Friday, December 26, 2014

Favourites of 2014

GUYS! 2014 is like, over!
This is nuts.

I lovelovelove favourites lists, in fact, one may even say that favourites lists are my favourite lists. I love to see what books resonated with readers at the end of the year, and which books seem to be a consensus favourite so I can pick them up with higher expectations (heh), as well as to see if I've missed out on books I've been meaning to read.

Unsurprisingly, I didn't actually meet my meager goal of 35 books this year-- same old excuses: university, homework, work, life, time, money, TV shows, passive hobbies... but that doesn't mean I didn't read any fan-effing-tastic ones that I'm eager to share. As per the last few years, I'll be copying the same format (see 2011, 2012, 2013 or just look in the sidebar) that was originally adapted from the lovely Nomes at Inkcrush (it's been years now, Nomes! Wowza.)



BOOKS



1. favourite book read in 2014!!!


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

This book. THIS BOOK!!! It's released in 2012 and it's won a slew of well-deserved prizes. I can't believe it took me so long to get around to reading it, and when I finally did, it was like the universe had finally calmed down for a moment long enough to let me enjoy the simplicity and beauty of words on a page. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me feel so full of heart and love for these characters that I just want to write jibberish to convey my feelings.

I have so much love for Ari and Dante, and this is the most beautiful book I've read this year.





2. book you were excited about but didn't live up to your expectations

Raging Star by Moira Young. This book makes me a bit angry because I was so emotionally invested and in love with this series (the first book blew me away, the second was a brilliant shocker) and this last one was just frustrating and unengaging and horribly unenjoyable. *frowny face*
There's a handful of other books that could have made this list as well, but this one is the unlucky stand-out.






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

ache-y:
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Did you not read what I just wrote above? I ached for these wonderfully realized characters, and their wonderfully realized lives

heart-breaking:
All the Rage by Courtney Summers
This is released in 2015, but boy, did my heart hurt for Romy and boy, did I want to strangle a lot of people. 

tearjerker:
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan (The Lynburn Legacy, book 3)
I unashamedly adore SRB and she put readers through a very specific and literary hell for this one





4. delicious, rainy day comfort read

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
This was just such a fluffy, predictable, but still incredibly charming read. Very cute, definitely recommended. 






5. adrenalin-filled, unputdownable read

Catalyst by SJ Kincaid
I want to bring some more attention to Kincaid's Insignia series, Catalyst is book 3 (read my review) and this series is just a bundle of fun, fast-paced action with witty retorts and a fantastic protagonist (that I feel Kincaid gleefully put readers through HELL in this last book).




6. the beautiful prose award

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Is this getting unfair yet? 







7. most atmospheric and vivid setting

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Another book published in 2012, this time it's an immersing fantasy book about dragons. Dragons! 



8. best under-appreciated, hidden-gem book

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
This is a high fantasy adventure that was marketed as Ocean's Eleven meets Robin Hood. It is neither of these things, but it is still fantastic -- great pacing, sympathetic characters, excellent action, shocking twists... give this one a go.





9. i-had-no-idea-i-would-love-this-so award
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski 
I distinctly remember my friend Eden holding a giveaway for this book and I had no clue what it was about-- she mentioned how it had been super popular in the blogosphere (again, something I was completely oblivious to) but I poked around the interwebs and decided to trust the reviews and picked it up for myself. It was SO much better than I had expected-- I thought it'd be a 3-4 star read, but I think it's like a 4-5 star read, because I was thoroughly entertained and engrossed in the world and the chemistry between the characters.  



10. outside my comfort zone but gosh how i loved liked it

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
This is a mix of a memoir/nonfiction story, and I gave it a rating of 7.7/10 (so not "loved", but still enjoyed). I'm putting this on my list mostly because I didn't really read anything outside of my comfort zone (does journal articles for school count?) and this is pretty much the only non-YA, non-fiction book I read this year. I do encourage you to watch her TED talk (here), or, while we are on the topic, Brene Brown's TED talk (here).


11. an unfinished series that i'm loving 

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer 
Same as last year! I finished Cress in 2013 (so now I've gone an entire year without a Marissa Meyer book.. *sniff*.. it was fantastic.
Fairest is a companion novel about Queen Levana, and is released in January 2015, while the conclusion, Winter, is released in November. And I am beyond excited.

Honourable Mentions:
The Winner's Curse Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (I've read book 2 already... so I've got a pretty long wait til the last one)
The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (not holding my breath here, though)





12. can't believe i waited so long to read this

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
I can't believe I'm 2 years late to this delightful party.







13. book that lived up to (or superseded) the hype

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
I expected a solid 4-star read, and I got the solid 4-star read. LaCour is a talented author and I've read and enjoyed (and given 4 stars to) all of her books :) Emmi's job was the coolest!
Also, I didn't want to put Ari & Dante on this list again





14. want to re-read already

Aristotle and Dante....  

Yeah, no ragrets.




MOMENTS



1. best plot-twist (no spoilers!)

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
A mild spoiler: "NOOOOOOOOOO HOW COULD YOU" that is all, Mr Lynch, that is all. Not really. You bastard (I say this lovingly).

Honourable Mentions:
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan-- the above comment works for you, too.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart -- admittedly the hype kind of killed my enjoyment (and memory) for this book, but I apparently really liked it when I first read it (I gave it an 8.5/10). Anywho, great twist. 



2. best swoon-worthy moment


"I love swimming - and you." 
-this is from a book you can probably guess. I'm not sure if the quote is 100% accurate because I don't own the book (*cries*)... but you get the gist.




3. best cliffhanger

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Not gonna say any more, it's released in 2015.





4. best ending for a stand-alone

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
This one is a re-read.
I get a little choked up when I read "When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman, and a ride home." (which like a dork, is something I've memorized, and is why I noticed that it's misquoted in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and that bugged me to no end. Why am I even telling you this?) 


5. best ending for a series

Catalyst by S. J. Kincaid (The Insignia trilogy). I didn't finish too many series this year, but oh gosh, Catalyst was so satisfying. Not perfect, but definitely loved the darker tone and the resolution for such an action-packed trilogy.





CHARACTERS

1. most memorable female character

Kestrel - The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Loved her.



2. most memorable male character

Dante - Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Or maybe Ari? Is anyone surprised by my lists anymore? 



3. favourite friendship
Kami and Angela - Untold/Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan. 
They were pretty kick-ass-- a sassy, headstrong detective coupled with a secretly-caring but outwardly apathetic bff. They're sisters, really.


4. favourite relationship 

I DARE YOU TO GUESS 

I don't really want to spoil it? But like, it should be pretty obvious by now.. 

5. new literary crush

Probably Dante's parents, or something. I should retire this category, I don't seem to crush on literary characters very much anymore. 


6. favourite sibling relationship

Angela and Rusty - Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
SRB, you sure are making a lot of appearances on this list!


7. best villain

~society~
BECAUSE SOCIETY KIND OF SUCKS SOMETIMES.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers (released April 2015)
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski



OTHER

1. favourite cover (of a book i read)



It's just so pretty!!



2. book you're looking forward to the most in 2015

This year's list: The Howling Boy by Cath Crowley, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, Winter by Marissa Meyer, Minders by Michele Jaffe, Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen, The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Also, any type of book and/or grocery list by Melina Marchetta.

Several debut authors, and a book I've been holding out for for a few years.

Last year's list (strike-outs mean I read them): The Howling Boy by Cath Crowley, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, Raging Star by Moira Young, Catalyst by S.J. KincaidThe Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey.

And to Markus Zusak, WHEN DOES THE BRIDGE OF CLAY COME OUT?!?!??!??!! (just kidding, take your time) <-- pretty sure this comment has been here for the last three years


**


And that's it! Kind of long, kind of repetitive, just like my internal monologues.

Thanks to all of you who have stuck around and read my singular blog post each month (even then, not always). I really appreciated your comments, and I hope to keep it up next year, since I love to set hazardously low bars for myself.

I hope you all read wonderful books and explored worlds and fell in love with characters and prose. Please let me know what your favourite read was this year, I'd love to know!

I'll be posting my favourite movies in the upcoming days, so stay tuned.

Lastly, have a wonderful new year, and an extraordinary 2015. Here's to you! xx

-Audrey

12.26.2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

a Holiday wishlist

Dear Santa,

For Christmas, I want:

A Quentin Tarantinto-esque YA novel (this is very important, Santa. I've been thinking about this a lot). Must include: twisted off-kilter protagonists, dark but funny dialogue, unexpected character deaths, suspense for the ages, violence (preferably not hypersexualized, though), and someone I can visualize as Christoph Waltz.

A ticket for The Hobbit 3 (to be cashed in tonight).

Sarah Rees Brennan to finish writing a her parodies of The 100 (they are brilliant and got me through watching the entire series). In other news, The 100 is not terrible and has complex female characters and a boatload of grey-tinged morality (the best colour for morality, I say!). It also has a boy named Bellamy and a girl named Clarke who need to get married already.

More time to read books. Or, more motivation to do so. And please make Scarlet (from Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen) not annoying, I'm only a few chapters into the book and I really want to like it but I'm worried it's going to veer into mind-numbingly-frustrating-heroine-slash-love-triangle territory.

A good TV show to watch. The Americans? Broad City? True Detective?

Some tiramisu cake from Costco (let's face it, it's the best dessert ever created).

Winter by Marissa Meyer

My TV shows to come back from hiatus.

Someone to write my best-of list because I'm pretty lazy (hint: you can just put one book for all the categories because it is the best)

**

So... what's on your list?





Saturday, November 29, 2014

November! where'd you Go?

Just poking my head in this abandoned blog to lament the end of November. When did this happen? Where did my month go??
Some quickie life things:

-finishing up the semester! Four more "big things" left, so the countdown begins. I've really loved the classes I took, which is a huge bonus

-I'm loving Season 3 of The Newsroom! Also keeping up with The Walking Dead, Arrow, Brooklyn 99, New Girl, Scorpion, Elementary... and sometimes The Flash and The Mindy Project. Hey now... I've cut like 4 or so shows this season! (I stopped watching Gotham, SHIELD, Selfie, and Greys... they just were not doing anything for me) What shows have you been hooked on?

-I'm looking for a fun airplane read! I have a Neil Gaiman book and a Patrick Rothfuss book I want to get around to finishing over the holidays, but I always think plane reads should be fun and action-packed and awesome. Any recommendations? Maybe The Infinite Sea... hmmm...

-CHRISTMASSSSSS. I get to enjoy it while I'm in Toronto, since when I go back home, there's like zero Christmas spirit, ha.

-Two of the most-played songs this month: Railroad Track by Willy Moon, and Monsters by Angus Powell.

-I watched Mockingjay and thought it was awesome! It's a little unnecessary to split it into two parts, but I liked how faithful it was to the book, and the acting is great. I'd love to watch Part 1 and 2 back to back, because it's like a 6 hour adaptation of a book that could actually work on some level (since the first part is, admittedly, not super super exciting)

-Also I LOVED INTERSTELLAR ugh so much. Nowhere near a perfect movie, but boy, I still loved it.

*
Alright, that's it for now! I can't wait for December though, because that means BEST-OF lists and I LOVE THOSE THINGS. I can gather more book recs because it's like getting the cream of the crop :D What's the best book you've read this year? Best movie?

Monday, October 27, 2014

BR: Catalyst

by SJ Kincaid
Insignia trilogy; book III

Guys, I LOVE the Insignia series. Ever since I got tired of reading deep, depressing YA contemporary books, I've been looking for "quick fix" type books that are perfect escapes and full of action and humour-- and this series is exactly what I'm looking for. I was so thrilled to have won an ARC from the author and even more delighted to see what lay ahead.

Summary (goodreads):

**May contain SPOILERS for previous 2 books**



This exhilarating, explosive, and heartrending conclusion to the Insignia trilogy brings Tom and his intelligent, passionate, and brave young friends stunning tests and dangerous confrontations and through to an impossible future they could never have predicted.

Tom Raines and his friends are eager to return to the Pentagonal Spire to continue training for the elite Intrasolar Forces, but they soon discover troubling changes: strict new regulations and the revelation that the Spire is under new military control. What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those now in control are aligned with corporate sponsors and their ruthless agendas. And when the military academy begins welcoming new cadets with suspicious neural processors, the first step in a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications, Tom is desperate to stop it, even if that means keeping secrets from his closest allies.

Then a mysterious figure, the other ghost in the machine, begins fighting against the corporations, but with methods even Tom finds shocking. And when the enemy comes for Tom, how much can Tom endure in the battle to save himself? He must decide if he can still fight when the odds of success seem to be sliding from his grip.
**

My Thoughts

Gosh, I love this series. I don't finish a lot of series, but boy am I glad to have finished this one.

It's a bit slow to start, and it takes some time to get used to the characters, storyline, and terminology again... but it didn't take too long to get up and running again. I LOVED the way Kincaid has evolved her young, exciting action series into something more mature, thought-provoking, darker, and ominous. She went dark, man, I didn't expect it but I really appreciated it anyway. She managed to up the stakes and deal wonderfully with character development.

Although we saw less of Wyatt, there were a few significant moments that I thought were just perfect. She's always been an underdog favourite of mine, and I love her character arc. Blackburn was always a wild-card (though I'll admit, I have forgotten a lot about his role in the earlier books) but I loved that he's a really complex, ambiguous character that I couldn't pinpoint. Vik and Yuri's dialogue was once again pitch perfect; they were unique and so entirely them. And of course, Tom. Tom Raines, I can't say enough good things about you, you wonderful character. Infinite hugs for you. His storyline was just beautifully done, which is kind of difficult when you feel caught up in a Transformers-movie-esque action scene, but still. Harrowing and heartbreaking at times, his progression in this entire series is marvellous. Kincaid gave us a sympathetic character who had to grow into his own, and undoubtedly succeeded.

I liked the plot, although the ending was a bit too tidy for my liking, but the ride was so worth it. I had no idea how they'd get out of this mess, and the resolution was wholeheartedly satisfying. I liked how we ventured a lot further from the Spire and into the 'real world', away from pranks and into murders, villains, and the struggle for humanity.

It's an imaginative series with broad appeal that has great characters, writing, pacing, and heart. As a picky reader, I'm not easily impressed... I'll be sitting here urging you to pick this series up.

Thank you, SJ Kincaid.

9/10 

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: people looking for something fun, readable, Harry Potter-esque main character/vibe, a technology-heavy futuristic world








source: author
author website / twitter
goodreads for book 1, book 2 (seriously pick them up!)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

oh, September

It's the last day of September so I guess I'll throw something up onto this blog.

First, I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe this month, and IT IS THE BEST BOOK I'VE READ THIS YEAR. Granted, I don't read many books, but trust me, this one is such a gem.

Second, school is back and a-rolling. Good luck to my fellow uni friends out there, hang in there! I'm graduating in June so that's pretty...erm...terrifying. But I'm loving the majority of my courses, which is nice.

Third, I'm starting to feel as if I'm getting sick, which sucks :(

Fourth, if you look onto my left sidebar over there, I've updated it so it now shows my favourite book of each year. And yes, I do realize there's an inordinate amount of Melina Marchetta books on that list, I didn't even realize it until I was actually writing it.

Fifth, what TV shows are you guys watching?? I'm a TV fiend, I'm currently trying out some new shows-- Gotham, Scorpion, Selfie, A to Z, The Flash.. I'm doing my best not to get roped into too many new shows this year. I'm really curious about How to Get Away With Murder as well, but I'll probably wait until Christmas break and watch like ten episodes.

That's it! Hope your guys' Septembers were beautiful and full of Pumpkin Spice Lattes. May the pumpkin-ness infest your Octobers as well!

Audrey
x


Sunday, August 24, 2014

BR: The Lies of Locke Lamora

by Scott Lynch
Gentlemen Bastards sequence; book I

The moment I saw the summary for this book months and months ago, I wanted to read it. Wait, scratch that. The moment I saw it described as Robin Hood meets Ocean's Eleven, I needed to read it. Patrick Rothfuss' glowing recommendations certainly helped, too, especially since I am quite unfamiliar with the genre and the gems within it.

Summary (goodreads):

The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a friend to the poor, a ghost that walks through walls.

 Slightly built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke's gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves. The Gentleman Bastards.

 The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they have ever known. But now a clandestine war is threatening to tear it apart. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends are suddenly struggling just to stay alive...
**

My Thoughts

First, let me tell you, it's not really Robin Hood nor Ocean's Eleven.

But that's okay. Because it's freaking awesome.

There's two stories to pay attention to, the first is the present-day, where Locke and his gang of Gentlemen Bastards are about to pull off a con. And then the second, where you learn about how Locke got to where he is today. If I had one critique, it'd be how the beginning is pretty slow and it was hard to grasp what was really going on without itching to get to the exciting bits, but it's okay, just power through and you'll be dandy. Oh, and sometimes the pacing gets a little muddled and the descriptions a bit too much, but it's not too overwhelming.

In terms of writing, The Lies of Locke Lamora is not a breathless, fast-paced action book, but it's written in a style that makes you appreciate each sentence, should you choose to pay that much attention. Sometimes my brain stumbles ahead and just the general idea of a sentence will register, but Lynch is a talented writer who will reward those who read carefully, not by dropping hints but by employing lovely turns of phrase. I feel this isn't exactly out of place in most fantasy novels, but it is a welcomed change of pace, especially since it enhances the world-building ten-fold.

Which brings me to the world-building, and it is marvellous. Inspired by the renaissance era, Lynch has masterfully plopped readers into a setting that's endlessly entrancing, from the architecture to the unique set-up of the canals and the towers (again, rewarding careful readers*). I loved the descriptions of food, clothing, weapons, societal hierarchies, currency (I have a fondness of fantastical currency, I think), dukes, religion, and history.

And then of course, we have these wicked, witty, and loveable characters. Locke Lamora is kind of like Tony Stark, and pushes all the right buttons for me. He's too clever and too cocky for his own good, and that gets him into a boatload of trouble. But gosh, I adored these characters, and gosh, Lynch sometimes rips your heart out. I did not see that coming**.

I underestimated this book. I thought it would be in the same vein as The Name of the Wind, and it's not-- not really (well, if you try hard enough, you'll find some parallels). It stands its own, and it's exciting, has great twists, great stakes, crafts an immersive world and has a stunningly charismatic main character that you'll want to stick around to watch.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: Fans of The Name of the Wind, those looking for an awesome fantasy book that feels a bit YA-ish but also has some adult crossover
Acknowledgements: 3/5

8.5/10








*I myself may not have fully absorbed the awesomeness, but I did recognize it as awesome when it was floating through my brain.
**you bastard

source: bought
author blog / twitter / website

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

happy Canada Day!

I know, I know, I missed the June blog post. ARGH. MY BAD.

Firstly, Happy Canada Day to my fellow humans! Canada is the true north strong and free and simply the best place to live ever ever ever. For realsies, why don't you believe me? If you don't believe me, believe Patrick Ness:


I always loved that tweet ;)

Anyway, while you're here, I might as well give you some life updates to make up for my two month absence.

I've started a new job at a lab for the summer, and it's going really well. The best part so far has been the fact that everyone (including me) is obsessed with the World Cup, so for the past two weeks, there's always been a game on and it's exciting, fun, and hilarious. I'm cheering for Argentina and France because I bet 5 bucks that they'd make it to the finals (before this year, I had no interest in soccer whatsoever, ha!). If you're in Canada, CBC has FANTASTIC coverage (huzzah, Canadians!), they streams all the games for free online and even on mobile/iPads/etc.

Which of course, brings me to the next point: the World Cup!!! WAY TOO EXCITING. WHEEEE ZERO PRODUCTIVITY! Huzzah for rain + white jerseys = distinctive abs ;)

I went skydiving on Saturday! It's a lot of fun, but I wish there was a more intense "freefall" sensation, because it felt like as soon as I jumped, the air resistance was pushing me up... I know this might be an unpopular opinion but I liked bungee jumping a bit more, just because there was more time of falling. Skydiving was a blast though.

I've watched a ton of movies last month, and I'd REALLY recommend Edge of Tomorrow, even if it includes Tom Cruise. It's entertaining as heck, has a great plot, character arcs (yes, they exist!), and excellent action. Definitely underrated but trust me, it's really good! How To Train Your Dragon 2 was also a bundle of fun (god, I want a dragon so bad), and 22 Jump Street was everything it promised to be. So yeah, if you're bored, go watch movies :) If you have any recommendations for movies that are out on DVD right now and are really good, I'd LOVE to know.

In terms of books read, I most recently finished Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. I think LaCour is an author I can count on for solid four-star reads-- there's nothing really detracting about the book, it's quite enjoyable but not quite on the favourites list. So yeah, recommended. The book I read before that was Raging Star by Moira Young, which sucked so bad it makes me angry thinking about it. And before that was We Were Liars by E. Lockhard, which was well written. I know, I'm so descriptive, right?

I'm not sure what I'm reading next, I want to get around to The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch but I haven't been in a fantasy mood recently. As usual, I'll say follow me on goodreads, it's where I update most frequently in regards to reading. You can also observe my failure to read a hefty number of books.

Courtney Summers is releasing an e-novella sequel to This is Not A Test!! It's called Please Remain Calm and I AM ANYTHING BUT.

My mum sent me pineapple cakes from Taiwan and they are delicious.

OKay, I think that's all for now. Again, apologies for not updating last month... oops. Life, am I right?


Friday, May 2, 2014

BR: Open Road Summer

by Emery Lord

I can’t believe I’m writing a review, I swear it is really only because Goodreads is down at the moment and I had a lot of thoughts.

Summary (goodreads):

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.
**

My Thoughts

I’m not exactly sure what drew me to the book initially, maybe it was the Taylor Swift-ness, the promise of female friendships, or the very specific vibe set by the cover, but I borrowed it from the library and gave it a shot. And was very disappointed.

So like, 70% of it is an “it’s not you, it’s me” type of deal. Because while it certainly has many redeeming qualities I’ll discuss later, the biggest deal was that I just didn’t have the patience to deal with Reagan, the main character and narrator. It boiled down to me not giving a shit about her, to put it bluntly, so while her life escapades might be exciting (but I liked Dee’s more), I just wasn’t into it at all. The only reason I finished was because I’ve already read like 200 pages and I wanted to know how it would end.

I found the writing clunky and not to my taste, I remember a few years ago when first-person POV was my favourite because it made everything feel so much more intimate, so I’m not sure if this is an isolated case or I’ve “grown out of it”, but Reagan’s narration seemed really expositional and I just felt like I was constantly hit over the head with things I ought to know, like, I get it—you’re ~edgy~, please, do bring it up every 10 pages just in case I forgot. I can appreciate the how Reagan’s a girl with flaws, but it manifests in a way that I just find super annoying and shallow, her bitchy act and hate for other females was just grating and incessant.

Another thing— I felt absolutely nada for Matt, the love interest. So. Boring. Well, I'll give him a few points because I really like Bob Dylan and guys who are nice to their moms. BUT... boringly charming is how I’d describe it, the type of cookie-cutter love interest that just feels unrealistic, unattainable, and an amalgamation of what an ideal boy should be like. Bleh. And because of that, scenes between Reagan and Matt always fell into either the forced-sassy territory, or eye-rolling because of the “cuteness that unfortunately I did not find cute” area.

The bright spot was the friendship between Reagan and Dee, which I found hit most of the right notes and was more interesting to read about. The music lyrics were also cute in the rhyming department.

Rating in HP Terms: Poor
Recommended for: I dunno, One Direction fans? People looking for books about friendship?
Acknowledgements: 2.5/5

6.8/10 – because I had originally rated it a wee bit higher but writing this just made me realize that I really didn’t enjoy this book that much at all. The characters weren’t my thing, the narration was really not my thing, and the bright spots didn’t make the read feel worthwhile. So yeah, sorry for a mini-rant, blame the fact that goodreads is down. But some last words from this old hack—it’s a decent summer read and it’s got a pleasant vibe if you’re in the mood, so if that sounds like your thing, give it a shot.








source: library
author website / twitter

Sunday, April 27, 2014

several mini-Reviews + misc things.

Hello, lovelies!

Firstly, I finished third year of university! My last exam was on Friday and then I went to Wonderland (Canada's super-duper awesome amusement park) on Saturday, and now I'm finally relaxing and celebrating the end of the semester. I really, really enjoyed this term (well, most of the time), I took some fantastic courses and really just felt like I was learning things that I wanted to learn, which was a great feeling. Plus I'm happy with my marks, and the fact that those hours and hours of studying paid off. But now I'm so ready for summer, except my summer will mostly be consisting of working full time with some down-time in August, so fingers crossed that the job goes well. I don't think I've ever mentioned this on my blog-- you can follow my Instagram where I'll probably post more regularly than once every two months. If you want. No pressure.

I fully intend on spending my free time between now and mid-May catching up on TV, watching Breaking Bad (maybe? because I've been talking about it/meaning to watch it for YEARS), reading more books, and waiting around for actual decent movies to come out.

Also, I actually read books in April! Crazy, right? Some mini-reviews:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (7.7/10)
-click for summary-
I've heard of this one quite a bit, and there was quite a healthy mix of critique-- I've read both raving reviews and very critical ones. I wasn't going to pick this up originally, but I was wandering around a bookstore one day and decided to try this one out.
I liked it, mostly. I thought the plot was interesting, the characters were pretty good, the action was well-written... but everything felt kind of forgettable. I read this maybe two weeks ago, and I can probably only tell you the bare-bones of the plot and the fact that there's a love triangle and the main character is very perfect (but I must add a disclaimer that I have a terrible memory for books nowadays). Throne of Glass entertained, but just never stuck with me. If I get around to continuing this series (in which there'll be six, yes SIX, books, I can just hope it gets better. I've heard great things about the sequel, but it seems like only hardcore fans of book 1 end up reading book 2, so that says something).


The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (8.8/10)
-click for summary-
Honestly, if Eden didn't feature a giveaway of this book and mention in passing how much hype it has gotten, it would have completely slipped under my radar (my hype radar is really defective, okay? It picks up everything TFIOS and nothing else, to my great dismay). I read her review and a few others on goodreads, and while I remained a bit skeptical about the plot and the themes, it piqued my interest.
These days I really just look for books that I can escape into, and The Winner's Curse satisfied all my expectations and more. I was thoroughly entertained throughout, I thought the world-building was well done, the characters were engaging, and the fact that 'big plot things' happen (plus we see the aftermath, not just end on a cliffhanger) was a bonus. I don't really rate or discuss books objectively, but subjectively, I really enjoyed it.


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (7.9/10)
-click for summary-
Look, an adult book! I'm not exactly sure where I first heard of this one, but once again, I was wandering through the bookstore and saw an empty seat. I can't just sit down without a book, so I grabbed The Rosie Project and started flipping through it.
This book caught me by surprise because it was more fun than I expected, plus it was a really easy read. The main character, Don, provides a unique narration (someone compared him to Sheldon Cooper), and albeit I liked Rosie, I never really loved her. I thought their connection, while cute, felt a bit stale at times (Rosie often just seemed like a well-constructed foil), but there's some laugh out loud moments, and I enjoyed the subtle tint of science. Not the most brilliant book ever, but a fun vacation read.

--

Alright, I think that's all for now.
If you have any book recommendations, I'd love to know! Something fast-paced and action-packed, preferably... these days I'm not so into reading about serious issues.

Sunshine and more sunshine,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

oh no, the streak Ended

Ahhhh I didn't get a post up for March!! I feel terrible, mostly cause I feel like I let myself down (who reads my posts anyway?) since it was like, the ONE THING I promised for this blog. You had one job, Audrey, just one job.

It was just such a crazy hectic end to the month though, my classes were wrapping up and with it, came loads of in-class exams, assignments, and papers due. But alas, class is over on Friday, I've got a paper and three final exams left for April, then summer!! Here's a belated post for last month...

1. The How I Met Your Mother finale. I don't really know what to think... I don't think I hated it as much as a LOT of people did, but it was definitely a roller-coaster of emotions. Definitely had a few teary moments, and it'll always be a series I'll look back upon fondly (despite this very meh final season).

2. Gosh I'm just so freaking excited to be done classes. To be honest, I really enjoyed my courses this semester, I learned a lot about things I was (mostly) genuinely interested in (I mean, I learned Python. What. But it was a great experience), and it reminded me about why learning is so important and enriching, despite being accompanied by too much stress.

3. Game of Thrones starts on Sunday! Eep :)

4. I keep meaning to start reading more books, but every time I want to pick up a *serious* book, I just stop. I want to read something light, thrilling, action-packed, and not too mushy but still emotional.

5. My favourite new TV show this year was Brooklyn Nine Nine. It's actually a really funny sitcom, and I'd definitely recommend it (brought to you by the people who made Parks & Rec, another one of my favourite shows!)

6. Goddammit Toronto, you are far too cold. You've smartened up this past week, but still, thanks for that miserably cold, snowy, gross March weather. Can't wait to put away my sweaters....

7. I was grocery shopping yesterday and my cart consisted of yogurt, granola bars, frozen perogies, animal crackers, Dunkaroos, and "crumpets". Why is adulting so hard? I don't even know what the call "real food" anymore... I mean, I don't eat meat, I don't know how to *cook* vegetables, I'm too lazy to buy fruit (they always go bad before I can eat them)... which just mean I eat a lot of carbs (hell yeah, carbs!) and Tim Horton's.

8. lol canucks

9. lololololol leafs

10. Here's to a happy April, to my fellow Canadian uni friends, good luck on finals! There's light at the end of the tunnel! :)

--xx Audrey

PS- I promise to post something at the end of April, too!

Friday, February 28, 2014

on the last day of February..

A long time ago I promised to always post something every month to this blog, but like, February is missing three days so I'm in a bit of a bind. Nevertheless, here is some brain vomit!

1. I read two books over reading week, Also Known As by Robin Benway, and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. Both are solid 4-star-ish books.

2. There has been a squirrel invasion in my house (okay, that's a bit of an overexaggeration) but it's been stressful :( One of our ceiling panels fell down because the squirrel thought it'd be fun to do laps above the living room. 

3. I can't believe there's only like a month of classes left, where has third year gone?! What is adulthood? What is life? 

4. Did anyone watch the Olympics? .... *crickets* 
Only time in four years I care about bobsleigh.

5. Roll up the rim at Tim Horton's is going on... I'm 1/5 right now. 

6. This update is pathetic. I wish my life were more interesting. It's probably cause I have barely read any books.

7. IT IS SO COLD, GODDAMMIT TORONTO.

I think I'll just quietly post this and not tweet it or anything, because like, what even did I write? 

Also, is it the day after Easter yet, because I seriously want to get those Cadbury eggs... on sale.

Here's a cute video. 


Cheers. 
Audrey

Friday, January 31, 2014

BR: Cress

by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles; book III (of four)

I remember that I was late getting onto the bandwagon with Cinder. I read Scarlet a few months after its release… and they were both so incredibly imaginative and action-packed and chalk-full of wonderful character. To say I was delighted to get the chance to read Cress is a gross understatement.

Summary (goodreads)

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can
**

My Thoughts

Oh. My. God. Marissa Meyer, you genius.

I loved this book. It’s like a giant blend of everything I love about the Marvel movies (Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers etc.. if you’ve been living under a rock) in the sense that it’s a tornado of fabulous characters, witty one-liners, imaginative storytelling, interweaving plots, secondary characters that dazzle (Iko!), wonderful writing and such a stunningly evil villain.

Marissa Meyer, are you Joss Whedon?

How’s that for an endorsement? I love being able to be completely enthusiastic about books that I just, quite honestly, really really really enjoyed reading. Just reading these words and these people makes me happy and gives me endorphins or something, which creates a positive feedback loop that results in this review.

In Cress, a new character is introduced—Crescent Moon, Levana’s (the baddie) best hacker who has Earthen sympathies and joins the ragtag group led by Cinder to try and save the world. No pressure or anything.  That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, and it’s a mighty damn good one, full of twists and jump cuts, but honestly, it’s slightly overwhelmed by how great the characters are. I don’t think I can even express how much I love them—they’re just a perfect blend of funny, sympathetic, flawed, and kick-ass. They’re what makes the series worthwhile and especially their interactions and relationships. I loved reading about the Wolf and Scarlet dynamic, and can’t wait to see how that plays out, along with the tiny glimpse of Winter. It’s always dangerous when the number of ‘main’ characters seems to grow so much; it runs into the problems of some important people being pushed off to the side. Luckily, I think this book avoided that and managed to give a nice, satisfying dose of each character, along with doing a great job familiarizing readers with new ones.

I love the world that Meyer created, with both the futuristic Earth and the looming Luna, and how people from the two planets are different—particularly with the Lunar powers which I found an interesting touch. The fairy tail influence really gave it a nice feel, and I appreciated how grand the scale of things are, which ups the ante and sets up book 4 for a thrilling conclusion.

Overall, this was one of my favourite books of 2013.

Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding!
Recommended for: people who enjoy fairytale retellings with a great twist, Firefly, underdogs staring a rebellion (hell yes!)
Acknowledgements: none in ARC

9.1/10 – because I loved it! Cress is a perfect blend of storytelling and action, and combined with a cast of characters that I would want on my team when I face the zombie apocalypse, it really doesn’t get any better than that. As I mentioned, I just overall had a great time reading it (I really hope that’s a thing, or else I’d sound crazy) so I unabashedly recommend it to everyone. This is definitely a series that only gets better, and I, for one, cannot wait to see how Meyer manages to conclude it in in the final book, Winter.








source: eGalley from Raincoast Books (thank you!)
author website / twitter