Month: December 2014

[Review] Graduation Day – Joelle Charbonneau

Graduation Day (The Testing, #3)

Author: Joelle Charbonneau

Series: The Testing #3

Publication Date: June 17th, 2014

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Number of Pages: 304

Genre: Dystopian, Action, Romance

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor Cia Vale vows to fight. But she can’t do it alone. This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves – and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

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[Review] The Paper Magician – Charlie N. Holmberg

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg

Series: The Paper Magician Trilogy #1

Publication Date: September 1st, 2014

Publisher: 47North

Number of Pages: 224

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


 Summary

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

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[Review] Doomboy – Tony Sandoval

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Author: Tony Sandoval

Publication Date: September 21st, 2011

Publisher: Paquet

Number of Pages: 144

Genre: Graphic Novels

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

There was no summary on Goodreads so this has been taken from ComicVine.

A lonely, metal-obsessed teen sends a heartfelt song to his missing beloved, only to find out that his music has traveled to the beyond, and re-broadcast to the entire city. Only his best friend knows that he is really the mysterious rock god and anonymous legend known as “Doomboy.” An evocative, melancholy coming-of-age story.

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‘Bout This Blogger Tag!

I’m really really behind on this but better now than never right? This was actually on my list of posts but it kind of slipped my mind so here I am a good three weeksish (or more) after the I initially found out about this post.

Anyways, the ‘Bout This Blogger Tag was made by Cait over at Paper Fury (originally Notebook Sisters) to celebrate her new blog name, design, and her move to WordPress! Congrats Cait! *blows confetti into the air*

Kris partying

I absolutely love her blog and her new design is fabulous! I think it really matches her voice (er well her blogging one) and the way she runs everything.

So to further celebrate, onto the tag!

This tag is more of a look at the blogger because every person has a story. And what better way to celebrate a change than to look back on all of them?

1. Why did you start blogging?

I loved reading but as life got busier, I started to read less. But earlier this year, I made it a goal to read more and this time, I began to follow some book blogs. I liked writing reviews and the idea that I could talk about books but I didn’t really make the plunge until August. I was on the fence about it for a few months but I finally made one and I’m really glad I did.

2. What’s the story behind your blog’s name?

Well I think it’s pretty self-explanatory but I guess I can elaborate even more.

The truth is, I didn’t realize how much I loved to dance until around two or three years ago. I mean, I had always done ballet but it never really hit me how much I loved dance in general. I went to my first legitimate dance about three summers ago (because awkward ones where people stand around don’t count) and I just danced my heart out. I realized I loved dance and that’s that.

The other part of the name is because I like reading. A lot. And sometimes when you read, it’s kind of like you’re so engrossed in the pages that you just dance through them. It’s really cheesy but it’s entirely true.

3. How many designs have you been through since you started blogging? (Pictures! We demand pictures!)

Well, seeing as I’ve just started blogging in August, just one. I really want to have a more unique blog format than just a template because when I was making it, none of them really stood out to me. But at the moment, I’m pretty satisfied with what I have.

4. Have you ever switched blog platforms? What made you move? If you haven’t ever changed…why?

Nope. I started on WordPress and I’m still here. But when I first began blogging, I was super paranoid that I’d made the wrong choice because on Blogger you can do HTML (I think) but it’s too late to change now because I don’t have the money to do so.

5. How long does it take you to write a post? What’s your postly process like?

Now all the bad habits shall be revealed.

For reviews, I generally like to write them ASAP but a lot of the time, life gets in the way and it doesn’t get written until days later. I read faster than I write reviews (which is a problem because then there is a large stack of books I need to review).

I will say that weekly posts like Top Ten Tuesdays or Life of a Blogger usually get written on Sundays and finished the day before. Those are almost always on time.

6. Have you ever been super nervous about a post? Why? What was it?

I don’t have any qualms about releasing a post with controversial opinions towards a book. My opinion is my opinion and I stand by it. It’s more of the posts that cover touchy material. I’m always nervous that my review might seem too insensitive towards an issue or that my opinions sound fake. One that I remember very clearly being worried about was my Wintergirls review. I was so worried that I sounded too unforgiving and like I was targeting anorexic people.

Sometimes I’m worried that my review was terribly written.

Other times, I worry that my post didn’t sound like me or that it’s too short. It’s probably not worth worrying about but I do it anyways.

7. Do you have a blogging schedule?

Sort of? I post Top Ten Tuesdays and Life of a Blogger posts on the right days but everything else is kind of fair game. Reviews go up when I finish a book and if I encounter a novel that I want to use for a feature I use it. Sometimes if I feel like talking about life, I’ll post a life post. I’d like to establish a schedule but I know that at this point, I’d be unable to stick to it.

8. Do you tell people In-Real-Life about your blog? Their reactions?

I tell selective people about my blog. My close friends all know about it and a few not-so-close-friends know I have one. Usually the people that end up knowing are told by my friends XD

Everybody in my school book club knows about my blog although I know they probably don’t follow it. The school librarian and my English teacher knows about it.

At this point in time, I’m not too comfortable with telling too many people about it. It feels like I’m gloating about it and I don’t want most of my followers to be following me just because they know me. Most of the people I’m friends with aren’t nearly as critical as I am when it comes to books.

If I mention it, people will either say, “Wow that’s really cool,” just out of courtesy or they’ll nod. Rarely do they ever ask me if they can see it. At this point, I’m okay with it though.

I do have my blog url on my social media though. I don’t really like writing “About Me” pages on social media so it just becomes my profile summary.

9. Top ten blogs you read/comment on the most! Go! Go!

Another bad habit m(_ _)m

I’m really bad with checking on blogs. I’ll go on every two to three weeks and just have one night be blog check night. I also suck at remembering to comment and finding new blogs to follow.

Some suggestions would be great if any of you have any.

But some of my favorite blogs to read (and try to comment on) are the following….

1. Paper Fury

2. Xpresso Reads

3. Effortlessly Reading

4. Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

5. I Heart YA Fiction

6. The Loony Teen Writer

These next four are fashion/lifestyle blogs.

7. The Sartorialist

8. HonestlyWTF

9. Cupcakes and Cashmere

10. Wonder Forest

10. If you could change/improve things about your blog, what would they be?

Well firstly, I’d have my own domain and website design. No more templates. I’d learn HTML and design my own.

I also want to make a posting schedule and try to have more variety on my blog than just my standard TTT, Life of a Blogger, and more reviews. I feel like at the moment, what I post is kind of a rehash of the same things over and over again and it’s something I need to improve on.

Also more pictures. I could honestly improve on all of these things if I worked a little more on my blog but life gets in the way everywhere and I just don’t have the time to edit pictures.

[Mini-Reviews] 100 Sideways Miles, To Kill a Mockingbird, and More

Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins

Wow okay Southern belle narrator.

Side note: Every time I was reading this, my brother would say, “Are you reading Rebel Bell-y?” And I’d reply, “It’s Rebel BELL. BELL. Get it right!” He’d then cackle and play Pokemon Omega Ruby.

I was, in short, kind of annoyed with this book.

The narrator is kind of dumb (in actions) and very selfish. I can understand why she would not want to help but it still annoyed me.

She is in multiple clubs and leadership positions, but her decisions…. are not the best. Her personality really grated on me and all of her actions even more so.

I didn’t really like how there was a love triangle. It’s really obvious who Harper is going to end up with and oh my dear lord she’s so dense. It’s pretty obvious to anybody that if some guy has been non-stop annoying you since day 1, that there is a good chance that he likes you. I found it so annoying that Harper would think to drag her boyfriend, Ryan, through all of this, especially since she feels guilty about it. Like seriously! Just break it off already!

On the other hand, I really shipped her with David. The playful banter and everything was perf.

The history of the mythology was well explained although it did feel info-dumpy at times. Overall it wasn’t too bad.

3/5 Stars

100 Sideways Miles – Andrew Smith

To be honest, I don’t really remember much from this novel, but I do remember wondering what the heck the purpose of the novel was. I mean, nothing much happens and there really isn’t much of a central conflict.

The protagonist, Finn, is certainly unique. He’s different from any other character I’ve read about, as of now. He was hit by a falling horse. I particularly liked how his father modeled his book character’s off of Finn’s scar. Super cool and I loved how Cade gives them different descriptions and names (even though 75% of the time, they don’t make any sense). He measures time in distance, which was cool.

The best part of this book were the characters but it was not enough to account for the lack of plot. I read on and on and by the end, I felt like I had missed something.

2.5/3 Stars

Beastly – Alex Flinn

Highly highly disappointing. I will never, ever pick up another Alex Flinn novel.

First off. Nothing can convince me that the narrator was a male. He was the most unbelievable teenage male protagonist I have ever read. The dramatic way he changes his name from Kyle to Adrian was asinine and proved to fail at progressing the plot. On top of this, he was really really annoying. I kind of really hated him.

There were a few redeeming characters. Most notably, his blind tutor, Will and his heartwarming Hispanic maid.

1.5/5 Stars

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

I was really really looking forward to reading this one and I’m happy that I finally got around to it even if I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would have.

The setting is beautifully drawn and I really want to go to a circus now. Everything related to setting and mood was exquisite.

The writing is amazing. Super smooth and really fits the story.

However, the plot dragged a lot. The book literally took me way longer to read simply because I could not get into it. I know some people that complained about the constant tangents into other subplots, but I thought that they were great because it helped make the reading process less of a chore. I also thought that it was really well planned. Everything intertwines beautifully to create a complex conflict. But it’s mind-numbingly slow.

I did find Celia and Marco (and the rest of the cast) a little bland. They felt superficial at times although I can distinctly remember that they were not. It might have just been because I could never really connect with them.

3.5/5 Stars

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

I really enjoyed this novel!

The messages and characters are all really well drawn. I loved Scout, Dill (I SHIP IT), and Jem so much and I can easily understand why so many females swoon over Atticus. The plot itself is amazing and never once did I feel like it dragged. Sometimes the writing bothered me, but most of the time, it wasn’t too bad. I can definitely understand why it’s a popular choice of book for English classes but I wish I had read it ahead of time. I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t read it for school.

4/5 Stars

The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson

I read this for book club and it was never a priority book. While my fellow club members really liked it, I found that I could never get into it.

The narrator and most of the cast was very dull. I could never really connect to any of them.

I feel like for such a dramatic book, it should have had more suspense. Each event in the novel fell flat when it could have been so much more exciting. Even so, some parts were highly entertaining and THAT ENDING KILLED ME. I was in so much of a wreck after reading the last few pages and I wasn’t in a good place to groan about it either. I felt like screaming and ranting but unfortunately, I was at school waiting for my parents and everybody around me didn’t look like they wanted to be disturbed by a high-strung female highschooler moaning about her book. I’m pretty sure I know what happened at the end, but I’ll be reading the sequel JUST to find out if I’m right.

3/5 Stars

Top Ten Books Santa Can Totally Bring Me This Year

50ab0-toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday, participating book bloggers blog about their top ten lists.

 


Christmas is in two days and I’m probably not going to do much the day of but I’m probably going to beg my parents to let me see the end-of-year Christmas book sales. And most of the books on here will probably be really predictable because I have a really strict policy when it comes to buying books.

In order for it to qualify for a book I want to buy it has to fall under one of the below categories.

1. I’m so excited about it that I really wouldn’t mind it if I bought a copy.

2. I’ve read it and I really want to add it to my shelf.

3. It is a sequel or part of a series of books that I loved.

4. There has been considerable hype over the novel and a lot of my friends liked it.

5. I was feeling rebellious.

6. I’m really curious about the book by the title or cover alone.

7. The local library doesn’t have it but I still want to read it.

8. It has amazing reviews on Goodreads.

The thing is that I don’t want to have to waste shelf space or money on books that I really don’t like. I’d much rather read a copy from the library first.


1. Jasper Dent Series – Barry Lyga

Not a surprise as I’ve flailed about this book series millions of times.

The hardcover book also has a really cool design. It has this blood splatter design on it. The entire series has them .

2. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas  – John Boyne

I’ve heard so many great things about this novel and I really want to read it before seeing the movie. Everybody I’ve heard from has said that it was really sad but amazing. I also really like the simplistic, stripey cover.

3. Sleepaway Girls (Whispering Pines #1) – Jen Calonita

This falls under number 7. Also, I’m a sucker for summer camp settings. I don’t know why but I just really like reading about summer camp life. I think it’s because I find it really refreshing and because I’ve never experienced the classic sleepaway summer camp.

4. The Berlin Boxing Club – Robert Sharenow

I’m really intrigued by this book and I have this feeling that I’ll like it (even though 99% of the time, my instinct is wrong).

5. I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson

The colorful cover has won me over and there has been a lot of hype over it.

6. Classics that I should read at some point

I think this is some way that I try to guilt myself into reading more classics (although I’m pretty sure it’s not working).

7. Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods – Rick Riordan

Just to complete my series. I’ve also heard that this is the return of Percy’s snarky voice which is something I’m looking forward to because he was just so different in the Heroes of Olympus series. If I get this, I’m snuggling into bed to read it.

8. The Diviners – Libba Bray

(Insert intense flailing from other Top Ten Tuesdays)

Only the original print cover. The newer one has such an ugly design. *sighs*

9. ARCs of books I’m looking forward to

You know… just because. *Whistles inconspicuously*

10. The Piper’s Son – Melina Marchetta

And only the Australian cover. It’s just so much prettier than the American covers. And because MELINA MARCHETTA. Let’s just throw all Melina Marchetta on this list. Because I want a collection

[Review] My True Love Gave To Me – Various Authors

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Author: Various

Series: None

Publication Date: October 14th, 2014

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Number of Pages: 320

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fantasy

Source: School library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


 Summary

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

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Life of a Blogger: Things to do Before 2014 Ends

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature made by Jessie at Novel Heartbeat that allows bloggers to talk about a certain topic of their life and to let their readers to know them on a more personal level.


2014 ends in less than two weeks. It went by really quickly.

There a few things that I need to get in order before 2015 starts but I wouldn’t say they are too major.

I need to read all of the library books I have checked out so I can start afresh in January. That means I need to read like 30 books. No clue how I’m going to do it, but it’s worth a try right?

Figure out my goals for the rest of this school year. Clearly I need to start prioritizing because my grades are not the top priority.

Pick up a second Speech event and find a script because otherwise, I’ll be stuck trying to cut and memorize until the season is over.

Begin studying for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT because otherwise my scores will be rock-bottom low.

Sleep more. Because I need it.

Relax after finals week.

Survive finals week.

Practice piano. A lot. Because I’ve been seriously slacking off on practicing.

Get a social life (lol jk)

Are there any things you need to finish up before the end of the year?

Top Ten 2014 Books I Read in 2014

50ab0-toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday, participating book bloggers blog about their top ten lists.

 


This is probably going to be a rehashing of all the authors and books I’ve spazzed about on the last post XD

2014 was a great reading year for me. I got back into reading, discovered YA and the book blogosphere, and started this blog! After creating this blog, I read way more than I did before, and broke my Goodreads reading goal a lot faster than I thought I would (which wasn’t too big by the way).

For books with reviews, I’ll link them. I’ll describe my initial thoughts on a book if I did not write one.


1. Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta

Amazing. Go read.

Jellicoe Road Review

2. Complicit – Stephanie Kuehn

Mindfuck of the year award.

Complicit Review

3. This Side of Salvation – Jeri Smith-Ready

Fed my enjoyment of books that talk about religion in a non-preachy manner.

My review

4. Torn Away – Jennifer Brown

Made me cry.

My review

5. The Glass Castle -Jeannette Walls

Heartbreaking and poignant. This book was all about a girl’s struggle to escape her parent’s bad parenting and her terrible economic background. It made me eternally grateful for everything my parents have done for me.

6. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

I have not reviewed this yet, but it will be in a large compilation of mini-reviews. I recently finished this for a school project and I enjoyed it a lot. I loved every detail of Scout’s childhood life and the theme that Lee tried to convey.

7. Game – Barry Lyga

This was the sequel to I Hunt Killers. Need I say more?


Since I’m struggling with naming 10 books I actually liked enough to win a spot on this list, I’ll list three books that I hated with a fiery passion.

1. The View From the Top – Hillary Frank

This is what I get for picking up a book and reading it purely based on the cover.

My angry, rant-y review on Goodreads.

2. We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

I’m the black sheep in the crowd.

We Were Liars Review

3. The Here and Now – Ann Brashares

Logic errors and an unnecessary beach trip.

The Here and Now Review

[Review] Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek – Maya van Wagenen

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern GeekAuthor: Maya Van Wagenen

Series: None

Publication Date: April 15th, 2014

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Number of Pages: 272

Genre: Memoirs, YA, Contemporary, Non-Fiction

Source: School library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Summary

A touchingly honest, candidly hysterical memoir from breakout teen author Maya Van Wagenen

Stuck at the bottom of the social ladder at pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya Van Wagenen decided to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help Maya on her quest to be popular?

The real-life results are painful, funny, and include a wonderful and unexpected surprise—meeting and befriending Betty Cornell herself. Told with humor and grace, Maya’s journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence.

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