Thursday, 31 January 2013

January 2013 Wrap-Up

As promised, I am doing my first monthly wrap-up. In January, I read quite a lot of books! Here they are (in chronological order). :) I have also included links to my Goodreads reviews, so just click on the title of the book to see that.
  1. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce: **** */* (four and a half stars)
  2. Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle **** (four stars)
  3. Angelfall by Susan Ee **** */* (four and a half stars)
  4. Bogus to Bubbly: An Insider's Guide to the World of Uglies **** (four stars)
  5. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer *** (three stars)
  6. What Happened to the Goodbye by Sarah Dessen *** */* (three and a half stars)
  7. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder ***** (five stars!!!)
  8. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson **** */* (four and a half stars) 
I also read 20 pages of Cinder. But it brought me into a reading slump and it just couldn't beat the awesomeness of Poison Study, so I then read Wintergirls. I have read two chapters of Legend and I am really enjoying it, however I haven't had much time to read it. Hopefully tomorrow I can get some reading done!

Time to get to the big question... Which book was my favourite? If you've been following my blog, I think you all know what's coming. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder! Ohmyfreakinggosh amazing amazing amazing!!!!!! I recommend this book to anyone and everyone (over the age of 13). Wintergirls, Sisters Red, and Angelfall were other highlights of the month.

This month I read a ton of great books! What did you read in January? Comment below. Hopefully tomorrow I will be posting my February TBR. 

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

I am doing another review of someone else's review, this time on Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I am going to be reviewing the book, as well as analyzing a review from Live to Read, Read to Live.

Both Mac and I agree that Poison Study was an extremely engaging and entertaining read. In his review, Mac said he thought the introduction of the characters throughout the story seemed strange or abrupt, a fact that I disagree with. In the exposition stage of the novel, we are made familiar with some of the main characters, such as Yelena and Valek. I personally liked how the minor characters were slowly brought into the story, because it stopped the story from becoming overwhelming, yet still kept the book interesting. I especially liked how certain characters like Irys would pop up at certain times and then fade to the background as we learned about other characters. I definitely agree with the fact that the book was exciting, with unexpected events, such as the fight scenes with Brazell's guards. Unlike Mac, I didn't notice any spelling mistakes, and I would definitely like to know what he thought the theme to be. I do, however, agree that anyone who enjoys mystery or fantasy would absolutely love this book!

Poison Study had me in a serious grip, and however hard I tried, it just wouldn't let go. Right from the minute I started the book, I was captivated by the unique, twisting plot and phenomenal characters. I really liked Yelena, the main character, which was very important because I was able to sympathize with her. There were certain times in the novel where I literally wanted to strangle one character in particular, which was, in a way, also important because I actually cared about what happened to the characters. Not only did I love Yelena, but I also felt that minor characters such as Ari, Janco, Rand, Dilana, and Margg really added a pop of interest and more layers to the novel. Another thing I loved about the book was how Snyder didn't just tell us right out why Yelena killed Reyad. Small details and flashbacks were sprinkled throughout the first half of the novel, leaving me clamouring to learn more about Yelena's tortured past. It helped to give the plot more complexity and keep the reader guessing. Snyder's ideas and plot twists in the novel were really unique and also contributed to my enthralment with the plot and world she created. I think the theme of this novel was to believe in yourself because the entire book was Yelena's struggle to gain confidence and really become herself again. I also think the book is about learning who to trust, because, as Valek says, "Trusting is hard. Knowing who to trust, even harder." I also found that, throughout the book, I was constantly kept guessing at who Yelena should put her faith into. Snyder slipped little hints throughout the book, and I had fun trying to make predictions about what the Criollo was and the intentions of different characters. I would recommend this amazing novel to absolutely anyone over the age of 13 for some mature content and references. Overall, I give Poison Study 5 stars out of 5 because I loved absolutely everything about this book!

Seriously. Pick this up and READ IT NOW. I am so glad it is one of the books I chose to buy. Thanks for reading! :)

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Reading Update (5)

I haven't done an update in a while, so I thought I would now!

Reading: I have now read and enjoyed What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, which was a really light read in between my heavy dystopia and fantasy. After that, I bought and then read Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. And, oh my gosh, the freaking best book evvaaaa! Ok, not quite, but you know, close enough. Once I was finished the awesomeness that was Poison Study, I began Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Not going to lie, I got bored, because Poison Study was so freaking good, and then Cinder wasn't. So, about 20 pages in, I had to take a break and went into a reading slump for 5 days (a very long time for me), but then I really got into Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. I finished it yesterday, and it was a very emotional and disturbing, but very powerful, experience. What am I reading now? Hopefully I will start Legend by Marie Lu tonight. So excited for this read everyone!

Writing: My writing resolution of writing 15-20 minutes, whether on my blog, Goodreads reviews, or working on my stories, has been going so-so this month. There have been several days I haven't written at all, but also some times where I wrote for hours at a time. Hopefully I will finish up some of my stories in February and expand on some new ideas developing. I also plan to enter a writing contest in the next few days.

Blogging: What's posts are in store? Well, I am still hoping to brush up on my Illustrator skills and post a quote from a long time ago. I also am working on a tag, Poison Study special review, and movie review vlog of the Hobbit. If there are any posts you would like to see, please comment. I love comments, and I really appreciate all of them! :)

What have you been reading or blogging about? Leave a comment below.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Top Ten Tuesday- Jan. 29

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they will post a topic and then participants will make their top ten according to the topic. Feel free to go to their site and join in. This week's topic is...

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever
  1. Peeta from the Hunger Games: Congratulations! You are the most frustrating character ever. I know I am in the minority here. Everyone seems to loveeee you, Peeta. But you're just too... perfect. Too sweet. I like male and female leads with some spunk in them. So tragic, your tale of how you stalked Katniss since you were little... *sigh*. Just kidding. Anyway, I love the Hunger Games but Peeta...
  2. Lugh from Rebel Heart: I seriously debated putting you first, but didn't. You are so ungrateful and rude to your sister. She just saved your life, you miserable jerk, and you complain about her. Then you go and be all hypocritical and gosh, I just wish you'd disappear. Leave Saba alone.
  3. Addie from Let It Snow: You cheat on her boyfriend, then turn into a whiny brat when he doesn't show up at a cafe with you? Sorry, no sympathy here. I couldn't connect to the story at all, because of you. 
  4. Saba and Emmi from Blood Red Road: The two of you together managed to really make me angry throughout the book. I loved the evolution of your relationship, but seriously, you both can be such jerks to each other. Especially you, Saba. You should be a role model to your sister. 
  5. Four from Divergent: Four, I would've thought you'd have got the message by now. Tris acts on impulse. No one can help that. So stop trying to change her! 
  6. Ky from Matched: I guess I find that you just weren't developed enough, which made your chapters in Crossed verrrryyyyy frustrating. I can't connect to you at all, Ky. You just seem so... boring. Dull. Mundane. 
  7. Benson and Becky from Variant: You know, the two of you just aren't developed enough for me. Your romance... not working. I found you, Benson, to be just generally annoying, almost like a robot yourself (why did I feel this way? do you have emotions?). And Becky, I just... I didn't understand why Benson chose you, I guess. You were kind of weak, to be honest. 
  8. Ron from Harry Potter: You're amazing and I love you, but gosh, you do some stupid things. And seriously, Ginny can date whoever she wants, so stop giving her a hard time. 
  9. Starr from Poison Study: Ugh. You are so annoying. Talk about scamming your way to success. Maybe you could actually DO something, hmm? How does that sound?
  10. Kid from The Unidentified: You star in a book which had a very undefined, abrupt ending. Therefore, you were severely lacking in backstory and future story as well. Not to mention you were boring, as if you were just going through the motions. I was in your head, but I never once related or connected, even understood you. So sorry, but you've achieved the status of "frustrating". 
Hope you enjoyed my list! :)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Cover to Cover: Poison Study

After finishing Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, I was actually amazed with everything about it. My review will be coming soon, but first, I'm going to do a cover to cover! I have modified some of the categories slightly, and also will be doing five covers.

This cover is beautiful. This is the copy that I own, and I'm really glad I bought this one because it's absolutely gorgeous. The typography is subtle, yet effective, and I really like the way the vines snake through the letters. It is one of those covers that you just love to look at. I wouldn't say the cover is extremely original, but the incorporation of the girl and the vines is very well done. There are a lot of covers with just a girl's face on them in YA books lately, but this one has her at a different angle, and she really is only in the top half of the cover. The story connections are, sadly, lacking. The character, Yelena, is incorporated, as is a quote from Publisher's Weekly which I very much agree with, but the actual vines, and her just kind of laying there with her hair flowing into the vines... well, it doesn't relate. At all.

Originality: 5
Graphics/Photography: 9
Typography: 7
Story Connections: 5
Total: 26/40
Bonus: 1

We are now moving on to another paperback cover. This cover is also quite visually appealing, and quite original as well. Though it does use photography (not quite as original), it still looks unlike any other cover I've seen before. The castle corridor and the sprig of what could be poison below the title also connects well to the story. The main character, Yelena, was also incorporated, and she was wearing red like her uniform in the book, however, it is not described as a robe, nor was it described as so extravagant. I like the band across the centre, however, I think the typography is a bit boring and I don't like how the author's name is almost as big as the title. I also feel like, though I like the band, it kind of takes away from the actual image.

Originality: 6
Graphics/Photography: 8
Typography: 5
Story Connections: 7
Total: 26/40

This is another paperback edition of poison study. To be honest, I find it kind of boring. I also find that it looks a bit like the cover of Wildefire, which takes away from the cover because all I see when I look at it is Wildefire. I also don't like that the author name is bigger than the actual title! I like the font for Maria V. Snyder, but the title is very boring. The only story connection is the poison on the front, because that's really all that's on the cover. There is no quote or anything either. The graphics and photography are boring, and I don't find it to be very visually appealing. This book cover definitely does not stand out, it just fades into the background.

Originality: 2
Graphics/Photography: 4
Typography: 3
Story Connections: 4
Total: 13/40

I love this cover of Poison Study! It's immediately gripping and combines many aspects of the book. FIrst of all, I love the colour scheme. It really sets the tone for the book. I LOVE the font, however I think the author's name could be slightly smaller. The flawless blending of images is really amazing in this copy. We have the castle, which is where most of the book takes place, Yelena, who looked just how imagined her, but you can't see her face, the bottles of poison, and the book which could either mean Reyad's journal or the book of poisons. Every image flows into the next with perfection, and it covers the most important parts of the novel. This blending of images also makes the book cover original and different. 

Originality: 9
Graphics/Photography: 10
Typography: 8
Story Connections: 10
Total: 37/40 

This cover is... interesting. Very... interesting. For some reason, this cover just doesn't grip me! Sure we see Yelena, but we can't really imagine her as well since you can see her face and everything. For some reason, I just don't like the background where she's standing. I guess it has the food she tastes, which connects to the story, but I still don't really see it. It doesn't fit the tone or mood of the book at all, it's a little boring, and I the strip of red at the bottom is just kind of random. The typography is nice, but the colour doesn't look that great to me. I just don't find this cover to suit the book at all, and I don't like the use of orange in the cover. It is somewhat, a little bit, original. And the final scores are...

Originality: 4
Graphics/Photography: 4
Typography: 3
Story Connections: 3
Total: 14/40

In last place is the third cover, who lost marks for it's bland design and similarity to another cover. Pulling into second last by just one point is the fifth cover I showed you, because it's lack of interest and  different tone and mood than the actual book. We have a tie for first and second between the first and second images, but because of personal preference, the first cover earns second for it's visual appeal and beautiful imagery. The second image comes in third due to it's slight lack of originality, but nice story connections. Finally, in first place, is the fourth image! This one really had it all: originality, amazing story connections, beautiful, flawless image flow, great typography, and finally, perfect mood to match the book.

What's your order? Even if you haven't read the book, which one immediately grabs you? Thanks for reading, and don't forget to comment. :)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Top Ten Tuesday- Jan. 22

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they will post a topic and then participants will make their top ten according to the topic. Feel free to go to their site and join in.

Top Ten Settings I'd Like to See More Of
  1. Fantasy Worlds: I just love a good fantasy world. I'm especially thinking of this now as I'm reading poison study, reminding me of how much I love medieval-fantasy worlds. 
  2. The United Kingdom: Because I've always wanted to go to the UK and you can never have enough books set there. X) 
  3. Anywhere cold and wintery: I love adventure novels or any novel really set in a really cold climate. Because I love snow. And winter (no, I'm not crazy).
  4. Another Realm: I really like books that have 'realms' of sorts. Almost like an alternate reality or dimension that connects to our world. Often involving portals. 
  5. Paris or London: I've never been to either of these places but they're at the top of my list of places I want to go. I read Wish You Were Eyre, which gave me a taste of Paris. For London, I know I've already said the UK, but this is a more specific place that has a lot of history that I would love to live through a book. 
  6. Jungles: I would love to see some more books that take place in a rainforest or jungle landscape. I can't think of any books off the top of my head but I feel like I've read one. 
  7. Ocean: Whether it's literally an underwater society, or just set on the beach, I LOVE books that take place near water. One of my all-time favourites is the Ingo series by Helen Dunmore. 
  8. Villages: I love olden-dayish kind of places where there is a bunch of little stores and such. Some good examples are Plain Kate and the Magyk series that I enjoyed when I was younger. I really like it when the village is a woodland or village in a meadow. That's always fun.
  9. The Sky: So, I've read one book that took place in a spaceship, though I'm not going to answer what book because that would kind of be spoiling it, and it was quite enjoyable, however, I think it would be really cool if there was a society in the sky, not space. Hey, there are books underground and underwater, why not above land and water?
  10. Hogwarts: Oh c'mon. You knew this was coming... J.K. Rowling MUST write some backstories or stories about Harry's parents or kids!!! Or even just from another angle, like Draco's son. I actually am really desperate. 
What are your top ten? Go to the Broke and the Bookish to find out how to join. :)

Friday, 18 January 2013

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: Review!

As I have mentioned before in a few of my previous posts, I have decided to do a special review on the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This review will not only talk about my thoughts on the novel, but also analyze and respond to Ali's thoughts from Loving Life by Reading. If you would like to see a summary for this novel, check on Goodreads, it provides great synopsis's for every book.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is an extremely thought-provoking novel that provides a shockingly different view into an outsider's life. In Ali's review, she talks about the way the novel was written provides "a window into Christopher's mind". I also felt like the book acted as an amazing insight, such as the descriptions of how his mind is like a film: he can replay, fast forward, and rewind his memories (pg. 76). He also sees the world in extraordinary detail, making life confusing for him (pg. 140), which helped to develop his character and make sure he was a round character. I also agree with Ali about the format the book, and how the journal entries allow you to understand Christopher and also make the book a quick read, which was nice for a change. Ali mentioned in her review that “It is an easy read”, but it would be helpful if she explained that, because I disagree. Some of the material covered is pretty heavy and sometimes it’s hard to put yourself in Christopher’s shoes. Ali’s recommendation was 12+, though I would say no one under 13 because there was serious subject matter, quite a lot of swearing, and it could get confusing for younger readers.

An original novel for sure, the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was certainly an experience to read. I often felt uncomfortable while reading, most likely because it was far out of my comfort zone of fantasy and science fiction, and also because of the way Christopher was treated. It also was difficult to understand sometimes, such as his discussion of how the cars he sees in the morning will determine if he has a good or bad day. However, I felt that the visuals really added to the story. It often helped me to understand the way that Christopher thinks and also broke up the text. I especially liked the pictures of emoticon faces to describe which emotions he couldn't understand. Because we are in Christopher's head, the author can't explain that Christopher doesn't understand the "angry" face. This leads me to the theme, which is learning to see life through someone else's eyes. I think Haddon chose to write this book to convey the way that different types of people think, through an engaging method. Overall, I gave the novel 4 /5 stars because the plot was a bit sporadic because the transitions were often rocky, and it was lacking in the mystery elements. However, it was a very enlightening read that encouraged me to think out of the box.

Reading Update (4)

Since I last did an update, I have read the first book on my TBR for the month (Life as we Knew It), started on the next one (What Happened to Goodbye), and received the third (Poison Study)! I already have the fourth book (Cinder). So I am well on my way to fulfilling my monthly TBR.

My copy of Poison Study! 
I have also decided to do monthly wrap-ups where I talk about the books I've read, so I will not say much about it here (though you can see my review on Goodreads!). I read a good chunk of What Happened to Goodbye last night, and read more this morning, but haven't for the rest of the day!

I also just purchased Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder and I am very happy. I rarely buy books for one, two I just love this cover, and three, I really can't wait to get started reading it (besides the first 14 pages I read on someone else's copy... You know who you are ;).

Lastly, I have a poll on my sidebar and I would love for you to check it out and vote for which theme you think I should read in February. Comment here with your choice or what theme it is if you chose other. Thanks! :)

What are you reading and how are you enjoying it?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Top Ten 2013 Debuts

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they will post a topic and then participants will make their top ten according to the topic. Feel free to go to their site and join in. Because I am really excited about some books that are starting new series but are not debuts from the author, I bolded the books that are the author's first individual publication.

Top Ten 2013 Debuts I'm Looking Forward To
January 15, 2013
  1. The Archived by Victoria Schwab: Because it sounds freaking amazing and I already have it on hold from the library. 
  2. Mind Games by Kiersten White: Same with this one. More dystopia-awesomeness. 
  3. Taken by Erin Bowman: This showed up in my Goodreads recommendations, and I'm glad it did, because it looks really, really, really good. 
  4. The Program by Suzanne Young: Ahahaha. More dystopia...
  5. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd: Sounds kind of haunting and complex so I really want to check it out. 
  6. Prophecy by Ellen Oh: Sounds interesting, and I'd really like to read a new fantasy novel. 
  7. Splintered by A.G. Howard: Alice in Wonderland retelling? Yes please. 
  8. Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza: Have you noticed almost this entire list is dystopia? Have you noticed I love dystopia?
  9. POD's by Michelle K. Pickett: Sounds like a really good concept, and of course it's science fiction/dystopia. 
  10. My Name is Rapunzel by K.C. Hilton: Another fairytale retelling (which I've fallen in love with since I read Sisters Red and heard about a lot of amazing retellings). I have never read or seen a movie on Rapunzel so this should be good. 
Thanks for reading! 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Loose Ends

I realize that I just posted an update, but I have some more things to say. I missed a few resolutions in my Top Ten Tuesday video, so here are some additional resolutions.
  1. Do four "theme" months. I would really like to try having themes of what genre of books I read for a few months (i.e. science fiction month, middle grade month). I'm not sure if it's going to work, but I'd like to do at least four. 
  2. Stick to the books I plan. Each month I will resolve to read four specific books. Of course, I will read more than that, but those will kind of be impromptu books I see at the library or that come in for me from on hold. But my goal is to read the four books I say I will read every month.
  3. Write to J.K. Rowling. As much of a Harry Potter fan I am, I have never wrote to JKR. I need to do this for sure in 2013! I may not even send the letter, but I still want to write it. And send it. Probably. 
The other thing is my book planning. I have modified my four books for January. 
  1. Life as we Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  2. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
  3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  4. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
As you can see, I have chosen a wide variety of books. One science fiction, one fantasy, one dystopia/fairytale retelling, one realistic fiction. Hopefully this will pull me out of my reading slump that I had going on after reading Let it Snow. 

What books are you reading? How are you enjoying them?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Reading Update (3)

The last time I did this was last month, so I'm going to do another update. Since then I have read Sisters Red, which I did a cover to cover for, and Let it Snow. I really enjoyed both books.

I also just finished Angelfall yesterday night, and it was phenomenal. Surprisingly, it took me a little to really get into it, but at the end, I was just completely enthralled and very throughly creeped out.

I made another trip to the library to pick up numerous holds and my stack has grown to 19 books. My stack is organized by size. The following is a list of new books I got.

1. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
3. The Lying Game by Sara Shephard
4. Pegasus by Robin McKinley
5. Bunheads by Sophie Flack
6. Reached by Allie Condie

I am now reading Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Bogus to Bubbly: An Insider's Guide to the World of Uglies, a very insightful guide by Scott Westerfeld.

I can't wait to tackle this TBR pile. Thanks for reading! :)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Library Book Haul

Hello! I took a visit to the library yesterday and ended up signing out five novels along with my hold that came in (Life as we Knew It). I also had three other books signed out from before, and the book I'm reading (Angelfall). And then I signed out two more books today.

The stack is mostly organized by priority, top being the books I'll read first.

Jan. 10/13 Books

  1. Angelfall by Susan Ee
  2. Life as we Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  3. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
  4. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  5. Snow White and the Hunstman by Universal Studios (originally a movie)
  6. Eve by Anna Carey
  7. Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
  8. The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  9. This World we Live in by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  10. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
  11. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  12. Jan. 9/13 Books
  13. The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman
I most likely will not be finishing up my December haul, as I stared the Golden Compass and realized I wasn't in the mood to read it because the beginning was too slow. Also, I do not usually read books that were originally movies, but Snow White and the Huntsman is short and sounds interesting. I have pretty much ditched my December haul though I may read The Golden Compass this month. I may not read the whole Last Survivors trilogy (I can't use that term anymore! Just found out a fourth book is coming out in September!) if I don't like the first one, and I may not read the Host since it's so big! I don't know if I want to read a huge book right now.

Thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Top Ten Bookish Resolutions for 2013

This is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish (link in sidebar). Please check out their (really awesome) blog, and feel free to join in the fun!

This week I mixed things up by doing a vlog (video blog) rather than a written one. Please enjoy. :)

*Note: The pictures go slightly duller in the video, so please pay no attention to that. :)

Monday, 7 January 2013

Hunger Games Cover Redesigned

The other day I was looking at Pretty Books, a book tumblr which I really enjoy (, and I found an amazing image of a Hunger Games cover that someone designed. It is absolutely gorgeous and way awesome-r than the mainstream covers that just have the mockingjay. This cover incorporates the mockingjay pin, characters, and a bold colour scheme and design. Please check out this link to see more photos and more about the cover!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Cover to Cover: Sisters Red

After a very long while of no Cover to Cover features, I've decided to do it again for a book I just read: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. You can see my review on Goodreads. :)

I've decided to do it a bit different this time. Brianna at the Book Nook, liked the idea and decided to give it a try as well. However, Brianna separated her thoughts and gave points to certain categories. I thought this was a great idea, however, I have created different categories than her. Each category will be marked out of 10.

The first cover here is the mass market paperback, though the cover is the same for hardcover, minus the quote at the top. I really love this cover. The characters are portrayed clearly but artistically on the cover, unlike many YA covers now that simply feature a beautiful girl's face staring at you. The plot is also portrayed by showing the Fenris clearly on the cover. The closeness of the two girl's faces also symbolizes their thought of sharing a heart expressed in the book. I think the graphics on this cover are some of the best I've ever seen. The incorporation of red, to represent the title, and black and white creates a striking cover and very nice balance. I really love the way there are two images flawlessly fitted into the other, almost like an optical illusion. The typography and placement of print on the cover is well done. The title, Sisters Red, is eye-catching but not overdone, with the first letter of each word being the focal point. The font chosen really represented that fairytale concept I was thinking of. I also like the use of white for the author's name, and the awesome quote at the top to tie in the colours. The cover is definitely one of the most original I have seen, focusing on beautiful illustrations rather than ball-gowns and photography which is very popular recently. The only thing lacking a little is the connections to the story, because though it does represent it in some ways, it is more generic things. Here come the scores!

Originality: 10
Graphics/Photography: 10
Typography: 9
Story Connections: 7
Total: 36/40

The next cover I've chosen is the newer paperback version. I love the typography on this cover! The way the blood red kind of transitions into orange is really neat, as if the sunlight is touching it. The font itself is beautiful and also reminds me of fairytales, and, though it is big and flashy, does not overwhelm any other aspects of the cover. The photography skills are very good, especially the background pictures of the sunlight and forest. However, that brings me to the point that photography is so common! You see it all the time on YA covers now, so it begins to lack in originality. Finally, the connections to the story are definitely apparent. The axe is what Scarlett uses to hunt the Fenris. Though people who have not read the book may not realize it, but the sunlight actually has significant meaning. In the novel, there is a time when they talk about a metaphoric story about a cave and facing the sunlight, so that was a really cool touch to the cover. That being said, it's missing a Fenris! I feel like there should be some incorporation of one of the werewolves, seeing as the quote on the cover talks about it! I think a cool addition would be maybe a pair of ochre eyes or something. 

Originality: 6
Graphics/Photography: 7
Typography: 9
Story Connections: 8
Total: 30/40

And here is the final cover! This cover is in German, and the words "Blutrote Schwestern" is roughly translated to Blood Red Sisters. I really like the image on this cover. The billowing red cloaks mixed in with the fog floating off the ground and the dark forest really sets the mood for the novel. Being a bit of a dark book at times, this cover did a great job of capturing that tone. I also love how the cloaks add a hint of pop to the otherwise dully coloured cover. However, I still don't see a Fenris! The photography skills and angles, again, are very nicely done. The moon and the fog add really nice touches, but like the last cover, loses more of the originality factor. I am delighted again though, that no faces are shown, which does make it different from other covers. It seamlessly involves the characters without taking away your chance to imagine the characters for yourself. I have to say, the typography on this cover though is a bit disappointing. To me, it's a little bit blah. Not eye-catching at all, though the rest of the cover is. The portrayal of the characters, Scarlett and Rosie, connects to the storyline, as well as the fact that they are off hunting in the woods, which is essentially what the book centres around. But the story centres around the Fenris too, and as mentioned before, I see none. 

Originality: 7
Graphics/Photography: 9
Typography: 5
Story Connections: 9
Total: 30/40
Bonus: 1

And the winner is... drumroll please... The first cover, the mass market hardcover and paperback! This cover won out for it's superb graphics and originality, while still connecting to the plot. There is, however, a tie for second place! In the event of a tie, I will give a bonus mark to the cover I personally believe may have upped the other or of personal preference. That being said, the winner of second place is the German cover, earning this position because of it's amazing portrayal of the storyline, little details, the way the red of the characters really popped, and finally, it's dark mood. Pulling into last place is the newer paperback cover, still earning a very respectable 30 points for it's great photography and typography.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you want me to do more of these, and be sure to leave your thoughts on these covers in the comments!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

December Book Ratings + Reflections

Happy new year! Now that December is over, I'm going to go ahead and talk about all the books I've read this month. These are only quick reflections or short reviews, not real reviews. Some months I will probably make more review videos in which I will record actual reviews, but for this month, I've decided just to do a collection of reflections. However, if you would like to see a written review of any of these books, please just ask! Also, check out my Goodreads to see full reviews of some of these books. :)

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
I loved this third book in the Heroes of Olympus series! Filled with action, mythology, suspense, and cool character backstory, this book was really exactly what I needed to read. I still find it amazing that the author can combine the unique plot lines of 7 different, amazing characters without making things too confusing... but it does get confusing sometimes. The greek and roman mythology mixed together made my brain hurt a little bit, but it was a good hurt, and I loved it. The characters were awesome, as mentioned before, but Annabeth will always be my favourite. She is amazing and brilliant and is definitely an inspirational female lead. But why??? WHY THAT ENDING MR. RIORDAN???????Now I reallllllyyy want the House of Hades! D:
**** */*
4.5/5 stars

The Book of (Even More) Awesome by Neil Pasricha
This was a super fun book that I enjoyed even more than the Book of Awesome. The book seemed more interactive than the previous book, for example, "doing a headstand for the first time" was upside down, the paragraph on "experiencing deja vu" was repeated twice, and "waking up and realizing it's Christmas" had the phrase It's Christmas!!! repeated about one hundred times to prove it's point. I loved having this book to read slowly throughout the first week or two of December. 
**** */*
4.5/5 stars

The Book of Holiday Awesome by Neil Pasricha
This book was still awesome, but not as good as the other two. This was largely because there was a lot of repeats already mentioned in the other two books. It was a bit of a disappointment when a large amount of the book I had already read, so I'm actually glad I don't own all three (I don't own any but whatever). I also found some of the awesome things less easy to relate to, though I loved the Christmas ones, and the ones about holidays I didn't know much about. I would recommend this very quick read during the holidays. :)
4/5 stars

Crossed by Allie Condie 
(reflection summarized from my Goodreads review). I admit there was celebrating involved when I finished this novel. However, this is not a bad book, it just not for me. I think Allie Condie is an extremely talented author. Her beautiful descriptions and metaphors throughout the book were truly amazing, and the love story to some would be breathtaking. But I read the book for the dystopia society, so the book didn't appeal to me. As I said before, I loved the quality of writing itself, and the development and backstory of old characters, as well as introduction of new ones. But the book was incredibly slow, and the book just dragged on and on, plus it was predictable. The romance between Ky and Cassia was extremely repetitive, and sometimes it made me want to put down the book and get sick. ;P Nothing really happened, and it felt like the whole novel was 367 pages of Cassia and Ky wanting to be together forever. Well that's nice. I'm sorry  to give this book such a low rating, but I couldn't get into it. I literally cheered after making it halfway through the book, I looked at the page number after every chapter, and I was relieved upon reaching the end of the novel. Maybe I'll check out Reached in hopes of it redeeming this sequel. 
* */*
1.5/5 stars 
Note: This is just my opinion! I am really glad that some people enjoyed it. I definitely understand others point-of-view, but I'm not going to lie when sharing mine. Thanks! :)

The Spirit of Christmas by Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson (as well as various authors)
This was a really sweet book, and short too. It was a great in-between read for during the holidays. The stories were both funny, sad, and inspirational, and were excellent to help yourself to stop during Christmas time and just think about what Christmas and the holidays are really about. 
4/5 stars 

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
(reflection summarized from my Goodreads review)
An extremely thought-provoking and drawing read about the meaning of true beauty. This was a beautiful book. Just beautiful in the way that it’s written. Headley is definitely a very talented author. She did a very good job of presenting her idea of the true meaning of beauty in the end, and I loved the journey Terra took throughout the novel. I really liked the character Jacob. Jacob just was so different than so many people I know, and I loved his depth and smart words about life and beauty. I must say there were some very frustrating moments in this book. Terra sometimes made me angry with the decisions she made. There were also times where Terra did what I wanted her to do.I felt for Terra and her family, and hated her Dad with a passion (no sympathy there). However, sometimes Terra's mom frustrated me too.The trip to China, mapping references and the geocaching parts of the novel were very interesting and added a unique touch to the book. The rating for this is tough, because there were times where I didn't feel particularly "pulled" into the novel until further into the novel. It took a little to get into it.
4/5 stars.

Rebel Heart by Moira Young
(reflection summarized from my Goodreads review)
I had a lot to say about this one, so I will miss out on a lot of points for this reflection/short review. This time around, the language was easy to get into and I picked up on it right away. I was sort of waiting for something to pick it up for some more action rather than one thing the whole book, but I didn't find it boring. I loved Emmi and The Free Hawks, as well as new characters like Slim, who made me very amused, Auriel, and Molly. And Jack's POV! That all being said, let's get into the negative aspects. I hated DeMalo and his role in the story, and he was completely different than he was in Blood Red Road. I could hardly believe they were the same character! He ruined the last 1/4 of the book for me and I wish he just was never included. I also hated the expansion from Saba having one interest to three love interests. Love square, much. I was sad that Saba lost her fight in this book, and also hated that some awesome characters died. I also despised Lugh with a passion and I was very surprised because I thought he was supposed to be likeable. I missed Jack, because he was only in the book for a short amount of time. I imagine you now understand my disappointment. 
3/5 stars. 

Gosh, some of those "reflections" were longer than intended. Sorry, this was a long post!
I have now finished Sisters Red and am reading Let it Snow, which I am enjoying. Next Tuesday I will be posting my reading resolutions for 2013 for Top Ten Tuesday. :) Happy 2013!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Top Ten Books I Resolved to Read in 2013

Hey everyone! It's New Years Day, and not only that, but it's Tuesday! This week's topic for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish (link in sidebar) is a nice way to start off the new year. As well, I am again going to cheat and put series as one, and I will probably go well over 10! :P

Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013
January 1, 2013
  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: It's happening. Finally, it's going to happen. I'm super excited to read them now, as I just watched the Hobbit in theatres on December 23 (review to come soon!) and I received the boxed set of the novels for Christmas. 
  2. Divergent #3 by Veronica Roth: Well, duh! This was one of my favourite series in 2012. 
  3. Study series by Maria V. Snyder: These books sound AMAZING! I loved Inside Out and Outside In, and am ready to give some of her new books a try.
  4. Gone by Michael Grant: I really want to love this series. I hope I love this series! I can't wait to read it.
  5. Legend and Prodigy by Marie Lu: I've heard a lot of great things about these books and would love to try them. 
  6. Angelfall by Susan Ee: If I don't read this in the next four or five days, then I need to read it next year! I've heard simply amazing things about the book.
  7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer: My friend read this book and really enjoyed it. It sounds like an excellent book, and I've been meaning to read it since before the summer. 
  8. Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness: This is definitely going to be a October read to celebrate Halloween. I'm not a big fan of horror, but this sounds like a great mix of action/dystopia/horror.
  9. Eon duology by Alison Goodman: Yay! Chinese mythology + dragons + action= my type of book! 
  10. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson: High fantasy!!!!!! I need some high fantasy and this is a must-read. 
  11. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima: More high fantasy? Yes please!
  12. Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi: Sounds like a great dystopia. 
  13. Demonglass and Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins: Time to finish off this series! I loved Hex Hall and really want to read the next two books. 
  14. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: This just sounds really, really good. And the cover is amazing!
  15. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Seems to remind me a bit of the Hunger Games for some reason, just by the synopsis. But it sounds really amazing. 
  16. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson: Sounds like a really touching, beautifully written story that I can't wait to read. 
  17. The Giver by Lois Lowry: I've never read this and I said I would last year and the year before. About time I get my act together and read this!
  18. The Archived by Victoria Schwab: A new series that sounds phenomenal. It's already on hold from the library!
  19. The Program by Suzanne Young: Another amazing-sounding dystopia debut. 
  20. Mind Games by Kiersten White: The beginning to a new series from the author of Paranormalcy. More dystopia!
  21. Any John Green book: I have friends who absolutely love him and his novels. I'd love to read his works because they sound very emotional and seem to have great stories. 
  22. Any Sarah Dessen book: Because I've heard she's a great author and her books sound great.
  23. Any book I do not finish from my December haul, as well as the books from my January haul. And any book sitting on my library pile right now. :)
Thanks for reading my (very long) list! I can't wait to read all these books.