Thursday Thoughts: On Teasers, Book Clubs, and Ethics

This is a new feature that will be looking at blogging, books, and anything of any relevance to the YA Blogosphere in short form. It's meant to start a discussion by offering quick thoughts from Mari and P.E. on a variety of topics. 

All or Nothing

by P.E. 
I've been seeing publishers post samples to their books and to put it simply, I'm wondering if there is actual interest for that sort of thing? I don't like reading samples because I would rather read the book all at once, but I suppose for some people, samples help them become much more excited for a book. I also think that in some weird way, teasers are spoilers for me because I don't like doing anything twice. Do you like teasers? 

I'm Not A Book Club Person

by P.E.
I don't know what this says about me, but I've never been someone that likes book clubs. Maybe it's my inner rebel that can't bear the idea of a reading schedule. I can't prolong my reading. Most books are read in massive chunks, so unless it's for school and I have an educational read with lots of topics, I don't like forcing myself to slow down. It's strange because I'm pretty well known as a bookworm at my school and I've been a part of book club ever there: Harry Potter book club, and that was only because I thought the teacher was great and I wanted to go on a field trip to watch the Deathly Hallows. Mari on the other hand has joined lots of book clubs.

Is It Ethical?

by Mari
I've always heard and have preached that reading does no harm and I like to believe that, however sometimes I wonder if that statement is 100% true. Recently, I've been reading Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman, a pre-WWII novel. It contains a very close view of Hitler, his regime, and his book. There are some horrendous quotes as well that makes a reader wonder what else the man had written. Despite my curiosity there is a sense of ethics? that keeps me from buy/borrowing this book. Just searching for Mein Kampf at Chapters made me nervous and uncomfortable. Is it ethical to read a book written by such a horrible person even if your intentions are pure. In a way, will I be supporting him and his crimes?



-P.E. AND MARI

6 comments:

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WoW - A Wicked Thing


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

A Wicked Thing

February 25, 2015



A spinning wheel. A prick of a finger. A terrible curse. 

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairytale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept. Everyone expects Aurora to marry her betrothed and restore magic and peace to the kingdom before revolution tears it apart. But after a lifetime spent locked in a tower for her own safety, Aurora longs for the freedom to make her own choices. When she meets a handsome rebel, he tempts her to abandon everything for a different kind of life.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her.

With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.
This was a Cover Wars competitor a couple of weeks ago and I added it to my tbr because of it's awesome synopsis. What can I say, I love princess stories!

What are You Waiting For?

-MARI 

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Cover Wars: Queen of Someday vs. Gates of Thread and Stone

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

Last week's battle is what one would call, epic. With 80 votes, it was a close win for Gates of Thread and Stone. Will Gates of Thread and Stone defend its title against this week's competitor, Queen of Someday?


It's pretty obvious that both covers are not just pretty, but drop dead gorgeous. Queen of Someday is sultry and elegant with gorgeous curly font and pretty, wavy floral designs. Gates of Thread and Stone also has standout font, and it is dark and inviting. I would pick up both of these books based on the covers alone. 

What do you think? As always, you have a week to vote. 

LET THE COVER WARS... BEGIN!


Which cover should win Cover Wars?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

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Movie Review: The Fault In Our Stars


Release Date: June 2, 2014


Don’t shoot me, I haven’t read TFIOS the book or any other John Green book… And yes, put the gun down, I watched the movie before reading the book. Ekk!

Since I’m still alive, I guess you’ve all given me the chance to elaborate. You see, I meant to read the book. I picked it up, got a good 50 pages in, adored it and then exams hit and I dropped it. My friend who also happens to be a John Green fangirl, was nice enough to tell me the major plot twists so that went down the drain. (It’s ok buddy, still friends!)

Now that we have the back story covered, let me just say that I watched this movie with my mother and brother both of which had varying opinions but mine is the only one that counts and oh my goodness this was golden. 

It’s now been almost a month since I watched it and things are getting a little hazy but I think a lot of the things I loved had more to do with the story than the movie. Meaning the credits probably go to John Green for being a genius but I also have to thank Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort for being amazing actors who brought Augustus and Hazel to life. Dare I say, Shailene was better fitted for Hazel's role than Tris’...

Some favourite things included the normalcy that this movie was able to present to the audience. We’ve all come to see cinema as a place where stars shining in their otherworldly beauty can walk on red carpets but cinema is changing. Realism is taking over and this was a dedication to that. All the actors looked like kids I could go to school with; except for the great clothes and impeccably clean rooms. 

Since this is a movie review, I feel like it's fair to comment on the cinematography and location choice, which I felt was great. There were some really nice closeups that worked well with the mood. The setting, you guys, was perfect. SO perfect in fact that it seems the bench in Amsterdam where TFIOS was shot was stolen.

It was found :)

I loved the bickering between Gus and Hazel. Their opposing ideas of life and death and how one should go out were maybe a little morbid but also really interesting to think about. 

I didn't find any faults in the movie. I thought it was cleanly wrapped up and executed. The ending, which I heard was different from the novel, was appeasing to me and I had no problems with it. 

Overall, it was a very sweet, very touching and sensual movie which reminds us all that life is short. Don’t wait until you have a reason to enjoy it, living life should be reason enough.

-MARI

12 comments:

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The Weekly Progress + STS Library Ebooks Galore! Edition



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

This week, I spent a lot of time exploring the health care system. Trust me, it's not something I'm interested in the slightest, but between grandparents, my aunt, and my parents, there was a lot of doctors I visited. This is not normal for me because I try to never visit the doctor unless it's urgent, or my mom drags me by threatening to take away my cellphone. *shrugs* 

Books Read


Really liked The 5th Wave, I was a bit disappointed in Fire & Flood which was much lighter than I expected it to be, and Queen of Someday was a nice read. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read Queen of Someday, which was my first NetGalley approval!

Currently Reading


The latter, I took a break on. I think I just didn't like some of the decisions made by Hillary, and I had to give it some time. I've barely started Stolen, but I've heard lots of good things, especially from the girls We Heart YA

Acquisitions! Stacking the Shelves!

Hosted at Tynga's Reviews

I thought I may as well combine the books I acquired in TWP. This time, they're all ebooks from the library because I was too lazy to walk to pick up actual books because I was busy. 


I'm not sure if I'll end up reading all of these, but I'd love to know which of them are the best!

On the Blog

Do you ever just see a book and know intuitively that you'll love it? I call that, The Siren's Call

Mari's WoW pick was Better Than Perfect, and I want to read it too. It's the type of story that appeals to both of us as we're starting our university experience!


Then, Mari did a review for a DNF, Before You


Generally, Mari and I try to space out our negative reviews so we're not all negative one week. The next few weeks are booked up though because of the extra time to blog, which works because I'm vacationing soon!

The Week That Was

I was supposed to go on a hot air balloon ride, which didn't happen because the weather got messed up. Other than that, lots of vising clinics for different things, and frankly, I'm really not at all into biology (probably my least favourite science of them all!) so I didn't enjoy the visits, even if they weren't for me. In particular, I was struggling not to flee from the blood test centre. *shudders*

Song of the Week

Whenever I'm hurt, it's this song I will listen to. It's perfectly heartbreaking and it makes me feel allll the feelings. The music matches the lyrics, and it's a song full of moments. The desperation of the lyrics, with the music just makes it a phenomenal song, and it's without a doubt a classic. I recommend listening to this one with earphones, with the song loud so you can really feel all the subtleties. 



Anyway, hope you all had a great week!
-P.E.

3 comments:

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Review: The Scar Boys

Author: Len Vlahos
Date of Publication: January 21 2014
Pages: 256
Source: Library Ebook

A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock 'n' roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world...even if you carry scars inside and out. 

In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay--help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores--Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life. 

The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality. 

The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the handsome, charismatic Johnny rescued him from the bullies and then made the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovered that playing music transported him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally had something that compelled people to look beyond his physical appearance. Harry's description of his life in his essay is both humorous and heart-wrenching. He had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. While he's looking back at the moments that have shaped his life, most of this story takes place while Harry is in high school and the summer after he graduates.

Review:

I don't know why I finished The Scar Boys. I think it's because I wanted to finish something and get that sense of accomplishment. Plus, it's summer and I have nothing better to do. I'm not saying The Scar Boys is awful. I'm just saying it is definitely not my type of read. By that, I mean that I was bored.

I kind of read "band" and "rock and roll" and thought "Oooh, this book is going to be about fame and drugs and music!" while in reality, the story was only about one of those things, music, and finding yourself. Which I guess is fine and all, but I'm not really into realistic contemporary. I like dark contemporary.

Harry was tied to a tree that was struck by lightning when he was a kid, and that left several scars, physically and emotionally. Harry is the narrator of The Scar Boys. This is the essay for his college application. He's an interesting person that has some wit. He's also a complete pushover. Harry has been bullied and no one, not even the teachers, does anything about it. Take note that this story is set around the 70s, I think, and I wouldn't know, but I suppose the anti-bullying campaigns common to schools now weren't around back then.

The Scar Boys is mostly about Harry's life. I don't think there were that many actual plot events. I thought the story was slow and boring, and none of the characters or their relationships interested me. But, I can't just say I was bored with a story and end my review. So, I guess I'll try to elaborate a little more.

One thing I know YA readers will appreciate is that Harry has a relationship with his parents. That is a part of the story, and the conflict and love that comes from those relationships help define him. Also, assuming you know rock and roll, or punk rock, the title of every chapter is a song. Maybe you'll enjoy thinking about the relevance of that song to the book, or you're the type of person that likes playlists. I didn't recognize any of the songs (my parents are from the Middle East, my mom doesn't listen to foreign music and surprisingly enough, my dad is more into pop like Madonna and Michael Jackson than rock, which he intensely dislikes).

There was not much romance within the novel, although there was some conflict about crushes. A lot of the focus was on the friendship between Harry and Johnny, which still doesn't make sense to me. I don't really like Johnny because Harry made him sounds like a jerk. I thought the relationship was rather dull to me, and maybe it could have been explained in way that would make me root for it rather than wish it would end.

There was a twist at the end that I was completely apathetic towards. It wasn't much of a twist because it wasn't explored, and the story ended quite weirdly. There wasn't a large sense of closure and I don't understand the big revelation. Or rather, I didn't understand how it came about.

I didn't enjoy The Scar Boys and there wasn't much I got out of it. I don't know if this will be the case for everyone, so if you're more into these kind of stories, give it a shot. This was a bit of a stretch for me as I'm a speculative fic type of person hoping this book would be the next coming of Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan. It wasn't. Let's move on.

1 star because I didn't like it.


-P.E.


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DNF Review: Before You

Author: Amber Hart
Date of Publication: July 29, 2014
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley - Thank you!

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn't stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.


Review:


As a huge fan of Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry, I’m always on the lookout for the next best thing. When I saw Before You, I needed to have it. The synopsis was so intriguing and I loved the mysterious pasts and bi-racial relationships. Too bad the excitement waned after the first few pages.

I may have psyched myself out of this one, because there is nothing I can say except I was disappointed. My problem wasn’t with the writing, Ms. Hart is obviously talented, it was with the story, the plot and the characters.

The story is the classical West Side Story, Romeo and Juliet, forbidden romance. It’s formulaic but when done right, enjoyable. That wasn’t the case with Before You. The story was lacklustre and obviously formulaic. There were so many plot conveniences that it made the story unrealistic and unrelatable. 

There was also a stark resemblance to Perfect Chemistry. They both start with the beginning of senior year and the protagonists are getting dressed for their first day. Faith, like Britanny, is dance captain with a friend who is hellbent on taking her spot. Faith is also queen of her school and is dating the star quarterback and a class -A jerk. But, they are perfect for each other and have been together forever! The similarities were a little too much and they bugged me.

As for the characters, I read up to halfway and I honestly couldn't appreciate them. Faith was unrelatable and frankly, a little pretentious. Her constant comments on her restricted life and messed up past didn't help me connect with her, they just made me see her as ungrateful. 

Diego on the other hand, was also a very flat character. He had a bad past with the cartel and was now in America building a new life. From what I read, Diego moved to America for his safety but he didn’t act like someone who wanted to be there. Also his constant comments about the white girls he labeled as sluts were uncalled for. I don’t think all guys think like that and I don’t much like those that do.

Many the side characters like Faith's friend Melissa, her boyfriend Jason, and his mother were completely one dimensional. All Melissa wanted to do was break Faith's relationship with Jason because Faith was "restricting" herself. Jason was the perfect boyfriend until he conveniently turned into an ass after seeing Diego. His sweet Housewives of Orange County mother soon turned into a snake as well. I just could not find one character to help redeem this story, especially when things started going downhill thanks to the instalove.

Overall, this book wasn’t for me. I couldn’t get into it. There were so many things that bugged me upfront and it’s a shame because when done well these types of books are my favourites. Not this time.

-MARI

8 comments:

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Thursday Thoughts: On Blog Designs, Required Reading, NetGalley & Fairy Tales

This is a test run for a new feature that will be looking at blogging, books, and anything of any relevance to the YA Blogosphere in short form. It's meant to start a discussion by offering quick thoughts from Mari and P.E. on a variety of topics. 

The Importance of Blog Designs

by P.E.
Judging by the reaction to our post on our new blog design, it seems like a lot of bloggers care a lot about their design. I think one underrated thing a new design does is rejuvenate your love for your blog. It's clean and new. It's like the blog underwent spring cleaning. The content of the blog is the same, but it's like renovating a room: there are differences, and that's exciting.  

Review Book / Required reading?

by Mari

There is no feeling like the one a book lover gets when she/he gets offered a book for review. It's one of joy, accomplishment and eagerness. However, I find that after a few days and a few chapters the eagerness dies down to a pang of requirement. The review book no matter how good turns into required reading. It's too bad because if my mind would get over the required part and journey onto just focusing on the story, I would enjoy the books a lot more and same could be said to all the books I've had to read for school.

I Have a Netgalley... Now What Do I Do?

by P.E.
I signed up for a Netgalley account, because I think it's a great way to access more books. Except now I'm in Netgalley purgatory because I am clueless as to what to do next! Wait, let's correct that. I know all about what to do, I'm just undecided. The thing about Netgalley is that I feel like it's an enormous honour to be able to do this. It means you are no longer just a blogger, but you are taking an active role to promote books. So, I want to make sure I do it right. I want to have an awesome Netgalley ratio, I want to pick books I feel like I'll not just like, but love. So, you can probably tell it's taking me a while to get going.

Fairy Tales

by Mari
I realize that our blog is named after a fairytale -esque mythical creature but I've come to realize that I don't know many fairy tales (excluding Cinderella, Snow White, Mulan, The Little Mermaid). "Don't know" in the sense that I don't know details because I've never really read many. I'm currently reading Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge and I'm mesmerized. I know the general idea but I didn't know that the beast asked the princess a question each night. At the same time, I like not knowing too much because it lets me enjoy a commonly known story with fresh eyes.

10 comments:

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WoW - Better Than Perfect


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

Better Than Perfect

February 17, 2015


Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after.

But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn't all it’s cracked up to be?

Melissa Kantor once again delivers a tale that is equal parts surprising, humorous, heartbreaking, and romantic. Powerful and honest, Juliet’s story brilliantly portrays the highs and lows of life in high school and will resonate with any reader who has experienced either.
I wish I could have this book right now. It seems like the main character is a in my shoes except for the tad bit about Harvard etc. I remember being the kid who thought she would apply to Harvard just for the heck of it, I mean why not. Until reality hit and I realized that I needed to take the SATs and then spend money and time writing the entrance essays or what not since I would be a foreign student. Let's just say my perfect, Mari goes to Harvard, becomes a doctor and lives happily ever after didn't work out but that's life I guess and if that blurb made me write this blab paragraph then I think it's fair to say I want to read this book :)

What are You Waiting For?

-MARI 

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Cover Wars: The Secrets We Keep vs. Gates of Thread and Stone


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

Gates of Thread and Stone has been unbeatable these past few weeks. I wonder if this week's competitor will finally lift it from its throne. This week it's facing The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver. 

Both covers are dark and fascinating but what puts The Secrets We Keep apart from Gates of Thread and Stone is the amazing finishing touches. The silhouetted girls facing each other look fabulous especially with the collage of lights behind them almost like the after-effects of a massive car crash. The typography is very nice and simplistic but it's placement is the best part. The use of space on this cover is very well done. There doesn't seem to be any unnecessary empty spots, instead it all comes together in a dark, mysterious and beautiful display.

As always, you have a week to vote!

LET THE VOTING COMMENCE!


Which cover should win Cover Wars?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

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The Siren's Call: Sometimes You Just Know

There I am, browsing shelves pouring with all sorts of books. Hardcover, paperback, loved, new, all with their own appeal, all humming with energy. "Pick me, pick me", I seem to hear as I explore the shelf, reading the author and the title of the book silently to myself.

It's my normal process for determining what book to read. I look, and consider, and drink it all in. 

Sometimes, there's a tug. It's like my mind focuses not on the whole, but on that one book that is being highlighted. Call it intuition, call it kismet, whatever you call it, I pick this book that somehow is not begging for me to read it, it is demanding my attention. I don't know how, but I know I am meant to read this book, and I will enjoy it. 

I suppose I could read the synopsis, but often it just reaffirms what I already knew: this is a big that's part of a special company: books that are MINE. They appeal to me. They are what I look for in literature. They will enthrall, and enchant. They will break hearts, and make me believe that I am capable of anything. 

I just know somehow, when holding certain books, that they are something special. And holding the book, then reading it, savouring every word, it's right to me. Sometimes, the world is all wrong, but books, like these, make it completely right. 

I can't know if anyone else feels like this. I am one of the most analytic people you shall meet, but there are some things where it's just about feeling and trusting what you feel. I do have and express my more impulsive, spontaneous desires. I can't recall ever having been lead wrong by this, whatever you want to call it, but I'll call it siren's call. Because when you know, you just know. 

Here's some of the books that called to me. 


I can't make this a fairy tale: it's possible I've felt the call and I could have been disappointed by the book. I can't remember that situation. It's something I'm not going to analyze, I'm just going to be thankful that it's possible to find incredible books when you least expect it. 

Have you felt the siren's call?

-P.E.

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The Weekly Progress: What I Want Edition


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

I'll go straight to the book stuff!

Books Read



It's weird because it feels like it's been forever since I read Reality Boy, even when I read it last Sunday. I thought it was okay, but not really my type. Otherbound was pretty good, but the beginning was stronger than the end, imo. Black City... welp. Of all the books I read, Pointe was by far the best. It dealt with a lot of issues fairly well. Most importantly, it established a pretty strong emotional connection. Btw, I love my mish-mash of genres. 

Currently Reading


I don't actually know much about Hillary Clinton seeing as I'm Canadian and don't pay much attention to US Politics. I'm really a beginner in trying to learn more about politics, but I wanted to read this book because the cover is fabulous, and I kind of wanted an intro into the world of politics and didn't know where to start, so I chose to start with a powerful woman. There's also some story that may or not be true circulating at my old high school that Hillary Clinton visited it as it is the most diverse school in Ottawa, and was shocked to see kids from so many different countries that are at war just coexisting and even being friends. Politics really didn't matter that much at my school. 

Still, HRC is heavy and not very readable (I can't get past two chapters at a time) so I'll be starting The 5th Wave, which I have very high hopes for, and reading them at the same time.  

On the Blog

Pretty good blog week. Mari and I were both active, and are trying to be more social with everyone while we have the time. 

The week started with my review of Rose Under Fire, which I thought had a very powerful message. 

Mari picked Adrenaline Crush as her WoW. 

She then reviewed Take Me On, and it sounds really good. 

I was hoping to have this post ready for Canada Day, but life was busy in June so it actually got posted 20 days later. Not bad! Three picks from CanLit.

Then, I reviewed The Chaos of Stars. Can't say I liked it. :( 

So, we had a pretty good week in terms of reviews. We also started an instagram (thesireniccodex) and I think it's an amazing tool. I use it to highlight what I'm reading, what I see other people reading, and if there's something funny in the text I can now show it to everybody. 

The Week That Was

Over the latter part of the week, I've been thinking a lot about the world and what I want to do in it. I'm very interested in foreign relations (hence the HRC book) and this is something I'm trying to figure out if I want to do more with or not. 

I think a lot of it stems from paying such close attention to what's happening in Palestine and Israel. Mari and I are both passionate about it, and although we don't always agree about what should be done, we can communicate and discuss without attacking each other. I'm just against the violence, and we throw this word around too much, but it's heartbreaking to hear about what's happening to innocent civilians. Anyway, I'm not going to get into controversial politics on our book blog, but it's something I want to learn more about, and it's what has been on my mind. 

Song of the Week

This song does an incredible job of going from these really sweet, quiet moments to this explosive choruses. It's a bit of an organized chaotic song, the type that has so many sounds going on that it kind of engrosses you. I love the vocals, wow, they gave me chills. I love how low it goes, then the melody is pretty great too. It has a nice electronic sound and it's almost too much, but it ends up being okay. 



Enjoy your week!


-P.E.

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Review: The Chaos of Stars

Author: Kiersten White
Date of Publication: September 10 2013
Pages: 277
Source: Library Ebook

Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy, is back with The Chaos of Stars—an enchanting novel set in Egypt and San Diego that captures the magic of first love and the eternally complicated truth about family.

Isadora's family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you're the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she's only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there's no such thing as a clean break from family.

Blending Ally Carter's humor and the romance of Cynthia Hand's Unearthly, The Chaos of Stars takes readers on an unforgettable journey halfway across the world and back, and proves there's no place like home.

Review:

It was pretty much as expected, which isn't very much at all. I had the feeling that The Chaos of Stars would be very light without much depth. It is a standalone, after all. I was hoping I would be pleasantly surprised, and I can't say I was.

First, if you're looking for a light and sweet paranormal, you will love this book. It's just that I'm looking for more details, more emotional maturity, and more epic, rounded stories, and so "sweet" isn't really what I want in a book these days. I can't write this review as anyone other than myself, so I think it's important to note that if you like light contemporaries, then ignore what I thought because this is a good book for you.

I thought Isadora wasn't that fleshed out. She was tall, pretty, very moody, often angry, and yet I couldn't relate to her that much. She acted without a lot of consideration for the people around her, and no, I don't think that's a teenage thing. She's 16, I'm 17, and I think she needed to be called out a few times for the way she acted towards her parents. Maybe it was a fault in the writing but Isadora's background was weak. The reason she was so angry, her impermanence, is so ridiculous to humans and I don't feel like Kiersten White really showed why this was so shocking to Isadora. I mean, we have a lot of telling, but that's it.

The world building was um, open, to say the least. Due to her upbringing, Isadora doesn't know about ATMs and how to manage cellphones, yet her mother videochats with her brother, she emails her mom, and they phone each other. I didn't understand: did she grow up with or without technology? And that seems like such a nitpicky thing to comment on except there was a faint subplot of Isadora having some culture shock. It was very weak because it didn't feel real in the slightest (she has a TV but doesn't know how to text?).

The mythological world building wasn't well explained either. The reality of the Egyptian Gods was barely touched on. Apparently, they need to be worshipped so they have kids. Care to elaborate on that? Nope? Okay. Or how about one of the twists, which could be seen a mile away, and what a deus ex machina it ended up being.

Excuse me, this is the part where I stop writing my review to check if there's a sequel, and nope, there isn't. And that is kind of pissing me off because there are loose ends like the romance which is due to instalove and something else, and the reader doesn't even get an explanation of what is happening. It was instalove and even more unrealistic, the more I think about it.

The ending was not that climatic because the story was about Isadora making friends and learning how to stop hating her parents, with a faint bit about some evil danger, and of course Isadora is much more capable then anyone thought she could be. The ending is very typical, very vanilla, and it's pretty dull.

I sound very negative right now and you might wonder why I ended up finishing the book. While there was a lot I don't like about The Chaos of Stars, it's an easy, quick read that requires minimal effort by the reader. I've read Kiersten White before and The Chaos of Stars is a lot like Paranormalcy in terms of tone, although Isadora is much less bubbly than Evie. The story lacks the darkness of Mind Games, and that was my favourite Kiersten White read, which is probably why I gave this one a shot against all indications. There's a pretty cover and a readable story, but I don't think the story is very good. I think it's below average because the world building is a mess, the instalove, the characters aren't all that significant, and overall, there is a major lack of development in the story. So, if that's your thing, knock yourself out. The Chaos of Stars is pretty and can be entertaining. If you want more from a book, well, this one gets 1 star from me.


-P.E.


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