Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Genre: Fiction - Science Fiction
Rating: 5 stars

Review: I've never really been into the sci-fi genre much in general, and I haven't exactly explored it as much. For some reason, I have just never been particularly been a huge fan. But when several guys in my life - my brother, some of my friends, and my co-workers who aren't big readers at all - recommended it to me, I knew I had to try it. Well, I'm definitely glad I read this book. Ender's Game was a sort of breath of fresh air to me. It was something I have never read about before, and I really did enjoy the entire story thoroughly. I was hooked right from the beginning, and I couldn't put it down until I finished it. I also liked the writing style Orson Scott Card has; it was very engaging, and the plot development was naturally flawless. As for the characters, they were very complex and likable - not stereotypical or one dimensional.

I can honestly say that though I haven't read a lot of sci-fi books, this is probably the best sci-fi book out there, in my opinion. Haha. I highly recommend everyone to try this one out because I think it's one of those books that any avid reader would appreciate. I recommend this to male readers as well. 5 stars and nothing else.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

Monday, March 21, 2011

Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 2 stars
Review: This book was just okay. As a person who likes art but know nothing about its technicality, history, etc, I appreciate this book for its effort to teach me a bit about art and artists without becoming preachy or sounding like a know-it-all. However, at the end of the day, this is a novel and as a work of fiction, it just fell a little flat for me. It's undeniable that it's an interesting read, but while reading this, I already knew something was missing for me. The characters were dry - no personality, no development, no pull. The plot was a bit elementary, unfortunately, and the pace was far too slow for my taste.

I like Steve Martin as a writer actually, so I would probably recommend his other books if you like his style, but this one unfortunately did not do it for me.

keeping reviews fresh.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A year of blogging seems nothing compared to the years and many months of some of my favorite book bloggers out there, but already, sometimes I feel like my reviews can be quite repetitive even when I'm not trying to make it so. There are some days when I feel like writing 1-5 reviews, but then there are the days when I feel like I have nothing to say at all - regardless of my feelings and thoughts on a book. Sometimes it seems like there's only so much I can say; it's a great book, it was intriguing, it was interesting, I loved the character, liked the development, it was okay, it was awesome, great writing, fast-paced, and the list goes on and on. I just really try to mix it up so as to not sound like every review is the same one.

Thankfully, I don't always have a problem with this; most of the time I always find a way to express my thoughts on a story without having to repeat the same words and phrases, but I wonder how you do it. I usually just take a break and hope the temporary writer's/blogger's block goes away. Any thoughts?

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Friday, March 18, 2011

Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3 stars

What I Liked: Nice and interesting plot line, backed up with the author's unique way of writing. I liked the way the story was narrated, and I thought it was definitely a page turner.

What I Didn't Like: To be honest, even though there was nothing specifically "bad" about the book, I personally just didn't care about what's going on. The characters didn't make me care about them, and I wasn't too excited about what's going to happen next. I think this is mainly because I felt like the character and plot development weren't there - one minute we were heading somewhere, and then all of a sudden we're back to square one. I hope that made sense. I just kept hoping and hoping something was going to happen, or a sudden revelation will occur that will make me care and understand, but for me, it just didn't happen.
Overall: It was an okay read. It was entertaining and good, but it isn't a book I would remember in a couple of weeks. I will continue to read the rest of the author's books though, because like I said, she does have good writing style that I enjoy so I know it will only be better from here. I recommend this to teens and YA fans.

Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Genre: Young Adult/General Fiction
Rating: 4.5 stars

Review: This book was definitely not what I had expected at all. To be honest, the cover and its synopsis on the back do not it enough justice. Carrie Pilby to me was a good read, simply put. It was so engaging, interesting, funny, very smart, and sometimes even heart warming. Its greatest strength is on the main character, Carrie Pilby herself. Her character is so real, basically. She's likable and unlikeable in the most perfect ways. One minute she's getting on my nerves, the next I'm in love with her. She has many flaws and negative qualities but then she also has so many good ones. This makes me feel like Carrie and I are friends, and it's what made me root for her, sympathize, and empathize with her along the way.

The thoughts in the book were extremely believable, raw, honest, and realistic. It could have been my own thoughts or yours, your neighbor's, or your best friend's. The events that happen here are also realistic as well. Having said that, this book deserves the 4.5 star rating because of its realness and honesty. It was unpretentious, and none of the things I've read in this book were stereotypical or cliche. I also found myself literally writing down several quotes and passages from here; it was wonderfully written, and it truly made me think outside the box. There were some moments when I was getting bored with it, but to be honest I sort of think that was the point - Carrie Pilby is such a talker. She rambles about the most random things that an ordinary person wouldn't even be thinking of in the first place. So this added to the feeling of listening to somebody real share her true thoughts and feelings. I liked it a lot, enjoyed it, and recommend it to mature YA readers.

Thank you to Nina who recommended this book!

In My Mailbox!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I had a pretty good book week this week mainly because I was able to finally catch up on reading. I'm going to the library again possibly on Monday to borrow more books and return those I've already finished, so I'm excited about that too. Anyway, here are the books I got randomly from three different people (thank you!) and the rest are from the library. None for review and no bought books for me this week.

randomly given :)
1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan - from my Aunt (THANK YOU!)
2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver - my review
3. Across the Universe by Beth Revis - my review

4. The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen - my review
5. Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
6. Carrie Pilby Caren Lissner
7. Hold Still by Nina Lacour - my review

What did you get this week? Link up! :)

Cover cover cover!

Just wanted to let everyone know about the new cover of Crossed by Allie Condie, which is the sequel to the YA Dystopian Matched. So pretty and eye-catching, and if you've read the first book, you can see how perfect this cover truly is. It says so much about the plot, and it shows how much of a total opposite it is from the first book; from the color scheme, the shattered bubble, to the style of her clothes! What do you think?

Just a few notes for today.

I hope you have an awesome - and safe - weekend! Here in the Bay Area/San Francisco, we are slightly affected by the Japan earthquake as we have been having tsunamis as we are in the US' coastal area. It is not bad at all and there is no serious damage, thankfully, but it has been stressful for some living around that area.

So while we're at that topic, I just wanted to spread the word even though I think by now everyone knows about this. Please Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 for Japan during this horrible disaster. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. This is a huge global disaster, and this is one of those times everyone has got to help each other. Be safe, everybody.

responding to comments.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I got an email from a fellow book blogger the other day, and she was kindly telling me that she felt like I wasn't really interacting with those who follow and comment on my blog. She said she always used to comment here and ask me questions but I'd never respond so she said she decided to unfollow me. She also said that I should notice the lack of comments on my blog nowadays, and that she thinks the lack of interaction could be the reason.

My initial reaction was surprise of course. You know what they say; sometimes it's hard to see what you're doing until somebody points it out. So with her comment in my head, I re-read a lot of my older blog posts and such, and have been re-reading all of your comments. I notice that for the most part, I respond to all the comments, individually. However, there were some posts where I DIDN'T respond at all. It's pretty embarrassing also because some of these posts I "ignored" are discussion posts and such. So I just want you to know I do read every single comment that you give to my posts almost every day when I come home - sometimes even throughout the day through my phone. I always want to reply, and remind myself not to forget, but for some reason, I always do forget. I just want to write this post to say that I always, always want to respond, even if it is just a simple 'thank you.' Not because I have to, but because I do want to.

One of the reasons I loved blogging to begin with are the conversations and the responses that I get from people, and I love it so much when we interact back and forth. So this is just me trying to say that if I don't reply to you, believe me, it's not because I'm being a snob, an elitist, or am trying to ignore you. And I'm really sorry if you felt like that at all! I will try to change that and comment on a timely manner.

Please be patient with me everyone, and thank you so much. Blogging and interacting with you fellow book worms really does make me so happy and cheer me up when I need it most. I hope it does the same for you <3

Hold Still by Nina Lacour

Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars

Review: I was immediately attracted to this novel because of its cover; it seems so 'artsy' and creative, and I thought it was very appealing. So I read the synopsis, and thought it was just the sort of book I would like. I have always been drawn to YA novels that deal with sensitive, and real to life issues for some reason, so I went ahead and read this.

The best thing about this book is how unpretentious it is. It is simply there - it wasn't trying too hard, if that makes sense. Often, when I read YA novels that deal with touchy subjects - such as suicide, abuse, etc - the narrator's voice and the story itself can sometimes be too "melodramatic" that it makes it unrealistic. I mean I get the topic is dramatic, but the story telling itself shouldn't feel just that. I liked that Hold Still covered the topic of suicide, death, and loss so well in a very subtle way. The author, Nina Lacour, did not just tell her readers that 'oh the main character feels this and the character feels that.' She actually shows us through the actual characters' actions and reactions. And in my opinion, some of the characters' actions and feelings were so on point and believable that I felt emotionally invested in them.

As far as pace goes, I thought it was good. I read this pretty quick, but I think it was mainly because it was interesting and realistic, and backed up with solid writing. It is not entirely a "favorite," but I really liked it, am very happy that I read it, and think YA fans would appreciate this as well.

The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Genre: General/Women's Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Review: Thanks to Christina T's recommendation, I picked this up from the library on Monday, started it then, and finished late night Tuesday. I am so very happy I read this. It was just what I needed - a change of pace, style, and genre. And I have to tell you, it is definitely a page turner. I literally could not put the book downg. The writing was casual and conversational, which made it so easy for me to relate and feel invested in the story. A couple of chapters later, I was still reading and still entertained. I liked the story line, but most of all, I really liked the characters. They were realistic and believable. They had flaws, but they also had such great qualities, and they didn't seem like they're just made out of stereotypes.

The Opposite of Me is light-hearted, engaging, entertaining, and heart warming. It's one of those "easy to read" novels, but with substance, if that makes any sense - which of course made me like it even more.

However, if you already know you don't like the Women's Fiction sub-genre, then I suggest you skip it. Other than that, I highly recommend this to Women's Fiction and General Fiction readers, especially to those who like the writing styles of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Wiener, Elin Hilderbrand, among many others.

Inspiration: Bookshelves

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lately, I've been looking at some photos of bookshelves online; basically imagining what my future bookshelf would look like. Right now, I am content with what I have in my room, but I know when I have my own place, I would decorate with books, books, and more books. I imagine a whole wall; it might get its own room or it might stay in the main living area. I don't know yet, but I have been obsessed with looking at these photos that I felt I had to share with you all. Hope you like the photos and the awesome video below!

I also wanted to share with you a video I think any book lover can appreciate. It's created by a group of artists, and I have to say, it's pretty amazing.

need your recommendations.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I constantly ask for book recommendations from book bloggers and I always end up finding good books through you, and so that's why I'm asking again.

This time, I am asking for titles that are either in the General/Contemporary/Literary Fiction genre or in the Mystery/Thriller genre. I have rediscovered the love for YA in 2010, but I know have also missed many good books from the two genres I am asking for. So if you know of any that you really enjoyed, please let me know.

Some of my favorites: The Thirteenth Tale, The Forgotten Garden, Water for Elephants, A Walk to Remember, etc.

Thanks so much!

Across The Universe by Beth Revis

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars
(The last time I gave a book a 5-star rating was back in December, so this is pretty exciting haha)

What can I say; this book truly has a great premise. It's very original and is something I haven't read before. I especially love the fact that it has everything for everyone - sci-fi, dystopian, romance, mystery, thriller, a bit of humor, a bit of darkness... you get the point. Started out slow in the very first few chapters - and I mean Chapters 1 to 4 - but that might have been just because I was being a little bit too impatient.

I enjoyed the protagonists, Elder and Amy, a lot. As narrators, they are awesome. I was hooked, and found myself really liking the two. Their connection is very realistic. I LOVED the fact that the romance part was a slow process. It wasn't cliche, pretentious, and forced in any way whatsoever. I hate it when two characters think they are in love with each other after one conversation or something; it just doesn't happen that way, in my opinion. Across The Universe does a great job making the romance part believable.

Beth Revis is definitely going to be a favorite 2011 debut author for me. I thought the writing was awesome; perfect amount of details, not cliche, not corny, unpretentious - definitely a natural story teller. As for its pace, I have to say it's just average. It's not fast, but it's definitely not slow either. This could be an issue for others, but it wasn't for me because I never once was bored with it.

To be honest, I was reluctant to read this book because it has received so much hype, but I am so glad it lived up to it. (At least, for me) It was just an entertaining read with an awesome plot line, great narrators, solid writing, okay pace, a great ending. And if it counts, it has a gorgeous cover too. I do recommend this to anyone who likes the YA genre. 5 stars for sure.

Sauron VS Voldemort: Who would win?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Yesterday, on book blogging hop day, Jennifer from Crazy-for-Books asked about our all-time favorite villains. I chose Sauron as my pick, and when I went around to see who others were picking, I noticed that a lot of people thought the same way - and with good reason ;) I also noticed though that Voldemort was quite a popular choice as well. So being the nerd that I am I started thinking a lot about these two villains; who would win if they fought?

You all know I love my Harry Potter series, but I have to give this to Sauron.

Sauron to me is just the quintessential villain in the fantasy genre. He is not just evil. He is the definition of evil. Let's not forget that he is after all a maiar, which would make him a god in a humanoid form. He could probably kill Voldemort just by staring at him. I know though that Voldemort is a very, very powerful wizard. He also has a lot of followers to help him out. However, he is still technically just a man who simply got lucky and achieved immortality.

I also think that Voldemort is way too confident with himself. He underestimates his enemies' powers, and acts on impulse, without really thinking of what he's doing. I feel like Sauron's smarter. He's mysteriously so, and you could tell he plans his battles very carefully. He wouldn't even try thinking of attacking Voldemort without making sure his Horcruxes aren't destroyed yet.

Considering Sauron hasn't found these Horcruxes yet, then Voldemort might have a chance. It's pretty low, but he might be able to throw an Avada Kedavra in there when Sauron's not looking or something. But, and this is a very big but, can an Avada Kedavra spell kill a demi-god? Probably not ;)

Who do you think would win?

HOP. hOp. HOP.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Welcome to my blog! If you came here from the Book Blogger Hop over at Crazy-for-Books, thanks for visiting! This is where I talk, rant, rave, and gush about all things, books! This week, Jennifer asks, "Who's your all-time favorite book villain?"

I actually talked about my favorite villains here, if you would like to read it. And I don't really know if I could pick just one book villain, but one that stands out to me is Sauron from the Lord of the Rings series.

I would love to check your blog out as well, so please leave your link here if you can. Also, visit me on Twitter! Happy Friday, everyone!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 stars

What I Didn't Like: This is simply a personal thing; I tend to not like books that are overly detailed. I thought this had way too many details and descriptions that weren't really needed -- like how the trees look at night or how the wind blows or something like that. It made some of the chapters dragging. This resulted to the book being a bit of a slow read for me.
I also sort of thought that it was a bit predictable; I already knew what was going to end up happening even by just reading the first few chapters or so.

What I Loved: Lauren Oliver is a great writer; I don't think anybody can argue with that whether or not they liked her books. She is a natural story teller; one that can develop her plot line and her characters quite effortlessly and flawlessly. She took a story line, such as this - that could have been way too cheesy or juvenile if handled by someone else - and was able to turn it into something fresh, original, and entertaining. I thought it was unpretentious and genuine, intriguing and interesting. I was into the story, despite the fact that it was a bit predictable. Of course it didn't hurt that I did like the main character, Lena, and absolutely loved her best friend, Hana, as well.

Overall: While there were a few negative things here and there - like the pace being slow for me and the premise too predictable - the positive things definitely made up for it. At the end of the day, if somebody asks me what I thought of Delirium, I'd say it was very good and that I really enjoyed reading it. It might not be for everybody, and is not necessarily a favorite of mine, but it sure was a good, entertaining, and sincere story. I really liked it, and recommend it for anyone who enjoys YA; both teens and mature YA readers.