December 31, 2010

NEW! Word Bit! (1)

Or, WHAT'S THAT WORD?

As a reader and writer and blogger, I'm surrounded by words all the time. Some are old, some are new, some are funny, difficult to pronounce, fun to say, interesting, or just pure awesome.

I love words. Words are important. They're the basis of books. They're what makes everything come together. One word can change the feel, emotion and effect of a sentence. You can never know too many.

So every week I'm going to be sharing words of interest. They'll come from my readings. And who knows? Maybe you'll come across that one word that can change the feel, emotion and effect of the sentence you're working on in your novel, essay, short story, etc.



To kick off the start of WORD BIT, I thought it would only be fitting to present...

LOGOPHILE
log·o·phile
{noun}
A lover of words.


Want to join in? I think it would be a neat little chain reaction to have fellow bloggers share their favorite, most interesting, craziest words each week. I know I'd love to see what you share! Feel free to sign up on the Mr. Linky. There's no specific rules. If you want, grab the above button, link back here, share your word, explain why, where you heard/saw it, and whatever else you'd like to add!

Just leave your name and blog name, and of course, the link to your post!


December 30, 2010

REVIEW! Five Flavors of Dumb.




Five Flavors of Dumb
Antony John



FROM THE COVER:

The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.

The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits.

The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?

Piper can't hear Dumb's music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.

My rating: 4 stars.

MY THOUGHTS:

Creative, fast-paced.  Descriptive in a way that doesn't make Piper's deafness blatantly obvious. 

Piper is a great character all around; she's nice, spunky, mean, flirty. Wholesome. Her brother, Finn, is just as great, although he takes longer to develop. Never really understood the deal with their parents, though.

As for the band, Dumb, I'm a bit torn. I didn't feel anything for any of the members. Except Ed. Ed is that secondary character you wish would star in a much bigger way than he's permitted.

The writing balances description and dialogue very nicely. But I still have a few problems with Five Flavors of Dumb.  Namely, the deaf jokes. At first, I realize they're put in place to serve as an obstacle for Piper to overcome. But then their appearances happen more frequently, and it just seems beyond unnecessary, especially when, every time, Piper shrugs them off. As a reader, I get it: she's grown stronger. I don't need it beaten into my head.

For once, I also had a problem with the length of the novel. I know that seems odd, but I feel as though the story could've ended much sooner than it did. But instead, John made the choice to tie up every loose end. And I mean every. And while I love when everything comes together in the end, Five Flavors of Dumb does it in a way that's just repetitive and drawn out; nothing's added to the story because of it. No extra oomph, no nothing. Just more of the same story.

Don't get me wrong, it's a nice read. It just doesn't stand out to me.

December 27, 2010

REVIEW! Infinite Days.




Infinite Days
Rebecca Maizel



FROM THE COVER:

“Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than you… no one.”

Those were some of Rhode’s last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face.

It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste. Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust.

I never expected to fall in love with someone else who wasn’t Rhode. But Justin was…daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream. I never expected to be sixteen again…but then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me.
My rating: 4 stars.

MY THOUGHTS:

I like that Infinite Days has vampires in their more primitive states. Strangely enough, it was refreshing to read about them without the extra pizzazz (like sparkles and superhuman strength). Unfortunately, my feelings are torn about this novel.

Lenah is a good, strong and flawed character. But Justin is not. He’s the typical pretty boy/jock, yet sensitive. The dynamic didn’t really work for me. It was nice but iffy at the same time. Lenah wants him because he’s beautiful, and Justin wants her because she’s beautiful. That made the basis of their relationship both shallow and unbelievable to me. However, once together, they made more sense and grew as a couple.

Lenah’s friend Tony is a great additional character. Unfortunately he never gets the chance to shine. And his relationship? Pitiful, sudden and random.

The plot is disjointed. Flashbacks don’t actually hinder the storyline. The problem is that there’s no buildup to any of the major plot points. There’s a nice chunk of story for so long, then bam! Sudden change out of nowhere. Oh, those characters are together now? Oh, that character is dead now? …Why? I don’t like when I have to ask why, because it means something got lost in translation. And unfortunately, many of the reasons behind this plot got lost on me.

Good news is the writing itself is strong. It relies heavily upon description, which at times is repetitive, but it’s done well. The dialogue is nothing special, but it works.

Ultimately Infinite Days is a strong, depictive novel of vampiric teenage love. It’s just a bit lacking in a stable plot.

December 24, 2010

COMING SOON! & Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone travels safely and has lots of fun with their families and friends!
Make sure to eat lots of cookies, have some hot cocoa, and keep warm!


In other news, keep a look out for my upcoming review of Rebecca Maizel's Infinite Days. 
And also, another Grammar Bit!

December 22, 2010

What You Want Wednesday (1).

This is an awesome new reader/writer friendly meme, brought to us by Savannah at The Reading Girl!


"Since we're nearing the very end of the year, I'm sure you've all noticed certain trends in YA fiction. Love 'em or hate 'em, certain genres have skyrocketed to the forefront of the best-seller list. Which genre do you feel was neglected during 2010, and which one do you think got maybe a little too much loving?"

Without a doubt, Paranormal Romance has taken over the best-seller list. It's featured everywhere. And, as I just recently posted, it's gotten its own section in Barnes and Noble. It's not that it's gotten too much loving, it's gotten all the loving.  This wouldn't be such a problem for me if I liked reading paranormal romances, though.

I really feel that contemporary fiction was neglected. Between the vampires, faeries, witches, mermaids, and historical YA books, contemporary fiction definitely took the back seat. Don't get me wrong. I love vampires and faeries.  But my heart belongs to contemporary fiction, and there just wasn't enough of it going around and getting attention. 

December 20, 2010

News: YA section divided?

I've noticed it now for a few months. The not-so-subtle change. The in-your-face signs.

The YA section in Barnes and Noble has changed, and not for the better, in my opinion.

It used to be that there was a shelf for New Releases, then YA fiction, nonfiction and series. But a new division has thrown itself into the mix: Paranormal Romance.

I understand that paranormal romance novels have been cranked out at an alarming rate this past year, but do they really deserve their own section? At the Barnes and Nobles I've visited, it's the same few occupying a whole two to three shelves on their own (Torment, Hush, Hush, Halo ... the list goes on). I honestly wouldn't mind this new division if it wasn't being thrown in my face. I don't like that the regular YA fiction has been cast aside to neighboring shelves, entirely separate, getting less recognition. It's as if they're the rejected books, even though we very well know they're not.

So why make such a big visual division?

Maybe it's just me that's unhappy about the change. Maybe it's because I don't enjoy reading paranormal romances. But what do you think? Yea or nay?

Here's an article about the change.

December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox (4).

This meme originates over at The Story Siren.



Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.

I've heard nothing but things about this book, and have read countless positive reviews. Already forty pages in and loving it!

December 18, 2010

REVIEW! The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie.

(Hardback and paperback, respectively.)




The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie
Jaclyn Moriarty



FROM THE COVER:

Bindy Mackenzie is the smartest girl at Ashbury High. She memorizes class outlines to help her teachers. She records transcripts of everything said around her. She offers helpful critiques for her fellow students. And she wears crazy nail polish to show she's a free spirit.

But then Bindy's life begins to fall apart. She can't stop feeling sleepy and she fails an exam for the first time ever. And--worst of all--she just doesn't care. What could be the cause of all these strange events? Is it conspiracy? Is it madness? Is it . . . murder?


Lots of people hate Bindy Mackenzie--but who would actually want to kill her? The answer is in Bindy's transcripts. The detectives are her fellow students. But Bindy has made every one of them into an enemy . . . and time is running out.
My rating: 3 stars.

MY THOUGHTS:

I had high hopes for this novel because I really enjoyed Moriarty’s The Year of Secret Assignments. But The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie is bizarre.

The story is told through Mindy’s viewpoint, in the form of diary-like entries; some are lists, some are ramblings. Mindy’s got a type-A personality: she’s proper, a perfectionist, hopelessly arrogant in what she thinks is a nice manner. Sometimes her personality is utterly ridiculous and comes off humorous. Other times it’s just plain annoying. I sure didn’t form any connection to her. She’s too outlandish in her nitpicking – like a cartoon character.

The other characters are so-so. Basically, they each represent a stereotype, and sometimes break free from it. The typical, Well that was unexpected of someone like them! situation.

The plot isn’t any better. For the entire novel the plot takes you in one direction, then right at the end it abruptly changes course. And it didn’t work for me. At all. Everything suddenly seemed out of place and the story tried to turn itself into a murder/mystery.

The writing itself works. It’s fitting. There’s not too much of either dialogue or description. There’s a balance. It just doesn’t save this mishmash of a story.

December 17, 2010

News: Feature!

Happy Friday!
Today I'm featured in a blogger interview over at Sarah's blog:
Stop by and find out how you can be featured, too!
 And while you're at it, check out her fabulous reviews and food blog.
Or the adorable pictures of her cat.

December 16, 2010

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (18).

Book Blogger Hop




I came across the Hop while I was blog hopping - how appropriate! - and decided to join in on the fun.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. If you're a new blogger, like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!

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Weekly question: What do you consider the most important in a story: the plot or the characters?

Definitely the characters. If a story has AWESOME characters, I can overlook a so-so plot. I don't read for the plot itself. I read for the journey of the character(s) within that plot.


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December 15, 2010

REVIEW! Adios, Nirvana.




Adios, Nirvana
Conrad Wesselhoeft



FROM THE COVER:

When you piss off a bridge into a snowstorm, it feels like you’re connecting with eternal things. Paying homage to something or someone. But who? The Druids? Walt Whitman? No, I pay homage to one person only, my brother, my twin.
In life. In death.
Telemachus.

 Since the death of his brother, Jonathan’s been losing his grip on reality. Last year’s Best Young Poet and gifted guitarist is now Taft High School’s resident tortured artist, when he bothers to show up. He's on track to repeat eleventh grade, but his English teacher, his principal, and his crew of Thicks (who refuse to be seniors without him) won’t sit back and let him fail.

My rating: 4 stars.

MY THOUGHTS:

Cannot express how much I enjoyed this book. It’s a whirlwind of good characters, descriptions, and writing.

Jonathan is deep, insightful and creative, but not to an overwhelming degree. There are lighthearted, purely comical moments. The dialogue is a bit iffy; there’s an excessive use of whoa! and ching! and other strange exclamations. And the romance… well, it doesn’t exist. What little there is isn’t worth having. It fits, but isn’t one hundred percent convincing.

The friends aren’t characterized – essentially they’re just names stuck to one adjective. For example, Nick. He is nice. Ta da. They’re not by any means useless. They just don’t add or take away from the story. Pretty free-floating. Wish they’d been included more, especially Nick.

Not so sure the parents served any real purpose. Felt like there was more building with them, but the end cut off the rest of their story, which was a shame because they’re characterized well. You get a good sense of who they are, but you never get the why.

The writing itself is beautiful. Poetical. Even though it’s not written as poetry. Jonathan’s voice is very distinct and boyish, yet thoughtful. Sure, he eases his pain with writing and reading and music, which are all typical cures, but it’s the way he does so that makes the story unique.

And Telly – he’s not there, but his character is something special. It’s a great touch. The brother connection stands out most throughout the entire story, and it doesn’t sound repetitive or clich√©. It’s pure.

Adios, Nirvana doesn’t go above and beyond, but it’s solid.

December 14, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books in 2011.

 Top Ten Tuesday is brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish.

* Some of these are going to be released later this month, so they're not all technically 2011 releases. But I'm super excited for them anyway, so I thought to include them. As it is, I couldn't even make a list of 10.
1. Deadly Little Games – Laurie Stolarz – 12/28/10.
Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: They both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control and hurting people. Camelia's gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn't yet comprehend.
Before either teen has a chance to fully grasp these abilities, an unresolved family tragedy resurfaces in Camelia's life, irrevocably changing everything she cares about...
2. Darkest Mercy – Melissa Marr – 2/22/11.
The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.
Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.
Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.
3. Bumped – Megan McCafferty – 4/26/11.

4. What Happened to Goodbye – Sara Dessen – 5/10/11.

5. The Lover’s Dictionary – David Levithan – 1/4/11.

basis, n.
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves?
6. Abandon – Meg Cabot – 4/26/11.
When Pierce first sees him, she thinks he is a murderer. She's right about one thing -- he does take lives. But not in the way she ever imagined. Pierce is drawn to the dark stranger even as she tries to uncover the mystery surrounding the tragic death of someone close to her. As she gets closer to the truth -- and the stranger -- unexpected secrets are revealed, even in her own heart.
7. The Last Little Blue Envelope – Maureen Johnson – 4/26/11.

December 13, 2010

Daily Dose (3).

*all pictures from weheartit.com
This is Good Golly Miss Holly's Daily Dose meme.  I'm a sucker for spending hours searching through photographs.  These are the pics inspiring me today:


December 10, 2010

Grammar Bit #10.

Homophones:

Words that sound the same but differ in meaning.


Common errors:

Except vs. Accept
They're vs. Their
You're vs. Your
Effect vs. Affect
Too vs. To

* Except is to exclude. (Everyone was invited to the party except me.)
   Accept is to agree, receive, consent. (I accept the terms and conditions.)

* They're = They are. (They're going to the movies.)
   Their = possession/ownership. They own. (That is their DVD.)

* You're = You are. (You're going to be late.)
   Your = possession/ownership. You own. (Where are your books?)

* Effect is a noun. (The special effects looked really cool.)
   Affect is a verb. (Losing my wallet affected my good mood.)

* Too is to also. (I like reading books, too.)
   To expresses motion or direction. (I am going to the library.)

December 8, 2010

Holiday books!

Christmas is only seventeen days away, and that means free time! Specifically, free time to read books.

And what better way to kick off and/or finish the holiday season with holiday-inspired books?


Love on the Lifts
Rachel Hawthorne

Winter Break super-secret perfect cocoa recipe:
8 oz steamed whole milk
(no skim! doesn't work!)


2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder (big scoops)

1 tbsp. sugar (can't be too sweet)

4 dried, crushed mint leaves
(or 1 tbsp. mint syrup)
Stir thoroughly. Add mint swizzle stick. Combine with cute ski instructor, or brother's cute best friend, or cute guy you never noticed was so cute...Enjoy.


Snowed In
Rachel Hawthorne

Well, apparently I live here now—my mom just bought the place. And named it after me, Ashleigh, which was nice. But did she know how cold it is here??
Um, it's a tiny island with not much to do, unless you really like sleigh rides. But I gotta say there are quite a few hot guys on this cold island . . .






Icing on the Lake
Catherine Clark
New Year's Resolutions by Kirsten (with help from Crystal, Jones and Emma)

1. Survive the month at my sister's house. Survive my 3-yr-old nephew and crazy sister.

2. Learn to ice skate better. Or not fall down. Or just get a cuter skating outfit.

3. FIND HOCKEY-PLAYING, WINTER-LOVING HOTTIE. AND INVITE HIM TO THE WEEKEND CABIN TRIP (AKA "GROUNDHOG GETAWAY") WITH EVERYONE.

Oh, sure. No problem.

What's your favorite holiday book?

December 6, 2010

AUTHOR INTERVIEW! Laurie Faria Stolarz: Sequels.

Sequels are all over the YA book circuit, and the numbers are still growing.  It's difficult to find new, stand-alone novels. From Paranormal Romance to Contemporary fiction to Fantasy, sequels keep popping up.

Why?

I know the release dates definitely keep readers hanging on to specific series.  There's excitement in knowing you'll get to read what's going to happen next, even if the last installment left you hanging and frustrated.

But are they always necessary? Do authors plan them in advance, or do they just develop in time?


One sequel that's being released December 28th that I know I can't wait for is Deadly Little Games, by Laurie Faria Stolarz. I know others can't wait, either. It's been featured all over blogs in Waiting on Wednesday posts.

But, here's a little something to ease the wait: a brief interview featuring Laurie Stolarz!

In your experience, is writing the sequel more challenging than writing the first of a series?
Each book presents its own challenges. I feel like in a sequel a writer knows his or her characters more which makes them easier to write. But, you also need to catch new readers up to the present action by summarizing what happened in the first book. And you never want that summary to feel repetitious or dull in any way. And, often when you’re three or four books into a series, you find yourself summarizing all that past action. Doing so in an interesting way can be quite a challenge.
Do you begin writing knowing that your idea is going to have sequels, or do the sequels develop later?

Yes, each book I write has the potential for a sequel. I know that from the start.
In Deadly Little Lies, you further explore Ben’s gift of psychometry. Is it difficult to explain the condition? Is there still more for readers to learn about Ben’s ability? It seems as though Ben still has more to learn about it.
Yes, there’s definitely still more to learn about Ben’s ability. Ben has more to learn about it, and Camelia is just beginning to understand her power as well.
What about Camelia’s aunt, Alexia?  Why include her voice in the sequel, but not the first?  How did you make that decision?

When I first started the series I wasn’t sure how much of a role Alexia would play, but as I got more into her story, I thought it was well worth exploring, especially because it’s part of Camelia’s growth.  Alexia’s story grows bigger in Deadly Little Games and Deadly Little Voices (the scariest book in the series so far – due out next fall).

Many thanks to Ms. Stolarz for answering my questions!
Check out her website!


So what do you think - especially those that have read Deadly Little Secret and/or Deadly Little Lies? Any thoughts on Ben and Alexia? Personally, I love both characters. Ben is wonderfully mysterious and his psychometry condition is so fascinating that I did a little of my own research on it! And I like that Alexia is playing a bigger role. I can tell that she's going to play a big part in Camelia's life, and possibly influence or help her.

If you haven't checked out Deadly Little Secret or Deadly Little Lies, what are you waiting for? You can check out my review of Deadly Little Secret here.

December 5, 2010

REVIEW! True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet.

(Hardcover and paperback, respectively.)


True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet
Lola Douglas


FROM THE COVER:

Teen actress Morgan Carter lived a life most people would die for. She dated the hottest celebrities, hung out with the coolest people, and was seen at the wildest parties in Hollywood.

Then she nearly died. One fateful night, outside the Viper Room on Sunset, Morgan’s party-girl ways caught up with her.

Six weeks later, after hospitals, detox centers, and way too much tabloid attention, Morgan’s ready to go back to her old life. Too bad her mom and her agent have other plans for her. They want Morgan to finish her recovery out of the spotlight. Way out.

They give Morgan a major makeunder, a new name, and a completely different identity. Their plan? To send Morgan to a family friend in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There, she’ll go to a regular high school, with regular classmates, and document her experience in a tell-all book. Once the school year is over, Morgan will publish the book and stage a comeback the likes of which Hollywood has never seen!

But first, she has to survive Fort Lame, which has three Targets, two Wal-Marts, and absolutely no fabulousness.

Can a Hollywood starlet find friendship, love, and a new life in Middle America? And once she does, will she abandon it all for another shot at stardom?

My rating: 4 stars.

MY THOUGHTS:

Sounds predictable, right? The spoiled, Hollywood brat gets cut off from the luxuries of life, in hopes of learning a true, valuable life lesson.

True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet does that and more. It’s not boringly predictable, and Morgan isn’t overwhelmingly shallow and whiny. In fact, she’s rather likeable. Her perky personality shines through with a levelheadedness that allows her to grow as a character. The change isn’t sudden or forced; it happens gradually throughout the course of the novel, making it believable. And with an overdone plot like this, it needs to be believable.

The other characters are also just as likeable because their personalities and voices are just as real as Morgan’s. Her mom’s kooky, her agent’s a sneak, her “aunt” is fun-loving, and the people at school – while a bit dramatic – are typical teenagers. Except Eli, one of Morgan’s new friends. Eli’s got more going for him, and although it takes a dreadfully long time to establish his role, it’s worth the wait. He is adorable, and he and Morgan don’t clash one bit.

The entire novel is told through journal entries written by Morgan. They’re funny, descriptive and overflowing with pop culture references. Douglas’ writing is spot-on for this story. The only downside is that it is predictable and Morgan’s starlet persona sometimes comes off as a clich√©. But aside from that, it’s fun and easy-going.

December 4, 2010

Busting the Newbie Blues.

This new event, which is running for the month of December, is brought to us by Small Review.

" This event is designed to:
• Put new YA book bloggers on the map
•Increase blogger interaction
•Start a discussion by sharing our experiences as a new bloggers
•Learn about what it was like for all those impressive established bloggers when they were newbies


So how does this work? Simple:

•Select the questionnaire that best applies to you (there's no "wrong" choice, so just pick whichever one you feel most comfortable answering)
•Create a post on your blog with the questions and your answers
•Grab the banner above or the button below to include in your post or sidebar
•Link back to my post here
•Sign the Mr. Linky below so we can all come and visit your post!
•Spread the word! "
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1. When did you start your blog?

The very end of July of this year.

2. Why did you start your blog?

I’ve always been a big reader and writer, and enjoy discussing books with others. So what better way than blog to get to do all three?

3. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

I don’t think I could choose just one. It’s been quite a challenge to maintain followers. Oftentimes if I post a negative review of something especially popular in the YA circuit I’ll notice the number drops a few. So it’s been difficult to attract readers that are genuinely interested in what I have to say as a reviewer.

Then there’s having to find balance between reviews and non-review related posts, like memes. As fun as it is to participate, I feel guilty if I clutter my blog with too many meme posts all at once. Sure, it takes longer to write reviews and get them up, but I like to keep it balanced as best I can.

4. What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?

The limits. Authors and publishers aren’t interested in contacting a blogger that’s been around less than five months, so I’m always more than thankful and grateful for the opportunities when they arise.

5. What do you find most encouraging?

The book blogging community is very supportive of each other, and getting to know other bloggers is a wonderful experience. There’re so many writers and readers to relate to!

6. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?

They juggle it all: reviews and so much more. I love discussion-based posts, and have incorporated a few on my blog.

7. What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?

Grammatical errors. It’s my number one turn off. I’m also not a fan of long, extensive reviews; they’re just not my style or preference. I like quick, cut-to-the-chase reviews. I don’t need the background of the story summarized, or a list of quotes, or a review of the cover. I just want to know practical things about whether the characters, plot and writing are good or bad.

8. Any advice for other new bloggers?

Take your time. Don’t rush around, trying to get as many followers as possible. Be thankful for the amount of readers that you have, big or small, because they support what you do. You don’t need giveaways or a fancy layout to win them over.

9. Anything else you’d like to share about your experience?

I find that blogging helps me become a better writer, because it gets me to write all the time. It’s practice, little by little.

December 2, 2010

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (17).

Book Blogger Hop


I came across the Hop and Follow Friday while I was blog hopping - how appropriate! - and decided to join in on the fun.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. If you're a new blogger, like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!

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Weekly question: What very popular and hyped book in the blogosphere did you NOT enjoy and how did you feel about posting your review?

Well, this is very fitting. I just published my Hunger Games post below.  Yes, I did not enjoy The Hunger Games. However, it was not a review. I feel fine with having posted it. I genuinely, really did not enjoy reading it, and I'm entitled to say so.

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The Hunger Games post.

Well, I did it. I finally read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

(The Hunger Games, Catching Fire & Mockingjay.)

And I must admit, I don't understand the hype that revolves around them.  My friends all rave, I've read nothing but positive, joyful reviews by fellow bloggers and critics alike, and yet I could barely muster the energy to want to finish them. 

* This post is not at all a review. It's merely my thoughts/questions/ramblings of all three books.
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The Hunger Games is, if anything to me, entirely too repetitive and shallow.  Katniss barely evolves as a character, Gale is never mentioned beyond the beginning, and Peeta comes on too strongly for little to no reason (save for some bread incident when he was younger), which makes him beyond unbelievable and grossly sappy.  Intense love at first sight? I don't think so. Everything is the same: Katniss is questioning herself and others, she's afraid, she's traveling, she's questioning herself and others, she's afraid, she's traveling some more, etc. I don't think Collins' writing style helped my initial thoughts of the series, either; it's so dry, so unemotional. 

The Game itself is drawn out. I appreciate that Katniss isn't always the damsel in distress and can fend for herself, but until she genuinely interacts with the other contestants, the Game is boring.  It doesn't help that Katniss seems to have some kind of invincibility preventing her from suffering much.

I never connected to Peeta.  He's too nice. I don't fall for the sickeningly sweet romance. I've yet to understand how it's genuine at all.  Why does everyone fawn over him?


Catching Fire feels like a repeat of the first, of The Hunger Games.  That is all.


Mockingjay has more substance by a long shot.  Yet possibly too much, as if everything from the first two books must weave together into some semblance of a completed story.  It doesn't quite drag along, but the character development takes a back seat until halfway through.  And that's my one big, consistent problem.  I can't help but feel as though the characters never grow - instead the action and descriptions take over the story. I would love to know more about Gale.  Even Finnick. Or Annie.  Even Haymitch.  Even President Snow.  Even Boggs. But instead we get glimpses of them; just when they're about to progress, to grow as characters, we're cut off from them and the story changes its course.

The epilogue is strange.  It's quite a leap, and makes me think of settling, as if everything that's happened results in one big settlement.  And that just has me wondering, Why? Why settle? What was all of this for?

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If I had to pick one word to sum up the trilogy, it would be anticlimactic.

So what do you think? Did the epilogue feel like a settlement of sorts to anyone else? What about Peeta - why is he so likeable when he's so unjustified in his actions?


And yes, before anyone asks, I am all for Team Gale.
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