Monday, May 26, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #13

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

YES THIS IS A FREEBIE! Hold on, lemme take a minute to think...

Top Ten Books Featuring Fuzzy Animals!

You know what? Animals are adorable! Some actually play a huge role in their story, and I think they should be recognized for that! You see, I've never owned any pet, not even a fish. So anytime I'm introduced to a fluffy, little animal, I just want to squish and cuddle with them. With that said, I have decided to pick out ten books that have animals in them, whether they talk, don't talk, play a role, or are just too darn cute.

Note: All art is from their rightful owners at Deviantart! Feel free to click on the image to go directly to the source!

1. Sabriel by Garth Nix (Abhorsen Trilogy)
Have I told you guys that I ADORE MOGGET. He's a sarcastic, little talking cat, and I don't care how mean he is I just want to squish him. And plus this is only a temporary form, that he's been sealed in. So I don't know exactly what his origins are. Very mysterious....dun dun dun. BUT STILL CUTE.


2. Lirael by Garth Nix (Abhorsen Trilogy)
And this gets me to our next adorable animal, The Disreputable Dog! Please don't ask me about the name, because I have no idea why she calls herself that. She also talks, and pretty much helps out Lirael in any way she can. She's also super powerful and created by powerful magic (somehow), but her origins are also unknown.

"I am the Disreputable Dog. Or Disreputable Bitch, if you want to get technical. When are we going for a walk?"

Ok, so a Wyverary, or this dragon looking animal, IS NOT FUZZY, but still an awesome companion to our main character here! And plus, he loves books and libraries, and is also known as Wyverary A-Through-L (because he knows everything about the things starting with those letters).

4. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
And look it's Grimalkin! My other favorite sarcastic cat (was he sarcastic, pretty sure he was. Such a long time since I've read the Iron King). I also found a picture of him and Mogget together on DeviantArt. They're just so fluffy!
 
5. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
A couple of fuzzy characters here. For one, there's Lyra's daemon, Pantalaimon. And then there's also the talking polar bear, Iorek. It's been nearly six years since I've read HDM, but I've always wanted a daemon in real life. It would be cool to see what my spiritual animal is! (I WANT IT TO BE DINOSAUR. jk, a panda will do)  

6. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
I really liked how the mouse Algernon, was basically Charlie's only "friend" he could relate too. Both of them were given the same drug to enhance their IQ. Poor little Algernon.

7. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
ROSIE THE ELEPHANT. I want an elephant so bad, I don't care if they're huge and smell. I was rooting the whole time for Rosie while reading.

8. The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot
Okay, so I might be grasping at straws a little, as I usually do, but I'm pretty sure the dog Paco in Meg Cabot's The Boy Next Door, is what causes "Max", aka John, to come up and take care of him. So yes. Paco the Great Dane has caused these two lovely people to meet.

9. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
I'm talking about Dustfinger's lizard that is always with him, which is also on the cover here. Other than that, I don't remember any other animals. Though I feel like there were. hmm.

10. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
SO there are a lot of fun animal companions in the series, but I've decided to focus on the Prisoner of Azkaban! Only because we have Crookshanks, Scabbers (haha but not really), Buckbeak, and also Hedwig! I loved Hedwig. I've always wanted an owl for myself.

So yay I came up with ten! This was actually a pretty fun topic, I'm surprised I've read so many books with animals/talking animals as companions.

Are there any other books out there that also feature cute, awesome animals? Also share your TTT below!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Start of the Road Trip


Although my road trip doesn't start until May 27th, I decided to head down to Washington D.C. to pick up my best friend and stay with her for a couple of days on Friday, so two days ago.

Now that I'm actually here, we've been busy, going back to my high school to check out the new buildings they added, and also preparing for the trip. We bought so much food. So basically, what's going to happen, is on Tuesday, we will be traveling to New Orleans while stopping at a couple of places.


Our main stops are: Chattanooga, New Orleans, Atlanta, Charleston, and lastly Myrtle Beach.

Hopefully, I'll remember to update the blog once in a while, and also get a ton of reading done throughout the trip. BUT I'M SUPER EXCITED. 

Also, I hope everyone who's going to BEA has an awesome time! I'm super jealous!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Nihal of the Land of the Wind

Nihal of the Land of the Wind by Licia Troisi
Chronicles of the Overworld #1
Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media
Release Date: May 27th, 2014
Date Read: 5/16/2014 to 5/21/2014
230 Pages
Rating: 1/2

An international bestseller from an extraordinary storyteller—get ready for Nihal and her world

Nihal lives in one of the many towers of the Land of the Wind. There is nobody like her in the Overworld: big violet eyes, pointed ears, and blue hair. She is an expert in swordplay and the leader of a handful of friends that includes Sennar the wizard. She has no parents; brought up by an armorer and a sorceress, Nihal seems to be from nowhere.

Things suddenly change when the Tyrant takes charge. Nihal finds herself forced to take action when she is faced with the most difficult mission a girl her age could imagine.

Fierce, strong, and armed with her black crystal sword, Nihal sets out to become a real warrior. Readers will be riveted as she forges her powerful path of resistance.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley. Thank you Open Road Media!

If I'm correct, Nihal of the Land of the Wind is translated from Italian, and has actually been around since 2004, and is called Nihal della terra del vento (plus it has a badass cover to go along with it, which doesn't exactly fit with the contents of the story). So basically, this is an English translated version that's being published in five days. 

My first impressions of the cover and the name caused me to instantly relate this to Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. And even though I knew it wouldn't be similar, I was still prepared to enter a world filled with magic, a complex theme, a little bit of romance, and a lot of world-building.

And also glowing wheat. That's a plus.
  
Well, let's just say that my expectations were not met. 

Let me explain. Even after only the first chapter, you could tell that the book's aimed toward middle schoolers. The writing was very fast-paced, with much telling rather than showing. First, we're introduced to Nihal, an unusual girl with pointed ears and purple hair is so talented in sword-play that she's always the commander in the war games she plays with her friends. Then later on, we find out that yes, Nihal is an excellent swordsman because her father, Livon, is an armorer or a weapon's dealer.

After a series of events, Nihal trains under a sorceress, who happens to be Livon's sister, in order to learn magic. She becomes friends with Sennar, the other student and also other main character. But then, THERE'S WAR. And the people in the Land of the Wind all try to flee while their town is burned to the ground. Nihal is devastated, and then she finds out she's the last half-elf of her kind, because the Tyrant destroyed them all.

So now, SHE MUST HAVE REVENGE! 



The character development here is: Naive, talented girl playing with swords and magic, to RECKLESS KILLING MACHINE

Key word is reckless. Here I was, good with the first half of the book. Sure it was fast-paced, but I get it, this is meant for a younger audience. But then, in the last parts of the book, we see a reckless, stupid decision-making main character, who I want to bash on the head multiple times.

Example: 
Nihal's Superior (Ido): "Nihal, don't get close to the dragon because he might hurt you. He's not used to a new rider yet"
Nihal: *gets close to the dragon*
Dragon: *breathes fire on her*
Nihal: "I'M SORRY I'LL NEVER DISOBEY YOU AGAIN!"

Nihal's Superior (Ido): "Nihal, you can't ride the dragon yet. I have to train you properly, and I will have a have a day of important business to attend to"
Nihal: *rides the dragon without supervision anyways*
Dragon: *goes crazy*
Nihal: "I'M SORRY I'VE LEARNT MY LESSON!"

Nihal's Superior (Ido): "Nihal, you are not going into battle today because you need to control your feelings. Stay here!"
Nihal: *sneaks away to join the army into battle*
Nihal: *doesn't retreat and gets wounded*


On the other hand, I did like this one scene, where in order for Nihal to enter into the Dragon Academy to become a dragon soldier, she had to earn her place. The general didn't want a girl in his academy, so he made an outrageous deal with her. If she could defeat 10 of his top soldiers, she would be accepted. And although it was very hard to believe she beat them all, I kept on rooting for her throughout the whole trial. 

Overall, I did enjoy Nihal of the Land of the Wind to some extent, well mostly the first half. It wasn't the fantasy novel I was expecting, and plus there really wasn't any climactic scene at the end, which was a bummer. Also, it doesn't seem like there will be a continuation of the series, since it's been 10 years since the first book (I'm so old). And please keep in mind that if you have read this in Italian, this is the English review for this book, because I can't read Italian. The translation errors could have an effect on my reading of the book. Maybe it sounds prettier, better in Italian? I will never know.

Thanks for reading my review. You can request this title at NetGalley if it's still available!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #12

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books About Friendship

Awww, now this is such a cute topic. I absolutely love the friendship between characters, especially when it buds into a romance. Although I haven't read many books that strongly focus on the friendship, here are a couple that I think are worth mentioning.


1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This book literally screams friendship. It's all about the friendship between Maddie and "Verity" which is absolute pure gold and also heartbreaking. Man, I cried so much after I finished this.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I absolutely loved the relationship between Eleanor and Park! I loved how they were able to bond between mixtapes and X-Men.

4. The Universe vs. Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
This is one is slightly unique, in that Alex befriends a grumpy old man, Mr. Peterson, and ends up starting a Vonnegut themed book club with him. It's basically like the movie Up!, except no balloons, South America, or Dug. Just an old guy with his marijuana. (Yes I know, this was a weird book)




4. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Another Rowell novel surprise surprise. The emails between Beth and Jennifer are hilarious, and it clearly shows how tight their friendship is.

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
RUDY AND LIESEL WILL FOREVER HOLD A PLACE IN MY HEART WAHHHHHH
Sorry, I got a little out of control there.

6. The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wrecker
What really drew me into this novel, was the combination of a golem and a jinni, and their unlikely friendship. Like that is honestly one of the most bizarre combinations I've ever heard of.



7. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
This entire series teaches us so much about friendship and bravery and courage, AND JUST EVERYTHING. There's way too many life lessons. Really.
I do have to reread this series sometime in the future though.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I think Charlie's friend group really helped him out in some ways or another. Though I don't really remember. Ugh I'm such a bad reader.


I am fresh out of ideas now. I only got to eight, ahaha.

What do you guys think about friendship in books? Does it tear your heart out as well? Leave your TTTs below so I can stalk ;D

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Weekly Updates: Works in Progress

Hello again! I've just finished settling in back at home for a nice long summer vacation.



But instead of reading, I ended up just redoing my whole banner design. Well, I was planning to redo it at one point in time or another, but IT JUST HAPPENED. It's a work in progress though. I'm at the stage where I'm adding characters as usual (I've been wanting to only stick to book characters, but it is so hard! Especially when I can't find a reference for my favorite MCs)

Other than that, I do have a bunch of random updates that need mentioning:

I'm going to be participating in the Semi-Charmed Summer 2014 Book Challenge


I probably won't plan book ahead of time, I'll just read what I want and then see what points I can get. It started in the beginning of May and ends August 31st! I'm pretty sure people can still jump in and join!

I'm going on a road trip, starting next Monday! So I'll try to schedule as many posts as I can for the following two weeks, but I will have my laptop with me. I'll definitely get some TTTs up though. And also updates along the way of course.

I'm also participating in the Way of Kings Read along with a bunch of people! I mentioned this in my STS yesterday.


And that's it from me! I hope all of you had a very nice week as I did!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stacking The Shelves #3



Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

So I randomly found an Amazon gift card for $25, so I ended up splurging it on the books I've been wanted to get! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW EXCITED I AM TO READ THESE. 


Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - yes yes yes yes yes yes! 
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo - ahhhhhhh yes yes yes yes yesyesyesyesyes!
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi- superpower themed? I think yes yes. Even if I don't like it it was only $6
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - Have no idea what this is about exactly but I'VE HEARD GOOD THINGS SO YES.

And then I also got a ton of review books from NetGalley. Thank you publishing companies :D


Paradigm by Ceri A. Lowe
Nihal of the Land of the Wind by Licia Troisi - Really looking forward to reading this one
The Revealed by Jessica Hickam - Such a pretty cover
Outshine by Nola Decker

OH AND. I also bought The Way of Kings for Faye's readalong, that started yesterday! 

Only $2.99 on Amazon :D

Feel free to share your STS below!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: Paradigm

Paradigm by Ceri A. Lowe
Paradigm #1
Publisher: Bookouture
Release Date: June 13th, 2014
Date Read: 5/8/2014 to 5/16/2014
382 Pages
Rating: 1/2

What if the end of the world was just the beginning?

Alice Davenport awakens from a fever to find her mother gone and the city she lives in ravaged by storms – with few survivors.

When Alice is finally rescued, she is taken to a huge underground bunker owned by the mysterious Paradigm Industries. As the storms worsen, the hatches close.

87 years later, amidst the ruins of London, the survivors of the Storms have reinvented society. The Model maintains a perfect balance – with inhabitants routinely frozen until they are needed by the Industry.

Fifteen-year-old Carter Warren knows his time has come. Awoken from the catacombs as a contender for the role of Controller General, it is his destiny to succeed – where his parents failed.

But Carter soon discovers that the world has changed, in ways that make him begin to question everything that he believes in. As Carter is forced to fight for those he loves and even for his life, it seems that the key to the future lies in the secrets of the past...


I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley. Thank you Bookouture!

So. How do I begin this. Ugh, I'm just going to start out with my little summary and go from there.

Paradigm is set in a world after a major catastrophic disaster, and our two main characters, Alice Davenport and Carter Warren, are separated by time. This weather disaster is caused by none other than our good friend global warming, by causing huge storms and rainfalls to flood the earth, killing everyone but a select few. Alice, home alone, has no idea what's going on with all the loud sounds and the rain, until she actually looks outside the window. From then on out, survival of the fittest has begun. Well, until she's rescued by Paradigm industries, who foresaw all of this and built a huge building for safekeeping survivors. Oh, and then there's also Mr. Hutchinson which we will get to later.

A number of years later (a lot of year, I'm not sure the exact number), there's Carter Warren, an inhabitant of the new Community and contender for the Controller General (basically the "leader" of this community). He's recently been unfrozen to contribute to society, and obviously to take his place as the new controller general, or at least try out for it.

So yes, basically like The Walking Dead, or the PS3 game The Last of Us! Except replace the zombies with mutated wolves and huge rats! Oh, and also they're much more prepared.

It's really the scenery that's very similar. Obviously.

I'm actually not sure where my judgment lies with this book. On one hand, I did enjoy it at some points, but then on the other, there were definitely some things that bothered me a little.

For me, I had a very rocky beginning. Not only was I introduced to Carter while he was being frozen for like 20 years, which confused me a ton, the writing felt a little off, kind of forced. I had no idea why Carter was being frozen, or why it was important/bad that he had children, or HOW he didn't know he had children, and then there were lines like these:

  • "screwed his eyes together"  wait, wut? 
  • "The luminous green second hand scratched around with the rhythm of the rain and Alice gulped down two more glasses of water."
  • "...she looked around and ran back out of the shelter and into the blinding lights of the oncoming Transporter as it careered towards her. There was a piercing scream..."
In that last line, I literally thought this girl ran into the Transporter (a huge, well, vehicle type transporter) and then DIED because she got ran over. But no, the "scream" was describing the sound of the vehicle stopping. I had to read this line (plus more after the dots) to finally understand this.


With Lowe's writing, you could really tell at which parts she was struggling with. But then there were also other parts where her writing was really good (unless I got too used to the writing style and it's just me.) But in my opinion, it flowed pretty well during the important and climatic scenes. The book did pick up very nicely in the end.

For example, since I became more attached to Alice over Carter, there was one scene where her and a team of explorers finally go outside to clean up a living area that made me a little emotional. Along with this, the book brought up some very nice themes and questions, like whether we should completely start over from scratch, or build up from what we know after a tragedy or disaster such as this.

But then there were other scenes that just didn't sit well with me, like when Mr. Hutchinson barges into Alice's original home, pretends to be helping her, then gets drunk off her mother's alcohol, and then almost rapes her. Um, okay, I guess this leads to Alice's character development somehow. 


Overall, yes, I did enjoy Paradigm. It's not exactly the top read of 2014, but it is decent. I've read worse. There is a switch in POV between each chapter, which was a good or bad thing depending on what happened in the book. I kept on looking forward to Alice's POV, because I didn't care for Carter much. But besides that, I would recommend this to anyone wanting to read a dystopia "after the the end of humanity" that gives a description of how the dystopia actually started. I feel like most books don't usually start that way, which is what makes Paradigm unique in that aspect.

Also, I think I'm now more afraid of climate change and global warming and natural disasters in general, because I definitely do not want what happened in this book to happen to meeeeeee.  

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Weekly Updates: Exams Are Over!!


So I finished my final exam this morning, which wasn't too bad. And I'm going back home tomorrow because guess what? 

IT'S SUMMER TIME!




I really have no idea how else to express my happiness! I've been waiting this entire year for summer to come (haha) and I'm finally going to be going home, reading, and doing whatever I want. And also going to the library almost every week. And eating great food!

I'm finally freeeeeee! :D


This has been a random post.