Friday, March 28, 2014

Another one bites the dust

Well, one of the six books I was attempting to read is back in the "return to the library" pile already. I definitely do NOT recommend The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White. I could only force myself to read a chapter and a half, but I just couldn't take it anymore.

This book has the most beautiful bookcover, so I was expecting a beautiful book. Instead we have a sullen, sarcastic, very-American-sounding teenager shoehorned into this beautiful Egyptian world. It just doesn't work.

Every time I started to get swept away by the story, the main character rolled her eyes and got annoyed and my suspension of disbelief was shattered. Great idea. Horrible execution.

I'll be adding this book to take it's place instead: Wildwood by Colin Meloy. This isn't actually a library book, but one I bought (so I better like it!!). It's supposedly a Narnia-like story set in Portland (where I used to live), and the cover is mesmerizingly beautiful, so... I had to try it!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Do you read multiple books?

I'm going to try something nuts and actively read 6 books at once. I mean, I do normally have at least a couple going at once, and honestly I've got about 20 others started but they're now hibernating on my "Shelved but not abandoned" pile. But generally speaking I don't actively read quite this many at once. Am I crazy to attempt it?

So... my current situation is that I'm in the middle of a super good book, Skybreaker, which is a library book, but I have a stack of other library books also starring at me saying, "Read me! Read me! I'm your new favorite book! Why are you ignoring me?" So I figured, "Why not? Let's aim to read at least one chapter a day in each of them. If one of them grabs me and sucks me in and forces me to read more, who am I to argue? But at least I won't be distracted by wishing I knew what the other books on my shelf are about.

How 'bout you? Do you read multiple books at once? If so, why? If not, have you ever?

(Books I will be reading are shown down below).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Premade Blogger Templates

Got a bunch of new Blogger templates up in the shop recently. I also took out a lot of the older ones w/ the intention of simplifying them and re-uploading them, but of course I've been to busy to actually get them back up! Oops...

Available for purchase. View the demo.

Available for purchase. View the demo.

Available for purchase. View the demo.

Available for purchase. View the demo.

Available for purchase. View the demo.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Summary of Book Review: January - March 2014

I've been catching up posting book reviews of books I've read this year. In case you missed them... here's a list of them all! (PS: I'll probably be back-dating some reviews for last year soon, so I'll let you know when I've got those up as well).

January 2014

On Writing by Stephen King
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
Sweet Little Lies by Lauren Conrad

February 2014

Wuthering High by Cara Lockwood
Timebound by Rysa Walker
Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney
The Fallen by Celia Thomson

March 2014

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
The Awakening by L. J. Smith
The Stolen by Celia Thomson
Airborne by Kenneth Oppel

Book Review: Airborn

This book is so cool. I fell in love with it from page one and can't wait to finish the series. It reminds me a lot of my favorite book when I was growing up: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, only from a boy's perspective and in a slightly altered steam-punk-ish version of history.

Matt Cruse is a 15-year-old cabin boy onboard an airship that sails over the Pacific Ocean. He teams up with a wealthy passenger, Kate de Vries, to explore a tropical island, defeat evil pirates, and save their ship from certain danger.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review: The Stolen (Nine Lives of Chloe King)

This is book 2 of the Nine Lives of Chloe King series. Overall, I sort of like the storyline but the writing is mediocre at best. I can't say I really recommend this series, although I'm sort of curious to see what happens next, so I'll probably finish it at some point. The last half of this book was better than the first half but I still found myself struggling to finish.

I give this 3 out of 5 stars.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Book Review: Thirty-Two Going on... Spinster

Okay I dug this out of my "abandoned" shelf to finish it b/c it really was a small book and I couldn't stand abandoning one that was this small... but seriously... this book is awful. It's basically a train-of-thought monologue of the main character as she whines about how boring her life is, her spinster-y she is, and how much she hates her job. I actually diligently read through about 3 chapters but then I had to take flying leaps through the rest of the book, speed reading it in about 20 minutes just so that I could find out how it ended.

I kid you not, conversations took pages... PAGES!... simply because the narrator couldn't stop thinking. I. Really. Don't. Care. Just have a conversation. I don't need to know what type of danish you're dreaming of in between every line of dialogue. No joke. A page of thought. Then a line of the conversation. Then another page of thought. Then another line of conversation. I began just jumping from dialogue line to dialogue line, skipping everything in between, in order to keep myself from gouging my eyes out from having to read such dribble.

Oddly enough, the story got better once I stopped reading every word of it. The actual PLOT was interesting. The rest could've been edited out. How this train-of-thought nightmare got past the editors is beyond me.

I give this 1 out of 5 stars... which really is a generous rating.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Book Review: The Awakening (Vampire Diaries)

Wow this book is bad. At first is was somewhat bearable, somewhat interesting, but the story never actually picked up and the characters never really developed.

There is some difference between this and the tv show, which was to be expected, but I didn't think it'd be quite so different. While the show is intense and mysterious, this book is just boring. Nothing happens. We basically listen to Elena whine for 9/10 of the book about how Stefan is ignoring her. I'm sorry, but that's not very interesting.

The characters are completely one-dimensional and unsympathetic. I never really cared what they were up to, which I really should, as the reader of a book. The protagonists were boring and whiny, and the antagonist was so one-dimensionally evil that he didn't even seem real.

This book just reeked of sloppy writing, which I can only attribute to the fact that it was written in the 90's, well before YA became a best-selling genre. It's like the author didn't think readers could follow a well-thought-out plotline or appreciate well-crafted characters.

I'm morbidly curious to see what the next book in the series is like, but I will probably be just as disappointed. We'll see if I decide to pick it up or not to find out. Lol.

I give this book 1 out of 5 stars.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: The Archived

Alright I gotta be honest. The first 7-8 chapters deserve about 2 out of 5 stars, at most. The rest of the book, especially the last half, deserve about 7 out of 5 stars. Super good. I'll balance it out by giving this book a 5-star rating, but don't think that's because it's perfect, because it's not. Just wanted to clarify that.

Once I got past the beginning, this book was fabulously entertaining. We enter a realm where things aren't always what they appear to be, and mysteries are a way of life for the main chracter, Mackenzie Bishop. Mackenzie is a Keeper, someone who can see escaped Histories (the dead who have woken up) and whose job it is to return them to the Archives (where the Histories are cataloged... sort of a library that files away all the dead people who've died in that part of the city).

** Spoiler Alert -- the following paragraphs contain minor book spoilers, just to warn you ** 

There were two main issues I had with the beginning of this book, so bad that I nearly gave up reading several times:

----> First off, it literally took me 2-3 chapters before I could definitely decide who Da was, or rather, who he wasn't. The way it's written, I assumed Da was just a mis-print and the author had meant to write Dad. Da seemed to be dead and Dad didn't, but the entire premise of the book is that she deals with dead people, so it seemed very fathomable that these two characters could be actually the same character, just with a few typos in there. It's extremely careless writing to name two characters nearly the same name, especially without clarifying who they are. It wasn't until about the 9th chapter that it's even stated that Da is, indeed, her grandfather, not her father, but in the beginning chapters especially, it's not even clear if Da is a separate person as Dad, or the same person. Very very poorly written and explained.

----> Second thing... LIke I said it took me about 8 chapters to even get into this book. That's because the first chapters are mainly just explanation... often-contradicting-each-other explanations. At least it seems that way until you understand the explanations better. Basically I felt like just as soon as I understood one part, another explanation was given that either explained things further or differently. It made it so extremely confusing that I very nearly stopped reading after every chapter. Only the great reviews made me push through, and I'm glad I did, but dang... NOT a great way to begin a book. Seriously. The premise should've been summed up in a few paragraphs... one chapter at most. Having it take 7 chapters to explain was entirely too long and tedious. Don't get me wrong - her writing is incredible, but taking that long to set up the story was ridiculous.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
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