Thursday, June 6, 2013

Moving on to The Sirenic Codex, My New Blog

Hi everybody! I haven't been around very much lately but not for lack of reading or writing. I've been working on a pretty interesting new project.

I've always liked blogging but I've always enjoyed reading and reviewing more. For me, the hardest thing about being a blogger is having quality content and posting the content I do have. That's why I was pretty happy to collaborate with Mari to create a new blog that both of us will use. It's a YA book blog and we're both looking at it as a fresh start.

I've enjoyed blogging at Tantalizing Illusions. I'm so proud of this blog and every time I receive a comment, it makes my day. I hope you'll follow me to The Sirenic Codex because there will be a lot of quality content; reviews, spotlights, and features. You already know what I can do, and Mari is a pretty fantastic blogger herself.

I've appreciated my time on this blog and I'm going to keep this blog around as a reference, and something to look back to, although I will stop posting on here. Thank you all so much for being great followers and showing a girl that yes, people do care about her opinion.

xoxo,

-P.E.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: The Waiting Tree



The Waiting TreeAuthor: Lindsay Moynihan
Pages: 224
Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing
Source: Review copy- thank you
Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Simon Peters wants to stand up for the truth about who he is. His love for Stephen is unwavering, but does he have the courage to defend it when his entire church community, including his eldest brother has ostracized him? Trapped in a cashier's job he hates, struggling to maintain peace with his brothers after their parents have died, and determined to look after his mute brother, Simon puts everyone else's needs before his own. It takes a courageous act of self-sacrifice on Jude's part to change both of their lives forever. Jude, who knew that when the fig tree in their yard began to bloom, it was his time to finally be heard and to set Simon free.

Simon is gay in a small town where being different is enough to have you shunned from society. When he's caught with Stephen by Stephen's dad, Simon's life changes in the worst way. Even his brother Paul has a hard time accepting him.

Let's be real: Simon's life sucks. It actually depressed me a little because I couldn't see very much of a bright side to the story. Simon has an awful job, didn't finish high school, his parents are dead, his brother is an idiot, his twin brother needs extra help and attention that Simon's unable to completely provide and his best friend has been sent away. The whole situation was uninspiring because it just seems to get worse every day.

I couldn't connect with Simon because our lives are so different. So much of the racist and homophobic crap he has to deal with doesn't exist where I live, at least so blatantly. I have no doubt that there are garbage people who say garbage things but living in possibly one of the most multicultural communities in the world where there are so many religions, ethnicities, and cultures, I couldn't believe the way they treated Simon. If anyone has to experience that I feel for them but there's a better world out there; they just need to find it.

Simon himself was meant to be someone I sympathized and I did, but I didn't connect with him. I have never experienced the influence of a church or felt ostracized for any reason. I also couldn't get a grip on Simon's character. The one trait that defined him was that he cared more about others than himself and that trait was a little bit forcefully fed to the reader as the supporting characters kept saying it. I didn't feel like Simon had much of a personality. Those little details that make people real— maybe they listen to a certain type of music, watch TV or have an online life— just weren't there.

That's something I wondered a lot when reading The Waiting Tree. Where was the technology? This book was written with the intention of being gritty and realistic so does it take place a while ago? The reason I ask is that technology is integrated to the life of every teen. Even if you can't afford internet there is WiFi. Libraries offer free internet access and through the internet there are communities and resources that could have been beneficial to Simon. If there isn't a group you feel you relate with in reality, you can hang out with one online. So that bugged me just because I wanted this story to be realistic not just in the bad ways but the good ways too and I don't feel like that happened.

The other thing to consider is this is not my usual type of book so I wasn't very into it. It never drew me in and that's because I don't usually read these types of books for a reason. I rarely read contemporary that isn't intensely tragic; life lessons aren't my thing. Life in jeopardy is. That's just the type of reader I am. I didn't enjoy reading The Waiting Tree and I felt like the ending was abrupt and not as enlightening as it was meant to be.

So, this book gets 1 star. It just wasn't my type of read because I couldn't relate to it. I wouldn't discourage anyone from trying The Waiting Tree if it seems like the type of book you'd enjoy.

1 star,

*

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Crash and Burn


Crash and Burn



Author: Michael Hassan
Pages: 532
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Library
Synopsis: On April 21, 2008, Steven "Crash" Crashinsky saved more than a thousand people when he stopped his classmate David Burnett from taking their high school hostage armed with assault weapons and high-powered explosives. You likely already know what came after for Crash: the nationwide notoriety, the college recruitment, and, of course, the book deal. What you might not know is what came before: a story of two teens whose lives have been inextricably linked since grade school, who were destined, some say, to meet that day in the teachers' lounge of Meadows High. And what you definitely don't know are the words that Burn whispered to Crash right as the siege was ending, a secret that Crash has never revealed.

Until now.

Michael Hassan's shattering novel is a tale of first love and first hate, the story of two high school seniors and the morning that changed their lives forever. It's a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADHD-diagnosed glory. And it's a powerful meditation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal.


I've given Crash and Burn some honest thought, and I think I love it. The operative word being "think" because there's a lot to hate too, and I can see why some people didn't enjoy this book.

But in this review, mine is the only opinion that matters and I'll do my best to explain why this book messed me up so bad.

See, I thought the writing was refreshing. It's not artistic and pretty. It's not stupidly plain. The writing has a voice and so when I read this book, I could imagine Crash talking. There was credibility because Crash had such attitude and it was all there. There is swearing but the real, natural kind. Nobody was trying too hard. There were pop culture references which I totally understood although Crash is a few years older than me. There was rambles which made sense since Crash is not a professional writer. He's kind of self absorbed and this is his book and he'll put whatever he wants in it.

The most endearing quality of Crash and Burn is the believability. Crash is a believable character. Getting to know him is unreal because there are so many layers and parts to his life that he's almost tangible. I can see him. I can imagine him. It's like one of my wishes when I was a kid, to be able to live as someone else, came true because I got to experience the world through the eyes of Stephen Crashinsky, a messed up and real kid.

The most interesting thing is that I don't even know if I like Crash. I don't know if I don't. It doesn't seem to matter because Crash is Crash. There are times he disgusted me, like all the stupid times he lit up and how he was such a manwhore who treated girls like crap. Maybe if I met him for real, I would hate him because he is a jerk. I know I wouldn't like him.

But.

There's more to people than what you see, and this holds true with Crash. He's an asshole and makes some baaad decisions, but there are some moments where I want to hug him because he's real. He's screwing up and dealing with what everybody feels in his own way. From his protectiveness of his sister, to his relationship with his asshole of a father, to his brutal honesty, Crash won me over. He's a tool; a jerk. But I can't say I don't hate him. It's not even about like or hate; Crash feels real to me in a way you never see people or books.

He has all these messed up thoughts in his head, all these awkward moments full of attitude and uncertainty that are fundamental to life. I was never bored with this book. I was completely and utterly engrossed in Crash's story.

And it was a long book. Like, over 500 pages of emotional, real, funny, disgusting shit and it kind of messed with me. It was a real and unfiltered account of Crash's life with hardships and success. The story wasn't chronological and jumped from scene to scene. I loved it because it brought so much insight to Crash's world. There were so many different themes going on; so many storylines that flowed in and out. Recurring characters, fading characters, and new characters. So much about life as a teenager in this time period, and responsibility, and not knowing who to be and how to act. There were surprisingly emotional stories because I could connect. My life isn't like Crash's at all, but the basic feelings are there. I even feel like I went on a bit of a journey with the main character. This book is one of those books.

What originally drew me into the story was the concept: school shooting, who did it and why? I was curious about Burn and I was not expecting too much from this book. I was surprised at how layered the story was. Especially the characters: there's so much to them. Burn was supposed to be a draw although this story really is about Crash. Their relationship was fascinating.

We all have that friend we've known since forever. The ones we don't really consider friends but were a part of our childhood. Maybe our parents hung out together and we hated them. We grew up together though and this is a link that, no matter what happens in the future, will always exist. That is Crash and Burn. They have a bond. It's weird and messed up and you can't even explain it properly because it is constantly evolving. Crash owes a lot to Burn. Crash also hates Burn. Crash feels bad for Burn. Watching the way their lives are linked is so fascinating if not disturbing. Burn is a genius although screwed up. He's vengeful and smart. Actually, there's really no way to describe Burn beyond that he is. Somehow, Burn's actions make sense in some twisted way when considering his character.

That's what I think needs to be said about this book. While Burn's actions are the premise, the story really didn't need things to go so extreme to draw you in. It's a book about people and the stuff that defines them. It is not a feel good story. It doesn't try to be inspiring. It doesn't leave with a happy ending. It is the story of one dude's life to this point, and somehow it is one of the best books I've ever read. I want to reread this book. I want to buy it (I previously got it from the library).

Crash and Burn makes me think and feel. I don't normally write reviews this long, but this book has inspired me in some ways. To do what I want to do. To listen to myself. To realize that even the stupidest little things like some random beans can save someone's life, but at the same time how can beans really save a life?

5 stars.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's happening on Goodreads!

I've obviously neglected this blog, but that doesn't mean I've stopped reading and reviewing. I'm on Goodreads and I review & talk books there! So in case you still want to follow along with my reading adventures (and it would be sweet if you did!) you can follow me on Twitter  or friend me on Goodreads! I'll still keep this blog around and I think I will post reviews, although they will be select reviews from Goodreads and kinda sporadic. I appreciate the support either way.

It's been great and if you're reading this, it means a lot to me. Thank you!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Pandemic of Book Amnesia

Most of the people reading this post are book bloggers or at least very dedicated readers. The type of people that read daily. We devour books like they're food and we're never satisfied. Occasionally we grow impatient with one type of flavour, but upon seeing a really epic trailer for an upcoming book, we get right back into it. We read so much, so fast, and sometimes it takes a toll on our lives. We're those strange people that sometimes would rather just curl up with a nice book instead of going shopping. It's weird to friends who don't read, and we've been told so many times that we read too much.

Another toll it's taken on me is my memory. Now, I'm not blaming books on what I would call "absentmindedness" (or what my mom calls "idiocy"). Rather, where do you think all those thousands, maybe even millions, of words go? They can't all stay in my brain. So some go away. Most people remember general storylines for books they read. They remember character names, backgrounds, covers, anything. Everyone has this issue to some degree, but I feel like I suffer more than others. 

I have book amnesia. Also known as liber amnesia.

It's rather shameful and embarrassing. I have been ridiculed for it. Mostly by this one really mean Vampire Academy/ Sidney Crosby fan, but it still hurts. All jokes aside, I find it really weird and so do others. You might be wondering why, so I'll tell you some of the symptoms of my condition. 

Symptoms

  • forgetting character's names. 
  • forgetting the story.
  • forgetting the title. 
  • forgetting what happens
  • forgetting I ever read the book.
  • forgetting if I liked it or not. 
Now, it's pretty obvious why I write a review for a book almost immediately after reading it. The thing about these "symptoms" is that they aren't exactly bad. Everyone forgets stories and books sometimes. The thing that's a little extreme is how fast I can forget. I've read a book, and a day later can't remember the main character's love interest's name. I've read a book I adored so much that I made my friend buy it and then she reads it within a week of me. We try to talk about the ending but I can't remember it all. It's tragic because you can imagine how much I can remember once I read a sequel of a book I year later. That's right, not much. 

Solutions

I'm a fighter. I refuse to let this conundrum bring me down. I will read books, and damnit I will remember some of them! Mostly, it's my very favourite series that I remember the most, but even that doesn't work sometimes. So rather than lament about the problem, I seek solutions. 

One solution I found was reading Down The Rabbit Hole's Happily Ever Endings posts. I love these. No seriously, they have saved me so many times. Basically, they are the summaries of endings for books and they, along with some spoilery Goodreads reviews, rescue me from reading a sequel of a book I have no recollection of. Especially since in general I don't like to reread. So they have helped me a lot.


What I'm wondering is if this is common among book readers or am I an anomaly. Do you guys suffer from any type of liber amnesia too? Let us commiserate in the comments!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Quicksilver


Quicksilver (Ultraviolet, #2)



Author: R.J. Anderson
Pages: 314
Publisher: Monarch Books
Source: Review Copy (thanks so very much!)
Synopsis: Back in her hometown, Tori Beaugrand had everything a teenaged girl could want—popularity, money, beauty. But she also had a secret. A secret that could change her life in an instant, or destroy it.

Now she’s left everything from her old life behind, including her real name and Alison, the one friend who truly understood her. She can’t escape who and what she is. But if she wants to have anything like a normal life, she has to blend in and hide her unusual... talents.

Plans change when the enigmatic Sebastian Faraday reappears and gives Tori some bad news: she hasn’t escaped her past. In fact, she’s attracted new interest in the form of an obsessed ex-cop turned investigator for a genetics lab.

She has one last shot at getting her enemies off her trail and winning the security and independence she’s always longed for. But saving herself will take every ounce of Tori’s incredible electronics and engineering skills—and even then, she may need to sacrifice more than she could possibly imagine if she wants to be free.

Buy the Book (Amazon /Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide)



Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson is a very interesting read as it is written similarly to Ultraviolet but with a different tone that is executed very well because the overall personality of the book is much more Tori than Allison. I think that's fantastic because these two characters are so different and that should be reflected in their stories.

It didn't take long for Tori to win me over. After returning from space with Allison, Tori has to leave her hometown and friends in an attempt to evade scientists of all kinds and live a semi-normal life. At this point, we don't know very much about Tori beyond Allison's experiences and I was fascinated and excited to get to know her. For good reason too. I really like Tori.

Tori is just a really resourceful, practical person. She's someone who's decisions I can understand and I connected with her as a reader. I think I'd like her in real life too. She's very reserved, and for good reason, but she ends up being well liked by many because she's so good at reading people. Also, the fact that she is an alien is really interesting. It factors into her personality in some ways and some of my favourite details about Tori was when she talked about how her parents raised her. Tori has her issues with her parents but loves them anyway. There were a lot of scenes in which you see a family just trying it make a hard situation work.

I haven't talked much about Milo but I adore the guy. Milo is great in so many ways. He's a loyal, genuinely good guy that's all kinds of adorable. He thinks for himself too. For example, even though his parents want him to be a doctor, Milo knows that's not the right career path for him so he's planning something different. He doesn't know how to tell his parents this. This is such a tiny piece of information about Milo but I love it because it's something so many people around me are dealing with. Also, Milo is Korean Canadian so he brings some diversity into the book and some of the issues people have with that (which I loved even more).

Like Ultraviolet, Quicksilver's plot is like an avalanche. It starts slow but picks up speed as it goes along. Although this book doesn't feel slow. It's the strangest thing- I'm so into the story and trying to figure out what will happen next. The ending, I thought, was satisfying. One personal note is that I think the plot in Ultraviolet is stronger but the characters in Quicksilver are stronger. It's a wash because the plot is interesting; it's just that I read this book to know what will happen next to Tori and Milo, not to figure out the mystery. Who knows what others think though.

Once again a solid read. These books are different from what's out there and I like them a lot. I'm curious to see what's next for R.J. Anderson. Very deserving of 4 stars,

****

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: Ultraviolet


Ultraviolet (Ultraviolet, #1)

Author: R.J. Anderson
Pages: 416
Publisher: Orchard
Source: For Review
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison’s condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can’t explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori—the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that’s impossible. Right?


Buy the Book (AmazonBuy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide)





Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson is all kinds of impressive. The story is incredibly original but I think my favourite part about this book is the fact that it's a fascinating book to read. Not just the overall story but the individual chapters were filled with enriching details.

 It's incredibly rare for me to mention the presentation of a book in a review but I have to say something this time because I was so impressed. It begins with the beautiful cover. It's gorgeously metallic in person and my copy of the book was small, compact, and crisp. Each chapter had a designated colour or basic sensation and all three of the parts of the book were separated by a page of black. It ends up looking and feeling really nice and I, like many others, tend to enjoy nice things.

 Now, on to the actual content. One thing that excited me right off the bat was that Ultraviolet is set in northern Ontario. I live in south eastern Ontario and I've never gone to the north but there is something so cool about a book being set in the same country, nonetheless province as you. It doesn't happen too often since not many authors I read write about Canada but there were some cultural things I loved and it's something rare that probably won't mean as much to you as it does to me.

 Ultraviolet begins with Alison waking up in a hospital. Isn't that creepy? She doesn't remember anything, but something terrible has happened and a girl has gone missing, and Alison is the last person to see her. It should also be mentioned that Alison is different. She perceives the world differently; she tastes things in the air, she sees colors from sounds, and the stars sing to her. There is a fair bit of mystery in Ultraviolet and it's great in the sense that for the longest time, you have no idea what type of book this is. Something is not right, and is this wrongness supernatural or just contemporary? You'll never know as even the end leaves the door open. I love the openness and that the author very obviously knew what she was doing when she wrote this book because it comes off as very polished.

Ultraviolet isn't too suspense filled, nor is it an insanely fast paced action read so it doesn't fit my prototype of plots I know I'd love. However, it does something I love even more than a fast plot: character development. As more information is revealed about Alison, I couldn't help but like her even more. Also, most of the book is set in a psych ward so of course that in itself is fascinating enough. There's enough really interesting subplots and interaction with other characters to keep me interested. The ending does whirl by a bit and it throws me out of the loop a bit. There are clues but this book is so open that anything could be interpreted from the details. (Let me know if you guessed the twist in the comments and what you thought of it.)

 I liked the ending. It was surreal in a way but enjoyable and I'm not a usual fan of companion novels but as soon as this book ended I was insanely happy to have gotten a copy of Quicksilver from Monarch Books. 
Some other aspects I enjoyed that won't spoil this book for anyone else includes the fact that Alison likes piano, the flashbacks, and Alison's relationship with her mom. It wasn't the best or most healthy relationship but it was sufficiently complex and the feelings underneath everything rang true.

 All in all, reading Ultraviolet was a cool experience because this book is strong in so many ways. I thought it was solid and never disappointed me. The book is a little bit odd because it's definitely different from most of what's out there but if you give it a chance you could be surprised in a good way. 4 stars,

 ****

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: The Eleventh Plague


The Eleventh Plague





Author: Jeff Hirsch
Pages: 278
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Library
Synopsis: In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving.

In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing--and their lives--forever.

Buy the book (Amazon/Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide)

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch was a good book but I wasn't really wowed by it.

I do think it's really me and my "go big or go home" mentality. When it comes to books, I like big, intricate stories about special people facing and conquering fear and danger. Stories about people dealing with hardship like everyone else interest me but I've never really loved them. And that's what The Eleventh Plague was about. A boy, Stephen trying to find his way in the world.

The story and world is similar to Ashes Ashes. The world is bleak and desolate. Hope can only be found when searched for. Humans are torn between survival and humanity. There's danger around every corner, conflict, and everything you'd expect from a world left in ruins. What I liked about The Eleventh Plague was that while it was grim, it was believable. That really upped its creep factor and I felt the book's mood clearly.

The characters didn't entice me too much. I liked Stephen, Jenny and them just fine but I never loved them. I did like how they fell in love. Though it was quick, one line Jenny said made me realize there was more to her and she's good for Stephen. Stephen himself has lost so much that I wish I could give him everything I have here, like my books. He's a genuinely good guy but for most of his life all he has focused on is surviving as he experiences loss after loss after loss.

The plot is pretty well summarized by the synopsis and I think it's pretty good. There were some very action filled scenes but I wasn't too excited about them. I think the reason why is that I expect death in post-apocalyptic reads so I desensitize my self subconsciously before reading. Whatever happened, it wasn't very enjoyable.

I know I've sounded pretty lukewarm in my review but that's how I feel. There are some definite good parts in the novel like how it ended or some of the morality crises (I love reading about those) and I do think there are parts to like overall. The Eleventh Plague just isn't my kind of read but I encourage you to try it if you're interested. 2 stars,

**

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Not Feelin' the Love; Books That Made Me Bawl



I don't have anything against Valentine's Day. First of all, there's chocolate everywhere! And love! And hearts, and everyone is supposed to be happy, etc. 

But today has been a depressing, heartbreaking day for reasons completely outside of books and more in the lines of my favourite sports team and player as you could probably tell by my rant on Twitter. So, I'm not exactly feeling the love. I was going to do some type of romance book today, but I'm not in the mood. Seriously, I'm even wearing black. 

I know Valentine's Day isn't the best day for a lot of people, so here's a list of books that made me cry or generally feel very sad and awful. Sorry in advance. Oh, and if you can click on the book covers to get a link to the Goodreads page. 

The Fault in Our Stars
It begins with this book. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green made me bawl. I was sickened, I was disgusted, and I was so angry. You can see I haven't rated this book. I can't do that. This book disturbed me so badly. It's a book about a girl with cancer and it's written incredibly well so that every paragraph is entertaining in it's own right. It lures you in and breaks your heart. It's actually quite cruel so I will warn you about that. 


Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)
Next book I have to give a shout out to is Where She Went by Gayle Forman. It's the sequel to an already pretty heartbreaking book in If I Stay. I feel like Where She Went hits harder, is much more sad, and Adam is a better protagonist than Mia. He's so genuine, raw, and lost and the book reeks of nostalgia. Ever lost something or someone you loved? This book is all about that. What I did like is that while there is some type of bright side in the end, it's not cliched. It comes from lots of work and the promise of happiness is not a sure thing. It's a possibility, a tentative one at that. Definitely worth a read. 

It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2)
Yeah, yeah, I have a thing for sequels. I liked The Summer I Turned Pretty, It was sad, and completely unexpected. I liked however, It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han even more. It's the story of what happens after your life has completely changed. It's about trying to hold things together, and at what point should you let everything go. It's also about growing up. This book is Belly's journey, and it's the second in the trilogy. I have yet to read the third, but I feel this book is good enough. 

Undoubtedly, I'm missing a good chunk of books. However, when I think of books that made me bawl, these three are the first that come to mind. I had a hard time reading every one of them and they made an impression in my mind. Did anyone read any of these? Which books have made you cry the most?



Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Eona


Eona (Eon, #2)



Author: Alison Goodman
Pages: 637
Publisher: VIKING
Sequel to: Eon
Source: Library
Synopsis: Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon's army. The renegades are on a quest for the black folio, stolen by the drug-riddled Dillon; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona's power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his throne from the selfstyled "Emperor" Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power - and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered. As they focus their power through her, she becomes a dangerous conduit for their plans. . . .

Eona, with its pulse-pounding drama and romance, its unforgettable fight scenes, and its surprises, is the conclusion to an epic only Alison Goodman could create.

Buy the Book (Amazon/Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide)


I finished Eona and it was magnificent and perfect and I don't want it to end but it was the perfect ending. I'm telling you right on this review will end up being very gushy on account of this being one of the best books I've ever read.

I was first enchanted with the dragons in Eon, the story of a girl masking herself as a boy so she can be a Dragoneye and link with a dragon to preserve prosperity and peace in the land. Dragoneyes were all men so Eona could never reveal her gender until the last moment. That left many hurt and questioning Eona.

Eona starts with action, brings more action and when you cannot tear yourself away from the pages it ends. The plot was really well woven. I was always interested and I'm sitting here writing this review at home when I should be at the library studying for my test or finishing a big project for school. Eona makes me forget all that; it absorbs me completely. Irresistible.

The story is filled with death, moral dilemmas, war, love, healing, redemption, political maneuvering, betrayal, magic with the cultural aspects of old Japan and China. I wouldn't have thought all that would fit into one novel too, but it does. And it doesn't feel like a mess! The book is really long (and as I said before, it's really hard to put down) so I suggest reading it when you have a lot of time.

The things I love most about Eona are the characters. I love these characters. Eona now ranks as one of my favourite characters ever. She's strong, has values, and realizes sacrifice. At the same time Eona wants power and to be special. She's so relatable and I could understand everything she did. Every character had missteps and had to make hard choices. That was part of their charm and I appreciated them all. Even the the most vile of characters I thought was well done.

So I've probably failed to be coherent and logical. That's okay, the point of this review is to tell you to READ EON AND EONA. I loved them and I recommend them based on fabulous world building, intricate plots and some pretty amazing characters.

Now that I'm done the series I want to cry, and laugh, and jump up and down with joy. I also want to reread it and I will. At some point I will.

5 stars,

*****

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Age of Reading; Forever YA?

Ever since I was a kid, I've read books for an older age group than mine. I actually didn't like picture books very much as a kid. I found them to be boring and I wasn't interested in books at all until I was old enough to read chapter books. Junie B. Jones was one of the first "chapter" books I read. It was about a kid younger than me, in kindergarten, which didn't bother me much but the next chapter books I got into were about twelve year-olds when I was seven so about a five year gap.

Ever since then, I've consistently read about people older than me. I started to move away from MG in grades 4/5 and by grade 6 I was reading entirely YA. Now, I stick to YA but occasionally will read a MG book (especially if it's by this guy).

Now, I've been reading teen for about five years and again, I can see myself shifting in age. I'm 16 and most YA books are either about characters or aimed towards people a little older, a little younger, or just around this age. When I was younger, I remember loving to read about the first years of high school. I used to always wonder what it was like and the only way I could imagine it even semi-accurately (beyond watchin those shows my mom called "garbage") was to read about it. Now, I've been in high school for three years. I haven't been accepted into Hogwarts (*sobs*) and I don't read those types of books anymore. Once again, my interests or reading levels has shifted upwards.

These days I don't want to read young YA. I've been through that stage, I kind of hate that age, and now I'm wandering more towards books about growing up. If I'm reading a contemporary, it's not about fitting in any more but how to stand out. I read more about becoming an adult, saying goodbye to high school and opening up to university. It's awkward for me sometimes to read about characters noticeably younger. I can't read about 11 year olds as a 16 year old. I find it odd, and also really sad because I remember being 11 and thinking that 12 was this magical age where everything awesome would happen to you. It's not an unpleasant reading experience, but it is a little strange to have a literary crush on a guy even two years younger, which is why I don't connect as well to those books.

Books have always been a source of comfort to me. I've always reminded myself that no matter how sucky anything in my life is, at least it's not as bad as ________'s life when they had to _________ and ended up losing _________.  YA books in particular have done a lot. I owe a lot of my personality and maturity to the YA genre and everything it has taught me.That's why I wonder sometimes if I'll still read YA in the future.

I know a lot of people do. And a lot of you guys make some pretty spectacular blogs with wonderful reviews and features. As much as YA is supposed to be for teens, the YA blogosphere would not be where it is today if it weren't for the "adults" that keep reading YA. You know, the +20 up are a huge demographic blogging-wise and probably when it comes to book sales too. Since y'all actually have some sort of income.

So naturally, being the annoyingly over analytic person that I am, I wonder if I'll stick with YA for life. If when I'm 30 (I don't want to imagine this) I'll still care about the books that made me who I was as a teen in what I'm told are some of the most formative years of life.

As of this moment, I have nothing to worry about. There's plenty in YA that interests me and I don't see that changing for a while. If it ever does change, I don't think it'll be sudden. It'll be more of a progression towards more mature books and I'm not there yet. Nonetheless, I still do wonder.

I know it's not one or the other; teen or adult; but even now I find it hard to figure out what I'd like in the MG world, so I end up not reading any of it.

So I have some question for teens reading YA; do you think you'll continue to do so when you're not in the YA age group anymore? And for you older YA fans, what makes you stick around? Is it a conscious decision? Do you primarily read YA or do you read a mix?

I know people often do posts about this subject so if you already have written a post about why you read YA feel free to link it in the comments.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review: Prodigy


Prodigy (Legend, #2)




Author: Marie Lu
Pages: 384
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: ARC
Synopsis: June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long. 

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Buy the Book (Amazon/Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide)


In case you were wondering, yes, Marie Lu's dystopia series is the real deal. It's such an exhilarating read and this series has already become one of my favourites. There's so much to love.

First, I love the plot pace. Strangely enough, I felt like the plot was paced very quickly although in reality not as much as I thought would happen actually happens. That just goes to show how it feels to read Prodigy -it's a blur with some incredible action scenes, crazy twists, and at some point near the end I almost exploded. Well, not really, but wow. I'm a little bit scared of Marie Lu right now.

The weird thing is that I didn't enter this book with any expectations. I'm fortunate enough to have an ARC and beyond what my friend told me after she read it (which wasn't much) I decided not to read the synopsis so everything would take me by surprise. A lot of it did, although some stuff was a little too easy to figure out. I didn't really care about that because I was entertained. This book had action, explosions, possible revolutions, and romance. This is so my type of book.

Before I even realized it, I loved the characters. June's way of describing and observing everything and the way she can be so cold compared to Day's more emotional perspective was a great contrast proving they belong together. What's even better is June and Day together. They're an unstoppable duo as they build trust for one another. They compliment each other so well and I love that while they're a couple, they're also independent and resourceful on their own. Simply, together they're better and there's really nothing I can imagine them incapable of. There were some new characters introduced and some old characters, or at least seldom seen ones, appeared here and there but in general June and Day totally stole the show.

Prodigy digs a little deeper into the ethics of the Republic as June and Day encounter the Patriots and one of the most fascinating scenes was when more information about the rest of the world was revealed. Part of the Legend series' allure is the setting that seems to be so realistically different and it was cool to see how the rest of the world was like. It's so diverse in many ways.

I feel like I've done an awful job conveying my thoughts, except that this is a great sequel to Legend. It has a lot of the same stuff that made you like Legend in the first place and in addition, you learn some more about the characters. This is a thrilling book with a killer ending that'll leave you desperate for more. 4 stars,

****

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review: Legend


Legend (Legend, #1)





Author: Marie Lu
Pages: 305
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: Library
Synopsis: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Buy the Book (Amazon/Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide)


I really liked Legend! It was totally my kind of read and I couldn't help but find myself enchanted by the characters, thrilled by the plot, and addicted to the story. It's just that kind of read, the high action type similar to Divergent which I adore.

Warning: Kickass characters lie ahead. If you're tired of that you may not like June or Day. If you do like them like me, you'll love them. June herself is a prodigy. There's these things called Trials that every kid goes through in Legend and June scores a 1500 out of 1500. She's the only kid who has ever done that and her high school guarantees her a life of success. She's brought into the military from a young age and she's a bit arrogant. Some of the tricks she could do were so cool and I'm in total awe of her. She's still a real person though. June lost her parents when she was young and her brother Metias was the one to really raise her until he was killed too. That's where Day comes into the picture.

Day is like June but he failed his Trials and is a criminal. The most wanted boy in the Republic, in fact. I like Day a lot. He's a rebel with a cause. He cares about his family deeply and has this confidence that you can't help but admire. I was rooting for him completely and I think he and June are great together.

These two characters tell the story. They have similar voices but you can mostly tell them apart by the fact that in my copy, Day's part was in gold font while June's was in black. Can I say how much I adore colored font? It's a little touch that I appreciate. Anyways, these characters aren't really normal or ordinary. They are special people and yes, it's a bit amazing what they can do but if you just go with it you'll enjoy the story like I did.

World wise, I liked Legend. It's nothing that is completely new but it works with what it has very well. The Republic is creepy and needs to be stopped. I can't wait to learn more of it's secrets. I also like that there is evidence of a rebellion. People still care which is so refreshing when I think of other books where it seems like everyone just lets the government do anything they want.

I said before that I love this type of story. The kind with action and fighting. The kind where lives are on stake and it's up to our heroes to save the day. I like when characters have almost no chance of succeeding but they do. I like the adrenaline rush you get, the thrill of the fights. I especially love that I couldn't put Legend down at times. I had to force myself to slow down. That is the read I'm looking for.

All in all, Legend is perfect for me. I love the characters, the world is exciting, and the plot is filled with action. I really liked it! 4 stars,

****

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Review: The Lipstick Laws


The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder




Author: Amy Holder
Pages: 238
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Library
Synopsis: At Penford High School, Brittany Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone’s life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her. For April Bowers, Brittany is the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don’t know she exists. One lunch spent at Brittany’s table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity. But Brittany’s friendship comes with a high price tag, and April decides it’s not worth the cost. Inspiring and empowering, this is the story of one girl who decides to push back.

Buy the book: AmazonBuy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


The Lipstick Laws is a Mean Girls-type contemporary that was surprisingly fun to read. Usually with this kind of story it's very predictable, and the story was in a way, but there were some scenes and parts I adored that made up for it.

I hate comparing stuff. Saying a paranormal book is just like Twilight isn't really something I like to do. Every thing is individual, right? The problem is that some books start out with the same concept as some other movies/books with bigger success and it's hard to get that original idea out of your head. The Lipstick Laws always reminded me of Mean Girls based on the premise alone, along with other aspects like a pink book which is vital to the story and a certain boy two girls play around with. It's not Mean Girls but there are certain parallels and that's totally fine as long as the story is still entertaining, and The Lipstick Laws was.

April is too funny. She's one of those girls that has so much going for her but she doesn't seem to notice it. She's sarcastic and snarky but in a cute way, not an angst-y way. Her 'voice' had me giggling a lot and I loved how it was slightly self-deprecating which hinted at her insecurity but it also showcased her strength. Though she isn't the most mature girl ever, I could relate with April and understand her enough to like her and support her as the story went on.

April joins a posse of the popular girls who all follow The Lipstick Laws created by the Lipstick Queen, Britney (or Brat-ney) Taylor. Britney is hilarious. You will want to slap this girl so hard because she's such an idiot but she's one of those people the world makes exceptions for. Britney can make you feel special and appreciative as she hurls insult after insult masked as a compliment. I hated her guts which is why this story worked for me.

After getting kicked out of the group, April plots revenge in the form of the Lipstick Lawbreakers. There we meet new characters and April makes some new friends. The characters in the novel aren't very well developed. They're not very real and some are clich├ęs. This isn't for those seeking a smart literary adventure filled with scintillating prose. If you're looking for light laughs though, The Lipstick Laws will more than suffice.

The shenanigans April, Britney, and the others went through weren't really OMG worthy but they were funny and cute. There were so many times where I was on my morning commute to school and had to stop giggling because I looked like an idiot. There's some typical drama involving boys and an insane tennis game but it was again fun. Overall, The Lipstick Laws is a feel good, fun, light read. 3,

***

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cover Wars 2012 Wrap Up

Maybe I'm late to the party. Scratch that, I'm definitely late. I had this brilliant idea a while back to do a complete wrap up of Cover Wars, one of my most popular features. You guys voted and it was insane which covers dominated so consistently.


As you can see from this nice little chart that took absolutely no time at all to make, three covers stand out. They're all tied for first.

The Elite (The Selection, #2)FlutterWhat's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)

Any of these covers particularly stand out for you?
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