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.

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