Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: The Summoning

Of all the super powers imaginable, summoning the dead ranks as the worst. No wonder Chloe Saunders prefers to think she is crazy and willingly checks into a clinic; filling her body with meds. But once the other patients start believing in her powers, she will have no choice than to investigate.

The book begins with such a gripping scene, that when Armstrong slows down the pace to introduce the characters, one can't help but get bored. Every teenager in Lyle house possesses an eerie quality -- extra-strength, telekinesis, fire-starter --  and yet Armstrong taunts us by drowning the story with awkward romantic scenes, making us choose between two brothers; a hot passive sweetheart and an ugly aggressive bad boy.

One reason why the book is worth reading is the ending. Bold and shocking, it will leave you running to the bookstore in the middle of the night to find out what happens in the sequel.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Blow it out of proportion


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish



These books made me pull at my hair screaming
"What did you do to my favorite character?!?"

Both Life of Pi and My Sister's Keeper lead to believe one thing, but the last fifty pages turned the stories around in unsuspecting ways.


Children books can surprise too. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Review: The Universe versus Alex Woods

Ever felt underestimated?

Alex Woods was hit by a meteorite -- scarred for life and prone to epilepsy attacks -- but his wit and outstanding intelligence remained unscathed. Try telling people that. Poor Alex had no friends until he met Mr. Peterson. The only man to glance at him without pity and treat him like an average teen. So how could Alex, at seventeen, be found with Mr. Peterson's car, a bag full of pot and an urn full of ashes. What exactly did Mr. Peterson teach him?

To refer to this book as Gavin Extence's debut novel feels preposterous. His writing is beyond amateur level which explains why he's been getting so much praise. Not only did he tackle bullying, mother/teen relationships, overcoming shyness around girls; he also discussed euthanasia and faith in the unknown. He did it without being preachy. He did it with class. Teaching us new words, and how to dissect Kurt Vonnegut's novels along the way.

Instead of giving us a perfect Alex Woods, Extence also allowed us to see his bad side. Teenagers don't always appreciate what their mothers do for them. A lot can be learned from adults at that age if we learn to communicate, and this book is a fair example.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Big Reveal

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: What do you do with your books after you're done reading them?

I store them in my bookcase. It's a lot more colorful in person. People have advise me to remove the book covers to make it ''nicer'' but in my opinion the covers really do protect from dust. What do you think? 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: Burn for Burn

Don't believe in an eye for an eye. Well, neither does Lilia, Kat or Mary. These girls believe in something darker. They believe if you wrong them, they deserve the eye and every organ accountable for. 

Burn for Burn started up slow. The story cut from one perspective to the other, and the secrets remained secrets for too long. However, once they are revealed, it's hard not to get hooked.

Lilia is the over analytic popular girl, Kat the sexual vixen, and Mary the girl who was bullied for her weight and now suffers from anorexia. Together, they start off with so-so revenge methods that quickly spiral out of control when they realize how good it feels to take karma into their own hands. Topics like suicide, drugs, dead beat dads, family issues, and friendship, appear in the story. But for me it was the infatuation between Alex and Lilia that kept me turning the pages. 

Part two is expected August 2013.

Top Ten Tuesday: Arsenic and Dull Words



As children we were all told to avoid one written word: Poison. Do not ingest it,  do not touch it. And do not test feed it to the plants to make them carnivorous. The word poison will eventually fade from our parents lectures to be replaced with drugs and herpes. But the stigma of reading poison anywhere will remain forever. Here are other words that turn me off when written on a back cover.

Journey usually implies lots of narration in which the main characters will over analyse the small issues in their lives and over over analyse the big ones. 

Teen Girls yurk. What if you aren't one? What if you are a boy or a mother that enjoys this type of YA literature -- must you be kept aside? This type of judgmental back cover is usually a sign for dull-witted narration.

I don't always avoid dual narratives. Although, I admit that aside from The Wolves of Mercy Falls I have yet to enjoy both narratives in a book.

   Too many buts can be confusing. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Review: Eve

Life in the wild or becoming a human breeding machine? Sounds like a women's liberation right. Thankfully, Eve made the right choice by running away. Women aren't objects, although I admit it was puzzling as to why they were taught how to read and write only to be enslaved afterwards. 

Anna Carey added several characters to keep us entertained throughout the novel. First Eve is forced to escape with her school nemesis, Arden. A girl who would beat you up rather than give you a hand. And then, of course, Caleb. A love interest that is both protective and sweet. Eve's school lessons gave her a charming "Wendy from Peter Pan likeness" when she reached the boys camp and learned to survive. 

Enough action scenes to anticipate a great sequel. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Caught my arrow # 20

Caught my Arrow is a meme similar to In my mailbox and  Stalking the Shelves featuring books that were purchased, borrowed or received that week.

You know that weird moment when you go from nothingness to a full platter in like a second. That's what I felt this week at the library as I went to scan a book and got told that all my reservations arrived at once.

The Madman's Daughter
The Boyfriend List
The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Clockwork Prince

A big thank you to Booksneeze for sending me a copy of Anomaly. It's a new Dystopia book and I can't wait to read it. 

Also, I purchased a copy of Summer and the City after watching the show. 

What are you reading this week?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Universal Reading

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: Book Vacay: Where is the best destination reading spot for you? (Where do you like to go to read other than your home)

Funny story. On my last vacay, I believed I had found the most perfect place for a light read.

The Jacuzzi. 

So I went in with a book, blinded to the fact that the jet button was under the water and that turning pages with one hand (only one dry) is a difficult task.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What's My Name Again

J.K.Rowling got so many mixed reviews with The Casual Vacancy:

"Still, this Rowling person may have a career as a writer before her." Kirkus 

"But the worst you could say about it, really, is that it doesn't deserve the media frenzy surrounding it. And who nowadays thinks that merit and publicity have anything do with each other?" The Guardian

It's no wonder she used a pen name for her second post Harry Potter novel. 

Below are some famous YA authors who chose pen names as well. 


Lois Lowry born Lois Ann Hammersberg

Cassandra Clare born Judith Rumelt

Stephenie Meyer born Stephenie Morgan

Ally Carter born Sarah Leigh Fogleman

Christopher Pike born Christopher McFadden

Lauren Oliver born Laura Schechter

Libba Bray born Martha E. Bray

If you were to write a book, would you use a pen name or keep your own?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: The S-Word


Grabs your attention, right? It certainly grabbed Lizzie's when she read it on her school locker after getting caught in bed with Angie's boyfriend. If I had been the one to catch my best friend and my sweetheart in bed on prom night, this story would've had a different ending. See, I'm glad Angie caught them. Rather than angry and savage -- she was disappointed. And so Lizzie killed herself. Jumped off the roof of the school. Of course, no one kills themselves after one week of bullying. There had to be bigger reasons for such a drastic action. What was Lizzie hiding?

This is a debut novel, and although I see a lot of talent between the lines, several things made this story difficult to follow. No one wants to be reminded they are reading a book: 

"I know what you are thinking. Kids? Liquor? No Way! Relax. I'm not saying I was an adolescent boozehound." 

Not only was Angie judgmental of everyone in the story, but us too? Her constant insinuations that everyone bullied Lizzie for her sake, so it was her fault, made no sense. As she was neither a popular kid in school, nor did she participate with the others. 

And although it is true that certain people change their minds a lot, switching from "I like you, I like you not," several times in one book, this coming from both characters in the relationship, is quite confusing. Bisexuality is not a new topic, and sadly, Chelsea struggled when it came to pull it through. 

All in all, the story would've been more much interesting with a stronger main lead.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Praise the Author



 1. Sara Varon 
Robot Dreams conveys so much emotion regardless that it has zero words. It teaches a lasting message about friendship and how some people are meant to come and go from our lives.

2. Sara Kocek
I was lucky to read an ARC of Promise me Something, meant to debut in September, and loved it. It's nice to see such talent from a new author.

3. Ashley Elston 
Another debut author deserving some praise. Her book The Rules for Disappearing is a thriller/love story that left me wanting more. Can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
4. Alexander Gordon Smith 
His Escape from Furnace series kept me up for several nights. It is downright scary, thrilling and worth every nightmare. I strongly recommend to horror/dystopia fans.
5. Gavin Extence
I'm not done reading The Universe Versus Alex Woods yet. But have been impressed with all the knowledge this book has filled my head with. Yup, I now know the difference between a meteor, meteoroid and meteorite.
6. Jill Baguchinsky
A modern Nancy Drew who can communicate with ghosts, except for her late mother. I loved how Spookygirl also tackled the issue of bullying. The more we talk about it the better.

7. Mélanie Watt
Although Mélanie gets a lot of attention with her Scaredy Squirrel series, Chester is always forgotten. A book in which the main character takes control over the author, is just plain funny and deserves a read.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: Shine

More authors are tackling the subject of bulling these days, but rarely do we see someone take on several difficult topics at once, as Lauren Myracle did with Shine. She turned the spotlight on rape, homophobia, drug addiction, family issues -- and didn't think twice if readers were ready for it. 

Cat is not perfect. She pushed Patrick and her friends aside after a terrible incident, and standing up for herself doesn't come easy. Still, she tries to amend her errors by investigating the hate crime. Even though it means investigating her friends. 

I was glad we weren't provided with a love story hero. That one guy that would show up and solve Cat's puzzle. Solving this meant coming to terms with her turmoil past. It was a must for her to do this alone. 

The writing was authentically southern and contained some swear words. Also the hate crime is pretty detailed. But the twist at the end makes all the hard scenes worth reading. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Peek-a-Boo

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: Activity: PHOTOBOMB!!!  Photobomb a picture with your favorite book. Share it of course.

Here I am au naturel with a copy of The Hunger Games. Don't you just hate when your hair frizzes from all the humidity. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Writing with a Friend -- Road to Heaven or Destruction?

I welcomed a new writing buddy today. His name is Latte and he squeaks of delight when I get a good idea, or maybe when he is playful, I don't know yet.

Our arrangement soon got me thinking about collaborative writing in general. Can two authors pour their souls into one work or is it the best way to ruin a friendship?

David Levithan has written many collaborative fiction. His secret is alternating chapters, and making sure than each author has their own character voice. In an interview with Publishers Weekly Andrea Cremer, co-author of Invisibility, said that, "Levithan advised her to think of him as her intended audience and that they both kept their own personal projects on the side." Maybe collaborative fiction isn't so bad. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: Scarlet

Marisa Meyer turns the spotlight on new characters in Scarlet, the second book of the Lunar Chronicles, which also happens to be the name of the female lead. Without a doubt, Scarlet proved to be loyal and hardworking. The basis of what makes a true heroine. So what went wrong?

Let's start with the recap. After months of reading the first book, I had forgotten all about Cinder. Meyer did give hints, here and there, but it took an extremely long time to puzzled it out due to the attention provided to Scarlet.  

Cinder just didn't do it for me this time. She spent most of her time travelling in a spaceship, reminiscing about Peony more than she did about Kai. Meanwhile Scarlet traveled by train. 

The male lead, Wolf, did have his moments. And I can see how many would find him swoon worthy.

I don't know exactly what Meyer is building up with all the new characters she brought to the story (yes, even after reading the whole book) but I feel like I owe it to the first book to find out. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Red Carpet



Having a book you love turn into a movie is nerve wracking. What if they pick the wrong actress or a director that changes the ending? What if they ruin the book?

Here at my top adaptations that I believe made the book even better.

Little Women (1933) 
Katherine Hepburn gave us the most overly confident and boyish Jo March that I have seen in any of the remakes. And Amy didn't fall far behind. Joan Bennett played Amy to perfection despite being 23 at the time, and pregnant. 

The Shining (1980)
Praise Stanley Kubrick for changing the ending of the book. I never reveal endings  (because spoils aren't fun) but  if you've seen the film and read the book let me know which ending you preferred.

All the Potter Movies (2001-2011)
They did not change much of the story making them a perfect adaptation. The producer first marked the project as low-priority and set it aside. Tsk, tsk, tsk ... glad he gave it a second thought. 

My Sister's Keeper (2009)
Sorry Jodi Picoult, but the movie ending did not make me scream out of rage like the one in the book. In fact, this one made me cry. 

The Hunger Games (2012)
Great casting, great director, and quite faithful to the story. I loved this film, and keep waiting for Catching Fire to premiere.