Top 5: 2014 Cover Reveals





It all began with me innocently browsing the Epic Reads website and noticed a very enticing title: "Winter 2014 Cover Reveals Roundup". So me being the cover junkie that I am, was quick to click on the post. Here are some of my personal favourite covers:

Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge
January 28, 2014
Balzer & Bray
Goodreads 

My Thoughts: I'm really loving this one. From the title "Cruel Beauty" to the awesome cover and synopsis, this one is definitely being added to my never ending TBR list. I love the idea of spiral stairs turning into a rose almost, very nice and original. When publishers put a little more effort into the cover then just having a good looking girl in a dress doing a pose, it really pays of well. 





Frozen - Erin Bowman
April 15, 2014
Harper Teen
Goodreads

My Thoughts: I've seen the first in this series, Taken, around but never really stopped to look it up. This cover though, did the job for me. I really love the colours used, it's so simple yet beautiful and also futuristic. A great portrayal of the book, I feel!








Perfect Lies - Kiersten White 
February 18, 2014
Harper Teen
Goodreads

My Thoughts: This one is also a sequel, to Kiersten's popular book, Mind Games which I haven't read but heard great things about. Among those great things was it's amazing cover. The sequel doesn't disappoint either in that department. The best thing about these covers is the little scenes in the background, it really catches my attention and makes me want to look closely, such a great feature. Also I love the title font, nice and simple yet perfect.





Split Second - Kasie West
February 11, 2014
Harper Teen
Goodreads

My Thoughts: This one is another sequel of a popular book with a beautiful cover. I love the idea of this book and the cover. Yes, it has the stereotypical girl's face YA cover, but it also  represents the story pretty fell. I also really like the title font and position. The sideways style works really well here. The rain is another great feature.






No One Else Can Have You - Kathleen Hale
January 7, 2014
Harper Teen
Goodreads

My Thoughts: Can morbid be cute? Well either way, I love this one. Once again, its a simple one since that seems to be my style lately. I like the moose's . The knit shirt adds a small town feel to it and maybe even has a significance in the story. I love it when a cover makes me interested in a book and this one does for sure.




 

What Do You Guys Think? Any Particular Favourites?

-MARI 

4 comments:

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Review: Sanctum





Author: Sarah Fine
Date of Publication: October 16 2012
Pages: 433
Source: Library
A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos’s best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance—hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn’t just anyone—she’s determined to save her best friend’s soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife. 

As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she’s captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city’s endless streets. Their all-too-human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn’t—the dark city isn’t the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.


Review: 
Lovely.

The word in my mind after reading Sanctum is lovely. I'm a little bit surprised by this because I don't often use the word 'lovely'. However, I think it describes the book well. Sanctum was a story of redemption and loss, with characters that I couldn't help but adore and an engrossing plot. When I picked Sanctum from the library, I was persuaded to read it after I looked over the promising synopsis and did a quick Goodreads check. Sanctum wasn't a book I heard a lot about, but it is very definitely a hidden gem.

One thing that I don't like, and I'll say this right off the top, is the cover. I've asked a lot of my friends to see if anyone disagrees, but the cover isn't attractive to me (or us). Some books call for me to read them because they're so pretty. Sanctum's cover is rather forgettable which saddens me because I think this book would appeal to a lot of people if they picked it up. Covers do matter at the end of the day.

The book itself was great. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect so I was a little taken back at the beginning. Let's just say the story doesn't waste time. The author knows her story and is very concise in getting to it. That's probably the biggest strength of Sanctum- the writing. I enjoyed it because it was fresh and natural. I never paid too much attention to it because I was so into the plot. At one point I even made a conscious decision not to pick up this book because it was exam week and I knew that if I started to read it, I would lose track of everything else.

The story begins with Lela recounting the first time she meets Nadia. I liked this approach by the author because, as their story was explained, I started to care about Nadia, at least a little, and so it made some sense why Lela would risk so much for her friend. I thought their relationship was very well done and I got a very good feel for it.

Nadia is troubled and the author dealt with this very well. Sanctum deals with some very dark issues fairly realistically. There is no major solution, and looking back I'm even more impressed. Pain is natural and some people can't get over it. They don't understand their true worth no matter how much you try to tell them. Suicide is a hard issue and this is a different approach to it. There are many familiar to this type of pain. Every character in Sanctum had to deal with something and they all dealt with it differently. Reading about their struggles to overcome the pain and attain redemption was inspiring.

When Lela arrives at the Suicide Gates, she encounters a horrible world that frankly, makes way too much sense. It's a dark place where you can get what you want, but not completely. Nothing is right like the food or even the TV. Nothing is entirely satisfactory.  Now we get into the paranormal aspect of the story. Lela discovers monstrous creatures that seem to fight with these guys in armor. She soon meets Malachi and boy is he an awesome character.

Sometimes you meet a character and you know this character is going to be awesome. Malachi is a great example of that. He has history; mannerisms. He's so sweet and strategic. He's sensitive too and I respected him. He has real chemistry with Lela and I was totally feeling the romance.

Lela is feisty. She won't back down from anybody and she's courageous. She's dealt with a lot of crap and she's still recovering. Nadia meant so much to her and Lela can't accept failing her friend. She's so loyal and I respected that. The cast in general was fantastic.

The plot has a very simple premise of Lela saving Nadia. This is surprisingly complex in reality. I liked the plot a lot and I thought the ending was awesome. It wrapped up the story while remaining open and giving the reader some hope.

In general, everything in Sanctum feels well done and complete. A completely solid all around book that deserves way more hype than it gets. Sanctum deals with complex issues featuring detailed characters and an entertaining plot. The relationships in this book are top notch, especially the romance. There is development and these little awkward moments. But just because it's not perfect doesn't make it not beautiful. 4 hearts,


- P.E.


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Epic Fantasy Watch




Fantasy is one of those genres that, when done right, can be mind-blowingly awesome. Right now for instance, I'm in the middle of  a Game of Thrones obsession. I love the show and it's gotten me desperate for more awesome fantasy. I found a list on Goodreads and here are some highlights from this list that you might want to check out. Keep in mind that these are not all strictly YA books, but if I enjoy them I'm pretty sure other teens do too. Or if you've already read of these books, let me know what you think. 

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Goodreads Summary: 

Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

Why I want to read it: WIZARDS! Harry Potter has instilled in me an unnatural excitement when it comes to reading about wizards and magic. Plus this book seems to have a school of magic. And there is the murder of a king which means, hopefully, that there will be a lot of court politics. I'm genuinely excited to read about this book. It doesn't hurt that it has an insane 4.56 star rating from over 110 000 readers on Goodreads. I did notice some 1 star reviews, but the vast majority of readers enjoyed The Name of the Wind which is good enough for me!

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson


Goodreads Summary: 

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison. Kelsier "snapped" and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld's elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel's plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she's a half-Skaa orphan, but she's lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

Why I want to read it:  There's something that interests me about rebellion, and this book seems to center about that. Plus, everyone seems to have some sort of magic powers, which is alluring again. Even from reading the synopsis I'm interested in Vin. She's young and damaged, and I'm curious to see how she begins to trust the world. Also, apparently something really crazy happens and I'm dying to know what after having read Palice Pottle P.P. Pepper's review.

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Goodreads Summary: 

Eight of the nine provinces of the Peninsula of the Palm, on a world with two moons, have fallen to the warrior sorcerers Brandin of Ygrath and Alberico of Barbadior. Brandin's younger son is slain in a battle with the principality of Tigana, which the grief-stricken sorcerer then destroys. After sweeping down and destroying the remnants of their army, burning their books and destroying their architecture and statuary, he makes it so that no one not born in that province can even hear its name. Years later, a small band of survivors, led by Alessan, last prince of Tigana's royal house, wages psychological warfare, planting seeds for the overthrow of the two tyrants. At the center of these activities are Devin, a gifted young singer; Catriana, a young woman pursued by suspicions of her family's guilt; and Duke Sandre d'Astibar, a wily resistance leader thought dead. Meanwhile, at Brandin's court, Dianora, his favorite concubine and--unknown to anyone, another survivor of Tigana--struggles between her growing love for the often gentle tyrant and her desire for vengeance. Gradually the scene is set for both conquerors to destroy each other and free a land.

Why I want to read this book: Okay, I admit the cover drew me in. It looks all epic-like so while I was scrolling through the list, this book stood out. Upon further examination, Tigana sounds genuinely intriguing. There's been a huge war and some people are trying to overthrow tyrants. There is also a prince, which I seem to enjoy reading about. I like that the story seems very large and follows the lives of many characters. I like intricacy, and this book seems to promise something, well, epic. 

These are just a few from the list I found. None of these titles are YA, but they all intrigue me and I'd love to hear your recommendations or comments on these books.

-P.E.

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Reading Slump Cure: Manga




Reading Slumps. There comes a day (or multiple) in every readers life where despite wanting to, they just cannot read or finish a book. That day has come, again for me. I can't say specifically when it did but I strongly suspect school as the culprit.

Either way, as I can't seem to get into any books I thought I could share what I am getting into i.e. MANGA!

Not many people know this about me but I'm a massive manga nerd. It's a recessive trait so it goes on hibernation for most of the year but at the moments its back with vengeance. So before I ramble too much here are some of My Favourite Mangas!


Inu Yasha - Rumiko Takahashi
Transported back to Japan's feudal era, high school student Kagome accidentally releases the feral half-demon dog boy Inu-Yasha from his imprisonment for stealing the Jewel of Four Souls.
Thoughts: This one has some sentimental value as it was the very first manga I read. I was prompted to pick it up after watching the anime on YTV (those were the good days). I love the characters, Inu Yasha was my first anime crush, despite the fact that he was half dog... This epic action, adventure and comedy with a hint of romance was every thing pre-teen Mari needed and I think its a great one for people who want to try out manga but enjoy action packed and paranormal type of reads.



Anime: Yes 
 Recommend:
  • There really is no age limit, although thinking back there were some inappropriate scenes.
  • Those looking for: action, adventure, Asian culture, dog-boys and comedy


One Piece - Eiichiro Oda
A new shonen sensation in Japan, this series features Monkey D. Luffy, whose main ambition is to become a pirate. Eating the Gum-Gum Fruit gives him strange powers but also invokes the fruit's curse: anybody who consumes it can never learn to swim. Nevertheless, Monkey and his crewmate Roronoa Zoro, master of the three-sword fighting style, sail the Seven Seas of swashbuckling adventure in search of the elusive treasure "One Piece."
Thoughts: Sticking with the order in which I read these, One Piece was my life after Inu Yasha ended (tears). It is still on-going and the manga has reached volume 70 or so. Personally, I'm behind but the 40 volumes that I did read were amazing. One Piece is what invoked my love for pirates, well this and Pirates of the Caribbean (Will Turner!). It's another epic adventure, with great witty and silly characters who you can't seem to keep yourself from loving.
Anime: Yes 
Recommend:
  • Fans of non-stop adventure and pirates!

Full Metal Alchemist - Hirome Arakawa
Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg...and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders...even to kill. Except his powers aren't unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher's Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are...
Thoughts: After reading Harry Potter anything with the slightest mention of a Philosopher's Stone was on my reading list. This one was no exception and for good reason. It's such a great story of two brothers who risked everything and paid the ultimate price and now they are looking for a way to redeem what they have lost and at the same time battling enemies and doing alchemy.
Anime: Yes, 2 actually.

Recommend:  
  •  Non-romance lover (i.e P.E.) this is the manga for you. 
  • Appeals to both boys and girls.
Paradise Kiss - Ai Yazawa
School is Yukari's life until she is kidnapped one afternoon by a group of fashion students calling themselves "Paradise Kiss." Wooed by George, the group's leader and resident art snob, Yukari discovers the world of high-fashion and a beauty she never knew she had. One of the top-selling shojo titles in Japan, Paradise Kiss stretches the manga genre with a combination of exquisite artwork, high comedy, and coming-of-age angst.
Anime: Yes, also has a new Japanese Drama.





NaNa - Ai Yazawa

Nana Komatsu is a young woman who's endured an unending string of boyfriend problems. Moving to Tokyo, she's hoping to take control of her life and put all those messy misadventures behind her. She's looking for love and she's hoping to find it in the big city. Nana Osaki, on the other hand, is cool, confident and focused. She swaggers into town and proceeds to kick down the doors to Tokyo's underground punk scene. She's got a dream and won't give up until she becomes Japan's No. 1 rock'n'roll superstar. This is the story of two 20-year-old women who share the same name. Even though they come from completely different backgrounds, they somehow meet and become best friends. The world of Nana is a world exploding with sex, music, fashion, gossip and all-night parties.
Anime: Yes 

Thoughts: These two are very popular managas by the same author. To be honest, Ai Yazawa is probably the best mangaka (author of mangas) I've ever read. Her illustrations are incredible and her stories are so intricately woven. You don't even realize your reading a manga, it feel like your watching a movie with multiple levels of drama and suspense. Those planning to check these two out bring a tissue box with you.
Recommend: 
  • Contemporary, drama lovers.

Vampire Knight - Matsuri Hino
Yuki Cross has no memory of her past prior to the moment she was saved from a vampire attack ten years ago. She was adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy, and now works alongside Zero to guard the Academy's secret. Cross Adademy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, protecting the Day Class from the Academy's dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires!

Yuki Cross has no memory of her past prior to the moment she was saved from a vampire attack ten years ago. She was adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy, and now works alongside Zero to guard the Academy's secret. Yuki believes that vampires and humans can coexist peacefully, but her partner has different ideas...
 
Thoughts: The original and the best in my opinion, Vampire manga. Another well written and illustrated story, with a fantastic batch of characters and well developed world. It's a story of vampires and vampire hunters and a girl who is stuck in between.This one had my hooked, it has one of those rare love triangles where you have a hard time picking a side as both the male interests are so amazing.
Anime: Yes  
Recommend:
  • Vampire lovers.
  • Paranormal romance fans.

Maid Sama! - Hiro Fukiwara
Brilliant and overachieving, Misaki Ayuzawa is the President of the Student Council at Seika High School, formerly a boys' school. Unfortunately, most of the students are still male and stuck in their slovenly habits, so man-hating Misaki really socks it to 'em in an attempt to make the school presentable to attract more female students. But what will she do when the sexiest boy in school finds out that after school, Misaki works in a maid cafe!

Thoughts: This one is on the lighter side. It is contemporary and about a female student body president in a ex-all boys school. It's hilarious and beautiful especially with the main male protagonist around.
Anime: Yes  
Recommend:
  • Those looking for a light read.
  • Contemporary romance and non-stop comedy fans.

-MARI

8 comments:

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Spotlight - Don't Turn Around

 


Don't Turn Around - Michelle Gagnon (PERSEFONE #1)


Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 309
Buy the Book: Amazon

In Michelle Gagnon’s debut YA thriller, Don’t Turn Around, computer hacker Noa Torson is as smart, tough, and complex as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander. The first in a trilogy, Don’t Turn Around’s intricate plot and heart-pounding action will leave readers desperate for book two. Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her hacking skills to stay anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in a warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side. Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation threatens his life in no uncertain terms. But what Noa and Peter don’t realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who’d stop at nothing to silence her for good.
Synopsis and cover taken from Goodreads 


Why It's Awesome:

- An epic new thriller.

- Blurbed as a The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens. 

Protagonists who are hackers!

- Action packed and suspenseful.

- On the run from a formidable enemy. 

- Something is happening to all the street kids in Boston and it's up to them to find out. Especially, when what came after those kids is now after them.


Similar Titles:
Altered - Jennifer Rush
Legend - Marie Lu
Maximum Ride - James Patterson

Book Trailer:

-MARI

10 comments:

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Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar

Author: Kady Cross
Date of Publication: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 416
Source: Library

Sequel toThe Girl in the Steel Corset
In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling-or dangerous Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper from the clutches of a devious criminal demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. One false move from Jasper, and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens and tightens. From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens follows Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship. More than ever, Finley must rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley...and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley must infiltrate the criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much....


Review:

If there were any doubts they were throughly dispelled after reading The Girl in the Clockwork Collar. The Girl in the Steel Corset was one of my favorite debuts and I was curious to see if this series was legit. It is. There's this wonderful mix of exhilarating and fun. 

This book was fun to read. That's its biggest strength: the way every lines drew me in. There was such a great blend of so many elements; likable characters, thoughtfulness, action, and a really cool world. There's also so much creativity. Kady Cross does not bite off more than she can chew. It's fascinating how this is only the second book but it doesn't feel that way because everything is clearly written. There's depth and detail and I adore it. 

Once again I have to praise Finley. I adore her. She's not a total badass because she has a conscience and insecurities. She has this steady confidence about her and her abilities that I couldn't help but admire. Finley is a character I like to read about and respect too. 

The story alternates POVs with Finley, Jasper, and Griffin all having an opportunity to tell it and I loved that. Griffin is a fantastic character that I totally literary crush on. He feels so different from most other love interests in YA because he's responsible and over thinks. He's bossy but in general just decent. Someone you can pull full. Jasper I like a little less than Finley and Griffin (and Emily for this matter) but that says more about them than him. 

Jasper has dealt with a lot and it's him that drags everyone into this mess (although it really isn't his fault). Jasper is brought to New York due to some bogus murder charges in an elaborate plan by Dalton, a guy from Jasper's past, who's looking for something Jasper once took. Dalton is prepared to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, even if that means hurting others, including some pretty girl Jasper seems to like a lot. Jasper is charming and you end up feeling for him and liking him but when compared to the awesomeness of Finley and Griffin, he was a second (third?) choice. 

The characters are fantastic; I hope that has been established. There is just a really great crew and what I love is their loyalty for one another. There are trust and control issues but at the end of the day, everybody loves one another. They all need each other and as individuals they're fascinating and collectively they're unstoppable. 

The plot centres around saving Jasper and I thought it was well done. I love that the story wraps up by the end of the book; it's very satisfying and refreshing after the constant cliffhangers. The world is pretty cool with automatons somehow being natural. At some point I got used to the crazy machines which lead to some awesome mental images of scenery. The Aether was a really cool dimension that I hope is further explored. 

I've tried my best to explain why I love this book and this series so much. I think it's a bit of a YA gem and it has a little bit of everything for everybody. 



-P.E.


5 comments:

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The Land of Opinions





(and why, no matter how much you disagree or don't like them, it remains imperative that they be given the right to exist)

The internet is one of my favourite places in the world, but it's also one of the most deceiving places. There is no real need to be honest on the Internet. People don't need to know your name, how you look, where you live, or your family status. You can be whoever you want to be and with that comes amazing potential; with that comes dangerous lies. We all know stories of people lying on the internet and the dangers they pose from illicit photographs to fraud. 

I'm not talking about that. 

The most wondrous thing about the internet is that it's a place that doesn't exist at all. It's a beautiful world of ideas, sometimes with no substance. A land of mixed thoughts, concepts, opinions. Anyone can have an opinion on the Internet. You can even have an idea without even existing. Anonymous commentators, or people like me with aliases are very common. 

The Internet is built on this foundation of ideas. Blogs such as this one don't exist unless someone designs the beautiful template; until some person decides, "I'm going to have a blog that I will post on about this particular subject."

The ideas presented are often insubstantial. I don't pretend that the entire world cares about my opinion about one book. I don't expect to change anyone's life with my posts. The biggest thing I can provide, as someone sharing an idea, is influence. Maybe I can influence you to buy a certain book. Pick up something from the library. Like a cover.

At the end of the day, I don't expect to have a strong influence because as much as I blog to be heard, I mostly blog to figure out the thoughts in my head. Nobody should ever take any post of mine without a grain of salt. Opinions are fluid and ever changing. 3 stars one day is 2 another. People strive for consistency and objectivity but we're subjective people. 

As a blogger, I deal with opinions. I write my opinions on books. I often wonder why I do this; does it really matter in life how I feel about a certain book? Or does it matter to anyone else but me? If you truly want to read a book, you'll go out and read it no matter what I say because you know we have different preferences. My opinion has some value, but not too much. 

So why is this different for authority figures? Why is it that amateur bloggers build a foundation and following on opinions but it's unheard of for authors to do the same?

I've read many posts about how authors should keep their thoughts to themselves. In a way, it makes sense. Authors should be wary of doing reviews or writing negative opinions on other authors' books because of the burned bridges it may cause within their profession. They're too close to it and so it may hurt them. 

On the other hand, an author's trade is their way with words. Their stories. If they feel a certain way about a controversial issue and they end up insulting some people in the process... well, that was rude. But who really cares? It's just an opinion. It's important to note that I'm talking about opinions; true, personal beliefs. I'm not talking about random or intentional personal attacks. 

Having a larger following doesn't always lend validity to someone's opinion. I don't like the saying either that more should be expected from people with larger followings. Most Internet followings can be undone rather quickly, with the click of a mouse. The only obligation I believe anyone has, especially in a world of ideas and opinions, is to stay true to themselves. There are ways to phrase these harsh opinions better, but is that necessary? 

It's common courtesy to remain euphemistic, but that doesn't always make the world better. I was born in one culture and I moved away and currently live in another. I know of two different standards. One culture focuses much more on wordplay; on appearances. In the culture I live in, there's much more honesty. Maybe people aren't as civil towards one another, but at the end of the day you don't have as many suspicions in the honesty of a person's words and actions. 

Why do people try to police the Internet into becoming somewhere where only accepted, 'nice' opinions matter? I don't understand the double standard between someone like me being able to post what I like and someone well known being able to post whatever they like. In the end, people are people and everyone is allowed to have an opinion. You can hate their opinion and have a negative opinion about their negative opinion, but having an opinion is nothing wrong. Posting this opinion on a public area isn't wrong too. 

I feel like, if you were to read an opinion you disagree with by someone of authority, maybe an author if we were to take this in a bookish context, rather than talk about why this person isn't supposed to or allowed to write about their opinion, why not discuss it?

The internet is a highway of discussions between posters, individuals, etc. You're not going to always like what you find but you can't get mad at it for existing. Why don't you try to understand it? Why not open a discussion about this controversy instead of attacking the fact that someone posted something stupid. 

The most important freedom people have is their freedom to think. In section 2b of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it says:
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
This is the most essential freedom, in my opinion. We've all read those creepy dystopias where no one is allowed to think differently; we've all participated in the debates on YA censorship (#yasaves). Nothing is ever going to work out ideally. I don't think it's reasonable to expect the entire internet to diverge their opinions in the kindest, least offensive way. So either we try to stop people from posting what we consider rude, or we accept that we'll find crap everywhere we look. If it's going to bother us, don't look at it. There's a lot of awesome stuff on the Internet so why focus on this idiot giving a stupid opinion. 

Let them have their opinions. Expect the best from yourself, and the people you have an influence on; your friends and family. If you find an opinion you don't like, maybe the best way to act is to ignore it, or discuss it. Don't focus on its existence, focus on its meaning and if it's offensive, maybe you can help the person realize why you think what they said was wrong. 

tl;dr?

If you don't like something, explain it. Talk about why you think it's wrong. Don't just attack or condemn. Reason. It's something I want to work on too. If we can talk about the hard issues, we get closer to solving them.

-P.E.

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Top Ten Tuesday (1)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the amazing people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

 Top Ten Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List



This is my first time participating in this meme, but I've seen it around for a long time and always wanted to join the fun. So when I saw this weeks topic, I thought why not as I actually love me some summer books! Here goes in no particular order!

1. Why not start the summer tbr list with some contemporary romance!? I'm really excited for this one as I really enjoyed Smith's debut, The Statistical Probabiloty of Love at First Sight. Also, the synopsis looks amazing.





2. There isn't a lot in the synopsis, but it remind me of Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski, which I really enjoyed.









3. This one is more of a sober one. The topic is a tough one, but one that should be covered, as with the increase of mobile devices and social networking these situations have increased. If you don't know what I'm talking about click on the picture to be directed to the Goodreads page and read the synopsis.






4. This one looks amazing! I read Osterlund's Academy 7 a few years ago and  adored everything from the sci-fi setting to the intelligent and well written characters. This one is a bit different from that one, but I love the idea of having a Mexican immigrant boy who is smart and headed somewhere. I love Alex Fuentes (Perfect Chemistry) but I don't want to read other authors' different versions of him.





5. One of my most anticipated reads of the year, this one is a no brainier as I am a huge fan of Jennifer Echols, as you guys will come to know with time. I've loved all the books by her that I have read, which is almost all of her books. Either way, this one looks amazing and I love the cover!







 6. On to the more action packed reads, I saw this one a while ago on Goodreads and love the cover then I read the synopsis and it was compared to Terminator and I was sold!
 7. Another one I've been anticipating for a while. I read the first in the series last year and absolutely adored it so can't wait to continue. I had no idea what I was getting into at first but loved what it turned out to be.









 
8. Another really epic looking one. I love the idea of absorbing another's DNA and turning into to them. Also, love the fictional FBI unit, Forces with Extraordinary Abilities!









9. This is one I'm hoping to read early on in the summer. Love the synopsis, trailer and cover. A must reads!









10. Last and definitely not the least, Catherine is a modern retelling of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I haven't seen any of the movie adaptions or read the original book but I hope to do so. Also, I read Jane, which is the retelling of Jane Eyre by the same author and really enjoyed that so I'm looking forward to reading more!

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Review - Pretty Girl 13

Author: Liz Coley
Date of Publication: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 344
Source: Library

Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn't know.

But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing - and ultimately empowering page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.


Review:
Pretty Girl 13 is a fascinating story with some very dark parts. Angie shows up one day at home with no memory of the past three years. She was lost, stolen in the woods and abused and assaulted. Her mind's way of dealing with that was to retreat into itself and create alternate personalities.

The story looks at the psychological implications of such an experience and it is pretty informative and interesting to learn about all the different parts of Angie and their secrets. There's also quite a few moral questions raised which makes for great reading. This book is different with a storyline that will remain in my mind. 

Although some of the plot twists were easy to figure out, Pretty Girl 13 consistently captured my attention. Angie's life was so screwed up and seeing her transformation from a terrified eighth grader in the body of a sixteen year old to a sixteen year old was well done.

If there's one complaint or issue I may have had it is that this book didn't go as emotionally in depth as it could have. I think this was a conscientious decision by the author because she wanted a book about healing, but not abuse, but at some point I would have liked some more personality for Angie beyond freaked out. 

That would have been hard to accomplish; giving Angie a full personality when she was fractured. So maybe it's an unwarranted, nitpicky complaint. There were still some emotional scenes and I think considering the gravity of the situation, the book was written well enough.

I would recommend this book because I liked reading. I was a little surprised to enjoy it so much. Pretty Girl 13 is a solid standalone read about an original topic which is exactly the type of books publishers should be publishing to diversify YA.


- P.E.

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Book Trailer - Reboot

 

Reboot by Amy Tintera

Published: May 5, 2013


Trailer



This one has been out for a while, but I just recently saw the trailer and it really psyched me out for the book. By 'psyched me out', I mean that I requested it from the library within 5 minutes of watching the trailer. Sorry for the hyping. I'm excited!

I really like the idea of the book, and the trailer did a fantastic job of portraying that. The eyes were weird but still a cool feature. I'm really looking forward to this one. Undead soldier's for the win!

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-MARI

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Review: Dare You To

Author: Katie McGarry
Date of Publication: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 462
Source: Personal copy
 Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."


If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

Review:
I really like reading books about social classes and how people adjust to changing levels in society's hierarchy.  So when I heard that Katie McGarry was coming out with another book featuring exactly this theme, I was sold. Also, the fact that she is the author of Pushing the Limits and this book is a continuation of that series might have been a contributing factor.

In Pushing the Limits we met Beth Risk, the bad girl. In Dare You To, we get to see more of Beth; who she is and why she is the way she is.

After an incident involving her mother's brute of a boyfriend, Beth is plucked out of her old life and stuck into one of infinite possibilities all courtesy of her long absent uncle, Scott Risk, a now retired MLB player. Starting over in a new school, Beth is forced to face her past and present demons without the help of her friends Noah and Isaiah while at the same time being pestered by the hot and upcoming MLB prospect, Ryan Stone.

Going into this one, I had some really high expectation as Pushing the Limits was amazing! After reading it, I would say that my high expectations were probably among the reasons that kept me from loving this book.

Beth wasn't the tough girl she was made out to be, which many can relate to as we all have put up different personas for the world to see. But, I just couldn't get myself to like her for any long period of time. I found her to be clingy and needy. She basically had two thoughts running through her mind: "I need to leave this amazing life offered to me by Scott" and "Ryan can't love me!" It got to a point where she realized that things could be different and then she shut down the next moment and decided no it really can't. This is probably my biggest problem with the book, she guessed and second guessed herself to a point where it was getting repetitive. 

I also had problems with how Isaiah was treated in this book. From what I read of Isaiah and Beth in Pushing the Limits, I was pretty sure they were a done deal. Saying this, I am fine with him not being the male love interest. Yet, I feel that Isaiah was pushed aside by the author to make room for Ryan. Same can be said for Scott. We got little glimpses of Scott and Beth's relationship in the past and I really wanted to see that develop more.

Despite all the negatives, I did enjoy the book for the most part. I enjoyed reading about Beth's past. The suspense literally had me at the edge of my seat. I liked seeing Beth's dedication to her mom, given the situation. Also, I have to give credit where it's due; I love Isaiah and always shall, but Ryan was a great character too. He and Beth fit, and I understand why she chose him. Ryan shed some light into Beth's dark and gloomy world and took her away from her old life.

Overall, it was a good read with some flaws but still enjoyable. It is a companion to Pushing the Limits so we get to see how Noah and Echo are doing too. Can't wait to read the third book about Isaiah.


-Mari

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Book Blogger Confessions: Blog Tours/Cover Reveals and Guest Posts

I understand it's not the right Monday, however Book Blogger Confessions is one of my favourite features and I would like to participate, albeit a little late.


This is a really awesome feature hosted by Midnyte Reader and For What It's Worth all about discussing and venting about bookish topics  

This week's (or last week's, hehe) topic:

Does participating in book tours/cover reveals and author guests post drive traffic to your blog? What type of problems have you encountered when hosting them? (please keep it civil - no names or calling specific people out) As a blog follower, are you ever turned off by these kinds of posts? How much publicity is too much? 

P.E.'s thoughts

I've done some book tours/cover reveals on my old blog, Tantalizing Illusions and they did get some traffic. Mostly it was the author letting everyone know what happened on what day but I did get a few new visitors. I doubt any of them stayed. I didn't participate in them too much, maybe just a handful of times and never with any of the marquee tours or events. Some posts had a huge spike in views but this didn't mean much for my blog in general. 

To be honest, I don't like doing them too much. It's not very much original content and often it's someone that asks me. There's a schedule and it's pretty organized, but a little chaotic in my experience. It ends up clogging my inbox and I'm constantly thinking about posting it on the right date. The formatting also takes a lot of time and in general, I find it a lot of work. 

What I don't like is that often, the content isn't original when it comes to blog tours or cover reveals. There's dozens of other blogs posting similar posts and while that can help with exposure for an author, as a blogger it's important to have original, creative posts. I feel like my blog is just for promotions when it's really not. I always consider my posts more about the discussion of books than the promotion. 

I've also had some issues when some authors gave in content that was misspelled which totally threw me off. If I fix it, it makes them look good even though they should have done that themselves. If I leave it, it makes my blog look unprofessional. Of course the negative stuff didn't happen very often. Most authors are very professional and respectful. I prefer as a blogger to post my own content however I've always been open to guest posts and the like. 

As a blog reader, I very rarely seek out these types of posts. If it's available on my reader, I'll take a look at it but beyond that I prefer reading bloggers' features and reviews. I don't often check out blogs that post exclusively promotional material. The only thing that differentiates any blog from another is the blogger writing the posts so if a blogger seems to be posting almost exclusively promotional material, then they probably won't get a follow from me. 

There are exceptions though. If it's an author interview with my favourite author, I will definitely check it out. I guess it's a nice way for authors to show their personality. 

Those were just my thoughts. What do you think?

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The Weekly Progress: Week One is Done Edition

And this wraps up The Sirenic Codex's first week! This week of hellish blog-template-editing for me is done and I can look forward to next week for some great posts.

If you're new to my posts, The Weekly Progress is a type of wrap-up post every Sunday to look back on the week that was. I'm writing this post today, but Mari may write one in the future, or we'll both collaborate on a post. 

First, let's talk books. 

Read


Yes, this was a pretty shoddy reading week. A lot of my time was spent editing blog templates and studying. I was also reading Mystic City by Theo Lawrence which I got as an ebook edition from the library but I didn't finish it in time and it got deleted. 

Currently Reading


The Silent Deal is a book I received for review. It's about two Russian blood brothers and seems to have a very creative plot. It could be a possible gem so I'm optimistic. 

On the Blog

Mari wrote the bulk of the posts this week and she did a great job. 

First she wrote about Scarlet, a book I've never read, that apparently is amazing. She says I need to read it. I think I may have to. 

Then on Wednesday she did a WoW on Crown of Midnight. I wasn't too much of a fan of Throne of Glass, but it has a 4.15 average rating on Goodreads so I may be in the minority.  

There was also a book trailer of In The After and wow does it look great. The book and the trailer. 

My only two posts was a welcome/introduction to The Sirenic Codex and a review of Sketchy by Olivia Samms which was a nice debut to what looks to be a promising new series. I love that there were drawings in the book and Bea's voice is very distinct. Plus Sketchy has not one, but two really awesome covers. 

Current Obsessions

This part doesn't have to do much about books, but it's about what's on my mind for the week. Currently, it's music and hockey. Hockey in the sense that the playoffs are happening with the finals starting soon. My second favourite team just destroyed my least favourite team, the Penguins (sorry Mari) so there's a fair bit of schadenfreude going around. 

I've also been listening to a lot of music. Mostly house songs. Spectrum by Zedd is the newest fave, but I can never get this melody out of my head. I'll let you all enjoy it. The melody is amazing and I love John Martin's voice.



In Conclusion

This week was nice, and I'm excited for next week. We've fixed most of the kinks in the blog to this point and although next week looks awful for both of us (summative projects + exams), between the two of us we should be able to post some cool stuff. 

Thanks for reading and let me know about your book week in the comments. 


-P.E.

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