Thursday, October 23, 2014

Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

I was so glad to finish this book. Between its ridiculous insta-love, and shallow, pointless characters, I found myself skimming through the second half of this book. Having read and loved Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber when I was younger, I really wanted to like this book. And in some ways, I did. However, there were many blatantly awful aspects to it that really had me just wanting to be done with it.

The best thing about this book was the writing. It has the perfect amount of description, and really sets the mood for each different scene. Starting this book was like snuggling up in a cozy blanket and drinking tea. But as I read on, its problems really took a toll on me, making me want to just throw the book at the wall.

It was obvious from the beginning of the book, who the werewolf was going to be- (it’s Brandon). Along with that, many aspects of the book are also extremely predictable. This is aside from the fact that the psychic character, Dr. Meadows, practically reveals the whole plot from the beginning.

There is an extreme lack of character building. The majority of characters, including the main character, were really shallow and kind of stupid. Celeste has absolutely no backbone or sense of self respect. She even refers to herself as one of those people who won’t do something for fear of hurting someone else’s ego or social standing. She never even stands up to her snobby friends or stupid ex-boyfriend, to defend herself or her relationship with Brandon. She is quick to blame herself, and claims she wants to help Brandon, but only seems to focus on what she did wrong. In the story, they come nowhere near ‘curing’ him, and her search for help is pathetic.

The only character I actually saw potential for, was Brandon. He seemed the most normal and real character in the story. Also, admittedly, the main character had potential. If she had perhaps stood up for Brandon near the end and told Nash to lay off, I would have appreciated her more. Instead, she barely mentions that he’s not as bad as her friends expect. Mr. Worthington, the old man Celeste visits sometimes, was probably the best character in the whole book.

Nash is just a dick. Yeah, I’m actually saying that in a review. He is clearly a terrible boyfriend, who doesn’t give Celeste any attention, UNTIL she stops caring about him. And then he does a really stupid thing, that ends up being a major part of the plot, to try to win her back.

Though the lack of character development was very frustrating, the biggest flaw to this book was its insta-love. I have never seen a ‘love’ form so quickly in a book before. Celeste sees Brandon one day at school, later he somehow miraculously saves her from wolves, and boom- she’s in love with him. It’s not just a crush, or lust, she is obsessively in love with him, and even admits that!  They have one encounter after he saves her, and they both are 100% head over heals in love with each other. While Celeste at least explains why she loves him- (his outdoorsy-ness), Brandon literally has no reason to love her back.

I am so done with this book. I feel bad to have to give it such a terrible review because I really liked Ellen’s books when I was younger. And also, as I said, the actual writing is actually quite good. Perhaps this book would be better for a younger person, like a middle schooler. However, I still think calling what Celeste and Brandon have ‘love’ is not at all accurate and a bad example for kids to read. I don’t know how this continues as a series, but I will not be reading the rest to find out.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I was hesitant at first to pick up the second book in the Divergent trilogy, after the first book proved to be unspectacular, unlike it was hyped to be. However, my interest in the dystopian world made me want to hang in with this series a bit longer. And to my pleasant surprise, Insurgent was well worth the read. It filled in most of the holes that the first book left, and ended up being a lot better than Divergent.

The writing, though still somewhat mediocre, did seem a bit better than the first book. Perhaps this is due to the immense character growth and story progression, or simply Roth’s improved writing skills from one book to the next. Regardless, there weren’t quite as many repeated words in small amounts of space as the first book.

The book starts directly where the last one left off, something I really enjoy in a series. The great thing also about Divergent’s end and Insurgent’s beginning, is the slight pause in the plot, that allows the reader to see not only how the world has changed, but also how the main character, Tris, has changed. The character development in this book was absolutely the best part about it. Tris becomes independent, headstrong and selfless, more sure of herself than in Divergent. Her true self is revealed as she matures and grows with the situations she is put in.

The romance between Tris and Four becomes a lot more real in this book. The emotions and struggles are so natural, and you can truly see how their personalities come together, despite clashing. However, the kissing toward the beginning seems a bit excessive.

I was very happy to learn more about the factions and the world in general. The world-building was much better in this book. We learn about every faction, as well as the factionless. In learning about the society they live in, we are also shown its flaws. None of the factions are perfect, or what they seem. Through this, we realize that people are much more complex than they seem to be. People are so vastly different, even people within the same faction. This book makes you question people’s morals and ways of life, as well as their character.

Tris’s emotion and thoughts were very relatable, in my opinion. She thought in a much more straightforward way than in the first book, making her choices seem rational and right. Because of the strong emotions and great character development, this book was much, much better than the first book in the series. With a shocking and thought-changing ending, I am more than excited to pick up the third and final book in the trilogy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Goddess of the Night by Lynne Ewing


I first started reading this series back in middle school and was completely engulfed in the witchy world of the characters. I was lucky enough to find books 1-9 at Goodwill several months ago, and now I’ve decided to reread them to see how I like them now.

The first book of the Daughters of the Moon series was a really fun and quick read. I read it mostly at night, which emphasized the slight creepiness of when Vanessa, the main character, was being followed. The writing was pretty juvenile, including a lot of short, simple sentences. However, when there was description, it was more enjoyable, especially when the girl’s powers were being explained.

The overall storyline was extremely predictable. It is easy to see from the beginning who the bad guy is going to be. The characters were definitely underdeveloped. Vanessa, despite being popular and cool, is a regular, boring girl, with no back story and hardly any personality. The others, though they had a bit more personality, still did not seem very believable. Each character just seemed to be contained of a different cliche high school group.

The way the characters meet was unrealistic. Vanessa acts like Serena is her friend almost instantly, when all she did was go over her house for a psychic reading. They become friends without ever really being friends. Also, the relationship between Vanessa and Michael is very forced. Despite Vanessa telling the reader that she has always liked Michael and that they apparently had something going before the start of the book, it still seemed to develop unnaturally, and there is no concrete reason given as to why Vanessa even likes Michael. Also I like how the character of Stanton developed throughout the story, even though he rarely appeared.

So there were a lot of things wrong with this book, but fortunately, those faults didn’t stop me from liking it. I am a sucker for girls with magic powers, and the lore behind them, especially moon driven powers. Though it is only touched upon in this book, through the character Maggie, I love the Greek mythology aspect of their magic, as well.

I also really liked how Vanessa didn’t take any sexist shit. That’s something I did not notice the first time reading this, but finding them this second time made me appreciate this book even more.

There was definitely a bit of nostalgia going on for me while I was reading this book, which is perhaps why I liked it more than I should have. Regardless, if you are willing to overlook this book’s flaws, it’s worth a read. I definitely recommend it for a younger audience, like middle schoolers. With it’s subtle basis in Greek mythology, and slight feminist undertone, I think this is a great book for young girls. I will be continuing the series, and I’m excited to see if there is any character development.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Divergent by Veronica Roth

 I had been thinking about reading it for a while, but I didn’t pick up the book Divergent until after I watched the movie. Although this will not be a review of the movie, the one major thing the film lacked was what finally pushed me to pick up the book. While the story was exciting and entertaining, the one thing I was hoping for never appeared. And because I think that part is so vital to the world building, I unfortunately cannot give this book more than three stars.

I had heard much hype about Divergent, even before it was turned into a movie. Although it sounded pretty cool, the main reason I didn’t pick it up immediately was because its story line sounded bland. Yet another dystopian YA in which a girl tries to overthrow the government, and has a surprising love interest. After reading it now, that is pretty much exactly what it is. However, there is something about it that makes it worth the read. The growth of the main character is a beautiful and surprising aspect of this story. As well as the amazing ending that the movie did not portray nearly as well as the book.

Set in a dystopian world that separates people into factions, the story follows Tris (Beatrice) a teen girl who discovers that she is a Divergent. The character of Tris lacks personality in the beginning, perhaps because she came from the faction Abnegation, the selfless. But as she progresses through the story, she changes. Instead of just standing back and letting things happen to her, she begins to make things happen. She starts off, and continues through most of the book, to be a stereotypical teenage girl, not fully thinking things through and acting on impulse. However, near the end, as the conflicts arise, she shows her true self to be brave and smart.
Tris’s relationship with Four, while highly predictable, actually plays out nicely. It isn’t simply lust. It grows as the story does, making it seem much more believable. With the exception of Four, and a few others, most of the other minor characters lack depth. They are made to seem dimensionless. I don’t know if this is to show the meaning of the factions, or if it is simply due to bad writing.

The factions are pretty fun, adding a lot to the story. They really intrigued me, and made me want to learn more about the world. However, this is where the book majorly lacks. Aside from the basic facts about each faction, we never really find out how people in each of them live. Even Dauntless, the most mentioned faction, has many holes in the information we learn about it. This is true with all the others as well, especially Amity. Along with this lack of faction information, we learn little to nothing about the world itself. The city they live in doesn’t even have a name as far as the book tells us. There is simply life in the city, and that’s all there is. Aside from mentioning what’s beyond the city, no one questions it, or wonders how big the country/world even is. As world building is crucial to a dystopian story, I found the lack of it very unfortunate.

Another slight hole in the story was the explanation of the Divergents. Although the main conflict isn’t solely based around the discovery of Tris being a Divergent, it still has a lot to do with it. This makes me wonder how the issue was never really faced head on before. Clearly, Tris is not extraordinary, and people are all extremely complex. So why is it only now that the Divergents are becoming an issue? And how many Divergents are there really?

With the lack of world building being its biggest downfall, another was the writing. Though not awful, it is very simple and unembellished. There is a lot of telling, rather than showing. Through most of the book, the main character’s voice is not very strong. Along with this, there are a lot of cliche lines and repeated words/sayings within a short amount of time. Luckily, the exciting story, and character growth make up for the mediocre writing.

Even with so many flaws, I still found this book to be incredibly entertaining. The training  especially is exciting and fun to read about. I think it’s a story that both girls and boys can enjoy and get into. The romance aspect is kept to a minimum, so as not to be overwhelming. The training and other initiation processes are really cool, adding a lot of action to the story. As well as the action, there is a lot of thinking and life decisions being made by the main character. The end especially brings a lot of contemplation, about what is right, into the story.

The ending was definitely the strongest point of the story. If you are hesitant to read Divergent, read it for the ending. So much happens in such a short amount of time. There is character building with both the main character, and many of the minor characters. We discover so many things about people and the society of this book. Tris’s parents disprove the statement ‘Faction before blood.’ Tris standing up to Marcus truly shows how far she has come as a person. It opens up so many questions and really makes you want to find out what happens next.

The ending of this book was fantastically done, and it only leads into the second book, Insurgent. I have begun reading it, and have discovered that much of the unsaid information about the factions and world are slowly being uncovered in it. So while Divergent was not a spectacular book, it is very entertaining and an enjoyable read. I think it will be worth reading if you’re willing to read the rest of the trilogy, and I plan to do so.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Sorry for my lack of activity on this blog. Lots of stuff has been going on, but I'm finally able to start reading again. I'll be posting new reviews very soon, starting with one of Divergent!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Zines- Collecting, Reading and Making Them

Zines from my personal collection

As mentioned in my previous post, I've been in a bit of a book reading slump. However, I have really been into zines. I've been reading the ones from my collection, and buying/trading some new ones. I've also been working on making some of my own. Typically, most people don't know what zines are. That's why I'm making this post- to tell you all about them!

Zines are basically self-published mini-magazines that can be made by anyone. They can be about anything, from diary entries to art to stories or photography. They are usually photocopied, but they can also be formatted on Photoshop programs. They are folded together like little booklets, and are usually distributed in small batches.

One of my favorite things about zines, is that they are a great form of artistic expression. Because anyone can make them, their quality varies from zine to zine. They are usually sold for a few bucks, or traded, or sometimes given away for free.
The first zine I ever made!
I've been making and collecting them since I was about 16. I discovered them in high school, through the internet, as I've found most things. I have made a variety of personal zines and art zines, in various sizes and styles.

Reading- When I first got into making zines, there were two books that inspired me to make my own.

The art and layout of this book is what first drew me to it. It is made quite like a zine, but in a more professional book form. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in zines. It includes everything you need to know to start out. Packed full of articles about why people make zines, and how to make them, this book is so full of useful information. I still reference this book, even if just for inspiration.

With lots of information about distros and zine resources, this tiny book is in the typical zine cut and paste style. Ignoring the spelling errors, this book has even more information than the first, including things not so obvious, such as prison pen pals and creative commons.

There are other books, and of course, lots of other zines that explain how to make them.

Collecting- Zines can be traded or purchased from their creators, as well as from zine distros. has a great zine section, which is also where I sell my zines.

a personal zine of mine

Online, there are also zine distros you can order from. Two of my favorites are Sweet Candy Distro and Portland Button Works. Though I've never been to one, there are also physical distros that you can go to. I've also heard that some small record shops and bookstores also carry zines, but they are few and far between unless you live in a popular city, like Portland.

Making-  Making zines is a lot of fun. Because you can make them about anything, they are diverse and for just about anyone. There are several simple templates for making them, but the most common is just folding a sheet of paper in half. You can fill your zine with art, writing, photography, or any combination of them. There is no right or wrong way to do it.

page layout

Zines are a great way to express your creativity. They usually aren't made for profit, but they can be sold. Trading zines is one of the most fun things to do, in my opinion. It gets your work out there, and you get to check out other people's as well.

If you have any questions, please let me know. Also, I am going to begin posting zine reviews on this blog as well, being that they are fairly similar to books. So look out for those! I hope you enjoyed this post, and were able to learn about something new, or be inspired to make your own zines!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reading Slump?

I guess I'm in one of those, because despite really wanting to read multiple books, I have been unable to finish even the two fantastic ones that I am currently reading.  It's an unfortunate thing, makes me feel guilty.

However, I have been into something very similar to books that I want to share with you in another post- zines. I've been both reading and making zines since I was in high school, and they are an awesome form of self publishing that is not known by many people. Regardless of this, they deal with both writing and reading, so they fit into this blog. Thus, I will be making a post about them sometime soon. So look out for that, and I'm sorry for my lack of reviews and book posts on here. I just haven't been reading much.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Top 5 Books of My Summer TBR

I've noticed some other people doing summer TBRs, and although I don't have a specific TBR pile, I do have some books that I really can't wait to read this summer. My TBR pile is constantly changing, so who knows if I'll get to all of these, but either way, I though I'd share them.

This is the first Sarah Dessen book I will read. I  takes place during the summer, and I think it'll be a good book to inspire me to write my novel.

Not something I usually read, I think this will also be a nice summer read. It sounds really neat and probably emotional, but I'm excited to read it. 
I am finally going to read this series (or at least the first book, depending on if I like it). It sounds really awesome, and I've heard only good things about the Lunar Chronicles. However, this awful cover, and the fact that it's a Cinderella retelling have made me avoid it. I'm finally ready to see what all the hype is about. 
Gonna start this series?? Honestly, I've head a lot about it on Youtube, and it seems to be a pretty amazing series. I recently bought the first two on eBay, so I'll be picking up the first book pretty soon.
I want to read this book so badly! I don't own it yet, but I'm looking to buy a copy on eBay or something. I'm so intrigued by this trilogy.

Those are just some of the books I want to read this summer. I might end up reading all of them, and likely more. I'm also going to be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, I think, to help me work on the novel I'm writing. 

Feel free to let me know about your reading and writing goals/plans for the summer are. Also, if you've read any of these, let me know what you think!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

3 Books That Do Alternating Point of Views Right

Alternating POVs can either help or hurt a story. If done right, they can enhance the message, characters and/or plot of the novel. If done wrong, they can leave the reader confused or unfulfilled. It’s important that all of the characters are vital to the story, and that each of them produce a strong voice, which distinguishes them from the others.
Here are three examples of novels that I think do alternating POVs right:

1. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami-
    In 1Q84, the long chapters are split between two main characters, Tengo and Aomame, a man and woman who haven’t seen each other since they were in grade school, but have held onto their feelings for each other. Despite how it sounds, the story is so complex, and indescribable really. Between the alternating POVs, the characters experience strange but important things, which have a great impact on the story. The two characters are very strongly shown, and I found both of them to be likable. Towards the end of the story, it breaks off into a third, unlikely POV, a character introduced earlier in the story. Although the story is rich and complex, the three POVs fit together like links, creating a strong plot and amazing character development.

2. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi-
    Although other aspects of this book bothered me, the various POVs proved to be very impressive in this sci-fi read. Expressing characters from all different backgrounds, the alternating POVs in this book wove together a beautiful setting. The Windup Girl holds a heavy, rich culture, the most important thing to the story, which made up for some of the things I didn’t like about it.

 3. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin-
    Lastly, we have the best example of alternating POVs that I have read so far, A Game of Thrones (and the rest of the series). There are a lot of characters in this book, and a total of 8 different POVs. Regardless of the number, it does not make the story confusing. Each of the characters adds something important to the story, and each of them have strong, distinguishable personalities. Though you can easily pick favorites, none of them were unenjoyable to read about. It is refreshing to read the heavy topics of death and war through so many different eyes, varying from lords to children. Overall, the usage of multiple POVs made this book exciting and interesting.

So those are the three adult books that I think do alternating POVs well. I may follow this post up with one of 3 YA books that do it well also (once I start reading more YA books with alt. POVs.)

Let me know what you think of my recommendations. I tried to give a good variety of genres- contemporary (with magical realism??),  sci-fi, and fantasy. I quite enjoy reading books with alternating POVs, so let me know if you've read any good ones recently.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A-Z Book Survey

I saw this survey on A Perfection Called Books's blog, and it looked like a lot of fun, so I thought I would do it! That way, you can also better get a sense of what kind of a reader I am!

Author You've Read the Most Book From:'s probabably J.K. Rowling with the Harry Potter books.

Best Sequel Ever:
I am currently reading A Clash of Kings, and it is pretty amazing.

Currently Reading:
As I said, A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin, and also The Edge of Never by J. A. Redmerski

Drink of Choice While Reading:
Water. I always have water next to my bed.

E-reader or Physical Book:
I do enjoy both, but if I had to pick, of course, a physical book.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Dated in High School:
Well, admittedly, I was a wannabe goth girl with a love of vampires at the time, so probably Alexander from the Vampire Kisses series.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Hold Still by Nina LaCour- the cover of mine is kind of bad, but it turned out to be one of the best YA books I've ever read.

Hidden Gem Book:
Honestly, I have to say Hold Still again. I didn't expect it to be so good, and I hadn't heard of it before I bought it.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:
Discovering Twilight in the library during middle school. Don't judge me.

Just Finished:
 Hold Still, again.

Kind of Books You Won't Read:

Longest Book You've Read:
1Q84 by Haruki Murikami

Major Book Hangover Because of:
Probably It's Kind of a Funny Story, because it depressed me for like...months.

Number of Book Cases You Own:

One Book You have Read Multiple Times:
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Preferred Place to Read:
On my bed.

Quote That Inspires You:
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.” - A Game of Thrones

Reading Regret:
The years I spent not reading, and letting books make me depressed.

Series You Started and Need to Finish:
Though the 6th book isn't out yet, I need to finish A Song of Ice and Fire.

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
TFIOS...I gave myself a cloud tattoo.

Very Excited for this Release: 
The 3rd Peculiar Children book, whenever that comes out!

Worst Bookish Habit:
Starting too many at once and not finishing them.

X Marks the Spot- Start at the Top Left of your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book:
The River by Henry David Thoreau 

Your Latest Book Purchase: 
And The Mountains Echoed by Kahled Hosseini 

Zzz Snatcher- Last Book That Kept You Up WAY Too Late:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

That was harder than I expected, but fun, nonetheless!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Written with a beautiful simplicity that fills you with deep emotions, Hold Still is a powerful story about a girl dealing with the suicide of her best friend. It progresses slowly in a way that captures the reader and submerges them into this emotional story. With highly realistic characters, and a gorgeous plot, this book was absolutely stunning.

The writing seemed very real, as if narrated directly from a teen girl’s life. Reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson’s writing, it was simple and unembellished, while remaining pungent and unique. The speed of this story was perfect, rising and falling with the changing emotions of the main character, Caitlin. I could feel the heaviness she was feeling at the beginning of the story and throughout it, as well as the lighter feeling of hope as things start to shift and change for the better.

The main character Caitlin came so naturally as I read, that it felt as if I were reading about a friend, instead of a character in a book. Caitlin was also very relatable and realistic, as were the rest of the characters. Toward the beginning there were hints of stereotyping, all of which were diminished through the characters, most specifically Dylan. The characters were awkward and imperfect, like real people. Sometimes they very clearly didn’t know how to respond to certain things, which was a relief to read. Taylor and Jayson and Dylan and Maddie were all genuine people. There was no ridiculous drama or backstabbing, that lots of YA books tend to have.

The plot was solid and emotionally charged. It held a peacefulness to it, despite the story being about a heavy topic. There were several events which touched me and left me smiling. The way things came full circle was smart and elegant, including the way the book got its title.

Though a quick read, the story lingered long after, clinging to my thoughts. It was written simply and sweetly, leaving a powerful impression. I really wish I could keep reading about the lives of these characters afterwards, even though the ending was quite perfect and a fantastic closure. Focussed around a difficult subject, this book was easy to understand for all ages. It got its messages across humbly, making them easy to absorb. I truly adore this book and recommend it to anyone who’s willing to give it a read. I plan on checking out some of LaCour’s other works soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

This books left me with such mixed feelings! In a way, it was a lot like what I excepted- a basic plot about teen girls getting revenge on those who’ve wronged them. However, with very pleasant writing and a nice bunch of characters, it proved to be a better book than I was anticipating.

The writing and plot were both enjoyable and well-paced, giving me a comfortable feeling as I read this book. Though the writing is clearly in the point of view of teenage girls, it doesn’t take away from the subtle beauty it holds, which captivated me as I read.  In fact, I really appreciated the three POVs, ranging from Mary, the most innocent and sweet of the three, to Lillia, who’s just starting to truly taste life, to Kat, who’s more experienced and seasoned in life.

There are a lot of high school stereotypes used, as expected, but they were surprisingly tolerable. Rennie is the stereotypical mean girl, who’s easy to hate. She was one of the most unrealistic characters, but luckily most of the other ones were not so bad. I really enjoyed the use of flashbacks in this book. They were refreshing to read, as the girls remembered the trauma they endured that led them to this point of revenge.

I really liked the way the girls met, and their subtle and sometimes surprising connection to each other. It was exciting as they progressed with their plans for revenge. There were lots of little surprises throughout the book, which were nice and enjoyable.

The biggest downfall of this novel was Mary. Her character started out really nicely, I thought, but continued going downhill until the very end of the book. Aside from her past, her character is very blurry and lacking in personality. Her voice continues to become weaker as the plot moves along. Eventually I got really bored of reading about her.

However, the worst part about her comes at the end, with an event way too similar to the book/movie Carrie occurs. If not for this event, if not for Mary’s untold powers, I would have given this book four stars. The addition of unearthly powers was just too farfetched, and a desperate pull in the wrong direction. I wanted this book to solely focus on real life issues, and the discovery of Mary’s powers ruined that for me.

Unlike Mary, the characters of Lillia and Kat, two former friends, were very strong and believable. Naturally, I disliked Lillia from the start, but grew to like her more and more. She is smart and sensible. If not for the influence of her best friend Rennie, she would be a lot better off. However, because of this, she proves to be a more realistic, flawed character. As well, Kat is fierce and brave, the rebel of the group.

Overall, I liked this book more than expected. It was a nice contemporary YA book, though it did have several weak points, which left me with mixed feelings toward it. I’m unsure if I will pick up the second book or not.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Wanting to Read All the Books

I was flicking through the dedications and acknowledgments for Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City, when I started to wonder about his life, not just as a writer but as a person. Maybe it was the lingering effect of reading Miss Peregrine’s that made me start to examine the differences in both of the books’ appearances.

For instance, I noticed in the acknowledgments of his first book, he mentions his wife Abbi. But in the second, he not only mentions Tahera Mafi, another popular YA author, but also dedicates the book to her. It made me curious, wondering how his relationships with both of them came to be, and what they are now. Naturally, I probably could have Googled something about it, if I felt like being intrusive. But it wasn’t about that. I mean, his life is his own, and while I enjoy his books, I don’t really care to know the specifics.

What it did make me realize, however, was how much of themselves a writer puts into their books. I’ve heard countless quotes about such things, but only now did it sink in. Because between that dedication and page of acknowledgments is an entire story written by this person. An idea formed in their brains that we, as readers, are so lucky to be able to read. I know, as a writer, how precious the books or stories or poems etc. we write are. I can imagine as a published author, it must be even more so. You have to support and stand up for your idea, sell it and edit it without having it lose its essence.

Then I looked over at all of my other books. And instead of simply seeing them as books, I saw them as fictional diaries, exaggerated life stories of their writers. Daydreams turned into something tangible. A tiny spark of an idea that each of the books’ writers cradled and sculpted into the books that they are today.

And when I realized that, I suddenly wanted to read every book. I wanted to know as many people as possible. No matter how good or bad, every book is so important, even if just to one person. They tell stories that would otherwise be silenced. They explain histories that happened in someone’s mind before they happened on paper. I want to read all the books because I want to be able to understand people. I want to know how someone thinks or feels, even if I think or feel differently.

My collection of books is more than just books, they are a collection of thoughts on paper, labored over and written out by their writers. They are tales and characters created by someone somewhere, at a point in their life that cannot be repeated. They are time capsules. They are portals into ten thousand different worlds, because every time a person reads a book, it is interpreted differently. They can make us feel things we otherwise wouldn’t experience. They make us see things differently. They make us think about life and love and all those other important things.

And all of this happens because one person decides to sit down and write their story.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wake by Amanda Hocking

What I expected to be a fun summer read, ended up falling flat with its bland writing and cliche’ characters. It was a mermaid story without the lure and believability, turning it more into a boring teen drama. There were only a few small points which helped the story out, but they couldn’t make up for the overall failure that this book was.

Randomly switching between sisters Gemma and Harper, we follow the pair as they deal with their stereotypical problems, focussing on Gemma’s encounter with ‘those pretty girls’, who clearly are bad news, as told by everybody.

The writing was disconnected and blunt, the author overusing the characters’ names. Because of this, it was impossible to forget their names, as most of the sentences started with either ‘Harper’ or ‘Gemma’. Everything, it seemed, was told, not shown. Even things that could have been explained without being so blunt had unnecessary sentences in front of them that stated the obvious. It was like hearing a story written by a child, with their tendency to repeat the same sentence structure over and over. It felt like I was simply listening to a story, which made it impossible to connect with the plot or the characters.

The characters had minimal depth to their personalities. Even as we start to learn more about them, it still seems like they all only hit one note. Appearance takes up too much of the story. Right from the beginning, Gemma is stated as being the prettier sister, which we are told several times. Harper is the overprotective, nosey older sister, which was annoying and over the top. Alex is a self-proclaimed geek, which is totally fine, except that we are reminded of this countless times. Marcy is, quite honestly, a shallow, poser bitch. She’s not only sexist, but cruel to the girls, commenting on how they look bulimic. Luckily, she doesn’t grace us with her presence that often (‘cause she’s too good for that). Gemma and Harper’s dad, Brian, is terrible. He seems to play at being a father, making rules only when he feels like it, telling Harper to let her sister experience things on her own, but then getting upset at her when she actually does.

Daniel, to me, seemed like the only real character. He immediately comes off as a standoffish player, but he quickly proves to be more. Not only a good-hearted guy, but a mature, wise person. He held the story together, in my opinion. There even was a subtle bit of mystery about him, which is possibly addressed in the later books.

The two romances in this story were one of the things that it actually had going for it. Though Alex and Gemma’s was kind of sudden, it was still pretty cute and enjoyable to read about. Harper and Daniel’s relationship seemed a lot more real. Despite being one of those stereotypical ones in which the girl first hates the guy, ends up resisting him, but then falls for him, it managed to sound plausible and honest.

The girls’ mom was an unexpected twist, one of the few good things about this story. Their visit of her toward the beginning is brought together with Gemma’s visit near the end, a really important addition to this story. The only fault in this is that their mom is rarely mentioned other than those two times.

The three creepy, siren girls act as predicted. They are mean, and not at all alluring, as they are described. They force Gemma to make a decision that is not very fair, which leads to a predictable ending. They were what the story was based on, yet they held no intrigue.

The ending moved quickly, making the scene in which Harper and Brian visit Bernie’s Island rather delayed. This ended up making the ending easily predictable, which took away from a satisfying close. Naturally, the ending was also left unresolved, as it leads into the second book of the series. Daniel is the sole thing making me want to find out what happens, but unfortunately I will not be picking up the next book. I was quite disappointed by this one.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Clarity by Loretta Lost

Clarity by Loretta Lost is the first book in a three part series, which is currently available for free on Amazon for the Kindle. I typically do not like to spend money on ebooks, so when I saw this one for free and read over its plot, I didn’t hesitate to download it. However, immediately upon finishing this book, I hastily purchased the second book. With the fantastic cliffhanger ending of this book, I need to know what happens next and can’t wait to begin reading the second.

Though rather short, this book was both entertaining and powerful. Its rich, full plot progressed at a perfect speed, with not a single filler scene. Every scene was so vital to this story, which shows Lost’s amazing writing ability. Both the beginning and ending were striking and raw. I was left breathless and speechless right from the opening scene.

Helen’s narration was beautifully written. Her world was so well described, despite her being blind. While using her other sense to portray the world around her, most of the description was shown through sound and scent. One of the most beautiful scenes, in my opinion, is when Helen walks into her childhood home and smells all the flowers, which triggers a bunch of sweet, old memories.

Helen’s character was very believable. She is smart and strong. Even though she’s left questioning a lot of things in her life, she approaches them all very logically, and strays from making impulsive decisions.

The other characters in this book were equally believable. I found Liam and Owen a bit young to be doctors, though clearly Liam is much more mature. Owen, with his affinity for porn and road trips was somewhat childish and over the top, but he remained a funny character, adding a bit of lightheartedness to the story. Carmen, Helen’s sister, is at first portrayed as shallow and bubbly, but even her character is given depth and personality as we read more about her.

I cannot wait to see where this story goes, with Carmen’s wedding and Helen and Liam’s possible romance. So far the storyline has been nearly flawless, accompanied by gorgeous writing and realistic characters. This first book feels only like a mere taste of what is to come.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Alternating between the 1800’s and the present, Monstrous Beauty is a dark mermaid story about love and family. It is woven together with beautiful, elegant writing, the entire book holding a pleasant, calming feel. This is the kind of story that I used to dream about as a kid on our vacations to the ocean.

Though not the most exciting plot, it flows very well between the point of view of Hester, a girl trying to figure out her ancestral history, and Syrenka, a mermaid trying to live a human life, back in the 1800’s. Throughout the story, their connection is discovered, as Hester researches and Syrenka comes upon troubles in her life. There is a bit of a mystery aspect of it for Hester, but we learn things before she does through the narration.

The mermaids of this story, which is what I was drawn to, were creepy and dark. Along with the addition of ghosts and graveyards, it was perfectly eery, while still holding the air of a touristy seaside town. The characters helped accentuate the mood and feeling of the story, which was very refreshing.

Hester was a pretty good main character. She was easily relatable and likable. As a person, she is smart, driven and logical. She thinks things through, without making rash decisions, and knows what is important in her life- which is her family, and friend Peter.

Though somewhat predictable, this story was still very enjoyable. There were a few twists near the end, which spiced it up a bit. Hester’s encounter with the mermaids was unexpected and strange, but a pleasant addition to the story. A simple summer read, this was a nice books about not only mermaids, but love, history and family.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

 (Note:  I would like to give a huge thank you to Eric Smith of Quirk Books for sending me a copy of this book to review. My opinions on this book were in no way influenced by this fact. I can't help that I loved it; it was simply an amazing novel. ^w^)

Starting where the first book left off, Hollow City is a spectacular adventure right from the beginning. Vintage photographs are once again used throughout the book to illustrate its plot. The story is also enhanced by its strong setting and bit of history, captured through beautiful, realistic descriptions. Even better than the first, this book was a wild adventure with an ending that left me speechless.

In this sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Jacob and his friends go on a grand adventure, a rescue mission to save Miss Peregrine from being stuck in her bird form forever. However, they are being followed by the hollowgast and wights, evil beings that only Jacob can see. Along the way, they are introduced to many other peculiars and common people. Their journey starts on the first page and goes right to the very end, begging for a third book to be written.

Once again the setting was stunning. With the help of the vintage photographs, to give the story a bit of a creepy feel, the entire book was dark and eery. The written descriptions were strong enough to be powerful even without the photographs. As the children traveled, new magnificent settings unfolded. The landscape of the seaside and the forests and the city came to life as I read it. Moving from the little island, to the bomb-threatened city of London, this series has so far held a perfect air of antiquity and oddity.

While Jacob and Emma seem to be the two main characters in the book, the rest of the children don’t simply fall behind as secondary characters- with the exception of two that end up staying behind early on in the story. All of the characters gave off strong personalities, and each of them play an important part in the group’s survival. Even Jacob seemed to grow more in this sequel, as he learned more about his powers. I really liked how each of the children were showcased in this story. They are all so great together, despite not agreeing all the time.

Along with the characters from the first book, we are introduced to a handful of new ones. As the group journeys onward, they meet several other peculiars, and common folk- from the Gypsies to a peculiar girl who didn’t even know she was peculiar. It was really exciting to discover all the peculiars’ powers, as well as the peculiar animals.

The children’s journey unfolds at a perfect, believable rate. Though their amount of running and tiring seemed a bit excessive, overall the story was well-paced. The plot was even more exciting than in the first book, and it was especially enjoyable to read about the peculiar children more.

The ending of this book left me with my eyes wide and mouth hanging open. I could not have predicted it even if I tried. I was so stunned at its sudden plot twist, that I felt like I had been lied to the entire time, which I’m sure is how the children felt, as well. I wasn’t even sure what to feel about it, other than the fact that I wish the third book would come out already.

This book- it’s setting, plot and characters- were absolutely beautiful. Aside from still being iffy about liking Jacob or not, there is nothing else bad I can say about it. It was so much fun learning about the peculiardom, and the people residing in it. This was a perfect second book to a series that I hope is going to be even more fantastic than this story was. I cannot wait for the next book to come out.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I was initially drawn to this book by both its cover and title. I hoped for something creepy and mysterious, which is what this book turned out to be. The inclusion of the old photographs was brilliant, adding a very important mood to the story. It was a very fun adventure, best read on a grey, rainy day or at night.

The main character, Jacob, was a pretty average teenage boy, living in Florida with his semi-rich parents and the strange stories his grandfather has told him all his life. But with the mysterious death of his grandfather, he goes on an adventure to discover that the stories might have been true after all. Accompanied by actual vintage photograph, the story is one with a very strong mood and striking plot.

Jacob’s character was nothing spectacular. He bothered me toward the beginning, being somewhat spoiled and dull. Even throughout the book, as he grew ever so slightly, his personality remained unembellished and rather passive. While that didn’t help me at liking his character, it did make room for the story to grow. Had his personality been too strong, it would have overpowered the story. While his personality was tolerable, one thing I would have changed about him was his age. Throughout the story, I imagined him being a few years younger, 14 perhaps. For going on such an adventure, a slightly younger age seemed appropriate. Nonetheless, his narration told the story really well.

I did not like his parents much, although his dad was at least portrayed as a real person, with faults and such. The children at the school were great. Each had distinct personalities, but they worked great together, which was fun reading about. I thought the relationship between Emma and Jacob was a bit fast and shallow, but I suppose it was portrayed that way on purpose, and I can’t wait to see how it grows in the next book.

Along with the exciting plot, the setting was one of my favorite things about this book. The image of the tiny island and seaside town was so strong. The weather matched perfectly with it, which is why I enjoyed reading this book especially on rainy days. The different times were also explained nicely, making it seem real, and almost normal for Jacob to be going back and forth between the loop. The idea of the loops themselves seemed quite realistic, emphasized through the setting of the island. I also really liked the dialogue of the children, and even of the people of the island in the present day.

The photographs within the book also made it so much more interesting and engaging. I really appreciated how they helped sculpt the story, and the characters. Also, upon reading the third to last page in the book, it is explained that the photographs are in fact real, several with slight alterations, collected by people who search for them and save them in personal archives. I’ve once heard of people doing this, and I find it so inspiring, like collecting memories and histories of people we’ll never know. And the idea of using them in this story is absolutely stunning. Like giving life to something that would otherwise be overlooked.

This story was a great adventure, with a perfect setting and interesting backstory. While the main character lacked depth, the other characters made up for it. The ending was also perfect, a great cliffhanger that makes me excited to read the next book, but also a bit of closure, involving Jacob’s dad. The story was just a bit creepy, with some history thrown in, and a strong mood that emanates from both the story itself and the actual book. I am pumped to see where this story goes, and what adventure the children go on next.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Exraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway

To be honest, I only picked this book up because of its gorgeous cover and clever title. However, based on those two things, along with the short summary on the back, I expected it to be filled with puke-worthy dialogue and cheesy relationships. Instead, I found the dialogue to be its strong point, and overall, for it to be a decent read.

This was a pretty light YA read, something I wouldn’t normally pick up. Though it clearly was no literary masterpiece, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I guess it was what I needed in between reading much heavier books. Also, it reminded me a bit of the show H2O, in which 3 different girls discover they are mermaids, which was nice.

Following three sisters, April, May and June, this story is about how they rediscover the magic powers that they have, and how they deal with them, including the consequences of using them. Even more so, it is about the sisterly bond between the three girls, which, although put to the test, proved to be strong. The three sisters’ personalities varied greatly. They were very stereotypical, but held more depth than I expected. The dialogue between them was quite realistic. Their constant arguing was, at times, annoying, and at others, entertaining. I especially appreciated May’s extensive use of sarcasm.

The overall plot was also very enjoyable. Although it was just the everyday life of teenagers, it felt real and whole, with a strong climax and resolution. The relationships were not instantaneous, but they were pretty predictable. Luckily, the story was not solely about the relationships between May and Henry, and April and Julian. It focused mainly on the relationship between the three girls and how each of them dealt with their powers, as well as the drama in their lives.

While I liked how they rediscovered their powers, instead of just randomly obtaining them, I wished there had been more of an explanation. Their grandmother is mentioned once in regards to it, but there is never any solid evidence given as to why the girls have their powers. The story lacked depth in that way. It could have been a lot deeper and more interesting if they had tried to find the reasoning behind their powers or something. Likewise, the character of Avery confused me greatly. I wasn’t sure if she was supposed to be some sort of ghost or a real person or something else completely. The girls briefly discuss her, but no real answer is given as to who she is.

The biggest downfall of this book was its predictability. Nearly the entire thing was predictable, from the relationships to the climax. It was easy to figure out what would happen next, but at least it was enjoyable finding out how the characters would get to that point.

For those reasons, I can’t give it more than 3 stars. I really enjoyed this book, and I will likely read it again. However, its predictability and the holes in the explanation to the girls powers left me feeling like the story was unresolved. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew It is a fantastic end-of-the-world YA story. Told through the diary of a girl name Miranda, the simplistic style of writing is easily translatable to a younger audience. However, that doesn’t take away from it’s highly realistic plot, and believable characters. It thoroughly brings to question what could happen if something like this were to become a reality.

The plot and setting in the book are much more ‘down-to-earth’ than typical YA dystopians. Instead of something astronomically unrealistic happening, something as simple as an astroid hitting the moon occurs. Yet it creates devastating problems when the moon is knocked off its orbit. From that, everything goes downhill. However, instead of the family going on some dangerous adventure, they stay put and have to face the struggles of living without electricity, water, and heat, surrounded by death and illness. The writing makes it easy to imagine the neighborhood as your own neighborhood, and the family as your own family.

Through Miranda, the (mostly) neutral voice in the story, we are shown a variety of different characters and how they handle such a situation. All of the characters are put to the test in this novel, turning stereotypical Mary Janes into real, relatable people. The character growth and development comes so naturally. Each of the characters deals with the situation in their own ways. Some handle it better than others, some take more time, just as in real life. The growth of Miranda in particular is very impressive. Like a real person she struggles with the situations she is faced with. As she progresses through the book, she falls back several times. She has her weaknesses, which hinder her at first, but in the end, help her grow as a person.

Despite the difficult, life-changing problems the characters face in this book, it is not a very deep, dark story. To some, this might be bad thing, but for me, it was perfectly executed from the point of view of an inexperienced teen girl. It touches on many of the things average teen girls face, like prom, and school, and boys, but it isn’t so doused in those things that we lose a sense of character. In this story, family, health, happiness, and survival rule over those stereotypical things, which made Miranda a very believable character.

This story, with it’s simple premise that most end-of-the-world type YA books tend to overkill, was practical and plausible. Its characters were given strong voices and imaginable personalities. The writing was comprehensible and easy, without losing its potency. This was a book that I’ve read before, and will continue to pick up many times in the future. I most definitely recommend it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Read-a-Thon Wrap Up

The Bout of Books read-a-thon ended last night! After a week of trying to get myself to read more, I am quite sad that it is over. It was my first ever read-a-thon, and it was so much fun! I managed to finish FOUR books this week! That is quite a lot for me, considering I started off the year barely reading four books a month. I am really, really happy with my progress. Since I didn't have a goal, other than to read more and have fun, I think I did very well! Here are the four books I finished this week!






Total pages read: 1118

 Participating in this read-a-thon was great. I did something I've never done before- I interacted with other readers, especially on Twitter. I did some reading sprints with some awesome ladies on there, and I joined in one of the Bout of Books discussions on Twitter, and in their live show.

I also have written reviews for all of these books, which I will be posting here on my blog this week. I really enjoyed all of these books!

I hope everyone had fun with this read-a-thon! I hope you reached your goals if you had any. I would like to thank Amanda and Kelly, who hosted this read-a-thon! It was really fun participating, and I will likely join in the next one (and the ones after that) as well.

Overall, this was a successful first ever read-a-thon! I can't wait to do more. But until then, I'm gonna keep on reading!


Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Day #7

The read-a-thon is over! The final day I worked really hard and managed to finish my fourth book! Here are yesterday's stats. After this post, I'll post a wrap-up of how I did overall.

Books read & finished today:


Pages read today:  273

Total pages read: 1118

Books finished today: 1

Total # of books finished: 4

I finished Hollow City just at the end of the read-a-thon. It was so, so good. I'll be making a review for it today. Also look out for a wrap post coming later today.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Day #6

Though it is now day 7, I was too sleepy to make yesterday's post last night, so I must do it this morning. Day 7 I read only one book, which I didn't get too far on because I was quite busy. However, last night I did two reading sprints on Twitter with some cool ladies, which was super fun, and I got a good bit of reading done then.

Books read today:

Pages read today:  73
Total pages read: 845

Books finished today: 0

Total # of books finished: 3

Today is the last day of the read-a-thon, sadly. It has been so much fun. I'm gonna try to finish Hollow City today, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to. I hope everyone reads a bunch on this final day of the read-a-thon!