Thursday, August 30, 2012

Follow Friday: Best Cover of a Book I Didn't Like

Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

This week's question is...

What is the best cover of a book that you’ve read and didn’t like?



  I'd have to say Fallen by Lauren Kate. The cover was gorgeous, dark, and mysterious. But the book was a complete flop for me :[

What was yours? If you follow me please let me know in the comments below so I can be sure to follow you back :]

Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top Ten Bookish Confessions (TTT 5)

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

Top Ten Bookish Confessions

1. I use library receipts as bookmarks. *embarrassed grin*

2. I always have to put my bookmark (aka my library receipt) in the exact middle of the book. o.0

3. Sometimes if I come across a typo, misspelled word, etc., I will write in the book and correct it. (I'm a compulsive editor ^.^' )

4. I take a book with me wherever I go--even if I don't intend to read it. It just makes me feel better knowing I have a book with me I can read if the occasion arises.

5. I can't stand audio books because when I read books I give each character a different voice in my head and I don't like someone making a voice for them. I want to listen to the voices in my own head! @_@

6. Once I intentionally kept a library book a day after it was due because I wasn't finished and there was a hold on it so I couldn't renew it. *blushes*

7. I don't like to tell people who are older than me that I read YA because I feel like as soon as I confess it's like *insta-judge* @_@ Why do people look down upon YA anyways??

8. Once upon a time I was in love with I find it incredibly cheesy. Sparkling vampires? *face palm*

9. I check my library account online to see if my holds are in yet as often as I check my e-mail. ^.^'

10. I buy books from Walmart more often than I do from the bookstore.I'm such a horrible person. *hides face in hands*

What were your top ten confessions??
Happy reading!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Breathtaking Underwater Covers

Who doesn't love a beautiful book cover?? Here are some gorgeous covers that I'm loving right now.

Breathtaking Underwater Covers

1. Of Poseidon by Anna Banes
I love the muted colors of this cover! It's so elegant and mysterious, and I'm really digging that font as well.
I really want to try a mermaid book and I'm dying to read this one! Now if only my library would order it...

2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin 
Beautiful, mysterious, dark, and romantic all in one!Who is the guy? Is he saving the girl in the water? Or is her going to pull her under? Hmm...

3. The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
This is a new release from this year and though I'm drawn to the cover I'm not sure if I'll read it. This cover is a little more chilling to me. I really like the look of the girl's hair underwater and her rippled reflection at the top, it gives it the feeling that she's slowly sinking down.

4. Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne
This cover is both haunting and beautiful at the same time. I really like the girl's dress and how the blue shades of the lily pads echo the color. The book's description sounds really creepy but I'm not sure if I'll be putting it on my to-read list.

5. Imaginary Girls by Nova Suma
This one is my favorite--I love the different angle that makes it seem as though it's a wall of water. And the colors...the cerulean blue, the red of girl's hair and the pale white of her skin and dress, they all go together beautifully. And why is there a ribbon wrapped around her arm? Hmm...

That's all for this week! Which ones were your favorites?
Happy reading!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Review: Sold by Patricia McCormick

Title: Sold
Author: Patricia McCormick
Pages: 263
Publisher: Hyperion
Series: Stand alone
Released: September 6, 2006
First Line: One more rainy season and our roof will be gone, says Ama.
From Goodreads: "Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family’s crops, Lakshmi’s stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family.
He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at “Happiness House” full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.
An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family’s debt—then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave.
Lakshmi’s life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother’s words— Simply to endure is to triumph—and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision—will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?
Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs."

 My Thoughts:

"Why must women suffer so?" 
"This has always been our fate. Simply to endure is to triumph."

Oh my holy goodness gracious! I did not expect to like this book as much as I did! Once I turned the last page I immediately wanted to go back to the beginning and read it again. This is one of my new favorite books, and one of the best books I have ever read!

I very rarely read realistic fiction, but boy am I glad I read this one! Patricia McCormick tells Lakshmi's story masterfully and beautifully. WRITERS: You NEED to read this book! This is an outstanding example of what good writing looks like! And when I say good writing I don't mean just prose, but the way she tells the story and the techniques she uses to allow the reader to get to know the characters. She makes both the characters and the setting come alive and you wholeheartedly believe that you are there with Lakshmi both in her mountain village and trapped in the brothel.

I fell in love with Laksmi--how could I not? She is an innocent, naive, and sweet 13 year-old who wants to help earn money so her family can have a new tin roof. She names the cucumbers in her garden and calls them her children. She makes a necklace of flowers for her goat, Tali. She thinks her mother with her stooped back is more beautiful than a goddess because she carries the burdens of her family.

This book was heartbreaking to read but impossible to put down. Lakshmi's story is tragic but unfortunately all too true for countless young girls who are trafficked into the sex trade every year. Lakshmi is sold into prostitution by her stepfather, who's gambling problem has landed them in debt. Oh gosh, that man made me so furious, I hated him! This book really shows you how powerless women are in some societies, and how terribly they are treated.

For example, Lakshmi's mother tells her, "Never look a man in the eye...Once you are married, you must eat your meal only after your husband has had his fill. Then you may have what remains...If your husband asks you to wash his feet, you must do as he says, then put a bit of the water in your mouth." Lakshmi asks her mother, "Why must women suffer so?" She answers, "This has always been our fate. Simply to endure is to triumph."

The injustices towards women in this book made me so angry. Lakshmi is treated like property and forced to have sex with men in the brothel to earn the owner money. Why are women so hated in the world? Why are they treated so terribly? After reading a book like this you'd think you'd really be hating on the male gender. But Patricia McCormick subtly reminds us that not all men are bad by having a couple of male characters whom befriend Lakshmi. There is the "Tea Boy" who leaves her free tea, and the "David Beckham Boy" who teaches her how to read and speak some English. These sweet, kind boys give Lakshmi hope--and give the reader a reminder that not all men are like the awful customers of the brothel.

To Read Or Not To Read?

This book is a quick but powerful read. Everyone should read this book! Since it is about sex trafficking it is pretty intense, so I would only recommend it for mature readers (16+). But trust me, you will not be disappointed!

My Rating:

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Books To Love After The Hunger Games

Don't know what to read after The Hunger Games? Check out some of these awesome books!

5 Books For Readers Who Liked The Hunger Games

1. Unwind by Neal Shusterman 

 Like The Hunger Games, this book is dark, intense, and has lots of tension/action.
"The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end."

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth

"In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all."

3. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

This is one of the best books I've read this year with excellent character development and an amazing romance!
"Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive."

4. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

"Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen."

5. Variant by Robison Wells

This book is more of a thriller, with lots of suspense and twists.
"Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. He was wrong. Now he's trapped in a school that's surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive. Where breaking the rules equals death."

Have you read or would you like to read any of these books? Let me know in the comments :]

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Evans

Title: The Prisoner of Cell 25
Author: Richard Evans
Pages: 326
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink
Series: Michael Vey #1
Released: August 9, 2011
First Line: "Have you found the last two?" The voice on the phone was angry and coarse, like the sound of car tires over broken glass.
From Goodreads: "My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.
To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

Michael thinks he's unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive."

 My Thoughts:

The Prisoner of Cell 25. The title alone was what initially grabbed my attention. Who was the prisoner? Why was he/she being held prisoner? What was cell 25? Hmmm... And what was with the electric-hand thing going on on the cover? The premise sounded interesting enough, so I decided to give it a shot. 

I didn't really know what to expect going into it, though I had thought it was a book for teens. It turned out to be for Middle Grades, and I could see that age group enjoying this book much more than I did. What I don't understand, though, is that if the author intended his audience to be Middle Grades, why did he make the characters 15 year olds? These characters did not act or sound like High School students to me--they acted and sounded like Middle Schoolers. So why not just make them the same age as your target readers? *shrugs* Because that just makes too much sense.

First off, the idea of special powers isn't anything new. It's been done a million times before. But Richard Evans brings a new angle to the table by having the characters all have electrical powers, and each character's power works differently. For example, one can 'reboot' people like a computer, another can throw lightning bolts, and another can see through walls using a sonar type deal. (I can't remember the exact name of it.)

Michael was a good main character who wasn't perfect. I liked that he had Tourett's syndrome, which made him blink a lot when he was nervous. This made him more sympathetic/relatable. His best friend Ostin (as in Austin, Texas but unfortunately his mom couldn't spell) is extremely smart and funny, and is teased for being overweight. Both of these characters struggle with bullies in the beginning of the story, and I can see Middle Schoolers really being able to relate to them.

However, Taylor's character seemed sort of shallow and cliche--the beautiful, popular cheerleader who Michael of course has a crush on but is out of his league. Later we meet Nichelle and Zeus who also have electric powers but are sort of 'bad guys', and when I say 'bad guys' I mean the really cheesy/cliche sort of bad guys. Their dialogue--especially Nichelle's--was really over the top with the cheesy insults and threats.

For the most part The Prisoner of Cell 25 is well-written, but the biggest problems I had was that sometimes the plot could be cliche and unbelievable, and the dialogue was cheesy and often awkward. It is told mainly in first-person and Michael's voice is very well-defined. However, sometimes the story switches perspectives to Taylor and is then told in third person. I found this weird and it threw me off.

By the time I got to the end of the book and found out about the prisoner in cell 25, I was very disappointed. I won't say why because I don't want to give anything away. But I don't see why the author used that as the title, I felt cheated. The only reason I can think of is that it's the sort of title that hooks readers. Even though it's deceiving >.<

To Read Or Not To Read?

 Overall, The Prisoner of Cell 25 was a light, fun read but not really anything special. I would definitely recommend this book for Middle Schoolers, though. I think that age group would enjoy this one much more, especially the guys. As a future Middle School English teacher this is a book that I would add to my classroom library.

My Rating: 

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Books I've Read This Year (TTT 4)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is the favorite top ten books you've read during the lifespan of your blog, but since my blog is only a baby of 2 months old that doesn't give me many books to choose from ^.^' heh. So, I'm gonna bend the rules a little here and choose my top ten favorites I've read this year. Here are my picks:

1. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

 This is the best book I've read this year! The character development was amazing, and I loved the storyline and the world the author created. If you haven't read this yet you need to ASAP!

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 The author did such a creative spin on the Cinderella story with this book! This is hands-down the best fairytale re-telling I've ever read. I loved the futuristic setting with all the cyborgs, very cool.

 3. Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

 This is my favorite angel story. I love the world the author creates with the 'angel-bloods'. Though some things about this book did frustrate me it was still an amazing sequel with thought-provoking themes and some good surprises!

4. Fateful by Claudia Gray

 Werewolves + the Titanic. This book was basically my heaven.

 5. Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

 I fell in love with this whole series, but Trial by Fire was my favorite. I love the whole idea of a human being raised by werewolves! Very interesting and different. Plus, Bryn, Devon, and Lake were all awesome characters :]

6. The Savage Grace by Bree Despain

 *le sigh* I am so in love with Daniel. I have a thing for werewolves.

 7. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

 This dystopian was really different from others out there. The premise was really interesting and the story really gripped me. It really made me think about different real-life issues as well, like prostitution and sex trafficking.

8. Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

 *embarrassed grin* Well, beings that this is the 4th werewolf book to make it onto the list you've probably figured out by now that I'm a little obsessed. Teehee ;] This premise was really different from other werewolf books--a werewolf serial killer? Very interesting read!

 9. Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

I love Maria Snyder's books! This was such an interesting, fun read and I loved the fantasy world she created. I can't wait for the sequel :]

10. The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

This book was so addicting! Three boys are chosen to be trained to impersonate the prince. The main character was interesting--he was so stubborn, cocky, and always had a witty remark ready.

What were your top ten?

Happy reading!

5 Enchanting Equine Covers

I love beautiful book covers, and there are so many out there! Here are a few that caught my eye this week...


Enchanting Equines

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

I love the elegant simplicity of this cover! I love horses and I've had my eye on this book for a while but haven't had a chance to read it *sigh*

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I'm really liking this version of The Scorpio Races cover! The doodle-like style is really cool. Though I do think that the other cover with the silhouette of the horse and rider is more appropriate for the story.

To Ride A Puca by Heather McCorkle

This book has been popping up everywhere, and I'm dying to read it! Druids and horses? Yes, please! Plus, that cover is beautiful--that horse looks so soft I wish I could pet it :]

Pegasus: The Flame of Olympus by Kate O'Hearn

*swoon* I'm totally in love with this cover! I love the unexpected contrast of Pegasus against the backdrop of New York City, and how the girl's bright red coat jumps out at you amid the muted colors. What on earth is Pegasus doing in NYC? I'm dying to get my hands on this one to find out!

This was the original cover of Pegasus: The Flame of Olympus published by Hodder Children's Books before Aladdin published it with the above cover. I really love the look of this one as well--the mist and grey tones make it look very mysterious. But I like the newer cover better, it has a more polished and professional look to it.

Which covers do you like best? Let me know in the comments below :]

Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Write Right: Don't Write What You Know

This is the first post in a new feature I'm starting, which I will post weekly on either Saturday or Sunday. In this feature I'll be sharing writing tips I've learned to make your writing journey a little easier. Huzzah for you! If you read this and would be so kind as to leave feedback below, it would be appreciated ^.^

Don't Write What You Know

The first step in writing a story is deciding what on earth you're going to talk about for 200+ pages. If you're a writer, at one point or another you've probably come across this little tidbit of writing advice: Write what you know. Sure, it makes sense to write about something you're knowledgeable about--it's comfortable and you'll undoubtedly have something to say. It's a good place to start for beginners. So why am I telling you not to write what you know? Because the problem is, it's restricting.

What if you want to write a story about something you don't know? Please toss "write what you know" out the window! Now, instead replace it with this new advice: write what you like. Or better yet, write what you want to read.

 Let me give you an example. I love Japanese mythology, history, and culture. Let's say I want to write a YA fantasy combining these elements. But the problem is, I know little to nothing about any of them! Should I ditch my awesome story idea because it doesn't fall into the "write what you know" category? Nay!

Don't be afraid to write about something because you're not knowledgeable about it! Learn more through research before you start your story. Research will open up a whole world of possibilities--you will no longer be restricted to writing what you know because you can learn about anything you want to write about. Not only will you gain confidence about the topic but you'll most likely get some cool ideas along the way.

Let's get back to our original example. Let's say I decided to set my story in feudal Japan and I've done all the historical research. But I want it to be a story about vampire ninjas. How exactly does one write a story about vampire ninjas when it is not possible to know anything about vampire ninjas?

If, like me, you write in the fantasy/paranormal genres, just go ahead and blow "write what you know" to smithereens right now. How exactly does one know what it is like to be bitten by a vampire? To transform into a werewolf? To have psychic abilities? The answer is, no one does. This is where your most powerful writing tool comes into play: your imagination. With your imagination, you can write about anything--even the impossible.

When I was starting out my very first story back when I was a wee budding writer, I was frustrated by "write what you know." It was daunting and frustrating to me, and I felt limited to what I could write about. This is why I think much better advice is to write what you like. What interests you? What do you love? What do you think would make an awesome story? If you don't know about it, don't sweat! Don't let knowledge that can easily be attained stand between you and that next great story you're dying to write.

Happy writing! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Follow Friday: What Blogger Inspires you? (FF 2)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.

This week's question is:
Q: What blogger inspires you? It can be any kind, it doesn’t have to be a book blog.

Well, Candace@ Candace's Book Blog was the first YA book review blog I ever came across back in high school. I had no idea people had entire blogs devoted to reviews of books they'd read! I was in love with the idea and eventually decided to start my own blog, so here I am ^.^ I guess you could say her blog inspired me to start my own. So go check it out, it's awesome :]

If you are a new follower, please comment below so I can be sure to check out your blog and follow you back! :]

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