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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Something weird's happening on the Official Vampire Academy facebook. Something about a countdown. Something "really exciting". I have liked this page a long time ago and am getting updates every now and then. Richelle Mead hasn't said anything about it, but the page is buzzing.

I have changed my mind - I don't want them to make a Vampire Academy movie. I don't want them to find a crappy actress to play Rose. I don't want them to find ugly guys (I have weird taste) with fake Russian accents. I don't want my images of Vampire Academy clouded with someone else's.

I want Vampire Academy to stay a book and not a movie, nor a TV show, nor a webseries. I'm just going to recommend it as a book to everyone who asks what they should read.

Why am I posting about this now?

I just recently watched Disney channel's "original" movie Geek Charming on Netflix.

Fallon, why did you watch Disney movies on Netflix?

Because I read the book this particular movie was based on. Before it came out (Goodreads says I finished it in 2010). I don't know if it's Disney or not but the movie was completely different from the book. I mean, I guess I understand the hair color changing, and okay fine they made the girl fall in love with the boy (which really doesn't happen in the book, and I really liked that it didn't). It's just that some things were not brought up, like why Amy and Dylan stopped being friends in middle school. In my opinion, it's not minor. It showed the Dylan had every right to be angry and Amy wasn't perfect. These characters are human. In the movie, it was just that simply Dylan didn't want to be in perfect Amy's shadow. Cop-out.

I don't want the VA movie to skimp on Lissa biting Rose and Rose enjoying it - it's a very adult scene but it's IMPORTANT. I'd hate it if Rose instantly fell in love with Dimitri. There's no way anyone could shoot the scene with Jesse better than the way I picture it. I want Christian to be goth kid of the century... and a bajillion more things I want to control.

And it won't happen. I have no control.

I won't unlike the page though, because I want to get updates. And admit defeat when it comes. And I will drag my boyfriend to see this film, if this does come out. If it's not as good as Hunger Games, he'll hate it, and if it's not as good as the book, I'll hate it.

Here's to hoping that Bloodlines stays in paper form and they'll make a R-rated Succubus Blues.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Golden Lily

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives. Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist. When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by
Richelle Mead

Grade: 2 stars out of 5

Oh my... I love Richelle Mead. She is my favorite author, currently. I've read a little bit from each of her series, especially Vampire Academy, and I'm totally in love with her heroines and her writing style. Rose, Eugenie, and Georgina are very similar-- strong, witty, beautiful, full of biting retorts, not always thinking before speaking, etc. So, when I heard that she was going to kinda-sorta continue the Vampire Academy Universe from Sydney's POV, I was REALLY excited. I wanted to read her tell a different sort of character, because Sydney is, as Mead stated herself, the opposite of impulsive Rose. Sydney is always calculating, reserved, thinks ahead, etc. I wanted to see Mead write from out of her comfort zone.

I liked Bloodlines #1. Twas good.

The Golden Lily - kill me, but 3 months later, and I still haven't brought myself to finishing it. For a Mead book, for me, that's UNHEARD of. I think someone's dead... or in trouble. I think there's a love triangle. I don't know... AND I DON'T CARE. I even didn't feel like writing my own summary and stole it from goodreads.com.

Sydney is boring. She's perfect in every way. She's smart, she's pretty, she's skinny, she's kicking ass, she's magical (or something). At least Rose had a couple faults. Adrian (and so many people will be mad at me) is boring. More drinking, more underachieving, I want him to do more than just wallow in his pity and Sydney's hot body. Everyone else has lost their pizzaz, their uniqueness. If Richelle Mead killed them all in the next book (what is it called, Indigo Spell?), I would be like 1000000x less upset then I was at the end of Shadow Kissed, and I was INCREDIBLY sad at the end of Shadow Kissed.

I think Mead's throwing too much into here. The pairings are clear, even with the love triangles. Sydney has too many responsibilities and not enough hours in the day. And frankly, I am just not interested in any super powers she may have (duh, I haven't finished the book).

Maybe I'll crack it open the next time I want to procrastinate on my homework. And I'll come back and finish this review.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pushing the Limits Giveaway!

I am tired and busy and stressed. I am very, very behind on my blogging and I can't promise that I'll be blogging again soon. I will mention that Books by Their Cover will not be abandoned; it's just going to be set aside while I focus on my classes and my work. I've been reading a motley selection of books and there's been a couple that I have to recommend. For now, however, just a quick giveaway!


"No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again."




Q: What was your inspiration for writing Pushing the Limits?
A: I had two main inspirations: One, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a story in which my characters felt strong enough to leave their pasts behind and create new futures for themselves. The first scene I ever saw in my mind was Echo and Noah leaving town after graduation. Two, I wanted to write two characters who were facing over- whelming issues and who, through battling these issues, found hope at the end of their journey.
Q: How did you come up with Echo’s name?
A: Echo went through several name changes as I wrote the man- uscript. For a while, she had a very normal name, but it alwaysfelt off. It wasn’t until I looked at Echo from her mother’s point of view that I found her name. Echo’s mother loved Greek my- thology so it made perfect sense that she would name her chil- dren after the myths. I read several Greek myths and the mo- ment I found Echo’s, I fell in love. Echo, to me, was the girl who lost her voice. Thankfully, she finds it by the end.
Q: Which character is the most “like” you?
A: All of them. I gave each character a piece of me (though some have larger slices of me than others). Overall, I’d say I’m a strange combination of Echo, Lila and Beth. Echo has my need to please, Lila has my unfailing loyalty to my friends and Beth encompasses my insecurities.
Q: Did you experience friendships with Grace types when you were in high school?
A: Yes. And the more people have read this story, the more this question comes up. Grace has struck a stronger nerve in people than I ever would have imagined. It seems most of us have un- fortunately experienced a relationship where a person wants to “like” you and wants “be your friend,” but only if it serves their needs. In case anyone is wondering, that isn’t friendship.
Q: Are there any parts of the story you feel particularly close to?
A: Yes. The relationship between Noah, Isaiah and Beth. Beyond my parents and sister, my nearest family members were over fourteen hours away. My friends became my family. The peopleI grew up with were more than people I watched movies with or talked to occasionally on the phone. These were people with whom I shared life’s most devastating moments, but also my hardest laughs. These were people who I would have willing- ly died for and I know they would have done the same for me. They shared my triumphs with smiles on their faces and con- gratulatory hugs. They held me when I cried and offered to beat up whoever hurt my feelings. These were also the same people who were more than happy to get in my face if they thought I was making a wrong decision.
Q: Did anything that happens to Echo happen to you?
A: Sort of. I was bitten by a dog when I was in second grade and repressed the memory. It felt very strange to have no memory of an incident that other people knew about. It was even strang- er to have injuries and not have an inkling where they came from. In college, I finally remembered the incident when a dog lunged at me. I relived the horrible event and sort of “woke up” a few minutes later to find myself surrounded by people I loved. Even though I “remember” the incident, I still don’t remember the whole thing. I only see still frames in my mind and there is no blood in any of the memories.
You can visit Katie at her website


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Friday, June 22, 2012

The Immortal Rules Giveaway!

Oh hey, how's your week going? The temperatures been around the high 90's and low 100's on the east coast. I've swallowed several pints of ocean water and pretty sure a couple of bugs. I just got a call-back from Penn's Medical Center about my volunteer application, which is good. Celebrated my birthday yesterday, also good. Can you guess how old/young I am now? Then I found out I need about 3 more vaccine shots, which is very bad as I hate needles.

But enough about me, let's talk about what you can win to make an awesome last week of June.

Hint: she wrote a best-selling series about the fey.

Another hint: it's in the blog title.

It's The Immortal Rules!
"In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity."Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of "them." The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked--and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend--a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what--and who--is worth dying for.
website / author's website / twitter / amazon link


Enter quickly!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Struck

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Published: May 8, 2012; hardcover
Source: ARC from publisher

What Jennifer Bosworth wrote is something that is frighteningly possible. A massive religious cult, another massive cult trying to stop the other cult, no government stability, prices on basic needs sky-rocketing, etc. Of course in real life there is no psychics or magical beings who with withhold lightening.
In this dystopian novel, Mia Price is the only one who can either save the world or destroy it. Mia is addicted to being struck by lightening and will chase it in for that one hit. Like a drug addict, she keeps asking for more and it shows. With Lichtenberg Figures dancing all over her body, she dresses in black to not scare anyone. But people know who she is, what she’s done, and what she can do.

Jeremy wants to protect Mia, but from what and exactly from whom?
I’m conflicted with my response to Struck. I think it’s dangerous, sexy, and creative. But then again I think it’s creepy, underdeveloped, and too quick.

My biggest issue was Mia and Jeremy. Mia and Jeremy happened too fast for my liking. I found Jeremy really creepy in the beginning and exasperated at how quickly Mia was able to forgive Jeremy. The foundation to the relationship weak; their connection together too strong given the amount of time together. I found both characters lacking in development and background. Of course this is only part one of a series so I expect more later on.

What I did find fascinating was just the idea behind Struck. It’s something I’ve never read before and something I never expected to read. This book will hit a couple of sore spots for some, but I think overall it’s so interesting and unique that will make people curious and draw them in.

I love that Bosworth takes the most innate part of human and expands it. Why does Mia like to be struck by lightening? Because it gives her a high; it makes her feel alive. Why does the Prophet want to run the world? Because it’s power and control and the need to feel safe from anybody. Why do people join the two different cults? Because it gives them a sense of purpose, it makes them feel needed, they want to survive, they want the weight taken off their shoulder. The basic drive in humans is so powerful that it can cause mayhem. I love it; I love that it’s a raw emotion.

The action scenes were done well. The cult scenes were deliciously strange and haunting. The characters were set apart and individualized ‘cause nothing spells a bad book when I can’t tell where one character ends and another begins.

The climax had a pow to it. The ending was satisfying. Struck was a solid read that has a solid audience.

Cover C+/B-


case of a lightening strike: Lichtenberg Figure

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Summer My Life Began

The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Published: May 10, 2012; paperback
Source: unsolicited ARC from publisher

What better way to spend your summer than figuring what you want to do for the rest of your life and love it too.
“Elizabeth Margaret--better known as Em--has always known what her life would contain: an internship at her father's firm, a degree from Harvard, and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is, it's not what she wants. So when she gets the opportunity to get away and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em learns that her family has some pretty significant secrets. And then there's Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can't resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels that for the first time ever, she is really living life on her own terms.” 
The Summer My Life Began is a relaxing summer read with light hand of poor family relations.

Em spends her summer doing what she loves and what I somewhat enjoy doing, cooking. While TThe Summer My Life Began doesn’t include recipes, there are some inspirational dishes that can be mimicked. Delicious sounding dishes that I’m sure will make the taste buds tingle.

One thing that I love is how the book juxtaposes Em’s internal conflicts with her external ones. Just as Em finds her calling, family relationship starts to crumble. On one hand, I love that Em’s following her passion and that cooking seems to be so right for her. I, for one, would love to find something I am great at, can make a career from, and have so much passion for it. On the other hand, I don’t envy the pressure from the family to be perfect and something I’m not. Ultimately I was rooting for Em to be a chef and get out from her parents’ steel wings.

Her summer at her aunt’s place that sparked this new Em is a beautiful setting to the novel. I love how Greenland spent some scenes traveling throughout the town and giving it more atmosphere. The blossoming of Em’s new romantic relationship with Cade is sizzling. Cade is the local bad boy with a troubled past and a great future ahead of him. I was slightly iffy about Cade and Em because it seemed almost too soon and too quick, but the relationship grew on me.

The big hush-hush secret that runs through the family can be easily predicted. It is quite hinted throughout the novel. I didn’t mind it as much as others, despite it’s somewhat being a cliché, mostly because I never saw The Summer My Life Began as a life-changing novel. It’s a summer read meant for readers to enjoy, not dissected. I enjoyed it.

Read The Summer My Life Began if you’re looking for something light, but with a surprising hearty bite at the last minute. Some parts of the novel can be fleshed out more and I wished that the emotions can be stronger, but all-in-all a good read.

Cover B-

Friday, June 15, 2012

This is Not a Test

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Grade: 4 stars out of 5
Published: June 19, 2012; paperback
Source: ARC from LibaryThing ER

I have a love affair with Courtney Summers’s books. I’m usually strictly a paranormal gal (I mean, have you seen my bookshelf?), but as soon as Courtney Summers’s has a new book I’m on it like as if it were a cupcake—devoured with a every-man-for-themselves attitude. So when Summer’s announced her new book involving zombies I had to read it!

And thank you jebus that these zombies are not the cuddly, happy-go-lucky zombies that’s French kissing some cheerleader/goth dude. No, this is eating-the-flesh-off-your-face zombie.



Oh yeah.


This is Not a Test is about Sloane and a motley set of teenagers trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. Of course, what’s a Summers’s work if there isn’t emotional tension, angst, and drama. A boring one is what that will be.

This is Not a Test is heart pounding, jaw clenching novel that really leaves you hanging off the edge of your seat. (I know, I know, second POV is bad because it makes me sound obnoxious, but truly, this novel will have you on the edge.) While the zombies attack is an essential part of the novel, it is not the main focus. For This is Not a Test is a character driven novel with Sloane being the instigator. It is about living to survive from abandonment. Learning how to breathe even when the room starts to feel small and closing in. Learning to forgive people.

Summers’s draws forth an emotional response from the reader in every chapter. Even with the first person point of view, there’s an attachment and connection to the other characters. Take a deep breath in, and exhale slowly because it’s easily to get wrapped up in the characters. It’s so easy to get caught up in the loneliness and the despair from Sloane. Sometimes the urge to yell at someone is strong, other times tears sting your eye. There were so many times I had to stop reading, close the book, and take a minute to collect myself before I started to bawl. I became so emotionally invested in Sloane that it surprised me. I wanted to follow her tale till the wee rosy-fingered dawn. But I passed out around midnight so instead I dreamed about it. I wanted her live, but I wanted her to want to live even more.

By now you might have noticed my lack of mentioning of the zombies aside from the initial introduction. There’s a reason for that. Courtney Summers writes fantastic contemporary works of fiction. This is Not a Test reads just like a contemp. book with zombies being in the background. The zombies may be the ones that started the book, but the story of Sloane started before that. What the zombies do is make everything much more intense; it kick-starts the adrenaline. That’s not to say there aren’t any zombie fighting and chasing scenes. And that’s not to say what Summers’s wrote about the zombies wasn’t frightening. Because there were and it was. There is more to This is Not a Test than flesh-eating zombies.

The one part of Summers’s novels that frustrates me: the ending. They are typically open-ended and for me, I need to know what happens. Will they make it? To the new safe house? As a couple? Will Sloane continue to want to live? What happens now!?

With Summers’s terse writing and some unforgettable lines, This is Not a Test will haunt you; it’ll stick with you even after you finished reading it. I want to carry this book with me always so I can smack people in the face and demand that they read it. Now!

Cover A-
Absolutely love the blood splatter and the tilt of the model's head.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fifty Shades of WTF Did I Read

Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed
by E.L. James

Grade: 0.5 stars out of 5
Published: self-pub then Vintage dropped a shiny penny for the series; paperback/kindle
Source: myself (why oh why)
Ages: 18+ but I started reading smexy books earlier so whatever floats your boat.
Cover: B+

Currently in my YA reading slump, I thought I would do a 180 and pick up some books that has been drawing attention: Fifty Shades trilogy. I’m sure every author would love to be in E.L. James’s position right now: a stellar contract, countless weeks on the NYT’s bestseller list, made USA Today’s list, in stores almost everywhere (including WalMart where I just had to gasp!), etcetera etcetera.

For those of you who have living under a rock, or in case of my many friends, just don’t care, the Fifty Shades series is about a guy named Christian Grey (hint hint, Fifty Shades of Grey) who’s a really rich guy that’s part philanthropist, part sexual and overly bearing dominant with an inner 14-year adolescent that’s really horny and afraid of being abandoned. He also has a really bad case of an Oedipus Complex.

Now it’s not all about him, despite the fact that his ego can fill up an entire room, because it takes two to do the dirty deed. Oh, I should mention that this trilogy is a BDSM, erotic, love tale, but more on that later. Now the lovely partner/lover/semi-submissive to the ever dominant Christian is Anastasia Steele. She’s pretty and a brunette and really good at reading/critiquing manuscripts. She also loves her stepfather. There’s nothing really much about her per se except being exceptionally pretty to the point where almost every single straight guy around her is in love with her. Or perhaps they just want to get in her pants.

She also talks to her inner goddess, which is within her subconscious even though the subconscious is something you're unaware of she frequently talks to it. So much so that I would like to stake her inner goddess.

So the whole series is about them being trying to be together. Through the ups (sex), and downs (bad relationships, a “crack whore mom”, a crazy stalker/murderer, a boyfriend who wants to control every aspect of your life, an ex-submissive/dominant/the way older woman who taught you sex, etc) they somehow work things out. Instant love works amazingly well in fiction.

Straight up, I did not like the Fifty Shades trilogy. Shocking really. Firstly, I wish I had never known that this was originally a Twilight fanfiction. I compared it to the original Twilight than I compared it to the really great fanfictions I’ve read. What’s bad was that I caught E.L. James using a certain Twilight character’s real name instead of the name that James’s created. Uh oh. (Luckily I’ve read enough Twilight parodies that I’ve grown used to these mistakes.) Secondly, what a poor set of characters: dislikable and vapid. Thirdly, the plot sucked. Lastly, which I think was the blasphemous of the entire book, the sex…was bland. For a BDSM erotica, I was expecting some steamy, wow sex, but most was very “vanilla” and repetitive that I fell asleep. At 10 PM. I kid you not.

Christian and Anastasia have no idea what they want in each other and it’s horrifyingly embarrassing reading them interact. Cheesy, cliché, and uninspiring dialogue flows between them like verbal diarrhea. The mind says no, but the body screams yes; I can’t live without you; sunshine comes out your ass, yada yada yada. I for one wanted to take the flogger, crop, paddle, and cane to smack them a few times. The conversations they have boils down to Christian wanting Ana to be safe and following what he asks/demands; she, of course, tells Christian that she understands his concerns and will try to take it into consideration. Not 5 hours later does she defy what he asked and then she gets pissed that he’s angry because she blatantly goes against what he says. Then he gets upset that she’s pissed and afraid that she’ll leave. She forgives him; they have sex. And repeat. And repeat. Over and over again and you wonder whatever happened to character development.


At that point I would like sparkly Edward back. (Not something I ever expected to say or type.)

The supporting cast is bland. Ana’s best friend is supposedly rich and intelligent. For the most of the series, she’s off vacationing and banging Christian’s brother who is supposedly cheating, but the author never goes into that. Christian’s sister is hyper and does not know what personal space is. Ana’s parents and friends are flickers of light.

The sex is bland for a BDSM erotica. Forget bondage. Forget doms and subs as that it didn’t last the entire book one of the series. Sadism still alive and kicking, but Ana gives off too many conflicting signals that I don’t doubt why Christian’s half-confused by the type of sex that have. (She likes it rough, but not roughly as if that’s not a vague statement.) There’s a couple of scenes where he spanks her (thank goodness he doesn’t ask, “who’s your daddy” because that would be disturbing on a new lever), they play with a couple of sex toys, and they really like elevators, but other than that it’s mostly typically love scene romance-y vanilla sex. That is not what I asked for.

So what we have so far is bland sex, poor characters, and a weak plot.

The one redeeming thing about the books was the crack whore mom and her impact on Christian. For whatever reason I find his childhood tragic and something I can easily sympathize to.

Stupid curiosity told me to read these books. Gah. Never listening to that again until next week…or at least until Thursday where I will try a chocolate panini.


Listen to Gilbert Gottfriend read Fifty Shades of Grey
Listen to Ellen Degeneres read Fifty Shades of Grey

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Vicious Deep

You’ll have to forgive me for this review; it’s been almost 3 months since I’ve written my last review. Hopefully it’ll be like riding a bike….

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova
Grade: 3.8 stars out of 5
Published: May 1st, 2012; harcover
Source: ARC from Sourcebooks for blog tour
You thought your family had secrets. For Tristan Hart, his family’s secret goes deep…deep into the ocean.

For 3 days, Tristan has been swept way in the sea by a crash. He was the only survivor. The big question on everyone’s mind is how? Someone has some explaining to do especially when a goldfish turned merperson comes popping out of the facet.
The first thing that was the most surprising was the fact that The Vicious Deep was written through a male’s POV via first person. Zoraida Cordova pulled it off well. Tristan Hart is one of those guys who is part jerk who knows that he’s hot and part sensitive guy that not many people know about. The first person POV helped immensely when drawing some the more subtle traits of Tristan: protective, loving, word-vomiting guy. But he’s still part jerk. There were moments in the book where I wanted to slap him upside the head, stomp on his toes hard, and say really mean things.

Tristan’s reactions to everything were realistic. The underwater kingdom that Cordova built was crafted amazingly. I enjoy the slight politics and balance between brutish and sophisticated lifestyle that the merfolk cultivated.

For me, I had trouble mostly with the pacing of the story and Layla, Tristan’s best friend and crush. I’m all for independent women, but I hated how she took every “no, don’t do it” as a challenge. There’s a difference between confident and reckless and Layla managed to cross that line for me many times. Tristan wasn’t the only thing I wanted to slap.

I loved the other characters. Love, love, love some of the secondary characters. Would a fifth “love” be excessive? No? Okay, I loovvveee some of them. The dad, mom, friends, and “cousins” brought so much to the book.

The second problem was that the pacing was rather slow for me. There were some scenes that I felt could have been cut out like the mall scene. The excess magical creatures, I hope would play a bigger role later on. Right now, it’s a little too heavy and too much of a wasted chapter. Perhaps I’m just impatient for the big showdown. (I’ve been told I’m quite impatient.)

In all, The Vicious Deep was a great adventure with its own great tale. I won’t look at mermaids/mermen the same way. With splashes of humor, action scenes that I can instantly visualize, and a great set of hero and heroines I look forward to the next installment.

did not like
Cover A
I prefer this cover a lot more. There's a greater appeal to the male readers than the older cover (which featured a girl on the cover), while still having appeal to the female readers. I absolutely love the eye-popping colors and how much it relates to the book. It's freaking awesome.

Bloggers of the Deep Tour with Zoraida: Sirens


My introduction to mermaids was Ariel, in Disney's The Little Mermaid. I idolized her, to the point where I tried to dye my hair red in high school (don't die your own hair at home). She could sing. She was beautiful. And unlike the other Disney chicks, she was proactive in getting her man!

Later in life, I started discovering the other side of mermaids. The side that lured you to the bottom of the sea. When they're not seen as pretty cartoons that sing off mediterranean rocks, mermaids are part animal. Mermaids were a warning tail to sailors.  They represented the dark and cruel mystery of the open sea.

If you had a chance of hanging out with Daryl Hannah from Splash or the girls from Pirates of the Carribean, which would you chose? I have a hard time deciding. I don't think people are purely bad or good. And since mermaids are half human, I'd like to think that they always have a choice in their actions. They are after all, carnivores, not to mention a higher life form.

In The Vicious Deep, you will meet my merpeeps. No two are the same, or have the same intentions.

Happy reading,
Zoraida

Visit Zoraida at: Blog / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What's There to do Over Summer with Carrie Jones

Currently in the midst of relaxing after the terrible semester of Spring '11, I'm planning my adventures for the summer (before friends start their summer classes and I start applying for a different job/volunteer work)! Hoping for some new ideas, I asked Carrie Jones what she's planning on doing over the summer.
So, I would really like to lie and pretend that my summer plans are going to be major and I'm going to save manatees from boaters and guest star on GLEE or DOCTOR WHO or something like that, but the truth is that this summer I will probably do what I do most of the year which is:

1. Write every day
2. Worry every day that I am not writing enough
3. Obsess every day that what I am writing is not good enough
4. Collapse in a heap on bed
5. Walk the dogs

Writing and obsessing about writing is a major part of my existence. However, I do live in a super cool place - Bar Harbor, Maine. During most of the year, Bar Harbor is pretty quiet, but starting in May the tourists come, and the summer residents come, and the hikers come, and the cruise ships come. Bar Harbor used to be where all the old money people in the U.S. would summer. They'd build these massive mansions and call them 'cottages.' They'd have dozens of servants. It was all a bit DOWNTON ABBEY only if DOWNTON ABBEY was:

1. Colder
2. In the United States
3. Had people with last names like Rockefeller and Morgan and Pierpont in it
4. Eventually had all the houses burn down in a massive fire that wiped out a good third of the island that the houses were on.

So anyways, this summer I plan to explore the ruins of the houses. There are a ton of trails in Acadia National Park, which I live right near. In the park are a lot of the ruins, which are pretty cool. And I plan to avoid the tourists who always want to know where the ocean is (when they are looking at it), and if you can see Europe from here (you can't), and why the lobster boats spin around in circles in a synchronized manner (the tides). I will also kayak a lot and hike a lot and obsess a lot and try to live the biggest life that I can.

And I will look for ghosts. And dragons in the mountains. And hopefully find Bigfoot.
I am weird like that.

I hope you all have a brilliant summer with limited obsessing and maximum adventure! 

Thank you Carrie! Good luck on your quest to fine Bigfoot! And I hope you have a great summer for those who have summer now.


Carrie Jones is a New York Times bestselling author and her latest book, ENDURE, just came out on the 8th! You can visit Carrie on twitter , website , and livejournal.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Alternate Views: 3 Mini-Reviews

Yan and I read some of the same books, but I didn’t want to do a complete review on the same books. It’d be a bit boring, right? But I like attention and I wanted to share my thoughts too! I picked three big ones that I would talk a little about, informally.

Legend by Marie Lu

Grade: 4.8 stars out of 5

I finished this in two days. I got it Sunday on the tour and I finished Monday night (early Tuesday morning) instead of doing DiffEq homework. I want to eat this book. Is that weird? It’s all black and gold and delicious; all mystery and suspense and romantic. I want Day. Where can I find a Day in real life?

“Screw June. Pick meeeeeee. I’m observant too! I got a perfect score [once] too!” It’s not fair. :(

Legend gives me hope for the state of YA fiction after the terribleness of Carrier of the Mark. GiveMeTheSecondOneNow. NAO!

Also, Marie Lu said she liked my name. WIN!

Psst... Yan's review here .




Isle of Night (The Watcher's #1) by Veronica Wolff
Grade: 2 stars out of 5

If I was violent person, I would hunt down every one who said “Oh it’s like Vampire Academy” and smack them with my copy of VA#6.
There were like two similarities between this monstrosity and VA and it was a) vampire school of guardians and b) hot guy.

I love Rose to death, but do I care about Drew? No; I hope she dies. I don’t want to hear how SOOPER SMRT she is. I don’t want her going on about everyone else is hot and she’s not “boo-hoo”. Taking the vampire aside, how realistic is the idea of beautiful people all over the world who have nothing left and they all have some special talent and are just right to guard vampires? Why do these vampires even need Watchers? Wolff explained it, but I forgot it. I don’t care.

When I’m super bored and I need motivation to write my own novel, I’ll read the sequel. It’ll be like one of those anti-drug campaigns that say “Meth – Not even once” or whatever. Except it will be with Isle of Night and it’ll say “Generic Beautiful Smart Main Character and Generic Beautiful Love Interest – Not even once.”

Yan's review is here. [Comment by Yan: Ouch, tell us how you really feel. My review is much more positive if anyone is curious to read a different POV.]





The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Grade: 4 stars out of 5


If you go back to my Carrier of the Mark review, I mention that in the middle of my rant to my friend Zach, a girl passes by and casually states “Everyone should read Hunger Gamers. It’s the best!” or something. I have a special smile for situations where I should keep my mouth shut, and here it made an appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I like Hunger Games. I was biting my nails all throughout the last half of the book. I like Katniss and Peeta and the other ones. I’m going to see the movie.

I understand why people are fanatical about this series, but I am not. I finished Hunger Games and went back to sleep. I didn’t HUNGER for the second book like I did with Legend. In fact, I started the second book on audio because I was bored, and I got as far as the second chapter before I just said “Meh, don’t care”. I’m not really Team Gale or Team Peeta; I don’t see the love triangle (though many say I should just finish the trilogy).

I think the book would have been so actually been "the best" if they all died. It would have been so much more powerful, a real “Screw you” to the dystopia, and I would have loved it and became a fan girl. But there’s no such thing as a standalone novel nowadays, and it’s better to have a seemingly happy ending and two more books, apparently.

[Comment by Yan: now I'm curious as to why you gave it 4 stars when you seem rather indifferent about the book.]

Friday, February 17, 2012

Poll Results and Questions (Please)

I closed the poll this morning and was pretty surprised with the results. Legend by Marie Lu was the clear favorite in the beginning, but over the past couple of days Born Wicked and A Million Suns started to catch up.

In the end, however, this is the result*:
What does that all mean?

It means that....
  • Legend by Marie Lu won the poll at 41%
  • Born Wicked came at 35%
  • A Million Suns closely followed at 32%
  • Across the Universe scored 9%
  • Wolfsbane and Bloodrose tied for last at 3%
  • Nightshade did not place with 0%
That translates to me buying a copy of Legend at the author event!

BUT!

Because Born Wicked and A Million Suns came so close, I'm going to have a separate giveaway from those.

The breakdown: giveaway for Legend, signed, will be open to US residents only. A Million Suns and Born Wicked will be opened to INTERNATIONAL entries. There will only be 2 winners: one for Legend and the other will have a choice between A Million Suns or Born WickedA Million Suns or Born Wicked will be purchased via Book Depository making it possible for international entries. They will not be signed, unfortunately. 

*I also factored in the votes when people didn't realize that the poll allowed for multiple choices. 

P.S. trying out multicolored fonts :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Breathless Reads Giveaway Poll

As you may know I'm going to the Breathless Reads this Sunday at Dolyestown (say hi! if you're coming) and because I own all of the books already, I'm going to buy a book to give away!


As I'm so indecisive (plus I'm broke so I can't buy them all), I'm leaving this up to the majority. Readers, which book, that's signed, would you like for me to give away? Just fill out this nifty poll below and I'll buy whichever book that wins the poll:




Also whoever fills out the survey and leaves a comment letting me they did so (and let me know what country you're from*) will get 2 extra entries for the actual giveaway!


NOTE: you CANNOT see the poll on Google Reader (ewiorgjdfs STAB STAB STAB) so for now,  you have to visit my blog to vote. and hey, while you're here leave a comment for those 2 extra entries.


P.S. You can choose multiple answers so if you really really want to win Legend or Born Wicked, pick both. If there's a tie, I might buy both books (though chances of that might be rare...).

*currently unsure to which countries am I opening the giveaway for but if I can get enough interest from international groups, I'll open to them as well.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Carrier of the Mark


Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Grade: 2 out of 5 stars
Megan Rosenberg has just moved to Ireland because of her father’s new job. Being the new girl in her school is something that she’s used to, but having hotandsexy Adam DeR¬¬ís’s attention is unusual. Megan can’t believe the rumors her new friend Caitlin says exist about the DeRíses, but Megan can’t ignore the weird events that happen whenever she’s around Adam or his twin sister Áine.


So it’s Saturday and I’m in the library, right? I’m skimming over novels in the teen section because I have time to waste before my train. I pick up books, inspect the cover, read the back, and read the author’s bio, when all of a sudden, like a freaking flood light, this book’s spine pops out at me. Lo and Behold, my first name! Cover is EXTREMELY pretty with a pretty girl in a dress (Yan’s rant on bookcovers). I read the back, and yeah it feels like it’s already been done but I don’t care, I’M EXCITED! I read the author’s bio, and as I suspected, she was raised in Ireland. I take the book home on the train and read it.

On Monday, I walk into my 9am class about 10 minutes early. My friend is already there, and I can no longer contain my rant. I slam the book on the desk and the following conversation takes place.

Fallon: “I hate this book.”

Zach: “Why?”

Fallon: “There’s this chick, and she goes to a new school for the first time and there’s this really hot guy and from across the room their eyes meet and BOOM they’re automatically in love. She doesn’t know him, but she already can’t get him out of her mind. And then he saves her life, and then share intimate moments, even though they’ve never really spoken before. Then it turns out he and his family have super powers, and so does she, because they’re loosely related or something, and then, even they’ve only been dating for about 2 weeks, they are already worried about having kids and people attacking and shit.”

At this point, many others have come into the room, and they want to know what it is I’m talking about, so I explain the pretty cover book with my name on it and how UPSET I am at how terrible it is. (Then some other girl mentions how The Hunger Games is such a good series and I should read it. That’s when I realized I was a book-hipster, as I was going to say “First chapter of Catching Fire sucked”. Good thing I didn’t.)
Anyway, I hate this book. I read a different review of how it’s exactly like Twilight, and I must agree. Lots of “Protect her despite what she thinks” and “I have to ask my boyfriend for permission to hang out with my friends”. Megan’s mother is not in the picture, she takes care of her father, Adam protects her from getting raped, his sister Áine likes her, his brother Rían doesn’t, they have special powers, etc. Then they brought in the elements and I’m like “Wow, so this is like Avatar the Last Airbender.” Then the author tried to explain it using genetics and I lost it, because then it was turning into something like Vampire Academy, especially going crazy when the use of the element of spirit was mentioned. And the entire time I was reading this, even at the end, I felt that it would be okay if they all died because I didn’t see how their powers made any impact on other humans. I WAS ACTUALLY WISHING THE CHARACTERS WOULD DIE.

Megan was bland, Adam was a tad bit too perfect, the Evil Organization was half-assed, and the ending was too unbelievable (Megan got snatched off a horse and kidnapped! LOLOLOL). It was so unrealistic, even for a paranormal romance, and not for the first time I’m wondering just how exactly how hard it should be to get published. I’ve written better lab reports than this.

I give it 2 stars because of the cover, the author’s last name*, the use of elements, the horses, and the fact that it takes place in Ireland. It’s almost too charitable. I’m glad I didn’t buy the book and I feel sorry for the person that reads it after me.

*Edited by Yan: Fallon and Fallon, heh :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Disenchantments

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Grade: 4 stars out of 5
Published: February 16, 2012  Buy from Amazon
Source: won from LibraryThing ER

After reading the praise behind Hold Still I caved and read Hold Still. I liked it. I wasn’t jumping off my seat in love with the book. Then I gave the book to someone else because maybe that person will love the book like many people who encouraged me to pick it up.

Then I got The Disenchantments in the mail. My conscience is telling me to pass this book, but a part of my brain says “maybe this is the book that will make you fall in love with LaCour”. And you know what, it wasn’t, but it was on the right track. The Disenchantments is a roadtrip that will break your heart and find redemption.
Colby (which is a guy by the way because yay for unisexual names) and Bev go way back. They’ve been friends for a while time. They’ve made a pact: after graduation they’ll go travel Europe together. No college. So on tour for Bev’s all-girl band, The Disenchantments (who aren’t good at all), Colby expects things to go smoothly with fun before the band goes their separate ways. But when Bev announces that she’s going to college, Colby starts to wonder why and what else has Bev been keeping a secret?
The Disenchantments took me a little over a month to read. It’s been an on-and-off read where I managed to finish almost 10 books in-between the starting and ending point. I couldn't connect to the book; I couldn’t connect to Colby as a narrator. I couldn't understand why Colby liked Bev so much.

Once Bev admitted that she knew Colby liked her, I gave up. Bev was already distant to being with, but when she made the announcement I really had a hard time trying to figure out what made Bev the girl to Colby. She is selfish, she leads people on, she lies. She’s a borderline b’tch. And then have Colby mooning over her for god knows how much longer in the book, I wasn’t going to last. I had to put The Disenchantments down.

After several weeks enough was enough. I put on my big girl pants and dragged myself through the rest of the book. (I was only about a third way finished.) I don’t know where and when it happened, but I hit a spot in The Disenchantments where I really just started to like to.

The little towns where the band was stopping seemed to shape Colby into a much more interesting narrator. Bev started to flesh out as readers find out what secrets Bev has kept hidden. It’s more emotional than I ever expected from the same girl I once considered to be a b’tch. What started as an innocent road trip turns into self discovery, family struggles, and forgiveness. No one is perfect and The Disenchantments point to that, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

The Runaways: Hello Dad! Hello Mom!
I love the intermingling of art (especially finishing up Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley) especially the various forms of art: drawings, paintings, sculpting, music, acting, photography, tattooing, etc. Each of these forms bring in more characters to the novel, and while it normally would irritate me, I found that it worked quite well in The Disenchantments. The characters were different enough that I was able to keep track of them and saw that they had purpose to the novel.

The Disenchantments is a bold novel with bold characters. Bandmates Bev, Meg, and Alexa with tag-along Colby make this roadtrip an unforgettable one.

Cover A-/B+
I love the vibe I get from the cover and how well it translate from the book.

CymLowell

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (56)

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Coming out: July 10th 2012 by MTV Books
A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business--until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers--and the consequences could be deadly.

Such a Rush is Jennifer's debut hardcover novel! I'm super excited about this book! I've greatly enjoyed Jennifer's past novels and having just finished The One I Want I'm ready for whatever else Jennifer has in store.

WoW is hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Would This Nerd Go Back to High School? ft. Jay Clark

Booty School Dropout: Would This Nerd Go Back to High School?

Flashback: I’m a freshman in high school, feeling lame because I’ve just taken the same girl-who’s-just-a-friend to the last two dances.  When it comes to making heads of chasing tail, my moves are nowhere near Jagger.  More in the vicinity of Groban. 


Meanwhile, a crazy person has just invaded my bedroom, and she’s trying to convince me I’m smack-dab in the midst of one of the best times of my life.  


“Mom!”  


“What?” she says innocently.  “It is!” 
moves like Groban


“Then here,” I say, handing her a pillow.  “Put this over my face and press.”  


Mom shakes her head, refusing to be an accessory to my death.  She’d much rather see me die from embarrassment.  


Then she agrees me some cinnamon rolls, and I’m over it. 

I’m not gonna lie, my high school experience wasn’t exactly a big bowl of reefer cherries.  I was boring beyond my years, a grandpa before his time, obsessed with tests and homework and whatever class election was coming up next.  Snooze.  I jokingly like to blame my sister for these problems, because that beautiful Homecoming Queen was way too popular for both our goods.  Queen Clark had star power to spare, so I had no choice but to step out from the shadows and disappoint her subjects with the fact that I wasn’t, you know, her.  Look out, here comes the little brother!  Dude, why is he reading a book during lunch?  That kind of thing.

But guess what?  I wouldn’t change my awkward four-year stint for the world.  Somewhere along the line, I learned how to be funny(ish?) as a way to compensate for my absence o’ social skills.  To this day some would even say overcompensate—thanks for the unpleasant reminder, grouchy Kirkus reviewer lady!  If I hadn’t learned how to make a majority of my critics laugh, though, then I wouldn’t be typing this blog post right now, trying to pimp a humorous book that’s loosely based on my life as a teen.  See, everything crappy happens for a reason.

yum...
Young or old, we all just want to be liked, and there’s no better (or worse) place to test our personalities-in-progress than high school.  Tough audience?  The toughest.   But arguably the most rewarding.  Hence why I still have teeth-grindingly bad dreams about it, and why I’m drawn to being a writer of the genre.  Does this mean I have to admit my mom had a point?  Never!  Maybe a little one, but I’d say it’s more about me being a glutton for punishment.  

Regardless, even if the book heads straight for the bargain bin, I know exactly where to get some cinnamon rolls to ease the rejection.

Jay Baker is the debut author of The Edumacation of Jay Clark, coming out tomorrow!

Meet Jay Baker . . . or, as he is not-so-affectionately called by his opponent in the freshman-class presidential election--no comment.
A few random bullet points about Jay:
  • He is stupidly in love with his best friend, cheerleading dynamo Cameo "Appearance" Parnell.
  • He is also trying to score (points) with earthbound tennis-playing goddess Caroline Richardson.
  • He is fighting a losing battle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • He rocks a touché array of pop-culture references, jokes, and puns.
  • His family life cookie is about to crumble.
Root for Jay as he exchanges ego-blows with his mortal enemy, gets awkward around his dream girl(s), loses his marbles in a Bermudian love triangle, watches his parents' relationship implode, and, finally, learns to keep it real and be himself(ish).

Does The Edumacation of Jay Baker interest you? Do you have a thing for Groban? Do you like cinnamon rolls or awkwardly funny guys? Well I have ONE (1) ARC of The Edumacation of Jay Baker to give to you lovely readers!

Fill out this FORM to enter!

In the words of the genius author, here is all his "shiz" links:

STALK HIM! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Breathless (Reads) Blog Tour! Will I See You There?

Hi all!

Many of you probably know that the Breathless Reads authors will be going on a national tour this February. The Breathless authors are Marie Lu (author of Legend), Beth Revis (author of Across the Universe and A Million Sun), Andrea Cremer (author of the Nightshade series) and Jessica Spotswood (author of Born Wicked).



The stops:
Feb 15 - Naperville, IL
Feb 16 - Bethesda, MD
Feb 17 - New York, NY
Feb 18 - Collegville, PA
Feb 19 - Dolyestown, PA*
Feb 21 - Decatur, GA
Feb 22 - Houston, TX
Feb 23 - Frisco, TX
Feb 24 - Montrose, CA
Feb 25 - Long Beach, CA

I will be attending the Doylestown, PA stop! (Really hope I can make it.) It's on a Sunday afternoon/night. I have a 9 AM class the next day. I have two exams that week; I should probably spend that day studying, but this is an authors' event I can't pass up.

I know a couple of other PA/Philly area bloggers will be there so if you're coming, say hi! I don't bite! (I'm too sleep deprived for that lol). I'll be the girl studying from flashcards and powerpoint slides printouts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bittersweet


Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Published: January 3, 2012 Buy from Amazon
Source: unsolicited ARC from Simon Pulse

I freaking love cupcakes. I’m one of those cupcake eaters that eat the cake first then make my way to the top because I save the best for last—the frosting. Hudson Avery is the Queen of Cupcakes; she’s a gal that I’ll love to be an assistant to. Just pay me in cupcakes and I’ll be happy.
But Hudson’s life right now isn’t so great. Her skating dreams are over; her mom’s dream of owning a diner will tank unless a new review will put Hurley’s Homestyle Diner back on the map; her dad is living a new life that doesn’t include his daughter or son; and Hudson is trapped in little Watonka, New York.

Until, that is, Hudson gets the chance to compete in a skating competition for a $50,000 scholarship.
I’ve been following Sarah Ockler ever since her debut novel, Twenty Boy Summer, and I eagerly wait for what she has for the readers. Bittersweet, formally titled the language of impossible dreams, is what you would expect from Sarah Ockler: good read with characters you wouldn’t expect and a storyline that touches the heart. Yet, for me, there’s always something missing about her books that don’t make me hold the book to my chest, carry it around and shove it in other people’s faces yelling “Read this!”

Maybe it was the characters that I liked, but thought could have been stronger. It’s easy to be empathic to Hudson, but it’s harder to like her. Maybe it’s because you can see a lot of yourself in her and that stuff isn’t so good. Hudson would a difficult friend to have; she locks herself in and is prone to live her own little world. Bittersweet is Hudson’s journey to finding her happiness in life and that journey isn’t smooth.

Will and Josh, co-captains to the Watonka hockey team, are more likeable than Hudson. But Josh, the boy that the reader will definitely pine for is less developed than Will. Since Josh is the main love interest I was disappointed seeing him fade to the back whenever Will comes to the scene. Will is much more dynamic than Josh with a stronger background story and a multifaceted personality.

Then I wished the readers knew more about Dani and Kara. They seemed interesting, but I knew them as Hudon’s friend and former best friend than Dani and Kara.

But I absolutely adore—love!—Bug (Hudson’s baby brother). He’s part mad-scientist, part explorer, part adorable brother who helps around the house, part son-whose-never-really-known-his-father. Bug is the comic relief to Bittersweet and yet he’s fragile enough that you want to protect him from everything that’s bad.

Bittersweet is topsy turvy: I like parts of it so much and other parts I wished were stronger. One thing that I did forget to mention was the cupcake concoctions underneath each chapter heading. Brilliant and delicious.

Bittersweet is just that, bittersweet. The sweetest of the cupcakes and the tingly feelings from young love versus the bitterness of divorce and its crumbling effects.

Cover C+
I much prefer the old cover to the new one because a) Hudson bakes cupcakes, not cookies and b) hot chocolate is part of the story. Well there's also c) that doesn't look like a really good cookie I would eat.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Manga Monday: Houou Gakuen Misoragumi


Alternative Title: The Beautiful Skies of Houou High
Genre: Comedy, Shoujo, School Life

Art: 4.5 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Plot: 2.5 stars

Rating: Teen
Released By: DMP
Houou High is a famous and incredibly prestigious all-boys school. It's also the stomping grounds for the sons of the most well-renowned families from all walks of life, which gives rise to rumors that it holds a monopoly on money and power. Our protagonist, Kei Saeba, ends up enrolling in this veritable garden of blooming amateurs due to her mother's guile. Now she must pretend she's a boy for three years or she "will be erased"!
The person with the purple hair? That's Kei and she's a girl. She's scared of guys and earns the nickname "Barfing Prince" because she throws up when she's around too many.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rant: FanFiction

I'm first and foremost a reader.

Sometimes I'm a blogger (who writes poorly constructive sentences).

But never an author. Unless it's a 2-20 page essay on some random topic that teachers have assigned, my "creative" writing skills stops there.

So when my favorite show, book, movie, anime, or manga ends and I desperately want more, I turn to FanFiction (Unleash Your Imagination!!). Or I turn to FF when I love the characters or plot, but am not a big fan of what the original creators did with it. The MC dies in the end or the love interest goes away? Pffft. Not in FF land. In FF land anything goes...and goes and goes to places where they should not have gone.

I admit that I wrote a fanfic or two. It was horrible; I took it down like 2 days later.

Now FF is a dangerous landfill. You mostly have to sort through a lot of okay, blah, and what-the-hell reads. Basically a lot of shitty reads. I'm not being mean. Frankly the stuff I find there boggles my mind.

I'm not discouraging anyone from writing. If you're passionate and really enjoy writing, then be my guess. Just don't expect me to fall in love with your works. I commend the people who take the effort and publicly post their works. There are just some FFs that I question if they are serious and if I should take them seriously.

I hate trollers and I hate people who just bash, but if the writers don't care, then why should I?

Some fics are TYP3D LKE DIS and the characters go like OMG WTF HRYFBFASDINA!!!!!111! LOLMAFO. Please, please for the sake of the English language, stop writing like you're texting. Even then, if I can't read it there's no point in texting/writing. They need serious editing. Just like how novels need editors to catch the small mistake or point out some better ideas, FF writers need beta readers who can proofread. Your and you're are two different words. OMG WTF AFSAIFNASKDAD!!!11!! is not English.

Some fics blatantly plagiarize other works of fictions: FFs or published novels. For example I read a Twilight FF that copied from Thirteen Reasons Why: exact storyline and from what I've heard, exact passages from the book too.

Some fics, the writers take to the extreme. There are regular pairings like for example Edward and Bella from Twilight. Then there are "crack" pairings like Jane and Seth that doesn't even make sense. And I can't tell if the writer is trying to be different and new and challenging themselves or if they just don't realize how much of their fanfic doesn't work. At that point, it's no longer a fanfiction, but your own work with the same appearance and name.

Some fics are abandoned. Suddenly and without warning. It could be a fanfic that you actually really enjoyed and looked forward to its updates. But the writers have a life outside of FF and FF doesn't pay the bills. I get sad.

So once you cleaned away from the muck, there are a couple of gems in there. They're far and few, but they make the search so worth it. Great writing that immediately pulls you in, a set of characters that you love, and a fantastic storyline that is utterly thrilling and makes the heart race. These great FF gems are better than some of the published novels I read based on character development, storyline, and ending. Then I wonder why aren't they published.

And you know what? Some do publish their works. The great feedback from the readers can give a boost of confidence for the writer to consider publishing their work: indie pub, self-pub, or seek traditional pub.


Cassandra Clare, author of the Moral Instrument series and the Infernal Devices series, did fanfiction. Of course there's some scandel there. There's also RJ Anderson, author of Faery Rebel series and Ultraviolet who still has an active FF account. There's probably some more hidden YA and FF writers out there ;)

Before starting your adventure in fanfiction, here's a nice glossary with the terminology in the FF world to help along. There's enough abbreviations to make a whole new language.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Thorn and the Blossom


The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story by Theodora Goss
Grade: 3.8 stars out of 5
Published: January 17, 2012 Buy from Amazon
Source: Quirk Books
When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself . . .
The Thorn and the Blossom is a very short love story so my review won’t be as long as it normally would be (close to 600 words).

The first thing you’ll notice about The Thorn and the Blossom is the way the book is printed. Like an accordion. Like a really cool accordion that doesn’t make music, but rather gives you a nice story to read. I freaked out a bit when I first got it and played with the book for 5 minutes or so. Warning: don’t read book while moving or in a moving vehicle. The book kept falling out my books and the pages were falling everywhere unless I had a death grip connecting the ends together.

taken from author's blog
With the story itself I was a bit let down. It was a bit rushed for my liking and the ending felt…unfinished. If Goss had shown us rather than told us the emotions that went through Evelyn and Brendan, I could have connected better to The Thorn and the Blossom. Then again I wonder how the increase in size will impact the binding of the story. Who knows, it might just collapse or fall apart when the reader opens the first page.

The Thorn and the Blossom packs quite a lot in very little. I read Brendan’s story first followed by Evelyn.  I have to admit that the experience, which I feared would be tiring and redundant, was quite charming, new, and fascinating the second time you read it from a different POV. Those subtle nuances that were dismissed earlier or assumed to be something else, becomes more important than you first believed.

The tale of Green Knight (or Man) and the Queen was hinted just enough for the reader to keep it in the back of their thoughts while still letting the characters be themselves. Rather than Brendan being the Green Knight, Brendan is Brendan. The comparison between the two cursed lovers was laced throughout the rest the novel almost seamlessly.

Evelyn’s story is magical (mixed with an odd psychoanalysis/mental illness explanation) while Brendan’s story is saddening (he has really back luck with girls and people close to him). Together it’s a beautiful haunting tragedy that just may have that happily ever after in the end. The two characters show how to move past a love if it doesn’t work out, but there’s still the possibility of coming back.

Cover B+

P.S. Apparently if you remove the sticker/book synopsis from the back of the slip, there's a picture of the Green Man. So I carefully removed the sticker and it was not worth it. It's just his face and it's about the size of my thumb nail.