Review: The Angel Experiment

Author: James Patterson
Date of Publication: May 1 2006
Pages: 413
Source: Library

Six unforgettable kids—with no families, no homes—are running for their lives. Max Ride and her best friends have the ability to fly. And that's just the beginning of their amazing powers. But they don't know where they come from, who's hunting them, why they are different from all other humans... and if they're meant to save mankind—or destroy it.


To be honest, I had never really been a fan of James Patterson. I don't enjoy his Witch & Wizard series and so I was kinda cautious about reading the Maximum Ride series. Surprisingly, many of the things I didn't like about his work in Witch & Wizard were enjoyable in Book 1 of the Maximum Ride series.

My liking of this book definitely starts with the protagonist. Max is easy to like. She's a strong character that really cares for her family. She's really protective of them all as the leader, but she doesn't go overboard. She's only 14 and she acts like it. Her character is easy to believe in because of the writing style. It's pretty youngish but it's believable that someone with little exposure to the outside world would speak using more clichés than the regular teen. I found the writing to be easy to read, and it fit the book.

Anyways, back to the characters. Besides Max, there were a bunch of other likeable characters. Max's family for one was really adorable. I enjoyed reading about the very distinct personalities of the flock. Since this is more of an action, fast-paced kind of book than a really descriptive or poetic story, there is still lots of room to expand on when it comes to the characters. We know basic things about them and hints of more complex characteristics that could make them truly great, but for now I was content to simply read was written. I do expect more characterization in the future.

The plot and concept was what really set this book apart and made it so exciting to read. It's really imaginative and on the verge of being over done but it isn't. I like the balance there is between full on fantasy and the modern world. That being said, you kind of have to accept what happens a lot without questioning it too much. The story is really run and gun without many explanations. I liked the idea of paranormal superpowers, being a scientific experiment, and being part bird but then even more fantastical fun was added and while it makes it even more fun for maybe younger readers, I do want an explanation at some point.

Oh, and did I mention the twists and cliffhangers? I really liked the plot of this story because you honestly had no idea what could happen next. At one point my jaw dropped because of a twist that I don't think anyone could have foreseen. It changed the way I thought about the novel completely and I had a lot of fun with it.

Basically, the first book of the Maximum Ride series was certainly a ride with a lot of action, great background, and some awesome twists. It's not a book to take too seriously. It's some pretty good, lighthearted fun and I'm glad I gave this series a try. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel as soon as I can! I really liked this book so 4 hearts,


-P.E.

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Cover Wars: Linked vs Cruel Beauty

Cover Wars is a weekly feature of two different covers in a sort of battle. Whichever cover wins the more votes in the week will win the battle and move on to next week where it will face a new cover. It's a fun feature with the point being to highlight some great covers for upcoming or recent titles, and also to discuss what is liked in a cover.

Last week, Ashes and Ice lost to Cruel Beauty in a very lopsided battle. I said it was a classic battle of blue and red, and it seemed that red won. This week, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge is up against Imogen Howsen's newly released book, Linked.
 

Both covers have this sort of warped feel to them. Cruel Beauty is of a staircase rose, and Linked features a picture of a girl that's been distorted and changed which gives it a very fascinating effect. I think the font is fascinating because it contrasts very well with the covers. Cruel Beauty has a sort of modern feel, what with the gray and high contrast, yet the font is curly and decorative. Linked's colour scheme feels more vintage, but the font is simplistic and modern.

They're both obviously very pretty covers. Only one will win and move on to next week. Vote now for your favourite!


Which cover should win Cover Wars?


Let the cover wars begin!


-P.E.

2 comments:

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Review: The Anatomy of a Single Girl

Author: Daria Snadowsky
Date of Publication: January 8, 2013
Pages: 227
Source: Received from the Author for review
With Judy Blume-like honesty and insight, this sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend is about life after first love--romance, sex, friendship, family, and the ups and downs of life as a single girl.

After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one.

The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered.

But I couldn’t avoid my future forever.

In Daria Snadowsky’s daring follow-up to Anatomy of a Boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Dominique explores the relationship between love and lust, and the friendships that see us through.


Review: 

The Anatomy of a Single Girl is the story of  Dominique. She is fresh off her first year of pre-med, first boyfriend and first heartbreak. Now on vacation, all she wants is some down time with her best friend Amy and to shadow a doctor for her internship at the hospital. However, things don't always turn out the way one plans and Dom's summer of quiet turns quickly into one of firsts and lasts, highs and lows all leading to one important revelation.

If I was asked to describe The Anatomy of a Single Girl in one word I would say honest. Anyone who has read it will agree with me. Snadowsky did not refrain from being frank with her readers. Her frankness really set the tone for her writing and helped make the read more realistic. Almost every aspect of the book from the setting to the dialogue and more helped build the realism until I felt like I was reading someone's memoir or watching someone's life unfold in front of me.

Snadowsky's writing was very nice and clear. It sounded like an 18 year old girl speaking and not an adult. The dialogue was fun and quirky with the exception of some parts that I had to note. One in particular that I noticed was between the protagonist and a male friend. They decide on doing something together and so they exclaim "Yeah, let's do it!" Immediately after, they burst into giggles. Ugh no! Thankfully that is the only comment of its variety that I found in the novel so things turned up from that point!

I found Dom relatable. She was just a girl trying to find her place in the world; make friends and find love. She was really smart, as a pre-med should be, and I enjoyed her little medical or just random nerdy facts here and there. It made the read more unique in my opinion.

As for the other characters, I didn't learn much about them, which is one of the cons of the story. I found Dom's parents were always absent and didn't really get to have a dominant role in the story. Same goes for her friends, or lack there of.  Amy, who is basically her only friend, was not my type of person. I found her to be quite mean. The things she said were always put downs in disguise and then she would up and fly away for the next few chapters then pop back in.

Overall, despite some hitches here and there, I really enjoyed the book. It started out slow but picked up quickly and I was wondering what would happen next. I found some great lessons being taught as well which is always nice. It's just a very nice, fun story of a girl and a very wild summer. I recommend it to any one who wished to delve into a funny and drama packed read. Keep in mind though that this is new adult therefore sex and mild language is present.

-MARI

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The Weekly Progress: Insert Quirky Title Here

The Weekly Progress is a type of wrap-up post started by P.E which is meant to be written every Sunday to look back on the week that was.

Read

I had really great reading week as I finally got out of my reading slump and got some work done! 

First I read The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke and really enjoyed it! It's a fun fantasy/adventure  story of an assassin and a pirate. My review will be up soon.

Directly afterwards, I read The Automaton's Treasure by Cassandra Rose Clarke. This one is a novella that follows one the side characters in The Assassin's Curse. I wasn't too impressed by this one but it was only 33 pages long.

Lastly, I read Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowski. This one was sent to me for review by the author, so thank you Daria if you're reading this! I actually really enjoyed this one, it was pure, honest and realistic. For more thoughts check out my review which will be up on Monday.

 On the Blog

It was a slow week on the blogging front from me but P.E. has been going strong!
  1. P.E. reviewed Sacrifice the last book in the Legacy series by Cayla Kluver. Sadly she wasn't too impressed by it.
  2. P.E. posted a new Cover Wars! Pitching two beautiful covers, Cruel Beauty and last weeks winner Ashes on Ice against each other. Visit the post and vote for your favourite!
  3. On Wednesday I participated in one of my favourite memes, Waiting on Wednesday. I featured How to Love an upcoming books with an interesting plot!
  4. P.E. then reviewed Prophecy by Ellen Oh, a book she was really excited about but proved insufficient.
  5. On Friday, I wrote about New Adult and my opinion of it. This is a type of post that I don't do a lot of, although I'm a very opinionated person I like to voice my controversial opinions not write them.
  6. Lastly, P.E. and I introduced a TSC original meme thought up by P.E. called Best of Saturday. BoS (Boss!) is a weekly meme that features post we enjoyed and shares the love!
  At the same time P.E. continued April's 15 Book Blogger Challenge.

What's Up?

Almost nothing interesting, the highlight of my week was probably teaching Rogers its place. Anyone who knows me knows my long standing bandwidth problem and finally I decided to call Rogers and chew them out properly. Canadians we need to get more prominent internet providers, this monopoly is not good for any of our wallets.

Otherwise, I've been working! I work at a summer tennis camp and teach little kids how to play tennis. It's been a fun week but really weird weather wise. Here is a picture from last weeks monster rain storm.

In Conclusion

Summer's entering it's middle period, and the initial excitement is wearing out. Hope august has more fun coming my way with the release of City of Bones, back to school shopping and more reading of course!

Speaking of movies have you guys seen Catching Fires Theatrical Trailer?

 


-Mari

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Best of Saturday





Best of Saturday is a new feature on The Sirenic Codex about highlighting YA blog posts. There are memes for highlighting books we want to read, what we're currently reading, lists, but I've never seen somewhere we can feature one another's work.

There are many fantastic bloggers who write some quality posts that deserve to be seen. Best of Saturday (also known as BOS, pronounced "boss", because it's BOSS!) aims to promote sharing these posts. The rules are quite simple. If you want to participate, you can feature any post you like as long as it's not on your blog. 

There are two different ways to go about promoting a post. First, you could actually have your own post promoting a post (write why it's awesome, why it speaks to you, your response, etc.) and link that in the first link-up. The second link-up will be a tl;dr link-up, so you can link the post you want to promote.

What you could also do is simply pick a post you think deserves recognition and link it in the second link-up. You don't need to have your own blog feature; you can just pick posts throughout the week that you enjoyed. The one rule about this second link-up is to not repeat posts. That's why the format for the link-up matters. You can link as many great blog posts as you want as well.

I'll give you an example to make it clear.

Let's say I'm from Awesomely Amazing Reads and I want to highlight YA Everyday's post: PNR: Best Genre Ever. I think it's humourous and well written, and I want this blogger to get some recognition for this great post. I write a post featuring YA Everyday's post on my blog and link that to the first linky. I'll put in my blog's name, my blog post URL, and my email.

I'll then use the second link-up to feature YA Everyday's post. I'll put in their link, my email, and the name should be written in this format:

blog post name from blog name
In this case, it would be:
PNR: Best Genre Ever from YA Everyday

You don't have to post on a Saturday, but there will be a new link-up every Saturday. You can check at some point every week to see which posts your fellow bloggers recommend, and go explore the awesome world of YA blogging. The posts you feature can be written by authors, publishers, or be newspaper articles: all that matters is that they have something to do with either YA or YA book blogging.

The YA Blogosphere is an awesome, if not enormous, community and we should support one another just as we support books. If you have any questions regarding BoS, feel free to ask in the comments. Also, I highly encourage that you leave a comment as you're visiting these recommended posts. Let the bloggers know you think their post is awesome- it means a lot to them.














Thanks guys, and have a great weekend!

-P.E. & Mari

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Day 14: Deal Breakers




Second last day of April's Challenge!

Recap:
Day 12 was about how to fight blogging fatigue.
Day 13 was about the most under-appreciated book, imo.

Today, Day 14 deals with deal breakers & stuff that will turn me off on a book. This should be fun...



  • Cover. Yeah, I know, "don't judge a book by its cover." But what if the cover for a book doesn't look like it's my type of read? Covers don't necessarily need to be stunning, but they do have to indicate that this is the sort of book that I would read. They say a little about the mood and audience, so I need to fit into that before picking up a book.
  • Author. If it's an author who offended me as a reader in any way, say, by killing one of my favourite characters brutally,  then I lost trust in them and no matter how cool their new book looks, I won't read it. There are some authors I avoid just because they don't fit in my reading style. 
  • Too much righteousness by the main character. I absolutely hate with a fiery passion reading a book with a main character that's alone with no friends and whines about being lonely, but then they go and insult every single group of people at their school. Like, cheerleaders? They must be idiots. Sports are for stupid people. Or everyone else in the world is such an idiot compared to them. This can turn me off a book very fast because I will roll my eyes and disregard anything the main character does. 
  • Unbelievable HEAs. Are you kidding me? After all the crap they go through, they STILL get a HEA? What? Sometimes, the way things work out is too perfect. For a while, I was wondering why, when the character is hanging off a cliff, why can't they just fall off? Then the story can continue on another character's POV. Ofc, being the absolute contrary person that I am, I am mentally scarred by certain events, like GOT's Red Wedding.
I thought I would have more. I kept adding bullet points, but then I would think of a case where I didn't mind the "deal breaker" and I had to delete it. It's almost impossible to get me to say an absolute. 

I'll turn the mic to you. What do you consider a deal breaker?

-P.E.

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New Adult: My Take





Unless, you have been living under a rock for the past year, you've probably heard of the new category, New Adult. This in turn means that you've probably read and/or heard others speak of it. In my experience, I've read some NA books and I've heard others opinions on it. In this post, I've decided to discuss my opinion on it and what I think of the catagory.

Positive: 
"Great to read about characters who are in University/College."

I 100% agree. Soon I'll be going off to university and with that I have a growing curiosity about university life. Therefore, I was ecstatic when I heard about this new category of books. I think it's really great to have different category for different age groups as it makes it easier for people of said age group or people who enjoy a certain age group to find books that appeal to them.

When I was just starting to go to high school, the young adult category was my saving grace. Well, not really, but it did offer me a lot of advice and insight into life as a high schooler. As a result, it really helped me out and now as I'm going into my senior year of high school I'm really thankful for young adult books. Hopefully, new adult can offer me the same reprieve for the next stage of my life.

Negative: "It's YA with sex... a lot of sex."

I'm not going to straight off agree with this one but it wouldn't be right to say that there isn't sex.. and a lot of it. To date, I've read some of the most popular NA titles and I've noticed the sex. In some I don't mind but the others, I do.


But it's not the sex I mind really, it's how it is incorporated into the story. What I've noticed like many who stand by this statement is that, many NA titles have become a sort of YA erotica. They all feature protagonists who come from some sort of abuse or experience abuse during the book and how they cope, with the help of sex.

This really throws me off because although I love my romance, I value story, characters and a plot much more. As a result of the never ending supply of similarly plotted books, these aspect are dying out in NA or at least they are becoming harder to find.



An example would be:
The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window by Kristy Moseley.
This book could have been great. A girl with a dark past and her brothers best friend. But it turned into a book with no plot and therefore no direction, just a lot of sex and uncomfortable situations. The grammar was so bad that I don't understand how it was published. Yet, it has a 4.09 rating on Goodreads. In fact, when I read it in the fall the rating was a 4.30.

However, I still have read some of my favourite books which are NA and some others used to be classified as YA but are now called NA such as:
and many more 5 star reads.

One legitimate NA title that I adored and will recommend is Easy by Tammara Webber.

This was the first NA book I read and I loved it. I felt there was a plot, the characters were developed, it was realistic and the romance wasn't overly excessive.

In Conclusion:

Despite the possible greatness of this category, I've decided to stay away from it for the time being. This is because, I don't trust the current authors to write books that I will enjoy. When I do find the authors that I do/will respect and genuinely enjoy their books, then I will venture farther into it.  For now, I think I'm going to wait until it develops to something more.

Hopefully one day, it can rise and become what it was meant to be, the next YA!

P.S. This is written as solely my opinion and what I have found while read NA. If you feel otherwise, feel free to let me know why you love this category, what makes it great for you and leave any recommendations. One never knows when they will find their next addiction!

-MARI

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Day 13: The most under-appreciated book is...

Day 13 of April's 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge! 

Recap:
Day 12 was about how to fight blogging fatigue.

Today I'm posting Day 13, which is actually very hard for me because I'm supposed to recommend one under-appreciated book that everyone should read. Just one. I had to go check out my Goodreads "read" list for this challenge.

It won't come as much of a surprise to most people that I picked Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan. I have some sort of crazy love affair going on for this book because if you told me I would pick a contemporary read with a character I hate half the time and that is so extremely messed up with lots of swearing and drugs, I wouldn't believe you. I'm a PNR/fantasy/thriller girl. However, this book was just the bomb because I read it and enjoyed every second of it. It made me think a lot, I loved the writing, and the plot was engrossing. I'm a long and rambly writer- this was a long and rambly story.

Why It's Under-appreciated


This is from Goodreads. As you can see, 88% of people that read this book liked it with 37% giving it 5 stars. More than half the readers of Crash and Burn gave it 4 or more stars. The people that have read this book enjoy it. It disappoints me to see that there are only 267 ratings and 89 reviews. That's almost nothing. This is one of the best books I've ever read and it seems other people generally enjoy it too. I'd recommend this book if you want to completely immerse yourself in the life of a kid that's kind of an asshole, with some awful family, that fantasizes about girls and drugs a lot, but is also trying to figure out what to do with life. The writing seems light, but there is such depth to the story that I adore this book.

I'm not sure what else to say. This book was one of the best books I've ever read, and it was totally the type of contemporary I like. It may not be for everyone, but it deserves a lot more recognition.

What favourite book of yours do you consider under-appreciated? 


-P.E. 

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Review: Prophecy


Author: Ellen Oh
Date of Publication: January 2 2013
Pages: 312
Source: Library ARC

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.


Review
Graceling meets Eon? How could you not pick up a book professing itself comparable to some of the best YA fantasy? This comparison describes Prophecy pretty well: ambitious but lacking execution. 

Let's give Ellen Oh some credit: she was trying really hard to make this book great. She set it up to be a big, epic story with a prophecy, lots of fighting and a lot of blood. If you look at the idea behind everything, this should have been a pretty good book. Fiery, kickbutt MC; a prophecy; demons; kingdoms; princes. Prophecy wasn't able to merge these elements together and it I didn't like it at all. 

The writing should soldier most of the blame. This happens and then this happens and then look, this happens so you should feel sad! There was no subtlety or emotional connection. I never cared about the characters even when I was supposed to. Having a crappy life doesn't mean I'll like a character. Kira was supposed to be this fighter whom everyone hates with this strong personality hiding the pain underneath, but I found her to be annoying and whiny. She keeps talking about how much her life sucks but she does herself no favours. She doesn't try to change people's opinions of her and I think it's unrealistic that she hasn't had a single friend.

That was another huge issue: believability. The dialogue and the actions were not at all natural. It felt so clichéd to me, and slightly cheesy. The characters never became real people. There were no distinct mannerisms or depth. They were pretty formulaic. For example, Kira's first friend is a good quiet guy that I'm supposed to like because he's tortured and broody over something that happened a long time ago. There's nothing about any of the characters to differentiate them from the stereotypes. 

This all comes back to the writing. I thought it was appalling how in a book with so many action scenes there was no emotional gravity. I was surprised at how boring the action scenes were. One in particular stands out. Kira is fighting someone and the writing talks about her ducking down to dodge a blow and then in a paragraph the fight ends. There were only two real actions mentioned in the fight. The beginning blows and the killing strike when Kira wins. I want to know the details, not the summary. 

I've been very critical in this review and that's because I did not enjoy Prophecy at all. It attempted too much without going in depth. I finished the book because I was curious to see if it would get better at all and because I borrowed it from the library in a program where I have to say if I would recommend this book or not. There was a basis for a nice book but I feel like that's all it was, an idea with not much depth. Although this is just my opinion. Some readers probably did enjoy Prophecy, but it failed to capture me. 1 heart.


-P.E.

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Day 12: How to Fight Blogger Fatigue

Day 12 of April's awesome challenge. 

Recap:

Day 12's topic asks about how I fight blogging fatigue. 

I'm lucky to have a coblogger, so when I get tired of blogging there is still great content. Even when I'm not blogging, I'm reading and reviewing and if I don't want to blog, sometimes I'll just post reviews I've written before hand (there's quite a number of them) and Mari can help with formatting them, then they're posted. 

That's a super lame answer because that's how I deal with blogging fatigue, but not how to fight it. Challenges like this are good. I get a topic and I write about it. I also end up visiting a few blogs, which is always refreshing. 

I also tend to change things up a bit. Whether it's writing a blog post that's different from what I usually write, or changing the blog layout in some way, I always feel as a blogger you have to be excited about what you're doing, and I get excited when I do "new" things. 

I've also said this before, but personally, getting "for-review" books can be detrimental for my blogging. So much of my personality and posts is spontaneous that it stresses me out to have to read something by a certain time. I prefer reading my own books and writing opinions that way. 

The other thing that helped me write reviews when I was having difficulty getting back into blogging was going on Goodreads, and writing a Goodreads review. On Goodreads, you can be a little less professional and since the format is virtually the same for everyone, you can focus on writing creative, funny reviews. I tried that and loved it. Whether it be mini-reviews which feature only a few lines of text with awful grammar, or a review more on the snarky side, Goodreads is a bit of a haven when I'm tired of blogging. 

If I'm tired of reading, I don't read. I watch TV, I watch hockey, I go bike riding, I volunteer, I just get away from it. I never force myself to do anything because this isn't a job. This is a hobby and I will do it to have fun. The second this stops becoming fun, I'll stop. 

I firmly believe every thing  I do should cause me more joy and happiness than pain, and if it doesn't, I'm not doing it. You never want to end up like this chick. 

How do you fight blogging fatigue?


-P.E.

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WoW - How To Love




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


How To Love
Katie Cotugno
October 1, 2013 




Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.




I wish I had this book in my hands right now. I don't know why but I've always wondered about this scenario and now thanks to Katie Cotugno I get to explore it. I also love the cover, it's refreshing to have a cover with some nice font and colours instead of a steaming couple on the front. It keeps the sense of mystery intact :)

What Are You Waiting On?

-MARI

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Day 11: The Best of P.E.




Day 11 of April's awesome challenge. I'm totally late by now.

Anyway, here's the recap:

Day 11's topic asks me to pick my best 5 blog posts. 

The Sirenic Codex is a little bit new (and some of my favourite posts haven't been posted yet) so I'm going to include some posts from Tantalizing Illusions, my old blog too. These posts are picked in no particular order. 

Melina Marchetta; the books that hurt makes this list because I've been very happy with the feedback it has received. It's even number one on the most viewed posts on TSC even though it was posted ages ago. I wrote it in one shot and it's a bit of a tribute to Melina Marchetta with a little bit on books that speak to me as a reader. 

One of the longer, if not the longest, posts I ever wrote was about opinions. It started out about the Internet, and morphed into this post that touches on a variety of issues. It's rambly, long, and I think I even disagree with myself in a few different places looking back. It's a post I tried hard to get right. I'm not sure I did, but I think it was important for me to write it. 

When I was burnt out with blogging, I wrote what I think is my best review ever yet. I read Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan and unexpectedly, ended up loving it. I wrote a super long review (the more I write, the better it is) and it was a passionate review in which I completely forgo the usual format I have. I also rediscovered my love of blogging and writing through that review. 

I like to have a little bit of fun when I write and my post about book amnesia was meant to be a little ridiculous. What stands out about this post for me was talking to one of my RL friends and she said she thought this post was great and laughed when she read it. That kind of compliment means a lot to me, to hear people actually enjoy what I write. 

This last post is just super nostalgic. I don't know if it's one of my best, but it's probably among the better ones. I was just wondering if I would always continue to read YA, even when I'm older. 

So these are my five "best" blog posts. I have to say, I love this challenge. I looked back on a lot of the stuff I did, especially on Tantalizing Illusions, and it made me very proud. I had a lot of cool posts. Maybe they weren't frequent enough and I noticed some grammar mistakes now that even now drive me a little insane, but I'm happy to do this. It's weird to look back at the stuff you wrote. It makes you think about just how far you've come. 

I also find it hilarious that all my favourite posts are long, and even my post about favourite posts is long. 

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me and have a great day!

-P.E.

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Cover Wars: Cruel Beauty vs. Ashes and Ice

Cover Wars is a weekly feature of two different covers in a sort of battle. Whichever cover wins the more votes in the week will win the battle and move on to next week where it will face a new cover. It's a fun feature with the point being to highlight some great covers for upcoming or recent titles, and also to discuss what is liked in a cover.

Last week, Ashes and Ice won over Let the Sky Fall. The poll was extremely close with just one vote separating the two. This week, Ashes and Ice by Rochelle Maya Callen is up against a new cover; Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.


Here its is, the classic battle between red and blue. Deep variations of both colours are found on these covers, as well as some exceptionally pretty font. Both covers are so distinctive. I love the rose and staircase design of Cruel Beauty, I think that is very clever. Ashes and Ice does a fantastic job of bringing the 'ice' to the reader with the frost which I think was very well done. 

Both covers are great. It's up to you to vote for your favourite. You can vote either in this post, or on the sidebar to the right! Either way, have fun! And let the Cover Wars... Begin!

Which cover should win Cover Wars?



-P.E.

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Day 10: What Comes Next





I'm now two thirds of the way done the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge! It's taking me much longer than 15 days, but I'm so close to finishing!

Recap:



And, today is Day 10, so I'll be writing about how I pick what book to read next.

It's not a particularly sophisticated process. It usually ends up being the next due library book, then a book for review, then I can read whatever I want. With "for-review" books, I'm very fair. Whatever I receive first gets reviewed first. Although, paper always take precedence over ebooks. It's simply easier for me to finish a "hard" copy of a book.

If I have a bunch of library books and I have to pick which to read first, I'm the type that saves the best for last so I'll read what I hope to be the best books last. It's also a little motivation to hurry up and read. Recently I've also tried to mix different genres together. Reading two dystopias back-to-back isn't a good idea because I compare them too much to one another or I notice things I wouldn't have noticed if I didn't know the genre too well.

Even when I select books to acquire I like to take different genres. Some thrillers, maybe one contemporary, some PNR, and some fantasy is what I like.

How about you? Are you a "best-for-last" person or do you read the books you're excited for right away?

-P.E.

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Review: Sacrifice

Author: Cayla Kluver
Date of Publication: October 23 2012 (AKA best day of the year!)
Pages: 438
Source: Library
Finale to: Legacy series; Book 1: Legacy, Book 2: Allegiance
Alera

Queen of a fallen kingdom, secretly in love with the enemy.

Shaselle

Daughter of a murdered father, rebel with a cause.

One lives behind the former Hytanican palace walls and walks the razor's edge to keep the fragile peace in her beloved homeland. The other slips through the war-torn streets, seeking retribution for her family's tragedy, following whispers of insurgency.

Both face choices that will separate them from those they cannot help but love. As their stories intertwine, a conspiracy ignites that may end in slavery or death—or lead to freedom anew, if only each can face what must be sacrificed.

Review:
Frankly, I'm disappointed. The Legacy trilogy was one I enjoyed until the end where I felt more irritation with the direction the author was taking than any sort of enjoyment.

As always, the world and setting is interesting. There is a fantastic cast of diverse characters and I cared for many of them. It bothered me, however, that the two main characters were the ones that drove me absolutely insane.

I couldn't respect their decisions. I was disappointed with their behaviors so much so that I stopped liking them. First, there is Shaselle. I'm not sure why the story takes place in her perspective- maybe because nothing happens in Alera's- but she was so childish and impulsive that I couldn't see why anyone would like her. She made so many bad, stupid decisions that had the potential to hurt a lot of people. She was a nuisance that kept interfering and I couldn't stand it. I ended up not liking her because all she seemed to do was cause trouble. She was not part of any single solution and I hate irresponsibility.

Hytanica has been conquered by Cokyri and the other protagonist who is supposedly the ruler of Hytanica, Alera, does absolutely nothing of note. As Queen, she is in charge of her people and Alera was passive. She didn't do anything. She listened, suggested a few parties or festivals to boost morale, and she let all the men in her life decide what to do. She considers herself a strong person so it frustrated me so much to see her let others take control. She lead nothing. She had the power to do something as Grand Provost but her only powers seemed to be in talking to Narian.

Two characters who were both meant to be strong failed miserably. At some point, actions were taken and this part was completely skimmed over because none of the protagonists were involved. This cheapened the entire story because instead of witnessing the political and military battles of two countries, one that had conquered the other, we were instead viewing the lives of two useless girls that got nothing done. I was so excited to read about the battle. I wanted to see how Alera dealt with everything and I learned she didn't. I can't respect that.

I'm very disappointed right now because this was a series with great potential. I was expecting something awesome but Sacrifice has made me want to forget this series. I didn't like the direction the author took with the characters. The ending felt too tidy and easy, and it was a letdown.

Not much happened in Sacrifice and I think I would have rather not read this book at all. As the finale of the series, Sacrifice didn't deliver and regardless of the writing and world that I've always enjoyed, I can't give this book more than one heart.


-P.E.

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The Weekly Progress: ONE IN A MINION!!

The Weekly Progress is a fun little rambly wrap up post usually written by me. And when I say rambly, I mean it. I'm in such a good mood right now which means this post should turn out um, interesting. Enjoy!

I'm a failure

*hides* I didn't finish any books this week! See the book I'm reading had a dull start so I've been procrastinating. It has gotten better since, but it's for review so I have to read it pretty carefully so I can write a decent review. I'm about halfway done. 

So, uh, it looks like there are no books to speak of on my side. I'll just post some of the blog links that feature books, and then we'll get to the rest of this post, where there be MINIONS!

Recap

It started off well, with a review of The Scorpio Races. I read this book a while ago and I decided to post the review earlier than normal because I had a guest feature post on Eden's blog, Pass the Chiclets saying this was the book I recommend for the summer. Yeah, you'll have to read the post to realize why I picked The Scorpio Races of all books.

I continued on with the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge with posts about the ultimate tearjerker, my acquisition process for books, my blogging quirks, what I like about other blogs, and lastly why I even blog about books.



Then, I reviewed a previous Cover Wars winner from my old blog, Kat Zhang's What's Left of Me. A fun read, although I'm looking for more in the sequel. 

Mari ended off with a pretty cool post about books that scare her, either due to hype, length, anything.

At least the blog had a pretty great week. Thanks for visiting guys!

Now for the fun stuff!

My week

First, I finally caught up on The Game of Thrones and I think my jaw dropped the entire time during the Red Wedding. No words. I think it scarred me a little. I'm trying to find another show to watch now. I may catch up on Supernatural. I tried The Walking Dead but it didn't interest me enough. I think I'll try Rome or Spartacus. Any other epic stories I should check out?

I also did some volunteering (in the rain... got lost on the way...) but the focus this week is all about minions. MINIONS. I saw Despicable Me 2 with the family and my sister and I are totally into these yellow little things. The movie was funny and imo, they were the best part. I'm dying to see the full minion movie. I've watched countless YouTube videos since

Cool links around the Web


OMG CATCHING FIRE TRAILER ALERT!!!

Telus has a Tumblr about cell phone etiquette with plenty of cool stuff about it. Keep it in your pants! 

And this video of minions' banana song. BANANAAAA!




Have an awesome week everybody!

-P.E.

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Book that Scare Me

I'm sure we have all been intrigued by a book but have been scared to pick it up for any reason. It can be because of its rating, the hype, the length or just the feeling that it might disappoint.

I had this encounter earlier today when I went to Chapters with the sole purpose of buying a specific book, Ink by Amanda Sun. Once I got there and found the book, I started reading through it, getting a feel for things. The longer I looked through it the more anxious I got, until it hit me that it gave off a very twilight feeling. Using that as my excuse I ran out of the store with my tail between my legs.


On this note, I'm going to talk about 3 books that have scared me.




Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin

This one horrifies me. There is so much to be scared of the length, the hype, the inevitable comparison between it and its tv show. This fear has kept me from finishing the book on the multiple occasions that I borrowed the book from the library and vowed to finish it, each time I came up empty handed. One day I hope I can build up the courage to read this.

Scare Factor: length, hype, comparison

Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

I heard of this one a few years ago from one of my friends who really enjoyed it and recommend it to me. So one day I bought the book, started reading it, realized I didn't understand half the things that were mentioned and it hasn't left my shelf ever since.

Scare Factor: length, language, hype, genre, age group

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

This is one of my favourite classics, I've watched multiple movie adaptions and absolutely adored them. I also read a modern retelling called Jane by April Lindner, which I also enjoyed. I also ended up buying the book but until this day it's been sitting on my book case collecting dust.

Scare Factor: length, language/writing, hype, movie, status(classic)

Am I the only one? 
I do this with everything: movies,shows, electronics, clothes you name it. I gather as much information I can before I finally sit down and watch/read it etc.

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Day 9: Motivation




The 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge is hosted  by April at Good Books and Good Wine.  I'm more than halfway through the challenge! Woohoo!

Recap: 

I don't know what's up with me but recently, I've been linking these challenges to songs. Today's challenge asks why do I blog about books? As soon as I read that, this song popped up in my head. Warning, the video is said to be explicit.

My motivation

This is a hard question because it depends. Sometimes, it's because I'm bored and want to do something. Blogging is time consuming and a worthwhile venture. It makes me a better writer, it makes me feel like I'm doing something that matters, and it's something that I take pride in.

That doesn't explain why I'm a book blogger. I think it's because books are awesome and I love book people. Even if I'm burnt out of reading or reading a book I'm not enjoying, I can admit how awesome book people are. They're levelheaded but they can be silly. They never accept the world as it is; they're constantly imagining new scenarios. They can express themselves, and are open to other opinions. Yeah, these are generalizations, but they're true to me in my life. 

Also, seeing posts like this brilliant one by Chuck Wendig about how special it is for an author to have their book published, but how how it can hurt when not many people know their book... I want to help. I love to talk and share things I like about. Reading an amazing book is an experience that is so fulfilling. I want to have this feeling longer. I want to help spread this feeling. 

I love characters and stories. Every single one of my interests has something to do with that. I like photography because every picture captures a moment that is a story and is part of a greater story. I like hockey because I like watching people who succeed at their dreams and give their all for their passion. I like TV because it immerses me in a different world. 

There's obviously more interests, but one of the best ways to learn of a story is to read a book. I can say honestly that books have helped shape me in a variety of positive ways. I want this to continue. I want to continue to discover and discuss great books; I want to promote great books; and I want to be in a position to let an author know how special their books are. 

Also, I'll do a little shoutout to my co-blogger, Mari. She makes blogging fun. 

I also blog because sometimes it's hard to find a place in the world that belongs to you. Where you can be as crazy as you want to be, or be profound, or do anything you want because this blog is yours, it's you, and this is your voice. And people actually care about what you have to say- they leave comments (which I swear, every single one is like some delicious chocolate that enhances my mood by 150%). They link to you, you talk to them, they talk to you, and you feel like, wow, the world is awesome. 

So that's why I blog.

What's your motivation for blogging? 

-P.E. 

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Day 8: What I Like About You(r blog)

The 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge is hosted  by April at Good Books and Good Wine.  I'm more than halfway through the challenge! Woohoo!

Recap: 


Day 8's challenge is to write 15 bullet points on what appeals to me on other blogs. 

  1. First one is very obvious. A clean design and layout! Things have to look pretty and professional to some degree.
  2. Reviews! I feel like a pretty great way to get an initial impression of a blogger is to check out their most recent review. There needs to be one that I find pretty easily on the main page. 
  3. I love when a blog has their own unique feature going on. It doesn't have to be the most original thing in the world, but something I can remember them by. 
  4. I want to see pictures of books I'm interested in. I want to know what's your taste in books so I'll know what to expect when reading reviews. 
  5. Moderately frequent posts! Doesn't need to be every day, but I think three quality posts a week is a healthy number. 
  6. Answer your comments! For me, I think it shows that a blogger truly cares when I see them have a ton of comments and they answered them all pretty thoughtfully. 
  7. Longevity? In general I trust bloggers that have been around longer more to continue blogging. It's easy to decide to have a blog during the honeymoon stage, but to stay committed... that's a big deal. 
  8. A readership. I love visiting blogs that build relationships with their readers. That means the blog is doing something right. This doesn't mean followers; it means comments. This isn't something necessary to follow a blog, especially for us newbie bloggers, but it's something I tend to notice and appreciate. 
  9. Voice- everyone writes in a specific way. I want to notice what makes you and your blog different, so have some personality. 
  10. I like blogs without too many buttons and stuff on their sidebars. I don't want it to be too cluttered.
  11. I also like it when I can easily tweet your post. 
  12. I love funny GIFs. If you can find some way to incorporate them on your blog, I'll enjoy it all the more. 
  13. I also like following via GFC. I know, it's old and outdated. It's also the easiest way to follow. All you do is open your dashboard, and BAM, there are the posts! So I like when I can follow you that way. I'm sorry to all you Wordpress people... I follow you guys with Bloglovin' so make sure you have that!
  14. I don't like Comic Sans as a main font used everywhere. It's really none of my business what font you use, but I personally can't stand it, especially in large quantities. 
  15. Also, please no music or random stuff flying across my screen. I know, it's adorable, and it's your blog so your rules. I hate having to find a way to exit all the extra stuff. 
Phew, I'm done! Near the end, I definitely ran out of things to say. 

Agree/disagree? What do you find appealing on blogs?


-P.E. 

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