Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Trailer: A Need So Beautiful

Wow! I was a bit iffy on whether or not this was a must read but the trailer convinced me. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. What do you think?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Black Hole Sun

Black Hole Sun
Author: David Macinnis Gill
Pages: 352
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Library
Synopsis (from Amazon): Durango is playing the cards he was dealt. And it’s not a good hand.

He’s lost his family.

He’s lost his crew.

And he’s got the scars to prove it.

You don’t want to mess with Durango.

Black Hole Sun was one of the most action packed books I've ever read. There was always an enemy that needed to be fought and the battles were long and hard won (or lost). I literally feel like I was dropped into the action and the moment I started to catch my breath, there would be an even bigger problem or task.

The best thing about Black Hole Sun is the world. Everyone lives on Mars after Earth got hit with a plague. Mars is a dump but the government promises a better future. There are many civil problems and wars that Mars has already faced. That makes the planet more real to me. The entire world is huge, well thought out and I feel like I've barely discovered it so I can't wait to read the sequel to learn more.

The characters are a bit gritty but lovable. Vienne the badass chick who's loyal to Durango, our damaged but standing strong witty leader, etc. I found myself caring for each and everyone of them. Durango especially has a special place in my heart.

The problem I had with this book is that I didn't find enough explanation. I didn't feel like I knew the characters well. There were things I didn't understand about the story because they weren't explained. I'm not saying I want to know everything, I just wish there was more of a balance between the hard action scenes and thoughts on the day. I feel like the book blew by.

Ultimately, Black Hole Sun is an addicting, fun read which will give as much adrenaline-filled action as a roller coaster. It was witty and I laughed out loud at some parts. It's perfect for people who love action movies with a bit of Sci-Fi. It's also narrated by a boy which is always fun. 4 stars,


Sunday, May 29, 2011

In My Mailbox (7)

Hey guys! Welcome to another (AWESOME) week of In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren.

As always, pics link to Amazon while titles link to Goodreads.

I usually get library books only since I have about $20 to my name, but this week I was browsing through this huge garage sale downtown where my mom bought me the Poison Study trilogy by Maria V. Snyder. This is a recommendation from you bloggers so I'm super pysched to start reading them.

Poison StudyMagic Study (Study, Book 2)Fire Study (Study, Book 3)
Poison StudyMagic StudyFire Study

Now I'll list 7 of the library books I got. (Hooray for libraries!)

KindredLove, Love, Love: Language of Love; Cupidity (Simon Romantic Comedies)Vulture's WakeCity of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments, Book 4)
KindredLove Love Love; Cupidity, Language of LoveVulture's WakeCity of Fallen Angels,
DroughtInside Out (Harlequin Teen)Ominous (Private)
DroughtInside OutOminous

I'm super excited about my mailbox, so I'm wondering, what did you get in your mailbox?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cover War! Always a Witch vs. Crossed

Cover Wars is a fun little (PEACEFUL) feature at Tantalizing Illusions focusing on the beauty of covers. The whole point is to vote for your favourite cover. What do you get? Nothing, yet.  The covers are all for books that haven't been released and maybe in the process you'll find a new must read to add to your TBR. The covers may be linked together or are randomly there, it pretty much depends on my mood. So vote and may the best cover win!

If you have a suggestion for a cover to compete in a future cover war, feel free to send me an email or to comment to this post. Whichever suits you. Remember, voting is done on the right! You have one week to vote. 

Last week there was a fight between Die for Me, (winning once) and Always a Witch, our new competitor. Always a Witch won with three quarter of the votes! Here to challenge Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough this week is our challenger, Crossed by Allie Condie.

Crossed (Matched, #2)vs.Always a Witch (Witch, #2)

What cover do you prefer? Vote now and tune in next weeks for the result. That's it for today folks. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: Aries Rising

Star Crossed: Aries Rising
Author: Bonnie Hearn Hill
Pages: 304
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Source: Library
Synopsis: Aquarius Logan McRae is a high school sophomore in Terra Bella Beach, CA and has been working all semester to impress her teachers in order to get into the summer writing camp she desperately wants to attend. But when this ordinary girl finds an extraordinary book, Fearless Astrology, her life is changed forever. Applying what she’s learned about the zodiac, she lands her own column in the school paper and a date with the hottest guy in school!

But when Logan threatens to catch the members of a secret society called The Gears, who have been vandalizing school property by reading the stars, she quickly learns that she is in over her head. Will Logan be able to catch The Gears, save her love life, keep her newspaper column, and get into the writing camp of her dreams all through the use of astrology?

I love reading about astrology (I'm born on the Libra-Scorpio cusp by the way) so I was super excited to read Aries Rising.

Aries Rising is about Logan. Logan is a pretty average girl with awesome friends, but I wasn't too interested in her character. Logan has issues with her mom who's always away so when she sees the book "Fearless Astrology" she knows it will change her life. From there we see how Logan's life changes with the help of astrology.

I loved the astrology. It was written in an easy to understand way. I tried researching astrology and it is hard but Aries Rising presented the information in a fun way. That was my favourite part of the book. There are parts that you'll need research to understand but most of it is pretty straightforward.

The story itself didn't really pull me in too much. The characters felt empty. They didn't feel distinct and I hoped the plot would pick up faster. The ending was interesting but still not big enough. Logan's life was too normal for me. I want a bit more drama and I wasn't getting that in Aries Rising. If you like books about normal people with something different, this book is a great choice.

Overall a nice reading experience enhanced by astrology. I actually would read Fearless Astrology if it was a real book since it sounds like so much fun! I will be reading Taurus Eyes, the sequel. 3 stars,


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer TV Suggestions Anyone?

I love TV and summer is TV time for me. Seriously, I go on marathons without my favourite shows. I watched Supernatural (5 seasons) in a week and a half last year, not including weekends. 7 episodes a day. Yeah, I love TV. I'm on the lookout for something new though since I don't like repeating stuff. I rarely re-read or rewatch.

Shows I love and watch regularly are The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural. Then Gossip Girl. As you can tell, mostly CW shows so expanding my view is no  problem. I'm fine with TV from any channel.

So stuff I like/need/want include:
- at least one full season
- nothing more explicit than 14A
- an actual overall plot
- hot guys :)
- drama

I know many bloggers with the same tastes which is why I'm asking you guys for help. Have any recommendations?

So far I'm pondering...
-True Blood
- Criminal Minds
- Pretty Little Liars
- Nikita

What do you think of those? Are they good? Any suggestions are welcome, though I've already seen Buffy and Angel.

Thanks for the help!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Trailer: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

I never saw The Forest of Hands and Teeth book trailer though I did read the books. After watching it, I think it's awesome! I felt scared like Mary even watching it. It was one of the best book trailers I've seen. What do you think?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Virtual Tour: The Lens and the Looker, Review

I'm participating in the virtual tour for The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman.

The Lens and the Looker (The Verona Trilogy, #1)
Author: Lory S. Kaufman
Publisher: The Fiction Studio
Pages: 336
Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

It’s the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences (A.I.s) have finally created the perfect post-dystopian society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experiencing the same degradations. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die. But not everything goes to plan. 

In this first of a trilogy, we meet three spoiled teens in the year 2347. Hansum almost 17, is good looking and athletic. Shamira, 15, is sassy, independent and an artistic genius. Lincoln, 14, is the smart-aleck. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find his insecurities. 

These three “hard cases” refuse the valuable lessons History Camps teach. But when they are kidnapped and taken back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy, they only have two choices; adapt to the harsh medieval ways or die. The dangers are many, their enemies are powerful, and safety is a long way away. It’s hardly the ideal environment to fall in love – but that’s exactly what happens. In an attempt to survive, the trio risks introducing technology from the future. It could save them – or it could change history.

I don't believe I've ever read a novel like The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman. It was so unique- a blend of very old history and a very modern future in a story that actually made sense.

The world of this story is the coolest thing. There are about 300 million people alive only, it's the 24th century and to stop future generations from making mistakes, there are sites called History Camps which are cities in ancient times re-enacted. Kind of like a huge role play game. There is also some time travel and I thought that part was also very cool. Basically, a new memorable world that I love to read about.

The main characters didn't stand out as much as the side characters, for me. I didn't feel like I knew them very well. I knew one stressed out fact about each- Hamsum was clever, Shamira was artistic, Lincoln had a bad temper- but besides that I didn't understand much about them. The best character I think was the Master. He was a character that did many things considered morally wrong in today's society- drinking, beating, but you can't help but still root for him. He turned out to be a very complex character and I loved seeing him transform. He's truly a character that I want to see succeed. The villain is a character that I'd enjoy seeing die a gruesome death. I love to feel that way about characters. Lory S. Kaufman created a wide range of characters that were all different.

Most stories I read are character driven, but The Lens and the Looker is very much a plot driven story. There are tons of events or little scenes that drive the story. You never have the characters doing nothing and whining about their dilemma. There's always something that happens and the characters need to adjust to that something. The book is divided into 3 parts and I think it was done well that way. The problem of the story was basically everything I expected but there were many twists. Near the ending of the story, I was literally hooked. That's why I'm writing this review at midnight. At some point the story hit it off with an interesting climax, and the end definitely leaves room for more while being satisfying.

While reading the story, I noticed many similarities to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and there were many allusions to it. This was obviously purposeful and made the romance- yes, there was romance- more interesting. It wasn't too heavy nor a major focus, it was just something naturally happening while the plot was going on.

Overall, a good, imaginative read with time travel, romance, and danger. The Lens and the Looker has something for everyone! 4 stars,


About the Author...
Lory S. Kaufman

"I write Post-Dystopian fiction. After society’s collapse, which is imagined in so many great dystopian stories, humans will either fade into history, with the dinosaurs, or, if it learns the right lessons, society will go on to construct a civilization to last tens of thousands of years. History Camp stories are the exciting adventures of young people doing the latter."

History Camp Website

If you liked The Lens and the Looker, there's good news! The sequel, The Bronze and the Brimstone is coming out soon on June 7th.

The Bronze and the Brimstone (Book #2 of the Verona Trilogy)

What could go wrong in the 14th-century 
for three time-traveling teens? 
How about – EVERYTHING! 

Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln, three teens from the 24th-century, are trapped in 14th-century Verona, Italy. They’ve survived many deadly experiences by keeping their wits about them and by introducing futuristic technology into the past. Principal among these inventions is the telescope, which brought them to the attention to the rich and powerful. 

But standing out can get you into unexpected and dangerous situations. The nobles of Verona now believe Hansum is a savant, a genius inventor, especially after he brings them plans for advanced cannons and black powder. Being the center of attention is great, but the potential for trouble is now exponentially greater because people are watching Hansum’s every move. 

Meanwhile, artistic genius Shamira has fallen for a Florentine artist with bloody and disasterous consequences. Lincoln, considered an incompetent back home in the 24th-century, has blossomed – at least until he’s shot in the head with an arrow. And Hansum, after secretly marrying his new master’s beautiful daughter, Guilietta, is offered the hand in marriage of lady Beatrice, daughter of the ruler of Verona. To refuse could mean calamity for all the teens. 

Amazingly, none of this is their biggest challenge. Because a rash illness is spreading across Verona – and it is threatening to consume everyone. 

Do they have a future in this past? 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is an awesome weekly meme (with credits to Kristi from The Story Siren) which is all about the awesome books you received throughout the week. Maybe you bought them, they're for review, they're borrowed from the library, or you won them. Doesn't matter! IMM is about sharing the love of books and to promote books that might not necessarily be reviewed.

(And since you're here [HI!] feel free to send a Goodreads friend request. Every book I read, plus some extra mini reviews are posted there and I'd love to meet you. )

This week, all my books are from the library. I owe the library so much...

*All titles link to Goodreads. :)

Intertwined (Harlequin Teen)The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal BallBetween Shades of GrayThe Gathering (Darkness Rising, Book 1)
Intertwined (Goodreads)The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal BallBetween Shades of GrayThe Gathering
Gathering BlueHunger (Riders of the Apocalypse)Jellicoe RoadRules of Attraction
Gathering BlueHungerJellicoe RoadRules of Attraction

I for one am super excited! Some of these are books I only heard about thanks to bloggers. What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-thon

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

I signed up over at Reading Angel for Once Upon a Read-a-thon which is basically about reading as many books as possible (challenge yourself!) from 12:01 AM July 11 to 11:59 PM July 13th. This will be during my summer vacation so I'll definitely have time for this. I'll be sharing updates via Twitter for sure, maybe blogging and Goodreads too. I'm super psyched and totally ready!

I think my goal will be to read at least 7 YA books, but I'll be super duper excited if I can get to 9. Yup, with coffee, tea and chocolate I think it's possible! I look forward to then and feel free to drop by with some much needed (I presume) support!

New Poll for Cover Wars (vote again)

Hey guys, the widget thing from last week was an epic fail which is why I've resorted back to the regular way of voting- in a poll! So please vote for your favourite cover again. This week it's Die For Me vs. Always a Witch.

 I personally love the blues from Always a Witch. The gothic look gets me every time. What do you think?

(PSST! I'll be posting my review for The Lens and the Looker Virtual tour on Monday, AKA Victoria Day in Canada. Be sure to check it out!)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Review: If I Stay

If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Pages: 272
Publisher: Speak
Source: Library
Synopsis (from Goodreads): In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

If I Stay is now number one on my list of books that everyone needs to read.

The story was painful to read. I felt like I was Mia, losing my family— her family was impossible. I felt her uncertainty, her grief. I myself miss her parents and her brother. I feel like I've lost something, but I've also found something special in this remarkable book. I felt Mia's hope and I've finally realized what an emotional roller coaster means. I'm so glad I read this book and I truly feel like I've undergone a journey with Mia. If I Stay does that to you.

Mia's life is real. I can imagine her easily. Her parents were amazing and she loved them so much but they weren't perfect. They had so many great memories with Mia. Mia's love for her brother Teddy makes me think of my own sister. Mia's best friend Kim with all her faults and merits could easily be a girl in my class. Adam could also easily be a boy at my school. And the scariest thing is that the accident that overturned Mia's life could easily happen. If I Stay was real.

When I read books I have a hard time keeping myself interested sometimes. I force myself to slow down and read every single word, but I didn't need to do that with this story. Each word had an amazing purpose to describe what was happening and it also had the power to make you feel what was happening. Often I read books for fun, and that's acceptable but words aren't just about fun. They have power and should be used carefully. I realized this while reading If I Stay.

The story of If I Stay is unforgettable. I'll be thinking of Mia many, many times throughout my life. While reading I had no idea where the story would go. I had no idea what Mia's choice would be or what would happen next. I was guessing till the last page and even now I can't get the story out of my head. The ending was satisfying and I can not wait to read Where She Went.

Overall, If I Stay is a powerful story of love, family and choices. It'll take you to places inside yourself that you've never been to before and it will startle you. It's an important story and a book that needs to be read. 5 stars,

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