Thursday, October 16, 2014

Think out Loud #13


Think Out Loud.
This is a weekly meme used for bloggers
to post something they would normally not post.
So, post whatever YOU want!

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This weeks Think out Loud by ClarA RowlKin

This is my first attempt at this, so be gentle ;)

I went on my first trip out of the country! I’d love to tell you a little about it. I went to Curaçao with my parents and boyfriend and his cousin in the first week of October. We had to check in at 3 am, so I was pretty sleepy. I didn’t really explore the airport either.

Finally at 5 something a.m we boarded the plane. It took a while before we took off, but it felt so strange. I was upset I didn’t get to experience this with my boyfriend next to me since it was our first time in an airplane. I slept for most of the plane ride. We stopped in Trinidad for 45 minutes, after which we directly flew to Curaçao.

We were picked up by the lady at whose apartment building we were staying at. She was very nice and told us a little about the island on the drive. The apartment was smaller than I expected, but it had a pool and a beautiful patio, so I didn’t really mind. Later I realized that the house we were staying had a nameplate in the front that said: “Fam. Gerritsen”. How awesome is that!


I felt very itchy that day, so I showered. After which I sat on the bed and looked at myself. I saw red spots everywhere! I showed my boyfriend and my mother. She thought and we hoped it was a rash caused by the jacket I was wearing, but it was chikungunya. So I was sick and in pain the first 4 days of my vacation, which sucked.
But I got to swim in the sea and go to most of the beaches. I also loved swimming in the pool at the apartment. I got to drink a lot of ice tea and had Starbucks coffee and bubble tea for the first time. Despite my sickness I enjoyed my vacation. I did look for bookstores, but I didn't find one in the city. Another reason to visit the island again. I really wanted to buy a book to read in the plane, but since I didn't find a bookstore I just bought a magazine and puzzle book.

We stayed for 7 days, but I didn't feel like leaving yet. It was so amazing. At the airport, to kill time, we browsed in the shops. They sold books, but they were so expensive. My boyfriend called me to come to the book rack he was standing by. From afar I saw The Fault in Our Stars, so I quickly walked over. I picked up the book and it was A HARD COVER COPY!! But my boyfriend told me to close my eyes. I did and he put a book in my hand. That book was……….  THE CASUAL VACANCY by the one and only J.K. Rowling. And of course I bought it!
I literally almost cried. It was a bittersweet day.. sigh.. If my little blogger bestie has the time, she’ll write a review. After I’ve read it of course.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult


New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness. Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.


My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.GOODREADS


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I got this book in a trade. It's not the kind of book I'd buy, but since I had it I decided to read it. It wasn't what I expected. I suppose seeing as I had watched some of the movie; I expected some Cameron Diaz-like drama. The book isn't anything like that IMO.

The book has more story to it, more structure. There are flashbacks; different POVs and each other part starts off with a quote about fire. I absolutely loved that each part started this way which fits with the story because Brian is a  firefighter and Jess is an arsonist (Arson is bad!). I suppose fire is kind of  a metaphor in the story;  Anna is named after a star and stars burn;  Anna was a light; she meant hope for Kate and knew how to break the tension in the house. In the end she does save her sister....fire's will burn itself out; even without your help.

It takes some time to get into the multiple POVs, but, once you have, the story reads pretty well. There are POVs from everybody in the family, the lawyer and Julia; in the end there's one chapter from Kate. All the POVs are centered around one event/theme i.e Kate. Jesse's POV, Campell's and Julia's surprised me because I didn't really think they needed to have one. Jesse's is important, because he showcases what happens to other family members when somebody in the family has cancer or is seriously sick. 

Jesse was my favorite character, unfortunately we didn't get to see the real Jesse in the movies. Jesse in the book is an arsonist, he goes around abandoned buildings and sets them on fire. He then waits for his dad ( a firefighter) to come put them out. Jesse also exhibits self-destructive behavior at a young age. He can't save his sister because they don't match genetically, so he reasons if he can't heal he should destroy. It sucks that they watered down his character in the movies.

Campbell is the lawyer that takes on Anna's case; he's a funny guy with a secret. I was amused by how he always came up with something ridiculous when people asked him what his service dog was for. Then there's Julia ( a guardian appointed to Anna ); who happens to be Campell'high school girlfriend. This leads to a romantic sub-plot I didn't really care for or thought was necessary. It eventually grows on you though, but I could have done without it.

The ending; I definitely did not see that coming. Although I don't mind giving away spoilers. I'll refrain from sharing the ending here. How this story ends is an important part of the story. It's unexpected and it's also the one thing that gives the story it's climax.  


Grade:



Monday, October 6, 2014

Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon



Just when you thought doomsday was over...


Centuries ago Acheron saved the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.



As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life and future for Acheron’s.



The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. But it was never a task she relished. Until now. She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her.



But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line. Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.



Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it's your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?YOU DON'T KNOW STYXX

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If you've followed Kenyon's facebook page and devoured the excerpts and the Styxx related goodies then like me, you've been dying to read this book!...for the bromance!

Sadly it doesn't exceed my expectations, if anything Acheron's book was better. This only by comparison: Styxx's book starts from the beginning like Acheron's . The same beginning and the same story, only now from Styxx's point of view. It pretty much feels like 2/3 of the book is repetition, because everything that happens has already happened in previous books and the other 1/3 of the book with the new stuff is very little and felt rushed.

The writing is at times too detailed and corny! So damn corny! I suppose this is just a pet peeve  of mine.."no, honey"...."it'll be fine darling"...."you're amazing"...

Beth and Styxx, they both lie about who they are when they meet. They're fated to love each other. Bethany's awesome I guess, she's a goddess, a warrior. Has a bad ass father. Then she's all sweet and lovey dovey with styxx. It felt off at times...again this might also just be a pet peeve.

Oh and not to mention the son they "lost". Turns out Apollymi didn't kill their son (Styxx & Beth's).. He's alive....and it's Urian!! The revelation was freaking awkward....most of the emotional scenes at the end just felt awkward.

There are some funny bantering scenes and overly philosophical ones. And (I guess for me) some painfully cute scenes between Styxx and Beth.
Styxx gets Beth a dog: first this just annoys me because the dog adds to this "perfect'-ish lovey dovey picture..but the dog also added some comedy to things.

In the end, Styxx shows us the other side of the story. Now we have the whole picture of what happened to Acheron and Styxx. I found this to be discomforting, because I like Acheron; he's the leader of the dark-hunters and yet he made this major mistake. I get the message, emotions cloud judgement but..this is Ash we're talking about.

The book isn't without its surprises or question marks.
Styxx is a freaking Chthonian! A  godkiller....and he kills Archon.
Another thing that has me very piqued: if Archon  isn't Ash's dad..then who is?.....I'm thinking maybe Savitar? If it is...then there's going to be some more awkward scenes coming.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Before the Fairytale: The Girl with No Name (Seventh Night) by Iscah


Banished from her village, a young shape shifter sets out on a journey to find her place in the world...


The first of four "Before the Fairytale" stories, "The Girl With No Name" is told in a deceptively simple storybook style with the flavor of an original Grimm's fable, but don't expect your typical "once upon a time.."once upon a time scenario. This is a coming of age tale, humorously interwoven with social commentary.




This story is recommended for older children to adult readers (9 & up) but may not be suitable for younger children.GOODREADS
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Who doesn't like fairy-tales? And even if you don't ,you've probably been introduced to some in your youth. Hansel and Gretel,  Snow White, Red Riding Hood  Mulan...wait, Mulan is a Disney movie...


The Goodreads description of the book is fairly accurate. "Before the Fairytale", is indeed written in a storybook way and very easy to read.  I, being a fan of the Brothers Grimm, could find some of that in this book. 



Like most fairy tales there isn't much characterization .

Except for The nameless girl and Leifhound: The main character referrred to as The Girl , changes a lot and learns a lot about the world and its people. Leifhound turns out to be a very wise prince. I think as far as secondary characters go, Leifhound might be the one I liked the most, because for a prince he's something different. He wants to be a good king and does everything possible so Uritz can have a good future.



Other memorable characters are the bookshop owner that helps the girl and when the girl meets the witch. When she meets the witch, this scene is very well depicted as frightening and different from the other places the girl has visited.



The girl at first starts off on her journey wanting to find her father. She comes back to the town she was born in after years without having found her dad. This is kind of disappointing though for an ending. It's not what I expected but endings are never to a person's expectations.



Although this is a fairy tale and a fantasy novel. The pegasus and unicorns took me off guard.
It's not a bad thing and it worked in the book but it was surprising and unexpected.



I enjoyed reading this book just like I enjoy reading any fairy tale book. It's amusing and simple. Plus there's a wonderfully wise prince.

Grade:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Think Out Loud #12


Think Out Loud.
This is a weekly meme used for bloggers
to post something they would normally not post.
So, post whatever YOU want!

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This day, I shall recite my own haiku......*ehummm*


Grazing cow
In the meadow
A Bic Mac





Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Soul of the World (Legends of Amun Ra #2) by Joshua Silverman


The ancient powers lost to Potara have returned. The Brotherhood of the Black Rose rises to bring Thoth into disorder. And, while the Brotherhood reclaims their power, chaos reigns among the survivors. Six individuals have emerged from the aftermath struggling for control over their lives and a divided land. Kem and Shirin, who abolished the five thousand year reign of the Amun Priests, rule from the golden throne of the Oracle’s Chair in the Hall of the Nine. Dio and Axios struggle to piece together a resistance worthy to challenge the ancient magic which resides in the Great Temple of Amun, and Leoros and Atlantia try to remain true to their hearts and their cause despite tragedy.



But when the Book of Breathings is discovered, the path to immortality is revealed. Leoros and Kem race to capture the Soul of the World unaware of the challenges awaiting them. This time, the gods themselves will intervene.


In a tale where boys become men and girls become women, where treachery and deception are around every corner, and where primeval mysticism finds its way back from the grave, victory is reserved for neither the good nor the evil, but the powerful.GOODREADS
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I didn't like this cover at first but looking at it now, it actually works. I've read the previous book in this series a long time ago and only remember bits an pieces. Not that the book isn't memorable, I just have really bad memory.

There were a lot of things that bothered me, but as a whole this is an awesome book and sequel.  I like mythology and this one doesn't only focus on popular Greek mythology but Egyptian as well. There's also a futuristic element to the world Silverman has created. The use of exo-skeletons in battle and holograms and other advanced technology. I didn't touch on this in my first review, but these three things: Greek, Egyptian and futuristic technology all in ancient Egypt ( or a version of Egypt) . The Greek and Egyptian mythology mixing them together and creating the story works and is believable even the advanced stuff works. However, I found it to be distracting at times and contradicting in  way. I would sometimes be so engrossed in the story that I would forget that they had such technology in Potara and  it would surprise me. Then there's the the Am-ra (energy), these abilities some of the characters have and the presence of mythological creatures. It's just a lot to take in and isn't always believable. But it works!

The narration bothered me as well. The story is told from multiple POV's but at times it feels really static and drags. It picks up in the last chapters.  Some of the dialogue as well sound really textbook-like. Especially when Leoros talks about energy and life. At times it seems like almost every person in this world has a sarcastic bone in their body...even the freaking Griffin and Sphinx can be sarcastic. It's like every thing or person has a default sarcastic punk as an alter ego. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it's also not very dynamic. 

I didn't connect with any of the characters. The  story picks up two years after the events in The Emerald Tablet, Leoros is stuck on earth and wants to get back to Potara. Leoros is suppose to be the chosen one; He's the hero and I don't like him. I don't sympathize with this kid at all. The way he just  accepts his fate and jumps into the role of the savior is unbelievable. The characters that I even remotely liked were probably Dio and ( hate to admit it ) Shirin; Shirin reminded me of Artemesia from Rise of Empire. The way she took control of things and the way she encouraged Kem ( that arrogant bastard) to become a god. I can totally see Kem as the new God king......pharaoh?. Dio is an alcoholic now and eventually gets her *&%$ together. Her relationship with Axios has progressed and they've become closer. Even though Dio has fallen off the wagon they stick together; Dio even tries to commit suicide at one point. I mention this scene, because Axios catches her in the act. The way this event took place was interesting. They just calmly talked it out...even though she pulled the trigger and the gun was empty. The characters don't always react the way you think they will.

The book is called Soul of the World because Kem has to go looking for the Soul of the world to become a god. The soul of the world is a freaking dragon ( I am going with that). There is more to it then just a dragon, but seriously you do not want me to even try to explain it. In the end this dragon is defeated by Leoros with a magic sword. This happens in the end when Leoros , Atlantia and a new character Kevin show up in Ankar. They practically walk into the Resistance fight led by  Axios and Dio in the frey and the city being attacked by Kem's soldiers and ah.... ..did I mention the dragon?. Leoros and company enter the city on a flying griffin and spinx. 

I liked the last chapters because they were exciting and actually funny; Atlantia hits Leoros upside the head because the Sword of Thoth, which he had, could kill the dragon. I also hated that Axios, a supposedly awesome general didn't realize that Shirin was trying to capture Dio or that Dio was an important weapon in the war and sending her off on her own to fight the Brothers of the Rose was an idiotic move. These scenes where Shirin gives orders during the battle again reminded me of Artemesia, especially when she tells her general not to disappoint her. 


I don't know how to categorize this book. It could be sci-fi, it could be supernatural/spiritual. I definitely don't think it's Young Adult, because although some of the main characters are teenagers there's a lot of violence and some sex in this book. Shirin's past is riddled with violence and rape; this surprised me because I didn't really expect that. At times even though Leoros and Atlantia are suppose to be kids they sound really mature and being reminded of this fact, instead of being amazed by this it sounded unbelievable. 

The ending sucks and in a  bad way. I like it when the last line in a book lingers in your mind, it should be memorable. The chapter itself isn't bad it's just the last line ...Leoros after reading a prophecy off of a pyramid miniature literally says " I've heard that before"....that's the ending line...I'm not impressed.



Grade :

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Think Out Loud #11

Think Out Loud.
This is a weekly meme used for bloggers
to post something they would normally not post.
So, post whatever YOU want!
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MadauG and ClarA's 
 Friendship pandas



MadauG: I saw these awesome stuffed pandas at a store one day and I thought it would be fun if my best friend and I bought them. Like a couple thing.  The idea was we would both buy one and they'd be twin pandas with their own unique personality (which we would invent). For some reason she assumed we were gonna buy porcelain pandas.....Not complaining but I think it was pretty clear I meant stuffed ones and who buys porcelain pandas. I mean really..?

ClarA: I assumed they were porcelain or something, because you don't like stuffed animals. And no, you were not clear, you meant STUFFED pandas. The thought of you buying stuffed pandas never crossed my mind. And there are people who buy porcelain stuff. I've been to a house that had like an entire cupboard full of porcelain things. I liked the idea of doing something together. To strengthen our bond or something like that. 

MadauG:.....Yes, there are people who collect porcelain dolls. I saw some in an episode of SUPERNATURAL and you know what that show is about? DEMONS !  I thought you'd like the idea that's why I asked you, so we could have our own thing together. The shop we went had a lot of cool and affordable stuff didn't it? And the pandas were affordable too. What did you think when you saw them?

ClarA: I've never actually watched an entire episode of Supernatural. I wouldn't say cool. Although I'd love one of the gigantic teddy bears they have. Yeah they were affordable, considering stuffed animals can be expensive. I thought they were cute. With the big head and small body.


MadauG: I wouldn't describe them as cute; more like "majestic" and 'laid back".  We decided to give them names. I named my panda Haru after a Korean pop singer's daughter (TABLO). I like Korean dramas and music so I had already decided on a Korean name. I also decided to give them their own sounds, because we weren't sure what sounds pandas made. So following this reasoning my panda makes an "ehehehehe" sound. This is the sound Tom Hiddleston makes when he laughs. I am not kidding you people.

ClarA: Yeah she really thought about the name beforehand. However I could not decide on a name yet for my little cutie. I actually went online to look up some cool names. I actually wanted to give my panda a gender neutral name, but I didn't find a name that suited her. I was considering naming my panda Ethan or Khaleesi. But then I looked at my panda long and hard and the name came to me.... She was a Sofia. The sound Sofia makes is "cacaw". Why, you ask? I was thinking about this really funny part in the movie "Evolution" where they were trying to call the dragon in the mall. Sean William Scott made the sounds: "cacaw" and "tookie tookie". And I just loved it.

MadauG: Dude, seriously you're making it sounds like you're naming a baby. It's a panda, a stuffed panda. And again you cannot name any one "Khaleesi" it's a title not a name, woman. I knew that's why you gave her the "cawcaw" sound. I love it too. 

ClarA: Well, she is one of my many babies now. It can be a name too. If people can name their daughters "Princess", why can't I have the possibility of naming her "Khaleesi".

Alright guys, introducing Haru and Sofia !


<------Haru 
Lkes: : sleeping, eating and reading with MadauG. 
Dislikes: when Sofia gets all huggy and when MadauG won't share food with her. 
Biggest Dream: developing pyrokinetic  powers.
Fears: getting her white fur dirty and ...bamboo. 
DOB: July 17th 
Identification mark: bow earring right ear.
Identification: Bow earring on right ear

                                                                                          Sofia ---->
Likes: hanging out with her friends, keeping ClarA company while she studies. 
Dislikes: Being ignored, "flying" with "The Dude". 
Biggest Dream: to be played with when "Muffinhead" makes her appearance. 
Fears: Getting lost and never finding a way back, getting drooled on. 
DOB: July 17th  
Identification: red polka dot scarf, earring on the left ear, sometimes with a pink hair clip on the right side.

Thanx for stopping by and welcoming our new mascots !

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