Raindropreflections: March 2011

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Review- Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigulapi

SummaryShip Breaker

In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works for the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota- and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life…

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

What I Expected: what I want from a good science fiction novel, of course- lots of cool inventions, a new futuristic/alternate world that’s believable enough for you to lose yourself in, all without boring the shiz out of you with tedious, overlong scientific explanations. Yeap, Ship Breaker provided all that. Except the cool inventions (do genetically altered beings count?) but that’s understandable.

Story

Great plot, really. It had the much-favoured rich girl-poor boy storyline, but believe me, this story is WAY different from what it sounds like. And the futuristic world, full of famine and poorness and drug addicts and basically all the world intensified a hundred times? I could believe that, especially about the water levels rising enough to engulf a whole city and leave it an abandoned wreck.

It was a believable world, but I do hope we all wise up and get rid of global warming/whatever’s causing the world to go all screwy and prevent another Nailer from going to desperate measures just to stay alive.

Characters

I loved Nailer. Tan skin, blue eyes, black hair? That’s the most unique combination of features I’ve ever heard of. I found myself rooting for him and taking pride in his bravery and surprising sensitivity. He was a great MC.

And the beautiful girl he finds in the ship, Nita Chaudhary? First off, I loved her nickname, Lucky Girl, and I’ll be referring to her as such from now on. She was one of those people whose intentions you can never guess, but her smartness and thirst to prove herself won me over. She was
a great opposite lead to Nailer.

I loved Pima and Sadna, Nailer’s friends/almost-family. They seemed so real, and I’d love to find a great soul like Sadna, I really would. Oh, and Tool, the genetically-modified part dog, part hyena, part tiger, part human? Surprisingly, I quite liked him and his denial about the concept that genes determine everything. And I learned that it’s true- genes aren’t everything.

I HATED Nailer’s dad Richard Lopez with a passion. He was so ugh. But I agreed with Nailer about him at the end of the book (this isn’t a spoiler, just a weird cliffhanger).

The desperation, the fight, the struggle to survive that showed in all the characters was what really made it stand out.

Parting Thoughts: I really liked this book. Ship Breaker is a unique book that comes along once in a while, the kind that makes you rethink things you took for granted. And future (or current) environmentalists, this is your book soulmate.

Rating: 4.5/5. The parts leading up to the jaw-dropping ending were kind of drawn out, but honestly, that was the only complaint I had with this book.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Beautiful Covers

This is basically a self-meme I’ll post monthly because I’m afflicted with a never-ending case of cover love- and really, one of the best parts about books is their covers, isn’t it? So basically this feature is like, the best five covers out of all the books I’ve read that particular month.

And now (drumroll, please) the covers that have received the prestigious honour of being mentioned as the most beautiful of the recent times-

Ahem. Here goes. Ugh, try as I might, I couldn’t make this post look all pretty and aligned. Bear with me 😐

Fat Vampire

5. Fat Vampire by Adam Rex- isn’t that a funny cover, a blood-coloured slurpee? It’s one of the reasons I took it out from the library. It drew me in, no question about that, even though I generally don’t like vampires (gasp, the treachery!).

 

 

 

 

Across the Universe

4. Across the Universe by Beth Revis– once I figured out what the black shapes on the top were, this cover blew me away. It really helps for a science fiction book to have a beautiful, YA-like cover, like this one did. It draws in people like me who judge books by their cover. But I love sci-fi anyways, so the pretty cover was just an advantage.

 

 

 

 

Paranormalcy

3. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White- cover-wise, I’d expect this book to be awesome. The girl’s hair is so pretty- and her dress is purple! Did I mention that I LOVE purple? It’s a really, really pretty cover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matched

2. Matched by Ally Condie- again, by looking at the cover, I’d expect something truly amazing. The glass dome is a really pretty green, and I can get a feeling that the book is about being trapped.

 

 

 

 

 

Clockwork Angel

1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare– Dude, that boy on the cover (Will) looks all mysterious and, in an offhand way, attractive, and I love the foggy pictures of London in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

He-he. Yeah, the cute boy on the cover was definitely more than enough to snag the number one spot on this list. And I love anything to do with England :D If Jem had been on the cover, man, that book would’ve been my top pick for the YEAR. Hey, isn’t Clockwork Prince going to feature Jem?!

So those are March’s best covers, in my humble opinion. The next meme will be next month or whenever it happens to strike my fancy.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Review- Wish by Alexandra Bullen

SummaryWish

To broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone… until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn’t look magical- it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.

With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses- and two more wishes left. But magic can’t solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again. In a breathtaking debut from Alexandra Bullen, Wish asks the question, if you could have anything, what would you wish for?

What I Expected

From the cover, I expected something magical, maybe a love story. But the book jacket told a whole different story, so I was immediately pulled in. I mean, gorgeous dresses that grant wishes, too? I’m in.

Story

I was a bit disappointed about what Olivia used her wishes on. I’m not about to release any spoilers, but you might feel differently about it once you read Wish yourself. Of course it was an unbelievable plot, but that’s the great thing about novels- you get to read
about the impossible.

Characters

Olivia was dull, but I guess you’d expect that from someone who’s lost her twin sister. And Violet’s ghost was as lively as Olivia was dry. It made a good contrast, I guess. Miles was a great character, too, all flawed yet likeable. Soren was kind of meh to me. Maybe it was because I don’t like those shaggy hairstyles, if that’s enough of a reason to dislike a character.

I had a slight suspicion that the glamorous character of Calla was actually based on the author herself (I would really like to ask her if that’s right). But I didn’t really like most of the characters, and the ones that should’ve been expanded upon (ex. Posy, Miles) weren’t too integral to the plot.

Parting Thoughts: Wish is a good book, but just not the one for me. I’d have expected more magic- but hey, you might like it.

Rating: 3/5. Average book, average characters, not as much GOOD magic as the reader expects from the cover. I’m sorry, but that’s the way I felt about it.

Book Stats

Pages: 323

Publisher: Point/Scholastic

Released: January 2010

Friday, 25 March 2011

Friday's Finest (4)

Friday’s Finest is a wonderful meme hosted by Justine at A Bookful of Thoughts where you pick a quote you really liked from a book to share. It’s Justine’s birthday today- happy birthday, Justine! Have a great one!

Basically the meme’s rules are:
~Post a quote that really stuck to you after reading it in a book.
~Make sure it isn’t a spoiler!
~If you’d  like, expand on what you think it means and why you chose it.

This week’s quote is from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan:Will Grayson, Will Grayson

I have no idea why anyone would want to become a teacher. I mean, you have to spend the day with a group of kids who either hate your guts or are kissing up to you to get a good grade. That has to get to you after a while, being surrounded by people who will never like you for any real reason.

That just made me laugh. I mean, really, there are very few teachers out there who actually care what happens to you, and the thing is, it’d be better if they didn’t care, because really, they won’t get any reward for caring.

I remember two teachers who aren’t like that, though. First is my Grade 6 teacher who read my short story aloud in class and simultaneously embarrassed me and made me feel like I had a skill not many others did. Then there’s my PE teacher right now, who’s so good-natured and funny that everybody can’t help but love going to his class, even a girl as bad at PE as I am.

Both those teachers undoubtedly had people who a) kissed up to them to get good grades and b) hated their guts. But these
teachers weren’t- aren’t- afraid to care, and in the end it was the caring they have for their students that makes them such good teachers.

So the short of the long of it is, some teachers you admire. Some you laugh at. Some you wish would just leave and never come back. Some you hate, some you kiss up to. But there will be at least one teacher in your life- and they don’t have to be your official class teachers or whatever- that will always be the best memory connected to teaching and school.

Anyone else ever had a really great teacher who defied the above rule of teacherdom described in Will Grayson, Will Grayson?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Review- The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

SummaryThe Eternal Ones

Ever since Haven Moore can remember, she’s experienced visions of a previous life as a girl named Constance, whose love for her soulmate Ethan ended in tragedy. And then the sight of the world’s hottest movie star, Iain Morrow, brings Haven to her knees. She knows she has met him before. Is Iain her beloved Ethan?

Unable to deny her past any longer, seventeen-year old Haven flees to New York to find him- and an epic love affair begins. But it is both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Can Haven unlock the deadly secrets hidden in her past lives- and loves- before all is lost and Ethan disappears again… forever?

What I Expected: I’ll be truthful: I didn’t expect much. I expected ‘The Eternal Ones’ to be a paranormal type book, for some reason- maybe the blood-red cover and hints of immortality? But it was definitely not a Twilight spin-off, even if eternal love was the main element.

Story

Reincarnation, past lives, past loves, and the devil thrown in? Wow. With all those aspects, there had better be a good story. And there was. ‘The Eternal Ones’ had many twists and turns and surprises that added a lot to the story and made me want to keep reading it.

The beginning, which was basically about the MC Haven’s life in Tennessee before she finds out that she isn’t actually insane or possessed by the devil like most of the townsfolk believe, was definitely the best part of the novel. I don’t know why, but I found the second part a bit slow. Then the climax arrived and boom! Twists and turns and I got into the story again.

The bad guy of the story (I won’t release any spoilers, promise) was pretty obvious from the moment he was introduced, so that was kind of a letdown. But other than that, I loved the twists in the story.

Characters

Haven was a strong, assertive character, so I liked her a lot. She wasn’t Ms Perfect like some MCs tend to be (much to my consternation) so that made me care for her and hope she’d finally get her eternal love.

The male lead, Iain- for some reason I just didn’t like him. Sure, he was good-looking, romantic, etcetera, but there was that as-real-as-you-and-me element to him that was lacking.

I liked the supporting characters, though- Beau, Haven’s best friend; Padma, the president of the Ouroboros Society, and even Adam Rosier.

Parting Thoughts: All in all, an addicting book that I read all morning instead of doing my math
homework (come on, factoring and algebra can wait) and came away feeling like, wow, I just discovered a whole new world. You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for the eternal love story minus the vampire/werewolf factor.

Rating: 4/5. The middle was slow for me, and the predictability of the identity of the bad guy was disappointing, but overall, I think it was a really good book, one I would re-read if I could get over my dislike of Ethan.

Book Stats

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Pages: 411

Release Date: 2010

Monday, 21 March 2011

Out With the Old, In With the New

New Layout!

First of all, I made myself a new layout. It’s not much, considering that all I know how to do on websites is write, but until I get my awesome web designer friend to make me something (and I’m EXTREMELY lazy, don’t know when I’ll get around to giving her all the little details) this is as good as it’s going to get. This was the old layout I got tired of:

First Look

And well, this one’s marginally better. I love the Cabin font especially. Google fonts saved my life- other font webbies’ fonts probably don’t show up on other people’s computers.

So, welcome to the world, new layout.

New Rating System!

I thought the old rating system (the classic one) out of five wasn’t really working out for me, since I felt bad giving anything lower than a three but then I ended up giving a lot of books 5s and that didn’t seem that accurate either, and the point is, I needed a new rating system. So before I’m way too far into the blog to have to change like a gazillion posts, here’s the new system.

PS: You could look at it in Harry Potter terms if it makes it easier- seventh years are true pros, and first years can’t even do the alohomora spell
properly (unless they’re Hermoine). Here goes.

7/7- This is like, a truly amazing book. I probably won’t be giving out too many sevens, since the book needs to be super-awesome for me to do that. That’s when you know you’ve hit the book jackpot.

6/7- this is a great book. Like, go out and buy it right now.

5/7- very good book; a good addition to your book collection.

4/7- an okay book. A good one to take out from the library (so it’s average, you get?).

3/7- didn’t work out too well for me. You could give it a try if you’re bored.

*I’ll probably never give these ratings, but they’re there*

2/7- gah. I didn’t like this book at all.

1/7- oh, gosh. The book I love to hate.

So, yeah, that’s it. I might add- this is my opinion of the book, and my opinion only. I’m not making jibes at the author or their work or anything; it’s just how I feel about the book.

All right, then. That’s my new rating system. Hope it isn’t too hard to understand.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

One Month Blogoversary!

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’ve been blogging a whole MONTH! It’s not a big deal for anyone, but me- I’m quick to get excited about anything. I love it, and I have so many books to read AND my parents can’t tell me I have too many books- I’m a book blogger, after all 😉

Today is the first day of spring break and I’m hoping to get through my TBR pile and blog and basically have a great time.

Yay for spring break, blogoversaries, and YA fiction! I’m in such a good mood today 😀

Friday, 18 March 2011

Friday's Finest (3)

Wow. I can’t believe that this is the third Friday I’ve been participating in the Friday’s Finest meme, hosted by Justine at A Bookful of Thoughts. Not that it’s a big milestone or anything; it’s more the fact that it feels like Friday’s Finest a part of my brand-new blogging life now.

This week’s quote is from the Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley.Ghostgirl

We all want to be stars. The idea of being revered and envied must be encoded somewhere deep in our DNA. So must the desire to revere and envy others we imagine to be better, more accepted, and more popular than we are.

It’s so true, isn’t it? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t secretly (or not so secretly, in the case of a few aspiring actresses I know) want to be famous and become part of history and be everyone’s idols. Even I’d like to get famous for something (something good, obviously). It’s just ingrained in all of us to strive to be that person you admire on the TV screen or at school.

That was an extremely surprising discovery which I fully understood after reading the above quote. So I’m definitely going to try not to automatically sort people into the invisible cliques (gah, groups, then) that define the high school experience- and start to think that everyone is a star in their own right.

And this is completely unrelated: a) it’s finally spring break! and b) my one month blogoversary is tomorrow! I’ve had a- well, a different first month blogging. I love it, though, and hopefully in the future there’ll be people other than just my mom reading my posts.

Have a great weekend/spring break!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Review- Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

SummaryFever 1793

During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out.

Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie’s world upside down. At her feverish mother’s insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.

What I Expected: Since this is a Laurie Halse Anderson book, obviously the expectations were sky-high. I mean, after reading ‘Speak’, I was haunted for days. I expected ‘Fever 1793’ to be something of that sort, possibly even with LHA’s unique writing style.

The Story

The plot is so deft and has so many twists that you can never see what’s coming. What’s really unique about this book is that it’s not overloaded with olden-day words and expressions to the point that it’s boring to read. Only a few historical fiction novels, including this one, manage to pull off talking about history that doesn’t make it seem like another droning lesson about this war and that war and those people who hated these people.

And I’m really, really glad that they found the cure for yellow fever way, way back in the day. I just wish so many people hadn’t died such horrific deaths because of yellow fever.

Characters

I loved Mattie! She was assertive, independent, and brave, just like I always like female protagonists to be. She had regular dreams and fantasies like other girls, but the way she put everything aside for others was one of her best qualities.

Nathaniel Benson, the male lead, was also awesome. He wasn’t in the book enough, but when he was, it just made me smile- his actions, the way he talked to Mattie, basically everything. Man, March seems to be the month for meeting all the best fictional guys, like I have in almost every book I’ve read this month 😉

I just loved Mattie’s grandfather, because I miss both my dear departed grandpas from both sides and Grandfather’s character is just like them. He was funny and boastful and made me miss my grandpas more.

Parting Thoughts: honestly, Laurie Halse Anderson is a genius. I thought she was legend-like in the way she conveyed the MC’s emotions in ‘Speak’, but showing the terror and emotions that came with an epidemic like yellow fever is something she excels at, too. Wow. I heart this author. You need to go out and read this book if you want historical fiction presented in an almost contemporary way.

Rating: 5/5. Obviously, a book by Laurie Halse Anderson is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Book Stats

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 243

Release Date: 2000

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hurry Up, Spring Break

The last week before spring break is here. Only three more days left until two weeks of freedom, and I get to go through a threateningly high TBR pile that I totally failed at finishing while school is going on.

I can’t wait.

I mean, we have a week of square dancing. The very worst part of dancing to outdated songs that don’t even play properly on the gym speakers is not knowing if the sweat on your hands is your own or the guy’s. Eurghh.

I’m such a weirdo. Most people, including all my friends, enjoy square dancing. I don’t like dancing with some giant of a guy who looks down at my head like there’s something’s wrong with ME. I mean, I’m not even that short. I’m just plain average.

But then again, square dancing is fun, too. Some of the guys are actually good dancers, and I’m not that bad myself.

And there’s a certain novelty about knowing that someday people will be dancing hip-hop and it’ll be outdated to the point that nobody will know who Drake (I love!) and Kanye West and Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj are. It’s scary, but yeah, someday it’ll happen.

Hurry up, spring break. Three more days of sweaty hands and nervous giggling and wishing you were somewhere else or that the clock would speed up. But hey, today square dancing was actually fun- maybe because some of the people who make it miserable were skipping 😉

Swing dancing, swing dancing go away,

DON’T come back another day.

Rida, her friends, and her TBR pile await*.

And that was a horrible poem. I’ll be surprised if even I can tell what poem it’s supposed to be a spin-off of.

LOL. Maybe in a few days, when swing dancing is over and spring break arrives, I’ll forget.

Till then, I need the patience to get through these three days without any major fatalities.  

*something better than clammy damp hands.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Review- Klepto by Jenny Pollack

KleptoSummary

Julie Braverman is the coolest person Julie Prodsky has ever met. She has no curfew, a to-die-for wardrobe, and her mother is the model in the ‘It’s Better in the Bahamas’ ad. During their freshman year at the High School of Performing Arts in New York City, the previously unexplored world of flirting, freedom, and fashion is revealed to Julie P through the eyes of her new best friend.

Learning the secret of Julie B’s collection of Fiorucci jeans- shoplifting- only makes Julie P admire her more. Before long, Julie P has her own closetful of stolen clothing, and a new boyfriend. Then Julie P’s conscience catches up with her. If she stops stealing, will her relationship with Julie B come to an end?

This fresh and funny debut novel explores the true meaning of friendship- in all of its messy, beautiful complexity.

Note: Before reading ‘Klepto’, you should know that it’s set in 1981. I was wondering why people would have frizzy-on-purpose bangs and same-length hair until I figured out that the book was set in the past, which was revealed in the middle of the book.

What I Expected

A funny chick-lit kind of book. I got from the first few pages that ‘Klepto’ was set in the past, which added to the book, because honestly, shoplifting can’t be that easy today. And Fiorucci sounds like Gucci’s mom, so I guess those Fiorucci jeans aren’t around anymore, since I didn’t know about them until now.

Story

‘Klepto’ was really cute and ironically, honest, and it was the little changes in Julie P that made me like this book more. I loved the best-friends aspect of it- and I have had a bestie that was more popular, more confident, and more everything than me, just like Julie P. It just makes me miss that best friend more.

Characters

Julie P, the protagonist, is sweet and insecure, while Julie B, her best friend, is very outgoing and speaks her mind, so they were foils for each other. The contrast between the two Julies made it a lot more interesting.

Parting Thoughts: Overall, Klepto was sweet and feel-good and it showed a very different side of life from the past. Want to know how shoplifting was pulled off in the eighties, and not to mention, the “boys will come and go, but friends stay true” saying turning out to be true? This is definitely THE book to read if that’s what you’re interested in.

Rating: 4/5. I liked the conversational style of the book. Finding out in the acknowledgements that all the things in the book actually happened in the author’s life and that she actually had a best friend Jenny (same as herself) made me look at the book in a whole different way. Eventful teenagehood much…

Book Stats

Publisher: Penguin

Pages: 273

Release Date: 2006

Friday, 11 March 2011

Friday's Finest (2)

So this is my second Friday’s Finest meme, hosted by Justine at A Bookful of Thoughts This week’s quote is from Across the Universe, a book I’m in love with right now:Across the Universe

‘A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others so that they may have the strength to stand on their own.’

Isn’t that just beautiful? I never really thought about what a leader’s job was, except the obvious- to lead, to inspire, to have creative ideas before everyone else.

But as Beth Revis so wonderfully puts it, a leader is willing to give his strength to others so that they feel stronger in turn. He or she is someone who is a pillar of support, someone trustworthy, someone who doesn’t want to control, but someone that gets you to make connections, to realize things on your own.

The world needs leaders like that.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Review- Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist SocietySummary

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the Louvre… to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria… to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own- scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster’s priceless art collection has been stolen, and he wants it returned. Only a master thief could have pulled off this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he IS the list. Caught between, Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and, hopefully, just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s (very crooked) history- and with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

What I Expected

The first thing that I thought when I saw Heist Society was: nice word pun. ‘Heist Society’ sounds like ‘high society’ when pronounced together, but thieves aren’t exactly high society, right? Ha-ha. Anyways, the book jacket as written above sounded really interesting, and I fell completely for the word pun.

Story

It was a pretty good plot, full of action and a few twists. The best part about Heist Society was the sense of togetherness. Everyone had each other’s back, especially the teenage crew Kat puts together to pull off the enormous heist at the end.

I’ve been really interested in crime/thief stories since reading Artemis Fowl a few years back, and Heist Society actually had a girl thief, which was refreshing. The storyline was tight, the plot kept moving- it was a great book.

Characters

I loved Kat’s character. She was so independent, smart, and a great thief, which I generally wouldn’t include in a list of someone’s pros, but this is different. And Hale was a great character too, in his semi-detached way.

And Hale- oh my gosh, I have a total book-boy crush on him! No more needs to be said.

Arturo Taccone, the bad guy, was very interesting, too. I found him as fun to read about as Kat and Hale. Don’t you love it when the bad guys are people you almost start cheering for? Huh. Maybe it’s just me- or maybe it’s the Artemis Fowl bug that I still have.

Parting Thoughts

I do wish the author had tied things up at the end, but there’s a sequel coming out! I can’t wait. In short, great book, great story, and suspenseful ending. And great word pun. I’m generally not a fan of word puns, but this is an exception. A must-read. I can’t wait to read the second book, ‘Uncommon Criminals’!

Rating: 5/5. Complete and total love for me. I don’t give too many 5s, but Heist Society deserves one. If you haven’t already, you need to go out and get this book.

Book Stats

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Pages: 287

Release Date: 2010

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Review- Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart

Fly on the WallSummary

At the Manhattan High School for the Arts, where everyone is different and everyone is ‘special’, Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. She’s the kind of girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of Spiderman, so that she won’t have to talk to anyone; who has a crush on Titus, but won’t do anything about it; who has no one to hang out with when her best (and only real) friend, Katya, is busy.

One day, Gretchen wishes she was a fly on the wall in the boys’ locker room- just to learn more about guys. What are they really like? What do they really talk about? Are they really cretins most of the time?

Fly on the Wall is a story about how that wish comes true.

What I Expected

Well, E Lockhart wrote it, and I’ve been a fan of hers since reading Dramarama. I wanted to read her other works. I probably expected this to be a light, funny story, and for the most part, it was just that.

The Story

I liked the concept, but there was no clear explanation of why Gretchen turns into a fly a day after she wished it aloud, too. Maybe it was better left unsaid, but I’m the curious type of reader who needs to know this kind of stuff.  But it might also be that I totally missed the part where the mysterious transformation is explained, but I don’t think I did.

I also liked how the book was divided into three parts: before, during, and after. It made everything clearer and made me curious to know what was going to happen next. I loved the artsy aspect of it, and how different students in the school expressed themselves so differently from each other.

Characters

The characters all had their own problems and Gretchen was very memorable; I liked her voice in the story. The book was basically a look into her mind and it showed exactly what she was thinking, so it was a different kind of novel. She’s very different from anyone I’ve ever met or read about, so it was certainly interesting to see things from her POV. I mean, a girl who sits around drawing Spiderman all the time? Unique or what?

There weren’t really any other memorable characters, since the book was centered mainly on Gretchen. Her crush, Titus, had a lot of dimensions, too, but he wasn’t developed as much as I’d have liked him to be.

Parting Thoughts

‘Fly on the Wall’ was pretty short- only 180 pages, so a very quick read as well. In short, a cute novel with, uh, graphic content, and a great protagonist.

Rating: 3.5/5. Not knowing how Gretchen transformed into a fly was a major detractor for me, and it was a pretty average book overall, hence the rating.

Book Stats

Publisher: Delacorte Press/Random House

Pages: 182

Release Date: 2006

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Review- Bella at Midnight

Bella at Midnight

Summary

In the little village of Castle Down, in a kingdom plagued by war, lives a peasant girl called Bella. Blessed with a kind family, and a loving friend, she manages to create her own small patch of sunlight in a dark and dangerous world. Bella is a blacksmith’s daughter; her friend Julian is a prince, yet neither seems to notice the great gulf that divides his world from hers.

Suddenly, Bella’s world collapses. First Julian betrays her, then it is revealed that she is not the peasant she believed herself to be: she is Isabel, the daughter of a knight who abandoned her in infancy. Now he wants her back, so Bella is torn from her beloved foster family and sent to live with her deranged father and his resentful new wife. Soon Bella is caught up in a terrible plot that will change her life and the kingdom forever. With the help of her godmother and three enchanted gifts, she sets out on a journey in disguise that will lead to her to a destiny far greater than any she could have imagined.

What I Expected

I thought ‘Bella at Midnight’ would be a light, sweet piece of historical fiction. Plus I love knights, so the mere mention of one is enough to make me interested.

Story

To be honest, I was disappointed with this book. It was childish, and at times, way too far-fetched. By far-fetched I don’t mean that the impossible happened- it’s great when things we don’t even imagine happen in books- it was just that the things in the book (no spoilers about to be released) had no clear explanation. Maybe this book would appeal to middle grade readers.

Characters

There was just something about the MC Bella that I didn’t like. She was way too perfect and good to be realistic.

I really liked Julian, though, especially since he wasn’t the typical storybook prince, but a normal guy with a big heart and lots of love for Bella.

Parting Thoughts

In conclusion, it would’ve been a cute story if Bella wasn’t such an annoying character. I read it in one sitting, so it was a quick read, too. If you’re bored and in the mood for a good old fairytale, Bella at Midnight is an okay one to borrow from the library.

Rating: 3.5/5. This was not a book that matched me at all.

Book Stats

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 278

Release Date: 2006

Friday, 4 March 2011

Friday's Finest

Friday’s Finest is a meme hosted by Justine at A Bookful of Thoughts. Basically you choose a quote you really liked from a book and write about it. I saw this meme on others’ blogs, and I totally loved the idea of sharing quotes, since I record quotes I really liked from books anyways.

This week I have a quote from the novel Wish by Alexandra Bullen:Wish

‘She’d gone through her whole life with a built-in social ambassador. Violet had always been a chameleon, able to be anyone at any time, if it meant easy conversation and a fast friend. Olivia thought of herself as more of a gecko. Or a newt.’

I’ve always wondered how some people are so likeable and others who look uncomfortable in social situations. I mean, this stuff applies to about 90 percent of the people I know. This quote struck me as basically a sum- up of what some people are, and I liked it so much that I decided to share it =)

Have a great weekend, guys!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

March Monologues

I know it’s the second day of March, but I still wanted to post a to-do list for this month. I started this blog on February 19 this year with a grand total of… four posts. I’m hoping to do much, much better this month.

Here’s a list of the books I got/borrowed this month- and it’s not an In My Mailbox meme or whatever; I don’t get enough books every week to talk about anyways. So here goes.

  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis- I’m halfway through this one, and it’s oh-so-good.
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver- another dystopian novel- I love dystopian books.
  • The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller- about forever love. Good thing it doesn’t have vampires in it.
  • The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney- it seems really interesting, something like a teen detective crew.
  • Paranormalcy by Kiersten White- I’m generally not a fan of paranormal novels, but hopefully this one’s different.
  • Fat Vampire by Adam Rex- a funny vampire story? Get outta here. But that’s exactly what this book is, so I’m looking forward to reading it.
  • Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve- I’ve read Philip Reeve books before, so I’m happy I got a YA book by him.
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare- I’m probably one of the only people who hasn’t read this series yet. Can’t wait to read it!
  • Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi- another dystopian novel! Yay!
  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly- a historical fiction novel, so yay again.

So yeah. That’s my reading quota for March. I also decided to change things up a little, so in my reviews, instead of just having a blurb on my opinion of the book, I divided my views into four parts:

  • Why I picked the novel– pretty self-explanatory.
  • The story– whatever unique aspects I loved or other interesting stuff.
  • Characters– who was memorable, who was meh.
  • Relatability factor– how much I could relate to the characters/setting. I guess it just shows how good of an experience it was for me.

New month, new goals. And this month’s goal for me is to have monologues every other day. Yep, it’s going to be tough, but I’m going to try my best at this. Of course, it’d be real nice if my monologues turned into dialogues. Sigh. Just wishful thinking…?

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