Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Rebel Angels + 100th post!

Hello! This is my 100th post since starting my blog this August. Wheeee! You can join me in celebrating by leaving a quick comment or a responding post to one of my entries if you'd like. :))))

But the real reason for this post is because my friend Brianna and I are going to be reading Rebel Angels by Libba Bray together. We both had copies of the book and were planning on reading it soon, so we thought we'd read it together! Rebel Angels is the second book in the Gemma Doyle series. Both of us were anxious to read the next one after being astounded at the first book, A Great and Terrible Beauty's, ending.

We will be posting Goodreads statuses and maybe some joint blog posts/discussions, so look out for those. Check out Brianna's blog, The Book Nook, for her posts as well.

Thanks for reading!

The Scorpion Project: Setting

This is my first post covering one of the six literary topics I will be exploring while reading the House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. Check out this post to learn about The Scorpion Project novel study, this post about my thoughts, or check out this link for all the info.
The book takes place on the border of the United States and the country Aztlán, formerly called Mexico (Farmer 57) I was extremely curious as to why Mexico was renamed Aztlán, and what that might mean. I later looked up what Aztlán meant, and I found out that Aztlán was supposedly  the "place of origin" of the Aztec people, which was very interesting. I am curious to find out if this will later play a role in the story. It also mentioned that the area Matt lives in on the border of the USA and Aztlán is called Opium (Farmer 168). 

Scene-specific settings include the little house in the opium fields where Matt and Celia lived for his childhood (more specifically Celia's room with the Virgin of Gaudalope statue, Farmer 28). The Big House is also a main setting, as well as the oasis, and later in the novel, the passageways Matt discovers. These are very important because without them, Maria and Matt would often not be able to escape, hide, or discover some of the things they did (i.e. Felicia killed Furball), which is why Farmer included them.

There are multiple clues that indicate the time period is the future. First, Mexico was changed to Aztlán. Also, the technology to clone humans was developed, as we find out in the first chapter of the novel, and the technology to keep humans alive for past the old age of today (i.e. El Patron). It says specifically in the book as well that El Patron does not like having modern technology kept out to preserve the old-fashioned appearance of the house, which indicates it's not in the past. If you pay attention to the genres and tags, you find it is a dystopia book, which means it's a flawed, futuristic society.

I found out Farmer was born in Phoenix, Arizona. Therefore, I think she chose to write about the area she did because it was familiar to her, and the book would feel more authentic with a representation of a different language and ethnicity (Spanish). My best guess as to why she created the little country of Opium is to put emphasis on how important the opium business is in their society. I think the purpose of the oasis is to reflect the relationship Tam Lin and Matt have, because it is Tam Lin who shows Matt to their "special" spot. 

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post. There will be more to come exploring five other elements. :)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Unfinished Book Series

This post is in response to Brianna at the Book Nook's post about unfinished book series (click here to see it), and also to Priscilla at The Readables recent post about it as well. The formatting will be more similar to Brianna's post though, such as the categorizing. So here they are, all my unfinished book series I plan on continuing.

Series Where I Have Only Read the First Book and Will Be Finishing (the next book/series if released)
  1. Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
  2. Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson
  3. The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner
  4. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (currently reading)
Series Where I Have Read More Than The First Book And Will Be Finishing
  1. Fairytale Retellings by Jackson Pearce
  2. Study series by Maria V. Snyder
Series I Will Be Completing When The Next Book is Released
  1. Legend trilogy by Marie Lu
  2. Dustlands trilogy by Moira Young
  3. Altered series by Jennifer Rush
  4. Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
  5. Splintered series by A.G. Howard
  6. Angelfall by Susan Ee
  7. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  8. Uglies (graphic novels) by Scott Westerfeld
Series I May or May Not Complete (published or not)
  1. Gone series by Michael Grant
  2. The Ascendance trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen 
  3. The Madman's Daughter trilogy by Megan Shepherd
  4. Life as We Knew It series by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  5. Princess series by Jim C. Hines
  6. Princess series by Jessica Day George
  7. Prophecy by Ellen Oh
  8. Matched by Ally Condie
  9. Hex Hall trilogy by Rachel Hawkins
Thanks for reading! Do you have a lot of series on the go? 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Top Books I Liked Less/More Than Expected

Sorry this post is a day late, but I really liked this week's topic and didn't want to miss out because I forgot to write it yesterday!

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. It's super easy to link up, so feel free to go to their site and join in the fun!

Top Ten Books I Liked Less/More Than Expected
April 23, 2013
  1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: When I was younger, I used to joke about how I would never read this series. Then I read it in elementary school and I absolutely loved it-- So much that's it's still my favourite series of all time. :)
  2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: Gah. The Hunger Games was such a phenomenal debut and Catching Fire was an impressive sequel but Mockingjay? I was bored and amazingly confused while reading it. Didn't live up to my (very high) standards for sure. 
  3. Altered by Jennifer Rush: I read this book on a whim. I knew it was a new release and it sounded interesting but it came in from the library for me before I was ready for it. I still decided to read it and I loved it! Can't wait for Erased
  4. Eragon by Christoper Paolini: I completely thought I was going to love this. Yeah noooooo.... I don't know why I was so bored by it, but I was. I still love the whole idea and dragons and everything but for some reason it did not work for me... at all... 
  5. Blood Red Road by Moira Young: LOVE. I saw this book on the library shelf and thought it sounded interesting. I read it later and am so incredibly glad I did. It's absolutely amazing!
  6. Gone by Michael Grant: One of the most disappointing for sure... I thought I was going to love this so very much. But I didn't. I just couldn't connect with it and there were far too many weak moments from some of the characters I was expecting much more of. 
  7. The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines: I didn't expect much from this one because it was just a fun one, but it turned out to have a much darker side--- and I enjoyed that!
  8. The Archived by Victoria Schwab: I was really excited for this release but it didn't live up to my expectations. I mean, I really enjoyed it, but I was expecting something super awesome and intense and I just didn't quite get that. 
  9. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson: I'd never heard of this book before, but it was at my local library as a new paperback and it sounded interesting, so I checked it out. Even though it took me a while to finally read it, when I did, I ended up really enjoying it, even more than what I thought. 
  10. Prophecy by Ellen Oh: The idea behind this one was great (if not a little generic), but it was the choppy execution and children's/middle grade writing that was the turn-off for me. I also wanted more from the characters. I'd recommend this one to middle-grade readers, but it just wasn't for me. 
  11. Shimmer by Alyson Noel: After flying through Radiance and not loving it, I wasn't that excited or expecting much from the sequel. However, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed this book more than the first. 
  12. Bookweird by Paul Glennon: This book had been recommended to me but I was just so bored. I read this a few years ago (or more than a few) but I just know I had to push myself all the way through to get to the end. 
Sorry, had to add one extra more/less set! Hope you enjoyed. :)

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Scorpion Project #2: Thoughts so Far

Now that I've read the first section (Youth: 0-6) and a little bit of the second section, I am able to make my first individual post about my thoughts on the novel. If you'd like to read a synopsis of the novel so you understand what I'm talking about, please follow this link.

The first thing I would like to talk about is the opium fields we learn about in Chapter 8. Tam Lin explains how the workers are slashing open pods to release the opium. My initial reaction was that the opium was a drug. The workers in the poppy fields, harvesting opium, could be working for El Patron. The reason why I thought this is because it is described in the Cast of Characters that El Patron is a "powerful drug lord". Now we can prove that part of the purpose of the Cast of Characters is to foreshadow events (I have a feeling the opium will play a strong role in the rest of the story) and also to provide information so we get a sense of the intentions of the characters. I think that El Patron is most likely the one who is running the opium operation, which leads me to a new question. Was his clone (Matt) created to run the fields when El Patron dies?

After making these inferences, I double-checked the definition of "opium" in the dictionary. A reddish-brown heavy-scented addictive drug prepared from the juice of the opium poppy, used as a narcotic and in medicine as an analgesic. This definition caused me to wonder why they were harvesting the opium and for what purpose was it to be used for. Do they use it, as the definition suggests, as an analgesic? Or is there a darker purpose for the drug?

Finally, I made some inferences about El Patron's character from this information and other chapters. In Chapter 6, we finally meet El Patron, and Matt is immediately drawn to him. This makes me interested in the relationship El Patron and Matt will develop. Furthermore, on page 70, Tam Lin compares El Patron to a tree; as in he made a choice to grow one way until his large, green leaves shadowed the entire forest and his branches became twisted. I found this very interesting. El Patron obviously has a dark side, and my guess is that he is ruthless when it comes to gaining power or scientific discovery. PAGE 82 SPOILER ALERT. This theory was tested when we found out that eejits are actually people with chips in their brains that cannot do anything without command. If El Patron is running this operation, than he obviously doesn't care if someone dies because they went without water from not hearing a command. SPOILER ALERT OVER. 

Thanks for reading my thoughts so far regarding the Scorpion Project! Have a great day! :)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

This or That Book Tag

Heyyy. Today I am doing a tag from the Booktube community. This tag is from Aura @ Aura's Book Box (I believe she has now switched channels), but I heard about it from Books of Amber (check out her channel and blog!). The tag is pretty straightforward, so here we go.
  1. Audio book or book in hand? I have never listened to an audio book since I was a kid, but there is something special about reading it for yourself and interpreting the characters yourself as well. 
  2. Paperback or hardcover? BOTH. Paperback for the library because they are so shiny and beautiful and new, but hardcover when I buy books. That's because they feel more substantial and can resist more wear and tear. I also love looking under the dust jackets! :) 
  3. Fiction or non-fiction? Easily fiction. I've read some great non-fiction, but I love being able to escape to an unlikely and different world. 
  4. Fantasy world or real life issues? Like I said before, fantasy, because I like escaping from our world to go somewhere new where the impossible becomes possible. That said, there are some really great real-life-issue books and I definitely don't rule them out. 
  5. Harry Potter or Twilight? I have never read Twilight but I love Harry Potter (best books I've ever read in my life) and I don't see how anything could surpass them. I have heard the movies are much worse, but I have seen half of the first Twilight and I think I fell asleep. Maybe not, but I was very bored and the characters seemed weak and superficial (not that I can judge but that's what it seemed like from the movie). 
  6. Kindle, iPad, or other? I have only ever read one book on an iPad, and I have never used a Kobo. I have borrowed my friend's Kindle, but only to read a few pages. I personally don't like eReaders, but if I had to choose, probably Kindle because I just liked the features and the portability and that of the device. 
  7. Borrow or buy? If it's a question of what I prefer, buy. But I borrow books wayyyy more often and have no problem with it. In fact, I really like scanning the shelves and picking up books just for the heck of it without having to worry about if I'll read it or price. 
  8. Bookstore or online? Bookstore. I've never bought a book online. My bookstore has a very nice selection, and I just enjoy going to bookstores. They have a very wide variety of bookish stuff and beautiful journals that I like to look at. 
  9. Stand-alone or trilogy/series? Probably a trilogy or a series because I don't want the story end! Sometimes books are better as stand-alones though, and there are many very strong and enjoyable stand-alone books. I just prefer to see the characters and plot progress and develop through a longer length of time. 
  10. Monster read or short and sweet? Ummm. Both? I really like short books sometimes if they're done well because you get less bored with the story. Overall though, I prefer monster reads because it's more opportunity for the characters to be more fleshed out and for the story to progress. And if it's an enjoyable book, way more fun! 
  11. Romance or action? Action!!!! I don't mind a bit of romance, but I like stories fuelled by the characters and the plot (adventure/action especially) because the romance bores me and is often cheesy. Too many books are classified as action, or fantasy, or science fiction, and really are just romance in disguise. 
  12. Cozy inside or outside? I can't answer this because I love both! Sometimes I love being curled up inside with a blanket, and sometimes I love reading up in a tree or with the sun shining down. I often can focus better inside, but the outdoors is my best friend so obviously I enjoy reading outside as well. 
  13. Hot chocolate or latte? I enjoy both, but especially when I'm reading, nothing warms me more than a cup of hot chocolate. I also like the fancy flavours like peanut butter or peppermint. 
  14. Read reviews or decide for yourself? I generally just look at ratings rather than actual reviews to gauge the general interest level if it is a book I am on the fence about reading. If I think I'll enjoy it and am set on reading it, I pay less attention. I am weird and I like to read the reviews after I've written mine to compare and see if others feel the same way. Overall, I like to steer clear of reviews before I read it unless I am really unsure if it is worth the read. 
Hope you all enjoyed this tag! Bye. :)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

I am now posting reviews for my monthly TBR, which means I'll read some books just for fun, and other books for fun and review. I'm sorry this review is so late (I finished it in March...) but here it is anyway!

Title: The False Prince
Author: Jennifer Nielsen
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Pg. #: 342
Rating: **** (four stars)

Let's face it, I read a lot of YA. A lot of YA. Every one of the 23 books I read in 2013 is YA except this (though I suppose Princess of the Midnight Ball is also classified as Middle Grade). So anyway, it was absolutely excellent to read a middle grade book because it is such a refresher. The writing style is just different and I don't know exactly how (it's not simplistic or "telling not showing" or anything). The lack of romance was also refreshing, and the twisty plot that doesn't lag on-- I'm always entertained in Middle-Grade fantasy. 

I really liked the narrator's voice for the first 150 pages or so. It was told in first-person from the perspective of Sage, an orphan who is basically kidnapped and in contest to play a special role (dang synopsis totally gave that away). He was sarcastic and rebellious which made the book much more interesting. However, as it went on, I became increasingly annoyed with his smart-talk. For a boy described as very clever, sometimes he said the stupidest things. And talking about the narration brings me to another point that frustrated me... 

Sage conveniently left things out of his narration. No, seriously. Say he saw someone steal a knife. He wouldn't express that until later. Obviously the author was trying to up the suspense factor, but this frustrated me and made me confused. There was a huge part of the novel that Sage just conveniently didn't mention until the end, which made everything fall apart for me. I couldn't get used to the fact that I couldn't trust the narrator. 

I also found some things predictable. Just by the nature of the book, you can almost guarantee one thing that's going to happen (like when the constant threat in books is always the character dying... the main character doesn't die when there is a series, at least not that I've seen). I also predicted several things, even the big event at the end. I was a little unsatisfied by the ending because I wanted something else to happen. SPOILER ALERT. I really wanted Roden to become King, then the next book could've been about the consequences of this. SPOILER ALERT OVER. 

Despite all that, the novel was highly enjoyable. I was always entertained, the plot progressed well, and I liked the different characters. Overall, it was just a super fun book, which is why I still rated it 4 stars because I did really enjoy it (once I got over all the stuff Sage "conveniently forgot to mention"). 

Thanks for reading! I have a few more posts planned, so keep checking for those! Or, you know, just follow. :) Have a great day!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Top Ten Books/Series I Read Before I Was a Blogger

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. It's super easy to link up, so feel free to go to their site and join in the fun! Sorry for skipping TTT last week, but I just was really lazy and not in the mood for a post! Anyway, I have done this week's topic and if you're interested in an explanation for each book, comment, or check Goodreads, it will have a synopsis and maybe I'll have a few lines of a review for you.

Top Ten Books/Series I Read Before I Was a Blogger*
April 9, 2012
  1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  2. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  4. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  5. Ingo by Helen Dunmore
  6. The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel-Frederick
  7. Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz
  8. The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester
  9. Percy Jackson/The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
*I have not been blogging long (only since September), so I have a lot to choose from! That said, some of these may be middle grade favourites as well.

Thanks for reading! If you'd like, post the link to your Top Ten in the comments. :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Scorpion Project #1: New Focus

Hey everyone!

As you can tell from the title of this post, my blog will be switching gears a little bit over the next 4-5 weeks. I am going to be participating in a novel study! The novel is going to be The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, a dystopia story I've heard very good things about. It sounds like a really interesting, thought-provoking book so I am very excited to get reading! You also might notice that some of the blogs I follow are also participating in this novel study, so feel free to check out their blogs. You can also follow my blogs and theirs if you're interested.

I will be posting 6 blog posts, most likely, as contribution to The Scorpion Project. These posts will probably occur once a week, so make sure to keep checking back for them (or, as said above, follow- it's a super simple way to keep up with new posts). However, all this being said, I'll still be posting my normal posts; Top Ten Tuesday, Weekly Updates, Three Monthly TBR Book Reviews, and maybe a few other special posts (cover to covers, pictures, etc).

I have one setback about this whole thing though, and that is that I have a reading schedule. I like reading at my own pace, not a pace already set for me. There are times where I want to read more or less than is required. Usually more, and I end up getting a little frustrated when I have to wait. After all, I usually read a book in under a week, so over a month seems like a very long span. That being said, I'll be reading lot's of other books during the time I am reading The House of the Scorpion, so I should be okay. Plus, it's good to try something new.

Hope you like my new focus and keep checking for the weekly posts!

*Click here to see the group blog and our first round table. :)

Friday, 5 April 2013

March Book Spotlight

So I forgot to talk about my favourite book in my wrap-up . . . *face palm* Anyway, it led to an idea for a new post. Since my wrap-up also contain my next month TBR, they get to be pretty long. So, instead I am now creating a new feature-- Book Spotlight! I may do this in the middle of the month or whenever I feel like it, but I will always have one at the end of the month. So yeah, this will basically be a Goodreads synopsis, three to five sentence review of my condensed thoughts or my reading experience, a rating, and why you should pick it up/recommendation. Yeah. Without further ado, my favourite book of March was (drumroll please)...


Goodreads Synopsis
When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. 

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

This book came very out-of-the-blue for me. I thought, "hmmm, why not?" and quickly put it on hold. My expectations were low, and they were way overachieved. This book has an awesome blend of suspense, intrigue, and action mixed with character struggles and romance. The first chapters instantly pull you in with their lyrical quality and mystique. Pick this up, you've got nothing to lose!
My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

I recommend this book to dystopia fans as well as anyone looking for an entertaining, fast-paced, quick read. Though not without it's flaws, I would still recommend this book to almost everyone. Unless you don't like reading good books. Then this is not for you.

Thanks, I hope you enjoyed this Book Spotlight, I really encourage you to pick up this novel from a debut author. :)