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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blog Tour: The Fixer Upper

The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

Source: Harper for TLC book tours

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Dempsey Killebrew has no other choice but to move to Guthrie, Georgia when her boss is caught in a political scandal of bribing a US Congressman. Her father just inherited a house in Georgia in which he wants Dempsey to renovate to flip for profit when she gets fired from her job and her reputation in D.C. is in shambles. But the house is in need of much more than a sweep of the broom and a little Windex and Dempsey plans to tackle this project head-on with Michael Jackson on her iPod. The FBI is at her door though demanding Dempsey to help them get her boss to confess and put him firmly behind bars or else she risks getting herself in jail for 15 years with a heavy fine. And let's not forget that Guthrie is a small town where everyone knows everybody's business.
The Fixer Upper was a book that I had procrastinated on reading. I cleaned the house, read a couple of other books, reviewed plenty more and finally, grudgingly, began reading. The Fixer Upper gave off this sense of heavy, boring, full of legal and house cleaning information, but it was surprisingly easy to read and time escaped me.

The legal and political aspect of the novel were straight forward, to the point, and just enough to make the reader understand without taking up paragraph after paragraph worth of pages. The house flipping, on the other hand, was pretty hefty in terms of going in depth and filling up pages. I particularly did not mind it much because I enjoy watching DYI shows, but some readers will find themselves frustrated at the details.

The characters were a bit off putting for me especially Dempsey. It seemed to me that she had an Electra complex where she liked men who reminded her a bit of her father; particularly in the age category. It seemed to be a reoccurring theme in The Fixer Upper: older men dating younger woman. Her father marries a woman who is only 4 years older than Dempsey and Dempsey finds herself attracted to men who are about her father's age. It gets into a creepy factor when Dempsey describes men whom she finds attractive and then brings her father up. But it gets better (in a good way, not in a sarcastic way), trust me. I do find many of the characters likable and easy to relate to at times.

The Fixer Upper is ultimately a fun, great read that helps time to pass by quickly. It is dramatic and scandalous and enjoyable to read.

Find out more stops to The Fixer Upper tour here. You can find Mary Kay at her website and her twitter.

The Fixer Upper is now available in paperback.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wanna Get In My Head? [EDITED]

It's not as dirty as it sounds. Zoe interviewed me so time ago for her birthday celebration. A lot June babies I see! *points to self* So do you want to know who that hot, sexy, drool worthy guy* is (below)? Well it's at Zoe's blog~ 

EDITED: You know what would have helped? The link. A lot.

*me internally laughing.

Pucker Up

Pucker Up by Rhonda Stapleton

Source: Simon Pulse

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Pucker Up is the final installment to the Stupid Cupid trilogy by Rhonda Stapleton and what a pleasant ending at that. I just have a confession to make: I thought Pucker Up was the second installment, not the third thus I read it before Flirting with Disaster. Despite that I had no trouble keeping up with the plot and will definitely go back to read Flirting with Disaster. I just do not recommend skipping Stupid Cupid, the first book in the trilogy.

NOTE: Synopsis of Pucker Up has spoilers.
Felicity finally landed her dream guy Derek in Pucker Up; superpopular, hot, and extremely talented Derek who is not stuck up at all. But during one meeting, Felicity notices that her name and Derek’s name are on her boss’s spreadsheet next to each other. It can only mean one thing: her head honcho of Cupid’s Hollow matched them up. Does that mean that Derek doesn’t truly love her? Is her whole relationship a sham? Felicity starts to spiral out of control and her matchmaking ability goes down with it.
Thankfully there are distractions to keep Felicity from having a total meltdown: Maya’s parents are going through a tough ride; Andy’s having car troubles; and prom.
Pucker Up has the same elements as did Stupid Cupid: fun, flirtatious, and funny. There is something wholesome and enjoyable about this series that makes it such a guilty read, but it has enough drama and sass like divorce and cheaters that prevents it from becoming a cavity-inducing book. If you read The Naughty List by Suzanne Young you might understand the cute aspects of the book. Now just replace strawberry smooth with words like “ballsy” and you have Pucker Up.

Pucker Up and the series in general is very modern in terms of diction and references (PDAs anyone?) that may not far well with the test of time. It does, however, have elements that are classics like concerns if your love interest really does care about you and toughening out through a divorce.

The ending was expected yet unexpected at the same time. I will not give it away, but I will mention that it was fitting. It was just a bit too quick and was settled too easily for me though.

Stupid Cupid was hilarious—laugh out loud funny—but Pucker Up was more tender. Rhonda Stapleton has a very stable writing and consistently delivers each time. Her characters are all likeable including the ‘villains’ and her humor is agreeable to almost every reader.

Cover B-/C+

Series in Order:
Stupid Cupid
Flirting with Disaster
Pucker Up

Monday, June 28, 2010

Manga Monday: Special A

Special A (S.A.) by Maki Minami

Serialized: Viz Media
Genre: Shoujo, Drama
Age Group: 10+
Plot: 2 stars
Art: 3 stars
Characters: 2 stars
Other: Anime
(note: picture is from the anime series)

During my last Manga Monday, Anonymous mentioned Maid-Sama, which quickly reminded me of a hot little title: Special A.

Special A is another shoujo manga that features a hot-tempered girl and a cool laid back, but with many secrets guy. Girl studies really hard to be at the top of her class, comes from a lower-middle class family, extremely dense and cannot cook to save her life—at all. I am talking about superhuman strength that makes riceballs into bowling balls. Guy is good at everything—EVERYTHING—yet he loves the hot-headed girl because she is different.
“Her whole life, Hikari Hanazono has been consumed with the desire to win against her school rival, Kei Takishima--at anything. He always comes out on top no matter what he does, and Hikari is determined to do whatever it takes to beat this guy...somehow!

At age 6 Hikari lost to Kei in an impromptu wrestling match. Now, at 15, Hikari joins "Special A," a group of the top seven students at a private academy, for the opportunity to trounce the guy who made her suffer her first defeat.” —Amazon
This sounds a great, fun read for the summer because it is. And then it is not. Reading this entire series in one go will make the reader go crazy. You cannot imagine how much I wanted to strangle Hikari with enough annoyance to kill her off. There is dense and naivety then there is Hikari. It is also with that vexing phrase constantly repeated by her over and over and over and over again! Think Naruto with “I will be Hokage” almost every chapter.

The other characters make this manga bearable. But S.A. is soap opera—dramatized, fluffly (sickening), and to be consumed in small portions. Some people will also go as far as to say that S.A. is hilarious. Their words, not mine.

S.A Vol. 1 / S.A, Vol. 2 / S.A, Vol. 3 / S.A, Vol. 4 / S.A, Vol. 5 / S.A, Vol. 6 / S.A, Vol. 7 / S.A, Vol. 8 / S.A, Vol. 9 / S.A, Vol. 10 / S.A, Vol. 11 / S.A, Vol. 12 / S.A, Vol. 13 / S.A, Vol. 14 / S.A, Vol. 15 / S.A, Vol. 16 / S.A, Vol. 17 (end series: Nov. 2010)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Winners and Quick Help!

Anyway onto happier news. The contest for Shade and Deception finally closed and I drew the winners.

The 5 winners of Shade (from US entries):
Anna (annasbookblog) -claimed-
Marianna (patronus) -claimed-
Andrea I (ainfinger) never responded. Julie is chosen as new winner
Amanda B (crazypplrok) [they so do rock!] -claimed-
Meredith Miller (meredithfl) -claimed-

The winner of Shade (from international entries):
Mariska (uniquas) -claimed-
(I will be shipping this copy of Shade to Indonesia, woot!)

The winner for Deception:
Mable -claimed-

If one of those emails is yours send me an email with your full name and mailing address! I will wait 36 hours before spamming you and then you have a limit of less than 24 to respond back before I give up your prize to someone else. Sound fair?

Order Deception (Haunting Emma) or Shade (less than $10) from Amazon.

I typically use Iron Chrome (an Internet browser that not many have heard of, but my brother swears it load pages super fast. I just use it so he can shut up) but for no real reason I decided to load my blog on Firefox. What. The. @#$%. On Firefox my blog looks very different; you can see more of my background image (which I changed slightly) and everything shrank. On Iron the posts' font is legible, on Firefox it is squint-worthy.

I increased the font size by 10% and my sidebar font by 10% as well. Did it make a difference? Was it a helpful difference!? Maybe my Iron browser was fine and that Firefox was acting crazy? So can you let me know if the size of the font is too small or too large or if it is fine right now?

Then I noticed another difference.... I think my blog lags. Maybe it was just Firefox lagging. Opinions? *sigh*

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Books By Its Cover

Books By Its Cover was a feature that I started on my blog because I love book covers (insert: duh). But I had to stop because of time constraints and deemed it in indefinite hiatus, which it was for the last 6 months. Now with some extra hours to work on my blog, I think I am ready to start the feature once more. Just differently though this time.

Previously I asked everyone to email me your "guesses" on the cover I was "talking" about. Not anymore. This time, I am using one Google document form for the entire month, meaning no more hints. I used to give hints out the people who were struggling, but then I realized my hints were a tad bit too strong.

Light's opposite 
Gravity forces

(first line will always have to do with the color of the book)

Freefall by Mindi Scott

So say you guessed correctly and said that the book I was trying to hint at was Freefall, you would then fill out the Google form with the appropriate information. I will typically repost the form 4 times, once for each Saturday, for every new stanza I write. Each "stanza" will describe a different cover each Saturday.

At the end of the month I will tally how many correct guesses you made and each of those correct answers will serve as an entry to a contest. So you guessed Freefall, which is correct, that means you will have one entry in that month's contest. You only need one correct answer to be entered, but it would not hurt to have a few extra entries.

Now doesn't that all sound very confusing? It makes sense in my mind, but not in cohesive words. Next Saturday Books By Its Cover will restart with 4 stanzas, poems, words, whatever you call it.

The winning prize will be Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison. I know I did not love it, but I am sure some of you are interested. And yes, it will be an international contest.

Bargain Books (2)

What do you get when you combine a book fanatic and a hot afternoon with nothing much to do? Reading? If stalking Amazon for bargains is your answer, then you are correct!

I love going onto Amazon occasionally and seeing what they have for sale. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. My e-reader just arrived yesterday (Sony, in black, not sure how I feel about it yet since I can't pry it off my brother's fingers) so while I may be increasing the amount of e-books I will be reading, I still love the feel of physical books in my hands. So this what I came across when I was digging through Amazon. I will most likely do another part of Amazon bargains next week as well.

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams * / review / interview
The Everafter by Amy Huntley / review
ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler

Peeled by Joan Bauer
Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson * / review

Jane In Bloom by Deborah Lyttoon

* recommended

Bargain Books ~ 1

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Reckoning (Rant)

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Source: Personal

Grade: 3.8 stars out of 5

In this final installment of the New York Times’ Bestseller, The Reckoning will have its readers’ pulse racing in this rush to the finish line. Chloe, Derek, Simon, and Tori are still escaping from Edison Group and yada yada yada. Let’s get to the juicy part: they run, they get caught (of course), kick-butting ensues and happy…ending? Before we talk about the ending let’s discuss the joy ride getting there.

What I loved from the two prequels—The Summoning and The Awakening—are still there thankfully. The Reckoning was fast paced occurring in about a week’s timeslot with enough ghost, demons, and werewolf Changings to last for the next several months until I start foaming for the next book by Armstrong. The fight scenes are detailed and more are easy to follow that is until the scene has about 50 billijian people in it and everyone is trying to kill each other. But other than that, we’re good.

There are several twists in the book some make me gasp, some make me gleeful, some make me give the book the stink-eye (really though, really!?), but I’m general happy with them. Though if Armstrong would clarify and explain some aspects of the twist in the novel I’ll be SUPER-happy.

Thus draws to the conclusion, a shake-the-book conclusion because I need more! I need more answers, I need more closure, but I ultimately need a solid end to a SERIES. If it were a standalone book with some slight details taken away, heck I would have taken the ending with stride, but as a series ending it lacks so very much. Whatever happened to them?

And then I find out that Armstrong has this new series/trilogy: The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1), which just makes me tilt my head and quickly clamor up my seat to read all that I can about it. From the FAQs:
Will any of the Darkest Powers characters appear in this trilogy?

Kelley intends to join the two groups of characters, but that won’t happen until at least the last book in this trilogy.
Oh my God *pulls hair*. So Darkness Rising will feature another group of experiments by the Edison Group and will not feature Chloe or Derek until the last installment of that trilogy.

Cover B

P.S. Are Armstrong's adult paranormal series any good? I need more of her books (as a poor substitution of me already missing Derek and Chloe and the gang).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Which Postal Service Serves You The Best?

This week I had the pleasure of experiencing 4 different types of postal service in the US: FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS. It was a doozy* though.

I personally love FedEx because they're really prompt and they know how to leave packages on the porch when we can't run to them in 1 minute flat. However mailing packages out via FedEx=pain in the butt. We had a hard time finding a drop-off box and even finding a store.

USPS is 88% ♥. I'm not very fond of the previous workers at my local USPS--very grumpy and snappy--but they cost the least to ship and gets the job done. Plus I see them so often that they don't even ask which type of mailing I want *snickers*. The delivery man and the new coworkers pretty much me know by face now.

UPS--the man/woman in brown. It's an iconic thing. But they're services? I've read horror stories about them and the only thing I've experienced from those stories are the pounding on doors screaming UPS! UPS! UPS! every 5 seconds (because really I can run from my bedroom to the front door in 5 seconds).

DHL is a roller coaster. I've only used DHL once before and it turned out horribly. They lost the package and Amazon had to reship it using UPS. This time around I only thought they lost my package twice. I bought the book on the 10th and it was sent on the 11th. A weekend followed it so I didn't bother checking on the tracking number but on Monday I did. So the book left the processing center and arrived at the pick-up point around the 14th and left to be delivered. Okay, good, on schedule. Three days later it's still in the same state so I'm getting worried. The horror stories get so bad about DHL that there is apparently a website about it? I'm gnawing on my fingers debating if I should email Barnes and Noble about this "lost" package when YAY! the very next day it shows that it finally arrived to Maryland. 3-4 days to travel across one state.
Then it was dropped off to USPS for them to deliver to my house. Why can't DHL just deliver it? (I live in PA by the way--one state above MD).

Do you personally have any horror stories regarding the postal service? Which company do you like best?


Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Source: Random House UK and Tabitha

Grade: 5 stars 
Lochan has always been the socially awkward—inept—boy whose beauty attracts the girls and whose written prose and intelligence delights the teachers. But Lochan has more than enough to handle than to deal with a love life for his father left for a new family in Australia and his alcoholic mother, who acts more like the child, begins to date again and with 4 siblings to take care of. Definitely more than enough to handle. Yet Maya—beautiful, strong, and gentle Maya—younger than Lochan by 13 months, is there to help him deal with the stress.

Lochan and Maya have always been close—best friends since toddler years. It is only recently that the prospect of Maya dating and kissing some other boy does the secret escape and become something they have always suspected: they love each other. More than what a brother and sister should be allowed.

But it’s an illegal act, disgusting even more so. So they must deny, hide, and escape from these feelings. It must be locked up with the key to be thrown away. A façade must be put in place to shield from the world from these feelings but with the mask in place they become hollow shells of themselves. With love they are vibrant; with denial they are ghost.
Brilliantly told in alternating point of views Tabitha Suzuma will have William Shakespeare run for his money in this modern-day adaption of forbidden love. The novel will leave its reader exhausted from the constant heart thumping, panic attacks, and shaky smiles. It is a riveting tale of struggle: against your own emotions, against your family and peers, against the world filled with people who do not know you, but will not hesitate to judge you.

The relationship between Maya and Lochan leaps from the pages as they battle what they deemed correct yet separately they still manage to glow intensely that at times it becomes dangerous. They present the dilemma from various view points on this controversial topic with a simplistic counterargument as showcased with the quote from the back cover: ‘You’ve always been my best friend, my soul mate, and now I’ve falling in love with you too. Why is that such a crime?’

I must say I also enjoyed the younger siblings for they provided the needed pause in the emotional rollercoaster to give a minute for me to catch my breath. It is well timed and devised. Though I will say I spotted some writings error, but I’m a bit hesitant to judge them harshly for my unsure differences between the British English and American English. There is also the concern of the ending, well more of the climax, that left me wondering—how did she get in anyhow?—and with concerns of Social Service. The overall ending, however, was shock-worthy enough to make my jaw drop and pause, but I wonder what the world in the novel thinks of Maya and Lochan’s relationship.

Tabitha Suzuma goes beyond than what I had expected to create such a gripping world in Forbidden. A world to love the finer moments of life that others might take for granted. A world where the dirty secret can grow from the cracked sidewalk, twining onto the barbed wire fence, and blooming into a blood-red daisy. And for that I thank Suzuma and gleefully applaud her for an intense 5 hour read.

Cover B-

Warning: Book is not suitable for the younger audience. Does include sex, topics such as incest as well as cuss words.

Forbidden is out in the UK, but Amazon currently has Forbidden listed as a 2012 US release from Simon Pulse.

P.S. I have an older brother so I have strong opinions on incest and the possibility of incest in the Mortal Instruments series disgust me as well, but something worked in Forbidden. That's all I wanted to say.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Zen and Xander Undone

Zen and Xander Undone by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Source: Personal Bookshelf

Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Ever since their mom past away, Zen and Xander have dealt with their grief in different ways. Zen turned to martial arts as a physical outlet while Xander turned to late night parties and drugs despite her exceedingly intelligence having been accepted to both CalTech and MIT. Zen although being the younger sister is watching out for Xander for her fighting skills comes in handy against unwanted men. Adam, however, Zen and Xander’s next door neighbor, is wanted. But ever so often a letter from their mother shows up and it breaks them even more.
There is nothing characteristically great about Zen and Xander Undone. It can be the fact that the novel is fairly short, clocking in at 200 some pages. It can also be because the novel focuses so much more on Xander that I lost Zen making the first person narration worthless. I do specifically recall her back pains for Zen—just a lot of back straining.

The various methods of grief—hidden from the world, physical violence, and destruction of oneself—are well done. The typical denial of death is not there, which is surprising considering the fact that letters and packages are being delivered to them. In the end, however, I still feel that the novel presented nothing wrenching or addicting to the reader making the novel feel longer than it truly was. It may seem like an oxymoron, a long short book, but it felt endless at times yet when it was done, it felt incomplete.

I do happen to like Paul, another male interest you shall meet. He added the extra oomph and comedic humor that every book needs.

Cover D
Sorry, but there's just something oily and stringy about it. I like this other version better.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Am...Team Unicorn!

Somehow I was dragged into this mess by Sharon. She told me to write a post about Zombies vs. Unicorns for April which became this conversation:
sharon: need a post from you for zomb vs uni week.
yan: i like unicorns. they go behhhh. and stab people
sharon: O_o
yan: what
sharon: so you suck
yan: nuh-uh you suck
sharon: write about zombies anyway
yan: no
sharon: sucky
yan: you can't pet zombies. they bite your fingers off
sharon: zombie cats
yan: they eat your eyeballs
sharon: but they are cute. and go meowww nomnom
yan: that's your face they're going nomnom on
sharon: unicorns will kill you
yan: at least you'll be stabbed by pretty pink sparkly unicorns
sharon: uh not they are ugly some of them like giant monsters
yan: which you can ride and terrorize the town's people with.
Thus concludes why unicorns rock and why you can never have a pet zombie kitten!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Friends Are Weird (Crazy)

I wasn't going to do this, but a friend told me to post this picture up and I succumb to peer pressure easily ;) So um happy birthday to me? Here's what one friend decided to do (and post on facebook):

(it features horrible pictures of us but yay photoshop lol)

So this just reinforces my thinking that my friends are crazy (like me). To the people who already wished me happy birthdays, thank you (my inbox thanks you as well lol)!! I wish I could thank you all individually with hugs :(

P.S. Happy now Judy? ;P

Manga Monday: Otomen

Otomen by Aya Kanno

Reviewing: Volumes 1-3
Serialized by Viz
Genre: Shoujo, Romance, Comedy
Age Group: 10+
Plot: 3 stars
Art: 4.5 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Other: Live Drama series

Asuka Masamune is an otomen—he likes girly such as sewing, baking, cooking, making cute stuffed animals and reading shoujo mangas. But he hides that behind his stoic, cool and calm personality so no one will know. Especially considering his father left him and his mother to become a woman.

Ryo Miyakozuka is the mere opposite. She’s a manly girl who cannot cook, sew, or bake to save her life. She only lives with her father so she has no mother figure to teach her these life necessities.

Asuka likes Ryo and the more he likes her, the more he’s baking, making cute stuffed animals and reading mangas. Ryo, however, only likes the manliest or men!

My friend loves this series. I find it decent enough. It’s awkwardly funny with enough sweetness to rot any set of teeth. It’s cliché, it’s cheesy, it’s adorable, it’s one dimensional—it’s shoujo. There are some mild twists that only add to the “awh” factor.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Crash Test Love

Crash Test Love by Ted Michael

Source: Delacorte Books

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

I recall previously I had read Ted Michael’s debut novel The Diamonds and compared it to "Mean Girls", the movie starring Lindsey Lohan. Now I’m going to compare his second novel to “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”.
Henry is considered a “player” but there’s more to that. His mother left him and his father years ago, just one is gone never to return. Ever since then Henry has this idea never to get too close to girls because they always leave. He and his best friends crash sweet sixteen parties and hook up with a girl there—though Henry is only with enough of the charm to go through with that plan. He leaves the girls with false names to confirm that they will never meet again. That’s what he planned to do on this night. But he runs into Garrett who seems to captivate him for the very start and leaves her with his real name: a crash-code broken.

Garrett is new to Long Island having just moved. She’s very susceptible to the male gender and has had her heart broken several times—because what’s love without the freefall. But she’s made a pact to herself: she will not date or fall in love until college. But she can’t get Henry out of her mind. You can imagine how surprised she is when she discovers him to be at her new high school and the reputation he has. Or even her own. Apparently there has been a rumor that Henry has already made his latest conquest with Garrett.

But the J squad a.k.a. the three most popular girls in school are going to help Garrett out and she’s elated because she hardly ever makes girl friends. They have a condition though: make Henry fall in love with you and dump him during Destiny’s sweet sixteen—the largest party ever—or else we’ll make your life miserable here. There’s just that one little problem you see. What happens if you fall in love with him as well?
The novel is separated into two point of views: Henry and Garrett that rotates. It gives a more in-depth impression that works well with the story. However there is an inconsistency with Henry’s point of view in regards to the dialogue. Typically it goes in this format:

Person 1

But then there were at times when normal dialogues pop up with ‘he said, “…”’ that threw me off.

I love Henry’s friends. They are quirky, silly, off the top with the most lamest jokes ever, and they’re the kind of friends that will be there for you thick and thin. Some scenes make me go ‘awhhhh’, some scenes make me snort and laugh, but every scene portrays them as likeable fellows.

Henry is the middle man. I like him. I get confused by him. I find him dislikeable the way he uses girls. But he grows. After the conversation about his mother you find his personality understandable (just not likeable). As he falls in love with Garrett he’s freefalling. He’s multidimensional with more emotions than what meets the eye.

Garrett is the type of character that I dislike. She plays victim almost constantly that irks me. I had this very strong urge to skip her chapters.

Overall Crash Test Love could have been stronger. I felt like I enjoyed reading the secondary characters more than the main characters and the ending felt…odd. I guess odd is a poor substitute of how I really feel because the ending is different from the norm and I can’t figure out if it’s a cop-out or a brilliant move on Michael’s end.

Cover C+
Some people love me it. Me? Not so much. I think it's just the colors.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The School of Possibilities

The School of Possibilities by Seita Parkkola; translated by Annira Silver and Marja Gass

Source: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (for blog tour)

Grade: DNF; page 98 out of 368 #IFail
“Storm Steele is an impossible child.

Or so his parents believe thanks to the influence of his evil “step-monster.” Now Storm is being forced to attend the School of Possibilities for troubled youth. But Storm notices that something strange is going on at his new school. The students are not…normal.

Soon he’s being spied on, followed by classmates—and worst of all, forced to accept the headmaster’s perfectly behaved daughter as his girlfriend. He can feel himself becoming more obedient, more like his classmates. Storm tries to resist, but he doesn’t understand how or why the school is controlling him.

Can Storm escape—or will he be turned into a zombie of “good” behavior like everyone else around him?”

—from back of the novel
There comes a time when I call it quits. Or at least quits for now. The School of Possibilities should really have everything I look for in a middle grade novel: quirky writing, interesting plotline, outlandish characters. But something was very off for me. Maybe it could the vague details dragged on chapters that I had trouble understanding the purpose on. That or it could be the fact that I dislike many if not all of the characters. From mindless zombies to full on evil step-families, this novel a downer.

The School of Possibilities is like Candor (or from what I can gather) in middle grade novel form. Now add Charlie Brown’s world of adults of “wha wha wha whan wha…” that my mind goes when I read this novel. Even so the pictures make up most of the fun, very quirky thick-lined fun. Think The Mysterious Howling artwork.

Cover B

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Double Blog Dare Tour

Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden by J.Torres and Jason Bone

Source: Tundra Books for blog tour

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

The Adventures of Alison Dare follows an unstoppable (a.k.a stubborn) girl named Alison Dare. She's always curious, and whenever bored, creates a new adventure for she and her friends, whether they want to or not. However, sometimes curiosity kills the cat (or is that how the saying goes?) and Alison gets in more trouble than she bargained for. Though with a renowned archaeologist mother, a superhero father, and an international superspy uncle, she should be used to it.

There are actually a couple stories in one graphic novel. Sometimes it halts one story to begin another one then goes back to the original first story to build suspense (it works). The story lines are simple and easy to follow even for a first time reader of Alison Dare such as myself. The same applies to the artwork--simple but gets the job done.

I think out of all the adventures I read, the most favorite one has to be where the nuns of the school (I think Alison attends an all girls Catholic school?) battle a group of ninjas. It has me laughing from the bizarre scenario.

Alison Dare is a quick, fun, and easy read for all ages and for both genders.

Alison Dare battles the fire-breathing glow-in-the-dark dragon!

Alison Dare as she heroically leaps over spikes!

Alison Dare as she triumphantly defeats the Evil Old Lady Who Lives In A Shoe!

Alison Dare as she fights against a new evil-doer--herself! EVIL CLONES!

(Yes I know, she's quite busy isn't she ;P)

Find more Alison Dare at the other tour stops!