Showing posts from August, 2013

Two week hiatus

Hello lovely blog readers,

I am on vacation for the next two weeks and don't really have access to the internet, so I won't be posting anything for a while. I will resume the usual reviews and memes in a few weeks!

I have some exciting things lined up for the next few months, so stay tuned :)

Construction updates

I've been trying out all sorts of things with my blog redesign project - downloading backgrounds from other websites, meddling with my HTML, trying to make my own backgrounds and headers...
this is a lot more work than I thought, and I have yet to come up with a cohesive design that I am happy with.

Here are the some designs I have tried out for my blog.:

I like the simplicity of this one, and although the header doesn't totally fit the theme of my blog, at least it's clean. One thing I used in both designs is the little snowflakes in the sidebar. You can see them better in the next screenshot.

I tried to make my own background here, and I'm having issues with the alignment and sizing. I need to make a header to go along with this, so this design isn't final. I do like that the way the sidebar is individual boxes though. I tried copying the widget CSS from this template to the one above, and blogger was not too happy about that!

and finally, the current design. I&…

Waiting on Wednesday 8

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where bloggers pick a book that hasn't been published yet that they are excited to read.

(This will probably be my last week of Waiting on Wednesday, since I'm running out of books I'm waiting for! I'll probably start doing Top 10 Tuesday instead)

This week, I'm looking forward to reading the third (and now penultimate instead of final) book of Neal Shusterman's Unwind series.

Title: UnSouled
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publishing date: November 7, 2013

Goodreads Summary:

The story that began with Unwind continues.

Connor and Lev are on the run after the destruction of the Graveyard, the last safe haven for AWOL Unwinds. But for the first time, they’re not just running away from something. This time, they’re running toward answers, in the form of a woman Proactive Citizenry has tried to erase from history itself. If they can find her, and learn why the shadowy figures behind unwinding are so afraid of her…

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer
Genre: Historical fiction, epistolary

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply…

Review: Fire Country

Title: Fire Country
Author: David Estes
Genre: Science fiction, dystopia, young adult

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads summary:

In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.

Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.

Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.

As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has m…

Review: A Case of Poisons

Title: A Case of Poisons
Author: Hazel B West
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery, steampunk

My rating: 2/5 stars

Goodreads summary:
Anthony Maxwell is a private investigator, a consultant for the mostly incompetent inspectors at Scotland Yard, on occasion a writer, and always a lover of coffee. He has been working small cases for several years to pay the bills when he’s introduced to the first multiple murder case of his career early one morning, when a witness catches a man trying to unload a body to bury in a nearby graveyard. Soon the first body is joined by three more in the course of a single morning and Anthony knows this is no ordinary serial murder case. And why is the murderer targeting beggars and urchin children? If that wasn’t cause enough to worry, all the victims are covered with horrible wounds and show signs of exotic poisoning. Anthony, along with his partners Tobias—an ex-broadsman and well-know charmer—and Scamp—a street smart and talented young woman—work to find …

Construction zone!

Hello lovely blog readers,

I'm going to be trying out different layouts and blog designs as I slowly embark on a DIY blog revamping project. So you might see random buttons or different layouts (hopefully nicer-looking!) in my posts over the next few weeks.

If anyone has any advice for blog designs or revamping their blog, please let me know! I'm using inkscape (an opensource vector graphics program) to design most of my new buttons/headers/etc.

Please excuse the dust as I begin construction~

(look at my shiny new signature!)

update August 19, 2013  - I have fiddled with the background and the fonts - I like the color scheme but this design will probably change. The things I'm keeping for sure are the social media icons and the snowflakes in the sidebar. Inkscape is so useful for designing things :)


Feature and Follow #8

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! The Feature & Follow is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View.
This week's Question: Share something you’ve learned about book blogging or just blogging in general in the last month.

This week I learned about the kind of publicizing Indie authors need to do in order to get the word out about their books, and how much bloggers can help them! I didn't realize how hard it was to get the word out about your books if you aren't published by a major publishing house. I knew blog tours and interviews etc. helped publicize, but I didn't realize how big the impact is for people who don't have giant marketing campaigns.

Review: The Monstrumologist

Title: The Monstrumologist
Author: Rick Yancey
Genre: YA, Historical fiction, fantasy (do man-eating monsters count as fantasy??)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I should mention that I don't handle gore very well. In fact, reading about/imagining/watching gore on tv makes me nauseous and my throat swells up and it's just very unpleasant.

So why in the world did I pick this book up?

I'm actually still asking myself that question. I'm not entirely sure why I picked it up, knowing how queasy I am. I did like it more than I thought I would, but I think the fact that this book isn't what I'd normally pick up definitely hurt its chances of being a 4 or 5 star book. One of the reasons I picked it up was because I'd heard nothing but good things about this series, and people were impressed by Yancey's very literary writing style. Another reason I picked this up was because I'd heard mixed reviews on Yancey's newest book, The 5th Wave, so I thought it w…

Review: Parasite

Title: Parasite
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Science fiction

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was hooked to this book like a tapeworm in your gut - disgusting analogy, I know, but completely valid considering this book is essentially about glorified tapeworms :)

Parasite is told from the point of view of Sally - or Sal - who has just miraculously recovered from a fatal accident. She is still slowly piecing together her life six years after the accident, but she is largely back to normal, thanks in no small part to SymboGen Inc. SymboGen is a biotech company that has revolutionized the healthcare industry by implanting most of the population with genetically modified tapeworms that secrete everything from medication to vitamins as needed. As Sal spends more time at SymboGen, she begins to question how much of the company's practices are safe - and what the founders are hiding. As the situation in the outside world becomes increasingly bizarre, Sal must decide if she wants the answers, no mat…

Feature and Follow #7

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! The Feature & Follow is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View.
This week's question: Back to school. Create a reading list for the imaginary English Lit class you’ll be teaching this semester.

I'm guessing this is a thinly veiled "what are your favorite classic books" question, so that's how I'm going to answer it.
Crime and PunishmentThe Things They Carried One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest Lord of the FliesScarlet LetterA Tree Grows in BrooklynFrankensteinAnimal Farm1984The Little Prince

Review: Arclight

Title: Arclight
Author: Josin L. McQuein
Genre: Science fiction, YA, dystopia

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd heard so many good things about this book, so I had really high expectations for it. I did like the story, but I was left with a little disappointment because it wasn't quite as amazing as I'd hoped.

One thing that this novel has going for it is the very unique world. There are nano-engineered creatures called the Fade who inhabit the dark. The humans live in a dome of light - the Arcight - that keeps the darkness and the Fade at bay. Everyone knows that you won't survive if you go out into the darkness - the Fade will get you, and turn you into one of them, and you will no longer bleed red. Yet, Marina has done just that. She doesn't understand how she survived, and all the other children look at her with distrust and venom; after all, many of their parents were lost to the Dark when they went out of the Arclight to save her. The novel focuses on Marina's…

Review: Anansi Boys

Title:Anansi Boys
Author: Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This may be set in the same world as American Gods, but it's almost the opposite kind of book! Where American Gods was disturbing (fascinatingly so), Anansi Boys is light-hearted, clever, and fun.

I found myself chuckling and laughing every few pages, and I could not for the life of me put this book down. I'd say, "One more chapter, and then I'm going to sleep."

Yeah, that didn't happen.

There's so much energy in this book - I don't know how else to describe it. You pick it up, you laugh, you laugh some more, the story flows on and you go along for the ride. I loved the spin on Anansi and the animal spirits, and how it mixed the real world with the fantastical one (reminded me of Terry Pratchett's Wintersmith in that regard).

The story is basically about Fat Charlie discovering - after his father's untimely yet hilariously absurd death - that his father is the trickster god Anansi …

Waiting on Wednesday 7

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where bloggers pick a book that hasn't been published yet that they are excited to read.

This week, I'm looking forward to the third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cress.
Title: Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, YA

Publishing date: February 4, 2014

Goodreads Summary

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…

Review: Watchmen

Title: Watchmen
Writer: Alan Moore
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I had heard a lot about Watchmen, all of it good. I didn't think very much of it though - I mean, how profound could a graphic novel really get?

Incredibly profound, as it turns out.

Watchmen takes place in an alternate universe in the 80s where Nixon is still president and superheroes once "saved the world". At the beginning of Watchmen, most superheroes are either in retirement, hiding away from the world and dealing with their baggage, capitalizing on their superhero status to make money, or working for the government. The opening pages show a murder victim, who is one such retired superhero. The story follows Rorscharch and the other superheroes who try and piece together the mystery of their falling comrades while trying to figure out the right thing to do.

In one frame of the book, there is graffiti scrawled on a wall that reads, "Who watches the watchmen?" I found this an apt description of the …

What's your Reader Species?

I found this amazing chart at The Feather and the Rose, and I just had to share it!
I'm a...

Book PreserverLibrary loverOmnireaderApp HappyBook SwaggerComfort Reader
What about you?

This infographic was created by Laura E. Kelly .(Click to view at original large size)

Feature and Follow #6

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! The Feature & Follow is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View.

This week's question: What do you do with books you don't like? Do you power through or DNF?

Even if I don't like a book, I will usually finish it (if only to write a rant about it haha). I'm quite proud of the fact that out of my 800 ratings on goodreads, only 21 of them are books I didn't finish.

Here's my list of things that will make me abandon a book:

hate the main character - If I can't stand you, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to want to read about your life story. This happened really recently as you can see in my review of Meg Cabot's Abandon.The story takes way too long to go anywhere - If I'm reading a book about hunting for a white whale on an accursed ship, and I've gotten to page 200 before we even set sail, I'm sorry but I don't have the patience for this (…