Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

13513410Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the best books in its genre. So many YA romance novels like to over-dramatize stuff with their boyfriends and friends and family, but the issues discussed in this book are things that really happen to people.

Although trivial teenage problems really happen to teenagers too, in this case, all the teenage characters; Payton, Sean, her best friend Jac... Grady might be an exception, aren't prone to drama. I thought the author did a really great job with character development, and all the characters really came to life for me.

This book shows a sensitive and uplifting, though somewhat bittersweet, picture of how people cope with loss and disease, and also fear, because in some cases, the fear of the situation is actually worse than the situation itself. What Payton and Jac does for Miss Marietta was very moving too, and I'm glad for Miss Marietta's mini-story in the book.

I especially loved the whole Focus Object concept and how it helped Payton get through her fears for her father. I also loved that it was thought up by her guidance counsellor, Ms. Callahan, when she was going through a hard time. I thought it was a very real portrayal of real problems of real people. =)

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 17: Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List


hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


These are books on my TBR list, they are not all from Fall 2013, but they are on my Fall 2013 TBR list. =) If you’ve read any of these books, let me know if they’re worth reading or if they should be put back on the shelf. Happy Top Ten Tuesday!


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks


My Education by Susan Choi


Mind Games by Kiersten White


Partials by Dan Wells


City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster


Not Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: The Curiousity by Stephen P. Kiernan

The CuriosityThe Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an incredibly great read, I enjoyed it immensely. I liked that the author made the whole scientific part of the story entirely plausible.

The whole premise is just intriguing; bringing back a man who has frozen in hard ice for over a hundred years. Bringing a frozen body back to life is not all that unbelievable, because it has happened in real life. In fact, many times, though I can't account for the accuracy of the articles.

However, bringing back a person who has been frozen for a hundred years... now that's interesting! It's like Sleeping Beauty, but after the kiss. You know how the story ends after "...and they lived happily ever after"? This is the story of what happens after. Well, not really.

Jeremiah Rice's story is as far from Sleeping Beauty as you can get, and he was brought back by science, not a kiss. Obviously though, we can't help but be curious about how people who lived in the 20th century would think about our technology-filled lives now. All the cars, airplanes, computers, iPhones, wide-screen TV... it would be overwhelming to take in all at once.

Not to mention, of course, the huge culture shock itself; the immodest fashion nowadays compared to way back when, the vulgar everyday language a lot of us speak in without thinking twice, the fact that there's actually a black president now when a hundred years ago, blacks were seen as slaves.

Seeing these things through Jeremiah's eyes are interesting, sure, but there's more to the story than that. The story is told in a few other POVs, one which was told in a second-person narrative and influenced my feelings of the character very much, and there are other characters who I really feel for as well.

This is definitely one of my favorite books in 2013. I thought it was very well-written, and honestly, I can't praise the whole second-person narrative POV enough. It just made me take a step back and really look at the person who was "speaking". It looks like this might be made into a movie as well, and I look forward to watching it on screen.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

POV in the Second-Person Narrative

17882741You are reading The Curiosity. You are enjoying the story so far, but you are fascinated with the author’s use of second-person narrative for one of the book’s characters.

You have never read a book that have done this, and you can’t help but wonder about the author’s reasons for doing so.

The character is an unlikable one, an arrogant man whose POV is told in the second-person, while all the other characters’ POVs are told in first-person.

You ponder on the author’s choice in using the second-person narrative for this character and how it influences your feelings about this particularly unlikable character.

You think that it is a very interesting writing method and you feel that it does contribute to your feelings about this character. This character, speaking of himself in the second person, remains distant and aloof to you. You do not relate to him, you do not understand him, and you do not like him talking down to you. You think the author is brilliant in his choice for using the second-person narrative for this character.

You have not finished the book, and this character is far from the main character, even though he plays a crucial role in the story, but nevertheless the story has kept you intrigued with what will happen next.

You will not talk about the book right now, as you did not intend for this to be a review of the book. You will review it when you have finished reading it, but for now, you are satisfied with sharing your fascination with story-telling in the POV of a second-person narrative.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Review: The Light Bearer by Donna Gillespie

The Light BearerThe Light Bearer by Donna Gillespie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read this book in 1994, and I've loved it ever since. Initially, I re-read this book every year, but in the last five years, I've only read this book twice.

I've had so many new books to read that I don't need to re-read as much as I used to, but once in a while I would miss Auriane and Marcus, and want to read about them again. This time, I wanted to savor the story and read it slowly, I wanted to study Donna Gillespie's writing and maybe learn something from her.

But as I read, I forgot about the writing and got engrossed in the story. When I remembered, I would try to concentrate on the writing again, but then forget again as the story pulled me in. Eventually, I just gave up trying to study anything and just enjoyed reading the book.

That's how good Gillespie's writing is, that's how good the story is. It makes you forget everything else except the story. Everything else fades away.

The Light Bearer has been a favorite book ever since I was just 11 years old. There are many things I love about it, but among what I love most is that it features a very strong female protagonist, Auriane, who was a huge influence for me as I was growing up. I also love Marcus, and I love how wise they both were. I love how they outsmarted their enemies, how they solved their problems, and I love how exciting the whole thing was.

This is one of the most underrated books I know, and I wish more people would know about this book and read it. It's amazing.

Monday, September 09, 2013

TTT #1 - Top Ten Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/TV Show

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I just recently found out about Top Ten Tuesdays, and I've been meaning to get back into blogging. So what better way to start than by playing with memes? =)

So for my first time doing TTTs, these are the top ten books I would love to see as a movie/tv show:


1. Grass by Sheri S. Tepper - This is one of my favorite fantasy dystopian novels. I read it five years ago and remember thinking that it would make a great movie with special effects and all.

The world Tepper built in this book is just so imaginative and complex that bringing it on screen would be a spectacular feat. Also, its originality as a story would be very popular with both readers and movie lovers, IMHO.





<------- (1993 edition)


(recently republished
in 2011) --------------->

2. The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike - Christopher Pike is one of the most underrated authors I've read. He's a genius as a writer, but goes mostly unnoticed because he wrote sophisticated YA before YA became popular. At one point, the publishers stopped publishing his books, but he seems to be getting popular again now with the YA resurgence. 

This book is one of his adult novels, and it's my favourite book by him. It would need to be at least a trilogy as a movie, I think, to truly capture the intricacies of the story. Condensing it even a little to fit into a two-hour movie would take away a lot of what makes it beautiful.

It’s funny that I would call a horror novel beautiful, but it is. It’s hauntingly beautiful. It’s bargain price on now, so this would be a great time to buy a new copy. My original copy is worn out from too much love. =)

3. The Dragonlance books by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis - These books are one of the best fantasy series ever. George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series are my favourite fantasy series, but since it's already been made into a TV series, I think the next logical step is to bring Dragonlance to our screens.

There are so many stories within the series, and so many interesting characters that I have no doubt a TV show would be very successful. It would also probably be very complicated, and some of the Chronicles may best be made into movies in the vein of The Lord of The Rings movies, but I’d love watching them in any form!

4. The Dark Visions Trilogy by L. J. Smith - I was a fan of L. J. Smith before the TV series The Vampire Diaries came out. Funnily enough, although I love The Vampire Diaries TV show, I didn't like either The Vampire Diaries or The Secret Circle books.

I loved the Dark Vision trilogy though, and The Forbidden Game trilogy, and I’m glad that these books are getting some interest now with the popularity of The Vampire Diaries.

The Forbidden Game trilogy is slightly similar to the movie Labyrinth with David Bowie, which I loved, so I would love to see that made into a movie too, but of the two trilogies, Dark Visions is the one I love better. It's quite a simple book with a simple storyline, I would say, but I love it because of the characters, so a movie based on this book would probably fail or succeed based solely on its cast.


5. Thirst series by Christopher Pike - These were first published as The Last Vampire series, many years ago before all the vampire hype started. I've read a lot of vampire stories and watched a lot of vampire-themed movies and TV shows lately, and frankly, I'm getting sick of them, but this series is different. I have always maintained, since the first time I read the series in 1994 to 1996, that this is the best vampire story ever.

Even now, after all the current popular vampire books have been published, it still stands as the best vampire story I've ever read. There's only one vampire in this book, and she's different from all the other vampires you've read about. Casting her character would be the singular most important thing for the movie.

I heard news that they were planning to film a movie based on these books back in 2010, but haven’t heard anything about it since, and I’m not sure if it was anything definite, or just the hopes of fans like me. I do hope that they do make a movie, because I’d spend good money to watch it.

6. The Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean M. Auel - I realize this was made into a film with Daryl Hannah, but it didn't do well and I don't think it included all the books anyway since the last three books weren't even written yet, so now that all the books are out and we have better technology for special effects on screen, I would love for this to be made into a TV series. Maybe that was the problem with the film, this series is too big to fit into one movie. The first book itself is too big to fit into one movie.

7. The Light Bearer by Donna Gillespie - One of the most amazing books I've read about a strong female character in the times of ancient Rome and Germania. This is a relatively unknown book and I think that's a huge shame. More people need to know about this book and read it.

I read this book as a young girl, and it probably influenced a lot of my own independent personality. I’m reading it again right now, imagining all the scenes in my head and I think this would be an amazing mini-series. I don’t even know how to stress how good this book is, but I really wish more people would read it and know about it. Again, the casting for the lead character, Auriane, would be the most important thing to get right.

There’s also a sequel which I have but haven’t read, I plan to read it right after I finish re-reading this book.


8. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo - This is the newest addition to my favorite books, and the newest book on this list. 

It's set in Malaysia, which of course, is what initially caught my attention, and shows a great deal about the superstitious Chinese Malaysian culture.

In my review of it, I said that it was like a Chinese Malaysian version of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, which is another book I really love. I would be extremely interested to see a movie made about this book.


9. Dark Life and Rip Tide by Kat Falls - There are two books in this series so far, I'm not sure if a third book is planned, but I really enjoyed these two books and I think it would be great as a movie. It's set mostly underwater as most of the Earth's surface has already been submerged due to global warming, and humans have adapted themselves to underwater living. The second generation of 'immigrants' have even evolved somewhat.

The stories are really exciting, and the characters really interesting, and I would so love to see how this movie would be made, with all the underwater living and the beautiful (and some ugly) sea creatures, and of course, the special effects.


10. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - This one has already been made into a movie, but I didn't like the movie at all, and I loved the book so much. I understand that the book is probably too complex to be made into a 2-hour movie, so I'm thinking, why not a mini-series then?

It’s one of the most intense books I’ve ever read, and it shows so much about the human psyche; the pain and suffering and anger we go through, and eventually, the growth… I think this book made me more compassionate and understanding towards others, especially the ones who’ve hurt me and whom I’ve hurt. A mini-series, if faithfully following the book, would be extremely powerful.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

16248223The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a Chinese Malaysian, born about a hundred years after the period this story takes place, and even I, jaded as I am about the state Malaysian is in now, find The Ghost Bride fascinating.

It's interesting to remember how people lived back then, before Malaysia was Malaysia, when it was still Malaya and under the British rule, how the various immigrants and cultures intersect.

What I enjoyed most is imagining how this story could have very well been my own family's story. Not the ghost bride part, of course. It is a rare occurrence in itself, but I believe by the time my own grandfather migrated to Malaysia, the practice of marrying a living person to a dead one had all but disappeared. I have heard of a recent case of a marriage between a dead Chinese couple though.

No, what I could imagine was the family intrigue, the head of the house with his many wives and concubines, the many children spawned between the wives and concubines, the family politics as the wives and children all try to win their husband/father's favor. The competition between the wives to produce a male heir, the hatred and jealousy between each wife and their children.

My own grandfather had three wives and a concubine. My father, the youngest son of the Second Wife, had 7 siblings by his own mother. I am not sure of how many children my grandfather had with his First and Third Wives, but there were many. His concubine produced one son.

Although I have heard many stories about my father's childhood, this book really brought to life my imagination of how my grandfather and his family lived, and I assure you, it was a lot more dramatic and quite frankly, uglier, than the family dynamics in the book. My uncle's second wife actually chased my mother around the house with a kitchen knife.

However, let's get back to the book; I loved the whole Ghost Bride theme, Yangsze Choo's depiction of the Chinese's beliefs about the different levels of Hell and burning offerings to the dead ancestors. I love how Choo brought the ghost dimension, the Plains of the Dead, and all the other ghostly denizens to life (no pun intended).

It felt a little bit like Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and is written just as well as Neverwhere was, perhaps even better. But I might be biased. However, Neverwhere is one of my favorite Gaiman books, and this is me giving really high praise to The Ghost Bride. I can't recommend this book enough.

It's amazing and I loved it.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scarlet is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series, I read the first book, Cinder, last year for a book club, and I loved it. Of course I had to read Scarlet!

Cinder, obviously, is a retelling of Cinderella, and Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. All the important elements; the red hood, the grandmother, and the wolf, are still intact, but the story is told so very differently. Cinder's story is continued here as well, though it has gone beyond the original Cinderella story.

Well, truth be told, the first book, Cinder's story, was already way beyond the original Cinderella story. Cyborgs, aliens (well, Lunarians anyway), mind control, genetically modified creatures... it was so wonderfully creative and I thought Cinder's story was very masterfully crafted.

This second book, Scarlet, weaves Red Riding Hood's story into the already creative plot. It turns out Scarlet's grandmother is the pilot who smuggled Princess Selena, and Wolf is part of a pack of genetically modified soldiers who was working for the evil Lunar Queen Levana to find the Princess.

Wolf isn't all that bad though, I really liked him, even from the beginning. I liked the dynamic between Scarlet and Wolf, fleshed out so much more than from the old fable. Scarlet is another great addition to the cast of strong female characters.

What I liked about the Lunar Chronicles is that the female characters aren't portrayed as weak, stupid females who sit around waiting for their prince to come rescue them, but instead take charge of their own fate and make their own choices, and the way Marissa Meyer puts them all together into this remarkable world is just amazing to read!

I'm looking forward very much to the next books in the series, Cress, which is based on Rapunzel's tale, and Winter, which is based on Snow White. I can't wait to meet the new characters, and I can't wait to find out more about the old.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Escape Theory by Margaux Froley

Escape Theory (Keaton School, #1)Escape Theory by Margaux Froley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. I felt that it was real and honest, and I really liked how Devon and Hutch was portrayed. Devon was doing very well as a peer counselor, I thought, even though she didn't completely follow the guidelines set by her teacher. She was emphatic and sensitive, sharp and smart.

We don't really get to see much of Hutch except what the other characters tell us about him, and of course, this whole story is based on the tragedy of his death. It breaks my heart a little. I wish I could've known Hutch. I wish Devon and Hutch could've had a chance.

Reading about their connection was wonderful, but I can't help wondering what happened after that. Why did they never get together after their special moment? This was never really answered in the book, and we're left to wonder about it.

The story itself is more about people than anything else. I thought most of the characters were really well thought-out, Froley does very well making them come to life for me. I'm excited to see what's next in this series and what Froley will come up with next!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I haven't read such an enjoyable book in a long time. It was fresh and unique, and I really like all the different elements of the story.

It feels like some kind of historical novel when you first start the story and enter the old bookstore, a mystery with the puzzle solving and members of a secret society, then it becomes somewhat sci-fi with all the talk about Google and immortality, and then comes fantasy with the heroes trying to save the mission; the rogue, the wizard, and the warrior. I loved how the author put them all together.

Clay was a great protagonist, an anti-hero of sorts because he didn't really set out to do much except try to impress the girl, but in the end, he really rose to the occasion and saved the day.

I loved that the other characters were portrayed like characters in an RPG, each one playing an important role in a quest. They were real people living in the 21st century, don't get me wrong, but they all had their RPG roles to play in this mission, and I loved that.

This book is so quaint and modern at the same time, I loved the whole adventure. I love how different this book is, and how fun, mysterious, and smart it is. It's pretty much one of my favorite books this year. =)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very interesting book and very well-written and well-thought out.

The beginning was a little slow, but it picked up fast in the middle, and I got sucked in. Both the protagonists, Nick and Amy are unlikable people, but you have to admire them for the mind games they had to play.

I liked how the author tells the story in the beginning with Nick's POV and then Amy's POV from her diary. She leads you in one direction and then when you find out the truth, it really does turn into the metaphorical car crash that you just can't look away from.

You never end up liking either character, and it's pretty hard to decide who to root for, but of course, I end up rooting for the one who was a little less crazy. Weak and selfish people, though unlikable, are still understandable. Psychos are just a little harder to relate to.

The ending was a little anti-climatic though, and unresolved. I would've liked something a little more definite. Not because I need resolved endings, I sometimes enjoy unresolved stories, but because this particular story just calls for it.

All those mind games, all that ego... something had to give, someone had to lose. But...nothing. So yes, I'm a little disappointed with the ending, but otherwise a great read.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of NatureEvolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually liked this book a lot! It is a very interesting book, based on something that actually did happen, and yes, I'm sorry, but I really think that people who don't believe in evolution are seriously brainwashed or in serious denial.

It's scientifically proven fact! I believe in God (but not in Christianity), and I really don't see why you can't believe in both, they're not mutually exclusive!

In my not-so-humble opinion, I think that people who can't believe in evolution, are the ones who have the least faith in their belief in God. If you really have as much faith as you pretend to have, you wouldn't feel threatened by the *fact* of evolution.

Anyway, back to the book, I really liked it, and I liked pretty much all the main characters, though I thought Mena was a little annoying and cowardly, not saying all the things she should've said, even though she thought them. Obviously, I liked disliking the Back-Turners and the pastor, but to me, the real villains were Mena's parents.

What horrible, HORRIBLE parents! I mean, they didn't support their daughter at all for doing the right thing! Regardless of the consequences to their business, she did the right thing, and even if they were mad at her, the least they could do was *talk* to her and tell her what she did wrong and how to handle things better next time. Not ignore her completely!

A boy attempted suicide, and all they cared about was what the other church members thought about them?! I could say so much about what terrible parents they are, but it's just getting me riled up. Terrible, terrible parents! OMG! So many things!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a really good book in the way it explored a person's humanity. Who hasn't entertain thoughts of killing someone they hated at one time or another? We all have, except we also know (most of the time) that we wouldn't actually do it, that we're just venting on our frustrations.

Jasper Dent however, has to second guess himself all the time. Whenever he gets mad enough to feel rage, he thinks that he must be a bad person because he's thinking of killing the other person. I felt for him, and I thought he was a very well-adjusted person despite his upbringing and all the bad things he's had to go through.

Even the manipulation that he does to other people when he's trying to get something he wants, which he thinks is a bad thing, is actually pretty normal. Most people do it, consciously or not, and some are just better at it than others.

This book gives a very interesting glimpse into the psyche of a regular human being who's normal but worries about every little nuance of his thoughts and character, just because of his genes. We all are mad, in our own ways, some more than others, but worrying about being mad can actually drive you mad, don't you think?

The story itself is pretty thrilling and suspenseful. The stakes get pretty high as the body count rises, and we want Jasper to catch the bad guy before more people die. I've always loved stories about teenage sleuths, and I love the extra dark element that Jasper's character has. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I watched part of the TV series then got bored and stopped. I figured the books were better and I'd read them instead.

I finally picked up the first book, and well, I didn't like it much. There was too much female brutality, sexism, and lack of respect for the women in the story. Even Sookie was portrayed as a woman who couldn't live without her man, who would do anything for him, to protect him.

He's portrayed as an old fashioned man, since he was born a loooooooong time ago, and he tells her he's used to woman being damsels and men being the heroes, and that she better get used to it. He protects her by killing for her, against her wishes, and yet she still wants him, despite his lack of respect towards her.

Now I can take brutality and sexism in books, I have read many much more gruesome stories, but I don't like it when being a weak woman is glorified like this. So no, I'm not going to waste my time with these books anymore.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars, #1)The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ok, first of all, I really loved this book, but I read it, or rather, listened to it as an audiobook. So to be honest, I don't know if it was the book itself I loved, or the way the reader read it. There were lots of vocal effects when he read all the different characters' dialogue, and while I didn't exactly imagine the affectations the way he did, it was interesting to listened to the book in this way.

This is only the third audiobook I've listened to in my life, and I have never had anyone read to me when I was younger, so I've had limited experience. The reader was very animated, and I loved that about the whole book. It wasn't monotonous, and the reader kept me interested in all that was happening.

It's hard to say if I would've liked this book if I'd read it instead of listening to it on audiobook, though I'm sure I wouldn't have disliked it. It was a fun enough book, made funner with the vocal affectations of the reader, but it might not have been as enjoyable if I only focused on the story rather than the telling of the story also.

I especially loved when at the end of the book, there was a song about Alice in Wonderland, I can't find the title or artist yet, but it's a great ending credit song. I felt like I had just watched an epic movie, instead of just reading a book.

Sorry I'm not much help with reviewing the actual book, but for the curious, you might like to try getting your hands on the audiobook, read by Gerard Doyle, and see how you like the experience.

ETA: Found out the song title and artist: Looking Glass by Hypnogaja!!

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