Friday, August 30, 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 :)

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

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'm really happy with the way this one turned out:

Please let me know what you think!

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

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, they may discover the key to bringing down unwinding forever.

Cam, the rewound boy, is plotting to take down the organization that created him. Because he knows that if he can bring Proactive Citizenry to its knees, it will show Risa how he truly feels about her. And without Risa, Cam is having trouble remembering what it feels like to be human.

With the Juvenile Authority and vindictive parts pirates hunting them, the paths of Connor, Lev, Cam, and Risa will converge explosively—and everyone will be changed.

Neal Shusterman continues the adventure that VOYA called “poignant, compelling, and ultimately terrifying.”

Why I want to read it:

Unwind is one of my favorite books, and I really enjoyed the world and the characters. This is one of the few series that actually terrifies me because of the horrors that people go through and how plausible this world is. The second book, UnWholly, gave me even more interesting characters to root for and be disgusted by, and I'm sure UnSouled will do no less. I'm especially looking forward to seeing how Cam's story continues to unfold.

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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 human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

I love stories that are told in an unconventional way - in this case, letters and journal entries. The authors do a great job of conveying the relationships between characters and their personalities through their letters, and I really enjoyed reading their correspondences. I also really like historical fiction, so this book was right up my alley. I started out in love with this book, but as it went on, it lost a bit of its rosy glow. I still enjoyed it though!

Juliet is a writer who has decided she is done with her old column and would like to try something new. On her quest for a new subject, she stumbles across the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, which came into being by accident as a result of the German occupation. A few residents of Guernsey had been at a gathering past curfew, feasting on a pig they had hidden from the German soldiers. When questioned, one of them spun a story about a book club, and so the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society was born. Juliet is entranced by the colorful stories and characters she meets through these letters, and decides to learn more about their story, even if it means putting herself at odds with other people in her life. Through the light-hearted banter and playful letters, you also get a glimpse into the horrors of the German occupation.

I felt like this book tried to do too many things at once. It wanted to be a sweet story, and it was. It was simply adorable, as were all the characters. You can probably see the problem with having a cast of adorable characters and trying to point out the horrors of world war II. They were all just so sweet and their personal anecdotes made up so much of the story that the really terrible things came off as watered down or pushed to the background. The whole thing with Elizabeth could have been so much more controversial, but everyone sees the world in rosy-colored glasses so the reader is forced to do the same.

This is a cute story, and very enjoyable if that's what you're looking for. If you are looking for heavier stuff, look elsewhere.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

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 masterfully spun.

*A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

That was awesome!

Fire Country is essentially about how Siena struggles to find her place in her community under the watchful - and often oppressive - eye of her father. Siena is less than a year away from her Call, a time when she will be given to a man to bear children with every three years. She must choose between following tradition and following her heart, all while trying to piece together a secret her father has done all he can to hide.

Siena has a wild and rebellious spirit, and her courage and loyalty were endearing. I really liked her voice, and although I thought I'd have a hard time picking up the slang, I got the hang of it pretty easily. Circ and Siena's friendship-turned-romance was sweet and believable - no instalove here (thank goodness)! Lara was in the background for most of the story, but I thought she was an amazing character and I wish there had been more of her.

The world and atmosphere was amazing. The atmosphere reminded me of Blood Red Road by Moira Young. I felt like every little detail was really well-thought out, and I could feel the burning heat and intensity as I read. There were only a few glimpses at other regions, but I'm sure the later books will give me a better picture of what they are like.

I enjoyed reading about Siena's exploits and discoveries, but I really liked the later portion of the novel. No spoilers here, but I liked how Siena was finally able to love herself for who she was instead of putting herself down all the time. I felt like the pacing of the book could have been adjusted so that this later portion had more importance - to me, this was the meat of the story.

Another minor complaint about pacing - some of the chapters felt really short and abrupt. There wasn't a consistent amount of time passing between chapter endings, so sometimes it felt like a jolt instead of a natural transition. I felt like the short chapters conveyed the intensity of the situation really well, though.

I think it's a testament to how amazing these characters are that I was faced with one of my biggest pet peeves and I wasn't annoyed. I suppose this is a bit of a spoiler, but I have a vendetta against characters magically coming back to life. I think, I've grieved for you, put aside my disbelief, and I have let you go. Now why the hell are you back?. In this case, it was more of a Hooray, you're back!, which hardly ever happens :)

This is my first book by David Estes, and I will be sure to read more. I really enjoyed the world (cheesy swear words and all :D)!

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Monday, August 19, 2013

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 out who is murdering the helpless beggars and children in such horrifying ways. The first book in this new Victorian steampunk series takes the three companions to the limits of their abilities as they go up against canny murderers, bruisers who appear invincible, anarchist groups, and even ancient British royalty in the biggest case Anthony Maxwell has ever worked in his career.

I thought the premise of this book was very interesting - I enjoy mysteries, stories that take place in the Victorian era, and steampunk, all of which this story has. Somehow I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would.

A Case of Poisons is the story of Anthony Maxwell, a detective in an alternate Victorian era who is faced with a mystery involving seemingly random victims of poisoning. The effects of the poisons are terrible and gruesome, and Maxwell must discover the motive and the killer soon - or even more innocents will die horrific deaths.

This story rubbed me the wrong way starting with the prologue - it framed the novel as the main character, Maxwell, relating (with embellishments) his adventures. Some of the sentences just really annoyed me - "I will warn you now, this story is not for the faint of heart: it is dark, it holds unknown horrors, and villains you would never wish to find in your dreams in the night - but, if you're like me, then I suppose this warning might just make you wish to read this book all the more." The whole "unknown horrors" and "faint of heart" business made me put on my skeptical face before the story had even begun, and the not-so-subtle way the author used Maxwell as a projection of herself was really annoying. I decided to clear my head of this very contrived prologue so I could give the rest of it a fair shot.

There were a couple of errors and typos that took away from the novel because it seemed like whoever had done the editing hadn't done a good job at all. One such error was: "I liked her metal" instead of "mettle" (ch 2). I was also annoyed by the chapter subtitles, which read something like, "in which we do this, this, and this." While this is a charming addition to some novels, the subtitles added nothing to the story and didn't make me want to read the chapter to see how everything would play out. The subtitle was so ordinary that I in fact was tempted to skip the chapter because it seemed like everything was already explained.
I was also confused about the world, since Maxwell speaks in a very proper Victorian dialect but terms like "microbiology" and "up the ante" are thrown in. It's also barely steampunk except for a bunch of mentions of a "contraption", presumably an automobile. In the acknowledgments the author mentions that it's steampunk because of the weapons and the engineering of poisons, but I didn't find these elements prominently modern enough to count as such.

I think my main problem with this novel is that I didn't connect with the characters enough to care about their story. Generally there are so many events that happen within a very small span of time, so you barely register them. It seemed like the majority of the "horror" of this novel involved that pathos one is supposed to feel for murdered children, but since "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" was brought up so many times, I stopped caring for them as well (heartless, I know).

Overall, this novel had a lot of potential, but didn't stand out as a particularly compelling piece of historical fiction, mystery, or steampunk.

* A free copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

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!)
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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 :)


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Friday, August 16, 2013

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.

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Review: The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)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 would be a safer bet to read The Monstrumologist first.

This book is one installment in a collection of journal entries by a certain Will Henry. In the frame narrative, Will Henry has just died at some improbably high age (I forget what it was, but it was considerably over 100) and his notebooks have been given to Rick Yancey for his perusal. Yancey begins to read, and discovers a story of monsters that he could hardly have imagined (which is ironic, because Yancey did in fact come up with these infernal creatures...)

I thought it was an interesting choice to have the narrator Will Henry be only 12 years old. The horror he is forced to take part in is definitely something that would traumatize people of twice, or even three times, his age. Will Henry's father was assistant to Doctor Warthrop, a monstrumologist. His parents both perished in circumstances indirectly related to Warthrop's studies, and Will Henry is currently shouldering the responsibility of being assistant to the old doctor. He is quick to point out that he has been taken in and not adopted, after all the latter implies being nurtured and cared for. It is Will Henry that does most of the taking care of things - from keeping house to cooking food to running errands to nursing the doctor when he's on one of his mad fevers. At first I was really angry with Warthrop but once you find out his troubled childhood, it's hard not to empathize. I liked seeing how his relationship with Will Henry changed over the course of the novel.

The Anthropophagi (did I spell that correctly?) are man-eating creatures that resemble humans except for being headless, having black eyes on their shoulders, and a mouth of thousands of teeth in the middle of their torso. These creatures are the main "monster" of this story, and let me tell you that the encounters are not pleasant. There is plenty of blood, gore, and screeching to go 'round!

I have neglected to mention Kearns, who is perhaps even more frightening than the above-mentioned monsters. Kearns is also a monstrumologist, but one who has lost all touch with his humanity. He will go to any lengths to study and capture the creatures he hunts, with no thought for the innocents he puts in danger - and even kills - to achieve this. You really start to wonder who the real monster is, which is a concept I liked very much.

Overall, I liked the questions raised and the very profound and literary way this rather gory story was presented. Unfortunately, there was just too much gore for me to say I enjoyed it, and I won't be reading the sequels. Still, I'm glad I gave this a shot.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Parasite

Parasite (Parasitology, #1)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 matter how disturbing they may be - after all, "Knowing the way does not mean you have to go."

This is the kind of book I wanted to digest slowly - like a king sundew (haha I couldn't resist). I loved the writing style, and I loved the characters, loved that it took place somewhere that is very familiar to me, and I loved the concept. I started getting those "ohmygosh this book is so good" feelings after the prologue. THE PROLOGUE. The last time that happened was with The Book Thief (5 years ago), and that turned out to be one of my favorite books ever. Although Parasite wasn't quite that good (the "killer" ending was...well, if you were paying attention, you'd figure out the big reveal about halfway through the book, if not before), it was still amazing and I really enjoyed it.

Sal's story is really interesting, and you really see how hard it is for her to recover from her accident. I loved the way she'd just burst out with some super scientific phrase mid-conversation ("Support your thesis!") - I found it endearing. Although she is rather whiny at first, you see that she genuinely cares about the people in her life even if she isn't quite the same person after the accident. Sal and Nathan's relationship was sweet, and I liked how they supported each other so much (especially considering the whole Don't Go Out Alone fiasco...)

The atmosphere of this book is incredibly tense and frightening, but there are dashes of humor here and there; it's also focused on characters despite being a very scientific story. Don't be afraid of the virological and biological terms in this book, because more often than not they are explained in layman's terms. Speaking of virological terms, I loved the snippets from newspapers, books, video diaries, and SymbGen press releases at the end of each chapter. Those little snippets added another dimension to the story, and you get a glimpse into the politics, history, and moral battles of SymboGen.

I am really looking forward to the sequel, since it seems like this story has just barely gotten started. Mira Grant, you have a new fan!

*An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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Friday, August 9, 2013

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.
  1. Crime and Punishment
  2. The Things They Carried 
  3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest 
  4. Lord of the Flies
  5. Scarlet Letter
  6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  7. Frankenstein
  8. Animal Farm
  9. 1984
  10. The Little Prince

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

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 struggle to understand how she survived and why she alone understands the Fade.

As I mentioned above, the world-building was amazing and very unique. I loved the concept of the Fade, and their earnestness coupled with their predatory assaults made them at turns equally frightening and endearing. There is a sinister pulse throughout the novel, largely due to the mysteries surrounding the Fade and their connection to Marina. I really liked these aspects of the novel, but the characters really fell flat for me.

Marina, the main character, was so in the dark (pardon the expression) and uncertain about her identity and what she wanted to find out that she never really took full form to me. She always remained a shadowy character, and I couldn't root for someone I didn't connect with. Tobin was equally shadowy because he would flip from kindness to coldness for almost no reason at all. The adults were hardly present, and while it is hinted at that the primary antagonist had a tortured backstory, it wasn't fully fleshed out. I generally felt like all the characters were just impressions of people, and the only reason I kept reading was because I thought the concept of the Fade was really interesting (Oh the irony of human beings blending together while the hive mind creatures hold up their individuality).

This wasn't a bad book, but I don't think I'll be sticking around for the sequel.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Anansi Boys

Anansi BoysTitle: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 and that he has a brother named Spider. Spider is the one with the god powers, and Fat Charlie is just an average guy bumbling about and trying to make a living for himself. Once he inadvertently invites Spider home, Spider starts taking over Fat Charlie's life - his house, his job, even his girlfriend. Fat Charlie decides enough is enough and makes a bargain with a God to get rid of his brother. And we all know that such bargains can't possibly end well...

This book is nothing short of entertaining. I was pleasantly surprised after reading the much darker American Gods. I highly recommend it!

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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 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.

Why I want to read it:
So I'm a little behind, and I haven't read Scarlet yet, but I absolutely loved Cinder. I'm really excited to read more about the Lunar world and see even more inventive twists on classic fairy-tales. I mean, it doesn't get much better than a cyborg Cinderella battling an evil alien queen from the moon, right?

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Monday, August 5, 2013

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 purpose of the entire novel. You really get to see the dark side of these characters and the choices they make to keep people safe. The interesting thing is that for each character, they really believe they made the best choices and did the right thing. The consequences of some of those choices might leave you questioning their sanity and their moral compasses, but then again, maybe they really did do what was best.

There are so many interesting characters presented in this graphic novel, and my favorites were Rorscharch, Dr. Manhattan, and Veidt. You could say that these three propel the story, but I found them interesting because they had the most radical world-views. Rorscharch believes in a purely black and white world, and while he causes horrific and unpredictable harm to individuals, that's all he really deals with - individuals. He seems deranged at times, and at others he seems like the smartest of the lot. He's truly frightening because he is so unpredictable, but then again, you know that he's not going to cause any mass destruction and endanger millions of lives. Dr. Manhattan was interesting because he's one of the few truly superhuman characters, and his nonlinear perception of time makes you question how morally responsible he is for crises if he can already perceive that they will happen. There's also the question of whether he will even do what is in the best interest of humanity, now that he can hardly be called human. (view spoiler)[One scene that struck me was where Dr. Manhattan tells the Comedian not to shoot a woman at a bar, and is horrified when he does so anyway. The Comedian spits out, "you watched me. You coulda changed the gun into steam or the bullets into mercury or the bottle into god damn snowflakes! You coulda teleported either of us to goddamn Australia...but you didn't lift a finger! You don't really give a damn about human beings." (hide spoiler)] And Veidt was interesting despite the fact that he wasn't present for much of the book because of his rather deranged idea of what the right thing to do is. Technically, in the end, the net amount of lives saved is more this way, but morality doesn't always mesh well with mathematics.

I was pleasantly surprised with how much this book made me think. Not only was the twisted morality interesting, there was a lot of symmetry and parallelism in the form of the drawings and parallel story lines. It was a very interesting and engaging read, and I will definitely not be so quick to dismiss a book because of its format.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

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 Preserver
  • Library lover
  • Omnireader
  • App Happy
  • Book Swagger
  • Comfort Reader

What about you?

This infographic was created by Laura E. Kelly . (Click to view at original large size)
What Species of Reader Are You?--Infographic
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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 (cough cough Moby Dick).  This is probably the most common reason I DNF a book - even if I don't like a book, I'll finish it just to rant, but if I'm utterly bored, I have no incentive to finish.
  • I don't like the writing style - This doesn't happen often, but sometimes I find the writing style too pretentious or really annoying. This happened most recently with Emma Donoghue's Room. I just could not deal with a five year old narrating about such a devastating and traumatic topic.

What books tick you off enough that you don't finish them?

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