Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Title: The Dark Divine
Author: Bree Despain
Publication Date: December 22, 2009
hardcover, 372 pages

A Prodigal Son

A Dangerous Love

A Deadly Secret

Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood.

Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul. - Summary from

Bleh. The Dark Divine was a disappointingly typical paranormal story. It included all the classic components: girl meets mysterious boy, they try to avoid each other but are still pulled closer by love. Then the boy turns out to be a paranormal character- a werewolf, vampire, or in this case, a hound of heaven. Boy still has secrets that girl must find out on her own. Girl gets mad. Doesn't talk to boy. Boy still loves her. They get back together and save someones life. Sound familiar? This storyline makes me sick to my stomach, I've read it so many times. The Dark Divine was not an exception. I found the narrative of the story to be awfully amateur, juvenile and simple. Grace, the narrator, was a girl with a lack of sophistication. She was dull and mundane with nothing stark in her personality that made her truly stand out above all other girlfriends-of-paranormals. She had an abundance of lines where she would talk to herself with cliche thoughts such as the one when Pete was flirting with her.
"Why am I such a dumb girl? I mean, seriously, get it together."
Sometimes it befuddles me as to how such shallow-minded girls always seem to get the charming boys.

There was lack in Jude and Grace's relationship as brother and sister. It was just barely there. Jude always seemed more interested in taking April out on dates than seriously discussing the dangers of Daniel to Grace. And Grace was much closer to Daniel than Jude in my opinion. Whenever she had to choose between them, it was clear that she did not put much thought into the decision. The beginning was terribly slow, and although Daniel was introduced early on, his presence was never heated to the point of intensity. In fact, I found the beginning to be so bland
that at one point I put it down and didn't pick it up for another week.

Grace is most definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed. Her lack of intelligence therefore results in her obliviousness to everything. She is too simple-minded and ignorant to even question Daniel's crazy inhuman abilities. Like the time during one of Grace's flashbacks to several years ago, Daniel had randomly shown up one day with major damage done to his skull. He went to the hospital, but the next day his skull was perfect, as if nothing had ever happened to it. Unconcerned, Grace never questioned the miracle. If I knew someone who was in the same scenario, of course I would have immediately realized something was not right. But no, while most normal people would have asked or sleuthed around for the truth, instead, it took Grace several years to remember the odd incidents in which Daniel proved to heal miraculously. And even then, only when Daniel confessed to her his capabilities, did she put the two and two together.

There were quite a number of unnecessary headers in the story. For example, on page 101:
Wednesday Afternoon, At the Funeral
"A somber shadow cast over the parish, touching the hearts of all those who shuffled into the sanctuary for Maryanna Duke's funeral."
No need for repetitiveness...
One Heartbeat Later
Instead of starting a whole new section with that unnecessary header, you could just start a new paragraph?
Into The Woods
The next several pages are describing Daniel and Grace dashing off into the woods. We get the picture.
Also, many of those headers were right under the start of a new chapter, with the chapter already titled. The headers were extraneous.

The one thing that kept me holding onto this book was Grace and Daniel's relationship. They're addictive love for each other always made me swoon. They Divinely (ha-ha) loved each other, and truly stopped at nothing to be together. When Grace discovered Daniel's past and was so shocked and outraged that she refused to talk to him for months, it made me ache for Daniel to somehow in any way he could, come back for her and ask for forgiveness. Those two made made me totally hooked. All in all, The Dark Divine was not particularly special, although it was also not a book that I was appalled to read.

3.5 Beasts

Friday, August 27, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Author: John Green and David Levithan
Publication Date: April 6th, 2010
Hardcover, 310 pages

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan's collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans. - Summary from Goodreads

I am a big fan of John Green. In all his books, he somehow manages to incorporate normal teenagers at the start and then they always tend to end up with their lives changed forever by the end. David Levithan on the other hand, I will admit that I have never read any of his books. But after reading this, I will make sure that changes. I could tell that the two of them have different styles of writing, as a little into the book it started to elucidate which author wrote which chapters. After finishing the book and looking online, it turns out my guesses were correct: Green wrote as Will1, and Levithan as Will2.

Will1 was my favorite character. I was attached from when he said "you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friends nose." That is a classic favorite saying of mine every since my friends dad said that in front of our whole 3rd grade class, and it was awesome hearing it again, but this time from a book! I also got a laugh out of Will1's two rules of life: 1. Don't care too much 2. Shut up. I do agree with these rules, for at certain times these are great rules to live by. Tiny Cooper, Will1's best friend, a unnaturally large massive person with a million boyfriends who he is in and out of love with everyday, was a fantastic character. He made me crack up in the way Green always manages to make his readers do. As Will1's best friend and eventually Will2's boyfriend, Tiny is like the puzzle piece that goes between them. He is the middle link in the chain. Tiny brought Will1 to a concert in Chicago, and the two Will's met at a store near the bar of the concert. If they didn't meet, they never would have found themselves, known who they really were, and they never would have changed forever. Without Tiny, the Will's certainly would never have met. He is a high school boy yearning for love, he's optimistic, genuine, caring, and especially unaware of the damage relationships can make on him. Even though he's been through it 17 times.

When we first meet Will2, he's clearly an emo boy. He's depressed, never smiling, and takes medication for his "problem". He has no respect for his single mother who does the best she can to care for him. He is in an online dating relationship with a boy named Isaac. Yes, like Tiny Cooper, he is gay. When Will2 meets Will1 that fateful night in Chicago, their worlds turn in ways they never had before. Remember Will 1's rules of not caring too much and shutting up? Yeah, well, those are no longer an option for him. When Tiny Cooper decides to write and direct a musical about himself with the Gay-Straight-Alliance club, Will2 is the reason why he re-writes the script and turns the theme into love. Then, the two of them fall head over heels for each other and start a relationship. Yes, a gay relationship between a depressed, emo boy and a gigantically overweight one. They are together for the longest time any of them have ever been in a relationship, only to end it because Will2 tells tiny he doesn't need anyone. That shatters Tiny's heart into a million pieces, leaving him devastated. This is when Will2 realizes what a mess he's made, and spends days planning a stunt which involves Tiny's play that is so diabolical, it may just change Tiny's life forever. And just because of this one high school musical, Will1 drops everything he stands for so he can make a difference in the life of the person he loves most. Will2 is the one who comes up with the idea, and he's also the one who makes it happen. He is so struck by what he did to Tiny that day, he feels that he needs to do this to show that he still cares about and loves Tiny deeply. This one night changes the life of 3 boys. Again.

I'm not a Will Grayson, but I love you, Tiny Cooper.

The cover at first glance just seems like an attractive, shiny and cool double dose of the title and the colors. Little did I notice that the background is not just some shiny, luminescent lights. Why in fact, they are stage lights, glinting and dazzling from the picture. And only then did I realize that it actually did have quite a lot to do with the book. I would rate this cover a 5/5, even though I don't do cover ratings.

The only issue I had with this book was the, well, lack of meaning in some parts. I would warn you that this book is definitely not for the younger audience. It includes online relationships, violently crude humor, a porn store, and the excessive use of, well, teenage language. B**chsquealer and motherf***er are used frequently throughout the book. Thus with all the explicit content, I disappointingly had to decrease the value of the rating.

4 Beasts

50 Followers and 1 Month Blogoversary GIVEAWAY!

Hey there everyone! So as some of you may know, today I hit 50 followers! Thanks so much for all your support and comments. They make and pull me through my days. Also, its been roughly one month since I started blogging! Can you believe it?! 50 followers in one month? I could not be more thankful for everyone whose helped me reach that goal. So, in celebration, I'm having a GIVEAWAY! There will be 1 lucky winner!
Here's what you can win:
Or..... An ARC of Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson!
Forge comes out October 16, 2010

please note - The ARC does not have the cover shown here. It has a small image of the cover on the front.

*Contest Rules*
You must be a follower to enter this contest!
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment with the following:
+1 your name and email
+1 follow my blog (mandatory)
extra entries:
+1 follow me on twitter (@thebookbuzzer) - leave your username
+2 tweet the contest -leave a link
+2 add contest to your sidebar - leave a link
+5 blog post - leave a link
+1 add up entries! don't forget!

Open to U.S. residents only. (Sorry guys! I'm still a student without a job...)
The winner will be selected by random.org
Contest ends September 30.
The lucky winner will be announced October 2. I will contact them by email and a post, and they have 42 hours to respond or I will pick a new winner.

Good luck everyone! And thanks for being such awesome followers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blog Hop (3) and Follow Friday! (2)

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books
Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View

This weeks question:
Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

My answer: Yes, I do have a rating system. I call it beasts :P. There are a total of 5 beasts: a Turtle, a Hippo, a Tiger, an Elephant, and a Flamingo. If they are all there, that means I loved the book. If only the turtle is there, that means the book was under my standards. I use a rating system because it helps me remember how much I enjoyed a book, and also it's useful because often when other blogs review the same book, they also have ratings, and I can compare them. Ratings are good for summing things up, and they are pretty powerful. Sometimes they tell me if I should consider picking up a book or not. Even if I know that I shouldn't be influenced by other peoples opinions.
See my full rating system!

What is your answer to this weeks question? Let me know if your a new follower, and I'll follow you back!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Paper Towns by John Green

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publication Date: October 16, 2008
Hardcover, 305 Pages

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night - dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows her. Margo's always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she's always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they're for Q. - Summary from Goodreads

The prologue was like a temptingly delectable cupcake. It revealed such a mysterious and enticing moment in which two nine year old best friends discovered a bloody, dead man lying under the tree by the town playground. That was so interesting to me because it was so different than any other book prologue I had ever read before. It was nothing remotely close to normal. The beginning was enjoyable because Green's 'set up' was smooth - the lay out of Quentin's life as a senior to introduce the main character was done well. Quentin and his friends, Radar and Ben, were hysterical teenagers who I found easy to relate to.

The beginning was fast paced, as it almost immediately started with Quentin and Margo Roth Spiegelman - his long time crush - going on a crazy, wild adventure on a night they will never forget. This berserk circumstance caused the entire rest of the book to be effected by that night. That was an enjoyable change in a storyline, because most books don't reach the climax until about three quarters of the book. Not only was the climax at the start, but there was also another, more important climax as a result of the first one, so I did not find the rest of the book boring at all. I was expecting that the next few weeks after Margo and Quentin's campaign of revenge, everything would be settled down and life would go on without any nostalgic thoughts from anyone. Instead, Margo Spiegelman disappeared, and her vanishing act was put to investigation by the one and only distressed Quentin.

The mystery that went with Margo and her small lead of "bread crumb" trails that hinted only to Quentin as to where she fled were brilliant! (However, none are to be mentioned here for the protection of not releasing spoilers) I eagerly followed Margo's trail alongside Quentin every step of the way, whenever he found new evidence and got closer to uncovering the whereabouts of his childhood crush. The so called Paper Towns that Quentin discovered were neat, real-yet-not places that I had never heard of until Green introduced them into the story. Paper Towns are some of the coolest, non-existent concepts I have ever come across.

The twenty-one hour car trip with three senior boys and one senior girl was hilarious and amusing. Every hour of the trip was the start of a new chapter, and each chapter added new humor and old jokes from the previous chapters. The unexpected problems that the crew had along the trip were fun-filled and fantastic. I found that at every moment in the trip I could not put the book down, mainly because I was laughing so hard, and that just caused me to keep on reading because I was craving for another supply of stomach-aching laughter. Ben was a favorite character of mine during the road trip, perhaps because he always seemed as if he was in constant need of the restroom at all points along the drive. And when there was not a plan for a rest stop for another four hours, the restroom improvisational skills of the clan were a riot to read about. I also grew to love the character Radar, who was another addition to the calamities of the road trip. Radar was such a comical high-schooler, who had quite the strong personality and the strangest background. He was a strong leader and a great member of the crew.

In the end, after when Quentin ditches his very own high school graduation to find a special someone he is head-over-heels with, I found quite a few philosophical thoughts within him. There were life changing realizations and moments that had accumulated inside of him throughout his experiences that were never released until those moments at the end of the story. Every bit of those deep, psychological grasps that he caught on to made it a truly beautiful novel. The main reason why I am not rating it as high as I may seem to want to is simply because it was, to me, a little bit childish at points with the teenage humor. Some of the humor was a bit crude, and books that deserve higher are ones that aren't so, well, goofy. This was a fun read, but nothing too amazing to consider a high quality young adult book.

4 Beasts

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Book Blogger Hop! (3)

Book Blogger Hop
Blog Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books

So, I was in D.C this past week and I just got back at around 3 this morning, so I missed Follow Friday :( but there's always good ol' Blog Hop to count on!

This Weeks Question:
How many blogs do you follow?
My Answer: Well, on my old book blog account I am currently following 272 blogs. On this account, it's around 20 since i'm still adding to my old account, so in total it would be about 282 because lots of follows on The Book Buzzer are repeats of the blogs I am already following.

So, how many blogs are you following?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Title: The Cardturner
Author: Louis Sachar
Publication Date: May 11, 2010
hardcover, 352 pages

When Alton's ageing, blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him, he agrees. After all, it's better than a crappy summer job in the local shopping mall, and Alton's mother thinks it might secure their way to a good inheritance sometime in the future. But, like all apparently casual choices in any of Louis Sachar's wonderful books, this choice soon turns out to be a lot more complex than Alton could ever have imagined. As his relationship with his uncle develops, and he meets the very attractive Toni, deeply buried secrets are uncovered and a romance that spans decades is finally brought to a conclusion. Alton's mother is in for a surprise! - Summary from Goodreads

When I first heard/realized that this book was about bridge, I instantly thought about how it was definitely going to have boring, slow parts wherever bridge was involved, so I wasn't exactly enthusiastic about picking it up. However, Louis Sachar is one of my all time favorite authors, ever since I read his genious mastermind book, Holes. The Cardturner turned out to be hilarious from the start. Alton Richards, the main character, pretty much had the average personality of a teenager. But I found his life story to be much more interesting than that of a normal teen, especially because it was largely effected by his grumpy, bridge loving rich uncle, and his wacky-crazy-not-rich parents. Both those components concocted the multiple humorous moments in the story. One of my favorite family moments is in the beginning, when Alton is on the phone with Uncle Lester for a attempt at a friendly conversation that fails because of Lester's reclusive personality. His mom continuously pesters Alton to tell Uncle Lester that he loves him, and he's his favorite uncle. Alton describes his mothers tone: "Her voice infused with the same forced enthusiasm she used to describe the deliciousness of canned peas." Anyways, even if i'm the only one who's still here right now, I thought it was pretty clever. When Uncle Lester's health made a turn for the worse, it enticed me to go deeper into the book.

The cover is a mystery I still have yet to uncover. It's a mystery because I don't understand what it has to do with the book at all. There's a boy lying down on a couple benches at a subway station, with a book on his face. Alton, perhaps? I don't recall any scenes where that particular moment or setting for that matter is even in the story. If anyone has any guesses, I would love to hear them!

The parts of the book that were made up of Bridge explanations were definitely not as boring as I had expected. The way Sachar tried to make you accumulate knowledge about the game was EASY to understand. Squeezes, trumps, no-trumps, cardinal directions, doubling, re-doubling, Yarboroughs and bidding were only a few of the many parts of Bridge that I learned from reading The Cardturner. Every explanation was put in the simplest way possible, and even if you didn't bother to read those parts, there was always a section outlined by a black box that summed up the section's 'lesson'. There were still quite a few parts that I didn't follow, and even then, they weren't extremely important to know. It was interesting to learn that there was such a thing as a cardturner, who reads out loud the cards that their player has to them and plays the cards according to what the player tells them to play. To Alton, it turned out to be much more than a simple job for his blind uncle.

I grew fond of Uncle Lester after he grew blind, early on in the book. When Lester did talk (because he rarely did) , for the most part, he was inspiring. Sachar had a clever explanation of how to memorize cards, using the words b-o-y-g-i-r-l-c-a-t-d-o-g and simply mixing up the letters, and then putting that technique into Uncle Lester's hands.
My absolute most favorite part of the book is at page 144.
I learned something bewildering at that page.
Something life-startling.
Something called SYNCHRONICITY.
Okay, moving on from the dramatics. Synchronicity is by far the coolest word I have ever learned. "It's when two related things occur without any apparent cause-and-effect." "synchronicity was different from a mere coincidence. With synchronicity you feel that there's a difinite connection. You just don't know what that connection is."
Story Example: When Alton remembered that one day, years ago, he thought randomly thought about a kid who used to be his neighbor and was also in his grade named Doug. They were not friends, and all he remembered was that he asked Doug to be his buddy for a field trip because Doug looked lonely. The day after he had the flashback memory of the field trip, his dad told him that Doug died in a car crash the previous day. Does that seem like synchronicity to you? It does to me. I thought that was pretty amazing! Synchronicity is the coolest and most useful piece of information I have stumbled upon in a book.

The Bridge journey with blind Uncle Lester and the kid who dealt his cards, Alton, was more than just explaining a bunch of games they played together. It was about meeting inspiring and peculiar people, learning life lessons, solving personal problems, strong bonding, and falling in love. It wasn't just a book about bridge. It was also the story of the Richards-Castenada family mystery, which involved Alton's loony/crazy dead great-aunt, Annabel King, who Sachar writes about deceptively in a way to infer that, well, she may not be completely dead after all.

It was also the story of Toni Castenada, her love of the game Bridge, and her wacky explanation to why she was being so rude and said shut up loudly to Alton's face when they first met.
It was the story of Alton and his conscience, Uncle Lester, and how they worked together somehow, without actually physically being in the same room, to bring them to the biggest event of their lives.

From before the beginning, the reader is told by Louis Sachar that Bridge is a dying game. After reading The Cardturner, I hope to be one of the many young adults who have been inspired by Alton's story to bring the classic game back to life.

4.5 Beasts

Friday, August 13, 2010

Follow Friday and Blog Hop!

Book Blogger Hop

Blog Hop is hosted at Crazy For Books
Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View

This Weeks Blog Hop Question:
How many books do you have on your 'To Be Read Shelf'?
My Answer: Oh, I have quite a few. However, not even close to as many as Crazy For Books has, which is like over, what, 700? Wow! I just went to multiple library's yesterday for a re-stock of what to read, and I have about... hmmm... 20 to-read books that I actually have a copy of right now. However, on the 'virtual' to-be read list, I definitely have hundreds of more books!

Follow Friday's question is supposed to be answered in the comments at Parajunkee's View, but I decided why not put my answer down on this post anyways since I'm blogging about Follow Friday already? So here's the question:
What is your absolutely AMAZING FANTASTIC GORGEOUS book?
My Answer: That's a hard one to answer. My amazingly fantastic gorgeous book would have to be Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. It's amazing and fantastic in so many ways, and how can you not consider it gorgeous? Not only is the cover ravishing with the whole theme of winter blue trees and a stark contrasting red dot on the i in the title, but also, the font in the book is blue. The overall tone of Shiver is astounding.

So how many to-read books do you have, and whats your absolutely amazing fantastic gorgeous book?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Linger
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
hardcover, 362 pages

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past...and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves...and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love-the light and the dark, the warm and the cold-in a way you will never forget.
-Summary from Goodreads

Once again, I just wanted to mention how cool it was that the font of this book is GREEN. Sadly, my copy was an ARC, so it wasn't. But the new, bookstore type are always green. On the cover, there is a green silhouette of a girl in the top right part, and a green silhouetted wolf in the bottom left part. In Shiver, there is a silhouetted blue wolf. I wonder what Forever, the third book in the series will have on the cover? My guess is two people, Sam and Grace? I hope so. And I've been hearing alot of questions about the next color scheme of the book. That would be cool if it was purple, but I really have no idea.

Moving on to the book, once again Stiefvater doesn't disappoint. Linger was filled with the same amount of excitement as in Shiver. The only major con of this book was that it had very slow moments in the first half of the book. My theory behind that is because since the Sam problem was resolved already in the first book, everything had to be calm and settled before Maggie could jump into another conflict. I think that is a smart and reasonable move.

I enjoyed how the point of view in this book added the characters Isabel, Jack's brother, and Cole, one of the new werewolves that Beck brought back with him from Canada. They added more depth and insight to the story. Cole especially, was an intriguing character who I suspected to have been the happiest and most care-free person in the world because of his fame. I was wrong. Cole was quite the opposite of that. I never fully understood why Beck chose Cole to become a werewolf , and it was pretty unclear in the story. Maybe Beck thought he would be useful, but Cole surely could not have expected the ending (sorry for the lack of information but i'm not doing spoilers), so in the end he was great help but his choosing is still a mystery to me.

The beginning of the book was medium-paced, the middle of the book heated up, and there was a major turning point in the story. Then, it got slow again, and then fast, slow, then the ending was just as adrenaline-rushing as the ending in Shiver. Linger's intensity level continuously fluctuated. The character development and each characters voice was absolutely fantastic. Every character had a different personality -finally a book like that!- and Maggie Stiefvater's skill in talent and writing made up more than half of the amazingness (not a word, too bad) of the book. Without the awe-striking characters and the fabulous writing, it wouldn't be anything close to as good as it is now. Maggie really knows exactly how, girls and boys alike, think. She knows how to develop a character, and she knows the person she's writing about more than from the inside-out.

The plot, I have to admit, was not as admirable as Shivers, probably once again noting that the situation of Sam being a werewolf was already resolved in the last part of Shiver. That forced the beginning of Linger to have to slow down the pace and get the storyline set up for the next plot. The Linger plot was just as clever and addicting, but it was spread out differently through the book so thats why I didn't enjoy it as much. I liked the gradual heating up of the story, even though there were many long, slow parts. Slowly the energy built and built, and the ending had so much fervor it wasn't even just like a balloon popping, it was as if the same amount of balloons that lift up the Carl Fredricksen's house in the movie UP popped all as a result of a chain reaction. The ending was similar to Shiver in many ways such as the excitement of it, yet it was also the complete opposite. There were more heart bursting moments. Linger is bewildering, nerve-wrecking and powerful.


4 Beasts

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Teaser Tuesday! (2)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B at I Should Be Reading. Currently, I'm finishing The Crdturner by
Louis Sachar.

My teaser:

"'So?' he asked, when I opened the door.
'What?' I asked.
'You and Toni? So?'
'She's just here to play bridge.'
'If you say so, Romeo.'" -Page 110 from The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Now show me your teasers!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

In My Mailbox(2): August 8, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, to let bloggers show what books they have accumulated over the past week.

Books that I have In My Mailbox

Gift from Okapi at The Smarty Owl:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
13 To Life by Shannon Delany

Borrowed from Okapi at The Smarty Owl:
Linger ARC by Maggie Stiefvater

Birthday Gift from mum:
The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

From the Library:
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jaqueline Kelly

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Shiver
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: August, 2009
hardcover, 392 pages

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf - her wolf - is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human ... until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human-or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
-Summary from Goodreads

Now Before I start rambling, (kidding!) I must point out the blue font in the book. Sadly, I don't think library copies have the blue font. But anyways, it's so awesome! Definitely a cool first fad for books that I hope will continue.

I was enthralled into Shiver from the first page. The beginning was intense and mesmerizing. I instantly fell for the silent connection between Grace as a human and Sam as a wolf. The way they fell for each other was so captivating - Grace's bond to him was through his powerful yellow eyes. I came to love the two as much as they loved each other. I love how the point of view switches between them; I got a double dose of the story and must I not forget to mention the passion between Grace and Sam.

Maggie Stiefvater's inventiveness was definitely an A+ when it came to the werewolves. Their relation to temperature, how they shift into werewolves when it's cold and shift into humans when it's hot is the best reasoning behind werewolves that I have ever read so far in a book with them. In addition to the temperature, I am partial to how each chapter started with the temperature of the setting. That sometimes led to foreshadowing about what would happen in the chapter, *hint Sams shifting hint* and/or the conflicts and problems that would happen because they are related to wolves and the temperature of the moment.

The whole book was extremely well written. The meeting point of Sam and Grace, when Sam gets shot was terribly fervid, and at that point adrenaline rushed through my body with fear. I will admit that their relationship after meeting was a bit rush, but I disregarded that thought and accepted it because, after all, they had "known" or at least had a silent longing for each other for six years. One of the final scenes with them in Grace's car, on a cold cold night penetrated my heart. It was so emotional, so powerful, so intense. After reading the page all I could do was sit still, frozen, close the book and stare into space in shock and awe.

No character was underdeveloped, and I have to point out Sam in particular. He is humorous, witty, adorable and talented. But at the same time, he is not the perfect boy. Perfect boy books bother me so much because there rarely is such a thing. I am fond of how Sam loves poetry and music. whenever he related a situation he was in with lyrics, the lyrics he sang or thought of were beautiful and always flowed well with the moment.
Grace's friends Rachel, Olivia and Isabel were great support - Olivia's photography in the woods and her absence in existence added the perfect amount to the suspense of the story. Werewolves Jack and Shelby's pain and love for who they truly were kept the storyline moving at a heart-racing pace. The ending, which I can't explain for fear of spoiling, was bewildering, striking, and magnificent. Shiver now has my highest rating of a paranormal book, and I do expect this one to stay at the top of my charts for a long, long time. Maggie Stiefvater did an exceptional job pulling off paranormal, and her story certainly won my heart.

4.5 Beasts

Blog Hop!

Book Blogger Hop
It's time for my first Blog Hop post!

(Book Blogger Hop is hosted at Crazy for Books)

this weeks question:
Do you listen to music when you read? If so, what are your favorite reading tunes?

My answer: I usually don't listen to music when I read because it can distract me. Although sometimes I do try listening to classical music. My favorite classical pieces are Flight of the Bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and three works by Aaron Copland: Simple Gifts (Appalachian Spring), Fanfare for the Common Man, and Hoedown from Rodeo. I like classical music when I'm reading or doing homework because then I won't get out of focus by singing the lyrics and then getting off task.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fat Cat by Robin Brande

Title: Fat Cat
Author: Robin Brande
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: October 13, 2009
Hardcover, 330 Pages

You are what you eat...

Cat is smart, sassy, and funny - but thin, she's not. Until her class science project. That's when she winds up doing an experiment - on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living - and eating - like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors. True, no chips or TV is a bummer annd no car is a pain, but healthful eating and walking everywhere do have their benefits.

As the pounds drop off, the guys pile on. All this newfound male attention is enough to drive a girl crazy! If only she weren't too busy hating Matt McKinnery to notice...

This funny and thoughtful novel explores how girls feel about their bodies, and hte ways they can best take care of their most precious resource: themselves.

- Summary from Goodreads

I just wanted to quickly thank Random Buzzers for giving me this book! I saved up for quite a while to get enough Buzz Bucks for this book.

Sadly, I must say that using my hard earned bucks for this book was a bit of a waste. I chose it above the rest on the list because of the good rating on Goodreads (A 4.02 out of 5 which is pretty good for Goodreads ratings). Little did I know that I would soon be disappointed. In the description, Fat Cat sounds like a playful and light read with numerous teenage problems that I knew I could relate too. The cover was simple yet fun, a purple-covered book that I inferred resembled Cat, and a measuring tape which resembles her changing body throughout the book. It is an eye-catching, clever metaphor.

Much of this book frustrated me. Although I know the point of Cat in the beginning was to show that she was overweight, her eating habits disgusted me. Several Diet Cokes a day, plus tons of candy, sugar and chocolate? I was grossed out. In the beginning she complained that she was fat, but she never did anything about it. She just kept eating. Her hatred for her ex-best friend, Matt, bothered me as well. Cat was constantly repeating how she couldn’t be friends with Matt, but never actually explained why until the very end. I could tell that the Brande’s intention was to make the reader curious and want to read on to find out what Matt did to Cat that forced them to stop being friends. Instead of being curious, however, it just made me agitated. Cat ended chapters with quotes such as “He stabbed me in the heart,” “He showed me the real him”, etc. but she failed to explain who the real Matt was, or how exactly did he stab her in the heart? She was a complete witch with a “B” to Matt every time he tried to approach her. The worst part of her attitude toward Matt was that every time he tried to talk to her and she rejected his existence, I couldn’t feel the same hatred towards Matt as she did, I did not understand why she was being so mean, and I couldn’t act like her friend and back her up. All because I had no reason too, since so far there was no explanation of what Matt ever did wrong.

Many of the chapter endings ruined my reading experience of this book. Robin tried to make the concluding sentences dramatic and effective/powerful, but instead, most of them backfired to dramatically lame and poorly chosen sentences.

“I didn’t care anymore what I looked like or what people might say about me or whether they thought it was hilarious that a chubby girl was out there doing freestyle. I didn’t care about anyone or anything. I just swam.

I think tonight I might have made the biggest scientific discovery of my life.

I think I was born an amphibian.”

Isn’t that just a terrible ending to a dramatic, positive self-discovery statement?

Cat’s personality was odd. She was a terribly socially awkward girl at the start of her experiment, when she was fat. She absolutely never talked to boys, and just like she did to Matt, rejected their existence when any one of the male species tried to interact with her. Then, when she became skinny, *Bam!* it was as if all her awkwardness slipped out of her instantly, and she became a slut. Just because she turned skinny, doesn’t mean her self-consciousness and emotions can change that easily, that fast.

The only part I really enjoyed was the end, when Matt and Cat attempted giving each other second chances. Matt was adorable and sweet. He was nonchalant on the outside, yet heartbroken on the inside. But to tell the truth, that was about the only good part of the book.

Cats experiment failed to conclude in something productive. After Cat started turning skinny, her experiment was put ajar and her social/personal life was on the spotlight. Ultimately, I was confused as to what she acquired from the project and how it was going to help her in life.

3.5 Beasts