Friday, May 31, 2013

My Recent Obsession with YouTube

Currently listening to: Tokyo by Imagine Dragons 

As you can see on my blog, it hasn't been updated in a while. I honestly don't have a good reason as to why. I can't say that it's because I'm cramming of exams (I have NO exams) or school work (I only have to go for 95 minutes tomorrow and possibly Friday). 

The read reason as to why I haven't updated is simple: YouTube

Every time I go on my computer, I want to write a review or a discussion post but I just end up on YouTube watching LOTS of videos! I've actually been watching a lot more British vloggers than American or from another country but I'm hoping to change that! So here are some of the vloggers I've watched (be warned, lots of vidoes and links!)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

ArmchairBEA: Literary Fiction

armchair BEA
Image from Nina of Nina Reads 
Hello, everyone! It's already day 3 of Armchair BEA and I am almost done with high school! So crazy!

Today's topic is literary fiction!

Armchair BEA: Blog Development + Genre Fiction

armchair BEA
Image from Nina of Nina Reads 
**I just saw today that this wasn't up! I'm not sure why it didn't but here it is now!**

Hello, everyone! Today's top is blog development and genre fiction!

Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling #1) by Megan McCafferty
Release Date: 2001
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Source: Library 
“My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Don’t they realize that Hope’s the only one who keeps me sane? ... I don’t see how things could get any worse.”

When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?

A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful, true-to-life look at Jessica’s predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment—from the dark days of Hope’s departure through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed-up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious “Dreg” who works his way into her heart. Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience. This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don’t have to go back and grow up all over again.
Review: 
You know when you read a really, really good book that’s been out for a while and after reading it you think, “gosh, why didn’t I read this book sooner?” Sloppy Firsts should have been that book for me but it wasn’t. I actually attempted to read this book in the 8th grade and got about 10 pages in before I quit it. Reading it this year, as a senior in high school, I loved and appreciated Sloppy Firsts so much more than in the 8th grade. Jessica Darling and I are really similar and I connected with her immensely and I know it’s because I’m more mature now and I’ve gone through four years of high school by now!  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Armchair BEA: Intro + Classics!

armchair bea

From the site!
How is it time for Armchair BEA already?! And as usual, I'm late! But as they say: better late than never! So here is my introduction post! Here are the 5 questions I answered for today!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Adult Review: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs
Release Date: January 31, 2006 
Publisher: Ace
Source: Library 
Mercy Thompson’s next next-door neighbor is a werewolf. She’s tinkering with a VW bus that happens to belong to a vampire. But then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself…

Mercy is a shapeshifter, and though she was raised by werewolves, she can never be one of them, especially after the pack ran her off for having a forbidden love affair. So she’s turned her talent for fixing cars into a business and now runs a one-woman mechanic shop in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State.

But Mercy’s two worlds are colliding. A half-starved teenage boy arrives at her shop looking for work, only to reveal that he’s a newly Changed werewolf – on the run and desperately trying to control his animal instincts. Mercy asks her neighbor Adam Hauptman, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, for assistance.

But Mercy’s act of kindness has unexpected consequences that leave her no choice but to seek help from those she once considered family – the werewolves who abandoned her…
Review: 
I have become addicted to adult urban fantasy books, all of which I owe to my friend Keertana. Initially, when I was told that Mercy Thompson was just as good as the Kate Daniels books, I was skeptical. I rarely read adult books at the time and Kate Daniels had won over my heart. Surprisingly (or not), Mercy Thompson has also become a favorite. Though Moon Called wasn't as fast paced or action packed as I had hoped, I still very much enjoyed it. The world created by Patricia Briggs drew me in and kept my attention. I even loved all of the politics of the world. In all honestly, I have the next three books in this series and I can't wait for more!

Mercy Thompson is different from Kate Daniels in many ways. First, she's a mechanic and secondly, she's a shapeshifter (not a werewolf). Yet Mercy Thompson is just as kick ass as Kate but Mercy and I didn't connect right away. I felt it was because she isn't as spontaneous as Kate and she thinks more about how to handle a problem before just getting into the action. Maybe it was because at times, I found myself getting bored with Mercy. Either way, I wasn't as drawn to Mercy's story as I was Kate's. But Mercy is sassy and snarky and funny and I loved her voice but sadly, she can't top Kate Daniels. While it may seem wrong to compare the two, I can't help it! While I can relate to Mercy a little bit more, I can relate to Kate on a different level.

I should mention the plot because I expected it to be very formulaic and while it wasn't the most original, as I said, I liked the politics. I'm sure that I'll learn more about the world and how all of the rules work but for the first book, I was interested. Some aspects of the plot did surprise me but a lot of times, I was rather bored, which sucks. I guess I wanted more...action. Also, I wanted more romance! I liked Adam well enough but I just didn't swoon over him. There is also a hint at a love triangle so imagine my surprise about the utter lack of drama present! Along those times, how old is Adam exactly? I know age shouldn't be a big factor but he does have a 15 year old daughter and Mercy from what I know is in her twenties.

Overall, I liked Moon Called well enough. I will be continuing with the series and am hoping for the best but we'll see how it goes. I had some issues with Patricia Briggs writing as well since some of it was bland and boring and other things were too awkward. When an urban fantasy series becomes an utter favorite, it's hard yo not compare, as is the case with Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson.
Rating:
3.5/5
Cover Comments: 
What the hell is that? Moon Called (and ALL of Mercy Thompson books) has a cover that I would be ashamed to be seen out with in public. Honestly, it's dreadfully ugly and very stereotypical of adult urban fantasy books: some sexy girl whose boobs are showing and has tattoos and is in a defiant pose! Not to mention a sultry look on the girl's face! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Release Date: March 22, 2011 
Publisher: Philomel Books 
Source: Library 
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart
Review: 

Currently listening to: Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons 

Between Shades of Gray is a hard book to review because I feel like there are two sides to this book. One said would deal with the lack of overall plot and character development while the other would deal with the historical context of this book. In all, I think Ruta Sepetys' debut Between Shades of Gray was perfect for the history lover in me but disappointing to the reader in me.

Really, there is no plot to Between Shades of Gray if you look at it. It's basically the story of Lena and her family's relocation from Lithuania to Siberia, as Stalin's forces grow stronger. While many historical fiction books I've seen have a plot where the character goes from point A to point B, this book doesn't do that. It's simply an account of a fictional girl based on actual fact. Or maybe it was just me? I didn’t see the “plot” in the general sense of the word. Of course, the ordeals Lena’s family faces could be considered the plot but it’s a muddled idea.

I’m going to take a moment to say that I actually did know about Stalin’s bloody regime (he killed more than 20 million people) and the disappearance of the Baltic countries (they became part of the Soviet Union after Hitler and Stalin signed an agreement) during this time. While my history teacher is to thank for this a little, I remember my 7th grade social studies teacher giving us one country in Europe for which we had to do a project. One of my close friends took Lithuania and she talked about the genocide and movement. But this book right here made the history nerd in me very happy. This might sound weird but I loved the maps and the routes taken by the people. For some reason, seeing the maps, reading this book, made it all seem more real. As if these terrible things did happen; they did affect people, no matter how much I wished it hadn’t happened. So many of the emotions in this book were honest and real and there were many universal themes: love, hope, and courage.

Lena was a character I both loved but also disliked. I didn’t hate her at all but I don’t think she developed as much as I had hoped. Sure, by the end there were changes to her character but overall, I think she stayed the same. While I will not deny that I almost cried reading this book and I truly felt for Lena, this is a book and I was a little disappointed.

The writing on the other hand was pretty much the most amazing part. Ruta Sepetys’ writing style is very lyrical and beautiful. Yet the writing wasn’t dense in the way that reading the book was a bore or felt like a chore (hey, rhyming!) Instead, the words flew off the pages and within an hour, I had finished this book.

Overall, the lack of plot and character development did effect how much I loved Between Shades of Gray. On the other hand, the historical aspect of this novel made up for whatever this book lacked. Honestly, I think everyone should read this book. It’s heartbreaking and cringe worthy. At times, I wanted to convince myself that such things didn’t happen in reality but the pure honesty of this book proved that I should truly be thankful for all that I have. Ruta Sepetys has become a favorite author with this book!
Rating:
4/5
Cover Comments: 
It's so simply and beautiful and such a great representation of the book. Oh, how I love this cover! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I am a Name Judger

Okay, I have a confession to make:

You know how there are people who say they judge a book by its cover? Well, I can’t deny that I don’t judge a book by it’s cover because lets be real, everyone judges a book by its cover. BUT, I have this weird “quirk” (as I call it) about myself: I judge a character based on their name. Yes, it sounds juvenile but it’s the truth.

If that makes no sense to you, perhaps some examples will help!

Let’s take the Jessica Darling series! I love Marcus Flutie. Really, I do. But I very much dislike the name Marcus. I actually wrote about the name thing in my review (which should be up later this month). The thing is, I just don’t like the sound of “Marcus.” There is just something immensely weird about that name for me. I called Marcus everything from Mark to Mac to Mr. Flutie or basically, anything but Marcus itself. Did I love Marcus the character, yes, I really did! But I couldn't get over his first name. And this isn't even about his dreads!

While I didn’t review The Girl of Fire and Thorns, since I didn’t finish it, I very,
very much dislike the name Hector. Way back when, in elementary and middle school, I went to school with this kid named Hector. I don’t know what it was about me but he seemed to hate me. He was one of the kids who bullied me and I’ve pretty much disliked the name because it reminds me of him. As in, he pushed me down numerous times, punched me (in the stomach) numerous times and even spit at me. So, my memories of him very less than wonderful and I have never gotten over my dislike over the guy or that name.

Astrid and Leslie are two girl names I’ve always been weird about. What it is about these names, I have no idea, but if I ever have a daughter, I won’t name her either. Astrid, by the way, makes me think of asteroids and well, asteroids are gorgeous when they enter the earth’s atmosphere but otherwise, they’re ugly rocks. Astrid itself means “fair, beautiful goddess” but really, I don’t care for it. Leslie on the other hand just sounds really, really weird to me.

But I want to make something clear: as much as the names bug me, I don't base the character on them. I basically call the character something different in my find. For example, I did love Marcus the character but just not his name. In The Girl of Fire and Thorns, the character didn't work for me.
Source
But again, this is simply who I am. Hopefully some of that made sense to you all. If it did, yay! If not, I'm sorry!

So tell me dear readers! Do you have weird quirks like this? Is there a name that you don't like and you can't really explain why? Obviously, not intentionally and you try to be as fair as possible, but sometimes, personal opinions do come in! After all, reading is a very personal experience! Let me know in the comments! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0 Sign Up & Goals+ Wrap Up


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
I am joining Bout of Books Read-A-Thon! This was supposed to be posted yesterday BUT blogger hates me. So. Here it is!

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: April 2, 2013 
Publisher: Poppy
Source: Publisher for Review via NetGalley 
If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?
Review: 
I really, really wanted to love this book but alas, it wasn't meant to be. It's not that I didn't like this book, because I did. I just didn't love it as much as I loved TSPoLaFS or many of the other books I've read this year. This is What Happy Looks Like began off with a great start but less than half way through, it faltered.

The initial idea of this book sounded great but the execution was not as well done. For one, I loved the emails between Ellie and Graham. They were adorable and awkward at first but once the two of them meet, the romance fizzled. There seemed to be no chemistry between them once they met. And after they met, the emails almost disappeared. This was so sad because the emails were my favorite part of this entire book! Along those same lines, This is What Happy Looks Like didn't turn out to be about the relationship between Ellie and Graham, in my opinion. Their issues were basically about both of them getting over their family issues. Sadly, I didn't think this drama was necessary and the climax wasn't even a climax. I’d hoped to feel bad for Ellie because of everything she was going through but I never felt anything. The resolution to the issues she has with her father left me feeling cheated. After an entire novel of worrying and questioning, nothing happened!

Ellie and Graham as characters were an interesting pair. I was very indifferent to both of them. By the end of the novel, I concluded that they bored me. Ellie and Graham were both good people with good lives but with secrets. And they liked Charlotte’s Web, a plus, but what else? I felt like I didn’t know either of them enough to care about them. Again, after the two of them met, their personalities became bland. Reading the emails made me feel like both were snarky, funny characters but instead, they weren’t. As they were such boring characters, I can’t really find anything else to say about them.

Jennifer E. Smith’s writing had that sense of care freeness that I love in books like This is What Happy Looks Like. The writing was easy to read and thankfully Smith didn’t bog down the story by adding more information than necessary. I’m always afraid of info dumps when it comes to contemporary books. Even if the writing was good, I still didn’t care for the characters but I’m certain that had I liked Ellie and Graham (and the plot) a lot more, the writing would have been even more appealing.

Overall, This is What Happy Looks Like had a great premise. It reminded me of You’ve Got Mail, a movie I’ve always loved but sadly, it didn’t work for me. Yes, it was a quick read but I found myself simply flipping the pages, reading the book but not really absorbing it.
Rating:
3.5/5
Cover Comments: 
I actually like it! The font, the placing, and the yellow all work in favor of the book. Yet, for me, I found it misleading: the cover makes it seem like a cute, romantic book but I didn't find it to be like that.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May TBR Pile

May
Source

Currently listening to: Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch 

I was supposed to have this post ready to go by the 1st of May but I wasn't able to go to the library to get some of my books on hold. I had my AP Exam on the 9th so I was honestly more worried about that than anything else. Sorry, but school has a higher priority! But I do have some great books for May!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Review: 15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins

15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins
Release Date: May 8, 2013 
Publisher: Flux
Source: Publisher for Review via NetGalley 
A compelling US debut about family, forgiveness, and hope

Despite having a depressed alcoholic mother and a little brother who's convinced he's a dog, fifteen year-old Laurence Roach is trying to live a normal life. But when his mom doesn't come home after work one night, Laurence is terrified that child services will find out she's gone and separate him from his brother.

For two weeks, Laurence does whatever he can to keep her disappearance a secret. Spinning a web of complicated lies for friends, neighbors, and the authorities, Laurence even dresses like his mother to convince everyone she's still around. By following clues, the brothers are finally able to track down their mother's whereabouts. And that's when the real trouble begins in this powerful story about what it means to be a family.(
Review: 

Currently listening to: Skyfall by Adele 

Wow was 15 Days Without a Head a completely different than what I had expected. For one, I didn't think I'd become so protective of Lawrence as I did or that this book would make me happy for what I have. Gritty, honest, sad, and hopeful, 15 Days Without a Head tells the story of 15 year old Lawrence Roach whose mother is alcoholic. While the cover might seem misleading and the title sounds weird, this book is well worth a read.

Lawrence Roach has a terrible life. His mother is an alcoholic and spends most of her money on booze and not Lawrence or his six year old brother Jay. When she goes missing, Lawrence is so scared that child protective services will find the brothers and separate them, he tells no one about his mother's disappearance. At 15, Lawrence can handle so much more than I could ever imagine. From the very beginning, my heart went out to him. His love for both his brother and mom was evident and pure. The phone booth plays a large role in this story and I won't ruin it for anyone but believe me, half the time, I didn't understand why Lawrence did what he did. But the love he has for his family makes the reader want to root for him. It makes the reader want to jump right in and save him but in the end, the fact that he can save himself makes the reader even happier.

The plot is pretty honesty and realistic. For me, someone who has lived a fairly good life, I wasn't sure how to react to this story. I'm not an oblivious person to say the least and I know that poverty and single parent families exist but not having felt any of it personally made my heart hurt. I wanted so desperately to help Lawrence but then it made me think "am I some well to do girl trying to make myself feel better by helping people who might not have as much?" Maybe I was being ridiculous but in all honesty, I wanted to do something, anything, for Lawrence.

Along those same lines, I very much disliked his mother. I kept wondering how a mother could treat her children like this? How could she just leave them to fend for themselves? Yet again I was reminded by the fact that neither one of my parents drink a lot (my mom actually doesn't drink at all) so was I, once again, an over privileged girl feeling sorry for someone? I have had friends in this situation so I was being honest in my feelings but who knows? But in reality, a lot of single moms exist in our society. Some of my friends have single moms and they stay and take care of their kids and work. Honesty, I wanted to feel for her but I wasn't as sympathetic because I'd seen that single moms can be amazing parents all on their own.

If you can't tell, the characters really made this story for me. I didn't mention half of the supporting characters but every one of them had their own personalities and helped (or hurt) Lawrence in some way. I hope you all give this book a try because I know that it doesn't seem like a big deal but the story found between the pages of 15 Days Without a Head is one many teenagers face in society today.
Rating:
3.5/5
Cover Comments: 
It actually goes with the book! While it makes no sense right now, after reading the book, I understand the need for the phone booth! 

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Nostalgia: TV Shows From My Older Years

Well, I posted about the shows I used to watch when I was much younger but I'm here today to tell you about 7 shows I watched in the older elementary school years all the way though middle school. 

So here are the shows from my older year

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

MG Review: The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech

The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech
Release Date: September 4, 2012 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Publisher for Review
I had big thoughts to match the big wind. I wondered if we find the people we need when we need them. I wondered if we attract our future by some sort of invisible force, or if we are drawn to it by a similar force. I felt I was turning a corner and that change was afoot.

In the little town of Blackbird Tree live two orphan girls: one Naomi Deane, brimming with curiosity, and her best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, who could talk the ears off a cornfield. Naomi has a knack for being around when trouble happens. For she knows all the peculiar people in town--like Crazy Cora and Witch Wiggins and Mr. Farley. But then, one day, a boy drops out of a tree. The strangely charming Finn boy. Then the Dingle Dangle man appears, asking all kinds of questions. Curious surprises are revealed--three locked trunks, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boy. Soon Naomi and Lizzie find themselves zooming toward a future neither could ever have imagined. Meanwhile, on a grand estate across the ocean, an old lady whose heart has been deceived concocts a plan. . . .

As two very different worlds are woven together, Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech celebrates the gossamer thread that connects us all, and the great and unexpected gifts of love, friendship, and forgiveness.
Review: 

Currently listening to: Animal by Neon Trees

Sharon Creech is one of my favorite author's. She wrote both Walk Two Moons and Ruby Holler, two books that have been on my favorites list since elementary school. I was beyond excited to read her newest, The Great Unexpected, and I'm guessing HarperCollins heard my plea. The Great Unexpected was everything I had hoped it would be: fun and light but emotional and deep at the same time. While I didn't love all of the characters, I would recommend this book to anyone, especially people with young children in elementary school.

Right away, Naomi, our primary protagonist stole my heart. She's young, of course, but there was this sense of maturity about her that made me love her even more. Even though she's an orphan, she tried to make the best of what (and who) she had. Lizzie, he best friend, on the other hand bugged me. She was the character i most disliked simply because she seemed to serve no purpose to Naomi or the other characters. She was Naomi's foil in a way but I'm guessing I haven't been around younger kids in a long time so that's probably why I couldn't stand her.

If you've ever read a Sharon Creech book, you know that she is amazing at weaving more than one story together. While it may seem that the two distinct stories and characters have nothing in common with the others, in the end, it all makes sense. In a way though, I feel like The Great Unexpected faltered to truly engage me. I knew that the characters would be connected in some way, I didn't find myself truly invested in their stories.

Overall, I enjoyed The Great Unexpected. Maybe it's because I'm a huge fan of Sharon Creech but I'd recommend this book to pretty much any middle grade reader, though on the younger spectrum. The plot structure for this book actually reminded me of Code Name Verity: nothing seems to make sense in the beginning and everything is random but in the end, all the little things come together.
Rating:
3.5/5
Cover Comments: 
LOVE it. If anyone hasn't noticed, middle grade novels have some of the best covers I've ever seen! Besides the bright colors being gorgeous, it represents the book perfectly! 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Nostalgia: TV Shows From My Younger Years

Currently listening to: Hometown Glory by Adele 

**I'm not sure if I would be considered a '90s kid since I was born in 1995 BUT I'm going to go with it.**

On Saturday morning, my 12 year old brother was watching TV. Disney Channel to be exact and the show was Austin and Ally. While Austin and Ally is a mediocre show at best and one of the better shows compared to the other shows, I felt so sad for my brother. 

I kept thinking about all of the amazing shows I used to watch when I was his age. From Reading Rainbow (yes, I watched it at 12...I'm a bookworm okay?) to Lizzie McGuire to Boy Meets World to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Gilmore Girls, I watched a lot of TV. Some shows, like Pokemon and The Fairly Oddparents and That's So Raven were shows both of us watched but honestly, I got the better end of the deal.

And I thought, why not make a blog post about all of the shows I used to watch. All of these shows are ones I watched from age 6 to age 14. I'm stopping at 14 because not only was that only 4 years ago but also the age at which began high school.

So here they are:

Monday, May 06, 2013

Series Review: Unbound (#1-2) by Eve Marie Mont

I was creating my review posts for A Breath of Eyre and A Touch of Scarlet when I realized that I could do a series review for the books! Like my good friend Keertana, from whom I go the idea, I'm reviewing both books in one post! They're mini reviews but I hope it get my thoughts out! I've also added a "currently listening" to feature. I listen to music while I write my reviews and sometimes the music's tone comes into my reviews!

A Breath of Eyre (Unbound #1) by Eve Marie Mont
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation 
Source: Library
In this stunning, imaginative novel, Eve Marie Mont transports her modern-day heroine into the life of Jane Eyre to create a mesmerizing story of love, longing, and finding your place in the world... Emma Townsend has always believed in stories-the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates. Perhaps it's because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn't come close to filling the void left by her mother's death. And her only romantic prospect-apart from a crush on her English teacher-is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma's confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre...

Reading of Jane's isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane's body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she's never known-and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane's story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own...
Review: 

Currently listening to: Tiptoe by Imagine Dragons 

When I first came across A Breath of Eyre at my local library, I knew I had to read it. It sound like my kind of read: romance, time travel, and Jane Eyre, one of my absolute favorite books. Sadly, I wasn't as impressed with A Breath of Eyre as I had hoped to be. Not as much of time travel book as I had thought, I also found it interesting that A Breath of Eyre is not a re-telling of Jane Eyre. 

I'll talk about the plot because I'm still unsure about how I feel. One one hand, I really liked the plot but on another, I didn't care for it much. First of all, A Breath of Eyre didn't deal with time travel in the traditional sense. While a person (like me) who read the synopsis, they'd think that Emma traveled to England during the time in which Jane Eyre was set. This was not the case. Instead, this book is Emma's story first and foremost, not a re-telling of Jane Eyre's. Emma just happens to find herself in Jane's shoes when both girls' lives seem to parallel. Honestly, the plot for A Breath of Eyre is not really new, expect for the sort of time traveling part. For example, during a key point in Emma's life, she finds herself in Jane Eyre's shoes. Obviously, this time in Jane Eyre, the book, mirrors Emma's life in the present day and gives her some important information. Hopefully that made sense. 

Emma was an interesting character to be sure but certain aspects about her didn't work too well for me. For one, Emma was strong and independent for most of the book. Even though she lost her mother, she was stronger than I had anticipated. Sadly, when a boy came into the picture, this strong Emma went out the picture. When ever anything had to deal with Emma's love interest, she became whiney and annoying. Obviously, Emma's a teenager and as much as I hate to say it, I knew she would think a lot about a boy's attention. Sure it was something I could get over but the consistency of her borderline obsession didn't work for me. 

If there's one thing I'll give A Breath of Eyre huge props for would be how a key moment of Jane Eyre played out. While the outcome was the same in A Breath of Eyre as it had been in Jane Eyre, it left behind some burning questions. You know when you love a book so much that you think you understand it completely or as well as you can? Well, that is how I viewed my relationship with Jane Eyre. In A Breath of Eyre, questions were raised about something Rochester did (I think you can figure out what it's about) and for the first time, I actually thought of Rochester in another light. That takes a lot of skills and I'm still struggling with how I feel about Rochester now. One book changed my opinion about a character I've loved since the 6th grade. But fear not, I still love Rochester. 

Overall, I think you all should read this book. While A Breath of Eyre wasn't the best book I've ever read and no, it's not a re-telling, it's worth a read. Eve Marie Mont writes a story worth reading about a heroine worth caring about. I still don't understand why this is a trilogy but I'm willing to read on. 
Rating:
3/5
Cover Comments: 
First thoughts: I actually like it a lot! 
Comments: While it is simple, I like the simplicity of this cover. It fits the inspiration (Jane Eyre) but it's also interesting. 
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A Touch of Scarlet (Unbound #2) by Eve Marie Mont
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Kensington Teen 
Source: Publisher for Review via NetGalley
The compelling heroine of Eve Marie Mont’s novel A Breath of Eyre returns to find truth and fiction merging through the pages of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic, The Scarlet Letter…

Emma Townsend is back at prestigious Lockwood Prep, but her world has altered immeasurably since her tumultuous sophomore year. The best change of all: her boyfriend, Gray. And though Gray is leaving for Coast Guard training, Emma feels newly optimistic, even if the pain of her mother’s long-ago death still casts a shadow.

Yet Emma isn’t the only one who’s changed. Her friend and roommate, Michelle, is strangely remote, and old alliances are shifting in disconcerting ways. Soon Emma’s long-distance relationship with Gray is straining under the pressure, and Emma wonders if she’s cracking too. How else to explain the vivid dreams of Hester Prynne she’s been having since she started reading The Scarlet Letter? Or the way she’s found herself waking in the woods? As her life begins to echo events in the novel, Emma will be forced to choose between virtue and love. But can she forge a new future without breaking her heart?
Review: 

Currently listening to: Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson 

A Touch of Scarlet begins some time after A Breath of Eyre ended. Surprisingly, I liked A Touch of Scarlet more than A Breath of Eyre even though I don't like The Scarlet Letter. Eve Marie Mont's writing improved considerably in A Tough of Scarlet and her signature time travel is back in full force. While I did have issues with both Emma and the plot, I will be reading the last book of the trilogy, A Phantom Enchantment. 

Emma left me confused in this book. Did I not like her? Did I still feel bad for her? I'm still unsure. The main issue for me was all of the mistakes Emma made. Some of her mistakes made me shake my head in the "that is a bad idea! Don't do it!" sort of way which is never good. Some of the drama was just plain annoying. Yet other aspects of how Emma made me realize why I liked her so much. For one, when her friend and roommate Michelle is having issues and pushing Emma away, Emma is still there for Michelle. Michelle was mean to Emma but I loved that Emma would always let her know she wasn't alone. I also loved Emma's strength of will and standing behind what she believed in, especially when it dealt with LGBT issues. 

As I said, I liked this book's plot but I also hated it. I disliked it so much because of all of the drama. It felt like the majority of the drama was uncalled for and unnecessary. It left Emma is a hard place and while it challenged her, it didn't help her grow or change. For example, the reason why The Scarlet Letter became the book of main focus. I think you can understand why Hester would be the heroine Emma most resembled in A Tough of Scarlet. The aspect I loved was the inclusion on LGBT issues. Michelle comes out as a lesbian and the school erupts into a frenzy. Homophobia was discussed at length and I think this book actually does show how a teen might deal with coming out and their sexuality at school. There was also the issue of allowing same sex couples to attend prom and some even tried to get Michelle kicked out of school. Emma firm stance next to her friend was something I loved. 

Overall, I liked A Touch of Scarlet much more than I had anticipated. A Touch of Scarlet also came very close to a 4 star read but the drama dropped it down. Honestly, had it not been for the extreme case of cheating and ridiculous actions, I'd have liked this book. I still think people should read this book and while some will not enjoy it, there are aspects of A Touch of Scarlet worth praise. 
Rating:
3.5/5
Cover Comments: 
First thoughts: Not bad. 
Comments: Hey, it matches the cover for A Breath of Eyre without it being boring. Plus, it goes with the plot for A Touch of Scarlet so double win. In another sense, kind of bland and boring. So basically, I have no idea how I feel about it....

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Bookish Thoughts: Daughter of the Forest

Oh man. This book. I began this on April 29 and within pages, I fell in love. This story is actually the re-telling of The Six Swans but there is so much more to it than it seems. The characters, the setting, the world, the lore is all amazing. Quiet honestly, this is one of the best fantasy books I've ever read but I feel like it's also very underrated.

I'd never heard of this book or the author until I read Keertana's review and I knew I HAD to read this book. It has to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. I'm a little more than half way through this book but I'll be taking my sweet time reading it. I'm in love with everything about this book and I want to soak in every word.

I will obviously have my review up soon but lets just say that I absolutely love this book. And the author of course!
 
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