Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top 10 Characters I Would Like To Switch Places With For 24 Hours

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is...

Top 10 Characters You Would Like To Switch Places With For 24 Hours

How many times have I wished to swap places with fictional characters? *le sigh* Here are my picks (links lead to goodreads):

1. Hermione from the Harry Potter Series

Oh goodness, what I wouldn't give to switch places with Hermione Granger! She's smart, brave, and basically my role model. And who wouldn't want to go to Hogwarts to learn magic??

2. Eowyn from The Lord of Rings

Ok, so I've never actually read Lord of the Rings, but I love the movies! *sheepish grin* I would love to swap places with Eowyn--not only is she a brave, kick-ass shield maiden but she's from Rohan and is a horse person like me :D

3. Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments Series

One word: Jace. *swoon*
And it would also be awesome to be a Shadow Hunter and kick demon butt ;)

4.  Tessa from The Infernal Devices Series

Two words: Will + Jem *double swoon*
Plus, Victorian London is awesome!

5. Jacinda from Firelight

I would love to be Jacinda for 24 hours! How awesome would it be to be a part-dragon with special senses and the ability to shift and fly?? Heck. Yes.

6. Evie from Paranormalcy

I wonder how many paranormals I could take down in 24 hours with a tazer...

7. Charlisse in The Redemption

Pirate ships and Captain Merrick...yes please!

8. Karou from The Daughter of Smoke and Bone

9. Susan Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia

I would love to go running around Narnia with a bow :D

10. Wendy from Peter Pan

I've always been fascinated with Neverland and would love to go there! Plus I kinda have a thing for Peter...

What were your top ten?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Title: Hallowed
Author: Cynthia Hand
Pages: 403
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Unearthly #2
Released: January 17, 2012
First Line: "In the dream, there's sorrow."
From Goodreads: "For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning."

 My Thoughts:

 “Our purpose on this earth is not one single event, an accomplishment we can check off a list. There is no test. No passing or failing. There's only us, each moment shaping who we are, into what we will become.”

Oh goodness I loved this book! This is going to be a difficult book to review without giving anything away...

Hallowed was very emotional, and at times heart-wrenching. It made me cry, and it's not often that a book does that. I'm just going to say that Clara is put through a lot in this book, and I could both sympathize/empathize with her pain and struggle.

A huge part of Hallowed is Clara finding out that there is more to her purpose than just saving Christian from the fire, but what exactly that is she doesn't know yet. All she does know is that she believes her purpose might have something to do with Christian. Clara has to decide whether she will accept her purpose or fight it if it means giving up Tucker and choosing Christian. Clara wrestles with this throughout the book, not wanting to be controlled by her destiny and wanting to make her own decisions. I really liked the themes in this book about fate, free will, purpose, and our choices.

In Hallowed Clara is also trying to figure out her feelings for Christian. I'm not a big fan of love triangles, but this one worked for me though it wasn't the best love triangle I've seen. I love, love, Tucker, but I'm not as crazy over Christian. I feel that his character is a little too mysterious and needs more development. I can't really say much here without giving anything away, so I'm just going to shut up x]

While I'm on the topic of characters, Angela is easily one of the best characters in this book! She's smart and quirky, and she made me laugh which helped to balance out the emotional parts of the book. Clara is also a great heroine--she is strong but flawed. She is stubborn, she struggles, and she makes mistakes. There is also lots of character conflict in this book to keep things interesting--conflict between Clara and her mom, Clara and Jeffrey, and Clara, Christian, and Tucker. 

In Hallowed we find out more about the angel-bloods, angels, and Black Wings, and there are also some surprising plot twists. Most of the plot is character driven, but there is a little bit of action too! The ending isn't a cliffhanger and it leaves you satisfied, but at the same time it leaves you anticipating the next book as well.


 Hallowed is well-written and further develops Cynthia's Hand interesting take on angels with their purposes. I'm very excited for Boundless, especially after the hint near the ending of where it will be set :] I would definitely recommend Hallowed to those who loved Unearthly or to those who love stories about angels!

My Rating:

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Creativity/Originality: 5/5
Kept me interested: 5/5  


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

 Title: Hemlock
Author: Kathleen Peacock  
Pages: 416
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Series: Hemlock #1
Released: May 8, 2012
First Line: "Blood ran down my hands in thin rivers."
From Goodreads: "Mackenzie and Amy were best friends.

Since then, Mac's life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac's hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy's killer:

A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome--also known as the werewolf virus--is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy's murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy's boy-friend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock's thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spell-binding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love."

My Thoughts:

 "Old people asked each other where they'd been when JFK was shot; my generation asked each other if they could remember the day werewolves officially came out of the closet."

Alright, I'm going to go ahead and warn you that I'm partial towards werewolf books *stupid grin*. So this review may be a little biased because I'm more willing to forgive flaws in werewolf books because I love werewolves so much. I know, I'm hopeless. *sigh*

Anyways, on with the review!

I really liked the world that Kathleen Peacock created that gave a fresh take on werewolves. The government has admitted that werewolves exist, and rehabilitation camps have been set up across the country. Anyone with Lupine Syndrome or LS is required to turn themselves in and are sent to live out their lives in these camps. Of course, not everyone turns themselves in and many live in secret among humans. That's why there are the Trackers, an extremist group that goes around trying to uncover werewolves in hiding and send them to the rehabilitation camps.

The Trackers, and especially their leader, Derby, gave me chills. They were ruthless and cruel and when they made a threat you knew it wasn't a bluff. Several aspects of the story actually reminded me somewhat of WWI. The werewolves are seen as an inferior race and sent to rehabilitation camps, similar to what happened with the Jews with concentration camps (though no horrifying mass killings). The Trackers come to Hemlock and begin recruiting teens, which reminded me of the Natzis and the Hitler Youth. Posters are put up around Hemlock urging people to turn in those who they knew or suspected to be werewolves, just as people were urged to turn in Jews. These similarities to a real-life event made the Trackers all the more frightening and chilling to me. It also made me think about racism and prejudice in real-life.

For the most part I really liked the plot--having the culprit they're looking for be a werewolf gave it an interesting twist to the age-old murder mystery. There was plenty of suspense as well as some action and twists. There was also a touch of romance, but I'm sad to say the romance part just didn't work for me.

A large part of this was because Kyle's character wasn't developed enough for me to become really attached to him. I felt like all I knew about him was that he had been friends with Mac for 3 years, had shaggy brown hair, and a crazy ex. I felt like I didn't really know him. Other characters like Serena and Trey were a bit more developed, but still could have used more work. I felt like the most developed characters in the story were Mac and Jason. I really liked Mac, though at times the drama going on between her, Kyle, and Jason sometimes got annoying and confusing.


 Overall, the mystery/action part of this plot kept me reading late into the night even though the romance didn't work for me. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy werewolf stories, but don't raise your expectations too high for the romance part.

My Rating:

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 4/5
Creativity/Originality: 5/5
Kept me interested: 5/5 

If you've read Hemlock, what did you think? What is the best werewolf book you've read? Please, do tell! :D

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds In Books (TTT 2)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is...

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books

 I was very excited about this one, but it was difficult to choose! Here are my ten picks (all links lead to goodreads):

1. The Wizarding world in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

When I was a kid, I wanted to go to Hogwarts. (Ok, I still do!) J.K. Rowling did such a magnificent job of creating a unique, interesting world with fun details. There are so many great settings--Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, the Burrow, Diagon Alley, Gringotts, Platform 9 3/4--and so many details that bring the world to life--Quidditch, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Butter Beer, the Whomping Willow, the Marauder's Map. J.K. Rowling made an entire world that I wanted to visit myself.

2. Narnia in The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

Alright, I confess: when I was a kid, I checked my closet to see if I could find a way into Narnia. *embarrassed grin*

3. The island of Thisby in The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater did an amazing job in bringing Thisby to life, and the setting was a character itself. The sea, the water horses, the November cakes... The fictional island felt like a real place that I could go visit.

4. District 12/Panem in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Katniss's world is frightening and brutal, and not one I would really like to visit, but Suzanne Collins makes it come alive.


5. Inkworld in the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Funke has a real talent for making a scene feel so real that you feel as though you are actually there. From Italy to the Inkworld, Cornelia Funke drew me right in!

6. Victorian London in The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

While reading the Clockwork Prince I was really drawn into the Victorian London setting. It was dark, mysterious, captivating... And Cassandra Clare also does an excellent job with the world of the Shadowhunters  as well.

7. The world of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater has a real talent for bringing settings to life. Not only do I remember the characters and scenes from this series, but the settings stand out to me as well: Beck's house, the bookstore where Sam works, the woods of Mercy Falls, the paper cranes hanging from the ceiling in Sam's room... The setting felt very real to me.

8. The futuristic New Beijing of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is one of the best books I have read this year! It was such a creative and fun read! The world of New Beijing is filled with cyborgs, robots, and hover cars, and described in a way that draws you right in.

9. The pirate ships/high seas in The Redemption by M. L. Tyndall

I read this trilogy back in high school, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details but I remember that the author did a great job in making me feel like I was really on a pirate ship in the Caribbean with the characters.

 10. The enchanted moors of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

This is one of those books where the setting itself is a character. The moors were haunting and beautiful as well as mysterious.

What books did you choose?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

Title: Until I Die
Author: Amy Plum
Pages: 357
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: Revenants #2
Released: May 8, 2012
First Line: "I leapt, drawing my feet up beneath me, as the seven-foot quarterstaff smashed into the flagstones where I had been standing a half second before."

From Goodreads: "Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series."

My Thoughts:
 I'm not going to lie, I was a little disappointed with this book. I still really enjoyed it and the idea of the revenants is awesome, but I think that Die For Me was definitely better, and I felt that Until I Die was missing something.

In a lot of YA romances, the second book is typically where the main love interests are torn apart, broken up, etc. and the plot revolves around them trying to get back together. Thank goodness Amy Plum avoids this cliche! Instead, she spends the book developing Kate and Vincent's relationship. Yes, they do have issues, mainly how they're going to make their relationship work when she is a human and he is a revenant, but they actively search for ways to make it work instead of breaking it off. There is plenty of romance in this book with several "awww" moments, and the Paris setting makes it all the more romantic.

However, I wish there would have been more action. I'm a hopeless romantic and I'm all for romance, but I need some action too! Die For Me had memorable scenes that stuck with me--Jules leaping in front of the subway, Charles diving into the river, Vincent saving Kate in the cafe, Kate discovering Vincent's body--but Until I Die was lacking these. The plot's main focus was on Kate and Vincent finding a way to make their relationship work. With the way Die For Me ended, I had been expecting more action and conflict and fighting between the revenants and the numa. But the numa don't show up until half way through, and their appearances are brief. But when they do show up they sure make things interesting! I wish Amy Plum had added more of that into the plot.

I have the unfortunate talent of being able to predict where a story is headed. I saw the plot twist in this book coming really early on, and I don't know if it was because it was poorly done or because I'm good at predicting things. (Honestly I thought it was a little obvious). Either way, the twist in this book failed to surprise me. This made it somewhat boring for me at times because I knew what was coming while I was reading, but I don't think everyone will be able to predict it, I'm just weird haha :P

One of my favorite parts about Until I Die was the characters. I especially love Jules and Georgia, and Kate is a great heroine. I liked how she took matters into her own hands and is active in the story instead of sitting by--she takes defense lessons from Gaspard and searches on her own for a way to help her and Vincent. Vincent is sweet and a gentleman, but I would like to see him developed a bit more.

 Overall, this book kept my attention and I devoured it in a few days. And with that intense cliff-hanger ending I wish I could get a hold of the next book right now! I would recommend this book to fans of Die For Me, and to lovers of paranormal romance. The whole idea of the revenants is really cool, and is what really drew me into the story. I can't wait for the last book!

My Rating:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Creativity/Originality: 5/5
Kept me interested: 5/5 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

15 Awesome Ways To Turn Old Books Into Art

 If you're like me, you probably just use books for reading. You probably wouldn't even think that there are any other uses for a book. After you see these amazing, creative ideas you won't ever think that again! Prepare yourself to see books in a whole new way. It's time to get in touch with your creative side and think outside the box--or rather, book.

1. Book Sculptures

Probably my favorite form of book art, these blow my mind. I would love to have one of these on my shelf!

2. Painted Pages

I am in love with these! I could fill up my whole wall with this sort of art. I'm dying to try this for myself.






 3. Books in Bloom

There are dozens of ways to turn old book pages into beautiful flowers to decorate crafts or place in a vase. Here's one tutorial.





4. Picture This

Bind together old book pages and glue on your photos for an awesome, unique photo album!

5. Book Box

 What do you get when you combine a box, book pages, and some decoupage glue? The most awesome storage container ever! You can decoupage a box of any shape or size, and even dress it up with ribbon, buttons, flowers, etc.

6. Books Grow On Trees

 Wouldn't this ornament look awesome on your tree this Christmas? Or if Christmas is too far away you can use it as decoration in your room.

 7. Book Planter

Got a green thumb? This book planter is a unique way for the book lover who loves to garden to display their plants. I'd love to make one of these! Or two, or three...

8. Wear A Book

Every book lover's dream dress...

9. Book Wreath

So elegant! I would love to have this wreath in my room!

10. Book Covers

 What a cool idea! Use book pages to create new covers for your journal/notebook. Make some book covered pencils to go along with it. This would be a fun project for back to school :]

 11. Books Are Made of Letters

Decoupage old book pages onto wooden letters! You could spell out words or give a monogram to a book-loving friend.

 12. Create a Collage

Use book pages and whatever else you can find to make an awesome collage that you can frame and hang on your wall!

13. Wrap It Up

Turn a gift into a piece of art by creating wrapping paper and gift tags from book pages.





14. Create A Piece of Art

 If you're really creative and artistic, you can turn books into pieces of beautiful art. Just check out the artwork of altered book artist Rachel Ashe. Who knew that was even an art form??

15. Folded Pages

This takes dog-earring pages to a whole new level....


These are just a handful of the many creative book crafts out there. Who knew there were so many awesome things you could do with books?? I don't think I'll be able to look at a book the same way again!

Feeling inspired? I know I am! Which of these would you like to try? Which is your favorite?

Happy Sunday, and happy reading!

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