Sunday, August 28, 2011

Song: Ugly

Artist: 2ne1

Language: Korean/English

About: Lately I haven't posted any of my music obsessions. Not that I've slowed down at all with them, although Kpop seems to be slowly going downhill as I listen to some of the new bands :( But this song is great. The chorus is in English to draw out their international fans I think and it works wonderfully because they have nice pronunciation. This song also has a really good message about looking underneath the surface to what we really are inside and whether or not that is ugly.

MV with English Subtitles:

It is a catchy song, no?

Peace out!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Logic of Demons: The Quest For Nadine's Soul

Author: H. A. Goodman

Summary: (back cover) What would you do if the love of your life was murdered by a deranged killer? Would you become a vigilante and seek retribution? And would this revenge affect those you care for in the afterlife? LOGIC OF DEMONS The Quest For Nadine's Soul takes you on a journey inside the psyches of men and women forced to deal with the supernatural consequences of their decisions. Through the lives of a demon, two Angels and a mysterious teenage girl, a plethora of politically and socially relevant issues ranging from the roots of genocide and sex trafficking to child conscription and religious fundamentalism are addressed in this fantasy thriller. Life as well as the afterlife converge to explain certain peculiarities of the human condition. Whether you are a God-fearing individual or an atheist, LOGIC OF DEMONS The Quest For Nadine's Soul addresses moral and theological issues of interest for people of all backgrounds.

Review: Because this is a self-published novel, it is going to be a little different in how I evaluate it. At first, I had a really hard time getting into it just because I had already formed opinions based on the fact that it was self-published...which was a mistake. After a break from it, I picked it up again months later and began reading eventually living the story with the characters.

The story picked up in pace and more things happened that drove the story forward. It was still very difficult for me to connect to the characters even in the very end, because they just seemed so secondary to the overall feel and story of the book.

This isn't really a YA novel. It has a teenage girl in it, but she is hardly in the story even though she is a crucial instrument in the resolution of the book. This was a super ambitious book. All of those themes introduced by the summary really did come into play within the plot, but I also felt overwhelmed at times. It was as if I could tell where the author was concentrating on writing fictional entertainment and then where the writing and style changed to informational and curt.

Overall, it was an interesting read opening my eyes to some different perspectives and things I was unaware of. I guess this is more criticism than usual, but I think that the book would have flowed better and have been stronger in its purpose if it was more focused on either being a book on human behavior or actually a character's story.

Rating: I am reluctant to give a numeric value since I use that system almost exclusively for fiction books that are directed to Young Adults. I will say that it was difficult to finish, but interesting while I was reading. If i rated it for story, plot and characters, it would be a 2. But for its overall construction, organization, and depth of themes and questions it asked and the impression it left me, then the score would be higher.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Between by Jessica Warman

A huge thanks goes to the publisher for providing me with an ARC for this blog tour.

Title: Between

Author: Jessica Warman

Summary: (goodreads) Elizabeth Valchar --- pretty, popular and rich --- wakes up the morning after her 18th birthday on the yacht where she’d been celebrating with her closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, she finds her own drowned body is hitting the side of the boat. Liz is dead. She has no memory of what happened to her, and can only observe in horror the fallout of her death.

She’s also soon joined by Alex Berg, a quiet boy from her high school who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The two keep each other company, floating in and out of memories and trying to piece together the details of what happened to each of them.

In her regular life, Liz was a runner. It wasn’t abnormal for her to run 8-10 miles per day. But as memories from closer to her death begin to surface, Liz finds that she’d been running much more than normal, and that she’d all but stopped eating. Liz’s mother, who died when Liz was nine, had battled with anorexia as well, and those around her worried that Liz was following in her mother’s footsteps. But something more sinister was consuming Liz from the inside out...

Review: Mysteries? I love mysteries. And this was a pretty interesting book combining many different threads such as moving on, accepting the truth, life after death and forgiving oneself. I was kind of expecting it to be more action-driven which is why I may seem a little let down by the pace, but this was a really great "thinking" novel and I loved it overall.

So my favorite aspect was the mystery surrounding Liz's death and it pretty much is what drives the story. Although I guessed at the resolution a little early on, there were plenty of twists that I wasn't expecting and little details that I knew meant something, but I didn't know what. I make it sound so ambiguous, but I don't want to spoil the story.

The truth was complicated and I think that is a big part of what made the entire book seem so realistic. I could label it Realistic Fiction instead of supernatural because the voice and idea of life after death that Warman constructed was completely natural. That was the most amazing part of Between. I can see it happening. Like a narrative.

Except for maybe Alex (it could be argued), all of the characters were flawed in some way. Completely, shockingly flawed considering their lifestyles. And I suppose that their huge flaws made them as human as you or me. The ARC describes the book as "one that is also a heartbreaking character study" and I agree with that statement to the fullest. The eight main characters in this book were created with unique talents and weaknesses, putting together a complex cast and story line allowing the reader to forge a connection to each person even if their situations were a bit on the die hard side.

My only complaint for this novel is that although Liz was supposed to grow as a person now that she is dead, she started out completely and utterly annoying. I didn't comprehend her stupidity! But this isn't a bad thing actually, because having a reaction is another sign of a good book. Personally, I would have like a more active mode of writing, because the essential parts took place in memories which were in the past while the present was just so melancholy.

I admit that I cried during this book. To be let into Liz's world and Caroline's world and Richie's was difficult. I think these three characters were the most alive and broken at the same time. I can say that I will remember them for a long time because of the impact they had. But if I had to choose, my favorite would be Alex, because I can relate to him the most and he was the best.

Rating: 1 2 3 3.5 4 5

Visit Jessica Warman's site:

Fill out the form below to enter the giveaway! US entries only. No PO boxes. You must be a follower to participate.

Contest ends September 5th, 2011. Good luck :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 17

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at BreakingtheSpine. Check it out for links to other bloggers' posts and details on more "coming soon" reads. Today I am waiting for:

Title: Invisible Order Book 2: The Fire King

Author: Paul Crilley

Release Date: September 27th

Publisher: EgmontUSA

Summary: (goodreads) Emily and her friends travel to 1666 to save London from the Great Fire and otherworldly creatures. (I have no idea why the summary is one sentence, but it continues from the first book so I want it anyways!)

My Thoughts: I read the first book and although it is geared toward younger readers, the setting is one of my favorites and the idea of pickpockets and spying is super fun. Add to it the paranormal and it makes a greatly exciting read. Loved the first and I know I will love this one also :)

Are you waiting for a book from a series too?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bridge of Sighs

Author: Richard Russo

Summary: (goodreads) Louis Charles Lynch (also known as Lucy) is sixty years old and has lived in Thomaston, New York, his entire life. He and Sarah, his wife of forty years, are about to embark on a vacation to Italy. Lucy's oldest friend, once a rival for his wife's affection, leads a life in Venice far removed from Thomaston. Perhaps for this reason Lucy is writing the story of his town, his family, and his own life that makes up this rich and mesmerizing novel, interspersed with that of the native son who left so long ago and has never looked back.

Review: I actually chose this book for my AP English Lit class semester report, so it isn't YA, but it has lots of literary value and I really enjoyed it even so. I'm glad I am expanding my reading material a little more and that this was the book I read.

The book's narration was the most difficult thing to get used to because the story is told from three different points of view. The main character uses flashbacks to his childhood in the first person and then there are also present parts. Then there is another main character whose story is presented in the present but third person point of view. They are clearly marked for the most part and this type of arrangement adds depth to the book as a whole by keeping the reader interested in the 500+ pages of the book.

In a book this long, I would usually expect some really slow parts, but Bridge of Sighs stays interesting the entire way through. It keeps a nice pace, really going in depth and filled with details, but the writing is what keeps this book from causing me complete boredom. The summary really does the book an injustice. I really did sigh in exasperation when I read it because I couldn't figure out how an older man's story could possibly hold my attention since I am used to the werewolves, vampires and all the other adventurous books I've been so concentrated on.

It was a completely different book from what I would normally choose to read or review for that matter, but I don't regret it at all and have maybe learned to trust my teachers' judgments a tad bit more. Just a bit more.

I really recommend this book to YA lovers because of the huge parts in the past tense since they are from an adolescent's point of view, but beware that it is a bit long and has loads of information to process, so it should be read closely and not exactly devoured. I plan on reading another Russo book soon as well and hope you guys like this one if you decide to try it out!

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5