

Who I didn’t like:

1. C + S (you can probably figure out who they are)

2. The Manager of “The Society of People Who Are Definitely Going to Fail High School (and Most Probably Life as Well!)”… I swear that this guy is hiding in my brain right now.

What I loved:

1. The dynamics of friendship Moriarty managed to include in her novel, the fact that she emphasizes the growth and change of relationships.. the bonds that mend and break and form... just gorgeous.

2. The humour!! Again, this book was FUNNY. HILARIOUS, even. I think what I enjoyed the most weren’t the anonymous notes or the letters from Celia.. no, it was the ‘letters’ from the various ‘societies’ aka Elizabeth’s subconscious, including…
  • The Association of Teenagers.
  • Take a Deep Breath and Calm Down Society.
  • COLD HARD TRUTH ASSOCIATION.
  • The Society of Beautiful People (SOB. P).
  • Young Romance Association.
  • The Instant Replay Society.
  • Best Friends Club
  • … and many more.

3. The mother-father-daughter-stepbrother-stepmother-etc thing going on. The Family thing. It’s not simply restricted to funny, there is definitely a layer of depth that is emotionally honest.

4. Christina. And the fact that it's not all about Elizabeth.

5. The unpredictability at the end regarding the boy ;)

6. The ending itself, I found it was a realistic and even idealistic result of everything that went on through the course of the book. It felt like the natural flow of things as people, teens especially, undergo change. I loved that it never felt forced.

7. The honesty behind the novel, which I found held together the strong foundation. Moriarty writes adolescent feelings in such a believable manner, it never comes out contrived or clichéd, just truth. Elizabeth was such a relatable character with both major and minor problems that are gradually developed, and honestly I would love to spend a day with her, she’s that awesome.

  • And I'll include a quote that made me laugh out loud, it's when Elizabeth is writing to Christina:
Thanks for skipping commerce to write to me too. I’m skipping liturgical dance right now to write to you, but it’s not really a fair exchange. I mean, I can’t think of a single point in my life where I’m going to be in crisis because of not knowing how to dance liturgically.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: Contemporary YA fans, anyone interested in a funny, smart and insightful book written in a unique (and awesome!) format.

8.9/10 – because I totally loved so many parts of it, I mean, have you seen the review?? Moriarty is such a clever, thoughtful and smart writer who has yet to disappoint, I love her writing style and even more, the format of the book. Feeling Sorry for Celia is a uniquely humourous, entertaining and honest book that holds much more insight to teenage life than many YA books can hope for.







source: library
author website
my review of book II, The Year of Secret Assignments

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

As per usual, WoW is a meme started by Jill at Breaking the Spine
**

I feel in the minority saying that I've read a ton of Riordan books, I don't even know why because they are insanely popular. I wasn't (and aren't) the biggest fan of his tw new series (probably b/c I'm still attached to Percy Jackson) but you can read my review of The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1) and The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus #1). This book is part of Kane Chronicles, which means Egypt, here I come!

The Throne of Fire
by Rick Riordan
Kane Chronicles #2

Summary:

Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. As descendants of the House of Life, the Kanes have some powers at their command, but the devious gods haven't given them much time to master their skills at Brooklyn House, which has become a training ground for young magicians.

And now their most threatening enemy yet - the chaos snake Apophis - is rising. If they don't prevent him from breaking free in a few days' time, the world will come to an end. In other words, it's a typical week for the Kane family.

To have any chance of battling the Forces of Chaos, the Kanes must revive the sun god Ra. But that would be a feat more powerful than any magician has ever accomplished.

First they have to search the world for the three sections of the Book of Ra, then they have to learn how to chant its spells. Oh, and did we mention that no one knows where Ra is exactly?
**
The Throne of Fire is released May 3, 2011 from Hyperion.

What I really like and completely respect about Riordan is that his books makes kids read. This is a fact. They aren't bestsellers for no reason. And if his books makes kids and adults of all ages read more, then I applaud him. So yeah, I'll be amongst the masses that'll read this sequel :)

And I love the cover! :)







source: here

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Cover (3) ; so silver bright

So I saw this post at Frenetic Reader and it was like minutes after I finished my last Another Cover post, but Khy featured two new book covers, the second which I couldn't get out of my head which is why I'm having another cover post so soon. Sorry for that rambly sentence...

Title: So Silver Bright
series: Théâtre Illuminata #3
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Genre: magical realism


Summary:
Things are never easy for Beatrice Shakespeare Smith. Something's happened to the Théâtre Illuminata, putting the only home she's ever known in limbo. Her mother's sanity is fraying under the strain, her father has vanished and an angry goddess is out for revenge. Bertie is caught between her duties and her dreams, just as her heart is torn between Ariel and Nate. But hope glimmers in a Distant Castle, and if Bertie can put on the performance of her life, maybe she can win the magical boon that may save them all.

Books 1 & 2 in the series:


**
My Thoughts:

Initially: Wowza.

Stop and Stare? Yes! and add to the end of that, "Swoon"

Image: I loove everything about it, starting from the fact that it looks simply whimsical and not a photo-photo. In the name of Tim Gunn, the designer makes it work. The white dress is incredible, and I love the pop of the girl's silver hair! And the faeries! Too awesome!

Font: Beautiful, and I know it's minor but I like how on some letters there's a dot, I think it just adds a little touch :)

Colours: Just great, seriously, absolutely no complaints. The white and silver makes the image pop, and nothing is lost to the background. The faeries add a wonderful touch of colour too.

HP Rating: Outstanding!!

Will I Read? Hopefully, after I read the second book that is! I liked the first one very much :)

**

So what do YOU think of the cover? And believe me, there is only ONE right answer ;)







this book on Goodreads
author blog
series website


So Silver Bright is released Sept. 13, 2011 from Feiwel and Friends

Monday, February 21, 2011

BR: Birthmarked

by Caragh M. Obrien
Birthmarked series; book I

I'm not even going to make up something different, the one big huge honking reason I wanted to read it was because Steph Su gave it 5/5 and I just love her blog :)

Summary (goodreads):

After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.

Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.

Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, Birthmarked explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

**
My Expectations: Apart from Steph's seal of approval, I didn't read many other reviews, I just hoped it would be awesomesauce!

Delivery: Oh em gee, it was awesomesauce!

Put-down-ability: 2/10 it was crazy addictive. I'm just glad I didn't start reading this at 10pm!
**

My Thoughts

Where do I begin with Birthmarked? Well, I always love touching on the dystopian worlds in dystopian novels, and I found the one created by O’Brien to be rather spectacular. It is very strongly conceptualized and deeply intricate. As the author gradually clued me into this world, the baby quotas and the Enclave, I became very impressed with the way things were organized.

O’Brien also manages to juxtapose the two sides very well; readers are given a bleak feeling on the outside and the repressive, urgent yet modernized atmosphere on the inside (the Enclave). The writing was sharp and engaging, and instantly pulled me into the story. I was initially disappointed by the third person POV but I eventually didn't even notice, which is defs a good thing. I found the imagery to be particularly strong.

What took this story from great to amazing was Gaia. She’s freaking awesome. She doesn’t necessarily set herself apart from ‘kick ass heroines’ in the conventional sense, but she has this unconventional attribute about her (that I can’t quite name) that makes her stand out amongst the rest, kind of like Katniss. And she doesn’t make ridiculously stupid decisions either, which always helps.

The plot was fantastic; there really isn’t anything bad I can say about it. The pacing was perfect as O’Brien kept the story moving along briskly but still including minor twinges of details that added spark. As Gaia struggles with many internal and external conflicts, the world around her is swirling in a mess and she’s caught right in the middle.

I was initially extremely wary about the romance but honestly, I grew into it (but unfortunately, not the love interest's name). There was enough chemistry between the two for it to be believable, and I loooved the crazy ending, yes I am one of ‘those people’ xD.

Birthmarked is a intriguing and smart debut that constructs an intense dystopian world, adds in a super sekrit mysteries, a strong-willed heroine and well, more secrets. Just blend.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations / Outstanding (I couldn't choose!)
Recommended for: ALL dystopian fans and reluctant dystopian readers. Hehe, did I miss anyone? Oh, and dystopian moderate-ists too. And boys.
Acknowledgements: lovely, 3.5/5

9.1/10 – because I loved everything about it, it is another fantastic dystopian novel you should definitely add to your shelf. The society was unique, the characters were well drawn out the stakes were high. With so much on the line, O’Brien deftly weaves an entertaining and intense storyline filled with suspense, secrets, and love.







source: publisher
author website / livejournal

Sunday, February 20, 2011

top 5 Reasons to choose book Boyfriends Over real Ones

I am taking no credit whatsoever for this post idea, I was completely inspired by Larissa's Guest Post on Missie's blog (The Unread Reader). I thought it was such a fun idea, so I made my own list...



Top 5 Reasons Book Boyfriends are better than Real Boyfriends.


5. They know just what to say and do to make your heart melt.

4. What you see is what you get… they will never disappoint!

3. There is variety. Seriously, that is just amazing. What type of boy do you want? Tall, short, muscular, scrawny, blond, Asian, French, one with superpowers, one who is just ordinary, one named Jonah Griggs, one named Thomas Mackee… the list can go on. ;-) I can pick and choose to my heart’s desire.

2. You never need to worry about them cheating on you. (Albeit you may be concerned about other book bloggers *cough* stealing them from you!)

1. They can have accents (in your head). I love people who speak with accents, just sayin’.

**

Hehe, leave your suggestions of what you think should also be on the list :)

Also, I definitely wouldn't mind some more list ideas, lists are fun!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Another Cover (2) ; supernaturally

Another Cover is a feature of this blog in which I give input on recently-released covers. Yes, this is an attempt to clog up your feed with the same picture over and over (not). Apologies.

Anyways, here is the reveal of this sequel to Paranormalcy! It's a pretty big deal ;)

Title: Supernaturally
sequel to Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: Paranormal


Summary:
Life's never fair when faeries are involved.
**

My Thoughts:

Initally: Woah, it's red!

Stop and Stare? Yes!!

Image: Can I just say I LOVE that dress? I'm not a huge fan of the picture of the girl herself, particularly the shadows on her face, plus her eyes don't catch my attention-- she looks kind of tired. Also, why do these models have to be so unnaturally pretty? I definitely like the picture of the girl on Paranormalcy more:


Font: Lovely, I AM A FAN OF ALL CAPS. And the flow from one cover to the other in a series :) I'm glad it's not loopy and over-fancy, which would take away from the image.

Colours: I adore the red. It's my favourite colour. I've always been drawn to it and I totally wanted a red prom dress (which I didn't get) but anyways, that dress is gorgeous and the colours are gorgeous. It's not an eye-popping bloody red, it's a rustic one which I really like!

Harry Potter Rating (OWLs): Exceeds Expectations*

Will I Read? I'm reading Paranormalcy soon (hurry up library) but if I like it, then you can be I am gonna read the sequel. Maybe I'll buy it just so I can show it off on my shelf since it's so pretty.

**

So yeah, here's another one of my fancy schmancy segments ;)

What do YOU think of the cover???






*it's an EE although it didn't really literally exceed my expectations, it was because it was above average. I liked the Paranormalcy cover more and did have higher 'expectations' for this one, if this even makes any sense....

author blog / twitter
this book on Goodreads


Supernaturally is released August 30, 2011 from HarperTeen

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday's Finest (34)

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

Rules:
~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 quoted the same book last time I did this meme, I know! But still, another line stood out easily to me in a very quotable book, it’s just a snippet of what makes this book wonderful. Moriarty has this uncanny ability to write about teens, look out for my review soon :)

Book: Feeling Sorry for Celia
by Jaclyn Moriarty

Quote:
A school counsellor once told Celia that she ran away because she was trying to find her “adult self” which was a normal thing for adolescents to do.

**

Can I say trufax? I'm still splashing around in this huge ocean called life, trying to find my adult self, so I could always use some help. And which is why I adore this quote.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Author Interview: Siobhan Vivian

Recently, I read Siobhan Vivian's novel, Not That Kind of Girl (see my review) and absolutely loved it! I thought it would be a great idea to interview the author, and I was so nervous pressing that 'send' button, but I'm really glad to finally feature my first author interview on this little blog.

Not That Kind of Girl

Life is about choices, and Natalie Sterling prides herself on making the right ones. She’s avoided the jerky guys populating her prep school, always topped honor roll, and is poised to be the first female student council president in years.

If only other girls were as sensible and strong. Like the pack of freshmen yearning to be football players’ playthings. Or her best friend, whose crappy judgment nearly ruined her life.

But being sensible and strong isn’t easy. Not when a prank nearly gets her expelled. Not when her advice hurts more than it helps. Not when a boy she once dismissed becomes the boy she can’t stop thinking about.

The line between good and bad has gone fuzzy, and crossing it could end in disaster . . . or become the best choice she’ll ever make.


Siobhan Vivian
is the author of 3 YA novels: A Little Friendly Advice, Same Difference, and Not That Kind of Girl. My interview revolves mostly around NTKOG.

**

1. The whole high school scene you created in Not That Kind of Girl was incredibly well defined. What was your high school like, and what type of person were you in in high school?

I went to a typical high school. It was only for my town, and I think there were just over 100 kids in my graduating class. Most of them, I'd known since kindergarten. I was involved in lots of things--sports, drama. I was friendly with a lot of different kinds of kids because I was the class clown. And I was voted most unique of my senior class.

2. Was there any real life experiences that influenced a scene in Not That Kind of Girl?

A few. But it was not the fish stick moment! : )

3. The thing I loved about your novel was my ability to indentify with a variety of characters, whether they were positive or negative traits. Is it easy for you to develop such relatable characters? Do their personalities come naturally to you, or is it an effort to create the diverse cast in your novel?

I love having a collection of diverse characters. And I tend to enjoy stories that aren't so black and white. It's much more dramatically interesting to have good people act badly sometimes, and vice versa. That also helps with the overall tension of the stories...you never know which way things can turn out.

4. What was writing Natalie's voice like? Was she constantly contradicting you, wanting to be in control?

She was! She was a very hard girl to write. I wanted her to be strong, a girl who thinks she always knows best. That sort of personality can easily come off as "unlikeable", so I had to make sure I balanced that side of her with moments of her being loving and devoted to Autumn.

5. Which YA authors would you love to meet one day?

I would love to meet Judy Blume! Though, I will surely cry like a baby!

6. What advice would you give to your imaginary teenage daughter (given that she is currently taking your advice, that is :p)?

Ha! Dude, I LOVE this question. I don't know that this is advice per se, but I would make sure my daughter had as many experiences outside of her hometown as possible. I'd send her away to camp, let her live in the city with a relative, take her on trips to Europe. I want to make sure she knows there is life outside of small time drama. Leaving your home puts a lot of that stuff into perspective. And that life lesson was basically the reason I wrote SAME DIFFERENCE.

7. And lastly, all your published novels so far have been contemporary (yay!). Are you interested in tackling into other YA genres?

I'd like to try my hand at Magical Realism some day, but I think that's about as far as I will stray from contemporary stories. I like the real world, you know?

**

Thank you so so much for the interview, Siobhan, I loved your answers! And it would mean the world to me for you lovely blog readers to leave a little input on my first author interview ;) Also, I wanted to add that I highly, highly recommend her novel, especially you YA contemp fans!

Links:
Author Website / Twitter
Buy NTKOG: IndieBound / Amazon.com / Book Depository / Barnes & Noble


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

So... who's up for some heart-shaped chocolate that's on sale??

This meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine :)
**

This week's pick I've seen around, and I was originally iffy on it until I read a few raving reviews/twitter comments. But anyways, I was scared it would end up being slightly contrived but after reading those posts I'm definitely keeping an eye out for it now! I won't lie, I was also a tad ehh because this author wrote the not-as-awesome short story in Let It Snow (although she was up against John Green and Maureen Johnson)

Shine
by Lauren Myracle

Summary:

When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

Shine is released May 1, 2011, from Amulet Books.
**

It just sounds like a rollercoaster full of emotion. Yeah, and I'm ususally up for one of those.






this book on Goodreads
author website / goodreads

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy valentine's day + hop winner

Firstly, and most importantly...

*picture may or may not represent my fab artistry skillz

Or if you (like me) prefer, happy Single's Awareness Day? Haha. Anyways, I'm not a fan of this holiday, it's kind of redonk-ulous but oh well. It's like a billion dollar industry!

And the second piece of news, the winner for my Follower Love Giveaway Hop is...

Selena!

Congrats! I've emailed you, please respond soon!

Have a great day everybody, I'm sorry I've been so absent these few days, I'm just really busy with school... Anyone want to explain rotational equilibrium to me? ;)

xoxo

Sunday, February 13, 2011

BR: Ship Breaker

by Paolo Bacigalupi

After seeing it won the Printz Award, a National Book Award honour, and a great endorsement from the very awesome Hank Green, I knew I had to read it.

Summary (goodreads)

Set initially in a future shanty town in America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being dissembled for parts by a rag tag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father, to his hand to mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present day third world. When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she'll lead him to a better life.

This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.

**
My Expectations: I really expected it to be amazing, I usually just love Printz books (which sounds silly of me) but I do!

Delivery: Some parts totally blew me away but there were a few that were just eh. But overall, it was wonderful.

Put-down-ability: Bacigalupi doesn't let you go! Haha, 2/10
**

My Thoughts

First and foremost, the world created Bacigalupi is incredible, there’s no other way to say it. It’s far from a utopia, it’s a dangerous and exposed society with harsh social classes and even harsher conditions. Nothing comes easy for people in Nailer’s world, and the savagery displayed is a by-product of the world… or is it the other way around?

Whereas the world-building was phenomenal, the characters were rather weak. Nailer lacked a depth to him that I was expecting, but that’s not saying he isn’t a well rounded character— he is. He has his problems and dreams but it’s just that nothing he did really surprised me, he was just Nailer. And don’t worry, I was behind him one hundred percent.

The swanky (rich) girl he finds, Nita, never drew me in either. I was expecting much more from her, much more scheming and wits, but I just got a girl who went with the flow and talked big. But Pima was awesome, just saying.

What made this novel work, however, was the writing. It’s breathtaking in a gripping kind of way because we’re not floating above clouds in a pile of poetry, readers are right in the mix of things, scavenging a ship, being chased by half-men, fighting or running for their lives. Bacigalupi manages to transport a reader right into the story with fantastic prose and dialogue. The imagery is another element that blew me away; such detailed descriptions formed a perfect picture in my mind, even when that picture was just pure darkness with some faint LED paint.

Ship Breaker is an atmospheric, intense adventure set in a gritty and unpleasant future.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: Dystopian fans, people who like great writing and intense worlds.
Acknowledgements: I like the whole crew thing going on ;) 4/5

8.4/10 – because I really enjoyed it. It was an adventurous, action-packed race to the finish line set in an intensely broken world. It effortlessly managed to be both heart-pounding and thought-provoking. Though I wished there was more to the characters, I felt the exemplar writing and thrilling plot was enough to keep me captivated till the very end.







source: library

Friday, February 11, 2011

BR: Front and Center

by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Dairy Queen trilogy; book III

I actually read this series out of order (I had no idea I was doing that) but that was a few years ago and I've been meaning to read this for a while. I remember loving the characters in the first two, Dairy Queen and The Off Season.

Summary (goodreads):

After five months of sheer absolute craziness I was going back to being plain old background D.J. In photographs of course I’m always in the background . . .

But it turns out other folks have big plans for D.J. Like her coach. College scouts. All the town hoops fans. A certain Red Bend High School junior who’s keen for romance and karaoke. Not to mention Brian Nelson, who she should not be thinking about! Who she is done with, thank you very much. But who keeps showing up anyway ...

**
My Expectations: Not too high, I didn't remember too many details from books 1 and 2, but I did hope this wouldn't be a let down.

Delivery: Oh gosh, there was so much stuff I loved about it! Definitely better than what I expected.

Put-down-ability: will expand on this later, but it was so engaging, 2/10
**

My Thoughts

If a book like Revolution is like slipping on an old pair of jeans, then Front and Center is like putting in my headphones and playing my favourite song. So easy and so beautiful in its simplicity. Because Front and Center is not necessarily a complicated book, but the way Murdock managed to package everything together truly made it amazing.

This final instalment in the Dairy Queen trilogy is all about D.J. and her future, she has a ton of options on where she wants to play university ball, and this scares the bejeezus out of he— and it should. She reacts to so many things in such a teen manner that makes her story very refreshing. And she has her own life to deal with as well, following her heart, dealing with her family and playing basketball.

D.J. Schwenk is on my list of characters I’d love to meet, there is the essence about her that makes her so damn real and one of my favourite female protagonists ever. Murdock doesn’t need to spell out her personality, her courage or her determination, because once you read about D.J.'s words, these just become default. Her voice in the novel is just incredible, so authentic yet distinctive, there’s a touch of familiarity and the style that easily pulled me into the story. It’s definitely the writing that kept me flipping the pages wanting to know what happens next.

I’d like to touch on the romance, because it honestly is one of the best ones I’ve read about in a long time. No, we don’t have the swoony boy quotes (or do we?...xD) but the thing is that the words coming out of Beaner and Brian’s mouths sound legit. It’s not poetry, it’s awkward boy-speak, and it felt like a breath of fresh air when even these lovely boys don’t say the perfect thing. And they have flaws. Watching Brian mature through these three books gives me hope for YA romance's future. People can be jerks, and people can grow up too.

I can’t recommend this series enough, it really is one of the best contemporary series out there in a sea of ones full of emotional baggage and fluffy charm. This one just feels real with a protagonist that I admire the heck out of and storylines that rock.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: people looking for YA with Sports (!), an awesome protagonist and and excellent teen voice.
Acknowledgmenets: very lovely, 4.5/5

8.8/10 - because it is a great ending to a great series. I thought D.J's development as a character was fantastic through the series and this book, especially the way her self-confidence grew. The writing is extremely engaging and D.J.'s narration is something I will seriously miss; I'll miss know what happens to her and all I can do now is cross my fingers that Murdock might write another novel featuring this girl.






source: library
author website

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Where She Went winner! =D

Hey everyone, I know you're expecting a Waiting on Wednesday today but I'm too busy to make the post, but anyways, it would have been Bloodlines by Richelle Mead.

Moving on, a huge thanks to everyone who entered my contest for an ARC of Where She Went by Gayle Forman. The winner, picked by random.org is....

Lucy from The Reading Date!

An the winner of a preorder of the same title is...

Jo-Ann

Congrats you two, I will email you soon for your address but if you see this first, feel free to send it to me.

I'm super stresssed at the moment so I doubt I'll be blogging for the next couple days, I've got so much schoolwork due! Have a great week everybody!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Follower Love Giveaway Hop

This is my third and probably last giveaway hop for a while, so yeah, it's hosted by Kathy at I am a Reader Not a Writer.

I'm keeping this super duper easy.


Prize: Book under $10 from the Book Depository

Rules
:
-ends Sunday Feb. 13
-open Interntionally
-NO extra entries! But I'd love it if you followed / left a comment on a post other than this one :)
-fill out the form, winner announced Feb 14, chosen by Random.org

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED, WINNER HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED.

Prize: Book under $10 from the book Depository

Thanks and good luck :)

To all my exisiting and new readers, I love you all!!

BR: Not That Kind of Girl

by Siobhan Vivian

I really shouldn't start a book when I'm in bed, this point becomes glaringly obvious as I flip the last page and look at the clock, it's 3:45 AM!!

Summary (goodreads)

Natalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things.

But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you wants to sleep with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out.

Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.

**
My Expectations: I've heard mostly positive things, I saw a review at Persnickety Snark that made me want to read it. Plus lots of bloggers I love gave it 5 stars.

Delivery: Wow, it was freaking addicting and freaking good!

Put-down-ability: did you see my intro? I couldn't stop if I wanted, 1/10
**

My Thoughts

Not That Kind of Girl bundles of so many things into a ball of energy and awesome, and I say that in the fondest way possible. Natalie Sterling is who would be a foil or even the antagonist in the plenty of YA contemp novels, I mean she’s the determined and controlling straight-A student, Student Council president and uptight to the tenth degree. She’s so strong in her personal beliefs that it is both an advantage and hindrance for her, but that’s only the beginning as her ideals starts to unravel.

Vivian crafted a dynamic story that beautifully reflects the ups and downs of a character under pressure to do the right thing and project an image of perfection in a high school scene. Natalie isn't shielded from the consequenes of her own actions, and what makes this book work is that realism. Natalie isn't immune to flaws and neither is any other character in the book.

The themes of feminism shine through in a subtle manner. Natalie and Spencer have opposite opinions when it comes to some aspects of feminism, especially female sexuality. Character foils are used to explore feminism in the novel but I’m eternally grateful that it never turned into a preachy message-- it was done with finesse.

I felt the pacing in this book was well done because it had the potential to drag on since it lacks explosions, but the author kept things reigned in tightly and carefully avoided dreadful pothole clichés. The romance could have ended up ridiculously predictable, and I was so glad it didn't. The plot itself is nothing spectacular, but I felt through 3-dimensional characters and sharp writing; this novel can hold its own against even the best in the genre.

Not That Kind of Girl is a novel that many teens can relate to, it is a novel about insecurities and finding your place, exploring who you are and change, about image and hypocrisy and feminism and so much more. It’s about the boxes and labels people are shoved in only for everyone to find out the box must’ve been mislabelled. It’s about ‘that kind of girl’… wait, what kind of girl is ‘that kind of girl’??

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: All female YA readers, contemporary fans
Acknowledgements: Hmm, 1.5/5

9/10 – because I really loved so many things about this novel, namely the characters. Vivian does a fantastic job navigating the tricky holds of high school, relationships, sexuality, and personal growth. She has created well-rounded characters that I could just read about all night long, and might I mention that I seriously couldn’t put this book down? Not That Kind of Girl is a somewhat underrated read that I really think contemporary fans shouldn’t miss out on.







source: library
author twitter /
website

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Poetry Slam Sunday (9)


I'm bringing this back! :) Slam Sunday is a new bi-weekly (and sometimes weekly) feature I'm having on my blog, basically every other Sunday I'll share a YouTube clip of awesome spoken poetry that you just can't miss.

Poetry Slam is a competition in which poets recite original work. I love it. Plain and simple, I love the way it combines words, rhythms and performance, the sounds blending together to bring attention to anything and everything. When done well, it has the power to accomplish great things.


**

Thanks a great suggestion from the awesome Justine at A Bookful of Thoughts, I have a great video for you guys today.

Title: I love you
Poet: Paper Girl




This poem is for the people who cannot bring themselves to admit
that they would give their right leg
for any length of time
for their person on their mind.

***

And today I'm including a second video. This isn't intended to be poetry, but it's another one of those spoken word things that is moving and intense and emotional and rivals even the best poems. You've probably seen it on youtube, but I wanted to share it with you because it's such a prevalent topic in society today.
Youtube description:
Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old University of Iowa student spoke about the strength of his family during a public forum on House Joint Resolution 6 in the Iowa House of Representatives. Wahls has two mothers, and came to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 which would end civil unions in Iowa.

Title: Zach Wahls Speaks About Family




My family really isn't so different from yours
after all, your family doesn't derive its sense of worth
from being told by the state
'You're married, congratulations'
No, the sense of family comes from the committment we make to each other
to work through the hard times
so we can enjoy the good ones.
It comes from the love that binds us.
that's what makes a family.

***

I hope you enjoyed these two wonderful videos :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Movie Thoughts: Despicable Me


Summary


Despicable Me is about a villain, Gru, who is being outdone by his nemesis Vector (Direction AND Magnitude! LOL). In order to claim his spot at the top, he tries to steal the friggin moon, and in the process adopts three orphan girls to help his plan. Little does he know these girls are going to turn his life upside down.

My Thoughts

Oh gosh, this movie is CUUUTE! I am in love with Agnes, the youngest girl, oh gosh she eats my heart for breakfast. Anyways, this film was entertaining, funny, heartfelt and enjoyable! I thought there was a perfect blend of feeling and humour, there are parts that made me laugh out loud or just go awwwww.

The animation is wonderful (as usual), and I also really liked the plot. I thought it did lose a bit of steam towards the end, it got a bit too cheesy for my liking (not to mention hugely predictable). Despite this, I loved the ideas of Vector and Gru competing to be the greatest villain, awesome! The minions are amazing too :)

And to those who have seen it: IT'S SO FLUFFEHHHHHHHHH!!!!! xD

Popcorn review: An entertaining and simply lovely animated movie that is sure to make you drown in adorable-ness along with giggle uncontrollably.

8.8/10

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday's Finest (33)

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

Rules
:
~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.
**

Okay, I'm only like 30 or so pages in to this book, and it's already making my have the LULZ. After reading the sequel, The Year of Secret Assignments, tons of you commented about various Moriarty novels, and many mentioned this book. So I had to read it! Anyways, I hope you read the whole thing because it is some funny stuff xD Enjoy!

Book: Feeling Sorry for Celia
by Jaclyn Moriarty

Quote:
Dear Ms. Clarry,

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to join our Society.

We have just found out about your holiday. It’s so impressive! You had four assignments, an English essay, and a chapter of math to do. And you didn’t do one single piece of homework!

Fabulous!

Also, we have a feeling that you have a history test today. And you’re trying to study now? On the bus? With the Brookfield boys climbing onto each other’s shoulders to get to the emergency roof exit? And with Celia about to get on the bus at any moment? And you think that’s going to make a difference!!!

That’s really very amusing, Elizabeth. We like you for it.

You’re perfect for our Society and we’re very excited about having you join.

Yours sincerely,

The Manager

The Society of People Who Are Definitely Going to Fail High School
(and Most Probably Life as Well!)

I apologize for the funky formatting, I don't know how to do HTML indents. Anyways, much like TYoSA, this book is written in letter format, and instead of from real people we have imaginary and absolutely hilarious people/societies/associations etc. that Elizabeth gets letters from :p Oh well, I hope to finish this book soon :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

BR: Across the Universe

by Beth Revis
Godspeed series; book I

Man, the hype for this novel has been unreal! I initially wasn't too interested in it until so so so many positive reviews for it was popping up, then I knew I just had to read it. Plus, I love trying sci-fi books, I really don't read enough of them.

Summary (goodreads)

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

**
My Expectations: Really high, I fully expected to LOVE it. Dual narration, awesome setting, fantastic premise? Sign me up!

Delivery: It kind of disappointed me in terms of expectations, but I still liked it.

Put-down-ability: I found the first third quite slow, but it got better after that, 5/10
**

My Thoughts

So, have you heard of this book? I sure hope so, because from the breathtaking cover to the beyond intriguing premise, this is set up to be the next big thing, and in a way, it is. There is so much potential for Across the Universe, and I felt that Revis managed to keep readers hooked with a beautiful blend of mystery, secrets and romance.

The issues I had with this book aren't necessarily critical remarks. I just felt that for the first half of the book I felt extremely disconnected from both characters. I just didn't care for them, and I don't think even by the end of it, either of them will be getting a BFF charm from me. Yes, they were pretty well rounded, had their high and low points, they had some wonderful chemistry but it never felt intimate, it felt very much like a story.

My lack of empathy with the characters hindered my enjoyment of the novel, no doubt, but I feel there are actually numerous positive aspects that kept me interested in what will happen, namely, the mystery. I liked the way everything was set up and there was no clear suspect, plus the routes Amy and Elder took to try and unveil the many secrets of the ship. I would have hoped to feel a bit more urgency, but it's forgivable. I did find the very end when Elder reveals a 'big thing' to be... eye-brow raising. I mean, you couldn't mention earlier?... Really?????

I have to say the setting, or should I say, Godspeed was my favourite aspect of the novel. I loooved every single detail Revis included, the imagery is just stunning. From the people to the science to the overall ambiance, things were top-notch 'world-building' for sure.

I do want to mention the arcing themes of the novel, I really liked the way Revis included moral undertones without having them overpower any aspect. It adds a level of depth that pushes the novel from a simple adventure to a thoughtful, 'thinking' book.

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: All YA fans, people who are and aren't interested in sci-fi, people looking for a fantastic setting and premise and mystery with MURDER! Yay!
Acknowledgements: 3/5

8.3/10 - because while I didn't fall in love with it like many others, I certainly liked it. I loved the setting of Godspeed created by Revis and all the futuristic shenanigans going on. The secrets and mystery kept things moving and interesting, however, I unfortunately never grew to care for the characters. Across the Universe certainly is an impressive debut.
And also, this novel would make an AMAZING movie. Seriously. So, mhmm... get on it guys.








source: publisher
author
twitter / facebook / goodreads
book website