Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare

Author: Kody Keplinger
Date of Publication: June 5 2012
Pages: 304
Source: Library

Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.

Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.


Kody Keplinger secured her spot on a very elite list with The Duff: it was a list of contemporary authors whose books I would read. I assure you, this is impressive because I tend to avoid contemporary unless it is super popular.

Three books from her later, The Duff is still my favourite by far but A Midsummer's Nightmare was still entertaining. There is just one issue though: I want a little more depth.

I feel like Kody Keplinger wrote about the issues truthfully and honestly did a lot of things right, but her ending was too perfect for me. I needed some more struggles and steps forwards and backwards for this book to become much more meaningful. I could connect and there were a few parts where I honestly teared up. Whitley's relationship with her father and mother, especially in terms of the divorce and the confusion of family resonated with me. I just wish the story went further than fixing a lot.

It's a feel good story. Whitley is a party animal and what was supposed to be a one night fling after graduation ends up being something more after Whitley learns that the guy she had sex with is going to be her stepbrother. Whoops. Let me begin my saying I haven't read Shakespeare's a Midsummer Night's Nightmare so I have nothing to compare this book to. That being said, I thought it was charming and nice. It was on the verge of something more but ended up being short because of an ending and resolution that felt rushed (at least to me).

Anyway, I liked the characters. Whitley had this bad girl, DGAF attitude going on for her and she was believable with just the right amount of lovable and redeemable qualities. I can't say any one character stole the show in any way- they were all nice and complementary. Nathan, for example, was sweet and supportive but I never really fell for him. I knew he was good for Whitley and I guess that's it. Whitley had many relationships and there was a great sense of each, but I still would have liked to go deeper (maybe that's just me).

The plot kept me entertained, even if it was too feel good sometimes. It wasn't much of a scene stealer though and was pretty basic in general. To be honest, the story didn't feel all that new to me and maybe this book didn't live up to my hopes.

One thing I did like was the writing style. It fit Whitley perfectly and I could hear her voice in my head as she complained about waking up in the morning and God awful small town Hamilton. There were just a few little details like getting a sunburn and one interaction with the neighbour that stuck with me as perfectly Whitley. Her character did come alive in the writing, although she won't make it to my favourites.

The more I write this review, the more I realize the ending did impact me a lot. See, Whitley is supposed to have this sort of epiphany and maybe I'm jaded and pessimistic but I thought it was a little too sudden and spoiled some parts of the story significantly.

This doesn't stop me from liking the the book. I thought it was enjoyable and maybe you'll disagree and like the ending much more than I did. 3 stars.



What do you think?

Bookish Vacations: Anna and the French Kiss

Have you ever read a book and felt like you were there? Across the ocean, on an ancient bridge surrounded by foreign scents and languages; engrossed in a culture different from yours, and basking in the sense of adventure. 

Reading tends to do that; whisk you away and introduce you to the most beautiful things. I've experienced this and every time I make a mental note to hopefully, sometime in my life, visit that place that sounded so fascinating or that my favourite characters really enjoyed. 

The first place that pops into my head is always Shakespeare and Company from Anna and the French Kiss

This antique bookstore is in Paris, France right on the river and across from Notre Dame. I was taken after the words Paris, no need to add the Seine and Notre Dame, I’m already there!

Interestingly, Shakespeare and Company actually served as an artist reprieve in Paris. The bookstore was first opened in the 1920s by an American and it was where authors like Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote their books. However, it closed due to WWII and never reopened. In the 50s, another bookstore was opened and dedicated to it. This one stands to this day and it continues to be overflowing and cozy.

I would love to go for a scavenger hunt in there. Some fascinating books are sure to be found. Also the fact that this place has been left untouched, in virtually the same state it was 50 years ago is fascinating. We readers always read about those scenic little bookstores tucked away from sight; well here it is the real thing. Also, the fact that it's an english bookstore in Paris doesn't hurt either!

Sometimes one needs to go to places other than the usual tourists attractions in order to get the full taste of a foreign place. What better than a bookstore an ocean away housings thousands of pages of culture and adventure?



What do you think?

Is Original Overblown?

The word original is often used in a positive sense: it's the idea of something completely new. It goes along with phrases like, "Just be you!" and in general, our society outwardly preaches the importance of originality.

When a book is praised, words such as original and unique are not uncommon. It's been said sometimes, even by me, that being original is something to be applauded. Good for you. You didn't go with the trend. You did something completely different. You're special. 

I recently read a really good post by Icy Cold Reads about being original. She said something along the lines of traditionally published books being less original and out there than self-pubbed books. It's not something I completely agree with, but her discussion post fulfilled its purpose of starting discussion. 

It came again to me that original is always seen as this essential good thing. To be honest though, I can't think of any book that is completely original in any way, self published or not. So many stories and creations have been made that by this point, I don't know if you can add anything singularly new to a book. 

We all decry love triangles, but not writing a love triangle doesn't make you original.

The sexy jerk is well used in YA books, but so is the sweet guy, the best friend, the next door neighbour... pretty much every incarnation of romance. 

And while really wacky books like this but even weird erotica books are not as hard to find anymore. 

I don't believe in original anymore. I believe that stories are similar, every forbidden romance can be like Romeo and Juliet which was probably similar to some kind of myth that Shakespeare heard. You're never going to end up with something completely new. There are some stories that humanity has had for thousands of years. That's why there are things like the rule of three and the cycle of a tragic hero become so well known. They work, and they've existed for a really long time. 

This makes me reconsider all the times I used original in my reviews. When I really think about it, the story wasn't exactly original in the literal sense. I think the connotation of original is the one that makes more sense. 

Nothing is original, but what stops people from reading a book and realizing that at the end of the day, all stories follow a similar plotline? Even the ones that try not to, follow one. I think this is where talent and execution and the author come in. 

Nothing I read is brand new or revolutionary. It can feel that way though. 

It can feel that way because of my experiences. I can interpret meaning from words and combine it with my own experiences so that certain phrases or scenes can somehow mean something to me, and these scenes will remain original in my mind because they made me feel something and that doesn't always happen. We end up attributing originality as what makes a book special when maybe that's not it. 

All the same, it's a compliment to the author, but I think maybe when we say it's original, we're not just praising the idea. That shouldn't be the focus. I think "original" is more a testament to an author's ability to execute; to write an evocative story that can draw a reader in so much that they forget every other similar story. To get people to worry about this story and happy endings- like, let's be honest, how often are there unhappy endings? Yet I worry SO much about the characters I care about anyway, even knowing the odds. 

Every author interprets basic stories and puts their own spin on them. Even then, their story may not be completely "original" but it doesn't have to be for me to enjoy it. That's the reason I can enjoy authors like Simone Elkeles. Her Perfect Chemistry series was nothing ground shaking. All the books in the trilogy were pretty formulaic, but I still enjoyed them every single time because she has the talent to get me to care about characters and lose myself in a story. 

A lot of talents and good execution can go into making a story original. I think though, that the next time I use the word original, I might pause a little and try to determine an exact meaning. Through Cappies Critic training, I learned that being specific is one of the most important things in any review. Original can mean so much and authors deserve to be applauded when a reviewer thinks they did it right. 



What do you think?

WoW - Biggest Flirt

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Biggest flirt

May 20, 2014

The yearbook votes have been cast. Senior year is about to get interesting.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laid-back swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing away Will drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirt along with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will's new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started out as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

I'm super excited for this one. Jennifer Echols is one of my favourite contemporary authors and I have yet to dislike one of her books.

Biggest Flirt sounds like a fun senior year read, especially since I can finally relate .....

Not really, Canadian HS's don't have all the fun stuff like homecoming etc. Now that I think about it, I would love a pep rally!

Anyways, it sounds hilarious. I love the biggest flirt tid-bit and the hint that it's not all lighthearted is also intriguing.

What Are You Waiting On?



What do you think?

Cover Wars: Illusion vs. Love Letters to the Dead

Cover Wars is a weekly showdown of two beautiful covers. The winner, as voted by you, goes on to face a new cover, and wins bragging rights. This is basically a fun way to discuss what we like in covers.

It was a close on last week. Both covers seemed to have some fans but ultimately Love Letters won again. This week it's back to face my favourite cover of the Chronicles of Nick series, Illusions by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Love Letters has a more dreamy feel with all the stars and purple in the background. Illusion on the other hand, has a more action packed cover. The purplish sheen to the cement in the background gives a nice pop to the model's red jacket and the insignia.

Which do you prefer?

Which cover should win Cover Wars? free polls 


What do you think?

Review: Vortex

Author: S.J. Kincaid
Date of Publication: July 2 2013
Source: Library
Series: Insignia #2

The impossible was just the beginning. Now in their second year as superhuman government weapons-in-training at the Pentagonal Spire, Tom Raines and his friends are mid-level cadets in the elite combat corps known as the Intrasolar Forces. But as training intensifies and a moment arrives that could make or break his entire career, Tom’s loyalties are again put to the test.

Encouraged to betray his ideals and friendships for the sake of his country, Tom is convinced there must be another way. And the more aware he becomes of the corruption surrounding him, the more determined he becomes to fight it, even if he sabotages his own future in the process.

Drawn into a power struggle more dramatic than he has ever faced before, Tom stays a hyperintelligent step ahead of everyone, like the exceptional gamer he is—or so he believes. But when he learns that he and his friends have unwittingly made the most grievous error imaginable, Tom must find a way to outwit an enemy so nefarious that victory seems hopeless. Will his idealism and bravado cost him everything—and everyone that matters to him?


Vortex was absolutely thrilling. I wasn't sure what to expect because I really enjoyed Insignia and Vortex was exactly what I hoped for: the continuation of what is probably one of my new favourite series.

There's a lot to like in Vortex, but I have to begin with what I enjoyed first: the writing. The story is serious and real but it's also filled with so many moments of pure hilarity. At least five times I stopped reading because I was laughing too hard. Legitimately laughing. I never knew it was even possible to find a book that funny because I tend not to, but something about Vortex appealed to me perfectly.

Vortex is just so likable! The plot is engaging, the writing is amusing, and the characters are adorable. I love Tom. I know he is immature but he honestly felt like a real character to me. I enjoyed reading about his reactions and watching him grow. I also feel like I can relate to Tom. Not just in the sense that I understand him, but that I truly want him to succeed because I understand what motivates him. He's an idealist and sees no reason why he should back down from anyone. He has these really strong convictions of right and wrong and sometimes he breaks the lines when he has to.

The other characters are also pretty amazing. This is very firmly Tom's story but that doesn't mean I can't burst out laughing at Vik's shenanigans or Wyatt's naivety. There is something different about every character and I was pleased to see that everyone grew a little in Vortex. Even the villains were explained a little.

The plot and premise however are Vortex's bread and butter. I love it. The story is just so exciting. Tom's experiences within the Pentagon and dealing with this awful world where the corporations run everything and victory seems almost impossible. The villains were truly disgusting and demoralizing, and the moments that proved there was hope were enlightening.

The plot is twisty and so complete. I love that Kincaid's books always make me feel satisfied by the end. They are page turners when I have them, and they're worth it. Sometimes you feel empty after you finish a book just because it was so good and it ended too early for you, but with Vortex I feel exhilarated. Like, bring it on world!

I can't recommend this series enough. It's totally one of underrated, quietly awesome gems of YA.



What do you think?

The Weekly Progress: Snow

The Weekly Progress is a type of wrap up post that happens every Sunday on The Sirenic Codex looking on the week that was.

I wasn't around the blog very much last week because I was pretty busy. Hopefully, this will be a better week.


Usually, I talk about books read. I didn't read a book all week. I'm embarrassed. I did try to get through Above but it didn't work out. 

Currently Reading

I have no idea why this cover is red. Sorry. 

Blog Recap

I wrote about why I like the horror genre. 

Mari wrote a WoW on Magnolia.

I wrote about why I don't like trilogies.

The Week That Was

It's sort of a blur. Monday, I went to a Lauren Oliver event. Wednesday, volunteered at Cozy Night at the library. Thursday was my sister's birthday and Awards Night. This week is probably going to be busy too. My library is planning a Catching Fire night in December that will be super cool. 

Either way, I've had a great time relaxing this weekend. Also, I'm going to watch Catching Fire today so I hope it's just as good as the first movie!

Song of the Week

I seem to alternate between listening to music like crazy and uh, not. Either way, this song is adorbs. I love it. I love the music video too. It's very inspirational, and I'm thinking of growing my hair out and then having it cut and donating it for cancer. If you like the song, check out the behind the scenes series as well. 

Have a great week!


What do you think?

Review: Fear

Author: Michael Grant
Date of Publication: April 3 2012
Pages: 509
Source: Library

It's been one year since all the adults disappeared. Gone.

Despite the hunger and the lies, even despite the plague, the kids of Perdido Beach are determined to survive. Creeping into the tenuous new world they've built, though, is perhaps the worst incarnation yet of the enemy known as the Darkness: fear.

Within the FAYZ, life breaks down while the Darkness takes over, literally—turning the dome-world of the FAYZ entirely black. In darkness, the worst fears of all emerge, and the cruelest of intentions are carried out. But even in their darkest moments, the inhabitants of the FAYZ maintain a will to survive and a desire to take care of the others in their ravaged band that endures, no matter what the cost.



That's what runs through my mind when reading Fear. This series is fucked up (and I mean this in the most positive sense). There are times where my jaw literally drops or I gasp out loud. I was reading a little bit of Fear in class and by the end of the class, my friends stopped reacting whenever I winced, grimaced, or during one DISGUSTING scene, closed the books and covered me eyes. The problem with books is that the image doesn't stop if you don't see it. The description stays in your mind and ohmygod that's possibly the sickest thing that could happen.

I don't know what I can say in this review that I haven't said for the other books in the series. Are they the creepiest, most terrifying, grotesque stories out there? Hell yes. The stories are disturbing as hell. I'm even starting to consider these books to be horror just because me, someone who is never squeamish when it comes to fake blood in movies and books, is a complete mess when reading some of the descriptions.

And I've probably already said that the plot is brilliant? Like, unputdownable. Everything blurs by and the side stories weave together to create this world that is terrible.

I genuinely am terrified of Michael Grant. I can't imagine anyone who can write more shocking, gruesome scenes. I watched The Red Wedding from Game of Thrones and through the tears, decided that at least that was the scariest fiction would ever get. And then I read Fear and um, the book is appropriately named. Very appropriately named.

The single scariest thing about Fear is that Michael Grant has mastered this world of his. The Fayz is terrible and ruthless and it's real. That's usually what either kills or makes a book like this that relies so much on setting and background. Michael Grant has made this world of nightmares a reality where terrible things happen because of both evil and carelessness, and somehow it's all plausible and makes perfect sense.

There's genius in writing the most disturbing scenes and scenarios and molding these events into a coherent story line that is always *just* about too much, without crossing the line.

And then there is the plot and characters. The plot is amazingly twisty. I literally have no idea what to expect, and there are always multiple twists and turns that take me by surprise. Somehow though, there is a cohesive storyline within each book and Fear was no different. It builds up and up till some explosive endings.

I also really like the characters. There are many of them and sometimes it was hard to keep track of them but in Fear, they were especially well presented and developed. These poor kids. I sympathize and pity and want to hug them and run away from them simultaneously.  There are some truly evil characters within Fear and there are some confused characters. There are heroes and kinda villains. The depth in characterization has always been a backbone of this series.

It's not just horror and fast plots, but the characters are oddly reflective of humanity. They have humanity. Each of them is relatable in some way and had their own issues to deal with. They consider important issues like whether it's worth moving on or if they're damned or not, and it's heart breaking. I love these guys
except for some of the villains, and those SOBs deserve nasty, brutal deaths. C'mon Michael Grant. Think of something especially awful for them.


Eek I sound like a psychopath! Ah! That's what these books are: twisted. There are morality questions and they challenge your outlook on life. I'll catch myself agreeing with a decision that objectively is awful, but within the situation feels right. That's a little scary.

I figure now may as well be the best time to end this review. Once again I feel like I didn't say very much. Somehow, it's hard to express myself coherently when it comes to Michael Grant. If there's one message that I want to get across it is READ THIS SERIES and watch your mind get blown. 5 hearts.


Oh, and if you didn't already think Michael Grant is awesome:


What do you think?

Gah! Not a Trilogy!

This week I've kind of been obsessed with Leigh Bardugo's books, Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. I practically devoured the two books. They were amazing to read, so after finishing Siege and Storm (ohmygodtheending!) I eagerly went to Goodreads to find out all about the next book.

And then I realized The Grisha is a trilogy.

I'm in some serious pain right now. I will take this out on trilogies.

First, trilogies seem to follow a certain pattern. The first book is always heavy on the set up because it's setting up a series, and by the end there's usually some sort of twist or cliffhanger.

The second book is definitely an in-between book. A lot of stuff happens but often there isn't a specific story or plot that ends. It's very much an installment which will lead to the third book.

The third book slays me.

The finale is always so amazing and full of everything I love, but it's the ending! Just as it gets to epic, it ends!

I guess my real complaint is that when I love something, I want more. Trilogies whet the appetite but very rarely do I feel completely satisfied by the end (Melina Marchetta is the exception, and that's because she's a goddamn genius).

I always prefer longer books to shorter ones, I always like series instead of standalones because I like the commitment. I want to get the details and get very close to characters. I want to know everything! It's so rare these days for me to get hooked to a book and so when it happens, I always want more.

You can imagine the tears when I realized The Coldest Girl in Coldtown didn't have a sequel.

How about you guys? Do you cry on the inside every time you realize you only have three books with some of your favourite characters?



What do you think?

DNF Review: Wild Cards

Author: Simone Elkeles
Date of Publication:  October 1, 2013
Pages: 342
Source: Library

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

I’m going to start this review by stating that I’m a huge Simone Elkeles fan. I've been one since I read Perfect Chemistry for the first time in 2009 and that respect and absolute devotion has never wavered, even now.

From the title of this review, you can tell that I wasn't impressed by Wild Cards. The book is introduced to the reader as YA contemporary fiction romance based around a football team. The female protagonist is a tomboy captain of the boys' varsity football team, Ashtyn. That’s pretty kickass if you ask me, but Ashtyn was anything but. 

The downfall of this story stared with its premise and football playing Ashtyn. Immediately, I envisioned something like Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally. What I got was a lot of telling that Ashtyn was a state level football player but I didn't see any football. 

I didn't much care for any of the characters. They were all very stereotypical: jocks, cheerleaders, 20 year old bimbo step-moms. Add some angst, instalove, family drama and there you have it.

The story felt very awkward which was probably a result of Ashtyn and Derek's awkward relationship. Step-aunt and Step-nephew. That wasn't really the awkward part though; this could've made for a few funny situations. It was mostly the characters themselves. All Ashtyn did was brood about her bad family situations, her gloomy boyfriend and how Derek should stop looking at her because she hates him but she can't stop herself from wanting to be held by him.

As for "bad boy" Derek; expelled from private school, Derek: all he did was rake the leaves, wear cowboy boots, have an estranged relationship with his grandma and oh, paint the outhouse. 

From the first meeting, there was something wrong with the two of them. They never actually sit down and talk to each other. All their conversations result in a brawl, where they are plain mean to each other. Then somehow they fall in love, but she already has a boyfriend and he doesn't want a relationship. Oh boy.

It did have some positives and that goes to Ms. Elkeles’ skill of keeping the reader engaged. Despite not caring much for the characters or plot, I still felt driven enough to continue reading for as long as I did. The writing was great, clear and vivid, as one would expect. 

Wild Cards isn't a bad book at all, but it fell flat to my skyscraper expectations and that's okay. Many others have enjoyed it and maybe I will too if I ever come back to it. I’m still looking for that great YA sports novel and this one missed that mark. 



What do you think?

WoW - Magnolia

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 


August 5, 2014

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

I actually just came upon this one and thought it would be a fun read. It sounds quite cliche, but if done right, it can be really good. I'm waiting on this one with the hope that Ms. Cook can pull of a great story that may be cliche but doesn't feel it. Similar to books like Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.

I think the fact that the characters hate each other and are being pushed to marry is hilarious and could set us up for some fun times. Also, I find it curious that the families have been neighbours and friends since the Civil War, but they never had a daughter or son to marry off before now.

What Are You Waiting On?



What do you think?

Cover Wars: Let The Storm Break vs. Love Letters to the Dead

Cover Wars is a weekly showdown of two beautiful covers. The winner, as voted by you, goes on to face a new cover, and wins bragging rights. This is basically a fun way to discuss what we like in covers.

It was a clean sweep by Love Letters to the Dead last week and as always it's back this week. This weeks it's up against the sequel to a popular Cover Wars cover, Let the Storm Break by Shannon Messenger.

Both covers are quite similar as both feature beautiful pastel colours in the background and skinny fonts. The starswept sky in Love Letters and the brewing storm in Let the Storm Break make for some appealing covers.

Let the Cover Wars begin!

Which cover should win Cover Wars? free polls 


What do you think?

Horror: My Ray of Sunshine

This post was actually written for Halloween, but it got lost along the way...

I love stories full of drama and tragedy; heroes defying all odds and saving their loved ones, or failing and dying gruesome deaths. I love the creepy, bloody, inventive ways to die and I can pretty much deal with anything on screen as long as it is not a bug. That I can't deal with.

Oh my god this looks exactly like a nightmare I had as a kid: running away from dinosaurs and big vehicles. 

It's completely bizarre that I appreciate macabre and gore in fiction considering my intense dislike (okay okay, fear) of this stuff in person.

I do not go into hospitals if I can help it. I hate sickness and they terrify me. I feel like germs are everywhere and crawling all over me. I genuinely feel like I'm suffocating a little there.

If you get hurt, I am the last person you will want to seek for aid. When my little sister's tooth was extremely wobbly and bloody, she asked me to look at it and pull it out. I hid my face in my hands and refused to look, and eventually she pulled her own tooth out herself. This is astonishing to me because I would throw enormous tantrums and fits and refused to let anyone touch me teeth when I was losing them.

In movies, I laugh when the monster is gobbling someone else. In real life, I can't look at my mom getting a flu shot because I will freak out.

And when it comes to bugs I am hopeless. I will scream and rub away. I used to dream of livng in New York and then I learned there are cockroaches there and now I've decided my dream is to live on top of a mountain in BC.

Somehow though, these petty fears don't translate to fiction. I know what's happening on screen is fake and that's apparently all the difference. I can watch explosions and almost anything on TV, whereas my tolerance in RL is minimal.

Watching these gross things also helps put some things into perspective. I've already alluded to being terrified of needles and a very, uh, determined child. I would fight getting a shot with everything I had until I started trying to conquer my fears (or at least stop being hopelessly embarrassing). I did that thanks to things like Harry Potter.

Every time I had to (who am I kidding? I still do this) do something that scares me, I put it into perspective by comparing my upcoming horror to the obstacles heroes face. Like, what's a flu shot compared to a basilisk? What's a bug compared to a massive Leviathon? What's a lightning storm compared to the light slowly and surely being sucked away until nothing but darkness is left? It's nothing, so suck it up!

Horror helps me feel brave when I'm actually a wimp. It forces me to see some things I rather wouldn't. It makes me experience awful situations, and realize that there's a way to be brave and come out alive. That's why I love it, even if it is ridiculous and cheesy.



What do you think?

The Weekly Progress: Essay in Progress Edition

The Weekly Progress is a type of wrap up post that happens every Sunday on The Sirenic Codex looking on the week that was.

I actually didn't plan to start this post right now (Saturday night). I'm currently in the process of writing an essay. I was about to go to bed and decided I needed some fun, and if I don't write about something other than Hamlet right now, I'll probably dream about it (ick). So, this is my relaxation time: some good music, and a rambly blog recap.

Books Read

I only read one book this week, which I realize is embarrassing considering the amount of time I had. (Time I should have spent on my essay... ) This one was very interesting, however, and featured Norse mythology which I knew nothing about, so I had fun with it. 

Currently Reading

I was originally attracted to this book because of the Toronto background. It is incredibly rare to get books set in Canada, so I get disproportionately excited when I find one. I'm a little surprised to see how low the Goodreads average is (3.05) and so far, the writing is a little strange and I have no idea what's going on, but it's not bad. Hopefully, it will click for me. This book was on Cover Wars for Tantalizing Illusions a while back and I always try to read Cover Wars books. 

Blog Recap

I think this was a good week. It started with a review of The Pledge, another Cover Wars nominee. The cover was the best part of the book I was disappointed.

Mari did a WoW and picked Forget Me. I had never heard of the book before, but I agree, the synopsis sounds cool.

Finally, I reviewed a book I did like: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black! 

Mari wrote a really great post about her motivation behind reading. I love it. 

We finished off the week with a discussion about love triangles. So far, we've seen some pretty interesting reactions from commentators.

I think it was one of our most balanced weeks, in terms of contribution. Hope you guys enjoyed it!

The Week That Was

The world is funny. When I'm busy, I'm always complaining about it. There's no time to get anything done. When I do have time though, I do my best to relax in it and enjoy the feeling, which results in me losing track of when my essay is due until I have only a few days more to write it. Either way, I feel like I should have done more this week and I didn't. That's disappointing, but it's something I'll try to learn from. 

This upcoming week will be busy-ish. I'm going to a Sens game tomorrow (or by the time you guys are reading, today), which I'm incredibly pumped for. Lauren Oliver is also coming on Monday! If there are any questions you want Mari and I to ask her, leave a comment!

Song of the Week

More like Song of the Day because I only discovered this today, but I've played it enough to last a week. No really, I think I might be in the midteens to early twenties. I love it. I've always heard a lot about Tiesto but for some reason, I never listened to him until I was looking at remixes for Stay the Night by Zedd. This is by far my favourite. I love what it does to the song: it adds so much power, and all the melodies and that wicked base line is incredible. And it's oh so catchy. It might make it into my favourites, the way I've been constantly been listening to it. So here it is: Tiesto's Club Life Remix of Stay the Night by Zedd feat. Hayley Williams. 

Have an amazing week! 



What do you think?

Discussion: Love Triangles Love/Hate?

A discussion with Mari and P.E.

If you've been reading YA for a while (or a month) you've probably noticed one of the prominent aspects of YA, romance. We all love a little bit of spice in our books, and who doesn't? However, more times than not these romances are surrounded by a love triangle. Love them or hate them?

What if I was incredibly wimpy and diplomatic and said it depends on the context? See, I very rarely read a book for romance. Romance can be in the books I read, but I don't consider it essential to my reading experience. I'd rather a book be based on a character and plot and romance be like a side dish that helps explore the character/plot, but one that can also be discarded without too many ill side effects to the story. Thus, when it comes to love triangles, it depends on whether the romance in general appeals to me. I feel like it's hard to write a good love triangle, and when they're in stories they tend to take centre stage so it's easier to fail at them. That being said, many favourite stories of mine have love triangles (Vampire Academy, The Vampire Diaries, Unearthly). I know you're more of a romance reader than me so what do you think?

Like most things, when done well it is hard to not appreciate it. One of my all time favourites is in Cassandra Clare's, Infernal Devices Series. I was completely ripped between Jem and Will (though my allegiance will forever reside with Will). However, most of the time I prefer not to have a love triangle. I can't help but wonder how this mediocre girl, who never got any male attention before the events of said book, all of a sudden is so attractive she can't choose between two insanely hot guys. It's unrealistic and gets quite repetitive when every story you read has a love triangle. 

There's another side of it too. I feel like it's incredibly cruel. I mean, in theory, it's awesome. Like, this MC is so freakin' brilliant that she has her choice of amazing guys. However, I also feel like it's incredibly selfish and often there is a little cheating which doesn't seem to get the reaction it should get. For example, let's say the girl, while dating guy A, makes out with guy B in the most amazing kiss in the world, people are excited and happy about that in general. I mean, guy B is perfect for her, right? But I don't like it when the girls flip flop around and end up cheating on their guy. It drives me insane because this is seen as romantic, when it's a little tragic. Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer had so much of this that it made me hate the main character. 

OH MAN! The infamous flip flop romance. Respect is important to me in life and in my books. If a MC can't seem to make her mind up on a guy and continues to go back and forth between them, I have no respect for them. In my opinion, a book is not worth reading if you can't even respect the MC's decisions.As for Andrea Cremer's Nightshade series, this is one of the reasons as to why I haven't read Bloodrose and probably never will. 

Sidenote, but I'm probably too harsh on that book... Anyway, how about when it's two girls going after the same guy? I always find that annoying. 

That's less common so I wouldn't mind seeing some action, as long as the roles aren't reversed and it's not the guys turn to flip flop between girls; we get enough of that on The Bachelor. At its core though, it is the same story just flipped and I don't like it. Do it well, don't do it repetitively and I will appreciate it. Add it to every book you write/publish and it's getting too repetitive. As a whole though, I prefer a normal one gal, one guy romance. It's much more relatable because lets face it, we're all normal people and no I don't have three guys who are dying for my eternal love. 

I actually don't really care about how common it is as long as it's done well. I don't feel like every book needs a romance and most seem to have one, and I'm okay with ignoring it if it sucks. Just, if you're going to write a love triangle, treat the characters right, and please don't make it the focal point of the story. This shouldn't be the biggest plot twist anymore.

Overall, love triangles are great every now and then, especially when they're done well and not the main focus point. 

What Do You Think?


What do you think?

Why Do I Read?

I don't know about you but I always get asked things like: 
  • How do you have time to read? 
  • Isn't reading boring? 
  • Why do you read so much? 
Other times I get told outright, "Reading is boring!"

To be honest, this cracks me up but my answer is "OK! That's fair, it's your opinion. Now listen to mine."
  1. I make time for reading. It's like everything else in life; you don't have time unless you make time for something. 
  2. Sure, if you think reading stories written by people of all ages around the world, in thousands of different languages, translated to your language is boring, than yes. But, if you're like me and you think that is fascinating, then join the bandwagon. We love reading.
  3. Mostly because I'm bored

      Ha I know, you thought books were boring.

      There are so many reasons as to why I love to read and it's hard to write them all without ending up with a long three page essay/rant. Nevertheless, I will try.

      TO ESCAPE: 

      Life sucks, let's face it. There are fun times but they tend to be followed by long periods of boredom. That's fine, I am not complaining because those long periods of boredom are the reason why humans have created a beautiful thing called ENTERTAINMENT. I don't know about you but I love entertainment. Some music, movies or hey, BOOKS! They are all one and the same as they all serve the same purpose: to take you out of your reality for a little while, and let you live vicariously; to see things that you probably wouldn't see in your own life.

      TO LEARN: 

      I value education to the next century. It is something that I feel is really important. But, like most things, school and learning can get boring. Yes, 'boring'. (Please excuse my lack of adjectives but I think boring is going to be a key word in this post.) Books are educative; from them, one can learn better literature/English. You see phrases, words, sentence structures and you become familiar with them to the point that you start to understand things that you've never been taught directly. And that's not all! Authors are amazing people. They are creative and they are intelligent. I've learnt more about people, history, and science just by reading their stories and listening to their characters. What's better than learning without knowing you're learning?

      TO TRAVEL: 

      One of my life goals is to travel and being 17 and broke limits these dreams, but lucky for me I have books to distract me. When I read Anna and the French Kiss or Just One Day, I could almost see myself in Paris eating macarons waiting for Etienne or Willem to show up. Those books are great because they ignite the flame of curiosity inside me. I want to see Paris, I want to see all these places and they educate me on them, their history, etc. 

      Then there are books that feature places that you can't stand up and go to with a measly plane ticket, like Hogwarts. Yes, I know there is a World of Harry Potter but the taste that I got from those books make me crave the whole thing; the real thing. This thirst can not be quenched by a quick trip to Florida. I want to go to Hogwarts, I want to get sorted by the sorting hat (GO SLYTHERIN!). Sadly, I will never get my wish but through the books I can live and relive the beautiful story and world numerous times. Darn, I want some butterbeer right now!

      TO LIVE: 

      Books are another life. They are removed from your immediate reality and therefore have the power to immerse you into another's reality, may it be fictional or not. I can't tell you how many time I wished I was a fly on someone's wall. We, human being, are fascinating. In books we get the chance to hop right out of our busy schedules or boring days and jump into someone else's. You can be 14, tall and red headed, worrying about your first day of high school or 65 and thinking about how best to throw your retirement party. The point is you get to live and taste things that you wouldn't otherwise. You get to enjoy things that you wouldn't otherwise and what is life if we're not enjoying it?

        Behold, my essay on why I love books. It is now 12 am on a school night and I'm going to hop right back into my boring life but I'm a little bit happier because I got to rant about why I do what I do best. After all it is that thing what has lead me to be here on this beautiful website with my favourite co-blogger P.E., who is brilliant and all you wonderful readers! 

        On that note, Why Do You Read?



        What do you think?

        Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

        Author: Holly Black
        Date of Publication: September 3 2013
        Pages: 419
        Source: Won in a giveaway! :)

        Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

        One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.


        Head colds suck. You don't have a sore throat. Instead, you feel completely dizzy and out there with a headache that never seems to completely leave. In this slightly feverish condition, I started to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.

        I wasn't surprised to enjoy it. A lot.

        The writing is wonderful. Every chapter has an aim and seems to belong on its own. There are some creepy quotes about death before every chapter that are written in cursive that take a few extra seconds to decipher but that are wonderful in the way they accompanied the text. Everything was conveyed very well, very concisely, and every chapter felt deliberate. The story felt as if Holly Black knew what would happen at all times. Some stories feel confusing and our a little bit all over the place, but The Coldest Girl in Coldtown felt like it had a purpose.

        The mix of flashbacks at the beginning to give Tana depth and introduce the world, as well as the sometimes different POVs meant that this book felt clean when reading, not fluffy, because it was shaped. There was also a lot of depth to the world, the story, and the characters.

        As much as this is the story of Tana, there is something more profound. Some lines speak directly to the reader and they make me want to go back and reread the story.

        Enough about writing- let's get to the story. The way everything was set up is probably its biggest strength. The vampire mythology has been molded into something completely new and dark.  The idea of Coldtowns, places where vampires roam freely and where humans that desire immortality enter, even knowing that they'll never be allowed to leave. The society is so messed up what with the vampire obsession that it seems to make sense.

        The characters were also pretty fantastic. Tana's perspective is engaging and although I was curious about her hero complex, I couldn't help but root for her. Tana is a pretty likable character and I also admired her strength. It's not the type of strength that shouts and is obvious. She's strong because she's experienced horrible things and has found ways to keep going; ways to stay okay.

        I don't want to say too much more because honestly. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is really great in every way. The plot, characters, writing, mythology, premise... Everything was just well done and shows how talented Holly Black is. I'm so sad that this is a standalone. It was wonderful, and I wouldn't mind more.

        4.5 stars.



        What do you think?