Archive for January, 2013

Book Review: Switched

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Switched Cover

Title: Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1)

Author: Amanda Hocking

Summary: [from GoodReads]

 When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn’t until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might’ve been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed – and it’s one she’s not sure if she wants to be a part of.

My Review

I put off reading this one for so long! I have to admit, I was a little prejudiced. I had heard it was originally self-published, and I don’t generally read many self-pub/indie books. Turns out, this one actually wasn’t too bad!

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Wanted: Elves!

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Wanted
Wanted Button

Thanks to Kristilyn for designing the button!

Have you ever wished you could find that one book that was about _____? Have you ever found yourself wondering what a book with a certain kind of theme or message would be like? That’s exactly what “Wanted” is all about. A semi-regular feature, I use “Wanted” to talk about all those books I wish I could find that nobody seems to have written yet. If you happen to know of some books that fit my criteria, I would love for you to send them my way through the comments!

Have you notice that among the dearth of YA paranormal novels there’s one (humanoid) paranormal that is very often overlooked? Seriously, guys, where have the elves gone?! The closest books all feature Faeries (The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa and the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, just to name a few.) I really love faeries so I’m not complaining, but how did elves miss out on all the fun?

One of the problems with elves is that they’re pretty unemotional. I’m not sure they could manage all the angst and drama that seems synonymous with YA paranormal. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be interesting to see a novel about these unemotional elves trying to raise an angsty human (or at least semi-human) teenager? They wouldn’t know what to do! It would be hilarious! On the other hand, take away all that stand-offishness and suddenly it’s much harder to tell the elves from the fae – the main distinction is Fae associate with seasons (Summer/Winter) while the Elves tend to just be high or low (sometimes light or dark). Unless they’re Santa elves, of course, but they’re even rarer.

An honorable mention for the “overlooked humanoid paranormal” goes to Leprechauns. They’re probably used less, but I really can’t imagine a novel with a Leprechaun protagonist (unless it’s Artemis Fowl type LEP-recons). I’d totally read it though!

Book Review: Unraveling

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Unraveling Cover

Title: Unraveling (Unraveling #1)

Author: Elizabeth Norris

Summary: [from GoodReads]

 Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed–as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows–with every fiber of her being–that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something–but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened–the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life–points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets–and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

My Review
This review is of an ARC copy

Woah! I did not see that one coming, AT ALL! And then, once I got it? SO GOOD!

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Media Monday: Quantum of Solace

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Media Monday
Quantum of Solace Poster

Image belongs to MGM Studios

Title: Quantum of Solace
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: Marc Forster
Studio: MGM Studios
Genre: Action
Summary: [from IMDB]

Seeking revenge for the death of his love, secret agent James Bond sets out to stop an environmentalist from taking control of a country’s valuable resource.

My Review:

What is it with me and picking action-y movies lately?! Geez!

The thing with Bond is there’s a halfway decent story there under all the car chases, shooting people and blowing stuff up, and that is why I watch them. I’ll admit, I tune out most of the action. I make a point of having some knitting or something in my lap for precisely that reason. Unfortunately that does mean I miss some things. But I get the gist – why would I need to watch the fight scenes? I know who’s gonna win in the end!

The thing that struck me this time was the symbolism. Sometimes it hits you over the head with a mallet, sometimes it’s more subtle. One of my favorites is as we meet Camille – the Bond girl of the flick. I knew right away that she would be the one to “save” Bond emotionally. If you look closely, there are several shots of her from behind. There’s an odd scarring pattern between her shoulder blades – later we find out it was from a fire she lived through as a child. Look at it symbolically, though, and the placement of the scarring suggests a loss of wings, a fallen angel, if you will. That symbolism is only strengthened by the fact that their escape boat is called “Gardien les etoiles” – French for Garden of the Stars. So, of course, knowing the lore of the first fallen angel, I’m sitting here wondering when she’ll betray him. That’s a fairly common trope among Bond movies, so it’s not too big a leap. It’s not until later that we discover the symbolism being used isn’t exactly fallen angel, but rather a broader loss of innocence when she acquired the scars.

Besides that, I was pretty “Eh” about the movie. It was decent, had a decent plotline, and certainly had enough action to satisfy those who watch for that sort of thing. Me, I’m just in it for the clever, mysterious parts.

Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge 26

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Clock Rewinders

Clock Rewinders banner

Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge is where Tara @ 25 Hour Books and Amanda @ On a Book Bender shamelessly plug each other, share the fantastic posts, giveaways, or whatever else we’ve found and loved by other awesome bloggers (or authors!) during the week, and talk about the books we plan on reading in the coming week. [Description and banner borrowed from On a Book Bender]

The Corner Newsstand
(This week on Creativity’s Corner)

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Discussion Day: Do you write in your books?

13 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion Day

Discussion Day

A few weeks ago, a bunch of my college friends and I got together. As often happens, the “party” degenerated into everyone sitting in the same room silently reading. One of my friends sat down with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (obviously re-reading) and *gasp* pulled out a PENCIL! I was a little bit horrified, I have to admit. When I asked her about it, she told me she has been passing her copies around to all her friends and asking them to re-read and annotate in the margins. Asking them to write in her books! I cringed.

In high school, I was much more tortured by this issue than I am now. I had several teachers who actually required us to highlight passages in our books for English class (Ayn Rand’s Anthem was a particularly horrifying experience for me – we were required to highlight in 4 different colors AND underline passages in ink! *shudders*) While I can understand the reasoning behind the assignment it still makes my skin crawl and my teeth itch. Those marks will now be in that copy FOREVER – what if I screwed up and marked the wrong thing?

As someone who gets most of her books from the library,  I’ve had “No damaging books!” drilled into me for a long time. Even writing in music is difficult if it’s not in pencil (I had one flute teacher who required us to have a set of markers to write on the music with because “it makes you play differently when you see that color, and you’ll notice it better!” I’m sorry, but I’d rather write the name of the color in pencil where it’s supposed to go than scribble illegibly in marker. But that’s just me.) The words or notes on a plain page are a kind of beauty to me, and I worry that my words are defiling that beauty somehow. Plus, what happens when the margins fill up?

The thing I don’t get about myself? I am PERFECTLY OKAY with a small dogear on a page of something I really liked, as long as it’s my own book. This too is defiling the book. Why am I okay with that, but NOT with writing?

I know I’m probably in a minority here. Annotating is a great idea, especially with something you know you’ll read a lot – you can keep track of your changing opinions and remind yourself of your favorite parts. And after all, it is your copy, and you can do with it as you choose. Isn’t that why you bought it in the first place? And yet, with all these reasons for writing in your books, I still can’t bring myself to do it.

Do you write in your books? Do you have pet-peeves about how others treat books?

Book Review: The Diviners

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Diviners Cover

Title: The Diviners (Diviners #1)

Author: Libba Bray

Summary: [from GoodReads]

 Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.

My Review

Holy crap is Diviners a big book! It was so intimidating that I kept putting it off, worried it would be just too hard to get through. Silly me – it wasn’t hard at all and it was a fabulous read!

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Bookish Bucket List: Die For Me

3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Bookish Bucket List
Bookish Bucket List Banner

Thanks to Kristilyn from Reading in Winter for designing the banner!

Have you ever finished a book and said “Man, I wish I could ________ like that?” Bookish Bucket List is a semi-regular feature for the things I’ve put on my bucket list and the books that made me do so.

Die for Me cover
Title: Die For Me (Revenants #1)

Author: Amy Plum

Summary: [from GoodReads]

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

Bucket List Entry: Live in Paris Read more »

Book Review: Ten

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Ten Cover

Title: Ten 

Author: Gretchen McNeil

Summary: [from GoodReads]

Don’t spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

My Review

Let me say up front: I don’t do well with horror. I hate horror movies and can only barely manage the gore in crime dramas. I still have nightmares about the one snippet of one of the Hostel movies I was forced to watch in my Pop Culture class. So why I thought Ten would be a good book for me? I haven’t the faintest clue.
Even so, I’d say Ten was fairly well written. I liked that the majority of the characters (except the first ones to die) were fairly well rounded – I really believed that they could each have a motive. I also really liked that there was a mystery to it. It wasn’t just a straight up horror where they know exactly what is after them, and why if there is a reason. I had no idea who was behind it until the very end when it was revealed and I would be very surprised if anyone did. That’s just the way it’s written!

So, even though this was an unusual genre for me and I wouldn’t call it a favorite by a long shot, I thought the book was very well written. If I can find myself enjoying horror, then it must be good!

Media Monday: Looper

5 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Media Monday
Looper Poster

Image belongs to Endgame Entertainment

Title: Looper
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: Rian Johnson
Studio: Endgame Entertainment
Genre: Sci-Fi
Summary: [from IMDB]

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.

Warning: This movie is rated ‘R’.

My Review:

OH MY GAWD! SO MANY DEAD BODIES! There is a reason this movie is rated R and it ain’t the sexin’!

So, here’s the thing. As a sci-fi geek I can definitely appreciate the story. Time travel is a very trick thing. Looper explores the intricacies and difficulties inherent in time-travel as a plot device. It does a pretty good job too. Though they never officially take the time to explain their kind of time travel, it’s pretty clear they’re using a kind of linear displacement – once you’ve gone back in time what you “remember” of the future can change, because you’re around to change it. This gets kind of confusing at the end though – I say a “kind” of linear displacement because they seem to also use elements of a circular theory (I suppose kind of necessary in a film called “Looper” lol) in that events stay essentially the same unless someone REALLY makes an effort to change them.

Anyway, back to the thing, before I got on a tangent admiring the time travel. I get that they’re making a point. I think it’s a good point to make. I just think it could be made just as well without all the gore and some of the violence. It was so bad that several times I found myself thinking “Okay, now you’re just going for the shock factor.” I mean, seriously, a kid with blood practically painted on his face, even though he wasn’t that close? Unrealistic, but it’ll sure get people to pay attention!

So, in the end, I can admire this one from an academic standpoint. Do I ever want to see it again? Not on your life!

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